So, friends, it has been 11 months since I almost drowned in the Cayman Islands due to an asthma attack. My life has changed in many ways since that day last June. Some of the effects of that experience have been obvious and profound, while others have been subtle yet now, indispensable.
I now have an immense appreciation for the fact that time is moving faster now. At 20 my whole future lay ahead and it seemed like there would be time for everything. Now the future doesn’t seem as distant, and the end seems far more familiar than the beginning. There isn’t time to put off opportunities anymore. All of a sudden, they carry so much more weight now, and cannot be brushed aside as easily as they were in the past.
People. For any human being including so-called “normal” folks, interacting with people and deriving satisfaction, even pleasure from this activity is a chance taken at best and underwhelming at worst. For those in recovery, it can be downright invigorating at best and perilous at worst. For us, there is always the nagging doubt of “Did I handle that correctly? Was I too (insert favorite adjective here)? Was I (again, insert favorite adjective here) enough?” For me, this is still the case but with a bit of a twist.
I am even more particular about the company I keep now. I am incredibly discerning about who I invite into my home. These behaviors are not born of any snootiness or aloofness. I will not spend a moment with those I have no desire to be around doing what I don’t want to do. Doing so is wasting one’s self, as well as being dishonest with ourselves about who we are. Of course, there will be certain social situations where it is indeed necessary to participate in exactly these practices. Barring this, however, I will not indulge in these behaviors.
“Life is too short to casually discard a single moment.”
In my mind now, in its deepest recesses, I brutally bottom-line everything and everyone. I do my best to get along with people but I do not need to be liked by everyone. I do hope to earn respect, but seeking friendship with those who really don’t have my best interests at heart is not on the menu.
Trying to be better than I was yesterday has taken on a renewed sense of urgency and appreciation for gains made. There are days when I come up short. I apologize when I think I need to, and I stand up for myself when I don’t.
I am more conscious of my worth now and I will not be shortchanged. Most will see this as being about money. There are things that are just as valuable as money. Do those I work for appreciate my efforts? Do they respect my perspectives? Am I just part of their agenda, to be brushed aside when I am no longer needed or am I a respected, integral member of a team?
In mid-September last year I left a job I loved. I really enjoyed the relationship I had with the person I worked with most closely. We still today have immense respect for each others’ abilities. I am ever thankful for the opportunities that those who own and operate the entity I worked at for six years afforded me. My work has been viewed by thousands of people including the professionals that I interacted with daily. In a lot of ways, it was my dream job. Even dream jobs require us to move on at some point though.
I am currently working a new position at a small, local firm. I learn new things and I am acquiring mad skills every day. The powers that be appreciate my dedication, motivation, and desire to learn. They also appreciate my efforts on their behalf and the pride I show in what I do. They trust my judgment. I am enjoying the position considerably.
Since beginning the new position, my increased happiness and self-satisfaction have become apparent those closest to me, and they have told me that I am more seem to be happier and less stressed out.
A lot of truths have become apparent to me over the past 11 months…
Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Words to live by, and these days, I do just that.
“Sobriety comes first.”
Yes, it does. Always. That always begins with “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (drugs, sex, gambling, eating, smoking; whatever our addictions might be!) – that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Don’t waste a single minute of each day I get – tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Remember that The 12 Steps can be reduced to 3:
Trust God (or whatever YOUR higher power is)
Begin anew each day and live my best life.