My 2020 has been the year of reflection, frustration, new levels of awareness, and a light being shined on new areas to work on my recovery.

Recently, I was permanently deleted from one of the social media platforms that I’ve been engaged on for years, with no ability to figure out why. I candidly was at a loss for a day or two. After a bit, I went through the process to appeal, document, and ask for a review. With a response of no change, the account was permanently deleted.

I did the research and asked around. When I asked the experts why this might’ve happened, they said that it depends—no way to know precisely. My engagement was positive and tactful, and I have nothing to make amends for. Then, it occurred to me: the universe was showing me what I couldn’t, or wasn’t ready, to see. Then, when willing, I flipped this circumstance to a positive.

By constantly checking messages, updates, connections, likes, and shares on social media, I realized that my creativity was being siphoned off. Continually checking to see what was going on ended up being little hits of control into my emotional brain’s darkest reaches. My emotional-train would get wound up, again and again, leaving no room for the good stuff such as intention, positivity, and inspiration. It fed the old me, who I’ve worked years to adapt, change, and heal into the new me, who I generally feed and care for in healthy ways. We all have those last things we’re figuring out, but I’ve felt good about how I’ve shortened the list over ten years doing the work.

A week later, with no access to this thing I’d spent 13 years using, I honestly feel relieved.

It was a moment of clarity—self-meditating for peace of mind. The relief struck me. Without it, my day doesn’t consist of chasing information, quick fixes, and little emotional hits on my phone.

Before recovery, chasing these little emotional fixes’ was standard behavior. Today, I’ve evolved my prop up with technology, using it in place of the drinking, drugs, lying, cheating, eating, gambling—all the poor behaviors I previously engaged in. This past is not something I’m proud of or regret, it’s just a previous chapter. I’m not ashamed or guilty of anything I’ve done. All these negative feelings fueled the torment I’d quiet in unhealthy ways each day. And so I’ve made amends and let go of the shame and guilt. All of this is in the past. Its story is written. We’re all too familiar with how the story often goes—the tale ending with a final chapter of death or prison.

We have to work each day at living and feeling, sorting through emotions, and summoning the courage to consider the facts.

We must learn how to seek clarity and truth about one’s life. It becomes a commitment, just as numbing was for many years. When I contribute to myself and the world, I seize the opportunity to help, support, and unconditionally love those in my life. I don’t forget, but I don’t relive the journey I’ve been on my entire life. In doing the work to heal, I remind myself I am only alone if I forget that we’re all bound to the breath of life and beyond.

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
– Chief Seattle, 1854

I have moments and days where I feel lost, hoping, praying, and meditating about tangible finish lines in my life. This gives me a place, a thing to point to and arrive at, someday. This year has been different, emotional, and challenging, much like early recovery. Yet, it’s been enlightening, because of how raw I can feel at times. It is taxing much of the world in different but significant ways. We are wrestling with the constant change, a new routine, and scarcity of just an average day. It’s alright to feel and share the anger, love, fear, insecurity, and resilience. These human emotions connect us all, and the connectedness is what will get us all through today.

Bryan Wempen
Author and In Recovery

Bryan Wempen
Author

Bryan Wempen, an author and entrepreneur, was born in Redwood City, California, and then adopted and raised in Wyoming and Nebraska, where his early teens got complicated by daily drinking. With the introduction of drugs in university, the destructive lifestyle took off, but Bryan managed to work several jobs and graduate. After several years of corporate binge drinking, his successes and close relationships started to wane. He admittedly doesn't know why, but in May 2010, he asks for help from a friend, in recovery ever since. Bryan's first book in 2015, "Note to Self: A Collection of 99 Life Lessons," was about the next chapters and lessons learned in life. His latest book in 2019, "Sober Is Better, a Note to Self," shares his journey growing up, the transition from a kid to a daily drinker. Bryan and his wife Michella currently reside in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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