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  • Writer's pictureSweta Patel

Indian Mike's Harsh Words of Wisdom Can Make Us All Think Twice

Rory speaks. Sweta writes. How one addict's story raises questions for reflection for any one of us.

Rory shares about one of his sponsors, Indian Mike


One Thanksgiving when Rory was feeling alone around the holidays, he called up his sponsor, baring it all and trying to bond with him. There was a long pause on the other end. Then Indian Mike finally barked out, "You know, Rory, if you weren't thinking about yourself so much, maybe things wouldn't be so bad. And if you're looking for sympathy, go find someone else because I've used all mine up on myself." And he hung up.

Indian Mike quickly became one of my favorite 'characters' from Rory's life. He made him think twice. In fact, each time Rory would share one of Indian Mike's harsh wisdom, I'd only catch the true meaning of the words after I sat with them for sometime.

Nowadays, whenever I catch myself falling through the rabbit hole of negative thinking, I imagine Indian Mike barking back at me: You worried the event you're planning at work won't go the way you planned? You worried people aren't going to like the book you wrote? Your kid's throwing the biggest tantrum and you're feeling sorry for yourself, thinking you're doing everything wrong? Well, you know, Sweta, if you weren't thinking about yourself so much, maybe things wouldn't be so bad.

And his words jar me out of my downward spiral every. single. time. They hold layers of meaning:

  1. I'm spending too much time in my own head. Instead, I could be acting and moving forward, even if it means failing forward.

  2. I'm spending too much time thinking about myself when I could be engaging with others. And each time I do, whether it's helping, chit chatting, laughing, or playing pickleball with others, life moves back into perspective and my problems become small or manageable.

  3. I'm spending too much thinking about myself when I should really remember that how others choose to act is not always about me. I can help them work through whatever's under the surface without personalizing it.


For All of Us: Take in Indian Mike's advice to Rory along his recovery journey. Where can it apply in your own life?

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