Recipe for Self-Reinvention

Hello Lines,

I was wondering if anybody has experience they could share of making a substantial permanent change to their life for the better? To keep things concise, I’m currently in a position of life where deteriorating health and finances have led me to an uncontrolled stream of failure in my responsibilities to my livelihood and to my loved ones. I am contemplating taking what financial savings I have to try and self-correct myself for a more positive livelihood than the life I lead now.

My personal plan consists of meeting rigorously with mental/physical health professionals, exercise, meditation, medication, sobriety, and trying to learn how to manage time in a constructive manner over a couple months. I believe change comes from within and only the individual can find the answer they need to make change for the better. Nonetheless, I think it would be invaluable advice for a lot of us to hear from people who have undergone an experience to shift from their worst to on the way to their best.

Recommended reading, habits/rituals, groups, and stories would make good suggestions. Hopefully if people respond, the thread may yield relevant steps for others looking to reinvent themselves for the better.


Id say from my humble opinion and experience to get sober. The most important thing is, and its hard to focus on it, is you are doing it for yourself. Of course there are many other matters, family, health…but really you have to do it for you.
Dont give up if you fail, you are trying ,and that is what counts. Eventually things will start falling into place with time. Happy to help if i can… Best wishes to you!


Sorry to hear you have had a bad time!

In a case like this, get a qualified therapist and listen to and do what they say. Down to a tee. No matter if you agree with their analysis or not. Just do all the exercises and all the work they tell you to.

They are impartial and they care for your wellbeing. Don’t listen to yourself, listen to them first.

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Thanks for the support! I don’t mean to direct the topic about me specifically as much as I was hoping to hoping the community would share their own stories.

This might help. It didn’t completely save me, but it helped -

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If anyone wants me to share my experiences, message me, and if you’re serious, I’ll call you and tell you the real story. But I don’t think the details matter, just the recipe, which I can sum up in this equation:

Suffering + Bills To Pay + People Who Count On You To Live + Self-Reflection + Resolve to Change + Luck + Perseverance = Opportunity + Compassion

I was lucky enough to find a job that would let me recombine my skills in a new way for the first time in my career, and it’s paid off. I’ve been with the same organization for going on 10 years now. It has given me space to forgive myself for not becoming what I once thought I had to be, and a greater space to become the person I was meant to be.

’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right


having spiritual not religious value in life

you enumerate on a bunch of problems without specifics so it’s hard to say what is going on but echoing sobriety tip. guaranteed life changing ongoing turn of events if addiction is big current life problem.

also happy to chat as others have offered. anytime with anyone about this stuff.

i believe cocaine is a helluva drug


Fall in love.


first, best wishes in your pursuits/endeavors. it sounds like a lot is going on. while i collect self-help technologies of all stripes (maybe even more than i collect books & music), i definitely recommend navigating these obstacles with the assistance of professionals who can directly oversee your care. also, massive props for deciding to take action!

my own life is crammed with (intentional & unintentional) initiations/shifts of the very large variety, and one of the most important things i’ve taken away from this is that sustainable major life changes are a combination of sudden peaks (and/or valleys) + clusters of small, incremental changes over long durations of time.

about two & a half years ago—after 15 years working in human services—i found myself deeply/acutely burnt out, to the point of struggling to get out of bed on a daily basis. after some months of deliberation, i ritually quit my job, cashed out my (meager) retirement, and embarked on a six-week, solo, psychogeographical roadtrip (aligning with the ‘great american eclipse’).

it was one of the best things i’ve ever done for myself, and radically altered my life in many unexpected ways (across the spectrum of “awesome” and “terrible”). i’m still metabolizing that experience, still renegotiating so many ways i intersect with the world(s), and still dealing with consequences and unforseen repercussions.

i share this story in order to highlight/illustrate my above comment re: the combo that makes up sustainable change (and also b/c it’s one of the “fun” examples i have).

again, seriously, best of luck. i have nothing but admiration for folks who decide to reclaim their sense of agency in their lives, and take steps toward actualizing and implementing that.


@jasonw22 Luckily got that one covered since last year and I would agree it adds an entirely new path to life experiences. I think additional responsibilities come with the deal and add complications but ultimately it’s for the better to have reciprocating care and adoration.

@dude Sobriety isn’t a primary focus of my personal issues but it’s a telltale sign and distraction from figuring out what is amiss. I absolutely don’t mind if sobriety is the chief topic of others’ experiences since everyone has their own story.

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I post this in hopes that something in it will be useful to you/others. This was a step-by-step, incremental kinda change. Get ready for some lists!

6 years ago:

  • I got divorced.
  • Lost my religion
  • Started smoking.
  • Drinking to excess on the regular.
  • Smoking a pack a day, at least.
  • Wasn’t making or doing anything creative.

