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Formula for making changes

Alrighty, it says we are live so I will take its word for it. That’s an exercise of trust as I like to call it. Welcome back to another family education and support group with your host Parham. It is Saturday, August 12th of 2023. Like I say every week, how did it get so late so soon? I look forward to being able to provide another rich experience with whoever is on either live or later on in recording and hopefully you’re able to find something that you’re looking for in the middle of this live stream. I’ll come and say good morning to everyone popping on. 


Let me just do a quick introduction to myself to not be distracted. So my name is Parham. We do this talk each and every single Saturday. Sometimes there’s some exceptions but for the most part we’re really damn consistent and this talk is for anybody who, first hand or secondhand, has experienced any type of addiction, mental illness, grief and loss, trauma and a little bit of everything in between. We cover various topics here. We’ll talk about, like I said, addiction and mental health, but we’ll talk about communication, we’ll talk about personal development, we’ll talk about setting boundaries, we’ll talk about self-care, we’ll talk about rebuilding trust, and whatever you want to talk about I can accommodate as well. I do have a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I am a licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. So my specialty comes with addiction and addictive behaviors. I do coach high school basketball. I’m the assistant varsity basketball coach at Aliso Niguel High School. I’ve been coaching there, we’re starting our 15th season. And I am a college faculty professor at Saddleback Community College. I don’t have a class assigned to me in the fall but I am attending our faculty meeting this upcoming Tuesday from three to four so I’ll go there and try to weasel my way in. I’m very passionate about this work. You know, this means a lot to me. I know what it takes to carve out a little bit of your time, whether you watch this live on a Saturday or later on, so I do my best to make sure that you get a return on your investment, an ROI, as they call it in the business world. For your 45 minutes I want to make sure that you feel you got something out of it. Every talk I ever do is dedicated to one thing and one thing only and that’s the possibility of human transformation. I believe that all human beings, including this one sitting in front of you right now, has the ability to transform who we are, how we live, how we experience this thing called life, how we experience it, the direction we’re headed, the people we meet, we could transform it all at any given moment that you choose to. We have access to that. So my hope is that you’re able to find some transformation for yourself. Like I said, this is an interactive talk so what I’m able to do is for example, with people that have popped on so far when they come and say comments like, Counselor Jim says Good Morning. Kenny and the whole crew with Pacific Sands Recovery Center, what’s up? Hussein says Good Morning. My mom and dad, faithful followers, they’ve been following me since the time I was born. Eileen, Miami we got you, Good afternoon in Miami! I thank you for giving me your afternoon. Morning Jaleh Jan. Everybody, welcome, welcome, welcome! So in the same way I was able to pull up those I’m able to pull up questions or if you say “Yo, stop, explain this a little bit more,” I’m able to do that also. So today I call it an oldie but a goodie. That’s because I’ve done this talk before. But here’s the thing. In one of the components of this talk, I talk about a certain thing about continuously developing and growing and when I watched the first time I did this it was very painful to watch myself three years ago teach this talk. I’ve done it a few times too but from the first time I did it to right now oh my goodness it’s a completely different experience. I am a polished version of myself versus that so that’s a good thing, and the bad of having everything recorded is you’re able to go and uncomfortably watch yourself, different phases of your life. So the reason I do this talk, my friends, is because each and every single one of you who is watching right now, I hope that there are areas in your life in which you are trying to change. I’m not saying that you’re bad or something’s wrong or anything like that. Everything could be perfect, which I know it’s not, and there still needs to be or at least I hope there are areas in your life you’re trying to change or improve on. So most people can identify those areas, most people can identify what it is that they need to change. However only a few percent, less than five percent, are actually able to make and sustain those changes in their life, despite the fact that they know they need to make it. Wow, how interesting is that! You know you got to make changes in your life and despite the knowledge and even the desire to do so people fall short. You don’t got to take my word for it. Look at the last x amount of times you tried to make certain changes in your life and if you were unable to succeed. So today my goal is to be able to teach you the elements and the components needed to make lasting change. I believe if you’re missing any of these you’re going to fall short and I believe if you have all of these you will succeed. So now it comes down to – do you want to buy this person’s wisdom, knowledge, information or not? And you know what? Whether you do or you don’t is none of my business.


Got a couple more people who popped on. We got Tennessee in the house! Man, we got Tennessee, we got Miami, we got California, pretty cool, covering the whole country! Alright, so let’s get into it. The formula for making changes. It’s an acronym system. I kind of like teaching in acronyms because I have a highly structured and organized brain and it allows me to stay on task. Because I also suffer from something called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD. 


