Sunday, August 7, 2011

Change Is Hard ... Because it's Different

I am completely blank tonight. I knew I would have a few of these days in the course of writing every day for a month, so it's not really a shock. I'm not sure I've ever written seven consecutive days in my life. It feels almost unnatural. It's like when someone will say to me, “I can't believe I've been sober x number of years and there are still days I think about using.” Bitch, you're a drug addict. It's a miracle there are days when you DON'T want to use.

Those things aren't exactly analogous, but my point is that behavior change is exactly that – change. We rarely start doing things differently by accident. Even if I do randomly do something differently one day, chances are if I don't make a very conscious effort, I'll be back to doing it the old way the very next day. And even when I've made a conscious decision to change and think I'm working at it, old behaviors slip in and I get frustrated. I can very easily lose faith in my ability to persevere.

That's why even as I approach four years sober, I stick really close to 12-step meetings and other sober people. For one thing, it's just easier to do the right thing when you know people will notice if you don't. But more importantly, I truly draw inspiration from watching people walk into those rooms totally broken and become completely restored. Often, they aren't just restored but become far more than they were or ever thought they could be. It's really a textbook example of AWESOME.

I'm particularly moved when it happens to people who have been trying for a long time to change, but have struggled with making it stick. There are few guarantees in life and far fewer in the struggle to recover from addiction, but there's often a subtle shift in the way someone walks and talks and listens (and several other small things) when he's finally been able to get out of his own way and just trust the process. And it's a beautiful thing to watch.

I told my friend (I told him I don't use real names on the blog so he said I should refer to him as Italian Hottie – which he totally is) that I'd give him a shout out tonight. So, Italian Hottie this post is dedicated entirely to you. It's an honor to get to see you change and grow. I may have used my snarky voice tonight when I told you you inspire me, but the sentiment is 100% sincere. Thanks for showing me (again) how this works.

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