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Nov
15

Letting Go and Embracing Change

Often, when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else. I've felt that way many times. My hope for all of us is that "the miles we go before we sleep" will be filled with all the feelings that come from deep caring - delight, sadness, joy, wisdom - and that in all the endings of our life, we will be able to see the new beginnings.
-Fred Rogers

When I let go of my career as a junkie at 16 years old, I experienced a distinct sense of grief. Even though the life I was facing had more hope and promise than I had ever before experienced, I was letting go of a huge part of my life and myself. Misery, despair, disappointment and hopelessness were comfortable.

Most of all, I was giving up a crutch that gave me freedom from experiencing real life. Alcohol and other drugs were an escape for me. They temporarily freed me from worry and pain. However, they also freed me from happiness, meaningful friendships, accomplishment and hope.

At that time, I didn’t see the new beginnings. Letting go of drugs was an end. One that I believed would be followed by emptiness and an ability to exist without being harassed by authorities. I had no idea what I was in for.

I distinctly remember the moment I realized I had opened the door to a world of possibilities. I had been clean for about 6 months, and the support group I was attending to help me stay clean had elected me to be their chairperson. It took me by complete surprise that a group of people had enough faith in me to entrust me with that responsibility. It was the first time that I had considered that I could make a worthwhile contribution to… well, anything.

Since that time, I continue to surprise myself by making contributions in my work, my volunteer activities, this website, my family. The difference is that I have learned to make conscious choices to close doors in my life in order to open new ones. I have learned that, though we often fear and resist change, we are amazingly adaptable creatures. And in my personal experience, that adaptability seems to improve with age.

Sometimes the greatest blessing we receive in life is the loss of a job, a home or a relationship. Sometimes giving up something small, such as a television show, a minor habit or a particular dessert opens a door that will change our life forever. All progress, personal development and spiritual growth requires change. All change requires letting go.

Being on the lookout for the new beginnings makes the endings much easier. I choose to focus on the fact that I have been living a clean and spiritual life for over 17 years rather than focusing on the fact that I have not used alcohol or other drugs for over 17 years. Instead of saying that I left my job 2 months ago, I say that I became self employed 2 months ago. It gives me more hope and faith, and reduces the temptation to try to take back that which I had let go.

Whether giving up drugs, changing diet, or giving up a habit of foul language, we will experience a grief process. Focusing on the new, positive things will aid in surviving that process much better than dwelling on the loss.

About the author

Danny

I am Danny Kohn, writer and designer for this site and owner, software engineer and consultant for Inspirations Software Design. My three greatest passions in life are sharing time with my family, software design and sharing inspiration with others. I have the incredible privilege of being able to spend a significant amount of time every day doing each of those three things. I am a single father of Tristen, our 6 year old son. It has been such an incredible joy to watch him grow up and learn so much. Everything he does and says overwhelms me with adoration. We have a wonderful evening ritual of reading books together in a beanbag chair. Nearly every night, we have a laughing attack together. I smile and giggle constantly in his presence and feel truly inspired.

Permanent link to this article: http://beinspiredeveryday.com/2007/11/15/letting-go-and-embracing-change/

2 comments

  1. Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk says:

    Thanks for telling us more about yourself, Danny. I wholeheartedly agree that sometimes we need to mourning our losses. The ability to do that is one of
    the traits of stress-hardy, resilient people.

    Great post.

  2. Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk says:

    Oops! That should have been “mourn our losses”. Good thing we don’t have to be perfect!

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