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Out of the Darkness

At a certain point in our lives, we come to realize that we’ve been doing life all wrong. We realize that we haven’t even begun to live.

For me, this happened in the spring of 2019. At that time, I was smoking a pack of cigarettes every day and drinking a 12-pack of beer ever night. I was eating junk food every day, and spoiled by working from home, I lived a sedentary, lethargic lifestyle often barely moving from the couch. My health and fitness were degrading. My relationships with my wife, children and friends suffered.

And while I may not have fully realized it at that time, my spiritual self was suffering in immeasurable ways also. I had no sense of self accomplishment, fulfillment or satisfaction. Later, I would come to realize that this was because I lacked meaning and connection.

In February of that year, I took a step that was one of the most difficult and perhaps also one of the bravest things I have ever done. I asked for help .

I reached out to my first line supervisor in the U.S. Army reserves, SSG Kosir. I shared with him that I was struggling with alcoholism and I desperately needed help. He proceeded to get us excused from all of our responsibilities for that morning and found us a quite place where we could work. We then began calling as many resources as we could find until we were able to get me connected with a counselor who specializes in substance abuse. This was the beginning of my journey into a new life.

Over the next few months, I struggled with sobriety. It wasn’t until May 7, 2019 that I achieved full sobriety. This was my first day sober, and I’m proud to say that I haven’t had a drink since then. A year and a half later, I decided to tackle smoking, and in September of 2020, I broke that bad habit as well.

Into the Light

When I began, I realized only that I needed to quit drinking and smoking. But as I began to move forward, I began to realize that I wanted to much more out of life.

There is a field of Psychology, originally developed by Martin Seligman, called Positive Psychology. Let me explain. The work of most psychologists involves helping people to deal with their demons. In my case, for example, I needed help in a battle against alcoholism and tobacco addiction. Others may be dealing with mental or behavioral disorders like Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, or Schizophrenia. Some may need help with life situations that create extreme mental or emotional turmoil such as a divorce, loss of a loved one, or the anxiety of a high stress job situation.

Positive Psychology is a bit different. It provides a scientific, Psychological approach helping people and communities thrive. It is the pursuit of living our best possible lives, for being our best possible selves. At first, it was, in part, simply a study related to happiness. But after some research, it became apparent that happiness isn’t the key to experiencing the greatest possible satisfaction in life. Rather than happiness, it is meaning and connection that pave the path to living robust, fulfilling lives.

I’ve become somewhat obsessed with the amazingly transformative power of a few simple principles. First, life is best lived in pursuit of meaning and connection.

Second, hyper consistency in regard to habit building is the stepping stone to all success.