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Year 36

Whelp, another year down. I haven’t been a big fan of my birthday for many years now. It’s always kinda been a day of reflection on everything I’m not; at X age I still haven’t done Y. I would sequester myself from the outside world and just wallow in my own personal pool of underachievement. The last two birthdays have been increasingly better. I guess I just wanted to talk about the year that was.

I don't know that I have anything really profound to say, this year has pretty much been a year of transition. The first of which was moving out of a treatment facility into the real world. I was really nervous because I didn’t have the same accountability as before. I moved in with a good friend who was very supportive of my not drinking so that really helped. Also living in the town I live, Carrboro, NC, couldn’t have been more accommodating. For many, living sober in the town they drank in can prove almost impossible. Everywhere I went people were extremely supportive of the lifestyle change so I never once felt like I there were places I couldn’t go. Shouldn’t go is another story altogether but overall my move was relatively seamless which was a core foundational necessity to attempting to building a new life.

Where I spent all of my down time in a bar somewhere chilling with an IPA and a stranger, now, I spend most of my downtime at a coffee shop with a book. Reading had become my source, my source of escape, strength, knowledge, and peace. I read mostly spiritual things so that has nurtured my growth in an area that I’ve come to learn will power the rest of my life. But I’m also having to learn that I can’t hide behind spiritual growth and not take an active role in real life. It had to be brought to my attention that I wasn’t living. A good friend confronted me with the fact that I was hiding from life in the rooms of AA and my books. I wasn’t allowing the joyful fun-loving version of myself to be displayed. Also seemed like I had no self-esteem when I would actually show up to hang out . So I’m working on living and functioning in the confidence that having a spiritual practice should promote...we’ll see how that develops.

I write!!! Who’da thunk writing would be something that I did or wanted to pursue in life? Through writing blogs for the company I work(ed) for I found my passion and heart’s delight in it. I’d found a way to spread love, light, and enlightenment, gain confidence in my authentic self through public transparency, and a way to nurture a creative bug that had be laying fairly dormant in me. Now, I am fortunate to have www.bengear.net (the blog you are likely reading this on) and www.thisislivinghope.com as avenues to reach people. My hope is to continuing growing the blog site and simply to reach as many people as possible with a message of hope.

Relationships have shown me quite a bit. From a friend perspective, just realizing that I still have a knack for elevating people’s station in my life per my own personal lack. Still, I was looking outside of myself for completion which is always destined for failure. I meet people regularly and connect pretty easily but I have to realize everyone I connect with in whatever capacity shouldn’t be elevated to higher place, immediately. On a deeper level, special relationships should never be a thing. But that’s a whole nother story. Both new and old friends that I was learning don’t fit naturally for what it is I’m trying to do and be, filtering those relationships has been an interesting process. I realized I had a lot of one-sided emotional bonds that I’ve been holding on to and/or feeding when the result is obviously not going to be beneficial long term. This also manifested itself in my lone attempt at dating. Epic fail. I met a woman and it was good, til it wasn’t. It’s said that we attract who we really are. This lady was a good person but she was looking for completion through me and I knew that I couldn’t (nor wanted to) be that for anyone. She turned out to be a little more obsessive than I expected and ending it has proven to be quite the experience. It was an interesting situation to deal with but it showed me some of my own character shortcomings.

Overall, 36 has proven to be a year of solidifying a foundation and attempting forward progress. A lot of growth has taken place which has revealed that I have a ton more growing to do. I am learning how to better see myself as I actually am and how that fits into my world right now. Learning to dream and that to pursue those dreams is pretty much obligatory. Also that I still have some internal voids that need to be filled, by me. I see now that life isn’t about a destination reached but a journey traveled. The only destination is death so how much have I done before reaching it. The value of getting the most out of that journey and putting the most into others journey is why I believe existence is. Quite frankly this year has been really good and I am excited about the growth and experiences to come.

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