Recovery Requires Willingness

September is National Recovery Month. As this month draws to a close, it might be helpful to examine the number one characteristic that many professionals identify as being the most important to ongoing recovery: willingness. But exactly what kind of willingness does recovery require?

– Willingness to change.

– Willingness to work hard at recovery.

– Willingness to try new things instead of repeating the same self-destructive activities.

– Willingness to turn it over to God and let him work in your mind, your life, and your actions.

Self-help author, Robert Anthony sums it up best: “Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” Facing all of the changes necessary to maintain sobriety and long-term recovery can be a very scary thing to do, but if you are willing to work your way through the fear and keep changing anyway, then you have mastered true courage. And courage will get you through the hard part to a successful and positive life beyond addiction.

Today’s post is based on p. 191 of Past Tense: 365 Daily Tools for Putting Stress Behind You – for Good!  To enjoy more daily tools for creating a stress-free life, order your copy of the book today!

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” ~Aristotle

Well, it’s official. Everyone is probably back in school who is going to be this year! Doesn’t it feel good? Well, maybe not so much for everyone. But the benefits of an education are so plentiful that it’s hard to resent the “bitter roots” that Aristotle refers to in the title quote. Let’s take a look at the benefits:

– Learning!

– Curiosity is fostered.

– More opportunities for jobs, travel, recreation

– Admiration and respect of others

– Personal growth

– More positive relationships with friends and loved ones

– Financial security

– Longer lifespan

Becoming a lifelong learner is the best thing a person can do to live a long and productive life. Mortimer Adler explains it best: “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” 

My grandmother always told me to learn something new each day, whether it was a day spent in school or not. And to this day, I follow that advice! Sometimes what I learn is something as simple as a new way to prepare a salad, and sometimes it’s more complex. But any and all learning helps the brain grow. 

What have you learned lately? What do you want to learn? How can ASC help you learn more? Check out our book, Past Tense, for more great ideas for learning and living a stress-free life! 

Taking Responsibility is Key to Stress-free Living

There are many who say that a life filled with responsibility is a stressful life. For these people tasks, decisions, planning, and goal-setting cause tension, physical aches and pains, and insomnia. A closer examination, though, shows that responsibility doesn’t cause ill effects, but a person’s perception that responsibility = stress does.

What if we change the perception? What if we re-frame it to understand that responsibility = control? When we accept full responsibility for everything that happens or exists in our life, we also recognize that we have control of our lives. Everything we are responsible for, we also have control over. Making good decisions regarding exercise and nutrition controls our good health. Setting realistic goals and the steps to achieve them ensure positive outcomes on projects.

Life is easier and stress-free when we face facts squarely and base our decisions on facts rather than fears. Proactively taking steps based on facts creates good outcomes. Also, when we are proactive and take full responsibility for what happens in our lives, there is no blame. Blaming someone or something else for our problems gives that person or thing control over, and credit for, our lives. Living under someone or something else’s control creates far more stress than being responsible for ourselves does.

Your turn: What situations in your life have you blamed someone else for? What situations have you believed were beyond your control? How could you have taken or accepted responsibility in those situations? How would that have relieved your stress?

Stressed? Read a book!

Pick up any mainstream magazine today and you are likely to find an article on the best ways to deal with stress at work, at home, at school, in public places, even in church. Stress has become commonplace; it is accepted, and even expected, in our society.

Unfortunately, millions of people turn to a quick fix for stress: drugs. Often it starts with a prescription for anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications. Sometimes the cycle begins with relaxation at “Happy Hour” on the way home from work. While either of these stress-busters can be effective when used infrequently and for short-term solutions, both have the potential to go horribly wrong, resulting in long-term, escalating substance abuse.

So, how can we handle stress more effectively for safe, long-term results? Many health practitioners suggest a combination of good nutrition, regular exercise, and meditation.

Meditation? Whoa! Wait a minute… I don’t know how to do yoga and I don’t believe in all that “woo-woo” New Age stuff. Right? That’s okay; you don’t have to. Meditating means to simply engage in extended thought, reflection, or contemplation. Simply stop. Take some time each day to rest and think. It doesn’t have to be long, and it doesn’t have to be formalized into a big production. Just step outside and breathe. Or turn off the light in your office and close your eyes for a few minutes.

Many people choose to read a short passage from a religious text or from a book of devotions- something encouraging and affirming during their meditation time. Here at ASC, we have the perfect stress-busting tool, Past Tense: 365 Daily Tools for Putting Stress Behind You- for Good! Written by Shawn and Ron Kilgarlin, based on their extensive experience working with people in recovery, Past Tense offers ideas for dealing with every kind of stress imaginable. It is written in a 1-page per day format, which can be read straight through, or readers can mix it up, picking and choosing what they most need to read on any given day.

For more information, or to order you copy of Past Tense, visit our website today!