Alison's Insights

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

The Hallway of Change

Most of us know that change is constant because life is ever-evolving. Some people thirst for change and there are those, like me, who dig heels in deeper with a belief that what’s comfortable is just fine. Why switch from the well-hummed rhythm of daily life to learn something new?

Needed change rarely happens without some level doubt and resistance and silent stories that loop in our head about why change isn’t necessary.

I wrote and rewrote those everything-is-fine stories with hope the end would turn out better than what others predicted.

Sure, I drank too much, ate too little, controlled more than necessary, and stayed purposely silent in shame when I could have spoken my truth. That way of life didn’t make sense to anyone but sure did to me.

I knew what would happen when I engaged in things I shouldn’t and perhaps even more important to me, how to circumvent consequences. That well-choreographed dance of unhealthy behavior went on for years until the curtain went down and no one clapped. Self-destruction does have an encore.

For reasons I can only speculate and now quite grateful for, I grabbed that handle on the door marked change rather than the one which indicated my final resting place.

In truth, I stood at the door that promised change for a while. I thought a spec of courage would be enough. I fiddled with the doorknob only to drop my hand. I lingered there until one day I coupled courage with willingness and turned the latch all the way. I’d be a liar if I said there wasn’t part of me that hoped a lock would keep me from what I feared. However, once change comes calling in a way I can’t deny, no lock will keep me stuck.

What I didn’t know then but I certainly do know is, an immediate change wasn’t on the other side. Just because I passed through the door wasn’t a guarantee of something different. That much-needed step out from the fog of fear only led to the hallway of change, not into a complete change that I presumed would meet me there.

Although I could see a door in the distance, I couldn’t yet understand what the attached sign read. I considered a turn back or even investigation into a side door of escape. Yet, what echoed in my ear was that if I did, all the misery and shame and loneliness and fear I once felt would return in an instant.

IMAGE #5

So, there I stood, listening to the whispers hope and suggestions sprinkled like raindrops from kind and patient people who surrounded me. At times I shut my eyes tight, crossed every finger, and prayed that one of those people would take those hallway steps for me. I learned that’s not how the process works.

Personal change is an inside job, not someone else’s outside fix.

I breathed in what others suggested and embraced any required work for the change I desired. In time, I reached that once distant door only to face even more hallways and farther doors.

Matter of fact, I’m in one of those hallways right now. Even with years of practical experience that proved perseverance, willingness, and asked for help are the means to get from one end of the to the other, I still do not like being in the hallway of change. Not at all.

I feel like a newcomer in recovery, searching for that easier, softer, way toward a hoped-for sense of comfort in new surroundings. I find myself inspecting crevices of the hallway for a quick solution for my unease. Funny how I act even though I learned long ago that what I want, isn’t always what I need.

So, I pause. I find a welcoming spot in that hallway. I breathe. I look around. I listen. I wait. I listen a little harder. Then, when I feel a bit more confident in my next right step, I’ll make my way closer to that distant door.

I may not get there right away and that’s okay. What’s important is that I pay close attention to what I learn along the way. Once embedded, those nuggets of wisdom will influence my approach when life presents me with the unexpected and I find myself in another hallway of change.

A Moment to Breathe

Are you standing at a door of change? Are you hesitating? Maybe you turned the handle and now stand between the door you closed and the one that offers something new. Before you do anything, breathe. Slow your thoughts. Breathe again. Remember, whatever you face, wherever you are, this is not what you’ll face or where you’ll be forever. Put your focus on that next right indicated and head down that hall. Breathe again. You’re on your way. 

I’m interested in how you answer the above questions and if this post influenced your perspective. Feel free to leave me a comment below or share the post with your thoughts via a preferred social media site.

 

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One thought on “The Hallway of Change

  1. Pat Bull on said:

    I so much love reading your thoughts & words you put together so beautifully. I can usually relate every time. I’m in the hallway but thank goodness I’m walking down the hall now. I was so afraid I’d be stuck in the darkest hallway. Living alone with my dog is going to be alright.
    Love, Pat❣️💖

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