In two recent episodes of the Emotions Mentor® podcast, I had the privilege of talking with individuals who once found themselves in the mires of addiction but have done the hard work to crawl up from rock bottom and turn their lives around.
Today both women take others like them under their wings and walk them through the addiction recovery process.
In fact, Dana Sockolov, an addiction recovery counselor in San Diego, told me during our conversation that she is actually grateful for her addiction. Specifically, for all that she has learned through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and all that she is still learning from the other women she mentors. Her struggles have made her a better person and have helped her set a promising course for the future.
I loved talking with Dana and hearing the joy that emanates from her voice today. She is a true warrior and a great example of what can happen when a person works to turn their challenges into triumphs.
To learn more about addiction, including Dana’s story, listen to the podcasts linked to above or read my recent blog post on facing addition head on here.
To discover 3 strategies for turning your own challenges into blessings, keep reading:
1. Change your perspective—to the future.
Dana shared with me what it felt like in the moment her perspective changed and she saw herself as a future recovering addict with a sobriety date in mind instead of just as an addict.
It was liberating and gave her the courage to press forward. The moment happened when Dana was near rock bottom; she’d recently been arrested for a DUI . . . at 10 in the morning on the way to the dentist! . . . and it was a wake-up call that she had a serious problem.
When Dana recognized that it was a problem, she knew she didn’t want it to define her, and she was able to take the action necessary to change. She did that by developing a “future perspective” and dropping the perspective that had her looking only at the past.
Her attitude was much like that of the late Walt Disney, who faced his own set of challenges on the road to success. He said: “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” When you’re focused on future possibilities, you may even welcome some of life’s challenges.
2. Live life as fully as you are capable at the time.
The poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote: “No difficulty can discourage, no obstacle dismay, no trouble dishearten the man who has acquired the art of being alive.
Difficulties are but dares of fate, obstacles but hurdles to try his skill, troubles but bitter tonics to give him strength; and he rises higher and looms greater after each encounter with adversity.”
I love the idea of embracing the “art of being alive”! Facing a challenge does not mean you have to give up on truly living your life. Take time to pause during a troubling time and think of something beautiful. Then do whatever you can to introduce some of that beauty into your life.
The act could be as small as treating yourself to a new lipstick and then wearing it as you walk through the park. Or it could be something more significant like blocking off three hours one afternoon to play with your children and focus on nothing but their potential.
Your version of “living life” should be doing whatever it is that you enjoy: going to a museum, reading a good book, taking a day trip to the mountains or the beach, visiting an old friend, eating your favorite meal, and so on.
3. Name this chapter in your life.
One of the best ways to develop perspective and find beauty in life is to write about it. A wonderful exercise that can help you face your challenges and battle through them is to write down the story of your life. (Or, if you struggle with writing, retell it in your head or to a trusted friend.)
Start off by writing a chapter or two about earlier times in your life. Include a chapter about a time that wasn’t so great and a chapter about a time that was amazing. If it helps, write in the third person. When you feel ready to write your current chapter, give it a title. It’s okay if the title is discouraging or foreboding, because the next thing you will do is to come up with a title for the next chapter. Keep that second title in mind as you write the current chapter. You’ll be amazed at how therapeutic, revealing, and encouraging this exercise can be.
Each of these three strategies really comes down to one thing: life is all about the story you tell yourself. You may not have the power to rewrite a chapter from the past, but every page ahead of you is blank, just waiting for the plot to turn and the story to go wherever you want it to.
Essential Oil Tips
Dana has been sober for nearly 6 years, and she regularly takes actions that help her stay sober.
One of those is to use essential oils to ease feelings of anxiousness and promote joy. Her go-to oils are in dōTERRA's Emotional Aromatherapy Kit, and include blends such as Motivate, Cheer, Peace, Forgive, and Passion.
Try diffusing or wearing any of these blends to support you through challenges. You can also make your own supportive blend by experimenting with your favorite oils.
Here is a recipe to get you started:
PS. One of the best ways to help manage emotions is with essential oils. Check out why and how they work with our "Emotions and Essential Oils Course."