“The Past No Longer Exists, It’s Just A Thought” Special Guest & Article Share By Lifestyle and Wellness Coach Kaden James…

Hey Recovery Posse, Friends, and New Visitors,

I am very excited to welcome my friend Kaden James who I have known and networked with for several years now. Kaden is a fantastic lifestyle coach, speaker, podcaster and so much more. Actually, he kind of has his HAT in many different entrepreneurial realms. He is a fellow author and writer as I am, but most importantly, his life and business coaching has helped me tremendously while I move forward in my recovery journey and lifestyle.

When I visited his website a few days ago, I came across this Special Article I asked him if I could share. Because it touches many topics and areas we all face while maintaining recovery. It taps into some areas to ponder about our past and gives readers a more positive and refreshing way of looking at the many outside influences that can make our journey a little difficult and overcome some of the inner self and unprocessed pain, trauma, abusiveness, or even a shitty childhood.

So, I hope when you read the article something may resonate or help you as it did me. I encourage you to check out the links at the close of his article to his books on Amazon, connect with him on social media, and give his website a visit and see just how he may able to help you!

But, first, who is my buddy, Kaden James. Let’s find out. . .

About Kaden James

Kaden is a bestselling author, writer, and business consultant. He is the founder and owner of Fulfilled Foods, and Spirlit Coaching. “I help companies and individuals become greater forces for good.”

With several published books to his credit that include; “The Daily Playbook” “Coach Yourself” and “REFLEKT,” all available on Amazon online. Kaden always had a zest for life. After having a difficult childhood he studied the most highly successful people he came across and applied their methods and helped others reach their dreams. Through his learning, he came to understand that real success is feeling good about who you are and what you do. Born in California, Kaden was moved to a small town in Idaho at the age of ten, he came from humble beginnings, was focused, and grounded at a young age. He made his way to Los Angeles after graduating early to pursue his dreams.

As the author says, “It’s not about where you come from, what you have, or what you have done, life is about who you become.”

When arriving in Los Angeles, Kaden became a rising star as a singer-songwriter. Frequently featured on MTV, he recorded music for MTV’s ‘The Real World,’ while writing and performing the theme song to both ‘The A-List: New York and Dallas.’ He enjoyed the music ride but was maturing in a new direction and had more he wanted to share.

Since fitness and living a clean, healthy lifestyle are some of his passions, in 2017, he began studying with “Robbins-Madanes Training,” (the official Coach Training School of Anthony Robbins). He became certified as a life & wellness coach with Expert Rating. He began writing unique self-help motivational books and started his life coaching business. With the gained wisdom and the thirst to help others, his coaching business took off. He continues to be an Instagram Star and influencer as he shares his coaching tips for all, and advice through poetic thoughts and inspiring words to reflect on.

When the author is not writing or coaching clients, he enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, working out, cooking, and reading. His favorite authors are Gary Zukav, Brené Brown, and Marianne Williamson, to name a few. Keep an eye on this author as his “Star is still Rising and Shining Bright.”
Kaden resides San Deigo, CA.

The Past No Longer Exists, It’s Just A Thought

Today I’m so happy to be back home. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately and it’s just been a whirlwind of a year. I’ve literally flown so much overseas, more so than I ever have in my entire life. I’ve visited so many cool places from Italy, to France to Germany, to Dubai, and I just recently went to DC.

I planned a trip with my parents. It was a Christmas gift and it’s been so beautiful to be able to give gifts like that, like experiences. So, I sent my parents on this treasure hunt basically at Christmas. Where there are all these little notes all over the house, including one in the washing machine. It took a while to find that one, but it was really meaningful, and it ended with this cabinet that my grandfather made out of wood and it’s one of my mom’s most prized possessions and that was where the final clue was. There is a picture of my grandparents that led them to look inside that cabinet and they opened up a file that showed the Cherry Blossom Festival that was going on in DC a few years ago and then they found their hotel stay for this big trip.

And the second part of the surprise is my dad didn’t know that I was going to join my parents in DC to go and see all these amazing places. My dad and mom were eating at a restaurant at the hotel we were staying at and we just walked out to them and surprised them. And it was one of those things we’ll never forget. Another really cool thing about DC is all of the museums are free. So you can go to the Natural History Museum. You can go to the zoo. You can go to the Air and Space Museum, which I really loved and my dad really loved too. And you get to go to all these national monuments from the Washington Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial.

And I arranged with my congressman to have really good tours for all of us when we got there. So we got to see the White House. We got to go on a private tour of the capital. It was really, really out of this world. So, I want to talk about the past, and, specifically, the fact that the past no longer exists. It just exists in our minds right? There’s no real past going on. We just have the present moment. The past is just memories. It’s things we remember and things that we bring into the present moment that affect what’s going on in your life today.


The interesting thing about this is I was just with my parents, and my parents are a huge part of my past and for most people listening, that’s going to be you too, right? Our parents raised us with their beliefs, with their rules, with their ways of looking at the world, and not to get into politics, but my parents have different views than I do. Their views stem from their past, their background, how they were raised, their beliefs, the people they’re friends with, you know. So, our beliefs are shaped by our environment as well, but we choose them and we can choose which beliefs serve us, and we can choose to let go of the ones that don’t.

For a lot of people, especially people who are not really aware of this, they look to their past and they will find pieces of their past fragments if you will, and they will blame their current situation on that past. But we are adults, and we choose the baggage we take with us. It might not feel like it’s a choice, and we might not be consciously aware of it, but when we become conscious of it, we have power. Because we can choose not to think about that situation that happened or not to dwell on a time when we got it wrong and feel shame and guilt about it. We can let it go. We can let anything go and we don’t have to take those fragments from the past and cut ourselves over and over again on those shards from our past.

