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Forged by Fire: The Road From Addiction to Success and Happiness

Forged by Fire: The Road From Addiction to Success and Happiness

The claws of addiction are long and sharp — once they grab ahold of a mortal heart, prone to sin and overindulgence, you’ll find their grip incredibly difficult to escape. Now, this is not to say that it can’t be done, but overcoming addiction is not a journey to be undertaken without a well-structured plan, plenty of commitment, and a strong support network.

There is a silver lining here, though — it is through all the trials and tribulations that a recovering addict goes through that an iron will is forged, and it is this grim determination to overcome adversity at all costs that can serve as a powerful tool later in life.

In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the ways people overcome addiction and the psychological tools and tactics that help them do so, as well as how ex-addicts can use their newfound strength of character to attain success and happiness in life.

Making the initial leap of faith

One of the hardest things in the world is admitting your own faults and mistakes, and this is even more difficult for someone with an addictive personality. When you’re used to escaping the grim reality with the use of your chosen drug, after a while you can’t even remember what it feels like to go about your day with your body chemistry set on default.

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Admitting that what you are doing is bad for you and the people around you and that, no, you can’t just quit whenever you want, is a huge victory. It is also a hard-won victory that is preceded by hours upon hours of self-doubt, fear, sadness, and frustration. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be able to change the way you see and define yourself, and this initial step — laying bare before you all your transgressions and weaknesses and deciding to change who you are — will lead to an immense mental shift.

The gruelling road towards recovery and lessons learned

Depending on your poison of choice, the process of going back to normal can be anywhere from “hard but doable” to “insanely uncomfortable and nerve-wracking.” For me, it was a matter of quitting cigarettes, giving up high-calorie junk food, and limiting my alcohol intake — which is no walk in the park, but is nowhere near as gruelling of an experience as quitting and fully recovering your body from extensive drug use.

However, I know a few people who had started to lose grip with reality and sink deep into the dark void of addiction — and then managed to pull themselves back. Some never quite return and keep falling back into old patterns, some are so determined to proceed with their kamikaze fall into oblivion that it’s nearly impossible to help them, but those who overcome their addiction have some incredible lessons to share. The human mind truly undergoes some major changes during recovery, both on a chemical and psychological level, and it’s interesting to see just how these changes can affect a person.

Some of the best life lessons I’ve picked up from ex-addicts can be applied to a wide range of circumstances and make anyone’s life better, and they are as follows:

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  • If you want to make progress, you need to stop lying to yourself.
  • Humans are not loners by nature; you need the support of your loved ones.
  • You need a single clear goal that you are focused on 100% if you want to succeed.
  • Every little victory counts, and you’ll need to achieve as many of them as you can.
  • A single failure does not mean utter defeat — don’t ever quit because of a setback.
  • If you want to change your lifestyle, change your circle of friends.

I’m sure that there are plenty of other little gems of wisdom that those who’ve overcome addiction could share with us, but these are just some of the most important ones that I’ve found to be highly beneficial.

The Survivor Mindset and how it carries over into the business world

The world of business is a cutthroat affair where only the strongest survive, but it is also a unique playground where all manner of different ideas can thrive. The mental toughness, determination, and ability to learn from failure that is developed through recovery can all be more than useful in an entrepreneurial context, but there’s more to it.

There is an interesting concept proposed by Per Wickstrom, the founder of Best Drug Rehabilitation and an ex-addict-turned-entrepreneur himself, of running a business more like a drug rehab clinic in order to attain success through making the customers happy, actually caring about their needs, and believing strongly in your own set of morals.

Focusing on helping others, developing emotional connections, and not straying away from your own core beliefs or deceiving others just to make a quick buck can actually help you build a strong business foundation and a likeable and trustworthy brand. The ability to determine which life choices are ethically questionable and which ones can help both you and others around you, while trying to stay well away from the dark side, is something that a recovering addict must quickly become adept at.

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Another thing ex-addicts have going for them is that they understand how toxic people’s minds work, how to spot them a mile away and deal with them effectively, which helps them avoid a great deal of stress and problems in the workplace. All this can help you a lot in any type of business setting.

How overcoming addiction and staying clean builds a happier mind

Apart from making you much more realistic, determined, and ambitious when it comes to business, overcoming addiction can also help you become a much better and happier person in your private life as well. Here are a few big positive changes that you will experience after successfully defeating addiction:

  • You develop thick skin and a fighting mentality.
  • You develop a deeper understanding of yourself and others.
  • You no longer take the little things for granted.
  • You’ve seen rock bottom and never want to go back there again.

There is an endless source of motivation to be found in the mere fact that you know what it feels like to be sad and alone with no prospects at the bottom of that black pit of misery and addiction, and you gain a great appreciation for the beauty of life and all those inspiring little moments that most people take for granted.

When combined with the ability to understand just how troubled and lonely someone can be, to connect with others on a deep emotional level, and to never let small things worry you too much, all this can turn you into a wonderful human being if you can just keep pushing forward.

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While drug addiction is an incredibly serious problem, it is not an impossible obstacle to overcome — it just takes lots of courage, determination, and patience. Going through the process of recovery is not just about going back to normal and integrating back into society; it also brings out the survivor mindset from deep within you, and that kind of mindset brings a lot of unique benefits with it.

As long as you apply the same intensity and strength of conviction to other aspects of your life, you will be able to achieve great things.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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