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    Thread: Tool box

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      bump

      I am no sure if this is the right way to do bumping a topic but I found the urge surfing SO helpful

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      Anon so much of this thread needs bumping let me help!
      :bump:

      A Work in Progress;455658 wrote: Urge surfing is an important and very helpful way to deal with cravings. Every urge, impulse, or craving has a natural progression. It starts at zero, and then suddenly we become aware that the wish, desire, craving, or impulse has arisen in our minds. It can continue to get stronger, once it has arisen. And, eventually, it will fade away (so long as we do not give in to it). This is ALWAYS true for any and every craving or impulse.

      Sometimes we have the (very false) impression that cravings are SO strong and powerful, that they will never go away and we MUST give in to them. One way to deal with that is to make a conscious effort to step back (mentally) and observe the craving, as if from a slight distance. Ask yourself: what am I thinking, what are the words running through my mind? Where am I feeling this craving in my body? Observe how the sensations and thoughts become uncomfortable; observe what the messages are that you might be telling yourself; and observe how you will soon become distracted, and find that you are thinking about something else... because the craving has faded away.

      Once you have done that several times, you will have a different perspective on cravings, and you will be much better able to resist them. And you can always use this method, any time you find yourself struggling, or getting into a mental argument about whether or not you should or could have a drink.

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      Finally found this thread and at a perfect time. I think I have finished the "Pink Cloud" phase, when quitting drinking is in it's honeymoon phase and everything is awesome. Now reality is kicking in and I really need to work on the urge surfing. I quit before for a long while and know how difficult it is. I started drinking regularly 3 years ago after 5 years AF, it turned into bingeing and I know how bad that is for our bodies.

      Thanks for all the tips and I will be sure to come here lots, I am on the newcomers thread, but couldn't find this until I saw a link.

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      51 Things You Should Know About Addiction Recovery

      51 Things You Should Know About Addiction Recovery

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      Hello, I found this thread after several recommendations.

      The "urge surfing" is a great one. I will have to remember that one when my next urge strikes. And I know it will at some point. I too have gone AF for some time and then tried MODS off and on for 2 years. It just isn't worth the effort to me anymore and I always wind up drinking more than I should at some point. So, I'm going AF this time around.

      Thanks for the great posts -- lots of wisdom on this thread!

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      Cyn, I used your key words went to the Tool Box thread and used the search tool on the blue bar at the top of the thread to find this. I'm glad you remembered this post. I remember reading it too. WIP was an exceptional member and I still miss her posts.A Work in Progress;509969 wrote: One of my mother's favorite expressions was: "I can't STAND it!" She used it a lot, in fact she was in the habit of saying it, in a tone of voice that sounded just a bit panic-stricken, anytime she didn't like something that someone else was doing... and it was a signal for the rest of the family to jump in and do whatever she wanted done, so that she would calm down, and life could go on...

      I think that many of us are in the habit of believing that we cannot tolerate (or that we just can't stand!) some things that really we are quite capable of not only tolerating, but overcoming!

      So: I've been thinking lately about the topic of "Distress Tolerance" as it relates to recovery for substance abuse/dependence. I decided to write something up, because it's a central issue, and someone might find this helpful.


      DISTRESS TOLERANCE


      It?s well-known that some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others. These differences have been consistently demonstrated and measured in laboratory settings. Little is known about the reasons that such differences exist, but they are quite real.

      Tolerance for physical pain is akin to a tolerance (or lack thereof) for emotional distress. Just as with pain tolerance, some people have especially good capacities for tolerating emotional distress, and others are (or feel) not nearly as capable in this area of functioning.

      The capacity for tolerating distress is a major aspect of recovering from alcohol (or other drug) dependence. The central tasks for a person in recovery are to (a) tolerate the emotional pain involved in refraining from doing something (drinking) that s/he very badly wants to do; and (b) tolerate all the other pains and stresses of life, without turning to alcohol; and (c) tolerating the fears generated by her/his own mind, such as the anxiety s/he feels when s/he allows herself to worry that s/he might not be able to live a life without the ?assistance? or ?comfort? of alcohol.

      Some of us are naturally lacking in distress tolerance skills (possibly because of difficult or traumatic childhoods); and many of us have failed to build strong skills in distress tolerance because we are in the habit of turning to alcohol as a primary method for dealing with stressful events, anxiety, etc. Regardless, anyone who embarks on a program to give up a life dependent on alcohol will need to strengthen her/his capacity for tolerating discomfort.

