On my run today I took a new path.
On one side it was littered with beer cans, broken glass, garbage and liquor bottles.
On the other side was lilacs.
I was on the path in between.
I live on the path in between.
Perhaps we all do.
As a person that struggled with alcohol, I understand the draw to the dark side.
I am familiar with the current of the the underbelly, pulling me in.
I am not a stranger to the shadows.
I saw myself as the garbage on the side of the path. I have been as broken as the glass. Ugly. Defeated. Hiding. In shame, from everything. From just being me. Left to rot. Decompose, as a life left un-lived. It was my greatest fear in addiction.
In sobriety, my natural instinct is to turn toward to the light, as flowers do with the sun. The desire to bloom by expressing myself. Ready to show my goodness, my truth, my love. I am open to learning and loving. I am strong and fragile at once.
When I look in the mirror now, I see beauty and self love where I used to see disgust and self hatred. Here’s the thing, I still look like me, in both my before and after pictures. Sure, the afters are a bit better, I have lost some bloat and my eyes are definitely brighter, but the biggest difference is the change I feel inside and what my eyes choose to see.
The difference between the sides of the path is that when I was living on the side full of litter, I was seeking something outside of myself to fulfill me. Fill my belly with liquor and make me feel better. Drink the wine to escape the shame. Vodka to my brain to make me forget how sad I was and how lonely I felt.
Over here, where I live now is on the side of the lilacs. I do not look outside myself to be satisfied. I look within for healing. I accept what is. I do not try to change my shame. I sit with it. I allow it to be. I see the beauty in it, as best I can. I recognize the garbage on the other side of the path, and inside of me and I put my face to the lilacs instead. I see and smell their beauty. I do not deny that I have a dark side. I do not deny that there is an eyesore on the other side of the path, I recognize that with so much compassion. That used to be my home, where I lived after all.
But I do not put my energy there. I do not focus on the trash. I do not get stuck there. I move around it. I keep my eyes focused on where I am headed, not where I have been. I know where I am going. I am not lost.I have found myself. I was here all along.