Every time we talk about a situation that wasn’t desirable, or a time when we got it wrong, or when someone cheated on us or someone betrayed us or someone abused us in some way. And I’m not saying like if it just happened a week ago, or two weeks ago, or a month ago, or even three months ago. I’m saying if this was years and years ago, if we bring it into the present moment, we relive it. To some degree, we are reliving it every time we tell that story, every time we dwell on it, every time we think on it, and every thought that we have is having an effect on us. So when we have a thought, it can cause us to feel a certain way, and then that feeling can cause us to behave a certain way. And if you notice really moody people, right, it’s because they have these negative thoughts in their heads become a loop, and then they feel a certain way and then they kind of treat people not so great because they’re kind of “moody”.

If we stop thinking about the things that happened in our past that weren’t ideal. Then we no longer bring it into the present moment. When we can wipe those thoughts from our head or replace those thoughts with a better narrative, something that feels empowering. And I know that this is probably sounding really simplistic. I know that this takes work, and I’ve done it. I’ve done this work. So I don’t want anyone to think that this is just like, “oh, just think a different thought. Like it’s so easy”. No, I’m not saying that it will take time. It takes repetition. It takes creating a habit, a new belief. But if you’ve had really challenging things in your past, then that means you’re very strong. It means you’re resilient. It means you’re a survivor And not only a survivor, you’re a thriver.

So do you see how just shifting that, from victim to victorious? Sometimes that’s a big jump to make, but we can. We can move ourselves closer and closer to that victorious feeling. So we could go from a victim to feeling really good about the fact that we survived that, and not only did we survive it, we learned a lot from it. And not only did we learn a lot, we became kind of an expert in that area of life. And we can help a lot of people with that, see how it’s moving us closer to feeling good about whatever happened in the past. Even if it wasn’t desirable. Because when we can take something really negative and use it to fuel ourselves and to help light other people up and help them find their way through this life, we get to feel good about it and we get to be a source of inspiration.

The most inspiring people to me,  are the people who have gone through the most. I get so inspired when I hear a story of somebody who really struggled and then kicked a**. I was just watching something on Netflix where a woman lost her leg in a car accident and then she started doing these marathons that were six times longer than a normal marathon. And I just thought, this is incredible and she was doing it through the desert. She was just showing how far she could push herself and it was really inspiring to see, and no, I will not be running any crazy marathons! Like, that’s really not my thing but I really appreciate people who do.

Something I find really interesting too about the parent-child dynamic is, our parents often think our childhood was one way and we think it was a different way. But they’re literally just thoughts. So their collection of thoughts is different than my collection of thoughts. It doesn’t make their collection wrong, it doesn’t make mine wrong. But there are probably some that you know are a little sugar-coated or embellished and pushed a certain direction. For whatever reason, our minds just tend to do that.

But if you’ve ever even been in a relationship too, and you thought the relationship was going really well, and then all of a sudden, like, the person gets upset with you about something and then has evidence that, like, something they don’t like about you, right? It could be, “oh, you’re really messy”. And you’re like, “I’m not messy at all. I’m super clean, like you’re the messy one”. But then they’re like, “no, you left your dishes out that one day and you had your laundry on the floor and I had to, like, put it in the hamper”. Or, you know, they have all this evidence. You’re like, wow, they see me totally different, than I see myself. Interesting. And you can just take that in and you can learn from it and you can take in that feedback and work on yourself if you want to. But it’s just interesting to see that everybody has their own perception and perspective.

If you have siblings or you do this with your coworkers and you just ask them about their experience with the same environment and see what their experience is and how it differs from your own. Because we all pick up on different things. And our brains are super powerful, they can be used to find the negative in just about any situation like you could think about anyone or any situation and you could find the negative. Our brains are so good at spotting the negative and it’s kind of the default. It’s really easy for our brains to pick out what we don’t like about things. Like we’ll eat a sandwich and we’ll be like, oh, I didn’t like the pickle inside it or I didn’t like this, or I didn’t like that or the bread was too hard. Maybe everything else was wonderful inside that sandwich, but we just picked out the negative.

And it’s the same when we get feedback online, right? We could get a lot of really positive comments, but we’ll remember the negative a lot of times. The negative just has this power because our brains are looking for what’s wrong, oftentimes. But we can train the mind to look for what’s right. You know, when you get a thought in your head that is negative, maybe you don’t like your car. You can replace that thought with three positive things. I love that my car gets me where I need to go. I really like the color of my car. You know, my car smells really good because I just put a really good air freshener in it. So you can think of positive things to replace the negative thing with. But I really love my car actually. I just got it and it’s just so nice. I’m very thankful for it, but I’m just using this as an example. You know, it could be your house. It could be, you know, somebody you deal with at work. Maybe you can only see the negative in somebody, like a co-worker.

Start picking out the positive in that person because you’re going to start to train your brain to see what’s good, what’s right. And you’re going to see more opportunities and you’re going to have a higher vibration. People will react to you differently when you do this. I’m telling you, it’s like magic and you’re thinking positive thoughts about a person. There’s just an energy to that. They feel better in your presence and feel less judged. And it’s like, we all have body language. So if you’re thinking a negative thought, it’s very hard to cover that up with your body language. So if you’re thinking it… it’s showing. It could come out in your tone of voice, could come out in your eye contact. We don’t want that. We want to be positive. We want to really be loving.
Because when we put love out there, that’s what we’re going to receive.

