“You’ve got a long way to go,” he said.

The words stung like hell.

I knew he meant well; he always did, but I wish he had just slapped me instead.

It would have hurt less and that kind of pain eventually goes away.

“You’ve got a long way to go.” The words kept echoing in my head, ricocheting in my heart.

It was my 34th birthday, but still, he managed to make me feel like a child.

I know why he said it.

I’m not stupid.

He didn’t come to this country to watch me struggle through life.

He wants the best for me. The best car, the best job, the best house.

And in his eyes, I haven’t truly arrived without those things.

But our definitions of success are so different.

And at 34, I am finally trying to make peace with that.

This year, I woke up on my birthday and gave myself the greatest gift I could think of:

I went to my therapy appointment.

I spoke from the heart, cried like a baby, and left slightly taller than when I had first come in.

And then I made TWO appointments for the next week.

To me, that’s  success.

I spent so many years either drunk or hungover that technically I’m not even 34.

It’s only been in the past five years that I’ve begun getting to know myself and there is still so much left to discover.

And the most important thing I’m learning is to be okay with who I am, where I am, in this moment.

Most of what I have accomplished is invisible to the naked eye.

But to me, those accomplishments are everything and without them I would be nothing.

I know what my dad means when he tells me that I’ve got “a long way to go.”

But at 34 I choose to focus instead

on just how far I’ve come.


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6 Replies to ““You’ve Got a Long Way to Go””

  1. Hot damn. Fathers know how to hit your weakest spots, don’t they? I suspect it’s made you both tougher and less willing to raise the same welts in others. In any case, you have guts and grit, lady, and I like the way you write. JUST KEEP SWIMMING! 🙂

  2. I gotta admit–I want to box your dad around the ears right about now. You’ve arrived, Jo. Living each moment sober is a feat that stands alone as THE BIGGEST VICTORY imaginable. As for what’s to come…there is no “arriving,” only seizing–each moment, each thought, each breath. May I suggest a mantra? “I love Jo Ashline, I love Jo Ashline, I love Jo Ashline. I know I do.

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