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The Power of Positivity: Amy’s Story

Today’s guest post is by Constance Ray of RecoveryWell.org

“I’m so grateful to be set free from living a fear-driven life and carrying the burdens of that fear and worry. I am so thankful that I am happy the majority of the time today.” – Annette, Sobriety Advocate

Depression and addiction are serious illnesses that affect millions of people — and sometimes, they work together to make someone’s life completely

Photo credit: Pixabay

unbearable. And while it’s important to receive treatment for these conditions, whether on their own or as co-occurring disorders, the power of positive thinking can go a long way in helping people find their way back from despair. Amy, a brave addiction warrior, is proof that dancing in the rain is an effective first step in making a positive and permanent life change.

 

***

 

Amy started struggling with mental health issues when she was just a little girl.

 

“From a young age, I started having panic attacks,” she said. “I was in and out of the doctors’ offices, and eventually diagnosed with depression and panic disorder.”

 

Though her parents worked hard to get her the help she needed, she still suffered some dark times during her adolescence.

 

“I experienced quite a bit of childhood trauma growing up. My parents divorced when I was about 12 or 13 years old, and that’s around the time I started drinking. It was also around that time I started having suicidal thoughts.”

 

She continued, “By the time I was 16, I was experiencing constant panic attacks and was unable to breathe and unable to cope. I was drinking, but hadn’t started using drugs yet. I was kicked out of my mom’s house, and instead of going to live with my dad, I moved in with drug dealers.”

 

When she was 18, she underwent open-heart surgery to treat a life-threatening medical condition.

 

“I was so excited to have the surgery because I thought it was really going to help me — so I could breathe normally, be better at sports, and have less anxiety,” she remembered.

 

Sadly, things didn’t turn out the way she hoped.

 

“What no one had told me was that surgery can significantly worsen depression,” she explained. “I couldn’t do the things I normally did to cope with it, like sports or driving. By the time I left the hospital, I was severely addicted to morphine. Everything went quickly downhill after my open-heart surgery, and I turned to pain medication.”

 

Amy continued to try to live a normal life — at that point, she didn’t yet realize that she was addicted. She moved from Chicago to New Orleans for college and completed her freshman year. Unfortunately, she couldn’t keep the momentum going, and soon found herself homeless on the streets of New Orleans.

 

“During that time, I experienced more trauma. I was diagnosed with PTSD. Things got really bad. I was down to about 80 pounds, and I crossed just about every line I had ever established in my life,” she said.

 

She was in and out of counseling, but it wasn’t until a friend connected her with a man who worked in an outpatient treatment program that she got the help she really needed — including the power of positive thinking.

 

She said, “That man, his wife and his family came to meet me on a 12-step call, and I went to a meeting with them. Immediately afterwards, I went out drinking; but the next day, [which was] Mardi Gras when I was 21 years old, I got a sponsor.

 

“Before I went to to that meeting, for the first time in my life, I actually wanted to live,” she continued. “While I was there, I saw people who were truly happy. The family that took me to that meeting — they saved my life. I felt a sense of community I had never experienced.”

 

Now, with over three and a half years of sobriety under her belt, Amy works tirelessly to ensure that others who are struggling the way she once did practice positivity and other body- and mind-healthy habits in their everyday lives.

 

“I am now the regional coordinator for the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network … I bring public education to topics like suicide, substance abuse and mental illness,” she beamed.

 

She shares her story whenever she can in order to help others.

 

She noted, “I realized I couldn’t do what I was doing for a living without expressing myself and my story. Part of my self-care today involves having people around me who are aware of my past and what I’m doing. When I speak with groups, I start up conversations about mental illness, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.”

 

Although Amy worked for years to achieve everything she has accomplished today, she couldn’t truly battle her demons until she committed to having a changed perspective — one that allowed her to view things in a positive way.

 

“The first step is to want it — to really want it. I wish that wasn’t always the case, but it is.”

 

If you are struggling with a mental health condition like addiction, depression or anxiety, know that there is always help available for you. You can overcome any obstacle life throws at you — but as Amy proves, you have to want it, and embrace your strength with hope and positivity.

 

As she said, “It’s so important to have … a willingness to keep walking. No matter how small the step, keep moving forward. It’s all about daily action.”

