Loyalty has become the strongest tie that binds me to my recovery and healing. One of the hardest transitions was the switch between being loyal to my addiction and being loyal to my recovery. The moment I was abused, my trust and faith in humanity were broken beyond belief. If I couldn't trust anyone or anything, how could I put my trust into choosing a new way of life and attitude? How could I trust that I could better myself each day a little bit more than the last, and let go of what was holding the best parts of me hostage for so long? Finding a way to trust others will always be a process. There have been setbacks along the way that have made me want to retreat into my comfort zone. But today, when people break their trust and loyalty to me, I know it's up to me to reach out. No matter what happens, numbing out the pain is no longer an option.
It's been said, "As long as the ties that tie us together are stronger than the ones that tear us apart, all will be well." To me, this mantra is like being on a hockey team. I know the guy that sits next to me in the locker room is willing to go to any length to support me, encourage me, stand up for me, and go to battle for me. Why? Because he knows I'll do the same for him in the drop of a hat. I trust that with my support system as well. Friends will come and go in life, and not everyone that's in your life today will be in your life tomorrow -- at least not in the same capacity. It's one part of life that is fluid. I do know, though, that I will always have a close support system, even if it's not the exact same one I have now. I'm loyal to them, because they are loyal to me. And when I struggle, sometimes I don't even need to say anything. They just see it, and act on it. I couldn't be more grateful for such a great squad. Having this support system is so crucial during recovery.
Respecting the process of recovery and healing is a key part of the journey. Nothing makes me happier than meeting someone who has been on a recovery journey for 40 + years and is still as enthusiastic as a rookie. To me, it means it's possible to still live a happy life, to be on a journey of healing and recovery, and to be free from the burdens of addiction. I respect the ones that came before me, who had to go on their recovery journey with zero resources. They were the trailblazers, and for that I'll be forever in debt to them. Without hearing them share their stories and experiences, I wouldn't have had a clue what to do. Sadly, there are also those who have lost their battle, having given it all they possibly could. The fallen soldiers in this war against depression and addiction take their aspirations, dreams, and goals to the grave. Maybe if they'd had more resources -- some awareness, healing, prevention, and education -- they could have lived the life of their dreams. We hold these people close to our hearts and keep them in our minds. We let them live through us, inspiring us to create change for future generations.
We learn every single day that pain is an inevitable part of life. But if you're out there living in despair, let me assure you of this: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER ANY LONGER. Trust the process. Stay loyal to your recovery and healing journey. The better your ties are to the winners, the more likely you are to live with freedom in your heart, and perseverance in your soul. Respect yourself, and the journey you're on. No matter how heavy that door is to open, or how hard it will be to reach out, or how difficult things might get -- I challenge you to do it. There is great help and support right here waiting for you.