In the last year:

  • I quite smoking.
  • Drink like a normal person.
  • Eat much healthier.
  • Lost 18 pounds.
  • And I’m back to making music.

The thing that worked for me was showing myself patience and slowly changing habits, one by one. I started with quitting smoking, then the next. The habits that have helped me greatly have been:

  • reading every day.
  • writing every day (journal).
  • meditating 10min every day.
  • walking 45min every day.
  • ignoring almost all news/social media.
  • doing nice things for people I care about (mostly send letters)
  • making music (or something) every day.

I stick to these as best I can. They didn’t solve the issues but they’ve helped change how I think about things and what I value. I started to value things that were better for me over the things that weren’t so good. Took time which is where the patience comes in.

It’s ongoing. Seriously, best of luck to you and everyone on here.

2 books I found very helpful:

  • Mediations: A New Translation by Marcus Aurelius
  • Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living (I know that title but it was really helpful and practical)

I suspect that wanting change enough to reach out for advise and ways to implement said change is probably the key ingredient. It’s fantastic that you already have that, keeping that type of cognizant reflection going is important. Any day can be a red letter day, I’m excited for you.


I don’t know what you or anyone else is going through, but I wish you and everybody else the best at getting through it.

A technique that really helped me for getting through something that I wanted to stop doing is how I framed how I thought about that thing. Instead of thinking “I can’t…” I switched to “I don’t…” Once I switched mindsets it was like the difference between thinking “I have to breathe” vs just breathing.


The Artist’s Way, Deep Work, I Used to Be a Miserable Fuck are the books that marked a transitional time in my life, maybe? I read those over the course of about a year. The morning pages idea from the Artist’s way were a big revelation for me.


I just arrived at one full year without consuming alcohol two days ago, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. If your able to try taking a month, three months, or a full year away from booze, and you’ll discover things about yourself that I don’t think you’d find otherwise.


For anyone who enjoyed “Meditations,” I also recommend The Enchiridion by Epictetus.

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Check out this podcast: the happiness lab … use science to feel better.

The best advice on this topic I know of is journaling, or to keeping a daily journal. Marcus Aurelius wrote extensively on this topic, it’s a practice I’ve done for many many years now and I believe that it has changed my life.

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. - Parkinson’s law

Otherwise, here’s some notes related to various fields I’ve collected over the years and that have helped me:


  • Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it .
  • Do whatever you want to do, but be the best at it .
  • Strive for simplicity and competence , but embrace the messiness along the way.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver, and own up to your screw-ups.
  • Doing what everybody else is doing feels like the safest thing to do, making it the most competitive, and thus the riskiest.
  • No one is on their deathbed is wishing they spent more time at work.
  • Never stop learning.


  • Doing the right tasks is more important than doing your tasks efficiently.
  • Write down your goals. Break them down into manageable tasks.
  • Tackle one task at a time , and group similar tasks together.
  • You’re more attentive in the morning, tackle hard stuff then.
  • If you can’t do it in 8 hours, you can’t do it in 10.
  • Don’t forget to stretch, and drink plenty of water.
  • Keep a record of your time use.


  • Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
  • Always stand up to shake someone’s hand .
  • Be conscious of your body language .
  • Ask more than you answer.
  • First impressions matter.
  • When you walk, look straight ahead , not at your feet.
  • Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat.
  • No matter their job or status, everyone deserves your respect .


  • Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out .
  • Never use the passive where you can use the active .
  • Never use a foreign or scientific word, if you can think of an English equivalent .
  • Never use a figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


  • Eat varied foods , biodiversity in the diet means less monoculture in the fields.
  • Pay more for foods grown or raised less intensively and with more care, eat less .
  • Eat mostly plants , especially leaves. Cook , and if you can, plant a garden.
  • Avoid food products with unpronounceable ingredients, or more than five in number.
  • Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

Boxed Breathing

A trick to calm down instantly, I use it everyday.

  • Expel all of the air from your lungs.
  • Keep them empty for four seconds.
  • Inhale through your nose for four seconds.
  • Hold for four four seconds, don’t clamp down or create pressure.
  • Repeat.

A man is wealthy in proportion to the things he can do without. - Epicurus


Wow, so many good pieces of advice here! One this I would like to add is to look for people in your love that might have what you want. It might be a kind of job, or just a general sense or satisfaction with their life, whatever. Find these people and see if they will spend time with you and suggest what they did that helped them get to where they are. Many people take active steps to become happy or successful (at least they usually do if they have achieved both of these things). Take the advice. Oh, and do the hard actions.

I do what my businessman father taught me: every morning, find your hardest task, then do that first. It’s called swallowing the frog. Then, the rest of the day flows easily, you have no blockages in the way. Has really helped me string together many days of my own perceived successes.