BY: Jenn Stottlemire
I often times think of myself as a “seen it all…done it all” type of person.
Drugs gave me that; took me everywhere I didn’t want to be; places I didn’t know existed.
I have finally acknowledge the opposite through recovery.
It was astonishing to find the beauty in the world.
Beauty that it is alive in the places I had already been, but I didn’t consider beautiful.
I considered those same places the depths of my disease.
I was asked to take part in an emotional intelligence training for work.
5 days of “stretching” outside my comfort zone; outside my ego-self….waaaaaaay outside.
I knew the beauty was in the results which eased my mind and racing heart for the most part.
I carried on.
Day 5 took us out to the community.
Go where the people are.
So I went.
My group chose a homeless shelter next door to a coffee shop that donates all proceeds to those in need.
We carried on individually, buying coffee and water and approaching people about our new found drive for our vision of the world.
Asking their vision of the world.
Uniting and connecting.
I was met with so many eyes; so many souls; stories.
One man had deep wrinkles.
He told me he quit drinking 20 years ago.
Was brought back to life twice, including right where we were standing.
His vision for the world was love.
He was beautiful.
Another man, refused to make eye contact with me; wouldn’t take his sunglasses off.
He too, an addict, but sober today.
He now mentors young men at the shelter, but he was so uncomfortable in his skin.
So angry at the world; he shuts people out quickly.
I can’t remember his vision.
He was so hurt I couldn’t listen to anything beyond his sad voice.
It consumed me.
Next man, never did drugs but landed himself in a homeless situation.
He talked to me the most.
He spoke of his vision to have a better world of love and someone to listen; “no one wants to listen.”
He kept saying “oh well, the worlds too destroyed for all that.”
His disappointment in life was so real. Surface level disappointment.
By the end of the conversation he smiled and looked me in the eyes.
He hadn’t done either until that point.
I told him he can change the world.
And I truly believe he can.
And one more.
A man, “just traveling through Ohio.”
Vision: love in the world.
And he meant it.
I told him my vision: unity in the world of addiction. Connecting addicts with addicts.
Connecting non addicts with addicts.
He looked at me, not knowing my story.
He said “that’s impossible. I don’t do drugs and I don’t understand them. I can’t connect with them.”
I looked into his eyes.
“Sir, you just did.”
I saw kindness, gentleness and a wise spirit and In that moment I saw the walls starting to drop.
The walls he had put up some time ago.
I’m sure those walls weren’t built just for addicts.
Who hurt this man?
Wealthy people? Religious people? A teacher? His dad? A lover? His kids? A pastor? His mom?
Someone had; many had I’m sure.
In that moment that the walls fell, at least started to crumble, he smiled at me and said nothing.
I won’t forget these men and declare that I will visit that shelter regularly.
Will those same men be there or will they have moved on?
I’m not sure.
I am sure of one thing: connecting with them put power to my vision.
I realized I had already started living it.
These men, spoke real life to me.
Beauty in a place, in people, most would walk on by.
Unity and connection.
We can do this y’all!
What’s your vision for the world?
About the Author: Jenn, is a family-focused former teacher who just recently made a complete career change by entering the recovery field as a Behavioral Health Technician Supervisor for women. Writing is something that she became passionate about through her own recovery from drugs and alcohol; using it as an outlet and tool to cope with the varied emotions and experiences of addiction and recovery. Jenn and her husband David who is also in recovery and son, Jackson live in Columbus, Ohio where they enjoy watching movies, cooking, cheering on the Buckeyes, having an active spiritual life and just enjoying the simple things that they once took for granted. The recovery world is their new world and they welcome all who desire recovery! To God be the glory….