The Courage to be Uncomfortable with Dan Sanfellipo

Step 12 Magazine Dan Sanfellipo

I recently received good news from my doctor. After undergoing a new treatment for Hep-C, I am officially cured! I still need to be on the pills for another five or six weeks, but the virus is gone.

Before I started this new treatment, I was warned there would be uncomfortable side effects. I would likely experience nausea, insomnia, depression, fatigue—and I did. It was light-years more comfortable than the interferon treatment I had in prison (which didn’t work) but it was as uncomfortable as the doctor said it would be.

The first few weeks were the worst. I was painfully aware of every side effect. But hope of being cured of a disease that would ultimately take my life kept me compliant with the regimen. Still, I had to summon all my courage to stay hopeful and hang on to the faith that this discomfort was the means to a better end.

The call from my doctor last week was the prize.

This wouldn’t have even been possible if I wasn’t clean and sober today, which is the reward of living through another very uncomfortable “treatment.”

When I first got sober, I received so much love and caring—people hugged me, shook my hand, told me to come back. They didn’t want anything from me and I didn’t trust that in the beginning. I didn’t believe that a guy like me, who came from where I came from, deserved the love and gifts of the program given to me so freely and so quickly. I pushed people away.

I was warned the treatment would be uncomfortable. I was told the process would be the means to a better end. I had to find the courage to sit through the discomfort if I had any hope of surviving this disease that was threatening my life. I’m grateful for my willingness to sit through it.

It was very difficult facing people I didn’t know with total honesty about my story and situation. It was even more difficult facing my loved ones; I cheated them, lied to them, disappointed them and stole from them. My old go-to for dealing with discomfort was drugs and alcohol, but that was off the table now. If I wanted the better life, I had to follow the treatment plan.

By following the plan, working the steps, and helping other people, I have been cleared of all that negativity. The burdensome baggage of guilt and shame are gone. Because I sat through the side effects of new sobriety, I was given the option to undergo the new Hep-C treatment (with all it’s terrible side effects)—and it worked.

I will undoubtedly have to sit through discomfort again. Consequences from my bad choices in the past sometimes sneak up on me. It still takes courage to sit through the discomfort of change … even when change is for the better. The side effects do pass.

I do these articles because I want to freely give the same “medicine” that was freely given to me. If you can have the courage to be uncomfortable for a little while, long enough to get to a new place, I promise, the sun shines brighter and the grass grows greener.

I spent thirty years messing up my life a minute at a time. The transition was uncomfortable and things didn’t change over night. Today, I am very comfortable in my own skin because I had the courage to sit uncomfortably with the side-effects of treatment.

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