“Everything you need
to accomplish your goals
is in you already”

I can’t do justice to explain how next to simply not drinking, the encouragement of everyone in my sobriety circuits have helped me get to this point of sober success.

I’d like to pay it forward a little.

Because a little encouragement can go a really, really, really long way.

Sometimes, the words of others behave like fallen seeds. You don’t realize they’ve rooted until they start to grow. And today, I’d like to plant a little garden.

Dear You, Me, and All of Us:

Never forget that you are made up of stars. The same stars that manage to grow brighter while everything around them dims – you are made of the same stuff that fuels their flame. You have inside you the same brightness and ability to shine as boldly as any other in the endless, relentless, ever-changing sky.

You don’t have to blaze through the night collecting the wishes of witnesses lucky enough to behold you. All you need to do is keep granting your own.

And there will be times when you flicker and question yourself, swallowed up in the seeming anonymity of night. Never forget that you are not nameless; someone has followed you through their own darkness and it was your light that led them home.

There will be days you feel common and forget where you came from, as if you’re just another pale pinpoint next to countless others shining brighter than you. Never forget you were born of the same breathtaking burst that placed us all together, all equal, into the same dark sky with the beautiful intent that we all glow together.

And as you continue to glow, you will grow. Like trees that bend and curve to their own unique shape, allow the wind to form you. Troubles will blow through your branches and try to break you, but do not buckle. Never forget your roots reach deeper than you know. When storms erupt and howl through your limbs, remember it’s their rain you’ll be drinking tomorrow.

At times you will lose yourself in the shadow of bigger and bolder trees, but keep growing. Every taller tree is a seedling that kept reaching for the sun; a sun that nourishes without judgement regardless of what shape of tree you’ve become. Your leaves deserve her light as much as any other in the woods.

Some days you will rage with the strength of the sea, and some days you’ll flow surely downstream. Never forget you are both the endless ocean and the impermanent wave. Your mysterious and marvellous unexplored depths are magical and matchless – discover them. Dive deep with curious courage, but allow yourself to simply drift on the surface at times, too.

And though you have within yourself the power to burn as bright as you’d like, be gentle so you don’t burn out too soon. Find what it is that fuels your flame and with temperance learn how to nurture that as well. When what inspires you runs out, so will your fire. Care for what sparks your passion with perennial gratitude.

Never forget that your truth needs to breathe. Set it free from it’s cage and let it soar over your turbulent seas, let it follow and fly by the light of the stars and build a home in your unyielding branches. Allow your truth to warm itself by your fevered flames when the sun slips low and nighttime nears.

In those timid moments of indecision and uncertainty, always remember that everything you require is already within you. You are made of the same matter as everlasting stars, witness to the immutable cycle of trial and triumph, and shining more brightly for it.

With much love & gratitude,
Shawn xo

Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


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