Today I am feeling deeply fortunate.
The time finally arrived for my wife to bring our first child into the world at 4:27 a.m. on April 6th!
Now I am relaxing on paternity leave with my new family, soaking up the reality of my new life.
Today, as I was laying down to take a nap after rocking in the chair with Ada Ray, I began thinking about how fortunate I am.
I feel fortunate for a couple of reasons.
I am ridiculously grateful to be able to have the pleasure of hanging out with my baby. Another thing I have been thinking about is how crazy it is that I have ended up at this place in life.
Something I have made clear on My Life Experiment, is that I am an addict in recovery.
There was a time in my life when I was at an extreme bottom, my liver and pancreas were very sick. And my mental, emotional and spiritual health were virtually decimated.
I was a 26 year old little boy, very scared, and hopelessly lost. My chance at any sort of better life was quickly fading way.
Fortunately, the state of being I knew then, is a state of being that is distant in the past. Though also close to my heart so that I don’t forget where I’ve come from.
Today I am living in the manifested possibilities that I could have never imagined possible in 2008!
My new live has all been made possible because of the recovery program I follow. It has helped me keep my mind in reality and have healthier, mutually enjoyable relationships.
Over the last TWO YEARS ALONE I have been able to.
1. Graduate from College.
A lot of money was spent on multiple attempts at college years 19-23. I simply could not stop using long enough to get my head straight.
The failed attempts did a great deal to fuel my shame and convince myself that I was not a very smart dude. But December 2015, I received Bachelors’ Degrees, in Philosophy and Psychology, earning a 3.75 GPA. Not bad for someone who received 45 days of suspension his senior year of High School, and a D- average throughout his high school career!
It felt amazing to rewrite the history of my past failed attempts and wasted resources!
2. Got Married.
The history of romantic relationships throughout my life was a complete mess before recovery. I put myself in dangerous situations to maintain them.
I also spent many years isolating myself from potential relationships, after an early heartbreak that I used to amplify my using. But October 2016, I married a wonderful woman and the cowriter of My Life Experiment!
3. Bought a House.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe I would be able to live in my own house!
My life before recovery was mainly about cramming multiple people into single bedroom apartments, basement dwelling, and running back to my parents place after another failed attempt at living somewhere else.
On December 15th of 2017, my wife and I moved into our new house!
4. Became a Father.
As I said above Ada Ray came into the world just 6 days ago in the wee hours of the morning. Of all the other beautiful developments that have arrived in my life, I don’t know if any of them can top her arrival.
I was pretty much convinced that with the way I treated my body for so many years, that I wasn’t going to be able to become a dad. But here she is now, crazy beautiful and has my heart forever.
Why the Fortunate List?
I put this list together to reflect on the crazy journey my life has been from active addiction and into recovery.
Reflecting on these life victories, has me feeling very fortunate that I didn’t die and that I found this new way to live!
This list also represents lost hopes and dreams that reawakened in the course of my journey!
I didn’t create this list to brag about getting my way in life to all of you. But, definitely to attempt to inspire a little hope into some that may feel hopeless about potentially recovering their lives. And thus, even more hope for myself.
I know that feeling of hopelessness very well. But now know that it need never return at that level.
Hope for Becoming One of the fortunate.
Whether in recovery from active addiction or other mental illness, there is hope! There is a path back to sanity. I found mine in a program for addicts!
But there are mutual support groups for all sorts of personalities, disorders, and traumatized individuals.
There are resources available. If you are struggling please reach out and find them. You are worth it 😊
I know that reality can seemed stacked against us when it comes to thinking of the lost time and all the family members we might have hurt. But there is no time to waste, get help as soon as possible, and get on the path to wake up your lost hopes and dreams!
Here are few a web pages set up to help individuals get hooked up with support!
–www.samhsa.gov/find-help – This website is a national resource with links to help find the nearest treatment centers to you, the Suicide Prevention line and other great mental health support resources.
–www.NA.org – Website for Narcotics Anonymous. Despite the name, NA is not just for users of Narcotics, but all sorts of substance use disorders (whether diagnosed or not). If you are looking to stop using any type of drug (including alcohol), and recovering your life, then check it out.