And what’s interesting about our bodies and the research that has come out through Joe Dispenza and a lot of other great researchers out there. They have shown that our minds are so powerful that they influence our body and our bodies don’t know the difference between thoughts and experience. So if we are thinking or visualizing something, our bodies are reacting. A good way of knowing this is to think about if you’ve ever seen a really scary movie. Your body tends to you jumped when things jumped out at you, Your palms were sweating, you know, you might have even been shaking a little bit, or your eyes were really wide. Your body was reacting to what it was thinking because you weren’t actually in that situation. You weren’t in danger and logically, you knew that it was on the screen and not in real life, but it was still affecting your body because you were thinking about it.

So our thoughts are affecting our bodies. So we want to think thoughts that will affect them positively. So if we do the opposite, we visualize our success and we visualize ourselves as confident and having all the things we want, we’re going to put on that energy. And then throughout our day, we’ll carry some of that energy throughout the day and it can be very powerful. When I first met one of my close friends, she was telling me about her husband cheating on her and she was saying it was so much emotion; I had literally just met her, so I didn’t know anything about the story. She was telling the story and she was tearing up and she just was feeling it so heavily. And I was consoling her and talking her through it. And at the end of the conversation, another one of her close friends came up and I was like, “oh it’s so horrible that she was cheated on.”

And he was like, that happened seven years ago. And I was just blown away because she was telling the story as though it had just happened. And he proceeded to tell me that when it happened, her body kind of shut down. She had to go to the hospital. She felt it so deeply that she actually physically shut down. And she was continuing to tell the story with so much emotion that you could feel it. I could feel it in my body and everything. And then when I found out it was seven years ago, I was like, what?

So it isn’t just like, “oh, like thoughts don’t matter that much” or “I don’t have to really monitor my thoughts”. No, you have to monitor your thoughts like your life depends on it because in certain cases it does. And if you want to have an abundant, amazing life, you have to change your thoughts. Now, I didn’t know this for the longest time. I didn’t know how important our thoughts are, but they literally create everything in our experience.

I’m going to go through this again- Our thoughts create our emotions, which influence our behaviors, which get us our results. And then the cycle continues. So if you have negative thoughts, and those negative thoughts give you horrible emotions, emotions that you really don’t want to have, and then you take actions from those negative emotions. Let’s say, like you’re really insecure, you’re nervous, you’re paranoid, all those types of things. You take poor actions. Maybe it’s at work, or maybe it’s in your relationship. Imagine having that fear and that anxiety and that worry, and then you take action.

You’re gonna repel people away from you, so you get those results, and then you maybe think that people just don’t like me, or I’m not good enough, or I’m not talented enough, or I’m not smart enough, or I’m not whatever enough. Or there’s something wrong with me. Imagine how that thought can change your entire life if you believe that something is wrong with you, like, inherently wrong with you. Like, I’m not talking just an imperfection. I’m talking like you deeply believe that you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy. If you believe that and you start to feel that emotion that leads to depression, that leads to deep uncertainty, that leads to a lot of pain, and a lot of sadness. And I’m telling you, I know this from personal experience. I have been there. It is really an awful feeling. But how amazing is it that we can change our thoughts and thus change how we feel, change how we act, how we show up in the world, and the results we get.

So just by having a good thought, the best thought you can possibly have. In many different areas of your life, it’s going to change everything dramatically. There was a time when I didn’t think so highly about myself, and that just got me terrible results, right? But then I started to think better thoughts about myself. I started to believe that I was worthy. I started to believe that I was good enough. I told myself I was enough. I love myself.
I gave myself self-love, which I think is the cornerstone of a healthy, happy life.

You gotta get that muscle strong because once you do that then you’re gonna have more confidence and you’re gonna feel better. So put on some music that makes you feel powerful, work out, or move your body in ways that feel strong to you. Love yourself more. Treat yourself like a great friend. Practice being a good friend to yourself and as you do that, everything will start to change and you just keep repeating the pattern by picking even better thoughts.

A great way to really notice this is with finances. There were many years that I was dead broke. I made nothing. Literly was just so broke, just barely getting by. For years I did this and I thought it was hard to make money. I had these thoughts that you know, money doesn’t grow on trees, money doesn’t matter. Like I don’t do this for the money. All these thoughts that really negative. And it kept me broke. To get wealthy, you have to believe you’re worth it and that you don’t have to give it all away to be a good person. That’s the core belief.

So I’ve worked really hard on this and that’s why I’ve made a lot more money. You know your relationship with money based on how much you have. Right. So if you have a really healthy relationship with money, you probably have a lot of money in your life. And if you don’t have a healthy relationship, you don’t have much money in your life. You give it all away. You sabotage yourself. You don’t save. You don’t find ways to make more money. You don’t put yourself out there. You just kind of settle for what is, right? And that’s all based on thinking as well. The reason I bring up money on this topic is because you can set a number in your head that you want to reach. If you’re a coach or an entrepreneur or somebody who has a side hustle, even an Etsy account, you could set a number that you want to reach, right? And you could believe that you’re going to reach that, like. Yeah, I could make an extra 500 bucks this month.

Sure. I believe that. And if you believe that you can achieve that, right. And you might even make 700 and then the next month you can make it a little higher and a little higher and a little higher and a little higher and you’ll notice that maybe when you used to believe that making money is difficult. You’ll now start to think, oh, making money is easy, This is such a breeze. And then you’ll start to see more of it flow into your experience because you believe it. You have better thoughts that cause you to have better ideas as well, but they also give you better emotions and you feel really good, so you take better actions and you get better results. So it’s really that simple.

