As another year comes to an end and a new year begins, I am full of resolve to change what needs to be changed. And change always seems to come with discomfort. I’ve always wondered why staying in misery or pain seems easier then pushing forward into the unknown.
I have thoughts of fear and self-doubt. Sometimes I think that I’m not enough of whatever it is I need to be. I wonder, “Will I be loved?” It’s interesting to note the power that fear has and what great power the words we tell ourselves have. We have all said them or heard someone else say them. “I’m stupid, I’m fat, I’m a crack head, I’m a chronic relapser.” And if we say it enough, we start to live it and that cycle goes on and on. The words we assign to ourselves we become and the words we assign to our experiences, they become in our memories.
I remember going to dinner with some friends, not long ago, and later discussing that night with one of my friends. He joyfully said what a great time we had chatting with everyone, and I replied with my thoughts about how bad the service and food were. Right then, right there, I saw it. The same event can be seen so differently. This year I will assign words to my life that are based in joy and words to myself that are based in respect.
Thinking about the new vision I have for this year, I realize I would not have been able to even begin if I hadn’t got crystal out of my life. I would have never slowed down enough to think of who I am, or who I want to become. I would never have the chance to feel the joy that progress brings. The only thing Tina and that pipe wanted for me was another pipe load—a hollowness that couldn’t look at itself.
Change didn’t come easy. It was very uncomfortable. I was full of fear. Frankly, I did not think I could make it out of that life. But those words I heard early on, “one day at a time, nothing changes until I change,” made some sort of sense to me deep inside and slowly those days and those painful changes started to take hold and I was free. It was work, but looking back at it now, it was joyful work. Friends, this year, let’s all change what needs to be changed. From great pain comes great change. From progress and giving to others comes an even greater joy. May the year ahead bring you freedom, love and joy!
If you need help making a change and getting crystal out of your life, here are some resources that can help.
Alcoholics Anonymous: (323) 936-4343
Crystal Meth Anonymous: (213) 488-4455
Friends Getting Off: (323) 463-7001
Tarzana treatment Center: (800) 996-1051
Sam Phillips is a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Level II, and a Counselor at Friends Community Center.