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The Secret of Deliberate Creation

Have you ever wondered why the Law of Attraction isn’t working well for you?  You’ve watched the video, you’ve read the book, in fact you’ve read many books and still you struggle.  It’s an exercise in frustration.  You’re living in default mode instead of design mode.  You’re conditioned to have low, or even empty expectations, but you cannot achieve success by slapping positive thoughts on top of empty expectations.  Trust me, I know.  I was banging my head against the wall.  I’m Joe positive…I’m always thinking positive and looking for the good everywhere and in everything.  But then I learned about The Secret of Deliberate Creation.  Dr. Robert Anthony breaks it all down and helps you to work through the roadblocks that are sabotaging your success.  If you want to learn more about this fantastic program, Click Here!  Give yourself permission to TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE, and start manifesting your heart’s desire.

What Follows YOUR I Am?

I just read an amazing article at YourTango.com – here is a brief snippit of it and a link to the complete article – it’s really good, I suggest you check it out, and more importantly – change your I Am statements.

by RJ Banks

It’s all about the law of attraction.

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

“I’m so broke.”

“I’m so tired.”

“I’m so stupid,”

And the list goes on…

Whether you know it or not, or like it or not, you’re reciting affirmations for your subconscious mind to program your beliefs about yourself and your life. Unfortunately, negative affirmations are just as effective in our lives as positive affirmations…….  Continue reading HERE

A Cool Idea for the New Year 

We should all do this

The Benefits of Yoga and Thinking Positive

Hi Everyone,

I’m looking for opinions here.  As you know, I’m always looking for ways to think positive and improve my mental health.  I am also looking for ways to improve my physical health.  I’ve been looking at yoga as a way to combine these two things.  Do any of you practice yoga, and do you think these two things will work together.  Please share your thoughts, opinions and information in the comment section.  I’d LOVE to hear what you think.

On Being Positive

I love the first of the year.  Facebook is full of bright and shiny resolutions and positive thoughts and posts.  There are positivity groups popping up all over the place.  It’s nice to see.  Really it is.  It will be interesting to re-evaluate in March and see how active those groups are and read the posts of people to see just how positive they are.

I’m not being critical or judgmental.  I really hope that the trends lasts all year and it becomes a habit for everyone.  What I’d like to see, instead of all the cat memes and what decade are you quizzes are positivity memes.

Maybe it’s something we can work on together.

I resolve…

Not to make any resolutions for 2015.  I never ever follow through,  so why set myself up for failure?

I’d like to say that I resolve to lose 100 pounds, eat healthier, blog every day, keep on top of paperwork at work, and finish my novel.  I’d like to say that I resolve to be a better person, to volunteer more and to help those who are less fortunate than I.  I’d like to say that I resolve to only think positive, to find the bright side, and to believe in myself at all times.

However, as I said, I never follow through with my resolutions.  What I am going to do is to TRY to be a better person, and most importantly, I am not going to beat myself up if I don’t do these things.

I’m not perfect, I’m a work in progress, and I hope I keep progressing in the right direction.

Figuring it Out

No cheerful quote today, no inspirational post, just some thoughts.  Many years ago, well just over 6, a wonderful friend and I were talking about how blah our lives were.  She had made a decision to post one positive thought a day in her live journal for a month.  I decided to take it one step further and create a live journal community called Think Positive 30. For a while, it was really cool. We were posting, and then Live Journal made us a spotlight community and the community EXPLODED. People were posting left and right. It was great, but a bit overwhelming because I was determined to respond to every post. From there came a very poor website with very little content. Over time, content was added and deleted and the website got a little more organized thanks to WordPress. I also added a mailing list which allowed people to receive a “Daily Positive Thought” via email. It was quite nice. There were a few people on the mailing list, and I got up every morning and emailed the thought via a free program provided by my web host called PHPList.

The list started growing, and while this was great, the volumn of mail being sent out during peak hours made my hosting company kind of cranky (something about bandwith or such, I’m not reall sure) and I was in a quandry. A very kind friend of mine did that thing he does (it could be voodoo, but I think it was more along the lines of programming) and set things up so that the list would go out automatically, during the non-peak hours, thus making me happy, and more importantly, my web hosting company happy.

Well things happen, and the phplist thing was upgraded, which was great, but it wiped out all the programming my friend did to make it run overnight. This meant I was getting up at 1:00 in the morning to set the list to run manually, and it also meant I had to leave my computer running all night so the mail would go out. I’m not going to lie, this got old quickly because I need my sleep, uninterrupted sleep, and I wasn’t getting it. In the end, I made the hard decision to disband the mailing list and just post the Daily Positive Thought here on the website.