  1. The first letter of change is C. And C stands for three things in my humble opinion. Actually I’m not too humble. Three things in my opinion. Ready for this? The first C stands for this thing called courage. I believe that every human being that is trying to change something in their life must demonstrate courage. Why do I say so? Because courage is defined as taking action despite fear. See, when you want to make changes in your life it’s safe to say that oftentimes there is the fear of the unknown, there’s the fear of what’s going to happen, there’s the fear of how it is going to look like. And in order to make the change despite that fear you must take action. There’s a reason why the men and women of the armed forces, military, firefighters, police officers, there’s a reason why so many people tell them “you’re so courageous.” Here’s the reason why. Because it’s a part of their job and their training and their specialty. They have learned to take action despite fear. I’ve talked to many firefighters and cops and first responders and military personnel. There are times that they are feeling the fear but despite that they’re trained to go act anyway. Human beings are the same way. I mean, you might not be a first responder, you might not be in the military, but when you’re trying to make changes in your life there is an overwhelming sensation of fear that happens. You must exhibit courage and take action despite that fear. To anybody that’s in the recovery process, whether it’s firsthand or second hand, whether you’re the individual struggling with addictions or you’re the family member of someone who is struggling with addictions, I want you to know this. That if you’ve started the process you’ve demonstrated courage because for those struggling with addiction a life without drugs and alcohol is scary. A life without using something to self-regulate the emotions is scary. A life without drugs and alcohol, which is a part of their identity, and the things they do and the places they go and the people they hang out with, when you remove that, the void is scary. And if you’ve entered recovery as that person you’ve demonstrated courage. If you’re a family member and your loved one is going through addiction or mental illness and you’ve had countless sleepless nights, if you’ve had financial fear, if you’ve had legal fear, if you’ve had all of the above and now you’re in recovery for yourself despite the fear of what’s going to happen to my loved one, what’s going to happen to our life, how is our life going to change, you have demonstrated courage. So the first element is courage, my friends. 

Now the second one is something called commitment. I’m big on this word commitment. I know counselor Jim is too. We talk about it all the time. We had a treatment team meeting yesterday. We were talking about the levels of commitment of different people in the program. And I’ll tell you this – commitment is defined as the following. It’s the willingness and the motivation to continue doing something after the initial excitement has worn off. Any fool in the world can start something but how many people finish what they start, let alone finish it with integrity, and all the way through the accomplishment of their desired goals? Not many. See, the reason why commitment is defined as the motivation and the willingness to continue something after the initial excitement has worn off is because whenever someone starts a task, whether it’s a new diet, or a new job, or a new routine, or a new relationship, it’s easy to be committed at first because you’re so damn excited. Your soul just pumped up and the previous version might have not been good so this is better than that. But then all of a sudden we find this thing called normalcy. We find this thing, like everything gets back to equilibrium, we find this thing of just complacency, and then we’re like okay I’m good now, but have you truly finished your goals and your tasks? The best place to see where this muscle of commitment is weak, well two places. One, New Year’s resolution. People say they got to make all these changes in their life and by the fourth or fifth or sixth day of January they’re like, ah I could take a day off. Another place is community colleges where I told you I’m a faculty member with an unassigned class. Because they didn’t have anything to give me, is Community College parking lots. The first week of school, if you’ve never been, at least a California one, I don’t know what it’s like in different states, but in California we have some wonderful community colleges, wonderful, wonderful. If you do well in those colleges you can go to any university in the United States, I promise you that. But there are so many people signed up for school that even if you have a class assigned to you you ain’t gonna find parking. You might have to go park two miles down and shuttle down and walk 40 minutes to get to class. And it’s like wow, all of these people are so committed to their education and then all of a sudden week eight comes around, 50 of those people are no longer there. It’s like hey, how did that happen? How did we go from full capacity to no parking, to the parking lots starting to look empty? Because the commitment muscle in people trying to make changes is weak. By week 12, 25% of that college is there. How sad is that, how sad is that? And that shows what happened. See, the first week they’re excited, I want to go to school, I want to get some education, I want to change my life. Week 8, 10, 12, they’re like maybe next semester. So if you’re trying to make changes in your life and if you don’t have commitment, which is the motivation and the willingness to continue doing something after the initial excitement has worn off, I’m telling you this right now, at 9:27 on August 12th, it’s not going to happen. You’re not going to succeed. 