      The good news is that distress tolerance is a skill (or a set of skills) that can be cultivated and learned. One of the major pioneers in clinical psychology, Dr. Marsha Linehan, developed a program that includes components in which individuals learn to develop their capacities to tolerate distress. Here is an outline of the commonly used methods used in contemporary psychotherapy to enhance distress tolerance:

      1. Distraction
      : this method is very simple (not always easy, but simple). As soon as I notice that I have begun to feel overwhelmed with worry, sadness, fear, anger, a craving for alcohol, or some other very uncomfortable emotional state, I gently shift my thinking (and my behavior) to something else. It can be a very simple shift: for example, I can begin to deliberately count the tiles in a nearby floor, or ceiling; or, speaking silently to myself, I can describe all the books on a nearby bookshelf, including their titles, their authors, the colors of the jackets, etc. One of my own favorites, when I am outside, is just to look at the sky. Gradually, the emotional discomfort will begin to fade. Remember to be patient! None of these methods are ?quick fixes.? It takes time for our minds to relax, for our brains to lower the levels of stress-induced hormones and neurotransmitters.

      2. Acceptance: Sometimes our biggest struggles are internally generated. Often, it is not so much the situation itself that is so painful, but our fruitless attempts to change the un-changeable, or mental arguments about how things SHOULD be different, our endless efforts to figure out WHY things are the way they are? all of these are unnecessary add-ons to the difficulties that life presents us with. One of the major differences between people who live happy, meaningful lives and those who are bitter and unhappy is the capacity to accept setbacks and to make the best of difficult circumstances, instead of struggling against the things that cannot be changed.

      One excellent role model in this area is the guy in the YouTube video, with no arms or legs? but with a fabulous outlook and love of life! [Here's the link: YouTube - How to get back up...Nick Vujicic (life without limbs):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AkOJaWVvmE[/video]]YouTube - How to get back up...Nick Vujicic (life without limbs) ]

      An example of someone who is NOT a good role model, because s/he is self-handicapping her/his own life, would be the person with a serious alcohol problem who continues to tell her- or himself that s/he SHOULD be able to ?drink like a normal person?!

      The ?Serenity Prayer? is a great tool for enhancing acceptance. When we find ourselves in some kind of mental turmoil, we can begin sorting it out by quietly repeating: ?Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.? Often, upon reflection, we will then realize that the turmoil arises out of trying to change something we cannot change.

      3. Mindfulness
      : Both as a formal meditation practice, and as a way to approach daily life (awareness of the moment, and careful attention placed on whatever is going on right now), mindfulness is a skill par excellence. Much of our emotional distress arises out of a focus on the past (regrets that contribute to depression) and the future (anticipating disasters that contribute to anxiety disorders and panic). When we realize we have allowed our minds to dwell on the past or the future, shifting into the present can be calming, comforting, and effective in helping us to deal with life as it is (not as it was, or as it might be in case something awful happens). Re-focus on physical sensations: deliberately feel the sensations of your breath as it goes in and out, for example. Notice what your thoughts have been telling you (often it may be that your mind has tricked you into a dialog about drinking!). Notice the stress-related sensations you might be feeling in your chest, or belly, or shoulders.

      It?s a good idea to practice these skills on a daily basis, so that they will become part of your repertoire, and readily available to call on when you really need them. You can, with practice, become a person who has a good capacity for tolerating emotional distress; and this will make a huge difference in the likelihood that you will be able to meet your goals for long-term (permanent!) freedom from alcohol abuse and dependence! So: if you find yourself saying to yourself (or to others!): "I can't STAND this!" then... think about it. Maybe you can...

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      Why We Don't Get Better Immediately After Quitting Drinking

      :bump:
      Excellent Article:

      Many of the problems associated with early sobriety do not stem directly from drugs and alcohol. Instead, they are associated with physical and psychological changes that occur after the chemicals have left our bodies. When we use, our brains actually undergo physical change to cope with the presence of the drug in our body. When we remove the drugs, our brains then demand more to satisfy the desire caused by the changes. The extreme symptoms that we experience immediately after we stop using are called ?acute withdrawal.?
      Acute withdrawal, unfortunately, is not the whole story. Our bodies make initial adjustments to the absence of the drug, and the major symptoms ease up. However, the changes that have occurred in our brains need time to revert back to their original state (to the extent that they ever do). During the period of time while this is occurring, they can cause a variety of problems known as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

      Rest of Articlewell worth reading)


      Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) ? Why we don?t get better immediately) ? Digital Dharma

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      Alcoholics and Holiday Parties

      Can Recovering Addicts and Alcoholics Safely Attend Holiday Parties?

