90 Days of Positivity: A Social Media Challenge

90 Day Challenge

For those who are ready to replace the constant negativity in their social media newsfeeds, I have a challenge for you. For the next 90 days, I challenge you to ONLY post that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.

NOTHING ELSE.

Can you imagine how the online social world would change if we did this?  What would happen if we collectively refocused out attention on that which is beautiful, meaningful, and purposeful? What would shift if we stopped starting conflict and spouting senselessness? What would change if ALL of our online activity was a source of light, love, and inspiration to others?

Let’s find out.

Regardless of the results and ripple effect in cyberspace, this challenge is sure to change at least one person – YOU!

If you’re joining the challenge please comment below. I would love to hear how this experiment plays out for you. For continuous inspiration, join our Inspiration Community.

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

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What’s Your Recovery Anthem? Here’s Mine

Hand music fight anthem

What’s your recovery anthem? You know, “your” song that inspires you to rise higher and fight harder?

recovery anthem is highly personal. The song that speaks to you may not speak to me. Some songs stir us more deeply than others, based on our beliefs and backgrounds. Oftentimes, our anthem finds us when we are most desperate for reassurance and strength.

For me, a song worthy to be hailed as a “recovery anthem” must be one that courses through my veins, stirs up emotion, calls me to action, increases my passion, and raises my intention to both battle and heal. I have created playlists of such songs in the past.

Yesterday, I found my newest recovery anthem. How did I know this was MY song? One hint was that it repeatedly brought me to tears. It also gave me a wider perspective and increased the intensity of my commitment.

I would like to share my anthem with you. Maybe it will profoundly speak to you. Maybe not. Regardless, my hope is that it will inspire you to find your own recovery anthem.

My Recovery Anthem

My new recovery anthem is Switchfoot’s recent song “If the House Burns Down Tonight.” The lyrics resonate deeply with me, as I think about the prospect of fighting for love and letting everything else burn away. In it, Jon Foreman writes:

“Ashes from the flames
The truth is what remains
The truth is what you save
From the fire
And you fight for what you love
Don’t matter if it hurts
You find out what it’s worth
And you let the rest burn”

To me, this means passionately pursuing  my relationship with my Divine Abba. This means deepening my loyal love for my bride. This means daily communicating my affection to my kids. This means prioritizing the love of my family and friends. This means holding onto love while letting all of the distractions, addictions, and meaningless attempts to impress anyone or prove anything burn away [TWEET THIS]. This means loving like that and letting others love me in the same way.

In real recovery we find the commitment and courage to fiercely hold onto those things we value the most, abandoning everything that competes for life’s most precious virtue -love.

I invite you to invest a few minutes in listening to the above song. Imagine the love you want to pursue and what you’re willing to give up to get it.

Find Your Anthem

Then, start looking for your personal recovery anthem. Our recovery anthem sparks strength in us when we feel depleted and ignites hope within when we feel defeated [TWEET THIS]. We can listen to them daily and in times of urgent need.

The recovery anthem is a powerful tool for those seeking recovery from anything.

What’s your recovery anthem? I would love to hear it.

(Please comment below with the title of your recovery anthem and share this post with others)

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C originally posted here

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

The Song that Keeps Me Crying

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This morning I couldn’t help but cry as I listened to Switchfoot’s new song “If the House Burns Down Tonight.” The lyrics resonated deeply with me, as I thought about the prospect of fighting for love and letting everything else burn away.

To me, this means passionately pursuing a “furious love affair” with my Abba. This means deepening my loyal love for my bride. This means daily communicating my affection to my kids. This means prioritizing the love of my family and friends. This means holding onto love while letting all of the distractions, addictions, and meaningless attempts to impress anyone or prove anything burn away.

May we all have the commitment and courage to fiercely hold onto those things we value the most, abandoning everything that competes for life’s highest virtue……love.

I invite you to invest a few minutes in listening to the following song while reading the lyrics below. Imagine the love you want to pursue and what you’re willing to give up to get it.

 

“If The House Burns Down Tonight”

Ashes from the flames
The truth is what remains
The truth is what you save
From the fire
And you fight for what you love
Don’t matter if it hurts
You find out what it’s worth
And you let the rest burnThe sunset burns like gasoline
Touch me and make sure that I’m not dreaming
I see her face and my heart skips beats
But I still get the feeling that we’re half asleep and
There’s a spark in the corner of my baby’s eye
Like a distant star that won’t burn quiet
And I might not know what I want from this life
But I know I want more than the starting line

So give me the fire

I can hear the motor running down the interstate
And all the distractions fade away
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need with you by my side
I see the smoke piling up in the rear view mirror
Yeah but I ain’t ever seen it any clearer
If the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn

I’ve given too much of my heart away
My soul’s holding on like a house divided
Like a match it burns down like a masquerade
And I had to let it go when the fire ignited

One heart, two hands, your life is all you hold
(your life is all you hold)
To hold, hold tight and let the bitter go
Yeah let it go, and give me the fire

