10 Lessons for Living A Clean, Healthy and Honest Life
So many people are battling to stay clean from addictions. Some are plagued by worry, fear and esteem. Others hide the fact that they cannot cope. They secretly tread through life with hidden angst and terror, that awkwardly shows itself as anger and overcompensation. Generally this all comes out sideways.
Many people talk about how they just cannot seem to cope with daily life. They battle to function ‘normally’. They feel like they are barely hanging onto sanity.
Some of these people have battled with depression, or anxiety or addictions. More often than not, they have ebbed through all three at some stage of their lives. The minute we try and live an outer life, pretending all is fine, when the inner one is crumbling, we instantly loose our grip on reality (truth).
Lesson One : Stop keeping your painful thoughts and feelings a secret.
When the demands of life seem too much. When finances and people become your deepest fears, know that it is time for change. No one can navigate this life in fear, expecting that good results will somehow manifest later on. No. We need to have a character, a core, built on hope and belief in something better than we may see at any given moment in our lives. Being emotional beings, we have no choice but to long for completeness and wholeness, pushing through the times and moments when we feel neither of these companions are anywhere to be found.
Life is difficult. It can sometimes feel like it is utterly overwhelming. Like we are drowning in life itself, even though death may not have even shown its face of disease. If we fumble around in the light each day, then how bad must the darkness be? Suicidal thoughts, relapse, depression and mental illness come calling. Giving up, anger and resentments soon follow and then we reach the edge of the abyss, if there is one, and can only think about falling in. And unfortunately, what we think, oftentimes becomes reality.
When all of this happens, you become trapped. Like a wild lion in a cage, pacing, often frothing at the mouth in rage that masks terror, looking only for escape, a way out of what is.
Lesson Two : Become aware of survival mode and take action to stay out of it.
This is half the story. There is always another half, which you need to consider deeply. This ‘better’ half is almost enviable at times. Some stop it sooner rather than later, others sink faster than they can swim. Much of it just depends on your thoughts, your circumstances and your emotional and spiritual connections at the time. Emotional falls come on rapidly or as a slow decent. We may not recognize either imposter before we realize we are engulfed in their grasp.
Somehow, we need to find a way of reminding ourselves that there is another side to life and every single problem there is. We will have to remind ourselves because it may be impossible to see. If you’re feeling lost, desperate and done for, you need to stop and think twice. There is always an opposite to everything on this planet. Light as to dark, love as to hate, beginnings as to endings and sickness versus healing. Everything has at least one opposite season. This is especially true for your mind and emotions.
Lesson Three : Don’t get stuck in disasterizing with black and white thinking. You’re not that clever to have it all figured out so easily. Life is rarely figured out completely, instead it’s a process. Trust the process.
You see, life has these two sides because it is on purpose. It is intent on getting you somewhere. Why, perhaps we will never know. It pushes us past one stage and onto the next, as if we are meant to grow towards something more. Pain is the engine, effort is the fuel and decision is the navigation system. Pain tells you something is wrong and you need to turn a key in order to make a shift. Effort comes with risking your truth and sharing the pain that you can’t seem to drive anywhere. Decision brings clarity and when you are clear in reality all pain ends! I said, when you are clear in reality all pain ends!
When people work on their pain. When they risk being a fool and failure in lieu of truth, they already begin to heal. Every time. But only every time!
Lesson Four : Know that you have emotional work to do, to move forward in life. Don’t try and avoid it. Open up with courage and become vulnerable, accepting the work you have to still do.
There are many life-lines out there. More than any one person could ever need or use. It is our arms and hands that don’t reach out. It seems to hard, and our arms are tired from treading dark waters. Getting nowhere has cost us our hope and faith. Feeling numb, we grasp at nothing. Grabbing a life-line is a necessary decision when you feel like you’re drowning in life’s noisy and relentless demands.
If life has you in a corner, you need to find enough humility to stop keeping the lie going. There are no corners, only pointers. If you can’t cope with work – you will need to not work and start coping first. A leave of absence may be necessary for your health, survival and sustainability. If you can’t reach out and ask for a lifeline, you’ll more than likely stay treading water. People have relapsed and committed suicide because they could not handle their work, their careers demanding schedules…other people expectations. It is not your body that needs to die, it is your attachment to the belief that you need to do what you cannot do, without doing other things first. So, first things first! Work on yourself for starters! Be humble. Let that career, success, champion shit go. In the end, say 5 years from now, it will make little difference to your life. These 10 Lessons for Living A Clean, Healthy and Honest Life should show yo at least that.
Get humble and stop, or relapse on your addictive thinking that will lead to depression, anxiety or alcohol for that matter. Whatever your minds favourite drug of choice may be. If it can’t cope, and you have a brain that is too grandiose to ask for help, it will find it’s own style of self help. The brain will choose something easy, something instant…usually with disastrous long term affects. Ask for professional help. Do whatever it takes!
