On February 1st, 2020 I celebrated 10 years of uninterrupted sobriety. Woohoo!!! Some days that dark time in my life feels like a lifetime ago and other days it feels like yesterday.
It’s hard to believe 10 years have gone by since I surrendered completely and gave up something which had become a crutch in my life. Addiction of any kind is not really about the addiction. Sure, there is a physical reaction that occurs in a person who is addicted.
However, in my personal experience of getting sober and helping dozens of women through the years, there are always deeper-rooted issues at play. The substance (pick your poison) is just a cover-up, an escape.
Remove the crutch and you either find something else to replace it or you’ll learn to face the music deal with your junk.
I choose the latter every time and that is my hope for all of you. When we deal with our stuff, our histories and hurts, we open the doors to a whole slew of mental wealth.
While this is mostly a personal finance blog, it’s also about the mental wellness of true recovery. Afterall wealth is not just about our pocketbooks. 😉
Last year I wrote a post about the lessons I’ve learned through achieving 9 years of sobriety. I imagine I’ll want to write a celebratory post for each anniversary with more nuggets of wisdom.
This year my post will focus on the mental wealth I’ve gained throughout my sobriety. I’m breaking it down into three main things that I’ve found incredibly valuable in life. While I’ve had the great fortune of learning these things in recovery, they can be applied to life in general.
Do you want to live your best life? Are you stuck in a rut? Are you having a hard time letting go of things? You needn’t be in sobriety or recovery for these to apply.
One of my goals in life is to bring the quality lessons I’ve learned in recovery to everyone else. I so often hear in recovery that everyone should do the 12 steps and I have to agree. However, everyone may not qualify for a program of recovery.
Although, I do have a counter-argument for that last sentence. I’m a leader and member of Celebrate Recovery. Our tagline is, “recovery from lifes hurts habits and hang-ups.” Now if that sentence doesn’t apply to everyone I don’t know what does.
#1 Remain Teachable
Firstly, the more I learn about myself, others, God’s mysteries and this crazy world in which we live, the more I realize how much I don’t know. That’s a good thing because when I think I know it all, I’m dead.
One of the best gifts I can give you is to suggest that you remain teachable.
Within every situation, there is an opportunity for growth. God surrounds me with teachers every day. I can still learn something from people whom I don’t agree with because they can teach me about:
- Human nature
- Different opinions
- How I react when I disagree
- What is my source of truth
Often times it’s the sandpaper people who teach me the most. What’s a sandpaper person? It’s someone who is abrasive and rubs you raw!
The Value of Sandpaper People
Think about it, if you only surround yourself with people whom you agree with, where is the controversy? How do you learn about new ideas? When are you challenged? And most of all, how do you really know what you are made of until you are pushed or challenged?
Now don’t get me wrong I appreciate and even subscribe to the idea that Jim Rohn suggests – you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. My tribe of people is made up of people who hold me accountable and value the same things I do.
While we share the same values, it doesn’t mean we always agree. Furthermore, I allow for my tribe of people to call me out if they see something off. This is only possible by remaining teachable.
Most of my life, I’ve tried to avoid conflict. Today, I don’t purposely search it out but I’m working on facing it head-on when it arises. This includes having a different opinion than others which is A-Okay!
Get a team that inspires you to be a better person. Get a team that pushes you to your limits. Iron sharpens iron so remain open and teachable.
#2 Do the Work!
Just the other day, I met with a mentor and reviewed some of my personal inventory. She devoted the evening to me and helping me dig into my stuff. I did my homework ahead of time so I was prepared. I wanted to go through some new resentments that I was ready to let go of.
In the process, we hit a few pain points. I came to realize that it’s not really what these other people did or said to me that mattered. It was more about the fact that they triggered a wound of my past.
It took me back to some common lies I’ve fallen victim to mostly as a child, teenager and young adult. Even after 10 years of sobriety, I can still experience these lies. It’s only a shadow of what I used to believe but they can creep in.
We all have historical data from which we are working. When something or someone hurts you take the time to really identify what it is they said and ask yourself the following questions:
- What from your childhood does it remind you of?
- Do you remember experiencing similar pain or hurt growing up?
- What was the situation?
- Who hurt you?
I’ve come to know we’ve all got historical data.
A few weekends ago I attended an awesome workshop with authors Milan and Kay Yerkovich. They teach on five dysfunctional love styles. You can take their free “How We Love” quiz here to understand yourself better.
Additionally, here is one of their books:
The bottom line is to figure out the root of the wound because often times it’s about you and your history rather than them and their comment.
You’ll only uncover this stuff if you are willing to take the time to do the work. And that means – Every. Darn. Day. We don’t get a break from this stuff. Especially not if we want to live our best life.
My mentor also gave me homework to do after our session and I was glad. I love, love, love having clearly defined action steps. I want to keep getting better and better and let’s face it, the good stuff comes from hard work. So, put forth the effort and do the work!
#3 Know Your Source of Truth
I also believe we were all born with a moral compass and it was placed there by God. I’m a Christian and in a nutshell that means, I believe Jesus Christ is:
- The Son of God
- Lived as a sinless man on earth
- Hung out with sinners like prostitutes
- Came to heal the sick
- Died for our sins
- Rose from the dead
- Gives us life
By being bold and open about my faith, I may lose some followers. Although, I guess I’m willing to take that risk because this is the most important thing to me.
Furthermore, I know the source of my truth. I get all of these things from the bible and have come to know it’s a historical non-fiction book that gives me direction, truth, and life. A really good book for anyone questioning the historical accuracy of the gospel is:
This is a book written by a journalist who was an atheist. When his wife found faith, he ultimately went down a rabbit hole to disprove Christ but what he found instead was convincing evidence that Jesus is who He says he is.
After reading this book I came to a place of knowing that Jesus was a man that walked the earth performing miracles and proclaiming to be the Son of God. I thought well He really is who He says He is or He was completely crazy.
There is further evidence, He was crucified. Then best of all there were plenty of accounts that He was raised from the dead. My faith was solidified.
My point is I know what I believe, why and where it comes from.
Life is too short to not think about these things. So, take the time to really research and come to know what is true and where it comes from. In other words, know your source of truth.
In summary, some of the most important things I’ve learned are to:
- Remain teachable
- Know my source of truth
Upon this bedrock, I’m able to continually grow and help others.
Well, what do you think – are these valuable lessons in life? How do you find your mental wealth?