Power of NO

I often write about something I have recently experienced, and how I have tackled my latest challenge. My recovery life is about not keeping secrets and is about living authentically day to day. Writing about these issues keeps me vulnerable in a good way. Getting my thoughts on paper is quite cathartic, healing, exposes to myself my own obstacles that I need to face up to, and allows me to be me without borders. I am who I am, and I feel quite unashamed to be me, warts and all.

“Living an authentic life”

The other day I woke up with nothing in the tank. My get up and go had got up and went. I felt total blah. I am diabetic and if my blood sugar is too high, it is as if I am depressed but I am not. I have lived with significant depression in the past, and I know the difference though I am not sure my brain does. In the diabetic world, we call it having brain fog, but this morning was even more than that. There seemed to be a challenge to accept being and staying empty.

“What will we accept?”

There was no exuberance for meeting my new world that morning. I just wanted to turn over in my bed and leave the day to others. It was if I had a heavy blanket laid upon me that desired to keep me in my place of total disinterest. It seemed to encourage me to give in and accept being a non-essential part of my community. Ignore and turn off the world. That has never worked before but the temptation was alluring and tantalizing.

Be nothing, do nothing. Addiction whispers to us that we don't really count and nobody will notice so it doesn't matter if I stay in a funk. Who cares about me anyway so why not stay in bed and meditate on my current predicament? This meager power wants me to give in to being seemingly unimportant.

Addictions true desire is to destroy our identity. We are of great value and addiction says to accept being invisible. Accept its liefearwithgirllookingthroughslats. Stay in bed and be nothing, do nothing, embrace nothing except eventually giving in and try to find eventual comfort in addiction’s web of lies. See, that where this will all lead if I let it. Heading back to the trough of trouble where I will be left bankrupt again.


“There is power in No”



My recovery has taught me a valuable lesson. I have the power to say NO to that which wants to keep me bound. I have the power to push back and not accept being less than my best. My best may not climb the sjustsaynoocial ladder and be on TV as a mover and shaker. My best may not captain an industry while I try to figure out how to live on seven figures. But my best is about achieving what I can become, and I will be live satisfied with my best efforts. I can say no to what wants to keep me down.

What I say NO to :

- I say No to drifting along in my life acting directionless. I want to live my life quite intentionally. I can be the person to reach for goals and build a plan on how to achieve them. I can be that man with a humongous desire, and I am able to driftingsay no to that which wants to divert me from being alive to my aspirations.

- I say no to acting like a victim. Poor little davey warner. My past addictive choices created consequences I didn’t like. I acted helpless since I needed my d.o.c. to survive day to day. At least so I thought. Now my choices are being made to achieve whole and holy consequences. Ones that advance me towards my truest desires. I don’t accept that everything should be perfect now that I no longer use. I will encounter trouble and challenges along the way but so what. I say no to living under the canopy of victim-hood. I say yes to keep truckin’on.

“I will accept life as it is and not how I want it to be”

- I say no to procrastination. Procrastination is fear of something. Name it and claim it. Fear of change. Fear of “what if?” Fear of lacking the ability to control outcomes. Fear can be that emotion that keeps us bound to living ineffectively and weak where we demand others prop us up.

“We can’t always control outcomes”

What is it that I fear that keeps me from engaging in real life? In the past, I would hold back and not take acceptable risks. Yet it is in the risk zone where personal growth occurs, and I must keep living forward so taking risks is part of the deal.

What is it I fear anyway? Failing? Being found out to be a fraud? Being vulnerable that would get me robbed of my dignity again? Each of these fears are real and not real at the same time. Sure I can fail. I have and I may in the future. I may not always be the expert, and I might even get embarrassed a time or twelve. So what. I say No to thoughts that express myself as a victim. We are all of incalculable value, and there is nothing that my performance or others can do to diminish my value. I say No to living as an offended addict who must compromise to be alive. If I fail, I will fail forward.

“I am no longer someone’s roadkill”

I say yes to reveal my personal strengths, and letting others experience the true me. I say no to living weak. I say yes to living strong. Now to get out of bed and get going no matter how I feel. I will act greater than my feelings.

“I will act greater than what I feel”

daves photo for bookDr. Dave Warner is a transformation coach, author and speaker. He is the author of Resilient My Journey to Wholeheartedness He is a certified Recovery Coach by CCAR, Mental Health Peer Coach by the State of Washington, and as Professional Life Coach through Erickson College of Vancouver, BC. He is an active leader with New Heart healing and recovery. As well, he spends valuable time with the Everett Recovery Cafe and ATR.

