Hello darkness my old friend, how are you?

Nothing seems crazy when you’re used to it.

Whether it’s an abusive relationship, a toxic workplace, a compulsive habit, or some other harmful circumstance, you never realize how bad it was until you walk away and heal from it all.

It’s only when you get to the other side and find the happiness you didn’t know you could feel, that you see your past with straight eyes.

But that’s the beauty of human transformation. It affords us contrast, perspective and most of all, gratitude.

Makes me think back to the workaholic period of my life when chronic stomach pain had become my daily companion. My tense, churning gut was the physical manifestation of the accumulated stress and anxiety, and it caused me considerable suffering.

Multiple hospital visits too. Totally sucked.

Thankfully, with the help of doctors, therapists, friends, my wife, and numerous other resources and practices, my body eventually learned to calm the heck down. Only took me ten years, and my stomach pain was a quaint relic of the past.

But as the great comedian once noted, just because you got the monkey off your back, doesn’t mean the circus has left town.

Carlin’s words remind us that relapse is often an unfortunate part of the lifelong recovery process. Even if addiction isn’t part of our lives, everyone slides back. Everyone. There’s always the possibility of the deterioration in our state of physical, mental, emotion and spiritual health after a temporary improvement.

Good news is, that’s actually a positive thing. Because when it happens, we get a pang of a memory of the misery we once used to feel all the time. We show ourselves how far we’ve come and how much we’ve changed along our journey.

Relapse is indicative of my strength of conviction, perseverance and commitment to change.

Next time you reengage the craziness you thought you healed from, don’t beat yourself up about it.

Accept your imperfect humanity, give thanks for the perspective, and greet your darkness like the old friend it is. 

What relapse might open the door to a better understanding of your compulsions?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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