The Way I See It

Ordinary people with the courage to continue in the face of great challenges are the ones that inspire me.

I’m not impressed because someone has a title like a JD or MD. I listen to the advice “experts” give only if it makes sense to me. In the end, the beauty of living your life left of the dial is that you own your life; you’re the expert on your recovery and on your life.

You have to be invested in the outcome of your recovery and the outcome of your life, because no one else holds the keys to your happiness and success. Find and employ the best therapist and psychiatrist and other doctors you can to treat you. Yet trust your instinct or your intuition as well.

I want to smash the myth that a person is only worthy to others in society if he or she has a prestigious job or a fancy degree from an Ivy. The point is not that every single person living in recovery can do what I do or what another person does. The point is that you can have peace of mind and happiness doing the things that you’re passionate about. The point is to find your purpose for being here in this lifetime. And then go out and do the one thing you were put here to do.

The reliance on your status in the world is a fleeting grasp at straws, because so-called “status”–whether it’s from a job, title, marriage, health or other measure–can be taken away from you. The one thing that can’t be taken away from you in recovery is YOU.

No other person and no illness can rob you of the ability to choose to be optimistic. Unless you’re clinically depressed of course.

I’m going to end here with something astounding. My mother told me that every day of her life she was grateful. This surprised me. She had a daughter who had a breakdown. My mother lived through other kinds of hell too. She had a GED, not a college education. She was forced to drive her daughter to the hospital not once but twice.

And even with all this: every day of my mother’s life she was grateful.

That’s something I’m impressed with. I urge every reader to take a tip from this woman and DECIDE to be grateful. DECIDE to like yourself. Get up one day and DECIDE to create yourself instead of thinking you have to find yourself. You’re right there. You have right inside you what you need to succeed.

Get a JD or MD only if you want to.

Be your own best friend, whatever you can or can’t do.

Sing karaoke off-key. Slam-dance to the Ramones on the radio with your friends at someone’s apartment. Bake a cake.

Be who you want to be and be grateful.

That’s the ticket to wellness.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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