“I shall be telling this with a sigh. Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
I recently left a job I had held for seven years of my adult life. In a way, it was where I grew up, learned how to conduct myself as a professional and essentially where I re-started my life in sobriety. So many cherished memories were created during my tenure there, and I will forever look back on those times fondly as the place where my new beginning became a reality.
The decision to move on didn’t come easily. Sleepless nights, anxiety, and uncertainty were the order of the day. I had become very comfortable in the workspace I was operating in; schedule was dialed into a T – so much so that several of my job functions ran on autopilot. I knew where I needed to be and what I needed to be doing at any given time. With a new baby on the way, the rising cost of living in the world today, and a sincere desire to expand my skills professionally, I knew in my heart that a big change was ultimately necessary.
Changes. New Experiences. Personal growth. These things typically don’t come easily. As I sit here reflecting – as I exist in this transitionary season of my life – I’m reminded of how much struggle I felt burdened with in my early recovery. I remember the pain I felt in letting go of stasis – despite how miserable it had become. As humans, we become accustomed to our situations – comfortable even – even when they may not be optimal to our own forward movement and growth as individuals.
In those days, darkness was the norm. Pain was equitable with daily living. Trapped in the vicious cycle of drug dependence made some form of twisted sense in my mind; the instantaneous relief I found in substances was paramount to any other directive I could bear to conjure in my psyche. I became very familiar with the basic necessities of what I needed to do to maintain the status quo there. And I sat in it.
I had to learn how to get comfortable, with being uncomfortable. I remember several individuals in my early days reminding me of this principle; that dramatic, tangible growth as a person was not guaranteed to come easy. With the help of others, professionals, members of the 12-step community, and mentors – I was able to eventually see those changes through. To take suggestions. To learn new ways of living. To learn how to take care of myself and feed the mind, body, and spirit in simple, practical, and efficient ways. I learned how to truly persevere through hardship, challenge, and to “go with the flow” of life’s peaks and valleys that we all are wont to come up against.
It puts this next new beginning into perspective. It reminds me of all the principles I learned early on, and how to apply them here with the same fervor and dedication in which I utilized them in early recovery. That’s what I love so much about recovery; the applications to any given “challenging” situation we may come across in our journeys are endless.
Maybe you are living in one of those times too today. Maybe it’s become increasingly easy to accept your current situation with a relationship or difficult situation – maybe the courage to try something new just isn’t at the forefront of your mind as much as you wish it could be. That’s certainly where I found myself in the midst of this major career change. But in reflection – in leaning on trusted members of my recovery circle – in taking their wisdom and insight to heart – and through leaning on God through prayer and meditation, just like I learned to all those years ago in the beginning – I’ve been reminded of how truly fruitful, beneficial, and affirming dramatic, sweeping change can be.
I look forward to the future. I look forward to seeing what new adventures await us. Though we may be surrounded by calamity or uncertainty, it is in holding these principles in our hearts and minds that allows us to carry on – adapt – overcome – endure – and thrive. It isn’t always going to be easy, but I truly believe it’s always going to be worth it in the end. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and step outside your comfort zone. That’s what I’m reminding myself today.
With 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