Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

The Hallway

Prior to overcoming addiction to alcohol and unhealthy eating practices, when I had to deal with some sort of a loss (a job, a relationship, a missed opportunity, etc.), I would dread hearing the following words of consolation:

Well, you know what they say Alison, when one door closes, another one opens.”

I’d think to myself, “yeah, thanks, so what do I do now?”

The truth is, I didn’t want to deal with change. That’s what happens when a door closes. It shifts things. It changes things. Not to mention, it requires patience and that, I assure you, I had none of.

I lived most of my life rushing from one experience to another. If I faced a need to change, I’d want an instant replacement and I’d run to find it.

Just like when I’d get drunk and/or skip meals. I’d run to find relief from my guilt and shame. Yet whatever I ran to only provided me with short term relief because before I knew it, I’d be running back to the door I thought I closed, promising myself I’d not get drunk or skip a meal again. I never spent time between those addictive episodes figuring out why I engaged in them to begin with. I never spent time in the hallway.

Here’s what I have come to know during my voyage of self-discovery. There’s a lot to be learned in that space and time between doors.

It is precisely what recovery is all about. After closing the door to addiction, I spent a very long time in search of myself, working with a very good sponsor and keeping my recovery (from both alcohol and unhealthy eating behaviors) above everything else. Everything. And in doing so, I found that other door. It’s the door that led to my freedom.

In my life today there will always be hallways to spend time in because change is constant. It is in these places of quiet contemplation, where the next door is not yet seen, I turn inward. I look to find why the door closed, mistakes I may have made, what I learned, what I’m good at and where improvements are necessary so when I stand in front of the next door, I’m better prepared to face what’s behind it.

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One thought on “The Hallway

  1. Claudia Donohue on said:

    Absolutely beautifully written and a wonderful analogy. It really is in those long hallways where we really learn about ourselves. I’ve never thought about it that way. Thank you.

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