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Hero’s Journey Step 10 – Crossing the threshold back

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If you can recall from step 4 the first time you crossed the threshold into the magical place, now this is stepping out of the magical place. You are now accustom to this magical place, you know the people, you know the rules, you know what is expected of you. Now, however you need to take the knowledge and skills you have gained and take it back with you to your world or environment that you came from. This process is so scary and full of self-doubt, so much so, some people will not want to take that step. Anxiety is pitched to the maximum and some will be full of fear. Why you ask? It is because they know what is waiting for them. They have been there and know what is waiting for them. They know that they will be tested, judged with the lenses that people used when they were last there. This concept has been know for a long time.  Just as it is stated in the Bible ‘no prophet is accepted in his home town’ (Luke 4:16-30). In this case exchange the word prophet with Hero. To qualify why we change the Prophet with Hero, Is because the Hero is a prophet of sorts. They have gone and learnt new knowledge and skills and now they come home and can teach others on what they have learnt. However, this new knowledge will not be taken seriously and it will be questioned, they will be questioned, because they will be judged as they were before they left.

I recall years ago we did conducted a K10 study with clients on entering the detox and Rehab and then the K10 the day before discharging home. There was a significant increase on the K10 score on exiting the program with all clients. However there was a greater significance in change with the females when doing a T-test from entry to discharge. It is that those that feel that have control over their lives tend to score lower on the K10, as anxiety of the future is mitigated by the feeling of agency in one’s life.

What I will do here is to break down the different mentalities that I have observed over the past 17 years in being a Drug and Alcohol Therapist.

When a person does not have a drive or desire to leave an institution. That institution becomes a comfort zone that they wrap them selves in. Even if that comfort zone is a hell within, to deal with. They know that hell and how to navigate the bad times. They can live comfortably with others making the major decisions for them. Leaving has no meaning for them. They know what is waiting for them in their own environment. Why leave when there is more meaning in life, but within the magical place than there is at home. You can see this mentality in the repeat offenders that feel at home in jail and would rather be in jail than free on the streets. It is the same for many that live the vast majority of their life learning new subjects at university, being carrier students. Just as a person that suffers in a bad marriage for the sake of their children, for the institution of marriage, knowing safety in the security of marriage.

If you look at the story line of Rocky Balboa the movies, we can see the pattern. For a long time Rocky lives his life in the magic place of fight after fight not wanting to go back to his origins, to be a teacher to those that are suffering the same fight that he once did. living the plush life away from his home town, he lives with all the benefits of being a master without a student. Not even teaching his own child. Until he is forced out of the magic by his accountant. All he has when he goes back to his origins is what he left with, but he goes back with wisdom, knowledge in the doing. Then finally he finds meaning through another, once again taken away from him, to then find meaning in his adult child when it is almost to late to hear Rocky’s wisdom. But you can see Rocky trying to get back into the place of magic that he fought to get into time and time again, without success.

People get institutionalised for this. It is not a conscience choice. It become a behaviour bourn of necessity to survive in what they see as a hell when left to their own devices. The sacrifice of staying in the magical place is that is is a place of growth, but growth can only continue if the Hero leaves the magical place to take that magic to others. The death of freewill and agency is the price of living continuously in the magical place. 

The realisation that the path is over and a new direction is needed for growth to continue. crossing this threshold is scary for some, while others leap for it. The only danger at this stage is that overconfidence drives us to take risks that would otherwise be avoided. Furthermore, Discarding all that is learnt and reverting back to default behaviour is also a danger.

The default behaviour is the behaviour which we have become accustom to before a change. Default behaviour is the way we do things to find comfort from difficulties. Those behaviour may be seeking comfort with that you wish to sacrifice to grow into a new and better version of you. However, our default behaviour is strong and the risk of falling back in that old pattern is great.


To protect our-selves from a drastic change we look for a position in life that will do it for us, subconsciously or consciously. For instance, if addiction is the issue in your life. We may pick a job where you need to be clean, to protect your self from your self. This may still leave 8 to 16 hours that you are left to your own devices. This, you then pick a hobby or volunteer in an organization that insists of you being clean from drugs, such as Army reserve, SES, Bush Fire Fighters. Say for example you do not want to make decisions or have a low confidence in making choices for your life. You may pick a dominating partner to do it for you or a job that does not give you any autonomy.  This also makes it hard for the Hero to leave the the safe place and go back to their life. Because as we have talked about, The Hero never travels alone, the mentor is around along with the other characters. For even when the journey is about getting independence, this appears different when the hero must go home. For what is the objective? What is the goal? out side the journey of the magical space. 


This leads up in to the next step

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