And the last one I got is this thing called compassion. Now it’s safe to say that those who are trying to make changes in their life have been struggling with what it is that they’re trying to change for a long time. So once you say hey, I have the courage, I have the commitment, you start making your changes. I’m not a betting man but I will tell you this. I will bet whatever I have that at some point across that journey you’re gonna fall short, or you’re not going to get your expectations met, or to use the word we love to use in this group, you’re going to fail. But guess what, you’re going to fail forward, and when you fail forward and you get up you must demonstrate compassion towards yourself, about a human being that’s trying to change something in their life that they’ve so desperately wanted to change for a long time. And just being on the right track and having compassion towards yourself will allow you to get there. See, there is a place that we are in life, in a place that we want to be in life. In that gap is what I call the vision gap – it’s where you are to where you want to be. In that gap also exists something called the compassion gap. When you fall short compassion is the only bridge that allows you to get back up and keep moving again. So courage, commitment, compassion that’s your C now. 


  1. Let’s get to the H. The H stands for two things. Some of them are only going to stand for one,  so you don’t have to learn too much. So the H stands for humility and honesty. And by the way I’m talking a lot, I’m talking fast, I’m giving you a lot, there’s a lot of meat on the bone, so if you need to slow me down and say yo dude, breathe, or can you explain this a little bit more, or you just want to write a comment feel free to. So now, why is humility such an important component of the change process? Why? I’m going to break it down for you. Oh Good Morning Marilyn, what is up? Sorry I just saw you right now. So humility – this is the way I like to explain humility. Even though I said earlier that I’m not really too humble or anything like that, when it comes to making changes and knowing my spot and knowing my place I exhibit humility. I really, really do, because I know it’s a component of making successful changes. I did this talk earlier today with our program participants just about an hour ago and I learned the lesson of humility when it comes to recovery 15 years and some odd months ago. And this happened with my own mom who’s watching this right now. I was in a program and the program had some type of curfews and all that kind of stuff like that, and I did my best to honor them. Eventually, came to the point after about 60 days of sobriety that I was able to go out with some of my old friends and stay out a little bit later. Probably wasn’t the best idea but you know I’ve earned it and demonstrated it, they trusted me enough to give me this reward, let’s say. I remember being out and you know my mom calls me up around almost 12 o’clock. I had to be home around 12. She called me around 12 o’clock, “hey, just making sure everything’s okay? You’re sober,” and all that kind of stuff. I was really cold or short with her and I was like, “yeah, I’m fine. This is ridiculous,” and hung up the phone. The next day I remember I went to the group and it was a Monday. So that happened Saturday night and then two days later I went to the Monday night group from six to ten with the counselor that taught me everything, Mr Siamak Afshar, rest in peace, my friend. He passed away about three months ago but his wisdom and knowledge lives on in this moment. So I was sitting there in his group and I was just talking about, “yeah man, this is ridiculous. I’m working a program, I’m doing the deal, I’m pissing in these cups, I’m clean, I’ve never broken one rule, and can you believe my mom calls me up almost 12 o’clock to see if I’m gonna be okay, if I’m home, if I’m not drinking. Like what else does she want me to do?” I was genuinely frustrated with the situation because I was trying so hard in my recovery. I genuinely was trying so hard in my recovery and my ego was just hurt. Mike looked at me like this with this little look that he had, and all of a sudden he just said, “Who the f do you think you are?” And I was like “Whoa bro, chill out! What do you mean who the f do I think I am? Did you not hear what I told you happened? I said that I was even gonna be home on time and just my mom’s freaking out and I wasn’t even drunk.” He’s like, “Who do you think created that fear in that woman? Who do you think created that anxiety in that person? How many nights did your mom stay up at night waiting for you all these years to come home? How many times did she wait to hear you throw up in the bathroom just to know you’re home safe? How many times did you take from her financially or emotionally and now you have almost 60 days sober and you’re offended when she’s worried or asks you a question?” He said, “Who the f do you think you are? You’re like a sculpture – you created this masterpiece – you sculpted away at your mom for years and years and years and years and years. You sculpted away and you created this statue and now you look at the statue and say I don’t like the way it looks? Take some responsibility and have some humility.” And I’m telling you this man, not less than 15 years ago stuck with me to see I shared it right now with you 15 years later as if it just happened 15 seconds ago. That’s how fresh it is in my mind. So it’s important for us to not forget where we come from. It’s important for us to not forget who we are and most importantly it’s important for us to not forget about the people that didn’t give up on us when we give up on ourselves. This is some really important stuff. 

