Monday, October 4, 2010


There is something magical about Fall. People talk about Spring being full of possibilities and new beginnings. For me it's all about Fall. I feel like I can do anything when the season shifts, when you need a jacket in the morning and just before the sun sets, when the true colors of the trees shine through their green masks and they let the world know the brilliance they've been hiding all summer long.

I want to show my brilliance. I want to radiate like those crimsons and coffees and bronzes. Fall is my new beginning. There are so many possibilities and chances waiting to be taken. I've always said I want to get married in the fall because each year it feels like the perfect time to find love and just have it explode into life.

No love yet this year, but here's hoping.

The past few days I've felt incredibly grateful for what I have. Not that I'm not usually pretty optimistic about the opportunities I've been afforded in life, I'm incredibly blessed, but the last few days have thrown this into even sharper relief.

I work in a residential treatment facility for recovering drug addicts. It is my great privilege to work among such courageous individuals, and to take them to NA and AA meetings where they can share their stories and find greater inspiration, strength and hope. Over the past seven months I have come to love the 12 Step Program worked in those meetings. It's changed my life.

Saturday morning I sat next to a wonderful woman who simply said, "Life is too short. Life is too [effing] short to be worried about who is holding the remote control and who is right. I used to be really concerned with who is right, and I'm learning more and more that it's not me, and I'm learning to deal with that." Powerful? I think so.

Last night a client asked me to help her with her creative expression (when they create a visual and written work to represent their past, present, and hope for the future that they complete close to the end of their stay in treatment). She had written some really beautiful words in the attempt to create a poem. I could see the potential and power of what she was trying to convey, so I gave here a really difficult challenge. I asked her to put the poem into a form (one that I thought was hell the first time I encountered it). The Villanelle--see! It even sounds enigmatic. I'm really glad she accepted the challenge.

The best part was the look on her face. It gave me the this is why I do what I do feeling. To see her excitement, her desire to try something hard, something she'd never done before. That's money.

I've had that a few times lately. Another client has been struggling to find her Higher Power ever since she came into treatment. Anybody who knows anything about the 12 Steps knows you can't work them until you have a Higher Power. I could see defeat in her tears a few weeks ago when she expressed to me that she'd been trying to find a Higher Power so much without success that she didn't know what else to do. I did something kind of backwards. I gave her permission to quit finding a Higher Power and just do the assignments she had been given. The weight she felt lifted was visible. Four days ago she stuck her head around my door and said, "Hey, I may have found my Higher Power. No, I do have a Higher Power. This week it all just fell into place and everything fits and makes sense now. I just wanted you to know." My impending release of hormones may have something to do with it, but I was almost moved to tears.

That's money. This is why I do what I do. The job doesn't pay great, the hours aren't always wonderful. I hardly have a weekend. But I get to see people's lives literally change before my eyes. Who couldn't love that?