      November 15th, 2010 | Author: Bill

      Alcoholics and drug addicts in early recovery seem generally to take one of two attitudes toward holiday gatherings: either they are afraid to go, or they feel they need to challenge themselves in some way.
      Obviously, people in early recovery are more vulnerable than folks who have been clean and sober for several years. Newcomers have not yet replaced their old habits ? developed over years of using ? with newer, healthier reflexes. There is a real possibility that being in a drinking (and perhaps drugging) environment could massively trigger a desire to use. This is also possible when we are further along in recovery, but by then most people have learned to deal better with situations that might be triggers.
      Nonetheless, there is no reason that we can?t attend holiday parties with relative safety, so long as we follow some simple guidelines.
      • Take a sober friend with you. ? This is by far the most important rule. There are excellent reasons: you are less likely to become enmeshed (especially at family gatherings) if you have someone with you who knows where you?re coming from; and also the two of you can have fun watching the partiers become progressively more loaded and silly.
      • Be sure you have your own transportation, or enough money for a cab. ? The unpleasant truth is, you can?t depend on anyone but yourself to get you out of a tight spot, not even your sober friend. He or she is vulnerable, too, and if they get involved with the party, they may not want to leave. You have to be sure that you can leave on your own ? and don?t hang around trying to help your buddy. You won?t be any help later if you relapse too.At the party:
      • Never accept a drink from anyone else. Order your own coke, or soda and lime, and watch the bartender to make sure that?s all you get.
      • Never set your drink down. You might pick up someone else?s by mistake, or someone might decide to ?freshen? it for you in all innocence ? or not.
      • Always have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand. It keeps you from having to explain why you?re not drinking, and keeps people from offering to get you another. Just say, ?No thanks, I?m OK for now.?Nibble throughout the party. It keeps your hands busy and your blood sugar up, which helps you resist the idea of using.If you walk into the restroom
      • and someone has lines on the counter, or you see mysterious powder residue, leave. Don?t check it to see what it is.Arrive late and leave early.
      • Minimize your exposure by limiting your time in the situation. You may have certain obligations about attending, but being the first in the door and the last to leave increases the likelihood that you will become comfortable with the old, familiar party atmosphere. That way lies nothing but trouble.If you feel uncomfortable, leave immediately.
      • Don?t make a pass around the room saying goodbye ? just leave. You can explain later that you ?weren?t feeling well? and had to get home. That?s true, and you don?t have to explain farther. You suited up, showed up, and that?s all that is required.
      With these precautions in mind, there is no reason that you can?t attend a holiday party. Just make darned sure you follow ALL of them, especially the part about taking a sober friend.

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      Awakening

      The Awakening

      ?There comes a time in your life when you finally get it? ?

      There comes a time in your life when you finally get it? When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out- ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.
      And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new prospective.
      This is your AWAKENING!
      You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something, or someone, to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You learn that much of who you are, and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you have received over the course of your lifetime.
      And you come to terms with the fact that there aren?t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of ?happily ever after? must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. So you begin making your way through the ?reality of today? rather than holding out for the ?promise of tomorrow.? And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about:

      how you should look and how much you should weigh
      what you should wear and where you should shop
      where you should live or what type of car your should drive
      who you should sleep with and how you should behave
      who you should marry and why you should stay
      the importance of bearing children or even what you owe your family
      Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view.
      And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practised to begin with.
      You accept the fact that you are not perfect
      and that not everyone will love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are? and that?s OK? they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a ?perfect 10″ Or a perfect human being for that matter. So you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.
      And, you stop manoeuvring through life merely as a ?consumer? hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in giving that we receive
      and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of ?creating? & ?contributing? rather than ?obtaining? & ?accumulating.? And you give thanks for the simple things you?ve been blessed with; things that millions of people upon the face of the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed and the freedom to pursue your own dreams.
      You begin to love and to care for yourself.
      You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviours including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you?ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.
      Then you learn about love and relationships, how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don?t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally and that not everyone will always come through and interestingly enough, it?s not always about you.
      So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren?t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns; anger, jealousy and resentment. You learn how to say I was wrong and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture.
      And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things.
      And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake.
      Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that you don?t know all the answers, it?s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.
      Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are
      and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be, more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to.
      So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given.