I got some good feedback here. Cheryl, exactly, she identifies and understands. And Marilyn, the way you shared that problem is so true. We created a monster or we need to give grace to them. Yeah, 100% Yeah, God bless his soul! This is the person that also knows Siamek too and he’s alive in this moment Hussein Jan! That story was as real as it gets and so humility is important. I told the program participants, “don’t forget where you came from just because you got 30, 60, 90 days sober right now. Just chill out a little bit and show some respect, show some humility. And also, you know what one component of humility is? Raise your hand and say, “I need help.” Raise your hand and say, “I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.” Raise your hand and say, “Please help, please support me in my journey.” That’s an act of humility. 

And then the next one that I have there is honesty. This one’s kind of tough because I sometimes share this with family members or program participants or people experiencing addictions, mental illness, grief and loss, trauma. And what happens with them is sometimes when you tell them honestly how far they are from making changes in their life and how far they are from their goals and destinations, they look at you as if you’re crazy. I’ve been on record and this isn’t like a personal opinion. This is research and science that shows that habitual hardcore use of methamphetamines or stimulants like cocaine really impacts the dopamine receptors of the brain, the neurotransmitters of the brain. One of them’s dopamine – it really impacts it to the point that the person without the use of substances has a hard time experiencing any type of joy, happiness, or engagement with life. And then they get clean and sober, and they experience this drought of depression, and they’re like alright, well, I’m gonna get better, I’m going to get better, I’m going to get better. Research and science shows that it takes about 12 to 18 months for a brain that’s been using methamphetamines for a long period of time, to start getting back the handle of the neurotransmitters that can produce healthy amounts of dopamine again. I say that to somebody and they’re like, “I’ve been sober for 90 days. I don’t feel better. This stuff doesn’t work.” I’m like, “Dude, your brain needs to heal,” and they don’t get it but you know where you might not believe a human being. I have this analogy I’ve been using for a long time and I love this analogy. Let’s say I give you an address and you don’t know where this address is. It’s got a zip code but not a city or state, so you really don’t know where it is. And I tell you this is where I want you to go, and you say okay you grab your cell phone you put the address in your cell phone and it says you’re 2,000 miles away. So it gives you an honest objective truth. You are 2,000 miles away. Can you accept that? Can you accept that? Some people do and some people don’t, which takes us to our next point right here. It ties with honesty. 


  1. It goes into these two things: acceptance and accountability. So when your GPS says that you are 2,000 miles away from your destination, at that point you have a choice. You either accept it and follow the step-by-step directions that will get you to your destination, or you say 2,000 miles, watch me, I’m gonna get there in 500. I’m going to get to where I want to get to in life in 500 miles. I don’t care what the GPS says. And you know what people do? They get in their car and they drive, they try to get creative, they try to get crafty, they try to get sneaky, and they go about 500 miles, and they look around and they don’t see the destination they thought they were headed to. They look around and they’re lost and in that moment do you know what people do? Every time, they get lost. We’ve seen enough movies. They stop, they make a U-turn and go right back to where they came from. And guess what? Two thousand miles away from their destination again. When honesty tells you something and you don’t accept the truth there’s no one else to blame. A powerful quote that I really like is this. The shortest distance between point A and point B is a shortcut. Nope, that was false. You want to know what the actual quote is? The longest distance between point A and point B is a shortcut. And I said that exactly that way for a reason because so many people think that from where they are to where they want to go, if they find a shortcut they’re going to get there quicker. And guess what they try? How many people do this with losing weight? How many people do this with specific tasks at work? How many people do this with family relationships? They’re like, hey I know I’m here. I know this is where I want to be. I don’t want to do the work to get there. I don’t want to put in the time to get there. I don’t want to go through that whole journey to get there. I’m going to be smarter than everyone else and I’m gonna find a shortcut. But guess what? The longest distance between point A and point B always has been, always is, and always will be a shortcut. There are no shortcuts to getting to your destination in life. As soon as you accept that reality the sooner and faster you’re headed towards your goals and dreams. Some people do and some people don’t. In the past few weeks I’ve really tried to hammer down and nail down the following concept. Direction is more important than speed. When you’re 2,000 miles away from your goals and dreams it doesn’t matter how fast you go there. I mean, people try to go 30, 60, 90 days, I’m gonna get there. No you’re not. It might take you 12 to 18 months to get there but the only way you will get there is if you maintain the proper direction. The speed is irrelevant. Direction is more important than speed. The distance between denial of truth and acceptance is my ego. I think the ego is what breaks a lot of things, that’s for sure. True acceptance is the key to all my problems. That doesn’t mean I am capable of everything today but I’m willing to work towards it. Acceptance is the key to all my problems today is a passage that comes from 12-step programs. It’s in the book. It’s not in the main part of the book but it’s in page 417. If you ever want to go look, different editions have different pages and it’s a very nice powerful passage. And actually right now if I can pull it up I just want to read this so I’m going to read this to you from the paper. I don’t have it memorized at this moment at least but it says, acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation, some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it’s supposed to be at this moment. That last part in my opinion is the biggest part, because it doesn’t mean that when we have situations, people, places, things in our life that are just horrible for us, it doesn’t mean that we just live with that for the rest of our lives. But in order to free ourselves and to access serenity in that moment we have to accept it as exactly the way it is. And oftentimes you’ll hear me say this, and counselors like Jim and people that have been around the recovery programs, sometimes we have to accept the fact that we ain’t going to be able to change our circumstances but we can change ourselves and by doing so our circumstances will change. They will change so a good thing right there. 

