I’ve finally noticed a pattern that I have had for my 30+ years in recovery: waiting to get my shit together before I take action. That’s a problem for me because the truth is I may never become the idealized person I’d like to be. I haven't yet. What I know at long last is that if I put off opportunities I may miss my chance. I can think of two people that I wanted to meet and could have met, but didn’t because I wasn’t ready, because I wasn’t good enough, because I didn’t have my shit together–yet. Both those people died while I was waiting to be a better person.
Thomas Leonard, pioneering how to coach “restoratives”
One was Thomas Leonard, the “father of coaching.” I knew people who could have introduced me to Leonard. I wanted to talk with him because he knew a lot about coaching those he called “restoratives,” people who have experienced problems with addiction, trauma or mental health—the very people I work with as a professional coach with expertise in addiction. Thomas Leonard died in his forties of a heart attack. I missed my chance to hear his thoughts about how best to coach restoratives. I regret that. And there’s another person I missed, G. Alan Marlatt.
G. Alan Marlatt, pioneering prevention with Harm Reduction
I would have liked to have met G. Alan Marlatt. He did ground-breaking research on addiction at the University of Washington. I lived in Washington for twenty-one years, twelve of them in Seattle, nine in Port Angeles. I had a friend who knew Marlatt well and offered to introduce me, but I turned her down because I wasn’t ready. I’d gotten sick doing hospice work and didn’t have my shit together. I would have liked to talk about harm reduction with him. I would have liked to have talked about brief interventions with him. He was a pioneer in prevention, bringing Harm Reduction (HR) concepts to reducing campus drinking.
Change is always an inside job.
I’ve missed my chance with Leonard and Marlatt. And I will miss other chances unless I change my thinking. I may never become the woman I want to be (darn it!) but I do have opportunities and need the courage to show up for them imperfectly. I need to be willing to show up as I am and let that be good enough.
No time like the present. I am more than good enough.
There is one person I have wanted to meet for almost twenty years, another addiction professional. He is currently alive and well. I’m going to make a plan to meet him. Let’s face it, I may never feel like I have it all together. But rather than waiting until I’m a better, healthier, more ideal person, I need to recognize that I am good enough now to have a cup of coffee, good enough to have a conversation, smart enough to learn something and to contribute something. Just plain fine enough while the opportunity exists. Because opportunities are time-limited, and I don’t want to waste anymore of them waiting to be a better person.