The smoke tries choking the pacific sun
We rocket down the road like we’re shot out of guns
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need with you by my side
Holding you and the wheel and it occurs to me
We’re driving down the edge of eternity
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn
And let the rest burn

Put your hand in mine and
Put your heart in driving
We got everything we need yeah
We got everything we need yeah
Left it all behind us
What we need will find us

We got everything we need yeah
We got everything we need yeah

Can you hear that motor running
Can you hear that motor running
There ain’t no stopping us now
There ain’t no slowing us down

Can you hear that motor running
Can you hear that motor run, run, run

And all those lies that mattered most to me
Were draining me dry making a ghost of me
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need, everything I need
There’s a fire coming that we all will go through
You possess your possessions or they possess you
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side

And let the rest burn

Ashes from the flames, the truth is what remains

-Switchfoot

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

Reassurance in the Rain

lightning-962789_1280

This video touched me many years ago and it touched me today. When we are in life’s toughest storms, God cares and carries us. May this message remind us and reassure us today.

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

Giving Us All Permission to Rest

amazing tree

As a person in recovery, I find it very hard to give myself the rest and relaxation I need. What comes naturally for me is overcommitment and overachievement. I too often prioritize productivity over caring for myself responsibly. I know I am not alone in this. Flores writes that addicts “demonstrate an almost complete inability to relax and enjoy themselves” (Flores, 2004). Learning the lifestyle of effective self-care takes continuous effort. For me, it is a journey of constant course correction.

Thankfully, my body tells me when I am maxing out my resources and my capacity for productivity. I have learned to see addictive cravings as signals that something is not right inside of me. When those signals go off, it is time to act. If I do not respond with attention, curiosity, and care, I know I am on the road to relapse.

In her book Running On Empty, Dr Jonice Webb shares that “adults who were emotionally neglected as children often don’t know what their needs are. Their own wants, needs, and feelings are not only irrelevant to the emotionally neglected, they’re invisible.” Since nearly 100% of sexual addicts were emotionally neglected in early life, it makes sense how we learned to neglect ourselves.

Dr Webb recommends finding “healthy self-soothing strategies”that fit each individual’s needs.  They could range from going for a walk in the woods, praying or meditating, writing or journaling, exercising, playing with a pet, taking a bath, reading in a hammock, or gardening. The possibilities are endless (for more ideas click here). We can seek and find the non-addictive and non-stressful activities that meet our deepest needs.

We can learn how to love ourselves in many ways, as part of our daily rituals and in times of heightened stress. We can seek the support we need and remind ourselves that today is a great day to begin again. This self-compassionate and self-supportive approach will help us get off of the hamster-wheel of performance and pay attention to the things that are most needed.

May we all learn to tune in to the needs of our body, mind, and soul, investing in the much needed care that will soothe our wounds and wholly rejuvenate us.

I officially give us all permission to rest.

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C originally published here

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!

The 4 Secrets of a Successful Summer Vacation (In Recovery)

Fireworks Secrets of Successful Recovery Image

Summer is often a season of travel and time away from regular responsibilities. For those of us in recovery, vacations can be filled with new temptations and triggers. When we neglect our recovery routines and indulge in everything our eyes desire, we dance with danger. For me, late nights and lack of structure can quickly lead to lust binges and weakened self-control. I can also slip into states of disconnect and self-neglect when I do not remain intentional in my recovery work. For those who experience similar vulnerabilities on vacation, here are 4 secrets for a successful summer:

  1. Scan & Plan – With new environments come new temptations and triggers. Scan new scenery for situations that could take you out. Alert your accountability partners to emerging challenges, communicating your proactive plan to evade them. Rather than being a victim to vulnerable circumstances, remain responsible, mindful, and vigilant.
  2. Stay Connected – Avoid behaviors and experiences that disconnect you from those you love, including yourself. Stay connected to your feelings, your values, your accountability, God, and those around you. Celebrate in such a way that your future self will thank you, not resent you.
  3. Care for Yourself – Remain faithful to your self-care structures, remembering that “while there is an obvious vacation from regular schedules and responsibilities, there is never a vacation from essential recovery routines.”. Self-care may include seeking solitude and healthy self-soothing when triggered or over-stimulated.
  4. Make Meaningful Memories– Recovery is not just about avoiding self-destruction but also about the construction of a full life. This too takes intentionality, since addicts “demonstrate an almost complete inability to relax and enjoy themselves” (Flores, 2004). Learning how to have fun without lust, excessive sugar, and other “drugs” of choice is a significant challenge of recovery. Investing in guilt-free memories with those we love will lay the foundation of a new and meaningful life.

    May all who of us on the road to healing enjoy a summer strengthened by solid recovery.

    I wish all readers a summer of celebration and an incredible Independence Day!

    For additional articles on this topic, check out the following links:

Recovery on the Road: Preparing for The Temptations of Travel

Holiday Recipes for Relapse & Recovery (Revised)

Are We Having Fun Yet?

The Neuroscience of Self-Care

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

Please FOLLOW my blog and find me on Facebook and Twitter for future posts and announcements about my UPCOMING BOOK!