–www.AA.org – Website for Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous focuses on recovery from alcoholism. If you are looking to stop drinking and recovering your life, then check it out.
The beauty of Living a Fortunate Life.
Life is a beautiful thing. I have not always been able to see that life is beautiful, but now I consistently live in this reality.
And now, because of the fortune I have had in recovery, I have great hope to know that only more amazing opportunities and experience is possible.
I have no idea what my life is going to look like over the next 5 years, but what I do know is that the path I am on will ensure that it will be amazing!
Thank you for checking out My Life Experiment today, it was my pleasure to fill you in on my experience.
As well as the resources above, Therapeutic Writing has been a tremendously helpful habit to keep. If you join My Life Experiments email list on the sidebar, you will receive a printable copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide. You will also receive our articles directly to your email.
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I am a strong believer in the law of attraction! I have also experienced how it works in my life.
When I put out positive energy I am met back with that same energy. Just the same as if I am putting out negative energy that is what I receive back. This has been a great thing for me to implement in my life and it ALWAYS works.
Lately even though I know it works, I have had an extremely difficult time putting out that positive energy, which is not something that you do just once at the beginning of the day. Rather, it is something that you continue to do throughout your entire day. That, or it simply will not be effective!
It has been very difficult to follow through on staying positive, as of late. I begin my day by thinking positively and feeling love for what’s to come, but when that first negative thought or feeling comes it can be easy to let it hijack my whole day.
One area that is hugely impacted is at work. I work at Costco, which I normally love, and I interact with people my entire shift.
I am sure everyone can relate to shopping and ending up with that crabby cashier which can put a damper on your whole experience! I never thought that I was the crabby cashier. Well, it turns out that I am more that person lately than I thought.
When one unreasonable customer begins pushing my buttons they no doubt are feeling my “stabby eyes”, as my husband calls them. If just one of these customers comes around I can have a drastic personality change! And it will make it more likely that others after them will feel my wrath.
I am generally an upbeat and friendly person who never minds striking up conversation with those who come through my line. I smile and laugh with others and love to help cheer people up. Currently I am none of those things which has got me a bit down.
It’s not that I don’t want to be grateful, because trust me I do. I think that with all the changes that have come with being pregnant and being off one of my medications, that it has become a lot harder to manifest the positivity that I once had. This only increases fear and anxiety in my life.
I find it important to see exactly how this is affecting my everyday life. Gaining perspective on this is what drives me to make changes. What I know is that this issue has stopped me from fully being myself, leaving me feeling irritated and angry.
I am done hindering myself from having a great day. I am also done preventing myself from seeing all the positive things that are going on around me!
Although I am not trying to do it intentionally, I am making things harder for those I am working with. Ultimately, I am making it hard for anyone who encounters the negative energy I am fostering. This includes my family, friends, and even my cats!
In my last post I mentioned how I would focus on bringing more gratitude into my life. This is something that can help me to attract positive energy, and not keep my day hijacked by the negative in my own head! Here are a few ways I have been able to do this!
1. Stop and list things I am grateful for in my head- This acts like a timeout if you will. Doing this at work helps to turn my mood around, even if for a few minutes.
2. I have a symbol to help remind me to be grateful- I picked this up from “The Power by: Rhonda Byrne.” I picked something that I love. Every time I see a turtle I stop and really invoke feeling of gratitude and love in my life. I see it in jewelry,on t-shirts, kid’s toys, and more. “Affiliate Link Below”
3. I take a moment to breathe- This allows me to slow down and relax a little. When this happens, I can focus on feelings of gratitude, and get back to my friendlier personality.
4. Putting myself in others shoes- At work I have found it helpful to think about how coworkers might be affected by my energy. I know that when I work with someone who is constantly negative it can take a toll on my mood and sometimes I find myself feeling negative right along with them.
5. Thinking helpful thoughts- When I can get outside of my head and think of helping others, that can keep me from treating them badly. Thinking of helping others has helped me to stop the negative thoughts and start thinking positive thoughts. Then I am able to laugh with and not criticize, to smile at and not scowl, and to love and not hate.