So whatever thoughts that we’re telling ourselves over and over, whatever that story is, that’s what we’re going to see in our lives. So if you’re saying something like “I never picked the right men”, that will be a self-fulfilling prophecy until you catch it and break that thought pattern and start to pick better thoughts. Now I’m not telling you just lie to yourself because if this is a long-held pattern and a belief then you want to ease out of it. You could just say, “I’m really enjoying the dating process. I love having fun with different people and getting to know them. I keep seeing good qualities in all the people I go out with” and do that thing we talked about earlier where you’re picking out the good, even if you see a negative, you replace it with three good things. If you’re doing that, then you can say these things and you can mean them.

And when you’re dating, I want you to remember that for most people who want a monogamous relationship, you’re looking for one person. So you don’t need everyone to be perfect and wonderful in it to be like fireworks. You’re looking for one person, so don’t make it so hard on yourself. Have fun with this. Enjoy the process and then when that person comes in, if you’ve had a rough time, it’s going to be even more meaningful. If we’ve gone through struggles in our lives, it makes it easier to really be thankful for the good when it flows in. If you have been thirsting for a long time and it’s been a drought, when that rain comes, you are gonna dance in it. You’re gonna just be so joyous in that rain. When we can carry that appreciation and gratitude through our lives without having to go through more negative experiences, that’s really, really wonderful.

So when we think about our thoughts, a lot of times it can be kind of like the movie Groundhog Day, which is a movie with Bill Murray where he wakes up every day and it’s the same day that he’s going through and he makes different decisions that affect that day, but it’s like every day is the same and our thoughts are like that. So if we continue to have the same thoughts, which most of our thoughts are the same from day-to-day, if we keep having those same thoughts, we’re gonna get similar results. And it’s going to feel like, oh, here’s the same old, same old, and if we’re having thoughts that attack our self-esteem, we want to address those right away because those ones have the biggest impact. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re doing it.

I find that most people when they stand in front of a mirror, they realize. What their mind is actually saying about them physically and it can be brutal. So I would recommend that to anybody. Stand in front of the mirror and just see what comes up in your mind, Stick through it, and then at the end after your mind has kind of gotten quiet, look into your eyes and love on yourself say, “I love you, I see you. You are worthy of love and I’m going to treat you better.” And then hopefully you’ve taken note of all those negative insults that you threw at yourself. I want you to replace them with positive ones. I want you to say nice things to yourself.

Whenever you catch yourself saying something not so nice and this will change your self-esteem. This will change the way you vibrate out there in the world. Because honestly, some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen in my life, you know, have wrinkles all over, have white hair, in their 80s, 90s, and beyond. But they just have that energy, a vibration of beauty. And it’s, it’s intoxicating. I mean, I’ve seen men that are in their 70s, 80’s, bald, and they just smile and they light up the room. They’re so beautiful. That is beauty.

And we can redefine what beauty means. It doesn’t have to mean you’re a 20-year-old, you know and with a lot of my clients, this is something that they come to me with. They come to me wanting to be younger. This anti-aging industry is huge and it’s OK to put your best foot forward and to dress in a way that makes you feel confident, that’s wonderful. Or to, you know, do your hair makeup in a way that makes you feel good and to take good care of your skin and yourself. But there can be a time when it’s too much when it becomes an obsession.

And to be honest, if you are living into your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 100, and beyond. Wow, what a gift to be here for all these years. What a gift and you can be beautiful at any age because beauty is not about looks. It’s really what’s going on within you because I’ve met many people with beautiful exteriors, but the energy was not the behavior was not right. I think we’ve all had those encounters. I know, from living in Los Angeles, I saw it a lot. And, you know, I just think it’s really important to remember what truly matters, which is who we are, our soul. You know, and to be honest, like eve that, even talking about like, you know, beautiful versus not or good person versus not, I mean really, it’s all perception. Maybe they were doing the best they could. And that’s a thought I think often, people are doing the best they can.

I don’t know what happened to them that day. Maybe they are behaving in a way that isn’t beautiful because they are hating on themselves. Or maybe someone hurt them. We are all trying to get our needs met and we all want love. You know, it’s not my place to judge. I’m here to love. In my opinion, that is the core reason I’m here. It doesn’t get any more simple than that. And so how can we do that with our thoughts? My perception of them is just a thought. We just choose better ones. We continue to improve them. We keep working on it. And let’s think about it on an even deeper level. You know criminals who get wrongly accused and incarcerated when they’re released. They could hold on to that anger and upset for years, for the life that was stolen from them.

Or they can choose to use that painful past to see the world in an even more vibrant way, and they can appreciate their freedom even more because of what they went through. There are of course, victims in this world, and every child who goes through some trauma is a victim, but it’s our choice in going forward as we grow up to remain a victim or grow through it and become victorious over it. Then we can help others who are current victims because we have left that pain in the past. This is not to say that we don’t feel what we’re feeling or give ourselves time to grieve a loss or heal a wound. I’m just talking about the times when we tell that old story like it’s still here with us.

Now I want to give you a tool that you can take with you, and it’s something I came up with when I was thinking about this podcast. And it’s called “Lawyer for Your Life”. Now, I want you to have fun with this, but I want you to argue that you had a horrible childhood, prosecution. So you’re going to prosecute everyone who made your childhood horrible, even if it’s not true. So just think that you are, you know, a lawyer and you just have to fight this case. Then after you’ve done that, I want you to argue that you had a wonderful life and an amazing childhood, defense. You’re going to defend every situation that was harmful to you, everything that you just listed as the prosecution. I want you to defend your case that you had this amazing life. All the things that you learned, all the things that you gained, the person you are today because you went through all of that. Build that strong defense, that’s a strong case.

