new years 2014

I titled this blog “Celebrating Nothing and Everything” because it’s time for us to put down the scorecard that rates and divides the content of our life into worthy events or dull days. All of our life should be celebrated. We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the daily grind or lost in financial stress or romantic drama or pretty much anything where our addict-mind starts to pull levers so that the glass looks half empty instead of half full. I’m here to say that we don’t have to wait until a, b, or c is accomplished before we can be happy or fulfilled or experience peace. Seriously, let’s give up the belief system of “I can be happy when…” It is no longer being supported inside my mind.

I want every day to matter. Don’t you?

A few years ago I experienced probably one of the craziest things to happen in my entire life. While on vacation, I came face-to-face with a panther. (You can be read about here: This event was probably one of the most transformative spiritual experiences of my life. At first whenever I thought back on the panther experience, my body would kick into a simulated fight and flight trauma response. Now it kicks up the joyful feeling of excitement that I felt when I thought I was about to die (for real) and I looked at the sky and trees and panoramic view and realized how LUCKY I am to have had the chance to be here – on this planet. To exist here. To experience this life. As cornball as this sounds, I’ve never really lost that feeling – and I do believe we are all so lucky to be here. It is such a beautiful planet. No matter how we feel, what shape our life is in – we really can step outside and take a good look and slow things down, get out of the prison of our mind and find some beauty nearby. Beauty is a mood lifter and it is always available to us if we make the effort to seek it.

As 2014 comes to a close, I am feeling a lot of gratitude. This past year has been a peaceful one for me – and this has not always been the case. A lot of amazing stuff has happened on a professional and personal level but what really blows my mind is that there has been a real deep shift inside of me this year that I know is a direct result of all the accumulative work I’ve done on myself throughout my years in recovery – working a program, therapy, EMDR, etc. This doesn’t make me special or my recovery exceptional. I’m witnessing these same changes in others all the time. I’m just personally blown away to discover that I continue to change and find a deeper peace inside of myself. I truly feel safe. It’s easy to remember my life in the days leading up to my first day clean in 1988 and recall with fondness all the fun and drama and running and hiding (from myself) I have done over my years clean. Mostly, I’m grateful I’ve remained willing to grow – and I keep being surprised by how good I feel.

One thing I can say that was consistent with how I spent 2014 is that every single day I spent time outside and I appreciated whatever weather I was walking in. I was living mindfully in small ways. I was always celebrating nothing and celebrating everything. I hope this blog can inspire you to do the same in 2015.


Patty is a nationally recognized certified recovery coach and writer. She lives in New York City.

1 comment

As always, you are an inspiration. You have impacted my life in so many ways. When I read your posts, especially your personal accounts, I always gleam little tidbits of information and feel like, “OK, I get that now.” I understand the little pieces of the puzzle that escaped be before. Keep posting, keep writing, keep sharing, because struggle as I may, I am a better man because of the things I have learned from you.

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