Happy New Year! Here we are again, on the cusp of another new era – the next chapter of our lives ready to unfold with each passing day. I’d like to thank you all for being here with me on this journey – this dissection of days passed wherein I’ve mined both miserable and joyous experiences for anecdotes that I hope can be helpful for others. I want to share with you that this practice has been remarkably therapeutic for me over the years. Taking a hard look at the record isn’t always an easy task, but its benefits have far outweighed the sadness that self-reflection can sometimes carry (not to mention widespread publication of some of my worst days and tendencies). The gifts of imperfection are not to be lamented though. The dark days I’ve walked through, the storms that I never thought would pass have enlightened me to thankful, grateful, and spiritual living in a way I don’t believe I’d have embraced without them. Thank you, again, for being here with me through it and allowing me the opportunity to be of service.

On January 5, 2014 I entered a treatment program for the last time. I didn’t know it then but the journey I was embarking on would open my eyes to an entirely new design for living. All my past miserable experiences would culminate into a newfound attitude of open-mindedness, willingness, and a small shred of hope that I could be free of the disease of addiction, one day at a time. I remember distinctly how much, in those early days, it helped me for others in recovery to share with me their stories. It gave me the impression that this wasn’t necessarily an insurmountable obstacle that I’d have to overcome, but something that with effort, time and dedication, I too could experience – freedom from the chains that had bound me for so long.

That, to me, is the integral piece and lynchpin of our respective support programs – that of the ongoing members’ willingness to become vulnerable with others and share their experience (warts and all), so that the newcomers amongst us can identify in real time that they, too, can have healing despite how far down the scale they may have gone. Through our histories of pain and anguish we can identify with similar individuals where others may have failed.

I learned long ago that dwelling in regret would not serve me, or others, in any real capacity. Our usefulness to others is diminished when our minds are poisoned by intense focus on our past shortcomings and faults. I learned through recovery that we are afforded a clean slate on a daily basis, and that we don’t have to swallow a whole year’s worth of goals in one fell swoop. On any given day, at any given time we have the ability to start anew with a fresh perspective and attitude.

That is my hope, and prayer for us this year – that we retain our willingness to be open and vulnerable. That we continue to carry these traditions and stories of redemption and strength through pain to others in need. That we no longer view these past mistakes or transgressions as an embarrassment, or bad memory, meant to be hidden away, but as unique opportunities to assist others as they embark on new journeys of restoration, faith, and healing –  just as others did for us, enabling our own new beginnings and sustaining the cycle of healing.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

All the love,

Sean – In recovery

You can read, comment and ask questions for Sean to address in his blog on the PAL website, home page – www.Palgroup.org