So Who Will Win? You get to decide because you are the judge.

This can go with your relationships, with your work, with anything. You can put a case together about why this isn’t the right person, or this isn’t the right work, or you can put a case together–why it is what it is, given you, what you’ve learned from it, or even a breakup. You can go back and do a postmortem on a breakup. You can think of all the things that you gained from it, and you know, like ease off all the negative that you’ve probably thought about a lot of times. When you think about that ex or you think about that relationship. Think about all the things you gained from it. Think about what’s right about it.

And I’m going to give you one last tool because you all are so awesome and I just love this work so much.

So, the other day I was talking to a guy who had just turned 21. He was telling me about his birthday party.
He went to a club with his friends and they were drinking and partying, and it was getting kind of late but he was still having so much fun and at one point some people from the club came up to him and they were escorting him through the club and he was like, “oh, I’m going to like a VIP room”. That’s going to be so cool and then he was like, “wait… why is this so cold?” They had kicked him out of the club. So we talked for a little bit and I told him about reframing and he was like, “okay, now I just got escorted out of the club. After a wonderful night partying with my friends until 1:30AM and I had the best birthday.” And he has a great story, a funny story to share for the rest of his life which is awesome.

So it just shows the power of reframing, right? You could say you got kicked out and feel really bad about it, or you could be like I got escorted out afterward. So, I got in my Uber and you know, got home and had a horrible hangover the next day -which was awesome because I earned it. So it just shows how you can reframe anything. Anything. Even something just funny and silly and simple, just have fun with it. Reframe something. Pick something in your life that wasn’t fun and reframe it in a way that makes it lighthearted fun or something that is just way more positive.

And some final things you can think about are what do you want to feel about your past? What do you want the thought of a past relationship to bring up for you? What do you want to think about your parents? What do you want to think about someone who hurt you?

When I heard Eckhart Tolle say “If her past were your past? Her pain. Your pain. Her level of consciousness. Your level of consciousness. You would think and act exactly as she does.” That quote was really transformative for me. I’m going to read it a different way just for the sake of taking it in. “If their past were your past. Their pain, Your pain. Their level of consciousness. Your level of consciousness. You would think and act exactly as they do.” My mind was blown when I heard that quote because I realized it could be applied to everyone. Everyone who had ever been in my life. Everyone who had ever hurt me. “If their past were your past and if their pain were your pain. If their level of consciousness was your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as they do.”

Really take that in. And if we have this level of consciousness, to be aware and to understand a quote like that? We are very fortunate because we understand our own power and we can choose to make our lives very harmonious instead of wreaking havoc and having a lot of chaos in our lives. And if we just look at others with a lens of love and realize the things that they’ve put into their mind for all these years that’s why they’re behaving this way. We are so fortunate that we know the truth and we can choose better thoughts that will create a completely different reality for ourselves and for everybody around us.

So have fun with this. Pick thoughts that feel really good, think them over and over, write them on post-it notes then put them in places you’re going to see them. Write them in a notebook and read them to yourself and just allow yourself to feel really good.

And I want to hear about your success stories with this, so E-mail me at Kaden@kadenjames.com … or let’s connect on social media and you may DM me or reach out to me in some way because I wanna hear all about these stories. I think it’ll be a lot of fun.

So, have a great day, and remember to do the things that light you up.!

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Recovery Holiday Watch Is Ending… My New Years’ Eve Recovery Reflections About “Family.” As We Don’t Get To Choose Them.

Recovery Holiday Watch Is Ending…      My New Years’ Eve Recovery Reflections About “Family.” As We Don’t Get To Choose Them.


“When You Start Seeing Your Worth, You’ll Find it Harder to Stay Around People Who Don’t, even if it’s your own FAMILY” …

The Bible teaches me to “Obey Thy Father and Mother” … 

That can be somewhat hard to do when you had been put down, left to feel your worth nothing for many years beginning as a little girl. No excuses, not a victim, just clear-sightedness of how I FELT and had perceived these actions each time they happened to me by family members growing up.

To learn dark secrets coming into adulthood that make you look at your parents much differently and it is an uncomfortable feeling. I am also sharing my feelings as it seems, even after almost fifteen years of estrangement from my dysfunctional side of the family, they keep leaving “ugly” comments on my book as reviews and anywhere else they think they can hurt me. I’m good today so I just ignore it.

See, my book ‘Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat’    published in 2013, my family was upset due to the fact I wrote and disclosed some dark secrets I came across while doing my research and looking in public records and so on and they don’t have a grip on reality or any link to an understanding about addiction and recovery either.  My memoir is NOT ABOUT THEM.

It was written to give insights about how my past issues and trauma growing up can had such a negative impact in my life growing into adulthood which all that added fuel to my addiction. When using addiction to try and cope, escape, or numb old hurt and pain we all may have gone through in life, many times it can or may have many like me turn to any addiction in the first place. By sharing my story, I hope to help others. It is not HOW TO RECOVER, it is WHY I turned to gambling addiction.

But Let Me Start At The Beginning  . . .

When I was 7-years-old and again at 13 years old, I had been sexually abused by my brother and an adult friend of my parents, the 17-year-old son of those friends of my parents who lived up the street from us.  He was a year younger than my brother. I still have trouble today describing in detail what had been done to me, but each time it happened, I’d get sick to my stomach and a little piece of my innocence stripped away leaving me feeling ashamed, dirty, and confused.

