Defining the value of anything can be difficult. As often as we are a “black or white” people, value becomes an uncomfortable grey area. I cannot place a value on recovery because it is a precious gift that I cannot survive without. I cannot place a value on friendships because they are priceless. I cannot place value on my time because there just isn’t enough of it…
As I sit here, full of fear regarding my future, I have to evaluate what I value and do not. I also have to look at what is hurtful, helpful and encouraging. This quarter of school, this span of recovery, this fragment of life is fragile. I have never been sober this long and most of the time, I have no idea what I am doing. The last 865 days have been so filled with ups, downs, and wandering sideways that I don’t always know which way is up. In the process of trying to navigate this recovery life, with the help of my sponsor, friends and family, I continually find myself searching for my value.
My belief is that our value comes from within and from our higher power. If I continue to seek God’s will, He will show me the right course of action to take, allowing me to not only see, but feel my worth. Like a great drug that tears at your soul, when we find ourselves seeking validation and merit at the hands of anyone but our God, we may find a brief moment of peace, inevitably followed by an abounding sense of inadequacy. So, why is it that we spend so much time putting the value of ourselves into the hands of others? Why do we cause our own internal torture? Most importantly, how do we fix it?
As I look back over time, whether it be my time in recovery or my time in active addiction… hell, even my time before this disease took over, I have almost always been a follower. Seeking to find where I might fit in, searching for a clique that will accept me for who I think they want me to be. With that comes a facade of masks, determining who I will be based upon who I am around. At nearly 32 years of age, the masks are finally being washed away, one by one, until the truth of my soul is revealed.
Part of the exploration of self has been driven by these cliques. In finding friends who let me scream, cry, celebrate, love and embrace this life, I am finding me. And that evolves. Walking into the recovery world, I didn’t have any sense of who I was. The close friends I have now are completely different than that of when I first moved back here four years ago. Those people, the friends from the beginning, are still in my life, just in a different capacity. And it seems to shift often. It makes me wonder, is this normal or is this just a part of self exploration? Am I supposed to have friends for life, or does it change as life changes? I think it’s supposed to evolve and change as we grow and change.
The interests I had even a year ago are different than what I have today. As a full time college student, my schedule is busy. I have a goal to finish this degree and I am determined to reach that goal, even if it kills me (and this quarter may just do that). Working full time in the recovery world demands a search for personal motivation. It can be easy to forget about my own recovery or become overwhelmed with “the recovery world” when I live and breathe it every day. With a new-found determination to live healthier, I spend hours in the gym. Mapping out time every day for my personal health has proven to be a stressful necessity. And then there are my friends, I think I still have those. My heart breaks as I watch their worlds go on without me as I study, spend time at the gym or go to meetings…
All of these things require balance and I’m no good at that. As I’ve found myself running from here to there and everywhere in between, I’ve neglected some of the most important aspects of life. I have to remember that I cannot do everything and I cannot do it all at once. The guilt that accompanies missing any activity, work out or family time brings me to my knees…. asking God to show me what He will have me do today, because my thinker is broken and I want to do it all. As I fear the loss of friendships, the loss of valuable time with the people I love, I fear the loss of myself too. I have to seek my own value, my own worth and my own commitments. And it’s painful.
So, as I mourn the loss of some aspects of my life, I fill my heart with gratitude for what I do have. I remind myself that there are people out there who would be grateful to have one of my bad days. There are people struggling to find work, a roof over their heads or even something to eat. I am a very lucky woman to be able to pursue my dreams. I am grateful that I can see my value no longer comes from others, but from my God and from my heart. And even with the pain that accompanies these shifts in my perception, I am grateful to be able to feel it today. Find the value of you, based on who you are, who you want to be and who God has called you to become…. In the end, we can’t take anything with us, but our richness will come from within and pour out onto others as we bless each others journeys, for a lifetime or even just a moment.