Nicholas D.

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What excites you the most now when you get up in the morning?|What excites me the most is the endless possibility for growth that awaits me each day. Not having to carry the burden of active addiction and fear of withdrawal on a daily basis gives me a feeling of freedom and gratitude every day.|What is your motto? And what about this motto appeals to you?|Whenever I speak, I often start with a quote by Marcus Aurelius that basically sums up how I feel about recovery. “Take it that you have died today, and your life’s story is ended, and henceforward regard what future time may be given as an unearned surplus. Now take what’s left and live it properly. What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.” What appeals to me is the way I was living was unsustainable, and ever since I got clean, every day, while not always easy, has truly been a gift.|What has been the best part of recovery for you? Why?|What excites me the most is the freedom that has been given to me. I have had so many previously unimaginable experiences this year. It’s been amazing. With that freedom came the ability to travel all over the world. My best experience regarding that was going to a spiritual retreat in Costa Rica led by Dan Millman, who is probably my favorite person alive. I learned so much about myself and really got to get outside my comfort zone in the best way possible.|What would you say is the biggest success (professional or personal) you’ve had since leaving Mountainside?|I would say going outside of my comfort zone and getting comfortable being uncomfortable has been my biggest success so far. The most rewarding things I have done (coming back to speak at Mountainside and other meetings, yoga, meditation, traveling, etc.) have all been extremely uncomfortable at first. But I find that once that initial voice saying, “You can’t or don’t deserve to do this” is silenced, it is always well worth it.|What has been your biggest hurdle in recovery and how did you learn to overcome it?|My biggest hurdle so far was having to finding hobbies and things I enjoy. I remember during my intake at Mountainside when I was asked what my interests and hobbies were, I was so screwed up that I literally answered nothing. By the end, using was the only thing I had any interest in, and even that lost all its enjoyment.|What was the turning point that led you to get help?|I was arrested after years of selling drugs to support my habit and was finally able to surrender. I first started going to 12 Step meetings. About 18 months before I stopped using, 2 huge reservations I had were that I had never been in jail and had never been to rehab. Eighteen months later, fresh out of jail and on my way to rehab, I knew that I desperately needed help and all that self-delusion was finally gone.|If you could, what would you tell your younger self?|You are so much stronger than you think.|What would you like people who are afraid to receive treatment know?|Finally going to treatment at Mountainside was honestly the best decision I have ever made. It really started me on a road to find out who I really am and instilled some extremely positive habits that I still practice today. Yoga, meetings, meditation, and getting comfortable being vulnerable were all things I started doing seriously at Mountainside and have been huge parts of my recovery.|What suggestions do you have for the newcomer?|I promise you: if I can do it, you can do it too. Just take the suggestions people who have been through it give you and find the right mentor to guide you through this, and things will turn out better than you could ever imagine.|What is the best advice you have been given?|One of my spiritual advisors always says, “As long as I keep the AA/NA program in one hand and my higher power in the other, I don’t have any free hands to pick up.” Any time someone relapses, the first question is always “Which one did you put down?” Keeping this is mind is especially important when I travel, so I stick to my recovery routine.|What is the one item you can’t do without?|As funny as it sounds, probably my yoga mat. I am 6’5” and it took going through four mats to finally find the one that is long enough, wide enough, comfortable enough, and doesn’t have me sliding all over the place once I start sweating.|Would you rather be an inventor or a leader? Why?|Wow, this has been the toughest question for me to answer so far. It would be really cool to invent something that enables me to lead and be a positive example for others.|Who — dead or living — is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?|Another tough question, but I am going to have to go with Dan Millman. His “Peaceful Warrior” program and series of books have totally transformed my life, and he is just an all-around amazing, inspiring, and humble person to be around.|What’s the one thing people would be pleasantly surprised to know about you?|I feel like after reading what I previously wrote people are going to know a lot about me! I had to ask my wife about this one, and she reminded me that I am a total Disney World fanatic. I have been there over 30 times and never seem to get tired of it.|What are you currently reading or what song have you enjoyed recently? What do you love about it?|I am currently reading The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer. My therapist, who is an amazing person, recently got a copy for me and she definitely practices a lot of what this book talks about so I figured it could work for me as well.

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