Even as I’d would say, NO, it would leave me feeling guilty and worthless as it was MY FAULT.  I kept thinking and tell my little self I must be bad or doing something wrong that this continues to happen to me. Feeling baffled and confused and not understanding the nature of the “sexual misconduct” part …



In turn, as I began to grow up and become an adult woman, those experiences began to seep into my thinking, become distorted in many areas of my life as you can imagine. The relationships I would sabotage not only with men, all because I felt NOT worthy of them. Becoming promiscuous at an earlier age as a woman and thinking that’s all men want is sex. I walked away from several serious relationships with a few men who treated me like a princess, then, again, not feeling I deserved or worth the special attention, I’d walk away. I was not worthy of being loved because I was tainted somehow. Besides, my family treated like I was not worth it, so should I accept anyone else to?

My parents always said as I was growing up that “I was a liar or a whore, a pot smoker or pill popper just because my dad would see me with my girlfriends out front of my Middle School or High School. Judging those girls by what they did or just because of the way they dressed or may have been smoking? And I never did any of those things except in high school smoked a cig or two back then like any normal teen did.

See, my father worked for the school district as a painter after he retired from 22-yrs of service in the air force. He wouldn’t tell me if he would be working/painting at MY school. All my family, as I got older, had still treated me poor at times as if I wasn’t at all important or part of the family. For example, and I know it seems dumb, we’d all be going out to dinner together and most of us were married by then. We’d all meet at my parents and ride together.

If I was even just a few minutes late, they would all just leave without me and I’d have to drive myself. Sounds like no big deal, but when it happens ALL the time? When you are already dealing with hidden trauma and suffering in silence, it begins to make you feel less and less cared for. I will admit looking back, I was very hypersensitive when my family did this because of what I went through as a little girl. None of them knew what happened to me as a child until I finally reached out for help the first time at age 31 and even then when I disclosed it all my mom didn’t believe me and that felt like being abused all over again.

I just could not stuff all those painful memories away any longer. Also looking back and connecting the dots through years of therapy, treatment counseling and after finally being properly diagnosed in 2002 with mental health disorders after my first suicide attempt and not the last. Knowing and feeling I had mental health problems since childhood like OCD, ADHD. I had many of the symptoms through childhood I remember like, daydreaming, forgetting things, fidgeting, talking too much, inattention, impulsivity, unnecessary risk-taking, and having trouble getting along with others. I had all of these.  Then in my teen years with depression and isolating.

Of course, my parents or other parents didn’t know then what they know today about mental and emotional illness and disorders. And, I had an aunt on my mom’s side that passed away from a prescription drug overdose and she was on many mental health drugs as I learned later as an adult. So I always felt my mental health challenges came from my mom’s side of the family. Even my mom was put on antidepressants about the last 5 or 6 years of her life.

The other side of this is when my parents would discipline us kids and in a way that was unconventional. I remember the times that my mom went over the top.  Like one time, my brother took something or got caught stealing something for my sister. How my mom taught him not to ever do it again, she made him and my sister put out their hands and she pricked the top of their hands with a needle until they were bleeding and MADE ME WATCH so we all learned the lesson. It was sicking to watch!

There we many things like this through the years and these traumatizing memories lingered in my mind. When we all became adults, it seemed abuse of alcohol was the common factor at many family gatherings like camping trips, birthdays or the 4th of July BBQ and even just a baseball game! My father, brother, and older sister drank like fishes as we got older. And something would always happen to ruin whatever family function or outing was going on when they were all drunk. It even happened after we all got together after my mother’s funeral at the memorial at my brother’s home in 2003. It caused my brother’s divorce, my oldest sister racked up 3 DUI’S in one year and more.

THAT is another blog post share for another day!

Through beginning and maintaining recovery, I shared all of this and my therapist and I agreed that my family was toxic and I needed to step away and not get involved even though I lived 980 miles away. I have tried to make amends where I could with my side of the family to no avail. I did, however, with my mom before she passed in August of 2003. Again, I lived about 980 miles away in Oregon when I was in the worst of my addiction. So no one from my family was impacted. But as I had always been dubbed “The Blacksheep” of the family early on, it seemed to make it OK for them to treat me like shit through the years. Even when they came to visit. I was and always felt very disconnected from my father. I still do and don’t today know why.

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After a while, you come to accept it and begin to ignore those times. As I got older, I began to set boundaries to avoid all the family drama and hurt except for when they would come up to visit us in Oregon. I just ignored the negative comments and stopped engaging with my mother that always turned into arguments when she’d make snide remarks that got worse the healthier I became. SHE did not like boundaries …I spent too many years starving for their validation and wasn’t going to do it any longer as I learned and accepted that they didn’t know how to give unconditional love.  These are the many things I began to learn while in treatment and beginning my road and path of recovery.

Learning the tools and skills to keep me safe when you deal with family who does not understand the concept of recovery or mental health. And through the years don’t care to either. If it is not in front of them, they don’t have to acknowledge or care about it is how my own father, sisters, and even my brother have treated me …We all have been estranged since my mother was laid to rest in 2003.  Through my almost 13-yrs maintaining recovery, I have processed this, forgive them and live my life for me and my husband. I do keep in touch with my nephews and that is good enough for me.

See, we don’t get to pick and choose who our family is. But I can choose not to continue to be treated poorly, seek their approval, or be abused by them any longer. I don’t have to continue and use poor behaviors like my mother used for years and most everyone let her even after we became adults and know better. Sadly, I needed to distance myself in order to keep my own sanity and recovery intact later in my life.

It is coming up on 15-years since I last talked to my father who just stopped calling me and still to this day I have no clue why …And almost the same with my older and younger sisters. My brother, I, and my husband spoke a few times and my brother did apologize to me for what he had done to me. He told me it happened to him as a little boy by our uncle Joe years ago when we still lived in New Jersey and before moving to So. CA., as kids.