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Envy Will Impede our Recover


Envy Will Impede our Recovery

“The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build”
Margaret Thatcher
I have that friend.  A person who is totally put together.  He stands out as he carries a measurable sense of authority and a powerful presence wherever he goes. He is what I envisioned should have been my destiny, but it was his and not mine. Sharp, powerful, decisive, and influential. He is very handsome and quite accomplished in business and in life. Well-spoken and certainly composed. His clothes hang perfectly on his body, and I am quite an admirer of his style which combines cowboy boots and his suit. Country couture.
My friend is a vice president of a fast growing technology company, and he displays such wisdom and purpose so as to accomplish what he considers critical to his success. He just radiates purpose and the world appears to be his oyster.
We were first introduced over three years ago when my higher power (God is mine, yours may be different) downloaded some information to my mind and heart for his company.
“God was telling me four things about my friends company for their encouragement and planning”
God was telling me four things about my friends company that I needed to share with them (I had previously presented to the executive leadership so I had some familiarity with the company). Why God chose to share this information with me while sitting in contemplation is for Him to declare, but I ventured forward with the message on unknown grounds, and presented my God knowledge for them to consider. I sent them the four point download in a letter addressed to the CEO, and this VP responded to me with a phone call and a personal visit.  They graciously received me, confirmed that the message was pertinent, the VP and I have maintained a friendship since that time.
Recently, my vice president friend was leaving our weekly meeting, and I had one of those fleeting thoughts that seemed to hang over me forever but in reality takes a nano-second. It was that kind of thought that reveals a deeper motivation.
“that was supposed to be me.”
The picture I held in my brain of him walking out of our meeting looking confident was what I perceived should have been my own supposed purpose. My expected personal destiny was to be exactly what he is. I was envious. Obviously, in comparison to him, I was falling quite short of my own expectations. I was once a business executive but experienced the drama of failure for the most part due to my own destructive behaviors. I launched an executive consulting company (why I talked to them in the first place), but I didn’t gain the financial traction needed to keep going. He had been a successful consultant, and he is now the VP for this company being sought out for leadership and influence. We have had approximately the same amount of time in our lives to show results for our lifetime of efforts and when comparing myself to him, I pale considerably in contrast to his gains. Bummer! What am I supposed to do with that?
“Envy is toxic”
Envy is such a toxic emotion to carry around. Letting it be nurtured and coddling its presence will poison our minds and eventually be destructive to our bodies and minimize any influence we could have for the positive in our jobs, families and communities. People driven by envy carry a large boulder on their shoulders for all to see and touch. Everybody sees or senses it except the person who is being tormented by it consistent moaning.
“Are you thinking of anyone now that you recognize this victim spirit suffocating them?”
Envy will drive other people away from us when what we really need is to be involved in our community to heal and to participate. Addiction is healed in community. Envy declares “you have what I want or should have had but I don’t.” I become the victim and if this emotion is unchecked, envy will turn to bitterness and poison every well of ours. It will become the perfect excuse to gravitate towards my drug of choice. A certain destiny that will leave me isolated, broken and with little motivation to climb out. I have been there and I don’t want to go back.
“Envy is defined as the desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else).”
So I contemplated on this thought of mine for a while, and I realized what was trying to take hold of me. I recognized its putrid perfume. It was the old stinking thinking that wanted to overtake me again and render me powerless.
The envious thought was drawing up a comparison of me versus him but in reality it could be me versus anything that I want to possess without the effort to pursuing the “whatever” as something necessary to obtain. We will never win when comparing ourselves to others, and it is in these comparison games where envy does its best work. When comparing ourselves to others, we will always end up on the losing end. We will either succumb to playing the victim or be taken in by pride.
 Envy never offers a win-win opportunity, it is always a lose-win scenario. Losing in the comparison contest has the potential to keep us in the addictive cycle that will yield barrenness rather than an orchard of fruitful results. Envy will keep us small.
“it is always a lose-win scenario”
What must we do to accomplish defeating this enemy that I purport wants to suck the life right out of us and render us all pitiful?
How do we war against this troubling enemy? Here are five things that I suggest will move you and me towards the life we can only imagine.
- Begin being thankful for who we are and what we have been able to overcome. Our daily sobriety is a gift to be thankful over. Expressing gratitude has shown in studies to decrease depression, increase optimism, and improve sleep, and having more determination to move forward in our lives.
- Bless that other person with peace, joy, hope, strength and wisdom. I am not in competition with my friend. I refuse to have a poverty mentality. His success does not reduce my opportunity for experiencing tremendous triumphs in my own life. He has his life and I just need to be the best me. I will consciously remove myself from comparison shopping and celebrate my own strengths and life.
- Spend quality time deciding what your non-negotiable values as a person and family are. Build a life plan determining what it is you really want to accomplish. Begin to live intentionally rather than be tossed around emotionally like small boat in a storm. I recommend a great book that was just released by Michael Hyatt called “Living Forward.” This book will help you in developing the plan to enable you to strategize your desired life. It’s a simple read that can bring profound results if used.
- Spend time every morning reading out loud a list of personal affirmations. I initiated this daily behavior after another good friend of mine told me about his pre-flight check list. These personal truths are what we need to rehearse before taking off each day. It is true we always return to the significant identity we hold in our minds and soul. No matter how we were wounded that brought about this need for relief by using drugs, alcohol, etc., we can now intentionally reset our identity to begin representing our best selves. Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of “Switch on the Brain” says it only takes 7-10 minutes a day to rewire our brains. We all have 10 minutes in our day to enable us to live the life that reaps the preferred results.
- Live reflectively. We have to power to choose our thoughts. We can embrace them or we can throw them out. I threw out my envious thoughts because it is not how I want to live. I am not a victim and nor are you. We have the power to acquire the destiny that is most relevant for each of our lives and the journey starts with having proper thoughts.
daves photo for bookDr. Dave Warner is a transformation coach, author and speaker. He is the writer of Resilient My Journey to Wholeheartedness He is a certified Recovery Coach by CCAR, Mental Health Peer Coach by the State of Washington, and as Professional Life Coach through Erickson College of Vancouver, BC. He is active as a leader with the New Heart healing and recovery group. As well, volunteers his time at the Everett Recovery Cafe and with ATR.

