Never take criticism from someone from whom you would not also accept advice.

lightbulb with pointing arm

Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

“You were sick, but now you’re well again, and there’s work to do.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

Everything is habit-forming, so make sure what you do is what you want to be doing.

– Wilt Chamberlain

Helen Keller recalls her experience at the well with her teacher:

“As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten–a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away…”

The insight of true recovery is much the same. It’s an awakening of something forgotten from the time you were a child that you were whole and well and can always be so. Remembering your true nature can unlock unlimited mental health and allow you to feel much like Helen did at the well: light, free, full of hope, and understanding that whatever barriers you may encounter in the future, they can be met and overcome.


Hands in Water

 

Brittant Burgunder “There is a type of bravery and courage that cannot always be seen. It’s a bravery that you have to choose for yourself. You use it in the little, seemingly insignificant choices and decisions you make each day. You keep making these tiny, good choices over and over until you realize your whole life is different and the hero who saved you is yourself.”

Brittany Burgunder

Brittant Burgunder “Recovery is real. It’s not a luck-of-the-draw deal where you put your name in a hat and hope to be chosen. It’s a grueling, relentless, personal process that will push you beyond your limits over and over.”

― Brittany Burgunder

Amy Liptrot “I’m filling the void with new knowledge and moments of beauty. The dangerous thoughts will happen – and while I’m experiencing them I feel like that’s the way I will feel for ever – but I just have to let the cravings pass lightly.”

Amy Liptrot, The Outrun: A Memoir

Insight

“As I came down from the mountain, I recalled how, not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize. Stillness is not just an indulgence for those with enough resources—it’s a necessity for anyone who wishes to gather less visible resources.”

— Pico Iyer in The Art of Stillness

How to live a Life of Misery:

  1. Be unreliable

  2. Do not learn from others’ mistakes

  3. Let life knock you down (and don’t get up)

  4. Let addiction take over

The title is based on inversion, a concept whereby you solve a problem by asking the and answering the reverse question (i.e. “How do I live a happy life?” becomes “What would I do to ensure a miserable life?”).

”The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

WILLIAM ARTHUR WARD

Anne Lamott “You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town”

Anne Lamott

Joshua Medcalf on grit:

The irony is that this ‘fake it till you make it’ tactic is the exact opposite of how truly successful people live. They live with authentic vulnerability because they know that the world always connects more with your grit than your shine. They might show up for the shine, but they will stay because of your grit.”

David foster Wallace David Foster Wallace says in “Infinite Jest” that the “vapider the AA cliché, the sharper the canniness of the real truth it covers.” Recovery slogans are like axioms from some ancient wisdom gospel, they’re a jingle-jangly hard-boiled poetry written in a noir vernacular, and as dumb as some of them are the knowledge that “Nobody wakes up wishing that they’d drunk more” has miraculously kept me from picking up that first bottle.

Disgust

One does not usually equate the word “disgust” with positive action. And yet properly channeled, disgust can change a person’s life. The person who feels disgusted has reached a point of no return. He or she is ready to throw down the gauntlet at life and say, “I’ve had it!” That’s what I said after many humiliating experiences at age 25. I said, “I don’t want to live like this anymore.”

Productive feelings of disgust come when a person says, “Enough is enough.” That person is primed to become something new.

ENOUGH

The writers Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five) and Joseph Heller (Catch-22) were at a glamorous party outside New York City. Standing in the palatial second home of the billionaire host, Vonnegut began to needle his friend. “Joe,” he said, “how does it feel that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel has earned in its entire history?”

“I’ve got something he can never have,” Heller replied. Joseph Heller

“The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”

Laura Davis “I think that forgiveness is something that comes at the end of a long process of healing,” “In my personal experience, it was a gift. I didn’t see it as the end goal of resolving an injury. I did my own work, and naturally, feelings of forgiveness arose.”……….

Laura Davis

Tiny Thought

There is a rule that has helped me put failures and victories into their proper perspectives.

The 24-hour rule states that you turn the page every day. No matter what. You can celebrate or cry but tomorrow you turn the page. Tomorrow is a new day.

We all know the person at the office that hangs on to the past. They remind of us of the project they worked on 10 years ago that was a success. Or they let a temporary defeat turn into a permanent one. They are anchored to the past and it prevents them from seeing the future.