Let’s see what we got here. So we got Cheryl saying, “This is bringing up so many things for me. I am so grateful for the journey and my 16.75 years.” Hey, three more months that means and you got 17, if I did the math right. But no fronts Miss Cheryl, no fronts. We’ll celebrate 17 when we get there and I’m confident we’ll get there. “Our ego is our enemy – it will make us go astray.” That’s nice way to say it. Our ego is not our amigo. In Southern California you gotta know a few words. Yep, no fronts. 

So let’s see, we got back to also accountability. This one’s kind of difficult for people, especially if it’s someone like a family member watching this. So remember this talk is for anybody who first hand or secondhand has experienced pain as a result of addictions, mental illness, grief and loss, and trauma. Sometimes family members come in and they might actually be in an advantageous place in their own life outside of this situation with their loved one, but maybe they have been able to succeed at work, maybe they’ve been able to maintain a decent home and a family, and their finances are in check, and they’re doing well. And they get into these programs and they say, “hey, you got to go to these meetings and you need to find yourself a sponsor and you need to call that sponsor every day,” and they’re like, “whoa bro, like I said, my kid is the one or my spouse is the one or my grandkid’s the one with the problem. I gotta call someone every day?” So accountability is weird and for people in the program, when they tell them to call someone every day to stay accountable to someone, a lot of them have trust issues. They just don’t feel comfortable reaching out, so it’s like a delicate muscle that needs to be trained. But accountability, we need to reframe the way we look at this because when you’re trying to make changes in your life, I’m telling you this, it is much more difficult to do it on your own sometimes. I would even use the word impossible or improbable without accountability. The greatest athletes, and the only reason I’m using them is because we all sit and watch and marvel at their total package of how they present themselves and the things they do. I mean, the whole freaking world stops to watch things like the Olympics. Every Sunday the United States stops to watch American football. Every Champions League, the whole world stops to watch soccer and we just marvel at how fascinating these people are of other athletic abilities. All of them have people they are accountable to. They have coaches, they have strength training coaches, cardiovascular coaches, they have dietitians, nutritionists, they have medical professionals. They’re accountable to all these people at all times in order for them to be able to stay on track. If you’re not accountable to something or someone then that means you’re only going on your own will, in your own kind of a willpower, and your own kind of grunt. The days that life gets difficult it’s not enough. We need to be seen by others, we need to be heard by others. Other people need to know what’s going on with us or else emotions can overwhelm us and start to drown us in our situation. I’ve seen many people get suffocated by their emotions because they’re not accountable to somebody. So learn that lesson. Become accountable to someone even if it’s a paid relationship like a therapist or something. Make sure that there is a place and time that you go that you are accountable about all the areas of your life, especially when you’re trying to make changes.

Here’s a good one. I put up a lot of Jim’s comments by the way because I personally, on a human level, look up to Jim. He’s one of my mentors. We’ve been working together for seven years so we have a very respectful relationship but I just like the way he lives his life. I mean, I’ve seen this guy every day for seven years excluding obviously Sundays or something. I see him on Saturdays too. It’s just the same cool calm collected and he just talks the same way, walks the same way, acts the same way, lives the same way. And when he talks I take the information, I put it in my head and I apply it because I’m like. “Alright, well, there’s living proof that it works so if it works for him it works for me.” I’ve learned that lesson and it’s just a wonderful thing. So whatever I put up from him, take his word and run with it.