One of my therapists had told me that when men molest 87% of the time they have been molested themselves. For me, I was just relieved my husband heard him admit what he did to me, but my brother wouldn’t to my parents. So my parents kept thinking I made it all up. What actually gives me comfort? Is knowing my husband, I, GOD and now my mom in heaven knows the truth. I know I am rambling but this has been laying on my heart the last few days. I know many of us maintaining long-term recovery have had to deal with learning the many underlying issues of why we had turned to addiction in the first place.

Some of what I share are many of the underlying issues I had to overcome. Instead of running or hiding and keep active within my gambling addiction, I did so because I was trying to “escape, numb, or cope” with all these ugly feelings and pain. Not being raised to know that it is OK to reach out for help when you are feeling mentally and emotionally weak and being tormented by old haunting memories you can’t run or stuff away any longer.

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It is also difficult to start becoming stronger and standing outside “The Family Bubble” you came from looking in and seeing a really dysfunctional, fucked-up, unloving and hurtful group of people who are YOUR FAMILY Members. No, I am not better than any of them, I am, however, so much happier and healthier than they are.

WHY? Because I have acknowledged all the old habits and behaviors which have torn my side of the family apart and I choose to NOT be or play a part in it anymore. Yes, it is sad and hurts to see or accept your family for who they really are. And, again, as I said earlier, I never hurt any of my family members when I was within my addiction, so I didn’t need to apologize for anything.

But I have no control over people, places, or things. I have tried making amends and sometimes it just doesn’t always work or have an outcome you’d hoped for. Even when it’s your family . . .

That’s ok because today I am happy, healthy, loved and BET FREE!  🎉🎉💖💞And that is always something to CELEBRATE In a New Year!


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I wish each and everyone who reads this and visits a very HAPPY, HEALTHY and BLESSED NEW YEAR In 2020!  ~Catherine Lyon


Guest Article That “Touched My Memory” of My Mental Health As A Child.

Guest Article That “Touched My Memory” of My Mental Health As A Child.

Most of my recovery friends, readers, and regular visitors know I enjoy finding many amazing websites about recovery from addiction and mental health. I vowed this year to write and share more openly about my mental health challenges. So when I recently visited one of my resource websites on mental health, my friends of National Alliance on Mental Health  ~NAMI …I read a new article I wanted to share.

Because when I got to reading the part of the guests” experiences with panic attacks, anxiety and such, it brought up those old feelings I got when I was in therapy and looking back to then and connecting the dots to my own problems as a child and early teens with symptoms, especially after my abuse and sexual trauma that happened. I was able to see that I had many mental health issues even back then but was never diagnosed until my gambling addiction took hold of me in adulthood.

The gambling I used to ‘escape and numb out’ those old hauntings which brought out the symptoms I was suffering again now. When I attempted my first suicide and placed in a crisis center for several weeks was when I was finally diagnosed. I went years without knowing what “that” was, and why I felt severely depressed on and off and PTSD, mild mania and anxiety. I was a mess!

Thanks to therapy and medications I am manged and have learned to treat my mental health just like any other disease like diabetes or heart disease. And that rings true for maintaining my recovery from addictions.

And why it is important to heal all areas of Emotional, Body, Spirit and our Mental Well-being … Catherine


You Can’t Plan For Mental Illness ~ Courtesy of Allie Quinn | May. 23, 2018 

My 5-year plan after finishing high school was simple: graduate from college in four years, then begin graduate school directly following graduation. It was easy for me to imagine a 5-year plan at 18 years old when my toughest challenge at that point had been taming my frizzy hair.

My first two years of college were very successful. I made close friends, was hired by my college as a writing tutor and connected with teachers and administrators in the school district I wanted to eventually work in. I was right on track with my 5-year plan.

During my third year of college, however, the mass shooting occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I felt a very deep connection to the event and in the following months, I noticed that I was on high-alert in public areas. I worried for my safety.

A few months later, I learned about the Boston Marathon bombing when I was in my college’s library. I immediately looked at the entrance to the library and wondered where I would hide if a shooter came through the door. A habit of making “escape plans” in my head became uncontrollable. I created them for any public place, and I avoided walking in open spaces and going out at night. Each night, I dreamt that I was trying to escape from a mass shooting; even in my sleep, I couldn’t shake this overwhelming fear.

Looking back, I can see the warning signs that I needed help. I didn’t tell anyone about the thoughts and feelings I was having because I didn’t want people to think I was “unstable.” Admitting to myself or to others that something was wrong could jeopardize my 5-year plan. I told myself that all college students felt this kind of stress and that I’d feel better when the semester ended.


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My junior year ended, but instead of feeling better, I felt significantly worse. I experienced severe panic attacks, paranoia, and anxiety that made it impossible for me to drive, work or stay home alone. After I sought treatment with a therapist and psychiatrist, they recommended I check myself into a psychiatric hospital, so doctors could balance my medication, and I could learn skills to help manage my anxiety. I would be hospitalized five times, spending nearly three months in the hospital. My worst day was when I had to withdraw from my senior year. It felt like years of hard work just slipped away.

I questioned: Why didn’t I seek help sooner?

After my last hospitalization, I immediately re-enrolled in classes. I didn’t give myself the chance to heal because I wanted so badly to get back on track with my 5-year plan. Because I wasn’t working on my mental health, I struggled through two classes, and I wasn’t enjoying school like I did before.

