Life After Rehab:
Step 1: Leave the rehab facility
Step 2: Face the beautiful uncertainty
Step 3: Enjoy it
When I left Aurora in October of last year, I felt overwhelmed. The farther I travelled from Aurora, the more the tightness in my body increased. I tried to pretend that it was OK. I thought pretending would keep the darkness away.
Life After Rehab: Normal Feelings
But as I approached my new home in a new city, something interesting happened. Calmness overcame me. The frantic clutter retreated and the vibrating frustrations eased. My emotions stepped aside and allowed the universal energy to warm me. I felt a certain peace, a soft joy and weightless freedom descend upon me like a warm blanket. Were the purveyors of knowledge correct? Do things get better? So far they were.
For this brief moment called ‘now,’ my vulnerability, mindfulness and awareness of my surroundings became my warriors and my pillars of success. I was aware of my inherent naivety, which had led to my complacency in the past. I was quick to appreciate the fact that all things in the world—including my state of mind and my state of being—would change, shift and morph. I knew I might not feel as comfortable in five seconds, five minutes or five days. And that was ok. I learned that I would feel sadness, loneliness, anger, happiness, elation and failure. I know now that this is normal; it’s called being human, and it’s awesome. My feelings are neither closed nor open doors. Rather, they are waves of my existence. They are normal feelings that everyone experiences. I am not unique, and this too is OK.
Life After Rehab: I Am Safe. I Have My Community.
Initially, I felt I was leaving a bubble of safety when I left the serenity of Aurora. I soon realized that I had shrink-wrapped the bubble of wisdom, knowledge, care and courage around me. I was a safe place, and I was mobile. I realized that I wasn’t leaving the unity, teamwork, and friendship I had encountered at Aurora behind either. The friends I had in my fellow members had also taken their personal auras of wellbriety and ventured out into society. They were just a phone call and a footstep away. I wasn’t alone. I would never be alone if I continued to be honest with myself and know that sometimes, I would need a shoulder to lean on and a hand of trust to gently guide me.
I realized that even when I was alone, I wasn’t necessarily lonely. I felt the presence of a higher power as I understood it. It was surrounding me and allowing me to let go of worry. It was allowing me to delete the burden of the world. It was allowing me to live with faith and confidence. Good things and bad things have put me on the right path—a path called now. Experiencing these feelings has made me excited, adventurous, thoughtful and safe. It is OK. I can sit with sadness or loneliness just as easily as I can hang out with happiness and fulfillment.
I Am Progress, Not Perfection
I wondered what was the matter with me. Did I really deserve to feel so free? Why and how did I gain these offerings and this new life? Then I realized it didn’t matter. I don’t always need an answer. I can just let go and do what’s next, knowing that I have a purpose and that my state of powerlessness actually makes me powerful. The beautiful uncertainty I face is exactly that: beautiful. For that, I am grateful.
What will tomorrow bring? I know this for sure: the sun will rise with or without me. So, I will rise with it. I know to a high degree that I will run the gamut of emotions throughout my next 24 hours. Knowing this, I can enter tomorrow without apprehension. Within the up and down curve of life, I can walk a humble line trending upward, knowing that I am progress, not perfection.
Fear only has as much power as you will it to. Feed the other wolf. Live honestly, respectfully and with patience. Live now, do what’s next and open your mind and spirit. Your presence will part the clouds of self-doubt and clear the skies to a beautiful destination of inner satisfaction.
Reach inward. Reach outward. Reach upwards.