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Comfort Zone

Many years ago I was in a small boutique in Escanaba Michigan and came across a small canvas wall hanging that donned the quote "Life happens at the edge of your comfort zone". It embodied a lifestyle that was very attractive to me at the time. I was stuck in this loop of wanting more for my life, and acting on it, only to eventually get scared, back out, and inevitably start drinking my anxiety away in a process I came to learn as a relapse.

I purchased that canvas and hung it on the wall in my room. It was the symbol of a life I wished I could live, but never had the courage to live. Honestly, I don't know what happened to that canvas. Life happened, I moved a few times, and it lives on as a memory. After that time in my life, I let the cycle of fear-based anxiety rule as I slowly spiraled more out of control and deeper into the unhealthy side of my physical and mental health. As the suicidal thoughts seeped in and my physical health creeped out, that small canvas haunted the space in my mind where hope once took residence.

"Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone." ― Shannon L. Alder

Then, after what to this day feels like a miracle only possible at the hands of God, I found recovery. I learned what that actually means. I got accepted into a treatment program that taught me the importance of having a strong support system in my life. It forced me to fill positions I had never even thought of due to being raised as the "boy that never cries" in the spirit of " get over it and be a man". Once I realized the importance of having a therapist, a peer recovery coach, a sponsor-like figure, and as many supportive friends & family as possible...the switches started to flip. Those negative things I mentioned above started to reverse and all of sudden hope took up residence in that dark corner of my mind once again.

The reality was that even though I was dying, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, that anxiety-fueled cycle of white-knuckling sobriety and relapse was comfortable in a way. It was predictable, I knew what was going to happen when I grabbed a bottle of liquor...or 4... and this life of freedom and success was hiding on the other side of this wall that was too high to see over. It was predictable to me, and I was scared. Once I actually started listening to the people trying to really help me in a healthy way, my life broke open and turned from fear and anxiety to progress and joy. I let these people guide me and it's something I cannot even begin to express enough gratitude. The road wasn't easy, but I found more value and purpose that will forever outweigh the turbulence I had to navigate along the way.

As I always say, If I can do sure as hell can.

Until next time.

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