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The Process IS The End

You'll notice in most of my blog posts, there is an underlying common thread of acceptance. "Let your ego down / let new information in / surrender to win / when I change, we change", and so on. Well it is all true - for me. Of course, I cannot tell you how to think or what to do, but what I can do is describe to you what has held true for me, what has changed my life, and what I wish I'd known earlier - basically all the things that helped me turn my life around from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and health, in the hope that they can do the same for you.

As I see it now, I had to surrender to win: I had to accept other methods and ways of doing things that could bring about new results for me. There is an old cliche I saw play out in my life ... if you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got. That unfortunately held true for me time and time again. So, in order to not get what I'd always got (another stint inside) I had to start to alter how I looked at things. Including how I looked at recovery.

I saw most things in life as fairly structured - with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Whether that be relationships, jobs, particular periods in our lives, books, recordings, distances to travel, etc, I used to think pretty much everything could be broken down into those elements. So, because of that way of looking at life, originally I believed my recovery would also have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Within my recovery, I was always looking for the end, and found myself placing imaginary finish lines down to guide me through to that end.

What were these imaginary finish lines for me? Things like "When I get that girl, everything will be okay" ... "As soon as I get that job / raise, things will be cool" ... "When I can buy that car, man I will be complete" ... "As soon as I can move into that place, my life will change" ... Right? As soon as I reach that goal, then I'll be happy, then I'll be satisfied. This is essentially what I would tell myself. Just like anyone procrastinating about doing something - it was all about tomorrow. Today is a good day for me to suffer one more day, but tomorrow I will make that change. Tomorrow my life will be on the up.

But tomorrow never comes. Whenever I reached those imaginary goals - got that girl, moved apartment, got that job, bought that car, etc - it did not make me happy enough. It was not the life-changing event I expected it to be. Sure, it helped, don't get me wrong. It felt good, but it wasn't completion.

When I started out, I believed that in my process of transformation, I would reach an end. One day, I would wake up and be cured, no longer be an addict, no longer feel I was "recovering" or "changing", no longer need anyone's help. However as I went on my journey of self discovery and self change, I began to realise that maybe, just maybe the process IS the end. Maybe I was never going to reach an actual end. Maybe recovery is about a journey not a destination.

I started to understand that continuously working on myself, continually getting better, was in fact the process AND the end. I now know that I will constantly learn more, grow older, grow wiser. I cannot stop time. So far, no-one has gone backwards and gotten younger; we only go forward through life. And in that process of "aspiring to a better life" , or any kind of process of "recovery or rehabilitation" , one either gets left behind living in the past, stuck thinking about the future and an imaginary finish line that will never come, or they begin to grow with life, and understand that those imaginary finish lines will not be what makes you happy.

Imaginary finish lines are prominent in my brain still today. I admit it is an ongoing challenge to continue to try to erase that way of thinking entirely. However, working on accepting, perfecting, and making the most of the here and the now brings me far greater satisfaction today. Ergo I have come to know now for me, "The process... IS the end"!

Dan Sanfellipo -
Author & Speaker

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