Each of these things helps me to incorporate more positive energy into my day, which is something that I really need right now. Actively practicing this is what makes for a good day and I become someone that others want to be around.
Well that is all I have for now! Thanks for taking a moment of your day to read this! Feel free to share if you found this to be helpful.
Also, look over to the sidebar and sign up to My Life Experiment’s email list to receive our free Therapeutic Writing Guide, and to receive My Life Experiment blog directly to you email!
I hope you have a great day!
Hey everybody, thank you for stopping in to My Life Experiment.
As you may have noticed there will be a new author making contribution to My Life Experiment, my wife Casey Hagen! When first starting My Life Experiment I wasn’t aware that this would be a thing that would come to be. Though when the idea came to try and get Casey on board with contributing, I immediately knew it was a solid gold idea.
Casey and I come from similar life paths, in that we have lived through the pain of addiction, have rocked it in recovery, and way more often than not have been strongly supportive contribution to the fulfillment of each other’s ambitions.
What has worked so well in Casey and I’s relationship is that we have our own personalities, our own friends, and our own recoveries. I don’t feel the need to attempt to micromanage Casey’s life, and Casey has been able to do the same for me. Thank god!
We are able to have all of these things be separate, but still come together on enough things so that our relationship isn’t left to be too needy.
I don’t know about you, but I can get the feeling of suffocation quickly in any relationship! Without necessary space I am likely to freak out. I tend to be a bit of an introvert as I discussed a couple of posts back. That and I have had ample problems with other people’s expectations, and with those I perceive to be authority figures.
I remember one time when I was cleaning the fridge back at our old apartment. As I was cleaning, Casey walked by and said “Great job babe” or something similar. My immediate response was “you’re not my manager.” It was pretty funny to me, but I think it took Casey a little for bit for her to have the same sentiment for the comment.
Just so you know, I don’t believe my wife is my manager.
I have given ample thought to this situation and here is what I am concluding. Some unresolved stuff in me thought that she was trying to condition my behavior… So, I revolted!
I imagine this feeling is common place in relationships that require this amount of time to be spent together. Or maybe I am just justifying my behavior 🙂
Despite occasional revolts from feelings of being controlled, thankfully Casey and I have worked well together! But it isn’t controlling each other that has helped our lives together grow so rapidly.
We certainly push each other, encourage each other, and compliment each other! We understand that in order to have a happy relationship, we need to change, grow, and find success in new territories.
Casey knows that my success is her success, and my clean fridge is her clean fridge. And most of the time, I stay reminded of the very same thing!
We understand that we are a team. We realize that the team needs the fridge to be cleaned, the litter boxes to be emptied, the dishes to be done, and so on and so forth with the never ending list of responsibilities there are to take care of.
Even though sometimes innocent comments about my cleaning performance can be viewed as attempts to condition my behavior, it doesn’t really matter because that is all part of the process.
To be in a healthy, intimate relationship, we must allow the other person to leave their mark on us. They need to know that their needs, are needs that not only they care about.
Now does it really matter that compliments may be a great way to make it more likely that someone will behave the way I would like them to? When it comes to having a healthy relationship, of course not!
Casey isn’t making me be in my marriage, nobody is making me show up to weekly baby appointments, and cleaning the litter box. Nobody is forcing Casey to make any contribution to My Life Experiment blog, or any of the thousand contributions she has made to my life.
We choose to be in this relationship. And we choose to make it a healthy one. Both individually and mutually making contributions to each other!
A big reason I have been able to keep my end of this relationship healthy is because I have kept my own mental and emotional health in check. This has come from me showing up for my personal recovery.
Another great tool I have is the Therapeutic Writing Guidelines we have developed. This writing process has made huge contribution after huge contribution to my recovery. If you would like to obtain a printable copy, go ahead and join My Life Experiment’s email list on the side bar! You will get a printable Therapeutic Writing Guide, as well as receive our new blog posts directly to your email.
Thank you very much for stopping in to My Life Experiment once again or for the first time. We appreciate you all for supporting this family endeavor!