      And suddenly you realize that it?s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet ?your? standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations.
      And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that ?alone? does not mean ?lonely? and you begin to discover the joy of spending time ?with yourself? and ?on yourself.?
      Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know. Self-Love.
      And so, it comes to pass that through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.
      Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic People and conversations.
      And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn?t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So, you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead. You set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.
      You learn that life isn?t always fair and you don?t always get what you think you deserve and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God? but merely a random act of fate.
      And you stop looking for guarantees because you?ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you?ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time: FEAR itself. So you learn to step right into and through your fears, because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.
      Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY? the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart?s desire. Then a sense of power is born of self-reliance.
      And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility.
      Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity. Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
      A word about the Power of Prayer:
      In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed not for the answers to my prayers or for material things but for my ?God? to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.
      Remember this: ?You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.
      ? My ?God? has never failed me.
      By Sonny Carroll


      ABOUT SONNY: ?There have been times in my life, when I have found myself alone and afraid, seeking inspiration and direction. At times such as these, I prayed in earnest and kept my eyes steadfast on the horizon, where always there would appear the answer to my supplication. Sometimes it would reveal itself to me in the enlightening and compassionate words shared by a friend over a cup of tea. At times, it would manifest in the lyrics of a song, or a passage I read somewhere.
      ?I?ve savored the sweetness of life and tasted the bitterness of heartache & despair and overtime, I have learned that lasting Happiness is found in ones heart; NOT in ones circumstances; That Fear is Our Greatest Adversary; Faith Our Greatest Ally and that the Human Spirit is Magnificent and Resilient.
      I?m an entrepreneur, by day. A philosopher, a dreamer and writer by night.?

      11px;">Copyright ? 1999 Sonny Carroll All Rights Reserved
      Kindly contributed to Zen Moments
      by the author.

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      Tool box

      Awakening

      The Awakening

      ?There comes a time in your life when you finally get it? ?

      There comes a time in your life when you finally get it? When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out- ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.
      And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new prospective.
      This is your AWAKENING!
      You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something, or someone, to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You learn that much of who you are, and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you have received over the course of your lifetime.
      And you come to terms with the fact that there aren?t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of ?happily ever after? must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. So you begin making your way through the ?reality of today? rather than holding out for the ?promise of tomorrow.? And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about:

      how you should look and how much you should weigh
      what you should wear and where you should shop
      where you should live or what type of car your should drive
      who you should sleep with and how you should behave
      who you should marry and why you should stay
      the importance of bearing children or even what you owe your family
      Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view.
      And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practised to begin with.
      You accept the fact that you are not perfect
      and that not everyone will love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are? and that?s OK? they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a ?perfect 10″ Or a perfect human being for that matter. So you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.
      And, you stop manoeuvring through life merely as a ?consumer? hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in giving that we receive
      and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of ?creating? & ?contributing? rather than ?obtaining? & ?accumulating.? And you give thanks for the simple things you?ve been blessed with; things that millions of people upon the face of the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed and the freedom to pursue your own dreams.
      You begin to love and to care for yourself.
      You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviours including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you?ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.
      Then you learn about love and relationships, how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don?t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally and that not everyone will always come through and interestingly enough, it?s not always about you.
      So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren?t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns; anger, jealousy and resentment. You learn how to say I was wrong and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture.
      And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things.
      And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake.
      Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that you don?t know all the answers, it?s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.
      Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are
      and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be, more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to.
      So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given.

      And suddenly you realize that it?s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet ?your? standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations.
      And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that ?alone? does not mean ?lonely? and you begin to discover the joy of spending time ?with yourself? and ?on yourself.?
      Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know. Self-Love.
      And so, it comes to pass that through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.
      Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic People and conversations.
      And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn?t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So, you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead. You set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.
      You learn that life isn?t always fair and you don?t always get what you think you deserve and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God? but merely a random act of fate.
      And you stop looking for guarantees because you?ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you?ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time: FEAR itself. So you learn to step right into and through your fears, because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.
      Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY? the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart?s desire. Then a sense of power is born of self-reliance.
      And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility.
      Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity. Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
      A word about the Power of Prayer:
      In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed not for the answers to my prayers or for material things but for my ?God? to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.
      Remember this: ?You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.
      ? My ?God? has never failed me.
      By Sonny Carroll


      ABOUT SONNY: ?There have been times in my life, when I have found myself alone and afraid, seeking inspiration and direction. At times such as these, I prayed in earnest and kept my eyes steadfast on the horizon, where always there would appear the answer to my supplication. Sometimes it would reveal itself to me in the enlightening and compassionate words shared by a friend over a cup of tea. At times, it would manifest in the lyrics of a song, or a passage I read somewhere.
      ?I?ve savored the sweetness of life and tasted the bitterness of heartache & despair and overtime, I have learned that lasting Happiness is found in ones heart; NOT in ones circumstances; That Fear is Our Greatest Adversary; Faith Our Greatest Ally and that the Human Spirit is Magnificent and Resilient.
      I?m an entrepreneur, by day. A philosopher, a dreamer and writer by night.?

      11px;">Copyright ? 1999 Sonny Carroll All Rights Reserved
      Kindly contributed to Zen Moments
      by the author.

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