We never really know how much we’ve grown. Until, something happens. Then we look back at how responded as opposed to how we might have responded in the past. Or maybe we see a group of old friends that tell the same old jokes, which used to be funny, but to us the jokes are old. They’re just not funny anymore.
I recall seeing an old acquaintance of mine on Lexington Avenue. We used to buddy around together. We went out with the same group of people. We were never close but we were close enough.
I drove him home several times. Then again, I was the sober kid. I was the designated driver, which means I drove a lot of people home.
He was heading downtown and I was heading up. We used to know each other. We screamed together. We broke dawn together. We knew each other well enough but that was years ago.
That day on Lexington, we walked passed one another like total strangers. Neither he nor I said hello. No head nod, no wave, just a quick glance at each other and that was all.
One could say maybe he didn’t recognize me. One could say maybe I should have been the one to say something. All I know is when I walked passed this man, I thought back about the person I was.
I’m not him anymore.
I thought about the things that were important to me then. Then I smiled because none of those things are important to me now.
I remember seeing someone that used to bully me when I was a kid. He wasn’t the worst of them, but I was always intimidated.
In my mind’s eye, he was huge. He was a big guy; at least, i thought so.. And what could I do? I was too small and too scared.
I saw him once. . . .
This was years later. We were both adults (supposedly.) We were both waiting in line at fast food joint, waiting for our burgers, and he was still him.
But he was a lot shorter than I remembered. He was much shorter than me. I was amazed. Yes, I say amazed. I looked at this little dwarfy man, loud, and still obnoxious. only, I saw him differently now.
I was not that scared little kid anymore. I wasn’t afraid him. I was more amazed about the fact that I used to be petrified of this kid
How did I
not see how small this man was?
Why was I so afraid?
Intimidation changes the way we see things. Fear changes our perspective. Fear also drains our confidence.
I did not introduce myself or remind the smaller individual who I was and how he used to be.
In full disclosure, I might have suggested the little man speak lower. Maybe I suggested he use an “indoor” voice or perhaps I recommended the man stop talking (especially to me) and I am sure I made my point clear; however, when I went back to my car, sat in the driver’s seat, put the key in the ignition—a smile broke across my face.
In part; I smiled because I confronted an old bully of mine and gave him a taste of his own medicine. In part, I smiled because I realized not everyone or everything is as big as they seem.
Perhaps, I smiled because growth happens. I know it does because something occurs and we look back and understand the size is a relative term.
Back when I was on the farm, I was sent back to my previous facility to be assessed. The reason behind this was the farm was undergoing a change. However, since the word alcoholism was used in my history; I had to be assessed because the farm could not clinically house anyone with alcoholism.
Drinking is an action. I grant you this. However, in rehab terms, drinking has different connotations. This term drinking defines previous behaviors and patterns. And since all is intertwined in the program I was in, I used this term frequently as a description for old behaviors, thought, and feelings.
Certainly, I needed help with substance and alcohol; however, the program model was not always what I needed at that time. Instead, this was the model for on and all. I needed other attention but the model was a one-size-fits-all.
When I went back for my assessment, I went to a facility in Liberty, New York for two weeks. I had been here before. I lived for 42 days. They saw me in the beginning of my journey.
I was still somewhat hazy then. I was still looking for an angle. I was still looking to get over and break the rules.
I didn’t see me as much different. I never thought much about my growth. In fact, I never wondered if I had grown at all. But I did,
When I went back and saw the kids just coming in off the street and when I saw my old counselors; when I saw the same scams happening as when I lived there, I was able to look back upon who I was at the time.
The old jokes weren’t funny to me anymore. I was amazed. I was amazed at how little had changed. I was amazed that everyone still told the same story. They all looked to cut the same corners, sneak cigarettes, sneak away, and try to break the “No fraternization” rule with the opposite sex at the facility. Nothing was different except for me.
I saw someone I knew. He would come to the weekend meeting because he lived nearby. He was a graduate of the program.
He remembered me when I lived here the first time. It was only about nine, maybe ten months since I saw him last.
I gained some weight. I wasn’t as scrawny. My hair was short. The former patient walked in and didn’t even recognize me.
I found this amazing . . .
I don’t mind when people don’t recognize me. This just means they never really knew me. Or, perhaps I’ve grown more than I believed.
And growth, —growth happens.
You might not see it. You might not feel it. You might think everything is the same until something opens your eyes. You look back and say to yourself, “Wow. That’s just not me anymore.”
Trust me . . .
that’s a good thing