I never imagined the path I would walk this year. I chose worthy as my word of the year after realizing a year and a half into sobriety that I had some real work to do in how I valued myself. I took this choice seriously and invested in myself in several important ways. In addition to my daily gratitude lists, I knew I wanted to add to my creative pursuits and artistic expression.
I started the year with a pottery class. I love to work with my hands to create. I love pottery but hadn’t taken a class because I didn’t want to spend the money. I learned so much from that class – about pottery, sure, but also about investing in myself financially and with my time.
In February, I attended an AA meeting and had an awakening. I have occasionally attended meetings since I got sober in June 2017, but never had a sponsor or worked the steps or even identified as an alcoholic. At the end of that meeting, I asked a woman to sponsor me and began working the steps. It was a huge investment in myself, a leap of faith to let go of the resentments and walls I built to protect myself. I am so glad I took that risk. My life is better for it.
My next investment was a class called The Worthy Project, with Meadow Devor. I have to admit, I am skeptical about this sort of thing. I sort of smirk in my head (maybe on my face too?) every time I hear the word “coach” outside of sports and this is a totally coachy thing. I decided to reserve judgment and give it a try. Good choice! I learned to question if my thoughts and actions were contributing to feelings of worthiness or worthlessness and to choose wisely. I also learned that in addition to my chattering mind, I could listen to my body, heart and soul. Since then, Meadow has published a book on the four voices, which you can find on Amazon.
In June, I celebrated 2 years of sobriety and found a homegroup in AA. It is an agnostics group, which is perfect for me. Until I found this group, I attended meetings but didn’t feel quite at home. If you have had a similar experience, I’ll tell you what everyone else has already told you – try another meeting. I was a tough sell for AA and it has done wonderful things for my recovery. Other options are available but AA is everywhere and FREE!
Another beautiful thing happened as a result of my worthy work this year. I chose to value myself enough to find a partner that sees me as I am and loves me because of it. Aiming high is a scary thing to do. I couldn’t do it until I found my own worth. Until then I accepted less and tried to make it more, which doesn’t ever work, does it?
My own worthy project hasn’t been all hard work. It has also been so much fun. Here are a sampling of things that I did this year that contributed to my sense of worthiness: camping by myself in Assateague, teaching myself to quilt, finishing several knitting projects that were just for me, learning to do natural dying of fabric. At work I accepted the task of writing a $1.5 million grant and a book chapter on DNA damage and neurodegeneration. I am beginning to learn linocutting and encaustic painting. I continue to be fearless in art, mostly because there’s nothing to fear.
Yesterday, I turned 50 years old. I never thought I would be discovering myself at this age, but I hope I am still learning about myself at 100. What a wonderful year it has been! I have spent a lot of time thinking about the appropriate word to follow this year of massive growth. I have decided that my word for 2020 is ENJOY. I can only imagine how this word with work within me this year in my personal life and career.