Learn from the past but don’t hang on to it. Yesterday is irrelevant.

10 Rules to Live By:

  1. Focus your energy.
  2. Guard your time.
  3. Train your mind.
  4. Train your body.
  5. Think for yourself.
  6. Curate your friends.
  7. Curate your environment.
  8. Keep your promises.
  9. Stay cheerful and constructive.
  10. Upgrade the world.

Tiny Thought

What seems like the fast way in the moment is the long way in the end.

In an effort to go faster and outsmart the process we turn to shortcuts, cut corners, and engage in short-term behavior. While it might seem like we’re going faster, these tiny debts accumulate into an anchor.

Short-term actions eventually become long-term weights…

Anne Lamott Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

– Anne Lamott

“What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.”

John Steinbeck “If we could learn to like ourselves, even a little, maybe our cruelties and angers might melt away.”

JOHN STEINBECK

One of my favorite things about working on recovery is when things don’t go how I want and I feel down or I just feel down or whatever, it feels less like the world is ending and that tendency to hate myself isn’t as all encompassing. All sorts of days still happen and I still have my doubts and rough moments, but it’s so much better having access to tools that aren’t about harming myself.

Marisa Banes

Connection Is Important for Sober Living

The isolation that comes with acting out is the atmosphere that allows addiction and all of its associated emotions – shame, guilt, frustration, despair – to take root and thrive. Connecting with others, whether friends, family, or acquaintances, takes us out of that spiral of negative emotion and into an environment that fosters community, friendship, and support – all of which are at the core of recovery.

I knew back at a very young age that I don’t need to rely on an entity of any kind to get thru life with flying colors.

Maybe I’m just in touch with my deeper self, or my soul has wisdom from the universe?

I’ve never wavered from that course, and will be celebrating 11 yrs without alcohol in my life or in my body. WITH a quality of life second to none. I see others in mainstream AA rely so heavily on a god, that if something bad happens they BLAME it on God. Holy hell lol …..that is self-doubt if I’ve ever seen it!

Yvonne Hamer

Insight

“We have to be willing to confront the world as it is, not as we want it to be if we’re going to be successful.”- Barry McCarthy


leo buscaglia Each of us is responsible for creating an environment of warmth and consideration for those we love. I have always tried to define a good day not in terms of one in which all things were made right and comfortable for me but rather, as a day in which I have been able to make another’s day more loving and special for them. We must treat each other with dignity. Not because we merit it but because we grow best in thoughtfulness–Leo Buscaglia

“……….Anyone can do something once. Not everyone can do it consistently. Eating healthy for a meal is common. Eating healthy all week is not. Working out occasionally is common. Working out a few times a week is not. Going to bed on time is easy. Doing it for a week is not.”

SRG

“When someone is properly Grounded in Life, they shouldn’t have to look outside themselves for approval.

Epictetus -Discourses 1:21

We often think sobriety is the end of the world, that our lives are over, and we’ll never have fun again. But that’s not true.

Let’s face it. Getting sober can be the scariest time in your life. We often think it’s the end of the world, that our lives are over, and that we’ll never have fun again. But these are all just a few common misconceptions about the sober life. Although getting sober can be tough, it’s rewarding, and to shut down any fears you may have about sobriety, we’re talking about exactly what sobriety is and what it isn’t.

SRG

James Hollis “No one awakens in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, ‘I think I will repeat my mistakes today’ or, ‘I expect today I will do something stupid, repetitive, regressive and against my best interests,’” writes the Jungian psychoanalyst James Hollis.

“But frequently, this replication of history is precisely what we do.”

Mackenzi Lee “In the east,” she says after a time, her gaze still downcast, “there is a tradition known as kintsukuroi. It is the practice of mending broken ceramic pottery using lacquer dusted with gold and silver and other precious metals. It is meant to symbolize that things can be more beautiful for having been broken.”

“Why are you telling me this?” I ask.

At last she looks at me. Her irises are polished obsidian in the moonlight. “Because I want you to know,” she says, “that there is life after survival.”

Mackenzi Lee, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Henry David Thoreau “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

Just for Today.……..

