Six Years and a Degree!!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

My last post, 2016, Part 1 – Another Level of Recovery, Work and Family, consisted of more loss, as well as more growth. Recovery, work and family began to shift in meaning, again, and all for the better. And so it would continue...

As 2016 came to a close, more opportunities arose in life and at work. I was nominated to sit on the board of directors for Transitional Housing of Steele County, a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting and keeping people off the streets. The mission, vision, and values aligned incredibly with my own, so it was a no brainer to join! At work, I became more involved in our acquisition process, flying out to a Maryland facility the day we closed on it. That was an incredibly large step for me, something that helped me learn a bit of my own value, and something that pushed me through self-doubt. I was always confident that I could do great work and make huge strides, but taking on a project like I was asked to had me wonder if I was fit for work of that gravity.

Not only was it a great step in my career, but I ended up seeing more of the country. The bay area of Maryland is a beautiful place to visit, even in November! I also saw the White House and many other monuments in D.C. I also got to take my rental up the coast to see family after a weekend of work. I would continue to go back and get involved in more acquisition work, something that helped me learn how to work with people, especially people who were full of uncertainty as leadership and ownership changed hands.

I got to spend that Thanksgiving with family and began to develop relationships with two of my cousins and their families out east, the two I got to know more as a result of my grandpa's passing. It's another reason I believe there is always good that comes from bad. I got to know incredible humans I wouldn't have otherwise spent a ton of time with. These family members would quickly become a huge part of my life. I had all my dad's family out east, and now had even more reason to get out there often!

In December of 2016, I had two of the most important events align on multiple days. On December 9th, I officially finished school and celebrated 6 years of recovery. On December 10th, I walked across the stage with a Bachelor's degree, and that night was on a recovery stage receiving and celebrating a 6 year medallion. I've always said the most notable event I have every year is the anniversary of my recovery, because nothing else would happen without it. Having said that, obtaining a college degree is one of the more incredible accomplishments in my life. It was not a common thing in my family. When I was 21, I attempted to go back to school. That lasted all of three weeks. At 24, I found myself starting over, and over a five year period, I finished the degree, and with the highest of honors, all while working multiple jobs and restarting my life - finding my first apartment, getting my first car, taking on all the difficulties of early recovery, and the list goes on. To celebrate that on the same day as my recovery anniversary was surreal. Only in this world with an underlying Spirit can such accomplishments come together to mean so much.

School taught me many lessons, but most of all was that I could accomplish what I set out to. I was, and am, incredibly grateful that after all the years of damaging habits that my brain still functioned the way it did. It's a miraculous part of the body, really.

To end the year, I had another major knee surgery. This time, they essentially cut my leg in half to reshape it with a wedge. Again, I found myself in a very challenging place physically, mentally and spiritually. As much as I didn't want to be on crutches in the winter, I took the chance of having a surgery over the holiday season, to keep my spirits up when down. I struggled through the season, but thankfully had plenty of friends, family and coworkers to help me through. As I made it through the year and spent more time at home, I found myself in even more of a self-discovery mode.

Continuous growth is something that recovery teaches, but I was interested in taking those principles outside of recovery. 2017 would provide some incredible and life-changing opportunities to grow to yet another level. Until next time, friends, family and followers!

J

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