I know the signs: fatigue, resistance, tiredness, repulsion. I know it because I lived it for many years, pushing it down until I could no longer deny how it felt.
Many are obsessed with the idea that work must be filled with passion, purpose, and overwhelming love. Many are sold with the notion that you must love what you do and do what you love for financial gain. I, on the other hand, have the direct experience that this is not true. And not only is it not true but pursuing this story can be harmful.
It happened to me with the horses: I pursued my passion into profession, and I lost my passion. I lost my desire to not only ride, but to even talk about horses after every single day seemed to be filled with nothing but. Now, my equestrian career had a lot of turmoil – the rest of my life was drama filled and I wasn’t in a place to take great care of myself. It also comes with an expensive ticket of physical demands and exhaustion (if you do the riding yourself and the manual labor on top), and while I was extremely resourceful and driven, I couldn’t do it anymore. I made enough money, but I didn’t have any freedom.
I didn’t have benefits, I didn’t have paid time off (or any), I didn’t have a growth track, I didn’t have consistency. I had me. And just me couldn’t cut it.
Now? I have a corporate job. I have benefits. I have a lot of paid time off, which I use without guilt. I have a growth track and no cap on my earning potential. I have a 401K and training available to me. I have a team that supports me. I have a career that demands I continue to work on myself, and that demand entices me to do better as a person. I love helping businesses grow, but I am not overwhelmingly passionate about spreadsheets and budgets and HealthCare. But I know how to talk about it and strategize with you about it and make it important. And help. And as a result, I genuinely love it and intend to stay until retirement.
So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about my writing, and my pursuit of stardom via my recovery and personal story. I’m talking about my book and my blog and my self-promoting on social media. I’m talking about selling myself to help others. I’m talking about hiring someone to help me get onto podcasts and exploit myself and I’m talking about not wanting to have anything to fucking do with it now.
Because it’s not me. I don’t want to exploit myself ever, let alone my personal recovery story on social media. Of course, I am willing to share openly – I wouldn’t have put pen to paper and published my personal story had I not. But to continue, day in and day out, in the same fashion? No thank you. I have listened to some podcasts and I have followed some people, and I do not want what they have. This is not to say that they are doing anything “wrong”, but I have protected my recovery story for so long, I do not want to change that now. I am proud of myself for being so brave and open and vulnerable, but I do not want to change the tune of 12 step recovery or entangle the traditions as a result.
I am a sum of the people who have helped me over the last near 17 years. I am the sum of their wisdom, their guidance, their nurturing. None of those people are shouting from mountain tops. None of those people are on social media talking about themselves and their process. And while I know there must be a level of openness and publicity for those unfamiliar with 12 step recovery, there also needs to be a level of sacred anonymity that is able to be maintained and I feel I am straddling the line.
And I don’t want to straddle. I was beginning to feel my passion being sucked out of me, right before my eyes. I haven’t written a blog because I haven’t wanted to write. I haven’t been posting as much because I wanted to throw my phone in the toilet. All or nothing, black and white. I know that. So instead of not writing at all, or not posting at all and hiding, I can find the grey. I can post but not always about self-care or self-discovery. I can help people, but I don’t have to join forces with a therapist or start doing groups or giving speeches. I can still do podcasts and share my story, but I no longer feel this need to be any more than I am.
I just want to be normal. I just want to be in the middle. I just want to be one of. I want people to read my book, but I don’t need to be on any best seller lists. I want people to read my blog, but I don’t need them to buy something from me once they subscribe. I want people to ask for help and use me if they relate to me, but I don’t need to travel the United States to do so.
I just want to be Alison. I want to live Alison’s life that she’s worked so fucking hard to make and be with the people in our privacy that have helped me make it. I want my family near, and I want to create one. I want my recovery near, and I want to help whomever asks. If I can attract you into wanting what I have by showing you what I do? Awesome! It has changed my life forever for the best. But I am not going to continue to exploit myself ad nauseam – it is not me.
Thank you for letting me share. I find writing things down and posting them holds me to a level of accountability and guidance that I wouldn’t have just talking it out or journaling it would. And that’s how I want to be: accountable, and guided.
Thank you for holding that space for me.