There was a huge problem with this. I hardly ever seem to get it done. I post it on twitter, but there, I’m limited to thoughts that are 140 characters or less. I want to do more. I love sharing postivie thoughts, and inspirational posts, but I need to figure out what exactly how I want to do this. I’m going to be honest here, it’s never going to be perfect, no matter what because I’m NOT a perfect person, in fact, I’m kind of lazy, and I lose focus easily. I also have a life, I have a job, and I have a family and those things take time. I try, but I’m not perfect and I am never going to even get close to perfect.

So thanks for sticking with Think Positive 30 while I figure out how I want to do things. I have lots of dreams and visions for this whole thing, as many of you know. I even want there to be a book, but that lazy, and loss of focus thing keeps coming in to play there 🙂 Who knows, maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t (the book I mean) but I WILL figure out the best way to get the thinking positive message out there. I believe that it is far too important to give up on. Remember, we all know that life isn’t always wonderful, and we can’t control the things that are going on around us, but the one thing we can control is how we view those things. I choose to find the good and look for the positive, and I hope you will too.

Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk

Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.~ St. Francis of Assisi

I was going to blog about this quote, because honestly, it’s a great quote.  If you break the impossible down into smaller chunks and start with what you can do, you’ll find that the impossible becomes possible.

That’s what I WAS going to blog about, but instead I’m going to talk about life.  Life and how it seems so incredibly overwhelming and happy-sad-faceshow incredibly difficult it can be to remain positive when you’re faced with the everyday frustrations that seem to crop up with annoying regularity.

I’m going through such a period right now, and if I’m not going to talk the talk and walk the walk, how can I, in good conscience, expect others to do it?  I actually posted on my personal twitter acount that i was jumping off the positivity train and and climbing on the life sucks bus.  This is NOT the attitude of a positive person by any stretch of the imagination.  I’d like to say it was a momentary aberration, but the mood has persisted for a couple of days.

This is where the opportunity to make a choice comes in.  I can choose to keep dwelling on this negative mood that I’m in, allowing it to consume me, or I can acknowledge it and then keep looking for positive things to hopefully override it.

I’m going to be honest, I’m struggling, but I’m working at it.  The trick is, no matter what, don’t stop trying.  It’s not easy, but it can be done.  I know it!  I’m having a hard time believing it, but I am trying.

What are your tricks to get you out of the dumps?

The Importance of Self Belief – Ian Lock

Please enjoy this guest post from author Ian Lock

IAN LOCK on the importance of Self Belief…

 

How can self belief help you to be Extraordinary?

 

As we move into 2013, I find myself thinking a lot about the power of self belief. Our self belief impacts upon everything that we are and everything that we do. People with true self belief can go anywhere and do anything. People with false self belief, or bravado, often just pretend they can.

 

Can you remember a time when you truly believed in yourself, felt good about who you were and what you could do? A time when you felt really positive? Even if it was only for a brief moment, can you remember how you felt and what you believed?

 

For me one of those times was when my daughter, Imogen, was born. I remember standing in the hospital room at around 2.30 am holding this precious little bundle in my arms and looking out across the skyline. I had an enormous sense of well being and purpose. I felt ready to face into the rest of my life and create possibilities for me and my family. I believed that I had reached a point where I was ready to be me and that I could truly change the world. At that very moment nothing was impossible. That memory still fills me with the same positivity 12 years on and at some of my most difficult times since, I have used it to sustain me. I often ask myself what that version of me, at that time in my life, with positivity and self belief, would do today.

 

Positivity and Self Belief says: This is the life I’m living. This is the life I want to be living. Here are some obstacles that are getting in the way. Let’s figure out how I’m going to get around them!

 

Negativity and Lack of Self Belief says: This is me. I am stuck. Here are all the reasons why I can’t change…

 

The difference between us feeling powerful and powerless is all about our self belief. Believing in yourself doesn’t guarantee that you will always succeed – but your energy will be different, how you feel will be different, your ability to handle everything that happens in your life will be different.

 

Think back to a day or a time when you felt great and had real self belief.

 

What did it feel like and how did you behave?

 

What was possible?

 

What could you do today with that feeling to make your life Extraordinary?

 

 

Ian Lock is a leadership development consultant and author of Being Extraordinary: How to Live Life on Purpose (Live It; 3 Jan). For a free download, join the Being Extraordinary community here.

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