As I look forward to a Thanksgiving with family and yummy food, I find myself reflecting on the past 9 years of life.
It was this time 9 years ago that I detoxed from heroin and prescription pills.
Compared to 9 years ago, my life is so different nowadays that most people I meet can hardly believe I was once heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol.
It took a lot of time, work, energy, patience, self-compassion, persistence, and faith to overcome drug and alcohol addiction.
Furthermore, in the first 7 years of this new life, I battled and eventually beat the following addictions:
- Comfort foods
Additionally, here are the physical and psychological disorders I’ve suffered, and yet today no longer endure:
- Chronic pain
- Chronic fatigue and stress
- Bipolar II disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
What My Life is Like Today
9 years ago I was a 32-year-young single dad living with my parents, unemployed, and attending school to become a certified substance abuse counselor.
Today I live in a beautiful apartment with my girlfriend of a year, and my 10-year-old daughter, Willow.
Oh, and our fourth family member is Papaya (a green cheek conure birdie; pictured below).
We call our home the “Tree House” because it’s on the third and top floor amongst several huge trees that both shade our balcony and hide us from neighbors.
The perfect place for nature/animal-loving introverts like us!
I love being a private practice addiction coach and can’t imagine doing anything else as a profession.
My family of 4 (including Papaya!) gets along very well 99.9% of the time.
Every day is filled with love, laughter, gratitude, playfulness, and creativity.
Most mornings I follow a structured routine that I conditioned to be a series of sequential, automatic habits (unconscious process).
Here’s the sequence of my morning routine:
- Wake up around 7-8 am
- Drink 12 ounces of alkaline/ionized/reverse-osmosis water mixed with one packet of Neura-Vie (a caffeine-free nootropic/adaptogenic/gut-health blend that clears my morning brain fog for the rest of the day)
- Brush my teeth using a new organic toothpaste containing prebiotics
- Shave (or not) and jump in the shower; end the shower with 30 seconds freezing cold water (this stimulates the production of norepinephrine and beta-endorphins, plus it acts as an anti-inflammatory and immune-system booster
- Drink a warm cup of English Breakfast tea (contains caffeine and theanine combo, which both elevates and relaxes the mind simultaneously; also contains high levels of antioxidants)
- Read a new online article or two about addiction
- Make the bed
- Check my planner and schedule to see what the day has in store (eg work, appointments, exercise, recreation, rest/repair, and more)
Supplements I Take
I still take supplements 9 years after beating alcohol and drug addiction. Some are the same (like B-complex, fish oil, vitamin C), while many are new (like CBD oil, Homeopathic HGH Transdermal Gel, New Zealand Deer Placenta capsules, New Zealand Grass-fed Beef Liver capsules).
Additionally, 9 years ago I was taking supplements 7 days a week for several months after detoxing.
Presently, the only type of supplements I take daily are Chinese tonic herbs such as schizandra, ginseng, gynostemma, and many others.
I take various other supplements as well, but most of them only a few days a week unless I need specific daily nutrient support for a deficiency causing issues.
Most of the supplements I use are not like the synthetic vitamins/minerals/amino-acids I was taking 9 years ago.
Instead, the majority of products I use consist of Chinese tonic herbs, superfood powders, and grass-fed beef organs/glands.
These are all whole foods and my brain-body system does the best on these vs synthetic and semi-synthetic supplements.
My mental/emotional health is at an all-time high. My spiritual health is moderately high yet I have room to improve.
Physical health is really good for being 41, although I have high standards and am working toward higher levels of fitness and health vitality on a daily basis.
As far as the intimate relationship goes, things have never been better. We don’t fight or bicker and our personalities and values mesh quite well together.
Of course, it’s only been a year, and I know long-term relationships usually go through ups and downs.
Yet, I’m confident I can navigate these waters infinitely better than I could 9 years ago!
Most Helpful Lessons Learned
Over the past 9 years, I’ve learned countless invaluable lessons and ideas from books, seminars, courses, articles, podcasts, videos, and being a life-long learner.
Here are the most helpful lessons I’ve learned in my 9-year ongoing journey:
“Do what is easy and your life will be hard. Do what is hard and your life will be easy.” – Les Brown
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins
“Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out.” – Jim Rohn
“Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.” – Jim Rohn
If I can do it, anyone can
9 years ago I was 145 pounds at 6’3″. I either looked like a heroin addict or a tweaker or both.
My daughter wasn’t even 2 years old at the time.
After close to 20 years of going from cannabis to alcohol to illicit and RX drugs and beyond (most in the name of “self-medicating”)…
I finally pulled through and made it the last detox I’d ever have to endure…
The last PAWS I’d ever have to endure…
And the last time I’d be that weak shell of a man that hadn’t figured out how to live a healthy and happy life drug-free.
Thus… if someone as bad off as I was can make such a tremendous turnaround, I have faith that almost anyone can do it.