1. Make room in your life. This means getting rid of the junk. This may mean separating yourself from some people. That is ok. If going to AA meetings only makes you want to go and get a drink after, then stop going to AA meetings. If you have your dealer’s phone number saved in your phone, then delete it. If you have clothes in your closet that you do not wear, then give them away. Live with less junk in your life. Clean out drawers. Go through rooms and get rid of the excess decorations. Embrace a simple approach to your daily life.
2. Carry a small note book. Write down daily goals, weekly goals, yearly goals. Always think about the long picture, but always be present in the moment.
3. Strengthen your body, mind, and spirit. Pray and meditate. Clear your mind. Open your eyes.
4. Exercise. Lift weights, run, walk, swim, ride a bike, shoot hoops, play tennis. Pick one or all. Just find something you enjoy and do it. Often. This is not optional.
5. Eat real food. Nothing from a box. Eat fruit and veggies. Whatever you like, as long as it is real food. Drink water. Some coffee and tea if you’d like. Eat enough real food that you won’t be hungry.
6. Work. Find work that gives you a sense of purpose. You may have to continue at your current job until you find something else. That is OK. Whatever work you do, approach it as a craftsman. Do the work with zen concentration. The best of your abilities. Even if you do not care for the job. If you are unhappy with your current job, find something else. Do not complain that you are unqualified. Qualify yourself. Remember that there is more to each job than the work and the pay. You may find that you would actually enjoy janitorial work, when you are surrounded by other people you like and you are your own boss. You may find working outside more enjoyable than a factory position. The beauty is that by following the above steps, you will find yourself less concerned with pay and more concerned about your happiness and joy in life. And then you may just want to work less, and have more free time. This is more than OK. It is your life after all. I love my job. I sometimes have to force myself to take time off. But by living a balanced life, I have more enjoyment in work and at home.
7. Apologize to those you’ve hurt. Don’t tell them that this time will be different. They have heard that before. Just be different. Give them the space they need to heal. Build positive relationships. Visit the sick. Visit those in prison. Be a mentor. Create art.
Now, fill your life. Fill it with the things that bring meaning.
Do not think that because you have made mistakes, you have no value. We have all made mistakes.
Now go and live free.