janderson-index-booksA few months ago I was heading to a seminar that was a 4 hour drive away, and decided to  take up the advice of a friend who suggested that audio-books make the journey less painful.  So I got two audio books, one of which was A Weekend to Change Your Life by Joan Anderson.  My 4 hour trip was not as long and dreary and I came back to town not only with information from my seminar, but also a lot of inspiration thanks to this book!

These past few weeks have been challenging and at times it felt like a positive change was no where to be found.  I decided to head to the local Library and borrowed the hard copy of this book.  I am thinking that I should own a copy as there were so many words of inspiration that was needed then, and even more so now.  It’s one of those books that should be on your night stand or bookshelf.

I felt very encouraged by this book and a few points stuck with me:

* Live life to the fullest, with as little regret as possible

* Set goals, have dreams, smile and find the simple pleasures in your life and savor them

* Be kind to yourself

* Remember that if you fail to take care of yourself, you are not giving others a reason to take care of you

* Self care is priceless and should not be placed up for bargain or debate

It is easy to become discouraged and feel uncertain about making healthy, positive changes in our lives.   I know I feel that way at times.  I have seen clients feel discouraged when they continue to relapse and feel like being in recovery is hopeless and that sobriety is a boring life because a life of using is all that they have known.  I have found it helpful at times to remind them that sometimes the process of change is difficult and brings on discomfort, but continue to play-the-tape-through when they feel like giving up:  what happens when I give in to negative thoughts and feelings?

Here are some of the things I think about when I believe that change is necessary but difficult:

* accept that change is necessary

* admit that sometimes I need help in order to progress.  It is okay to reach out

* what is going to replace the thought or behavior that is going to be changed?

* what areas of my life are affected by the thought or behavior that I would like to change? Is it positive or negative?

* what do I need in order to make a healthy change?

* who can I turn to for encouragement and support?

As you move ahead on your life-journey, consider what healthy, positive changes you would like to make and be encouraged in knowing that your efforts are not wasted, it is the insight that matters.

Photo credit to Joan Anderson