In a recent meeting led by our Dinwiddie house, they discussed progression. Each Lifer in the house went around and talked about what progression meant to them, and how they have progressed on their journey through recovery.

The importance of developing personal skills, and focusing on yourself, are themes that made its way into almost everything our Lifers said. Learning new skills, as well as practicing what you already know help you to grow and develop as a person. Even if you think you already know something, it can be beneficial to take a step back and learn and listen from others in order to further hone those skills.

Mindset is also key when it comes to progression. Lifers talked about the importance of keeping your mind active. Staying focused can be hard work, but it is necessary to always keep your eye on the next goal you want to achieve, and to keep moving forward no matter what. One Lifer stated that when it comes to a difficult task, he must conquer it, and make it his. Never standing still and allowing your mind to wander off to things that may be harmful to your wellbeing is something to take seriously. However, even if you do get sidetracked, the next right thing to do is to get right back on track, and not let it pull you all the way back down.

One Lifer in the house just received word that he would be the new house manager, as the current one would be moving on. Being able to pass the torch on to a Lifer who had come so far in his journey to a better self was emotional for all of the Lifers. The new house manager took some time to speak about his own story and how he has progressed in his life. One thing he had learned that was important to overcoming obstacles is to leave the past in the past. Carrying the past with you all the time, and ruminating on it, constantly shows that there is a part of you that does not want to get over it and move on to better things. Regarding the past, it may have helped to develop and nurture yourself into who you are today to a degree, but the progress cannot end there. It is important to keep moving every single day to be better, and to move past the times in your life when you were wrapped up in bad things.

Lifers expressed how thankful they are for those who have given them the opportunity to move forwards. Through REAL LIFE, they have learned to better govern their emotions, have more emotional awareness, and take responsibility for their past, present, and future selves. Each day they could make the decision to be selfish, but deciding to instead be selfless and do what is right for you and those around you is the only way to truly progress in life. By putting in the work, great things can happen.

REAL LIFE is adamant about the importance of following the rules and listening to those who are around to help. The rules are laid out in order for each Lifer to be successful. Therefore, good conduct, accountability, and responsibility are necessary in each house, and Dinwiddie house aims to live up to those ideals under their new house manager. He wants the house to be as strong as possible, and for each Lifer to do their part. A group is only as strong as their weakest link, so it is important for each Lifer to take care of themselves, and to build each other up. Nobody wants to regress back to their old life and end up back on the street.

REAL LIFE can give you the chance for a real life, but you must first take responsibility. The closing comments ended with saying that it is never too late to be the person who you should have been, or could have been in the past. Always keep moving forward and strive to progress. Finally, the night ended with the serenity prayer, which says to have the serenity to accept the things they cannot change, the courage to change the things they can, and the wisdom to know the difference. These words reflect the ideals of progress and keep the Lifers motivated to be their best selves.