Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Becoming the Best I Can Be

In January, 1988 I got clean. It was a very exciting but scary time. The future was very murky; kind of like looking into the waters of Lake Erie after a heavy rainfall. I had no idea what the future what would hold and this uncertainty created a sense of fear of the “what ifs?”

Prior to me getting clean and during my active addiction I had a family friend named Sherrell. She was a former neighbor who became somewhat of a mentor and spiritual guide to me. She helped me greatly during those early years to maintain some sense of direction despite my poor condition.  

In around May of that same year I got clean, Sherrell said to me, “I think it’s time for you to see Mr. Moore.” I had no idea who that was so I said, “Who’s he?” She replied, “He is an astrologer.”

“Oh,” I replied. Now mind you, I had never been to an astrologer however I was open to the idea. I mentioned the referral to my mother who was very much against the idea, but I contacted Mr. Moore anyway.

When I phoned him, I mentioned that my mother tried to dissuade me from seeing him and his reply was, “Don’t you want to learn about your true potential?” He had me hooked. In early recovery, I began to consider the concept of potential and how I could develop personally to become the person I was intended to be. In the psychology world, this is the idea behind self-actualization. So, I made the appointment. I’m not going to bore you with the details of the reading session Mr. Moore provided but suffice it to say, he opened my eyes to the many possibilities of what my life could become. He never guaranteed anything but it was kind of like a weather forecast that is a prediction of what may happen in the future.

In the years since, I have held fast to the concept of potential and how one can create a life that is satisfying in every aspect by using a variety of tools; goal setting, visualization, motivational literature and speakers, recovery-based supports, music, and the arts, to name but a few.

For myself, when I was struggling mentally I would use visualization techniques to “see” myself as the person I wanted to be. I did this in order to become the kind of person who was able to go beyond my self-perceived limitation of living with a mental illness and addiction. This tool is nothing new and has been used by many over the years to achieve goals. I did this when I trained for the two marathons I completed. During my training, I would regularly visualize myself crossing the finishing line. This mental exercise was incredibly valuable and I believe it helped me in the long run (pun intended).

Today I had two separate conversations. One with a friend from my recovery program (who I will call Jeff) and the other with a young man who lives with schizophrenia (who I will call Joe). It was quite remarkable how the two separate conversations were connected. Jeff is  middle-aged, in long-term recovery, and has done a lot of “inside work.” Joe is younger and still in the infancy of recovery and is looking for ways to overcome his illness and find a sense of direction and a better quality of life.

The common denominator was more akin to a “before and after” examination of the concept of human potential. When talking to Jeff it was quite obvious that he has embraced the concept of potential and has used it to help him achieve a life that is more fulfilling. But in the same respect he admits that he still has room to grow.

During this conversation I shared my belief that potential is analogous to repeatedly cutting an inch in half incrementally – one inch to one-half inch to one-quarter inch – and so on. The idea is that it’s possible to keep cutting infinitely while never getting to “zero” which is the ultimate goal. This ties into the idea of perfection. No matter how much I grow and improve myself, there is always more room to improve.

And this is what I love about life. I had a thought come to me in meditation the other day. “We are not perfect, but we are all part of perfection.” Essentially, even though I may not be perfect, I am still a part of the perfection of God, the source of infinite potential.

I’m still trying to figure this stuff out but that is part of the joy of being on the journey we call life. No matter what one’s circumstance, the God of power and grace is present to help us through our struggles and realize our potential, no matter what it may be. And it is different for all of us, kind of like no two snowflakes are identical.

So as I am living in this moment, I can co-create with God the future I am meant to have by using the tools that I have available. And this gives me hope.

So, what do you think? Do you believe you have the potential to go beyond your current station in life? Something to ponder.

Be well!


  1. Thank you for sharing your journey, experience and your words. You truly are a blessing in life and it is exciting to watch you blossom through it!