This week is my anniversary week. I’ve successfully ticked off another year sans cigarettes and alcohol. It’s been 13 years since I smoked a cigarette (my greatest success EVER) and 4 years since I’ve had an alcoholic beverage.
It’s a BIG deal, ya’ll.
Getting to the point where I could actually take the plunge and make the change wasn’t easy. There were a LOT of missteps before I succeeded, but like many things in life that I want, I just keep trying until I succeed. I’m a tenacious, bitch. Do you know how many times I quit BOTH before I was successful? So do I. I lost track it was so many times.
I have quit smoking and started back up again…on the same day. Gah. Embarrassing to admit here, seriously embarrassing. Talk about feeling like a failure!!! Sweet Jeesuz! I was desperate for a very long time to get away from smoking but I was too weak to finally make the plunge. I didn’t succeed all those times I tried and failed because I wasn’t looking at the root cause of the problem.
Want to know how I finally quit both? Here’s a couple of hints…
I address the issue here pretty regularly.
It’s nothing new.
It’s no magic bullet.
It’s really simple and the basis for ALL of the biggest successes in my life to date.
Pain is the strongest motivator for change that I know of.
Getting to the root cause of my pain was the only way I was going to succeed at changing my life for the better. That, my friends, is a journey few are prepared to take. I don’t say that to scare you but to let you know that self-improvement and self-discovery is not for wusses. No ma’am. Why do so few people not take the road to self-discovery? Because it’s PAINFUL.
But isn’t avoiding pain a normal human condition?
Of course it is, but if you want to succeed with changing your life, you need to dig deep and use that pain as a leverage to make the changes you desire. So yeah, if you want to realize our dreams, you need to rip the f@#king band aid off and and be done with it.
Just do it.
Until you do, that dull empty ache you feel lurking beneath the surface every damn day is never going to end. Why? Because you aren’t living the life you know you want. It’s going to continue to nag at you and make you feel inadequate, powerless and filled with self-loathing. Contrary to popular belief, dream lives don’t just fall in your lap my love, you have to work for them.
Me? I’d rather have a handful of big dramatically painful emotional events in my life that move me forward towards emotional and physical healing than to live for decades with a dull ache in my heart. Placating my emotional pains with food, drugs and booze doesn’t (and didn’t) help the situation, it only puts off the inevitable. I tired of feeling filled with frustration and self-loathing because I didn’t have what it took to make my dreams a reality. Or, so I thought.
I talk frequently about getting to the root cause of your medical conditions in order to fix them, rather than choosing the drug treatment route which does nothing but eliminate your symptoms. Pharmaceuticals don’t heal, they mask your symptoms.
Getting to the root cause of our emotional conditions is the same thing. Some folks mask the symptoms with drugs (alcohol, recreational pharmaceuticals, nicotine), food, sex, shopping, television…you name it. But it doesn’t cure the problem, it just changes how you are feel at the moment you decide to change your state with a chosen distraction. The feelings don’t disappear. The problems are still there when the temporary relief of the “medication” wears off.
Ten years ago this week a storm named Katrina rolled into the Gulf of Mexico and the levees that were supposed to be protecting my city failed resulting in almost 2,000 deaths. Countless others are still part of the walking dead. I was part of the chronically numb for a year after the storm before I decided that my life needed to change. It took and entire year of planning to institute that change, but I did it and so can you.
I chose to use my pain to leverage positive change in my life. It got a whole lot worse before it started to show any signs of getting better, and a decade later I’m still not completely out of the woods, but man o’ man I feel better than I have in ten years.
Physically I am stronger than I have ever been. I’m 52 soon to be 53. I never thought I’d say those words at this age. EVER.
I’ve got arms to rival Michelle Obama’s. No joke.
Emotionally I am stronger, more confident and more resilient than ever before.
I have more empathy for others than I ever dreamed possible.
My sense of community is heightened.
My desire to know more about people is more genuine than ever before. All in all
I’m a better person for having been through all of my pain.
I am better because I CHOSE to be better. I wanted to feel stronger and have more energy and to think with a clear head. I wanted to bound out of bed every day, fresh and energetic, not hungover and miserable. So what did I do? I made my desires reality. Change moved into high gear when I had finally removed both, alcohol and cigarettes, from my list of crutches. It has since then, all snowballed forward.
Healthy is wealth, darlin’. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
Do the work, people. I swear to GAWD, you won’t regret it.
Please help me help others by sharing this information in your social networks. Thank so much.