Here’s a list of things that seem to have nothing to do with each other: Lifting weights, spending a day out on the ocean, philosophical debate, spicy food, entrepreneurship, and homemade (unsweetened) iced tea.
These are all inextricably linked in my mind. Why? Because I have an undeniable passion for all of them!! They are all components of the reality I’ve created for myself since I beat my addiction.
You may detest every one of them. My feelings aren’t hurt. I’ll explain why you can learn from my list anyway.
When I quit drinking, I embarked on a quest to get the most out of my life. Quitting alcohol has liberated me. When I wake up each morning, I know that my day will be filled with physical feats and intellectual stimulation. Just as importantly, it will be filled with subjective tastes, sights, sounds and sensations of my choosing.
Perhaps I should say mostly of my choosing. Randomness is part of life and we don’t get to control how every day goes. But we have a much larger say than we think we do.
“If you want something in life you have to go out and get it.” – 50 Cent
Dreaming big is necessary for fulfillment. But enjoying the small things is just as important.
Do you have a day off at the end of the week? Dedicate it to starting your blog or writing that book that’s been on the back of your mind for 5 years.
Have you been working so hard that you spend every Sunday glued to your couch? Make next Sunday different.
Figure out where the nearest beach is and invite your friend for a day trip.
Go for an uncharted walk in a wildlife area you’ve never visited before.
Take a bike ride to that restaurant you’ve always wanted to try and try it out for lunch.
Buy a pair of Nikes and just do it.
Mentally, I frame each day as an adventure. I urge you to do the same.
Kicking your addiction is the first step to customizing your life. You can’t be free to discover the things that make life subjectively AWESOME when you’re chained to artificial highs and lows.
You won’t understand how liberating this is until well after you’ve quit your addiction.
It’s up to you to figure out what you subjectively like. No one can make your life pleasing for you. The first step is to be open to new things. Trial and error and is the name of the game. You’re on a quest for happiness, and happiness requires you to know thyself.
If you quit your addiction recently and you think that life isn’t interesting, rest assured that this is an illusion. The problem is post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) and there are natural solutions to this. It ain’t you, it’s your brain chemistry – and it can be fixed.
I never would have believed it if someone had told me when I was in the depths of addiction, but I now get more pleasure out of going to an Asian market and eating hot peppers than I ever did from staying home and drinking a bottle of wine.
How is this even possible? Because I’m on a quest to discover what excites me in life and that quest will never end. I probably haven’t even discovered 90% of the things in life I’ll end up enjoying immensely. Hell, maybe I’ll learn how to surf one day.
You won’t have time to ruminate on past disappointments once you’ve learned to become fully PRESENT in the moment. When you’re not enjoying the present, set your sights on a FUTURE filled with opportunities of your choosing.
You won’t have the energy to be negative because you’ll be focused on all the great stuff – big and small – that’s going to happen TODAY.
Tony Robbins said it, and it’s true: You feel what you focus on.
Achievement is worthy of your focus. But so are the myriad little things that give you pleasure and that won’t bring negative consequences to your life. (In full disclosure, I did eat a super hot Indian meal once with my hands and I used the bathroom immediately afterward – OUCH.)
In the grand scheme of things, the choice is yours: You can go through life with a bitter taste in your mouth, or you can accept the heroic challenge of pursuing your own happiness. Don’t minimize the frivolous things you enjoy for no apparent reason.
If happiness is your goal, then you’re in the right place at Fit Recovery. I’ll have more articles and an E-Book coming out soon.
Keep it up and don’t ever give up. If you’re hanging on through early recovery, you’re a hero in my eyes. Feel free to comment or send me a message.