Whether something I am endeavoring to see to its end is a failure or a success I know that I have succeeded in my commitment to the venture. Not the success when everyone gets a trophy for having shown up to all the practices, once with the orange wedges, or receiving the over-patronizing verbal pat-on-the-back for having done something that truly is, or should be, expected of someone as the most basic of functions for participating in life. The kind of success I am referring to is overcoming self-limiting beliefs to pick a path, take action and fail as often as it takes to realize the positive outcomes for those actions; all the while learning not only from the mistakes but about myself; how I tick, what I am made of, when I am coming up short and what direction to take to improve as a person. The commitment to the process is the key to my success.
Take this blog for an example. A measurement for success would probably be hundreds of views, dozens of comments and scores of followers. Conversely, few views, fewer comments and nary a follower could be seen as this project having failed. However, it is my commitment to the process of fully disclosing the challenges, the trials of living a life in recovery with hopes to reach someone who needs to read it that rates this action of communication as a success.
There was a darkness that impaired my ability to see how much I hurt myself, how much I hurt the people around me while living a life of substance abuse. It truly was a life that was built around substance abuse. Fear is at the core of my matter. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of being ostracized. Fear of not fitting in. Fear of what I am, what I want, what I think I am supposed to be. The cruelest of ironies is that I abused whatever substances I could get my hands on (alcohol was my go-to on any day) to avoid my fears, to hide from them, but the abuse of substances and more importantly the mishandling of my self-limiting beliefs exacerbated the problem. It is a frightful, truly frightful, cycle in which to be caught; running to alcohol to remove my self-limiting beliefs only to find that those fears, those beliefs simply remained and in fact grew worse with time. This led to greater abuse of more substances which of course led to an even more fragile mental and emotional being and so on.
It was my decision to exact change, to shift my life to seek a new direction that allowed me to find freedom from alcoholism. Sobriety came at a great cost in more than a few ways but my commitment to the process is what allows me to be a success. Commitment wasn’t easy for me to muster. There seemingly are countless instances over the past year and a half of my sobriety that I have wanted to run and hide, that I have felt myself shrinking away from simply an idea, that self-limiting beliefs, fears have crept into my head reminding me that confidence in myself is not innate. With great effort, not in pushing fears down, but in embracing them, recognizing them and understanding why I have them I find my strength to fail forward. To commit. To succeed.
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