By Brandon Neuman, Addictions Counsellor, Renascent’s Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program
Early in recovery I found that I was quite impressionable. I was in a new city, had admitted powerlessness and was looking for next steps to follow. I was, and am, very grateful that much of this direction was provided by the 12 steps, my sponsor, and before that the counselling staff at the Sullivan house in Brooklin. Even though I had strong support through the kindness of others, there was still much time to fill and thought to direct.
“Garbage in, garbage out” is a phrase that I often hear in the 12 step rooms. Akin to “you are what you eat”; it is a way to draw attention to that fact that what I consume or am surrounded by will ultimately effect how I think and behave. This includes media like books, music, and movies. With this in mind, I found myself being drawn to a specific book whose main character possessed the traits of honesty, open mindedness, and willingness.
The Little Prince is written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It is a story about a stranded pilot being visited by the Little Prince from Asteroid B612, who shares his experiences meeting many people from other asteroids. These people often represent a sort of archetype of adult. There is a businessman obsessed with counting, a king obsessed with ruling, and even a drunk. The Little Prince approaches life with curiosity and compassion. He experiences the world with an open heart and authenticity.
This story teaches me to keep an open mind. Remain teachable. Find the wonders in daily life. Be open to new experiences. Be willing to step outside my comfort zone. Ask people questions (and listen to their answers). It even touches on self-sacrifice and service to others. This story speaks to the simple virtues that can lead me to a life I want to live. As the author tells us in his work: “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
We can find meaning wherever we choose. I found much guidance and comfort in this fun tale. I hope whoever is reading this can feed their curiosity, enable their adventurous spirit, and find a story that inspires them.