The Zen of the Red Chucks

There are certain important considerations to be made at this point. You are broken, tell yourself that you are ok all you want, but the fact remains…you have problems. Does that sound a bit harsh? Ok well let me also say that your problems make you uniquely beautiful. You are a rare treasure to be cherished for your perfectly flawed entirety. 

My hope and prayer is to be better today than I was yesterday and not as good as I will be to tomorrow. Being compulsively human I make mistakes, but my wish is never to return to my unwanted behaviors. My goal is to dare to be myself without fear of judgment, rejection, or unhealthy influence. Do not judge me because I sin differently than you do. I am in recovery.

The following tips may help you on your journey in YOUR recovery.

Dare to be yourself. This is a tad more complicated than it seems. I am talking about influences on you. For example; without the influence of drugs or alcohol, pressure, stresses, and other external things that can force us to pretend to be something else than who we decide to be.

Be better today than you were yesterday. There is no universal perfection, so if that’s your goal, well, to put it lightly too bad. You are going to be disappointed. Let me give you a secret; today is the tomorrow that you worried about all day yesterday. Was it worth it?

It is ok to not be ok. Has anyone ever told you that you have to be ok. Keep that stiff upper lip and carry on smartly? That’s a load of crap. Sometimes the world crashes and we slip into a moment of being kookietoons. That is totally all right. As long as it doesn’t spill over to affect the rest of your world.

You need to begin by thinking about what you want your life to look like. It’s important to be concrete and specific here – not general and vague. Then, use that information to set clear goals for yourself. See yourself how you want to be and you will be that way.

Be confident and believe in yourself. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have what other people have, or shouldn’t be that person you’d really like to be. If you’re willing to work hard, and to pay the price required, then you can have the life you want. If you throw me to the wolves, I will return the leader of the pack

Get out of your own way. Sometimes we are our worst enemy. Do you support yourself in your recovery or are you standing in your own way? If you are, why are you? What are you getting from being held down in chaos and pain? If you don’t let yourself change, guess what, nothing will change. If you want out of a the hole, you have put down the shovel and stop digging it.

Forgive and let that shit go. How many people have free rent in your head? Forgiveness is for you, not them so when you let it go you are freeing yourself from them. You may be the one who you need to forgive. You can forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Who you were, who you are, and who you will be are three different people. Easy – no way. Possible – definitely. Needed – ABSOLUTELY!

Don’t believe everything you think. If everyone says you have a tail and you don’t believe you have one. Turn around and enjoy your beautiful tail. Honestly questioning is healthy and be courageous enough to accept you could be wrong. The truth shall set you free but it will piss you off first.

What others think about you is none of your business. Realize that you do not control anyone’s thoughts and feelings. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to life you are excited about. Don’t let others make you forget that. On the flip side, they can’t control your thoughts and feelings. Go where you are celebrated – not tolerated. If they can’t see your true value and worth, then it’s time for a new start. Rule #32 never let the Fuckers wear you down! (Thanks Chris)

How do you see yourself? You are enough. You have the right to be heard and respected. You have the right to be loved, cherished, and cared for. Acceptance is when you feel good about yourself without feeling the need for someone else’s approval. Self-esteem is the way you see and feel about yourself and there are lots of lots of things that undermine our self-esteem. It’s important that we keep on working on our self-esteem by treating ourselves well and noticing when we succeed (instead of noticing the negatives).

Manage your stress levels: If we’re always feelings stressed then it’s hard to cope with life. We tend to over react and have a negative mind set, which drains us of our energy and saps our will to fight. So take a look at your lifestyle and see what you can drop. You may be doing too much, and don’t have time to relax.

Make the time and effort to enjoy yourself: Doing things that we enjoy helps to improve the way we feel. So build in little things like having coffee with a friend, or going to a game, or taking time to watch some sports.

Take your power back and start writing your story yourself. You can’t control the emotions you have, only control how you respond to them. Quit saying, “you made me feel….” that is giving way too much power over your story to someone else.

