There’s a saying I heard long ago in the rooms of 12 Step recovery from addiction that says, “You bring yourself wherever you go.” While it’s no secret that I’m ready to leave the Midwest and move back East, it’s the underlying message of this saying that has kept me here far longer than any other home I’ve ever lived in throughout my life since I left my childhood home and went off to college.
After almost 8 years here in Toledo, I feel now mostly like a fish out of water. I just haven’t quite fit this Midwest mentality, which in a nutshell is one of great reservedness. My partner Chris says I’m far too transparent for this neck of the woods and he feels it’s the main reason why I’ve struggled to connect with anyone here on a deep level. I’ve really wanted to jump ship because of this and head back East, preferably somewhere warm. My heart longs to live in the Tampa, St. Pete, Ft. Myer vicinity of Florida, but I’m open to living anywhere that’s close to the ocean really, as I’ve always felt closer to God there. It’s why I often think my life would be far easier living near the ocean somewhere, that maybe all my loneliness and daily pain would become far less. But that saying of bringing myself wherever I go comes to mind each time I ponder that.
Addicts tend to move around a lot in their lives, always thinking their unfortunate circumstances of life won’t be present if they move somewhere new. How many times I did this myself, recreating the very same situations repeatedly each time I moved I lost count. Here in this area, I’ve talked to many individuals that remind me of my old self, who say if they could just escape Toledo or Ohio or the Midwest in general, they’d be able to escape their miserable lives. It’s all a lie of course, one their ego tries to convince them of its validity. Because the reality is precisely what I learned over a decade ago, that whatever one’s unfortunate circumstances of life are, it will follow them wherever they go, so long as they aren’t working through what’s causing them.
I know my loneliness and pain levels wouldn’t shift much anywhere else. Over the past few years, I’ve seen that by getting away for good lengths of time, where none of my unfortunate circumstances changed whatsoever. So, even if I did find my way to somewhere like southern Florida and live within mere minutes of the ocean, I know it’s not going to change my life much for the better. This is primarily why it took me two years of long-distance dating before I moved here to live with Chris. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t trying to run away from something then. It wasn’t until I felt God push me in this direction that I finally did move. It’s indeed why I’m waiting here now, rather than letting my ego push me into moving right away.
Honestly, I feel like I was always meant to spend a period here in the Midwest, in Toledo specifically, and I’ve learned many wonderful lessons doing so. While I feel I’m ready to go now, I also trust that God will make a path to wherever I’m meant to go, when He’s ready for that. Leaving any time sooner is one that I feel would emanate from my ego and not my Spirit.
Therefore, I accept now that I really do bring myself wherever I go and maybe I’m still here in Toledo because I’m meant to finish working through something before God is ready for me to move on to somewhere new. After experiencing so many dead-ends and heightened struggles from the many ego-moves I’ve made in my life, I’m staying put until I truly feel God says it’s time to move on again…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson