In 2009, after I had been through over a year of different rehabs and AA meetings, I relapsed. It was worse than ever within the first day, and I was smoking crack and heroin within 12 hours.
After one week like this I was a few thousand dollars in debt, and my friend Zach that I’d avoided all week found me. I told him what had happened, and he told me he was going to turn me in to our treatment center and my parents. I literally cried and begged him not to because I didn’t want to disappoint them, and I absolutely didn’t want to stop. He looked at me and said, “I don’t give a fuck about your feelings. I just care about your life.”
Once he turned me in to everyone I got clean again quickly. It was still early enough on that I had the sense to quit and get back on track. Had that friend been worried about me sobbing and keeping me from being “sad” I might still be using.
Today those words have a much different meaning to me. Our friend Annie articulated it better than I’ve ever heard. To paraphrase her she said “Rather than fighting for people’s comfort, fight for their excellence; fight for the highest version of themselves.”
What it means to me is that we should hold people to the highest standard possible. Support them in growing in every aspect of their lives.
To be totally cliché, since I’ve met Adee I feel like I’ve made as much or more personal growth as any point in my life. Yeah “she makes me a better person.” It has to do with that idea I just mentioned. She knows my biggest dreams and passions, and I’m clear with her about the man I want to be. So when I do things that are not in line with those dreams, or I’m NOT being the person I said I wanted to be she calls me out (in many different ways). She holds me to the highest standard possible. Some moments I absolutely hate it because it’s uncomfortable, but it’s always worth it.
I have two goals related to this that I highly recommend to anyone reading:
- Always hold people to the highest standard possible. If I see them “hiding out” from growth in one area of their life (physically, emotionally, career, etc), I make them aware of it and support them through it, even if it makes them mad at me or even hate me for some time.
- Surround myself with people that do that for me. Rather than just befriending people that make me “feel good,” spend a significant amount of time with ones that challenge me, argue with me and make me a better person.
Learn to embrace the discomfort. It’s just a sign of growth.