Al-Anon definitely holds a special place in my heart and will always be credited as the foundation upon which my recovery was built, however I have various “tools”,if you will, that have also helped immensely over the past three years and continue to do so today. Meetings and these tools were my saving graces in the early days, and are great slaps in the face when I find myself slipping back to old, negative behaviors. I am one who practices a bits and pieces type of recovery, taking gems here and there, then combining them with my non-negotiable daily practices. Self-work is the bomb.com, but gets a bad rap. “Oh, she does self-work, must be a hippie with issues (sad, pitiful looks).” Yes, I have been given a wheelbarrow full of horse crap from various people (when I really look at it though, it’s people who are miserable twats) on doing self-work, but I don’t take it personally because my life is awesomer because of it. Anyway, I had a lot of work to do (and still do), and have discovered it’s tedious and magically rewarding all at the same time.
The first book was given to me by my mum years ago, it is called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and it’s all small stuff) by Richard Carlson. I love, love this little reader. It’s 100 ways to basically live in the moment, being happy and satisfied with life. I have recommended this book to countless people as it is short, sweet, to the point, and most importantly, highly applicable to daily life. Simple changes in thought and behavior are monumentally powerful, and this book is a goldmine of tips; a great way for a newbie to the Self-work world to get his/her feet wet. This book has branched off into an entire library of Don’t Sweats, I have read some: At Work, for Women, for Teens-my students LOVE this, I’d read one/day to them. They are all the same 100 one-a-day format, I plan to read them all eventually because they are excellent reminders/daily practices for a great life. The next two book was also from my mum, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and have a little faith: a true story by Mitch Albom. Again, both short, easily readable stories, yet had a huge impact on me. They are both about living each day to the fullest and finding joy in everyday life. Have a little faith made me realize I had none, and how crucial it was for me to find it and fill that “God-shaped hole” they kept talking about at meetings. Both of these books brought me to tears (the good kind), and were kicks in the ass with impeccable timing. Plus, they’re just heart-happy-makers and sparkles of positivity dust.
The final areas are my non-negotiable dailies. When I practice these everyday, life is wonderful, if I slack off, I start to feel like old me in a heartbeat. The first one is waking up in gratitude. I thank my Higher Power for waking up and humbly ask him to be present in my life that day; guide me through and keep me here and now. I also go to sleep in gratitude, again thanking my Higher Power for the amazing day and experiences it brought. Your Higher Power is whatever you choose btw, I had to work on that relationship, you may too. I also actively practice and radiate gratitude throughout the day, no item is too small (pumpkin granola with cashew milk was one I sent out this morning). The Secret gets all my credit and praise for teaching me the Art of Gratitude, however the magic of The Secret is an entire post on it’s own for another day. Meditation has also been huge to me. Chad introduced me to an app called Insight Timer, which is full of fantastic, guided meditations. Personally, I am still not 100% to the point of being able to sit in silence and effectively meditate; I still need my guided training wheels and have no shame in that, dammit! With my anxious brain, the calming of meditation has helped slow me down to “Be here, now.” The last three are my power trifecta: eat, sleep, exercise. I have to actually eat, and the meals need to be balanced and (fairly) healthy, or else I am a bloated, cranky mega-beast. Sleep, my beloved fountain of youth! Having Andy Bear has put my sleep schedule on temporary hold, and holy cow can I ever tell (also wouldn’t trade it for the world). Sleep is crucial in keeping my anxiety at bay, when I am tired, my anxiety kicks in and tries to dominate my world (good thing I have all these tools to whip out and knock it into check!). Lastly is exercise. I find that some serious cardio and lifting are what I need to get the euphoria-inducing endorphins pumping, and yoga is a must to keep myself feeling agile rather than like a stiff scarecrow who may get stuck in a bent over position at any moment (probably from cleaning, not doing anything fun lol).
Try some of these if you like, I’d love for you to share any of your Recovery Tools in the comments! We learn from one another, sharing your discoveries and practices is truly an amazing gift to all.
Be Good, Do Good.