A few weeks ago I began to feel a heaviness in my chest. I attributed it to many things: covid numbers on the rise, the days getting shorter, an impending contentious election. None of these, it turns out, were the root cause. I can no longer chalk this feeling up to the political uncertainty of our country. I realized, however, I had experienced this feeling before. Almost three years ago I wrote a blog post entitled “Lost in Sobriety”. I remember writing it and I remember how I was feeling at the time, a very similar feeling to the one I’m currently noticing. I didn’t though remember what I had written.
I was 187 days sober. I was feeling pretty solid in my sobriety but pretty lost in life. My purpose. What my path forward looked like. The fog had lifted and another one had descended. What I didn’t realize then is, this is life. This is what life feels like sometimes. Uncertainty and even a momentary dissatisfaction with life can come in waves. It’s called growth. As humans we are constantly growing and changing and re-examining ourselves. At least I believe we should be. And that growth can cause a sense of unease.
When my kids were young I would often read them a book entitled We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. The book is, quite literally, about a family going on a bear hunt and all the obstacle they encounter and have to overcome. At the time I really just enjoyed the story for its’ repetitive structure which allowed my kids to participate in the reading. Looking back it had some pretty intense themes that resonate with me today.
“We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We have to go through it.”
It’s truly a metaphor for the journey we take towards healing. Three years ago I was sure that I was just one self-help book away from figuring it all out. There was a magic answer out there somewhere, I just hadn’t found it yet. Well, about 100 self-help books later I can confidently say there is no magic wand. Sometimes, most times, we just have to go through it.
Running has always been my “go to” tool in my recovery toolbox. It was at 187 days and it continues to be now. I’m learning, however, sometimes it’s stillness that is required. I will continue to run but I will also take time to sit in the quiet.
My perception surrounding the term “lost” has also changed. Some of my greatest discoveries have been made while out on a run and “lost”. Shouldn’t the same concept apply to our recovery? Or for that matter life? At 1,166 days sober I am giving myself permission to be lost. It’s actually not a bad place to be.