Tonight, is the night we’ve all been waiting for. The night to take everything that’s happened in 2020, place the negativity, the stress, the fear, the emotional roller coaster and place it all into the fire pit so we can watch it burn.
Tonight, is the night we let go of our past, so at midnight, we can rise from the ashes like a phoenix reborn.
We have this universal cultural belief that at the beginning of a new year, as we set new resolutions to change and grow, the following year will be better than the last. We trust we won’t make the same mistakes, life will be better, and that all our bad habits will magically disappear.
I believe we start the new year blindly, believing the transformation we need to happen within us is something that miraculously happens because the year has changed. We use the excuse to hold off until the new year to continue our bad habits and procrastinate the change we need to make today.
Instead of understanding that changing habits and our mindsets takes time, consistency, and perseverance, we start the new year with the expectation that it will happen because we’re willing it to happen, only to fall victim to the same poor behaviors many weeks later.
The Lesson of 2020
On my journey of recovery, I’ve learned to focus on the daily transformation that is needed to keep me grounded; many times, focusing hour to hour or minute to minute on the tools I need to keep me on the right path.
Do I fail?
All the time! It’s easy to fall prey to my negative self-talk.
Add my trauma triggers where my brain becomes hijacked and my body feels physical pain, it’s very easy to fall back into old destructive thought patterns.
We must remember, it’s not preventing yourself from getting knocked down that’s important, but how fast you get back up when you’re down.
It’s learning what tools work best to combat the triggers, fears, anxiety, bad habits, anger, resentment, and negative self-talk that takes us away from the present moment.
It’s learning how to ground ourselves so we can see our family, our friends, and the world we live in with empathy, compassion, and love.
Everyone experienced some sort of challenge this past year. Our human nature of connection got cut off as we quarantined to keep ourselves and our society safe. And our daily routines, our jobs, and our lives were thrown into a tizzy.
We were forced to adapt.
I need not go into everything that happened; we all have our own stories. However, the questions to ask ourselves is, “Did we rise from the ashes of our challenges and learn how to adapt. Have we learned how to do this on a daily basis? Or have we continued to act as victims, complaining, blaming, and pointing fingers instead of working on the transformation within ourselves that’s required when we are tested?”
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the awareness that whatever our circumstances are, we can rise above them.
We have the capacity, courage, and strength to grow and overcome the obstacles that are placed before us.
Adding another number won’t make 2021 better; it’s how we take the lessons we’ve learned this past year and how we continue to apply them that will determine our individual and collective success.
2020 Writer’s Block
I haven’t written much on my blog since summer. In many ways, my voice got suppressed. There was a blog I started back in June about Black Lives Matter and I hit a wall with that piece. Trauma from my childhood, my marriage, and as a parent got me stuck in the mindset that it “doesn’t matter what I say, because I’m never heard anyway” mentality. Perceived as a ‘privileged white male,’ who was I to give my thoughts on such a controversial subject?
I didn’t want to risk being shut down again. So, I just stopped.
I also reached a point in my recovery where I wasn’t struggling as much as I once had. I found peace within myself, an acceptance of where I was, and I was no longer trying to place my will upon the world.
I finally gave it all to God.
It’s been difficult to find a new voice, one that comes from a sense of wholeness, comfortable with who I am and who I’ve become, rather than one who is desperately trying to learn as much as he can to “better” himself.
While there’s a lot of different blogs I’d like to write, tidbits of lessons I’ve learned along the way, I’ve found myself being more present and living life, rather than writing about my struggles and what I’m learning.
I’ve received encouragement from one reader, a partner of a sex addict, who’s requested I continue to blog. I’ve also had the deepest support from my girlfriend (yes, Phoenix, and his ex, are in new relationships – life does go on) to continue to write, if that’s what I want to do.
I have no idea what 2021 will bring or where my blog will go. I do pray I’ll have other voices that are willing to share their personal journey of transformation or lessons they’ve learned along the way for all my fledglings. My wish is to build a community of fledglings supporting one another as we learn how to soar.
I’ll leave that up to God and the Universe to figure out. For now, I’m grateful for where I am and what I’ve accomplished.
On a side note, while I may not have written on here, I will have a chapter in a book coming out sometime this next year. I’m further stepping outside my comfort zone and hoping that this compilation of stories will help give others inspiration to rise from the ashes of their suffering.
Journal Entry December 24, 2020
On Christmas Eve, after my daily yoga session, when I had reluctantly pulled out my journal (sometimes I really don’t want to write), what came out was something profound. It brought tears to my eyes and I couldn’t wait to share it with my girlfriend.
She suggested I publish this for my fledglings. It pretty much sums up 2020 for me.
I don’t want to journal. Lot of stuff to do. But I need to.
I’m really proud of myself and how I was able to meet [my ex’s boyfriend], not be reactive, not act like [my friend’s ex]. Oh man! And how to hold boundaries.
I still feel as if I was not enough, that he’s better than I, all those negative self-thoughts that my divorce proved to me that I feared was true.
I realize on a deeper level those are false. Those are lies that I’ve told myself over the years. It’s not that I was not enough, it’s that we were not compatible. And there were too many wounds, both childhood wounds and in our marriage that we (not only me!) did to each other. We only recreated those wounds, over and over again, continuing to hurt each other instead of healing and finding happiness.
We are both now paired with someone who is more aligned with our personalities without the baggage of past hurts. We are both more mature and are more willing to work on ourselves and with our partners in a more adult way, rather than a reactive inner child taking control. We now have the ability to give and receive love instead of always being on guard and wondering, worrying, and obsessing when the next hammer will fall and we’ll get hurt again.
We both are free to live life joyously and fly, no longer caged to the pain and hurt of the past. This Christmas, we can rise from the ashes and soar like eagles.
2020 may have been a hard year, but what a blessing it has been.
Thank you, Father!
Phoenix’s Prayer of 2020
Thank you, Father for helping me further transform this past year.
Thank you for the gift of Covid-19 which allowed me to take a step into discovering the benefits of yoga and how my practice on the mat not only releases the blocked energy within my body, yet gives me the tools, especially the tool of my breathing, to handle and manage my daily challenges.
Thank you for Tommy Rosen’s 8 Week Awakening Program and his Recovery 2.0 community, the push to do 90 in 90 meetings, and the multitude of Zoom recovery meetings that have allowed me to connect with others on a scale I only dreamed about when I was stuck in hotel rooms away from my family.
Thank you specifically for my 8 Week Awakening Accountability Pod, my daily Writing Group, my Recovery 2.0 Monday Men’s Meeting, my Men’s Group through my therapist, and my amazingly fun biweekly Zoom D&D adventures with my buddies (yes, at 51 I’m playing D&D).
And thank you for my continued connection with Rafiki, who, when I do still struggle at times, reminds me of how far I’ve come. It’s that perspective that keeps be from falling back down the rabbit hole wondering if I will ever get it “right.” Always a work in progress one day at a time.
Thank you, Father for helping me find peace when I’m alone. Never have I felt as much serenity as I do when I’m gone on trips or at home without my daughters. Thank you for helping me find the desire to crave and embrace my solitary time as much as I want connection with others.
Thank you for bringing my oldest daughter back to me, her feeling safe to once again open up, and allowing me to have patience that we’d reconnect after a year of anger and holding a grudge at her father. Thank you for allowing me to embrace and step into some of the crazy TikTok ideas my youngest daughter has (our Harry Potter marathon will definitely be a memory for years to come) and her connecting with me when I’m away on trips.
Thank you, Father for my close friends, both new and old, and their unwavering love and support. Thank you for my village, while not what I had ever envisioned in my life, this has truly become a Home for my daughters and I.
And thank you, Father, for bringing both my ex and me new partners we can share our lives and our love with. I have faith there’s a reason you’ve connected me with someone across the country and I’m ever so grateful for her love and encouragement in my recovery and her belief in who I am as a man, a partner, and a father.
I truly am blessed!
As You Say Goodbye to 2020
How are you going to view the end of 2020? Will you look back in disgust and resentment at all the struggles you had to endure? Or will you find the gifts those challenges gave to you?
I had a boss tell me this morning, “I’m not celebrating 2021 until it proves itself.”
While I initially laughed and joined in with his humor, I later thought, “We need to celebrate 2020 for the gifts it’s given us. If we really search, we’ll find them.”
I pray everyone can figure that out, for when we learn this lesson, is when we will not only make the next year that much more spectacular, but every day of our life.
Happy New Year’s Eve my beautiful fledglings.
May you find strength and hope.
May you find the blessings in your life.
And may you rise from the ashes each day, newly reborn, ready to take on any challenge so you can be present in the moment regardless of the date or time.