Happy New Year, Mountainside Community!
Here we are, in 2021.
Whatever your journey has been, you’ve made it this far – and Mountainside has played a role in your recovery.
As I write this, of course, we are still in 2020: in the throes of a Covid resurgence, wrapping up what has been a year of novel challenges and creative/patient solutions. As a result, I find myself thinking about previous years, in addition to the one ahead of us.
We often hear the phrase: “New Year, New You,” but this truism fails to capture an essential characteristic strength of our community – the quality of unusual resilience, self-knowledge, and continuity with our pasts in the ongoing process of recovery.
Speaking for myself and those of the Mountainside community that I know and love, I find myself eschewing the idea of a “new me” for several reasons.
All the alumni and the extended community of Mountainside have worked hard to get where they are, and it feels right and important to honor that process. Nobody becomes who they are in a vacuum – and no one knows that better than a community of individuals working on issues of addiction. For this reason, sticking close to the concept of an evolved (rather than a new) self seems appropriate and inspiring.
Some of the most wonderful self-discoveries I’ve made have related to the interests/feelings/pursuits I always had – the self I always inhabited, before anything that brought me to Mountainside. I find that my interests and thinking & emotional responses are usually not new, but rather have evolved with my own experiences, and in the context of all the work we started at Mountainside, and that I’ve done in the year since I left. Never could I forget that first week at Mountainside: “who are you, Christina, and what is going on?” seemed to vibrate through my dazed awareness. That work, which is always ongoing, started there.
I hope I never forget “who I was,” even at the least hopeful of times. That person is still in there somewhere, and she’ll always be a part of me. I will continue to honor my truth and the path that got me where I am today. This is how I am going to be able to live as my most authentic self, embracing my future and the possibilities I encounter with confidence and hope.
So rather than capitalizing on the recycled idea of a “New Year/New You,” I’ll instead phrase it like this… writing from New York City, in 2020, as we evolve into 2021 – here’s to this New Year’s evolution, and the ever-evolving you. May you meet the New Year with a grateful heart for everything behind you and everything that is to come.
Let’s all stay in touch with each other (shout out to all my friends who already do). It’s the very best.
Hugs from Manhattan and happy 2021!