I look back over my time in recovery and I can see that I’ve changed. I am not the same person, thankfully, that walked into a meeting room seven years ago. If I continue to follow the program, then I will be a different person in another seven years. If I want to grow I have to change. If I am going to change I have to be willing to let go of the old me and trust my Higher Power’s plan for the new me.
“Every next level of your life will require a different you.” Leonardo Dicaprio
This, for me, is the essence of Steps Six and Seven. A willingness to let go of character traits that made me and an acceptance of who I am becoming. It is taking the next step toward life and embracing changes. Everyone in recovery can look back at their lives and be amazed at how they have changed. This change can continue if we allow it but it means a continued willingness to let go of who I am. If a ship changes course only one degree, it won’t be far off its original course the next day. But as time goes on, that course it is further and further from where if might have otherwise been.
When I arrive at a meeting room, I was on course for cell, a sanitorium or cemetery. I know that because I saw it happen to others around me. I know that I am no different than they were, except that I made the slight course correction. Seven years later I am far away from the iceberg I was heading toward. And, as a result, I am a different person from who I would otherwise be.
The changes and course corrections are still happening as a result of the program. I am enjoying my journey and I am continuing to change. As I continue to live the program of the Twelve Steps, I am continuing to grow and correct my course. I like who I am today. I like the changes that I have experienced in recovery. However, I want to continue to grow and to do that I have to let go of who I was yesterday to be a new person today. Letting go of the old me isn’t easy. It means expanding my comfort zone yet again.
The results of who I will become in the next iteration of me can be just as dramatic as the change between who I was seven years ago and today. I trust the process and so I look forward to whatever might come my way.
Step aside Tim, there’s a new you working its way down the production line!
I was trolling through the internet, looking for a theme to blog about, when I came across this picture on Facebook:
It really caught my eye and got me to thinking. Life will always have its ups and down. There will always be things that I absolutely love as well as those things that I would prefer not to happen. I will triumph one day and the next I may want to bury my head in the sand. Regardless of what is happening I can celebrate it. Acknowledge it and honour it and be grateful for it.
In going over my past with a fine tooth comb I was able to see that the people, the events and the situations of my past have all led me to where I am today. Those great moments as well as my worst moments all contributed in the making of the “me” I am today. I am a work in progress that will never be perfect or ideal. So whatever is going on around me today is just as important in making the ever evolving “Tim” as the people, places and things of the past. I can celebrate today’s challenges and successes because they indicate that I am moving, changing, growing. They push me to become a better human being. All I have to do is be willing to take the next step.
You don’t have to have a party to celebrate. Party hats and cakes aren’t necessary. Just a quiet internal moment of gratitude, acknowledgement, and honouring of each moment of time. It’s being mindful of the present. Life is short and changeable. Now is what I have. I can celebrate my screw-ups as well accomplishments.
I live. I learn. I grow. I celebrate!
I am grateful
A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown. -Denis Waitley
Dream! Plan! See a future that you want for yourself! What are your hopes and aspirations? What are your goals? Where would you like to see yourself in five years? Ten years?
What? You don’t see it as possible? Then you haven’t looked around you. Miracles happen, wishes come true and dreams are realized because people make them. I sit in a room full of people who had no dreams and little hope and here they are clean and sober and living lives beyond their wildest imagination. I can read online everyday success stories of people who came out of abject poverty and yet created a completely new world for themselves. The skyscraper you see glittering in the sun or the castle overlooking the valley were once dreams in the minds of their creators that have now been realized.
Not possible for you? Then you don’t know the process for fulfilling a dream. As addicts and alcoholics we spent hours solving the problems of the world and sharing with everyone who had the patience to hear what we might have done and what we were going to do. Unfortunately we never picked ourselves out of the gutter or got off of the barstools to make those ideas come true. We came back to the same place day after day and said the same things over and over again. If we do thing same things we get the same results. No one has ever married the person of their dreams, bought a house on a tropical island, written a book or fulfilled any dream by sitting on the barstool. You have to step away from what is and walk towards what can be.
Fulfilling a dream takes work. It takes patience. It takes humility. People often tell me that they wish they could live in the rainforest near the ocean as I do. I tell them that they can do so if they want to. “It’s not impossible.” They reply that they can’t, they have a job and family and a mortgage. What they are really saying is that they don’t want to risk a change of what they have to get what they want. They might like the idea of stepping out of their comfort zone, but they really don’t want to make the necessary changes. They don’t want to do the work needed or the time to do it so it’s all really just pie in the sky. What they are really dreaming about is finding a genie in a bottle or a visit from their fairy godmother.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Chinese proverb.
I’ve learned in my program of recovery to enjoy the moment, live in the present and trust the process. And I can still dream. I am learning not to live in the future, rather work toward it. If I want a sober and clean life it begins one day at a time and gradually the days begin to add up. At first it’s difficult. It’s change from the norm and out of my comfort zone. With the Twelve Steps, it gets easier. I have to do the work. My dreams are the same. I have to work at them. I have to take that first step toward them today and another step tomorrow. And it all starts by stepping off the stool.