One day, I finally accepted that if I kept putting my education before my mental health, I could risk having another breakdown. I decided to take medical leave from school; I needed to focus on my mental health and regain my strength and confidence. For the next two years, I attended therapy, worked with my psychiatrist, adopted a psychiatric service dog, discovered skills to help me cope and practiced self-care. Eventually, I felt like myself again.

So, I began college again last year. This time, I felt ready. I will be graduating this December with a B.S. in Community and Human Services. The deadline for my 5-year plan has long passed, and my life has not gone as I planned, but I am happy, healthy and have a mission to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Battling mental illness and maintaining mental health is an ongoing part of my life, but the struggles I faced have put me on the path I’m meant to be on.

Nami National Alliance on Mental Illness

For example, I recently became a young adult speaker for NAMI Ending the Silence. I travel to high schools to share my journey with mental illness and talk to students about mental health and stigma.

The experience has been life-changing. For years, my goal has been to help people, and through NAMI Ending the Silence and blogging, I am making a difference. I believe that talking openly about mental health issues will end stigma and lead to more effective treatment for mental illness.

Please, if you’re experiencing symptoms or warning signs of a mental illness, seek help as soon as possible. Your mental health is farmore important than your 5-year plan. I’ve learned that college can wait—treating mental illness cannot.

Allie Quinn is a mental health blogger, public speaker, and young adult presenter with NAMI’s Ending the Silence. She works to educate people about the realities of living with a mental illness and raises awareness about the use of psychiatric service dogs. Allie’s mental health blog is Redefine Mental Health

Finally. Research Validates What I Knew Already About Childhood Trauma and Addiction.


A Guest Article By PsyPost.org  …

Childhood abuse and chronic parental domestic violence
linked to later addiction.


“Adults who have drug, alcohol, or gambling dependence have experienced very high rates of early adversities, according to a new study published by University of Toronto researchers. One in five drug dependent Canadian adults and one in six alcohol dependent adults were survivors of childhood sexual abuse. This compares to one in 19 in the general Canadian population. More than one-half of substance abusers had been physically abused in childhood compared to one-quarter of those who were not addicted. After accounting for mental illness, poverty, and social support, both sexual and physical abuse were associated with twice the odds of drug dependence.”



“We found that both direct (physical and sexual abuse) and indirect (witnessing parental domestic violence) forms of childhood victimization are associated with substance abuse” said lead author, Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Institute for Life Course & Aging.

“We were surprised that chronic parental domestic violence exposure remained significantly associated with both drug and alcohol dependence, even when we adjusted for childhood maltreatment, depression and most of the known risk factors for substance dependency” said lead author, Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Institute for Life Course & Aging.

“In fact, the odds of alcohol dependence among those who witnessed their parents’ chronic domestic violence were about 50% higher than those without that exposure, and these odds were similar in magnitude to that of childhood sexual abuse. One in seven adults with drug dependence or alcohol dependence had been exposed to chronic parental domestic violence. This compares to one in 25 in the general population. Parental domestic violence was considered ‘chronic’ if it occurred 11 or more times before the respondent was age 16.”

Further research is needed to understand the pathways through which witnessing chronic parental domestic violence and childhood maltreatment during the respondent’s childhood may increase the prevalence of drug and alcohol dependence across the life course. ” Fuller-Thomson suggests that “the chronic chaotic and violent home environment may have predisposed individuals to turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping.”



The study was based upon a representative sample of 21,544 adult Canadians drawn from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health components. At some point in their life, 628 of these respondents had been dependent upon drugs and 849 had been dependent upon alcohol.

Co-author and recent MSW graduate, Jessica Roane commented, “Our findings underline the importance of preventing childhood abuse and domestic violence. In addition, social workers and other health professionals must continue to support survivors of these childhood adversities across the lifespan, with particular attention to substance abuse and dependence issues.”

Other significant predictors of both alcohol and drug dependence include lower levels of education, poverty, being male, being single as opposed to married, and a history of depression and/or anxiety disorders.


Author’s Note:

“I can tell you from my own past childhood sex abuse and
trauma, that I always knew turning to gambling and alcohol
was my “comfort and escape” in my adulthood. Those who have
read my memoir knows some of what I went
through as a little girl.



And, I can also tell you NO little girl should have to go through that type of trauma or parental physical discipline abuse. Each child from one household can be affected differently as well. I learned most of these underlying issues in therapy. So, some of us DO learn some of the “why’s” when going through treatment and therapy. It is also why I don’t fully agree with the “12-Step Program.”  They say in their materials that “we can recover without knowing the WHY?”  Well, many of us do learn some of the “why’s.”

NO, no excuses, just my own insights of my addiction and recovery experience. I now feel more validated after reading this study, as I have been saying this for years. All I ever wanted was to be heard as a little girl. All I wanted as a grown woman was to heard and to just be validated. The day I was brave enough to tell my parents about the sex abuse, I could not keep locked deep inside anymore. They didn’t believe me. My mother thought I was saying she was a bad mother, as she told me she would “have known” if that had really happened to me. Well, gee, slap my face again!

That is what it felt like. Her telling me what I DIDN’T GO Through? That was like being abused all over again. I felt rage and anger that they didn’t believe me. That was when all my side of the family started treating me like a mental freak and it only got worse after my first failed suicide attempt and crisis center stay. When they found I was suffering bipolar  depression and PTSD they had no understanding and our relationship became even more distant. Not on my part. That is when I learned acceptance, or I would have really lost my mind! Always remember friends, you sanity, well-being, and mental health depends upon YOU and no one else to  “Feel Validated & Heard!” . . . .

Until Next Time Recovery Friend!

Author & Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
“Gambling Recovery Starts Here!”