Decide to face your pain. An unresolved past never really goes away. You may think you have buried your anger and pain but the hurt is still there and it will surface later on. If you don’t face what happened, and the feelings it unleashed, you will end up being ruled by your subconscious mind. So try and find the courage to revisit all the pain, validate it, experience it, and resolve it. Most importantly, let it go.

Consciously let go of the past and set your focus on the present – Don’t let the baggage, or the failures of the past, affect your identity or self-esteem. You are NOT what you did, or how you acted previously. You’re not just a product of what happened to you. You are valuable, unique and you have so much to give. You’re the author of your future; you control your destiny. You can change how you think, and you can start over again, you can build a different future that’s not poisoned by the past.

Trigger, thought, feeling, action, consequence. This is the sequence of everything we do wither it is harmful or healthy for us. The more you take time to know yourself the more you know how to understand and choose how your sequence will happen. A trigger is just something that causes us to think or want to do something. We don’t control these. Thoughts are the brains trained beliefs (yes trained, we can learn or unlearn ways we think). We can completely influence these. Feelings are a direct result of out trained thinking and are actually a physical response to our thinking. Actions, these are completely our choice, you are responsible for your actions, 100%. Consequences are the result of our chosen actions or reactions, once we do something in a certain way the results are out of our control, for good or for ill. (Ill post more about this in detail another time).

Keep your focus on your goal – don’t get sidetracked from your dream. You’ll have to keep on going and to push through trying times. The poison leaves bit by bit, not all at once. Be patient. You are healing. Remember, it is worth it. You’ll be glad you persevered. Recovery isn’t trying to get anything back from the past, it is recovering the person who you were always meant to be, thriving and at peace.

Don’t give into temptation to go for lesser goals, or to do something attractive that won’t lead anywhere. Don’t pretend that you’ll be happy if you give up on your recovery. You’ll wish that you’d been stronger.

Structure instead of chaos. Time to give up the chaos that your used to being in and create a structure that supports recovery. Haven’t you had enough? Structure means planning and preparing for what lies ahead in a way that is flexible, like a reed in the wind.

Mind, body, and spirit, find your balance; don’t take life too seriously. Recovery doesn’t have to be all fight and struggle, if you can’t find happiness and joy what’s the point. Recovery will have its hard times but will also have its totally awesome moments as well. You are a whole being with a spirit, mind, and body that all require nurturing and growth. If you only remember one thing; remember that “Recovery doesn’t have to suck, if it does you are doing it wrong.” Your story, your recovery, your way. Don’t try to live someone else’s story. It will only lead to their tragedy.

Replace the temptations – you probably heard of changing people, places, and things. This means replacing the things that trigger wanting to continue to do things that have caused you the same hurting over and over in the way you’ve always done them. Let those things go and grow beyond them.

If you slip up – just get over it – and move on with your plan. It doesn’t mean it’s over. Get back on track again. The goal is too important to waste time on regrets. Your focus is a future of recovery, and what will take you there. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. There is one day where everyone will have recovered. The day when you leave this world to embrace your Creator. Until that day we cannot do this alone. We are all walking on this road, day by day, together as we journey home.

Recognize your weaknesses – then plan to manage them. That way you’ll have some strategies to deal with obstacles. When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.

Remember; you are not your hurts. When we say “Hi, my name is … and I am a …” We become the disease. When you are the problem there is no hope of overcoming that. Instead I encourage you to something more like: “Hi, my name is … and I am in an active recovery that is deliberate and intentional. I continue to be better today than I was yesterday, and I am doing everything I can so I can be better tomorrow than I was today. For I am hard earned.” Don’t let other people’s rules and expectations define your recovery journey.

What you say matters. Your brain, and spirit are listening so what you speak they hear and understand as the way it is. Speak your truth and your truth will be who you are.

Break your main goal down into lots of smaller, more manageable pieces. Then, just do “the next thing”. Don’t get bogged down by everything you still have to do! Remind yourself that every tiny bit of effort, and work, counts. It all adds up and makes a difference in the end.

Be realistic and take small steps at first. You can’t snap your fingers – and find that life has changed. Accept it will take time, and you will still have some bad days – but if you keep on going then the past will lose its grip.

Things will go wrong, sometimes. Those with too rosy a picture of the future tend to put less effort into reaching their goals. Instead, it’s better to be open to the understanding that some things will go wrong. It will help you see the obstacles and think through beating them.

Support, support, support. Remember to ask for, and accept help. Recovery isn’t a solo sport. Few people have ever been able to do it alone. Not saying you couldn’t be that one in a million, buy why risk it. It’s important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you, and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story you free yourself, and you give other people permission to acknowledge their story as well. -Iyanla Vanzant

Understand that you are not alone. It can help us get through tough times by realizing that other people are experiencing what we are going through. More importantly, other people have gone through it and succeeded.

Develop good relationships: Do your friends make you happy? Do you enjoy their company? Are they kind of people with your best interests at heart? Do they treat you with respect and help to boost your self-esteem? If not, then work on finding new relationships!

Visualize process NOT outcome – If you can think through all the steps you will forge a better plan and it will also help to reduce anxiety.

Beware of the “Fuck-its effect” – Too many just give up when they stumble or fall down. It’s better to get up and to see life as a journey.

What you choose to see is what you get. You have the power to affect your world and change your life. If you choose to have a great day you will see the good in everything. When you choose to have a bad day you will see the bad in everything because that is what you are looking for.

Attack procrastination – It’s easy to procrastinate when things start getting tough. Make a start, keep your head down, and set yourself some deadlines. Once you start you’ll feel much better and the road won’t seem so hard.

Express gratitude: be grateful for the things that you do have. What are 5 things you are grateful for today. Simply saying thank you and I love you can change your, and someone else’s day. Be grateful for the good times. There’s usually something good that you can be thankful for. You don’t have to pretend that everything was bad or write off any good times and happy memories.

Believe in Dragons and Unicorns. In other words, believe the impossible can be possible and you will move mountains. There is nothing you can’t do when you believe and work for it. Easy? No way, but worth your life.

Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. The only person you need to compare yourself to is who you were yesterday. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, and ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that there is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey.

Finish what you start, and don’t leave loose ends untied. You have to be committed, and thorough, to achieve. Being lazy or half-hearted will hamper your recovery.

Recovery is a journey not a destination. Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. The only person qualified to judge whether or not you succeed is the gravedigger. We’re all just walking each other home. Proceed until apprehended.

Addiction has nothing to do with a substance. Contrary to what you have been led to believe addiction has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. Blaming them for your problems is like blaming the bullet when someone was shot. They are a symptom of a deep rooted unfulfillment. Recovery is not focused on stopping the unhealthy use of a substance or behavior. That is sobriety. Recovery is looking deep into ourselves and resolving the things that cause the need for an instant, although temporary and artificial feeling of fulfillment. Unfortunately we cannot tell the difference between the artificial feeling of fulfillment in the moment and actual fulfillment. To sustain the artificial fulfillment we must continue the behavior that gives it to us and however the feeling goes away, being temporary it will always go away leaving us unfulfilled again, often with more feelings of regret, disgust, and shame than before. Repeating this cycle over and over causes us to become dependent on that substance or behavior to feel fulfilled, more often than not resulting in other added negative consequences. This is when it becomes an addiction. Addiction is continuing to do a behavior or use a substance despite having negative consequences. When we do these behaviors to temporarily achieve this artificial feeling we are self medicating. Like I said, recovery is the journey to find true fulfillment in all aspects of our lives so we don’t need to use artificial means to achieve that feeling. This makes the medicine we have prescribed ourselves irrelevant. No one takes a Tylenol for a head ache they don’t have.

Namaste’, thank you for sharing my world. Recovery is my Kung Fu and my Kung Fu is strong. Choose to be Wicked Awesome today, and Wicked Awesome you shall be.

Thanks for reading,