The first time I walked into Narcotics Anonymous with my wife Angie, I looked for the differences.
I looked to see how much different I was with the other
I was broken. I was just less broken.
That was my defense, and my defenses were up.
My story was my story. And I was different.
I was not like them. I was different.
Over time, as they began to know me, they would see that I was different. I would just help them see the obvious.
I was not like them. They were really broken. I was different.
I realized I was wrong.
And because I was so very wrong, I found the reason I was in that room.
I always looked for how I was different. I needed to feel different than others, better than others, to feel significant.
To feel special.
To feel worthy.
To feel valuable.
But I felt none of those.
I just felt disconnected.
From everyone. All the time.
I did not feel special, worthy, or valuable.
I just felt disconnected.
And that was why I was in that room. That’s why I had been in so much pain.
I felt disconnected.
The feeling I thought would make me feel significant made me feel alone.
And feeling alone made me want to sedate.
I thought I would find importance, significance, worth, value… from separating myself from others.
But the opposite happened.
I broke myself. I disconnected myself from the world, so I broke.
And I was in a room with others who had done the same.
We created our own brokenness.
As the weeks went on, I discovered, through hearing others’ stories, that we are all the same.
Not just addicts. All of us. We are all connected.
We are connected by fear, anger, past stories, hurts, pain, uncertainty, trauma, abuse, challenges…
We are all connected. Equally connected. Whether we want to admit it or not.
As I meet new people and listen to their stories, I learn that everyone has doubts, fears, anxieties. Everyone has fears, instincts, caused by their stories.
I hear myself in everyone. I see everyone in me.
The stories are different. But we are the same. The only difference among us is our stories…
And if you look deeper, understand on a deeper level…
…in many cases, those stories are the same too.
But we look to our differences, our skin, our titles, our experiences, our bank accounts, the size of our homes…
We look for differences.
And in the differences, you will find pain, suffering, separation, the need for escape.
If you look for the similarities, if you truly look for the connectedness…
…you will find it.
It is through connectedness you find love, compassion, hope, peace, happiness.
It is through our similarities where you will find your purpose.
To serve. To support. To love. To encourage. To build. To relate. To honor. To celebrate.
To connect. Together. United.
As I attended more Narcotics Anonymous meetings one statement changed my life’s perspective.
“Healing begins when we stop looking for the difference and begin noticing
With that statement, I began to understand why I felt so alone, so empty, so broken.
With that statement healing began.
The healing continues today.
It is through recognizing the connection of us all where I have found worth and value.
We are all equally worthy and valuable.
Today, I encourage you to drop your defenses. Let down your ego and pride for just a while…
…and recognize the similarities.
We are not better, worse, or different than others.
We are all connected by life, with our own stories, our own experiences.
The core is the same.
Then begin to understand the similarities in the stories, and you will find the connectedness that brings peace and happiness.
And through peace and happiness, you will find the High-Performance Life you are seeking.
Find the connection, and you will find healing.
The peace is in connection and similarities, never the differences.
Today, find the similarities, and the healing will begin.
Mike Kitko is a former United States Marine, a former Business Executive, and a former failure. I coach and support Veteran business owners through life, business, and military transition challenges, so that they feel as significant and successful in the civilian world as they felt as a warrior.
I coach and motivate others to avoid and overcome the challenges that we all face on a daily basis. Because I have personally witnessed failure and rebirth, I believe that we are all more powerful than we recognize, and that daily mind, body, and spirit development towards your true purpose, using your uniqueness,