  1. So the next one that we have here is N is for No. So this one’s got only one. I don’t know if some of you probably know this person but Warren Buffett is one of the world’s richest people and Warren Buffett has been quoted to say that “the difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people have learned how to say no to almost everything.” There’s a lot of people watching this talk that are trying to be very successful in the changes that they’re trying to make in their life but as soon as they get an offer to go do something, as soon as someone asks them to go do something, as soon as something comes on the TV that they’ve been wanting or needing to watch, as soon as they get distracted by shiny objects, they say no to themselves and yes to all of that. Then they sit back wondering how come I’m not becoming very successful in the change I’m trying to make. Because if you say yes to everyone else you’re saying no to yourself. I’m telling you this as a family member or a person watching this firsthand or secondhand going through addictions, this is what you have to know if you are trying to make changes in your life. You must put yourself first, put yourself second, put yourself third, put everything else underneath you. And here’s the reason why. Because for everything and everyone you put above you you remove yourself from the equation. You disconnect yourself from yourself. If you’re disconnected from yourself, if you are not a priority in your own life you will not be able to become very successful at the changes you’re trying to make. You might have momentary moments of success but they won’t sustain long term. A lot of you who come from dysfunctional homes, chaotic homes, there’s a lot of codependency in your DNA because of the way you were brought up. You feel bad when you say no and you gotta stop that. I know you think that people care as much as you think they do if you say no to their request. I know you think that they’re going to be offended or they’re going to judge you. But trust me when I tell you this. Outside of a moment in a conversation they do not care because the same way that you are always thinking about yourself and your loved ones and your child or your spouse or your work or your bank account or your fridge or your laundry so is everyone else, and when everyone else is thinking about themselves and their lives guess who and what they’re not thinking about? You in your life. So put yourself first. If you’re trying to make changes in your life and allow yourself to become a more polished, powerful, empowered version of yourself and then let that person go help if and when appropriate. 

Let me see, there’s a comment. “Accountability gives me responsibility to do the best I can.” Yeah you know responsibility and accountability I think a person that is responsible is oftentimes accountable. And a person who is accountable is oftentimes responsible. And keep No in your vocabulary. I think Jim, I’ll take that one step further for those who are trying to make changes. Make ‘No’ one of the most commonly used words of your vocabulary. I’m not saying forever. In the initial stages of trying to make lasting change. 


  1. So the next one I got here is G, and the g stands for two things. Number one is Growth, number two is Generosity. So what am I talking about when I say when you’re trying to make changes in your life you have to have growth? Because change is not isolated in a moment. If you’re trying to make changes in your life and you’re trying to sustain and maintain those changes over the course of three months, six months, nine months, 12 months, a lot is going to happen in your life. Some are going to be known, some are going to be unknown. Some are turns you know about and some are blind twists and turns to just hit you in your face. If you don’t constantly grow emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, physically, if you don’t grow, if you don’t invest in yourself, if you don’t develop yourself and invest in personal development, then when those life events happen over the course of the 365 day calendar you’re not going to be able to withhold, withstand the impact of that. And you’ll go right back to normalcy. You’ll shrink right back down again. And if you’re wondering what growth looks like? It’s simple for me. I’m a big Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant has this thing called Mamba mentality – it’s the name of a book – it’s phenomenal. But all Mamba mentality means is this constant quest to be one’s best version of oneself, not other people. There’s no comparison in it. When I look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day I ask myself, did I become one percent better than I was yesterday? Did I grow in various areas of my life just a little bit more today than yesterday? If the answer is yes over the course of a year I will have growth in my life. If the answer is no then I gotta say okay tomorrow I gotta make sure I do one percent better than today. It’s not comparing externally, it’s not comparing to anything out there. Constant Improvement creates personal growth.

