I have always been a Johnny Cash fan and have listened to his music off and on since I can remember my father playing it in his car when I was growing up. I have continued to listen to his songs more frequently over the last several years of my recovery and have realized the music genius Johnny Cash was. He has been one of the top selling artists in his years of playing music and recording albums and has several hit songs that everyone knows such as “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk the Line”. Even though those songs are phenomenal, if you dig deeper into his music over the years, you will realize how many of them are meaningful to the lives of thousands, if not millions.
I recently watched “Walk the Line” for the third or forth time and each time I watch it, I get something new from it. I know it is a movie and I am sure there were things added to it so that it would be more successful in the box office, but the overall meaning of his life was portrayed immaculately. It really hit me about the struggles of addiction Johnny Cash faced throughout his entire life, including his music career, which spans decades.
I am personally able to relate my struggles with addiction to the life and music of a man that faced similiar battles and challenges as I did and still do at times. I recently made a song list for my Father with a group of 24 songs by Johnny Cash that I enjoy listening to. I have referenced some of those songs below such as: “I Walk the Line”, “One”, “Help Me”, “Heart of Gold”, “Rusty Cage”, “Man in Black” and “Hurt” that I included in the playlist because each of them have special and different meanings to me. I think of a variety of different things each time I hear them and when I listen to music, I do not necessarily take the exact words and their exact meaning, but use the lyrics to address my own views and opinions. For instance, “Walk the Line” is about how a man ‘walks the line’ for a woman to stay true to her. Even though staying true to my wife and family is a critical part of my life as well, I listen to “Walk the Line” and think of how in the past I walked the line of struggle and battle with addiction and could have lost my life because of it. I do not ‘battle’ addiction everyday, as I live with it, but this song is a great reminder that there is an invisible line of addiction and adversity that cannot be crossed if I want to continue to live a successful life in recovery.
The song “Hurt” was first released with the band Nine Inch Nails. When I listen to “Hurt” now, I relate it to how I have lived my life in active addiction in the past and how I hurt myself and others through my actions / thoughts while ‘serving time’ in my own prison under addiction. I think to myself “what have I become” in my present life and how my past adversities have brought me to where I am today. Another brilliant masterpiece by Cash is “One” which brings me thoughts of having ‘one life’ and to live it as I am given only one chance to make this life count to help others and myself. I also know that I can change the direction of my sails at any given time for better or worse. One decision can ultimately change my life as I know it and change everything that I have earned / built in my inner soul, family, career, monetarily, etc and today I will make the choice to continue to live my life successfully in recovery.
You must realize how beautiful and valuable your inner-self is before you can fully accept others into your life in the way it is meant to be. Know that no matter who you are or what you have done, you can turn your heart into a ‘heart of gold’. Today I challenge you to search for that Heart of Gold in yourself and others. It’s time to take a look past what kind of place you live in or the type of car you may have parked in the garage and truly observe and witness what you have to offer your inner-circle of friends / family, community, world, etc. I believe every person has a story to tell that can help others in their lives and I read them everyday through blogs on WordPress and other sites.
Today, I challenge you to break your ‘Rusty Cage’ and run towards solutions that will lead you to freedom from adversity in your heart and soul. I see that to often, people, including myself at times, will run away from adversity, not face it and as they put it off, it builds more anxiety and fear. At least, this is my experience when I take the ‘flight’ path and/or the ‘fight’ path, it builds more worry in my thoughts. Everyone has choices and there are tools in the community and world to help assist you break that rusty cage.
Have you come to realize that you may be sick and tired of being sick and tired? Do you live in a rusty cage that prevents you from truly feeling happiness and self-worth? What is one small thing you can do today to bring yourself to a moment or a day of happiness? Possibly tell someone how you are feeling… Call that family member or friend and admit that you have an addiction or tell them something you have been afraid to tell them for months, years…
I hope today you will break free from your inner-prison or rusty cage and live today with relief and happiness if you are facing adversity and if you are not, that you will continue to live today with peace and serenity.
“Hello, I’m Johnny Cash…”
“Walk the Line”
“Man in Black”
“Heart of Gold”