Six years ago, I had my last drink. I was in the Minneapolis airport in active withdrawal on my way to Nashville to check into treatment one last time. This “one last drink” approach had an oddly satisfying, familiar feeling to it – it always offered me the comfort of perceived control.
However, this time it felt different. The reflection looking back from that glass of beer was a broken human. I had finally surrendered.
Here I was – again. I was checking into my 7th treatment center.
It had been less than 24 hours since my last drink. I was still in active alcohol withdrawal and suicidal. I sat across from the intake counselor as tears rolled down my face and cried, “I’m done. I will do whatever it takes. Whatever you tell me to do.”
I had made similar declarations during my intake at the previous six treatment centers I attended. The suggestion given to me in reply was simple… Almost too simple…”I want you to hit your knees and pray before you go to bed tonight.” The suggestion appeared to offer such a lack of context to what I was experiencing – another confirmation “that nobody understood what I am going through.” I rolled my tear-filled eyes at the suggestion – Rolling my eyes at a simple suggestion was the hallmark example of my attitude and approach towards recovery.
But, ultimately, I took the suggestion.
Learning how to roll my eyes and f**king doing it anyway was a skill set that I had to develop to achieve what needed to come next. I don’t have to understand the suggestion. I don’t have to agree with the suggestion. I don’t have to believe the suggestion will work. But I MUST DO IT.
That’s the humbling piece I was blind to.
It’s the contradiction trap I often find myself in. I want to grow and change, and I “know” that growth and change require discomfort; yet, I try and try to find a way to achieve growth and change while remaining comfortable. I find this is impossible, and I make myself the victim – “I want,” “I know,” “I try,” “I find,” and “I make” – this attitude was a product of my ego.
“Just one thing keeps ego around – comfort.” – Ryan Holiday.
My ego scoffs at suggestions and is constantly seeking comfort and familiarity. The best way I have found to take my ego out of the equation is to take guidance from OTHERS – regardless of the outcome of the suggestion, I am practicing humility.
There is an expression used by Nietzsche & Stoic Philosophy – ‘Amor Fati’ – which loosely translates to ‘Love of Fate.’ It’s an attitude reframe: treating each moment – no matter how challenging – as something to be embraced, not avoided. To not only be okay with it but love it and be better for it. Everything is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Today, I am grateful for all the past experiences – they were all necessary for me to get to where I am today…Married, Stepfather, Career working in Substance Abuse, healthy relationship with friends and family, inner peace, a new perspective, and being part of a large community.
From the JourneyPure team where we get to explore a wide variety of substance abuse- and mental health-related topics. With years of experience working alongside those suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues, we bring important messages with unparalleled knowledge of addiction, mental health problems, and the issues they cause.