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5 Ways to Overcome Fear


5 Ways to Overcome Fear

Recently, I visited a recovery center, and I held an in-depth conversation with their executive director. We were discussing the power of shame that has held many of us captive. This was of prime interest to me as I have recently chronicled and published my own bout with shame in my book Resilient: My Journey to Wholeheartedness.
“Shame is at the heart of all addictions”
Shame seems to be at the heart of all addictions. We experience shame over the wounds of our early childhood traumas, our seemingly inherent weaknesses to stop our disruptive life behaviors, and the extreme costs paid by our families and community for our unhealthy choices. Shame often worked overtime to suck the life right out of me and attempt to keep me locked in an addictive cycle. For much of my life it was successful, but no more. The director’s response to me was “yes, shame is powerful, but fear may be even more insidious in keeping us chained to our addictive thinking. I didn't realize how insightful this was until I realized that overcoming fear was my next battle to wage and win.
“Fear Incessantly Taunts”
Fear reveals itself in my life as incessant mental gymnastics. This may be true for you as well. Fear starts in my mind with a thought, and then soon after all of my physical senses come under it supervision. I become immobilized to move forward for meaningful destinations as I am seemingly overwhelmed with thoughts of sabotaging myself so I won’t fail. Fear becomes my natural response to challenges and obstacles. I must pull back so I won’t get hurt again.
Fear seemingly asks one question over and over, and then over again. It asks relentlessly “what if?” What if they won’t accept me? What if my idea is no good? What if they won’t follow me? What if this person exposes me? What if I fail again? What if I am not good enough?  What if? What if? What if?
This constant torment just wears me out, and I want and need relief.  Unfortunately, I have discovered the hard way that pornography nor food are the tools for my current and future relief. They comfort for a while, and then they turn on me like a pit bull attacking a steak. Being truthful, both of these weapons just make it worse. A lot worse. Your drug of choice (d.o.c.) may be different but reaping the same results when succumbing to fear and its pressure.
“Recovery is a Battle”
Recovery is like waging a battle, one right after another similar to “whac-a-mole.” One mole is smashed, and another rises up in a different spot. I smashed shame and now fear has reared its ugly head. Well, fear doesn't know it yet, but it’s time for decline is rapidly approaching, and here is how I am going to do it. I am going to partner with God. My and our remedy for this consistent and familiar torment in the life of an addict is in our 2nd step that declares “let go and let God.”
“Overcoming Fear”
- I am turning and facing the truth. Fear is my enemy.  It is an enemy that wants to control you and me. With God, we can defeat its lies. I will name it, and allow light to invade its darkness.
- I am choosing to live reflectively. I know by experience failure is not fatal so there is nothing to actually fear. Whether I succeed or fail in an endeavor, I will be safe. I will practice mindfulness. I won’t reach out for my former d.o.c.’s.
- Paul Perez, a coach for Excellent Cultures Link teaches that the risk zone (where fear resides to push us back to our norm of unhealthy comforting) is where all growth occurs in our personal and professional lives. So, that being true, when fear raises its ugly head, I will remind myself, I must be onto something good that is going to help me grow even stronger. Encountering irrational fear means I am on a good path.
- I may have had my brain hard wired for fear through early Adverse Childhood Experiences, but I will now choose to live with daily affirmations rehearsing my personal value, strength, hope and vision. I will intentionally renew my brain to become my very best. I am a man of power, love and soundness of mind. Fear will not be allowed to occupy a space any longer. I have power to choose differently. This is my cup of recovery. Why not let it be yours as well.
- Finally, I will act. A parked car can’t be steered. I will step out and accept life as it is, not as I wish it would be.

daves photo for bookDr. Dave Warner is a recovery coach, mental health peer counselor, author, and speaker. His current book Resilient My Journey to Wholeheartedness is available now.  He resides in Everett, Washington and is an active leader in the New Heart and Healing recovery community as well as volunteering at the Everett Recovery House.  

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