By Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
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Ending on a High Note
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and
try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in
a very foreign tongue.
-Ranier Maria Rilke
Some people go to book
stores to find an old folk tale. I go to furniture stores. You see, when I first moved to
Chicago, I discovered an old furniture store on Clark Street. I needed furniture and this
place looked interesting. There were display windows in front of the building that looked
like Lincoln was in office the last time they were cleaned.
I met Al, the stores owner. Al wore a cap that much like a sea captains hat.
He walked around the store entertaining everyone that walked in.
loved his stories, so I would visit Als store as often as I could. Every piece of
old furniture I pointed to, Al had a story to tell me. If I pointed to a table, Al would
say, That table was once owned by Marcel Saint duPont, one of Chicagos
most noted shoemakers.
pointed to a chair, he would say, Mary Astor loved that piece. You know I think they
named Astor Street for her.
afternoon I saw an old wooden chair up against the far back wall of the store. The arm had
fallen off and the back had spindles that shook when the chair stood still, but I loved
it. I asked Al if I could buy that chair.
that chair was once owned by one of the most interesting dancers in the history of our
city. It was commissioned in Europe for a birthday celebration. Every evening following
her performance, shed sit and relax in this chair. It was known for its unique
ability to fit the contours of the human body, even though it was made of wood, not
how much? I asked.
hard to put a price on such a valuable piece, Al said, but for you, Ill
charge one dollar.
dollar? I exclaimed.
only a dollar. And the promise that you treat it with respect.
can you sell such a treasure so cheaply? I asked.
chair will not be so cheap, he corrected. You will end up paying more for it
than you would for a new piece of furniture. Because in order to use the chair correctly,
you must enlist the help of someone who can show you how to put it back together properly.
Take it to a woodworker and ask them to show you where to find the tools and material so
that you may restore the chair.
you must find someone willing to show you how proper chairs function. A designer of good
chairs is who you need for that. Then you must take your time and do the job right. You
can work here on the fourth floor if you like. Theres lots of extra space up
I just take it to a repairman? I asked.
then youll not receive anything except a chair. Its better that you learn for
yourself instead of having someone go through the motions for you.
happy to tell you all that the chair turned out beautifully, but I would have never been
able to imagine just how much work was involved in owning that chair.
I have Al to thank not only for the chair, but what that chair taught me about myself.
Really, what Al taught me that day is no different than the lesson I hope youre
taking from this book. I know the message he left with me has been a point of
inspiration for me throughout the
years. Steve, he said,
its not so important how well-off something is when you begin to work on it,
it only matters how well-off it is when you finish with it.
youve stayed with me throughout this book, I hope that youve begun to discover
that same lesson for yourself. Theres nothing simple about the act of stepping out
of the shadows. But theres a simple formula to follow to create the kind of life
that we all are longing for.
be waiting for moments of profound clarity about what to do next. I hope youve
embraced the idea that the next small, simple act is the most empowering act in our
arsenal. Stepping out of the shadows is like unraveling a knot. You have to keep tugging
at the knot, you wont unravel it with just one yank.
integration. Think being whole. Think about reclaiming. Thats what all of this
works geared towards. North meeting south. East meeting west. The thread that we use
to weave this tapestry is the song in our soul. The song that sings our lifes story.
The words of the song belts out the Truth about ourselves and our destiny.
needle that pulls the thread is our spirit. Our spirit is this incredible well of energy.
Sadly, this energy oftentimes lies dormant within ourselves. But, that can so easily
change. We can liberate the energy of our spirit. And it can be done with one subtle shift
in how we live our lives.
we need do to harvest the wealth that awaits us by awakening our soul and liberating our
spirit is follow one simple law. I call it the Law of Whats Possible. All we
need do is open ourselves to whats possible. When were open to the
possibilities of what the universe has to offer us, then well be open to discovering
what our lives can be.
dont forget the importance of our mindset. We have to see the world through a
different set of lenses. Unless we transform how we think about the things in our lives,
itll be difficult to see what possibilities exist in our lives.
me toss in one last element in this formula. Healing. Healing from within. Healing how we
think about ourselves, act towards ourselves, and feel towards ourselves. Healing the way
we relate to the world, the people in our lives. The salve to those tender wounds
wont go on easily. It wont feel natural to the touch, but give it time, let it
soak in. Let this magical salve turn old scar tissue into new tender skin. The salve
Im talking about is two magical words, I deserve.
the one thought I want to leave you with. This book is nothing more than a testimony to
what can happen for you when you begin to live those two words. Dont be put off by
such simplicity. You neednt search for more complex solutions, although I assure you
As I say good-bye to
you, do me one last honor. Look at where you are. Look to where the light is shining
brightest. Take one small step towards that light, step away from the darkness of the
shadows, begin your journey, and know that you deserve to be wherever that journey takes
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.