“Homeless and hopeless to award winning teacher in 23 months”
Next month will be two years of sobriety for me. I love who I am becoming. I can see a great future. I embrace the responsibility of my past, present, and future. Yet, I still struggle with knowing that I do deserve better. Sometimes I can even doubt my own doubts. Success is foreign and also a challenge to me. It challenges me in recovery to grasp the fact that I really do deserve better.
This past Wednesday I was surprised to learn that I had been awarded the Golden Apple for Tulsa Public Schools. A honor given to outstanding teachers by our Superintendent. A student of mine had written in about how I had inspired her to become a teacher. She wrote how she had learned to not fear mistakes because they are ways to learn and steps to success.
As I walked into the room I was greeted by news cameras, students, administration, and family. My first thought was classic alcoholic. I wanted to throw my hands in the air and proclaim I had done nothing wrong. It was a strange and overwhelming feeling of flight or fight and boy did I want to run. The recognition was such an honor but yet so foreign. I was not quite sure how to handle it.
I am thankful that I was wearing a decent shirt. I was dressed in a hoodie that morning and Cindy keep pressing me to wear something better. Like I should, I listened. So many people were in on the surprise. It was extremely humbling and instantly I wondered if I really deserved this, others deserved it so much more than I did.
It is so much easier to be the screw up.
Right then and there I was reminded of who I am and what I battle every day. I am Kip and I am an alcoholic. Doubt and fear of success is our selfish way of avoiding a better life and the responsibility that comes with it. It is so much easier to be the screw up. Questioning our recovery is that deep rooted selfish weapon of our addiction.
Do I deserve better? Absolutely I do! The simple fact I must remember is that it is all about progress and not perfection. My alcoholic mind will tell me it is too much or I will never be enough. But success is not an obstacle to overcome it is a reward of my work in recovery. I cannot see it as a burden of responsibility. I must see it as the proof that is in the pudding, as they say.
I am developing a winning mindset by focusing on these four principles:
- I recognize my value
- I am ready to make changes
- I am willing to take responsibility
- I am able to imagine a better future
When success comes our way just remember that it is proof of the promises coming true in our lives. It may be awkward at first since we grew so accustomed to failure. But we can and will bear fruit from our labor. I am beginning to bear fruit, I just had no idea it would be A GOLDEN APPLE.