Do you know how much $5000 invested in Amazon stock when it first went public would be worth now? I almost shudder as I write this. $4 million dollars!!! Why do I shudder, because in 1997, when Amazon was taking its company onto the stock market for people to begin investing their money into them, I was a naïve and angry young adult who had just lost his father to suicide and who also inherited about $400,000 from him!
At the time, I wasn’t thinking at all about what stocks to invest my newly acquired money in. In fact, I wasn’t thinking at all when it came to that money. Rather, I had a pure alcoholic and addict mentality that was thinking about all the physical things I could now buy with it, like the trips I could take, the gadgets I could own, the cars I could possess, and so on. And I went on to do that quite wastefully, like a good alcoholic and addict often does.
Now getting back to that initial public offering of Amazon stock, here’s a very sobering thought I’ve had to face lately when it comes to that inheritance I once received. If I had followed the wise council of a few financial investors in my life back then by taking $100,000 of the money left to me and placing it in Amazon, I’d now be worth over $80 million dollars!
$80 million dollars!!!!!!!!!!
It’s almost hard to fathom, especially knowing the path I took instead was one wanting to have fun with it right away, like a good alcoholic and addict. So, my life became one that was filled with gadgets that eventually became worthless, cars that long ago were either wrecked or sold for next to nothing, and plenty of memories of going places and wasting money on things that almost feel totally ridiculous now. Frankly, I spent all that money like it was never going to run out, but it did.
I know I shouldn’t do this, but I often wish I could go back in time to talk to my younger, overly addicted self, to not only give him a few stock tips that would eventually make him a millionaire, but also to tell him to get his ass into recovery and work the 12 Steps. But, there wasn’t any Higher Power in charge of my life then, but my ego was though. And ego drove me to quick and rash decisions that spend dollar after dollar after dollar of my father’s well-earned and saved money. It took me a long time to get over the shame of spending all of it on the dumbest of things in this world, but in doing so, a hard lesson was learned and one I am thankful to have learned.
That lesson? Well it’s one pretty much all of us in this world have heard before, that money can’t buy happiness. Regrettably, it took me spending all of my father’s money and most of the money my mother left me when she died years later to figure that lesson out. Most alcoholics and addicts, and maybe even people in general in this world, don’t ever get to learn this lesson though, because they constantly remain on the chase for money their entire life, never having enough to realize the truth.
Thankfully, this recovering addict did and I spent that vast majority of my parent’s money left to me to learn that not only does money not buy happiness, but that there also isn’t any person, place, or thing I need to ever chase after, that much of my addiction-fueled life once did with incredible regularity, that can ever fix any of the brokenness within me.
The only thing that can ever fix any brokenness within me is me under the guidance of the Higher Power I seek to follow, whom I choose to call God these days. While I may not be a millionaire now who invested wisely in Amazon stock when it first went public, and while I may be exactly the opposite of that now on some level financially from what I could have been if I had invested wisely from the start, I feel pretty priceless because of one thing I do have.
It isn’t what money ever brought me and it’s not something that investments ever gave me. Rather, it’s something that was only ever able to be cultivated within me once I stopped looking outside of myself in dollars and cents for the answers to all my emptiness. What makes me feel priceless is the unconditional love that is emanating from my heart more and more every day now, for both myself and others, as that is something I never had when I was an active alcoholic and addict blowing through money like it was going out of style, when Amazon was first going public…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson