As I started down the road of my recovery seven years ago, I realized I had more than enough. Enough sex with strangers, wine in the cabinet, things lining the walls, clothes on hangers and enough of enough. Ultimately, the one thing I had never had was enough of me. I had looked outside of myself for the things that everyone wanted to have up until that point. As Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand sang, “Enough is enough is enough is enough.”
I decided to embark on an adventure. Journeys into the self are not easy roads. They are painful and bumpy. But I wanted to understand the point where my life became so painful that I desperately needed to alter who I was? I lost a lot when lusting after the newest restaurant, the hotel that opened in a far-flung place or the eco-friendly winery up in American wine country. Fun, yes. Useful, not really.
Like everyone, I get caught up in things. I broke down and decided I needed a smartphone, not a flip. I needed another sports jacket as if one for each day of the month wasn’t adequate. Once, in a movie line on a date, a very well-dressed man over the age of 70 was wearing a turtleneck, fedora and a trench, looking a little out of place in 65 degrees Los Angeles winter weather. He looked more Quentin Crisp than Robert Mitchum. My companion turned to me and said, “That’s you in 30 years.” Ouch. He judged by what I owned. I had become the myriad of sports coats I wore. That hurt. I wanted to be more than that — to him at the time — and to myself.
Viktor Frankl, the author of “Man’s Search for Meaning” which detailed his WW2 imprisonment in three Nazi concentration camps and lived to tell about it, said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
That’s what I’ve done. I had to change because the life I was in wasn’t moving. I can’t continue to blame the situation.
Once I entered the 12-step rooms, I realized that the best thing to find is a devotion in allowing yourself to change. It’s okay when it stops working. Sometimes that’s better than if it continued.
I’m at the beginning of my second half of a century; I want to give away that which I have had the opportunity of achieving. It’s no small feat to have seven years of anything notched into your belt. It’s commitment to myself to admit when enough is enough.