One of the coldest realities I have ever encountered was very early after getting out of treatment. It was actually the second day I was home. I got a call telling me that an ex-girlfriend of mine had died of a heroin overdose. It took me right to the moment when I heard someone say that "I would have to step over bodies to stay clean." I remember thinking, "damn, that's some cold shit!" There has never been a more accurate statement about recovery. Well, at least my recovery anyway; I can't even tell you the number of people that have passed since I have gotten sober. However, whatever it is, it's too damn many.
For those of you that don't know, I lost my sister to an overdose in December of 2020. Needless to say, this rocked me to the core; it shook my recovery foundation and almost crushed me inside. I completely lost myself in grief. It doesn't matter that I always knew that I would bury her; it didn't make it any less devastating. It almost took me too; I guess, in a way, it did. I haven't been the same since, nor will I ever be. In her death, she gave me the gift of life. I had to fight my biggest fight ever, and honestly, I had no idea it was even going on. Imagine waking up one day on a battlefield and having no idea how the hell you got there. I'm standing there cold and tired; I could feel the exhaustion, just wanting to just lay down and say those two words. Those words that have always destroyed me in the past. FUCK IT!!!
Fuck it, these words have changed my life! I have been broken down so far that it took everything I had just to learn to crawl again. I don't know about you, but I didn't walk out of hell; I crawled on my knees. What I mean is this, I had to start all over. The way I was living or existing wasn't working. If I wanted a different result, that meant I was going to have to change everything. What would happen if I applied old ideas and behaviors to new principles? Very simply, nothing would change. One of my favorite things to tell those I am working with is, "If nothing changes, nothing changes!"
When I first heard Richard tell me that I was going to have to step over bodies, I thought he meant just the dead. Who knows, maybe he did; however, it applies more so to the living. Not everyone is meant to be on this journey with you forever. Most of the bodies I've stepped over on my recovery journey have been people standing in my way. One of the reasons growth is so uncomfortable is that you do it alone. Your growth, it's yours. It doesn't matter if someone was present during this growth; whatever lesson you learned was meant for you. How you grow and what you do with that growth is entirely up to us as individuals. How many lessons did I learn and ignore because I wasn't ready to stop whatever was destroying me? How many times did I touch that hot stove? More than I can count, and that's the norm for most people struggling in their life. We understand the lesson; however, it's easier to stay than to face the unknown. Job sucks, but it's a paycheck; the relationship has been over for how long? Yet we stay. It all goes back to the best question of all time: "How free do you want to be?" Don't be afraid to crawl; it's going to be different this time!