And the next one that I have here is Generosity. Now anybody that makes changes in their life that can maintain and sustain those changes has learned one thing. The only way you keep it is by giving it away. I also learned that from Siamek. The only way you keep your change, your transformation, is by being willing to give it away. And as soon as I use the word generosity sometimes people think, “I’m barely able to float my own bills. I got nothing to give.” I never said the only way you can be generous in life is to give away some money. I actually think giving away money, even though it’s a nice thing to do, is actually one of the cheapest forms of generosity. Generosity is way deeper than that. Generosity means being able to share with others, give to others experience, strength and hope, of where you are and where you are now and how you got there, and tell them that you’re there with them supporting them, helping them get to where they’re trying to get to. Generosity also exceeds the rooms of these types of talks. There are plenty of children in the world that need help. There’s plenty elderly in the world that need help. There’s plenty homeless in the world that need help. There’s plenty of agencies that need volunteers. You can be generous with your time, you can be generous with your love, you can be generous with your knowledge. Make sure that you’re giving all this away because if you accumulate all this change and you get all this knowledge and wisdom and keep it for yourself it’s useless. It’s the equivalent of gathering a bunch of money in life, hundreds of thousands millions dollars in life. And when it’s all said and done, when you go six feet under, you grab all that money and bury it with yourself. Be generous with what you found in your journey, of your own healing, your own recovery, and your own transformation. When there is a mom or a dad or a spouse or a child or someone in these rooms that you meet that is shaking and baking and scared and they don’t know what to do and you’re not that person anymore, make sure you extend the hand. Here’s the thing – you can never grab a hand until you touch a heart. So make sure that you’re sharing from a place that’s authentic and sincere and real. And when that heart to heart connects, grab them and help them. That’s the only way we make this world a better place.


  1. And the very last one that we have is everyone’s least favorite one when you’re trying to make changes in your life. This is the key element. You will never be able to change anything in your life until you are willing to do something for what it is you’re trying to change every day. Some people say, “Whoa whoa whoa whoa everything was good until now but you just said I got to do something every day.” Yes and here’s the reason why. Because prior to making the change whatever you were doing you were doing it every day. Therefore the only way to counteract, the only way to actually intervene and make sustainable changes that you’re desperately wanting to make, is to do something for that change every day. I want you to hear this. Don’t get overwhelmed. I’m not saying you have to do 10 things for it every day. Even one thing, even a small incremental step, as long as it’s in the direction of that change is good enough. Perfect is the enemy of good enough. You don’t got to do this thing perfectly. You’re going to fall, you’re going to fail, you’re gonna struggle. Just get up and continue moving in that direction. 


So in summary, today we talked about the formula for making changes which I believe is 100% accurate. The thing we talked about is this. In order to make changes in life you must have courage, commitment and compassion. In order to make changes in your life you must exhibit humility and honesty. In order to make changes in your life you have to have acceptance and you must be accountable to something or someone. In order to make changes in your life you got to learn how to say No, stop being a Yes man. Start saying No. In order to make changes in your life you must grow, invest in your personal development and you must be generous with what it is you find and give it away. In order to make changes in your life you must do something every day for what it is you’re trying to change, because you are living your life the same damn way every day, and in order to make changes you got to do something every day. So that is the talk and if I watch this one versus my first one I did I feel like I’ve actually demonstrated growth with the way I speak, the way I talk, the way I project my voice, the way I change my volume, the way I interact with the audience, and that for me shows that I am investing in this journey for myself. So hopefully I’m modeling what it is I’m asking you to do. I’m not one of those people that comes and preaches and I don’t follow what I preach. I do what I teach so let me know if there’s any takeaways and we’ll go from there. The more you give the more you receive. Oh Jim, you got a compliment here before you go. “We are blessed to have people like Jim that we can all look up to knowing that he has been on this journey of transformation and life succeeding.” Thank you Jim for being such an inspiration to us all I miss you right here. Eileen: “Learning to have no guilt, second guessing when saying No.” Yeah that’s we’ve talked about this a lot. It’s okay to say no without guilt. “Having a mentality of being generous with your assets in any way of your life.” Yep, thank you as always. “Really listen to what you are saying and try to apply them.” Thank you for that, thank you, thank you. “Great investment of my time.” That’s my ROI to you. My goal is to give you a return on your investment. 45 minutes, good enough. Jim, thumbs up, he appreciated the comments. I just want to say I love and appreciate all of you. Mika, appreciate you too. You just popped on at the end. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. I will be back next week, same time, same place. If you have any topics you want me to share about or talk about, put them here. I promise I’ll give you a full 45 minute talk on it. So let’s make it collaborative. Give me some feedback and we’ll go from there. So everyone, take care of yourself, do something every day for the things you’re trying to change!

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Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.