I had someone ask me why I chose the name, "Transforming-Lives-Together. I thought this might be a good blog post idea. Thanks, John! So here goes....
Well, I guess a little background is in order. Most of my life from high school on, I drank. Heavily. In the late 90’s I got hooked on crack cocaine. That crap completely destroyed what I had left of my life. I rode that rollercoaster until August of 2006 when I finally was able to get clean and sober. It took me going through 2 inpatient rehabs and 4 outpatient before the message of sobriety stuck! During 2006, my family dynamic changed when it was determined my dad had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. During his illness, he and I were able to overcome some pretty big rifts that had developed between us over the decades. After a year and a half or so, he went into remission and, holy cow, it was a miracle. Several months after going into remission, he started to feel crappy and went in for blood work. It was discovered he’d developed Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Within a year, on he was gone. BUT he saw me sober for the last 3 years of his life! Most of my life I’d been working as a chef and running kitchens. In 2004, after major surgery on my left foot, my orthopedic doctor HIGHLY recommended that I get a sit-down job, which I was finally able to find! I worked there until 2014 when some “fortuitous” circumstances at that business left me without a job. That was the push I needed to decide to go back to college. I’d thought off and on over the last few years about doing something different, but never gave myself the kick in the a&& I needed to do something about it. Growing up, my dad’s favorite quote that he’d frequently share was “shit or get off the pot”! So that fall in 2014, I enrolled at the local junior college and started pursuing my career choice of becoming a substance abuse counselor/ social worker. It was time for me to give back the gift of sobriety that I was given.
So why the name “Transforming-Lives-Together”? We’ve all heard the saying “a tiger can’t change his stripe”. To me, that means life is hopeless, that there is NO way to improve or better yourself. If that was true, would we have had the great minds like Napoleon Hill, Jim Rohn, Norman Vincent Peale, Zig Ziglar, etc.? If I followed that belief, I’d be incarcerated, hopeless, possibly dead.
A symbol that is used in 12 step programs is that of a butterfly. The butterfly symbol signifies beauty and transformation. The butterfly is sometimes described as the "kiss of God." With this idea about how the caterpillar is able to metamorphous into a butterfly, can we as humans transform our own lives into something better?
Life. That’s what makes up the human experience. We have to determine how we want to live. We all make that choice in our life. Some people seem to think their life is meaningless, that there is no purpose for them. That they don’t matter. I believe that there is something redeemable in all humans. I’m deciding if I like the word redeemable. Maybe substitute it out with the word “fixable". Iddo Landau said “To my surprise, most of the people with whom I have talked about the meaning of life have told me that they did not think that their lives were meaningful enough. Many even presented their lives as outright meaningless. But I have often found the reasons my interlocutors gave for their views problematic. Many, I thought, did not pose relevant questions that might have changed their views, or take the actions that might have improved their condition. (Some of them, after our discussions, agreed with me.) Most of the people who complained about life’s meaninglessness even found it difficult to explain what they took the notion to mean.” This really resonated with me.
Together. We are all on this object spinning 1000 mph together. I’ve known very few people who can truly get through life on their own. If they can, more power to them! It’s kind of like the old saying if you just have one stick, it can be broken easily, but if you tie a whole bunch of sticks “together” there is strength in numbers.
So in a long, round-a-bout way, this is my answer to why “Transforming Lives Together”. We need a transformation in our life, and we can’t do it alone.