Just for today, drop out of the race. Take it easy, relax, sip some tea, feel the sunshine. Today, you do not have to be anything or do anything to prove your worth. Who you are at this moment is all that you are. You are not your past, nor your future. Who knows what lies in your future, but that is not your today. You may have hopes and dreams, but the only way to get there is through today. Make it a good one.

SRG

Christopher Germer “A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”

CHRISTOPHER GERMER

“Most of my regrets—things I wish I’d done, things I wish I’d said, stands I wish I’d taken—have one thing in common: Fear…I should have quit certain jobs sooner, I should have come out and said what I thought more clearly, I should have believed that I’d figure out how to get through it, even if things went wrong.”

Joyce Sunada “If you don’t make time for your wellness you will be forced to make time for your illness.”

– Joyce Sunada

I can only be where my hands and feet are. Today I will use my hands for service and take one step at a time, being sure not to get ahead of myself.

Sober Slim Duncan

leo buscaglia “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy.”

LEO BUSCAGLIA

Miyamoto Mushashi “Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.”

– Miyamoto Musashi, 21 Precepts to Live By

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” ~Zen proverb

Horace Jackson Brown Jr. “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.”

H. JACKSON BROWN, JR.

When all else fails on Gratitude , this is best quote I have heard, from Oliver Sacks little book titled Gratitude – Written while he had terminal cancer .”‘ Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure. “

Truly gets to the core, the gift of life, you won the cosmological, biological lottery a million times over. Thanks for the gift and the adventure.

Irv Lammie

Time Takes Time. There is no way around that.

This is true for your parents, your friends, your family and everyone in between.

Time does not play favorites. Time does not allow for shortcuts. If you have six years in recovery, you have earned those six years. Those same six years have taken just as long for the men and women next to you as it has anyone else.

There needs to be some acknowledgement for that because the reality is that every day is filled with opportunities for relapse.

It is easier to relapse than it is to stay sober. It is easier to “slip” or to say fuck it or to pop that pill because it will make you feel better. Every second that you stay sober is a choice and the longer you stay sober, the stronger your armor will be.

This time has power. The correlation between length of sobriety and the relapse rates can’t be denied. The longer you stay sober, the better your chances are for staying sober. Every second that ticks by is another reason to celebrate. Every second is another lesson learned and another tool in the sobriety toolkit.

 

Aternative 12 steps “We create our own 12-Step program, every Step of the way. We create it piece by piece as we work our way through the Steps. Everyone’s life and interpretation of the Steps is different, so each of us custom-makes a program to fit our own attitudes, beliefs, needs and desires.”

Martha Cleveland – The Alternative 12 Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery

Jimmy Burwell Another factor at play in the time period of 1938 and 1939 is that the early members did not understand alcoholism (addiction to alcohol) and what was really keeping them sober. Jim Burwell says:

“You see the real idea was that all you had to have was a spiritual experience. Get down on your knees, understand your problem, and no more booze. We had no more idea in the world, I give you my word on this, in ’38, that the reason we were staying sober was that we were holding on to each other… We began to see that only those going to meetings were staying sober.”

-James Burwell, AA pioneer, author of “The Vicious Cycle” Alcoholics Anonymous — Second Edition

The Talk

James Hollis James Hollis believes that something deeper lives beneath the ‘voice in our head’. Underneath the ego lies the vast forces of the unconscious – the psyche – which has its own plan for us.
The responsibility of each person, is to figure out what they are, and then heed that call instead of resisting it.
This is a radical and challenging way of thinking about yourself. It means that what you think you want from life probably isn’t what life wants from you. And it means that living meaningfully is almost certainly going force you out of comfort and certainty, and into suffering and the unknown.
Often we try to just ignore this deeper level but when suppressed, it usually surfaces somewhere eventually as depression or insomnia or bad dreams. When we are off track, the soul protests.
At any major point in life, Hollis argues we should ask of ourselves: “Does this path, this choice, make me larger or smaller?”
The usual question we might pose in life is “Will this make me happy?” – but few of us actually know what will make us truly happy. Ask instead whether a choice will make you larger or smaller, and surprisingly often the answer is obvious.

James Hollis “When one has let go of that great hidden agenda that drives humanity and its varied histories, then one can begin to encounter the immensity of one’s own soul. If we are courageous enough to say, “Not this person, nor any other, can ultimately give me what I want; only I can,” then we are free to celebrate a relationship for what it can give.”