16, Sep, 2011

Remember: Never Take Yourself Too Seriously!

img0706Kickass personal transformation is a journey punctuated with laughter and an increasing ability to recognize the humor in situations and relationships. Transformation, recovery, and healing are turbo-charged when you step outside yourself and embrace a sense of playfulness and joyful discovery. When you relax and take it easy, living life in the present moment, the beauty of life springs up to meet you on your path.

Laughter takes the edge off stress and pain, and engages both hemispheres of the brain. Laughter stimulates learning and enhances memory. A sense of humor dispels anger, increases optimism and elevates mood. Cultivate and practice a commitment to never take yourself too seriously. Feelings of entitlement, self-importance and grandiosity fuel addiction, anger and impatience. Black and white thinking, catastrophizing and other cognitive distortions make you tense and overly serious.

Loosen up with laughter. Develop your sense of humor — ask yourself what’s funny about your situation, your life, your past. A humiliating experience can become a kickass water cooler story if you look back on it with a sense of humor. Ask other people what is the funniest thing that ever happened to them. Discuss funny situations and experiences with friends and family and expand the laughs by viewing things from many different angles.
You get what you’re looking for in life — whatever you focus on comes back to you tenfold.

Transform your self talk: Say, “I’m relaxed and confident. I’m adept at seeing the funny side of a situation. Whatever annoyance or defeat life throws in my path becomes fodder for my fabulous humor, my funny story generator. When things go against the grain, I win with humor. Go ahead and try it — just for laughs!

A sense of humor increases optimism, hope and confidence. Hope energizes, sustains, and increases patience as you expect, and eventually realize the manifestation of your dreams and goals. Confidence works with hope as you act as if you are already surrounded by everything you are hoping for. Live each day in optimism, hope and confidence, and experience joy in the result. And that’s kickass.

“Hope is a waking dream.” — Aristotle

16, Aug, 2011

Kickass Personal Transformation — Loving the Journey

Through the process of kickass recovery and relentless focus on happiness and healing, I’ve accomplished a personal transformation, created a new lifestyle and discovered my authentic self. Sixteen years ago I was a hardcore drug addict living in a rat-infested shack, unemployable, estranged from my family, filled with rage and self-loathing. My driver’s license was suspended.
Addiction had been the central focus of my life for over nine years, during which time I spent a year homeless — sleeping under bridges and in abandoned houses. I’d survived a number of physical and sexual assaults — traumatic experiences resulting from my self-destructive behavior, that is, exposing myself to dangerous situations and associating with violent individuals in the obsessive pursuit of addictive substances. I suffered from PTSD as a result of repeated trauma.

But one day, a miracle happened when I looked at my life objectively. I realized that I was utterly miserable and I couldn’t go another day in my present condition. I prayed for help. I got down on my knees, didn’t fold my hands or anything, kept my eyes open, and fervently murmured the heathen prayers of a junkie, “God, whoever you are, wherever you are, help me. I’m so unhappy, and I want to be happy. Please help me.” At that point, my mind quieted, and after about 30 seconds, a thought crossed my mind. “Hey, maybe it’s the dope.” That was my miracle, because I accepted the fact that I was powerless over my addiction, but that I could change if I worked a plan of action toward recovery. I began taking steps toward healing, one day at a time.

From that point on, I’ve marched down the road of kickass recovery and personal transformation. I kicked addiction — cigarettes and coffee included — started working out six days a week, thinking positive, got a job and rode a bicycle till I got my license back, got a car, became a professional standup comic in Los Angeles. I toured the U.S. professionally and went back to school.

I now hold four professional certifications in addiction treatment and I’m a member of the National Speakers Association. I’ve published a critically acclaimed memoir and my articles have been published in many corporate and trade publications. I married the man of my dreams, a wonderful guy I met during my years in the drug scene. We made our comeback together. Also I’ve reunited with my family.

Today I am lucky enough to own real estate, which is really exciting for a formerly homeless person. I’ve still got a long way to go to fulfill my dreams, but I am on my way and loving the journey. I hope you will benefit from my story — I am living proof that even the seemingly hopeless cases recover, heal, and triumph.

29, Jul, 2011

Indianapolis, Meet Laff-aholics Comedy Benefit for Recovery

img0929Hello Indianapolis,

As a certified addiction treatment professional, a relapse prevention specialist and professional comedian, I appreciate the therapeutic benefits of laughter. One of our primary goals is to have the theater filled with laughing, happy people. We producers and comics are donating our services. In addition to encouraging people’s attendance, we need businesses and individuals to purchase tickets that we can give to people in recovery houses and programs throughout the Indianapolis area.

