The studio lights remained dim throughout the night, creating a somber atmosphere that matched my mood. The migraine I was experiencing was due to a mixture of the loud music that had set the soundtrack for my day, and the emotions I had confronted because of it. It was not the day I had envisioned, but as with all things, God had better plans. He had sent me an angel in the form of my dear friend Cindy, a star whose personality radiates positivity. She had been a believer in me since the beginning of my music career, always cheering me on, supporting me. She watched as I battled my demons in real time, as I faced the harsh reality of my past and present. Having spent the day deciphering the current position in our lives, we each took our time in analyzing the next steps we would take in our individual journeys. We had both gone through a lot, but we had also grown a lot. We had learned from our mistakes, our failures, our successes. We had discovered our strengths, our passions, our values. We had found our purpose, our direction, our vision. I watched her intently as I showcased the many recordings that I’ve kept relatively hidden from the world, afraid of rejection, criticism, or indifference. With each one, I saw her eyes light up, her smile widen, her enthusiasm grow. She listened attentively, appreciatively, genuinely. She gave me honest feedback, constructive criticism, and sincere praise. “This needs to be out there, now!” Her words became a pillar of confidence on which I stood tall, looking down at the previous versions of myself that were too feeble for this task. The versions that had been fueled by the false confidence provided by an alcoholic lifestyle, that had numbed their pain and fear with bottles and cans, that had wasted their time and talent with excuses and regrets. I took a strong stance in my sobriety, understanding the power that I now have in my hands. The power to create, to inspire, to heal. The power to change myself and others for the better. There is nothing more valuable than a clear mind, as with it, the impossible can become possible, the intangible can become tangible. And as the final tears of my past streamed down my face, evaporated by the breeze provided by the air conditioned space, with them went all that I have let go; all that I have sacrificed. All the pain and guilt and shame that had held me back for so long. All the opportunities and blessings that I had missed or ignored or rejected. As the story continues to unfold, I’m consistently reminded that I am its author, and the actions and steps that I take in whatever direction I choose to follow will ultimately have consequences. I’m choosing wisely, and right now, it’s making all the difference.

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