Profiles in Recovery
Shira Goldberg works hard now to help others obtain or maintain their sobriety. After living through her own personal struggle with addiction, which included being arrested 8-9 times, feeling sorry for herself and being ashamed. She found in early sobriety a passion for helping other people achieve and maintain sobriety. Goldberg strengthened and propelled her new sobriety through breathing, Heart Math and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Heart Math is a meditation practice that incorporates heart intelligence and intuition into day-to-day experiences and interactions.
Now Goldberg lifts her clients up as a certified Master Recovery Coach with an active YouTube channel and program “The Addiction Show.” Her infectious laugh and positive outlook help inspire and provide hope to others in their recovery.
The moment one reaches the point of transformation is the time to begin this part of one’s journey, despite what the calendar looks like. I work with clients that are so motivated but become convinced they just can’t ever make an effort because it is simply beyond their reach. In order to begin this work one has to be aware of two factors, what they can control and what they can’t, creating a false sense of control that is external, like time. What they don’t realize is that we cannot control the external, like time. Despite best efforts, we have already begun to count on something outside ourselves. Strength lies within.
New Year Goals:
Most of us have considered the New Year to be the ideal time to set attainable goals yet are disappointed when we do not achieve them. This discrepancy reigns true from one year to the next, yet we put ourselves through this torture! The good news is we don’t have to. While our intentions are honorable, the harsh reality is that we are setting ourselves up to fail, time after time, leaving us feeling more defeated than ever.
Don’t focus on this, what I refer to as, “The Arbitrary Date of Optimism.” Instead, begin to find ways that you can engage in your own recovery initiative and plan accordingly. Here is an example. If I wanted to go to Rome, I wouldn’t just tell everyone, convincing myself that it is the best idea I have ever had while doing nothing about it. I couldn’t expect to jump on an airplane and wind up having the best vacation ever. So why would I think this would work for sustainable life changes in any capacity, especially for such a profound one such as recovery? One must understand what the set goals are and be prepared to make the effort and have the awareness that things might not look like the way we expect. With enough foresight, one needs less hindsight.
Best Advice I Ever Got:
My former therapist told me, “To be strong like bamboo.” While acknowledging that I was strong, like a skyscraper, he reminded me that hit in just the wrong way, I could be destroyed. Being “strong like bamboo” has become my mantra, reminding myself that my experiences have helped me become even more resilient. As long as I stay adaptable and not let my emotions, or my mouth override my capacity for growth, I can survive and even thrive as a result. I have taken it a step further and helped many others redefine how they see themselves and become even more empowered, despite or because of the outcome.
Sobriety and Seeking Perfectionism:
It never occurred to me that what I did was indeed defined as Seeking Perfection until I learned that term in a college psychology class. Even then, it didn’t fully sink in. It took more than a couple of decades to realize that it did apply to me and that it was a form of self-sabotage. So, I thought I could hide it by denying it. I thought I was doing a great job and my behavior oftentimes was perceived as a ‘go getter,’ attitude or having ‘leadership qualities’ which was reinforcing. It eventually led to the realization that I was more rigid and controlling than I realized.
My saving grace is that I have always seen myself as a student of life, a life-long learner and I strive to be as effective and efficient as possible. When I realized this created an incongruence, I began to pay more attention to why I was feeling or doing something in a certain way without judging myself or placing blame. Instead of listening to the inner critic inside my head, I named it my investigative reporter. This character is curious and in search of truth. It enables me to
mitigate my emotional reaction and formulate a more appropriate response.
A Life Better Than I Ever Imagined:
My life has had defining moments, and I used to focus on the ones when I felt most accomplished, or the material possessions I had, or what I was about to get, whether it was a new house or new financial opportunity. Everything seemed to be within my reach and in many instances it was. But all my goals and possessions were eventually replaced by more future goals and newer possessions. I was so focused on the next goal and next purchase I was unable to focus on what I had or learn who I really was. After I lost what I believed to be everything, I realized I didn’t know where I belonged, and I felt lost and alone. It was when I began to practice mindfulness, being present for the moment I was in, sharing in the lives of my sons, that I saw who I truly was. Increasingly aware of what was truly important, this moment, not the last, and not the next. I decided that I was not going to waste one more moment and then humility set in. I was who I have always been, reminded that I am enough. and nothing defines me but me. For that, I am forever grateful.
I just received the most timely and inspiring book from J.F. Benoist, of The ManKind Project and author of Addicted To The Monkey Mind: Change the Programming that Sabotages Your Life, (September 2018). He and his wife, Joyce founded Exclusive Hawaii, anon-12 step residential addiction treatment center. He offers practical skills focusing on addressing one’s underlying core beliefs and shares actionable steps to break the cycle of self-sabotage through the narratives of two relatable characters.
**It is a must read for anyone that has fallen prey to negative mindsets and wants to create a new path!
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If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].