1) a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability. b: an illustrious warrior. c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities. d: one who shows great courage.
2) a: the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work. b: the central figure in an event, period, or movement.
3) an object of extreme admiration and devotion.
Greeting Friends, Family, and Heroes:
My name is Michael, and I am a new Lead Advocate for Heroes in Recovery. If you are reading this blog post, it is not a coincidence—you are most likely seeking answers for yourself, a family member, friend, or loved one. Each month, I will be posting a topic related to alcoholism, addiction, and a variety of mental health subjects.
The purpose is to help you better understand the nature of some of these diseases and provide you with a forum to ask questions, gather any insight that will hopefully best serve you, and assist you or anyone else in understanding the nature of mental illness.
During the course of my own personal tragedies and victories, I found that I was able to increase my capacity to grasp certain concepts by researching and defining specific keywords and terms. Therefore, the definition of the posting’s main subject will always be listed at the top of the column.
Since this is my first posting, I feel it is only appropriate to begin our discussion by asking, “What is a hero?”
When I was a young boy and even into my late twenties, my heroes were Chief Executive Officers who had money, power, control, and always made the New York Times after receiving their yearly bonuses. Many of them also became overnight multimillionaires or billionaires as the result of stock splits and or company purchases.
You may be asking yourself, “You were just a boy; why wasn’t your hero a superhero like Superman?” Superman was, to a degree, but only because I was often told I resembled Clark Kent. My real heroes were top business executives with money, airplanes, expensive sport cars, an incredible home on top of a hill overlooking the city or ocean, and of course… the girl.
My parents raised me and did their absolute best to instill good, moral, and ethical values in me. Unfortunately, I never really “listened” and instead believed my own self-will would carry me to the greatest of heights and include the most expensive, luxurious, and beautiful material possessions. In retrospect, all these “needs” were due to a feeling of inadequacy, a lack of confidence, insecurity, fear, disillusionment, fantasy, and the desire to impress my fellows with wealth and perfection.
It wasn’t until my own collapse and then recovery that I truly understood the many variations of the meaning of “success” and of a hero. The ultimate destruction of ego, selfishness, dishonesty, and fear seemed to have been the requirement to finally understand and be able to view the world with a fresh and much different perspective. This is an area we will definitely explore in the future
Today, I believe heroes are people who freely give of themselves (in love, kindness, generosity, service) to others without any expectation of acknowledgment. They are people who have overcome difficult and even life-threatening obstacles, for themselves and at times for humanity.
Some of the people I consider to be heroes include the following: Helen Keller, Victor Frankl, Eli Weisel, Oscar Schindler, Beethoven, Christopher Reeve, Robert Downey Jr., and Sir Isaac Newton. Equally as impressive are the founding fathers of our nation, such as George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, who incidentally fought for their own freedoms. I would also include my parents, a therapist, a doctor, and a rabbi or a priest. How about the person who anonymously donates large sums of money to schools and charity?
We cannot ignore or forget either that unnamed man or woman who has sacrificed him or herself to save the life of another person. I include the members of our Armed Services as well in that statement. These are the genuine heroes in our world, and they represent my new definition for what constitutes “success.” We all have flaws and weaknesses of character, but this list of individuals led, or still lead, lives of purpose, dignity, and worth.
In circling back to the subject of recovery, I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that not everyone has the capacity to be a hero. The good news is that everyone who desires and is willing to get well can absolutely one-hundred percent recover. If this is you, you can be a Hero in your own right by saving your own life.
My question to the reader is the following:
“What are you doing today to be a Hero?”
I look forward to reading your responses.