Category Archives: A Life After

The Easier Softer Way

This lad’s story is just incredible. Three years ago he was being charged with Kidnapping and Armed Robbery-now he is Successfully Sober and the Founder of massive Recovery website www.theeasiersofterway.com. And did I mention he is only twenty two years old? Absolute proof that total transformation in a short period of time in Recovery is absolutely possible.

Meet Matt…

On May 3rd, 2010, I was being held at the county jail on charges of kidnapping, armed robbery, and unlawful use of a weapon. All forms of hope and happiness had evaded me for years. I was lonely, in a debilitating state of fear, and extremely confused.  Three days later, I got released on bail and checked in to a treatment center.

As with many people who find sobriety, I did not initially come into the program for recovery; I came for relief. I wanted relief from the court, from my family, and from my perceived troubles from the outside world. I neither could have imagined a life sober (or even a day sober), nor that my life would be where it is today.

With a little more than three years sober, my life is the complete opposite of what it was. I am fully self-supporting, working a full-time job that I love. I have an amazing relationship with a girl I am crazy about. I sponsor several young men and host weekly classes at the Buddhist meditation center. At 22 years old, my life is more than I could have ever imagined.

My sobriety has given me gifts far beyond my expectations. I am able to meet life head on. I no longer run from every emotion. When I do have that impulse, I am able to be mindful of it. Not every unpleasant thought and feeling is a tragedy. I no longer believe everything I think.

When I got sober, I surrendered to this sober life. However, I have had more than just that primary surrender in my few years. The second spiritual experience I had was when I began to help others. I took every service opportunity available. I speak monthly on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, at Beverly Hills High School, at Olympic High School, host panels at a local rehabilitation center, and help other young men get sober. This service has helped me build esteem throughout my sobriety. As I am of service, I find how much I have progressed. I find that connecting to other human beings on a deep level is something I have sought my entire life, although I never fully realized it.

Another spiritual experience I had was when I found meditation as a spiritual tool. Although I found meditation long before getting sober, my practice was not regular until a few years ago. I found Buddhist meditation, but I truly believe meditation is a great tool regardless of one’s religious beliefs. There are non-denominational meditation centers, Christian meditation centers, Jewish meditation center, Atheist meditation centers, and more!

Meditation is simply the practice of sitting, walking, or doing anything fully in the present. Meditation has allowed me to clear my mind and begin to access my true nature. Over my years and years of addiction, my heart became calloused. As my meditation practice took off, I slowly quieted my mind and uncovered my heart.

Today, the most important part of my recovery are these two things: helping others, and meditating on a daily basis. If I fail to keep my sobriety number one, my life falls apart. My peace of mind, compassion, and acceptance quickly leave me, and I suffer greatly. The simplest way I can continue to grow is by helping others even in small circumstances and by staying present for what life has to offer.

About the Easier Softer Way

The Easier Softer Way is a site that I started in 2011 as a small blog to express what I had learned so far in my sobriety and spiritual practice. Since then, it has evolved into a large site with posts about sobriety, Buddhist blogs (http://theeasiersofterway.com/category/buddhism-and-recovery/), a small store, and several daily emails(http://theeasiersofterway.com/daily-emails/).

Visit us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/theeasiersofterway!

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Alice in Jungleland

I met a young lady called Alice a few weeks back when I was covering an event for work that she was in charge of organising. Alice was friendly and charismatic, as well as being very beautiful-but I decided not to hold it against her (I’m big like that) and we had a lovely chat instead.

It was one of those conversations that makes you want to kiss your life right on its face. I left her feeling so uplifted and inspired. See it turns out that Alice was on the very brink of starting her own Life After. She’d recently had a realisation that had totally altered the course of her life.  When someone asked her what the last thing she thought about as she went to sleep at night, and the first thing she thought about as she woke, Alice immediately responded “Work” -and this was not good news as far as she was concerned.

Alice decided she didn’t necessarily love where her life seemed to be heading.Which I’m sure we’ve all felt from time to time.  It was what she decided to do in response to this conversation that I find remarkable. Alice decided to leave her job, leave London-and go live in the Jungle in Borneo and work for a charity.

 

Seriously.

Can you even imagine what the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning Alice is going to be thinking from now on?? My brain doesn’t even know how to process this. Needless to say I think she is absolutely amazing-and she is now placed firmly on the list of People-I’d-Like-To-Be-When-I-Grow-Up-Please. It’s certainly made me do some re-evaluating of my own. What’s the last thing I think of when I go to sleep at night? Is it the most life-enhancing thought I could be thinking? What’s the first thing I think of when I wake in the morning? Is it an indicator that I’m living the best version of my life possible? I have to say I wasn’t entirely happy with the answer to either question. And although the results aren’t that I’m moving to the Jungle-it’s brought about actions that have definitely changed the momentum of my own life experience.

It’s people like lovely Alice that make me excited to be an active participant in life. She’s no longer going through the motion of her days. She’s creating something truly wonderful, something that’s authentically hers. Life is fresh and new and full of change. It’s the Alice’s of this world I want to spend my time with. Who make me want to do more and see more and be more. And I don’t have to set foot in a jungle to be part of it, I just have to get excited that she gets to go there.

It’s exactly the kind of Life I got out of The Chair for.

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