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Safely Outside My Comfort Zone - by Tiffany Kuhwede

This is how changing my way of thinking was my first step to being in recovery.

For many years of my life I lived in a place of fear and self-destruction. This led me to a place I almost could not come back from. I made choices, not out of conscious thought, but out of a need for instant gratification. If I was hungry I would eat whatever was fastest and most convenient. Of course I was allergic to most of that food and it was slowly destroying my body from the inside out. I did the same thing with every choice in my life from seeking attention when I was craving love, to attempting to kill my pain with medication. My thoughts were always about what I didn’t have and could not control, never focusing on my power to make change in my life.

Eventually this led me to a place where I was not going to be alive in another week if I did not make changes. I first had to detox and allow my organs to start to work again. After a couple of months I was coming back to being a living person and had to start dealing with the consequences of my past choices. One night while I was still killing my pain, I made the choice to have a few drinks on top of the cocktail of pain meds I was already on, and then drive home. Due to this choice I was ordered to attend group therapy. I ended up in both group and individual therapy due to the high amount of trauma experienced in my life. My therapist even said I had the worst case of Complex, compound PTSD that he had ever seen.

So I knew if I wanted to ever have a healthy life I needed to change -a lot!

During my individual sessions my therapist recommended a book called “The Choice Theory”, by William Glasser, M.D. I only read 88 pages, but it was enough for me to get the message. I am in charge of my thoughts and I can always control how I feel. I started to pay very close attention to how I automatically felt when things would happen in my life. This lead me to being able to choose how I was going to feel about things. I decided that I needed to have things in my life that would lead to happiness and fulfillment, and if it was less than that it was not for me.

My key to success is start small and stay that way. What I mean by this is be aware of every thought you have. When you notice the thought is not safe and loving, change it. For example, if, when you make a mistake, your first thought is, “I am so stupid!” Make sure you stop as soon as you realize what you are thinking. Change it to something like, “I am thankful I am learning.” I noticed as I changed my way of thinking my life started changing in small ways that had a huge impact on how my day would go. I soon had fewer bad days than good ones and I realized it was all because of how I was thinking.

I used to live outside of my comfort zone because I had no boundaries and was willing to do almost anything to get what I was craving. Today, I still step outside of my comfort zone often, but I step safely outside. I get great satisfaction out of overcoming things I am scared of, but today they are things that will help me or someone else overcome something. I often challenge myself to do things I never thought I could, just because I know I can. What can you do today that is safely outside of your comfort zone, think about it.

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