I can never drink again. I am an alcoholic. Alcohol temporarily fills a hole inside me when I am feeling incomplete or unhappy. I have been sober for a few months, but could very easily get lost into it again if I were to re-indulge in that escape. Alcohol doesn’t fix my problems, but just temporarily numbs my conscious mind of acknowledging them. They will stay there. A fifth of vodka will only offer temporary relief.

Both my best friend and I would talk about how trapped we felt in our materiality. Our families paid for all of our expenses as long as we were to stay business majors. Our parents were successful business people and expected us to trot down the same cleared path they had 30 years prior.

My best friend and I reacted to this imprisonment of our true passion to follow the easy path given to us by our parents. My best friend chose to buy a motorcycle, smoke daily and play video games. I chose to date, spend money and drink. This spree of instant gratification only lasted temporarily as I had exhausted myself with the world’s pleasures and my imprisoned passion attempted to knock the locks off of my dormant heart.

The imprisonment of passion inside myself ate away at for me the majority of my high school and college years. There were brief periods of happiness, but as I look back upon it, I realize the majority of it was short-lived. Most of my relationships have been codependent as they allowed me to disregard my low self-esteem and focus on the betterment of the others around me, instead of acknowledging my personal void.

Love, sex, popularity and jobs were sufficient to keep the prison sturdy in which my purpose dwelt. I was too afraid of opening up my prison and dealing with the life changes that would follow, so I set my mind on different activities

“Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.” — Marianne Williamson

A variety of tough experiences have given me the strength to understand myself well enough to unhinge the doors of my prison and share my purpose with the world. The happiness that I feel day to day is unlike anything I have ever felt. I am single, in debt, living at home (with parents) and have a nonexistent social/sex life – but I am happy. The greatest days living stagnant and imprisoned with worldly pleasures like money, women and popularity don’t measure up to my worst day living out my purpose.

Opening our prisons is a lifelong process that some will not work to achieve, but if sought passionately, a personal key can be found. I am glad that I found the key to my prison so early in my life, even if I had to lose everything I had to find it. The rehab, jail, dropping out of school and other large costs I paid to open my prison were worth it. Everyone has a price they are willing to pay to bail out their passion and live their life honestly.

The price will go up as we get older and as we achieve more things not doing what we want. Many have kids, wives and homes before they realize their purpose and often times are stuck without mobility to develop themselves.

My mom is my hero as she had a multiple-year-long depression in which she was paying the bail to unleash her passion. The lost years and her marriage were the cost she paid to open her prison. She wanted more, she wanted to be a teacher. She is now single, a great 7th grade math teacher and is sincerely happy. She is honest with the voice in her heart and realizes it offers more rewards than any capitalist valued pleasure.

This power and happiness is available to everyone willing to pay the price for it. Be careful, as the price might be changing majors, leaving college, leaving a relationship or quitting a job. The price seems steep, but keep in mind that this is a lifetime of happiness and validity you are gaining in return.

“Man’s greatest moral duty is the pursuit of his own happiness.” – Ayn Rand