Lesson Five : Humility is the only way to get out of your own stinking thinking and self-will. Thinking you can do it on your own, keeping your truth a secret and choosing not to ask for help again and again constitute arrogance and ego.
If we could look at the disease of addiction stripped of its primary symptoms – that is, apart from drug use or other compulsive behaviour – and without its most obvious characteristics, we would find a swamp of self- centred fear.
We’re afraid of being hurt, or maybe of just having to feel too intensely, so we live a sort of half-life, going through the motions of living but never being fully alive. We’re afraid of everything that might make us feel, so we isolate and withdraw. We’re afraid that people won’t like us, so we use drugs to be more comfortable with ourselves. We’re afraid we’ll get caught at something and have to pay a price, so we lie or cheat or hurt others to protect ourselves. We’re afraid of being alone, so we use and exploit others to avoid feeling lonely or rejected or abandoned. We’re afraid we won’t have enough-of anything – so we selfishly pursue what we want alone, not caring about the harm we cause in the process. Sometimes, if we’ve gained things we care about in recovery, we’re afraid we’ll lose what we have, and so we begin compromising our principles to protect it. Self-centred, self-seeking fear-we need to uproot it so it no longer has the power to destroy.
Lesson Six : Fear is False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. To get rid of fear you need to be woken up from the nightmare. You need to get into the light. You need to start to trust others by risking your truth and sharing it intimately with others. You are not the only person that needs other people. Others need you too – your family, other sufferers…even strangers. We all need your light!
Live a simple life! If you are not coping. If you’re contemplating a life of opting out though addiction, suicide or some other unhealthy coping mechanism. Start to live a simple life. Get rid of the clutter, the boxes of nonsense. Donate, give-away, swop. You don’t have to be a minimalist. But live medium! Let the cars go along with the insurance and maintenance. Toss the old bicycles, the fancy foods and socializing. If life feels like too much, it may be a fact! Make living in balance a priority and see how your response to stress changes. Most people who live simple lives are happier than the wealthy. This is a lesson few people have learned until now. Even though half the world is becoming depressed or addicted! Get out of the addiction of more.
Lesson Seven. Learn to live a simple life. If life’s demands are too much, simplify the demands. Sell the car – no more payments. Move into a smaller place – no need for cleaners or maintenance. It is you that has chosen to respond to life as you have. Don’t glorify busy, big, better or bellicose. Make leather belts or paint if it’s your passion. Financial woes, insecurity about money and your future – these are just mind traps!
Stop being a victim. Start being more authentic. Don’t use only anger as your go to emotion. Dig deeper. Be quick to apologize and even quicker to start again. Every day is a new start at the very least. Stop playing God – you won’t find the answers to life, your own thinking, or emotions on your own.
Lesson Eight. Stop being a victim. Victims persecute others and feel pity for themselves. They imagine loving thoughts but then act and behave in a contradictory way. They offer no contribution, and thus feel empty by reciprocal default.
You NEED other people. You NEED God. This is the natural addiction of life. The primal reason for empty, then full. Go to meetings and be a victor not a victim. The whole world is suffering, so please don’t think you’re alone in it – connect to it – it is not scary, it is beautiful. Just remember that suffering is only half of life. There is another side to it too. It is a side that is good, very good! But, first do the emotional work, the asking part and get back on track and seek clarity and truth. Remember that love is a verb! Don’t think you love and then act by hurting other people. No. You must choose real love or real hurt. Once you choose then pursue only that one, and then you will see what the other half of life has to offer. But that is for another article.
Lesson Nine. Get addicted to life’s mystery. You will never figure it all out, you don’t have the capacity to even figure out your own thoughts. Life is more, and more and more. It is the only sustainable addiction that exists.
Connect. Go to meetings. It doesn’t matter how low on cash or self esteem you are, you can always go to a meeting. Drop the excuses. Go to three or five a week if you can. Go to church on Sundays. What else will you do? Sit at home and wallow? No – it’s time for you to connect. Take long walks: smile, talk, greet, connect. The ‘How’ is not important, the connection is.
Talk to strangers. Stop to pet the dog. Smile at people. Look up meetings in your area. Get out there and send people silent blessings as you pass them. Reciprocity is at the heart of attracting what you really, really want for your life. Contribute then receive.
Lesson Ten. Be part of the solution. The solution to ALL your ailments and dis-ease is spiritual in nature. It means you will need to look within, and then connect by sharing what you find in there. Ego is Edging God Out! Ego is the route of almost all of our perceived problems and gratitude, humility, kindness, sharing, connecting, trust, hope, brutal honesty and likeness are the end of ALL of those problems.
Now listen to this carefully and never, ever forget it. Life has two sides to it. So always quit, always surrender. Forget what they taught you as a child but don’t forget the other half of life. Always start over. Always keep on keeping on with the mind of a child; or as Rumi says sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment!
One of my favourite authors M. Scott Peck put the two sides of life this way: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Mark L Lockwood