Momentum and mediocrity – where does my success lie?
Jeff told me a while back he believes I have this thing beat. I’m not so sure – and here’s why. My life as it was, came to a crashing end. I made it all public, in January, ostensibly because I knew my secret double life was no secret – everybody knew I’d lost my job because of drugs. Everyone knew I’d lied; it was pointless to continue the lies.
Public confession is catharsis. Obviously. But let me break it down some more – you expect to become pariah, to be outcast, to be hated for the lies, and sure, there was some measure of anger and disappointment and the ending of relationships as a result of my confessions, but these would have happened whether I’d confessed publicly or privately, in person, to these people. The sins I’d committed were bigger than what was left of any friendship we’d had between us.
The catharsis is not just the getting it out there, it’s also me saying to the world “I stuffed up. I’m sorry, and to prove it, I’m going to leave that damage behind, and rebuild my life” The catharsis is that now I’ve put that out there, the ties that bind me down to NOT achieving that are suddenly snapped, cut, broken – because the catharsis is two-way: I confess, and leave the damage behind as I move forward and heal; and my friends and family leave behind their anger, their disappointment and move forward into our shared future, together, where we both can heal the relationship between us.
It’s been 78 days since I reached rock bottom, and 40 days officially clean.
The sensationalism of my story and the support I’ve received in the form of messages of support, as emails and responses to status updates has been overwhelming – and I truly mean that: at one stage I considered posting a blog entry that clearly delineated my attempt to heal myself, as something separate from the strength that a number of people were taking from my story, in their own personal journey of healing. The responsibility of succeeding so that other people could take their own healing from my story began to blur the goal, the aim of this journey. First, I must save myself, then I look to helping others save themselves. For a while, it felt like I was duty-bound to save all these other people. How could I, when I’d proved so inept at being able to take care of myself?
That’s why I’m not sure I have this thing beat – yet! I’m on the way, but still, I need to keep clear in my mind WHY I am here, at this point, WHY I am healing and then all the subsequent who/what/where and how questions that follow. Like who am I, after 18 years of addiction? Where did it all go wrong? What must I do, to effectively beat this thing, as Jeff says I’ve done. How do I know, when I get there?
Through talking this out, I decided NOT to post that blog, and possibly push some people away. I DO have a terrible responsibility – to MYSELF. That is to heal, to be honest, to stay the course and make a success of the healing, to beat the addiction, to honour and respect the past, for it is powerful – more powerful than I am, alone. I have a responsibility to everyone else, to honour that responsibility to myself.
I’ve set a goal, of writing a book, telling my story. I need to refine the point of that book, because in conjunction with that goal, I have set the goal of buying my dream home. So my success has become blurred, with the thought of how I am going to pay for that R10-million home. Success has become that most shallow thing: a material destination. THAT will not be my success, it cannot be. It never will be – but it WILL be my reward!
Some points in the various courses and meetings I read and attend speak about the material concerns of life. These are not things to feel guilty about, and poverty and a meagre existence, materially, are not the acts of attrition that will give absolution. Financial worries are things that as addicts we will also strive to change, therefore financial success is on the cards too, when you set your mind to it. And I have.
But it’s important to get things down in the right order, first – the on-going success of healing, then the successes and rewards that will follow, built on this too, too solid foundation. I say that, because if I am successful, if I am honest and sincere and humble, if it is not about personality, but about the person, then a R10-million home is not a dream, but a reality, and not a selfish one, but one of shared abundance. I will share my story, and share my healing, and the Universe will share its generosity and its abundance and its wealth, with me and my family.
And I too must share the Universe with others, and must accept that I won’t be the flavour of the day forever. Obviously. Soon my story will be old news, the flood of messages may become a trickle. THAT is when another test will come, when more challenges will arise: in the quiet times that will follow, the true test of my success will be to see that quietude as peace, not mediocrity, and to know that as ever, not only is everyone still watching, but I am still watching myself. Where in years before I watched myself to see how I could justify taking more drugs, how I could manipulate more money and drugs out of friends, family and dealers, now I will be watching for just those same traits, but not to take advantage of them, but to understand them, disarm them, make them less powerful and more infrequent.
Success, then, is one thing for me, and another for you, who are reading this. Success is not a list of the material contents of your life. Success is not a destination – or rather, it is not only a destination, it is the journey to a destination – a point where you can look about you, and feel peace, contentment, love.
THAT will be my success.
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