Find the Calm within the Storm

by Cam

don't drink and driveYesterday I woke up to some bad news. One of my friends had fallen asleep while driving home last night and gotten into an accident. Thankfully he was ok, but there was some other bad news: he was over the legal limit for alcohol consumption. He received a DUI charge. He’s been battling alcohol problems for a while.

“I’m going to go to an AA meeting today at 5:30,” he says to me on the phone.

Going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is never an easy thing. It’s an uncomfortable situation, and you don’t know what to expect. It definitely doesn’t help that by going you are making a statement to yourself that you ARE in need of help, and can’t fix it yourself. It can be a tough pill to swallow.

A few years back I went to an AA meeting in support of another friend of mine. I wasn’t even going to the meeting for myself, yet I still felt uncomfortable. Thinking about this, I knew the best move for me to make was to go support my friend at his first AA meeting, instead of having him go alone. Plus that way I can assure he gets there and doesn’t miss it.

“Do you want me to come with you?”

He goes on to say I don’t have to but if I were willing he would appreciate it. So that’s what I did.

During the meeting there is a discussion period, where most of the people there will get a chance to talk about whatever they want to. You’ve seen it in the movies: “Hi I’m X and I’m an alcoholic…” One of the guys, I can’t remember his name, older fellow, started talking about how he’s tried to get better multiple times, used treatment centers, used AA, and every time he ends up falling back. His voice was irritated. You could hear the sense of frustration with each word he said. The frustration wasn’t to imply he was giving up though. No not at all. He still had that fierce determination, that “swag” that he was going to win this battle.

He said the key to him succeeding was to find calmness when things got out of wack – even if just a little bit. “Just take 5 minutes,” he constantly reminded himself. This applied no matter where he was; whenever he began to feel stressed out, he would just take 5 minutes to himself to meditate and calm his mind down. “When you do this, you are able to make the decision you actually want to make, instead of one based on emotions or fear.”

eye of the storm

This resonated with me a lot. Lately I’ve been stressed out to say the least. It’s honestly the most stressed out I’ve been in over 3 years. No joke. And to be honest, I’m not even “that” stressed out; and it could be worse, but I believe you should be optimizing at all times, so no amount of stress to me is “ok”. I prefer to live my life 100% drama-free.

In my opinion, all the stress I’ve had recently could be avoided if I dealt with things better. I need to be that much more organized and that much better at “finding the calm within the storm.” I can be better at taking 5 minutes to control my emotions before making any decisions. I can take full responsibility.

One of the coolest side effects of studying Social Dynamics is that you become emotionally stable. This allows you to make decisions properly, of which make your life that much better.

I know it’s something we have all heard a million times, and a million more times on top of that, but regardless, being reminded of the basics never hurts; and to be honest, since attending that AA meeting I have made a much more conscious decision to take 5 minutes to re-center, and this has impacted my life in very positive ways lately.

zen

So next time you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, stressed out, angry, or jealous, take 5 minutes wherever you are, head into a bathroom stall, pull over on the side of the road – whatever you have to do – and find the calm within the storm. Or as my Mother would say: “Take a breath and count to ten.”

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About Cam
Cam Adair is a Motivational Speaker who dares you to live a life you're proud of. Watch his TEDx talks on Escaping Video Game Addiction and The Surprising Truth About Rejection. Follow him on Instagram. He is the Founder of Game Quitters, a support community for those who struggle with a gaming problem.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie September 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Awesome post Cam!

I think this is something I need to work on when I get frustrated. Just taking 5 minutes to recenter and not act out on emotion. Sometimes we can get a little bit too caught up in the moment and lose focus on what we are really trying to accomplish. I have been better about it in conversations but when It comes to the frustration of room mates…I can definitely let my emotions run a little wild. Just need to breathe and figure out the best way to communicate effectively. 😀

Thanks for the advice!!!

Cam September 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Thanks for the comment Jamie.

This has helped me out a lot, so let me know how it works for you. I guess it’s true that our Mothers are usually right. Ha.

Max September 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Nice post, Cam! Something I can be doing when I am stressed out – which leads to stress-free =)

Cam September 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Thanks Max. Taking 5 minutes away is never a bad idea 🙂

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