Our first annual Laff-aholics show will take place at 8p.m. Wednesday August 24, 2011 in the Toby Theater of The Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis. Tickets are $25 and available on our website, www.laff-aholics.com. Prior to the show the museum’s Nourish Cafe will be open and have food and drink available. We encourage audience members to arrive early in order to eat, drink and socialize. This year’s performers include Alonzo Bodden, Ritch Shydner, and myself as emcee. Alonzo was a winner in Last Comic Standing, has appeared numerous times on The Tonight Show and is star of the Showtime Special, “Is Anybody Listening?” Ritch has numerous Tonight Show and Letterman appearances, an HBO Special, and is featured in the Showtime Documentary, “I Am Comic.” Ritch is an actor, producer and writer for Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, and Roseanne, to name a few.

This year all proceeds from the show after expenses will go to The Dove House, Rich Recovery Services, Inc., and the Talbot House — all certified 501 C-3 non-profits. While nuanced differences may exist in these programs’ operations and approaches, they share a common mission: to facilitate transformation of their residents into functional participating members of society through providing a nurturing sober environment and expediting access to services that support recovery from chemical dependency. All three programs emphasize preparing clients to get and maintain jobs and achieve self-sustaining responsibility. These programs could all use funds to support residents in some form and / or to maintain their facilities.

With the help of the extended community, we can establish a recurring event that will continue to provide laughter and funds to help others help themselves in recovery.

Thank you in advance for supporting this event!


25, Jul, 2011

Bruce Lee — Hands, Feet, and Badassitude!

img0914Bruce Lee was — and is — more than a martial artist. He is a cultural icon. He smashed through negative stereotypes, endured extreme physical injury, emotional stress, and major setbacks to emerge triumphant, a renowned martial arts champion. He authored his own unique martial arts form. This kickass gladiator was born with a sickly, weak body, but he didn’t recognize limitations. Lee honed his small body into a large, formidable weapon.

He aspired to make movies at a time when Asians were cast as meek gardeners and house servants — the Hollywood film industry rejected him. Undaunted, Lee took his productions to Hong Kong and became a huge star. When onscreen Bruce Lee vanquished bad guys, armed with only hands, feet and badassitude, viewers knew that real-life Bruce Lee could do all of that and more.

Lee’s life is an inspiration to anyone who seeks personal transformation. He embraced simplicity and espoused the idea that there are no limits. Take courage from Bruce the badass! Accept no limits to your recovery, healing, and kickass personal transformation!

“If you always put a limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” — Bruce Lee

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” — Bruce Lee

23, Jul, 2011

Action Develops Confidence

img0539On the journey to kickass personal transformation, every positive action develops confidence. Visualizing, planning, and discussing goals and dreams are part of your process — but action builds confidence in yourself and your ultimate goal. So allow yourself to realize that each small step is significant if it is followed by another small step. Often, the big leaps don’t present themselves until you’ve done ten thousand small steps. That’s okay! The key is to allow yourself to recognize each small accomplishment and celebrate it as you follow the path to success.

Anybody who works a successful program of recovery from addiction knows the importance of working a self-help program one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. As the brain continues to heal, baby steps grow into strides, and strides into leaps and bounds.

Anyone who’s ever successfully worked a weight loss and fitness program knows that the goal is reached by turning down chips and junk food and opting for carrot sticks and apple wedges, then suiting up and working out instead of sitting on the couch. The truly fierce, kickass, badass lasting transformation takes time and patience.

A few years ago, a friend confided in me that he suffered from social anxiety. My friend regarded this as an obstacle to his enjoyment of life. He’s a Marine combat veteran who has lived through extreme hardship and danger. He made up his mind to overcome this particular fear — no matter what. He decided to apply the baby steps concept, with celebration, to help him create change. We sat down and discussed a plan of action which included him attending a small gathering, a reading group of a dozen people at a library. Although it proved difficult, he stayed for the whole event, and reported feeling a little bit more confident afterward. He used written and spoken affirmations to amp up his feelings of well-being and keep himself in a positve state of mind. My friend continued to schedule inceasingly more challenging events to attend and his confidence continued to build and he experienced kickass transformation.

As a veteran, he was invited to participate in a public ceremony with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. This involved mounting a huge platform, standing onstage during the ceremony and reading the names of fallen Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans to the enormous crowd over a microphone. He accomplished this and afterward told me he felt terrific before and after the challenge. Every once in a while, I get a call from my friend, telling me he’s sitting in the stands at the World Series, watching the game along with a multitude of other fans. He’s arrived at his goal after taking, and celebrating, thousands of baby steps.

You don’t have to be a Marine to muster the courage to develop confidence through continued action. You can practice this process and reap rewards. Amp up your enthusiasm by creating an inner cheerblock — celebrate each small step. Try documenting each tiny accomplishment in a journal, then take it out and read it when you’re feeling weak and wimpy. This can build your confidence surprisingly well. Train yourself to appreciate your personal kickassitude! Get your transformative badassity going and who knows what heights you can reach?

19, Jul, 2011

Stress Management Reduces Relapse Risk

img0292For individuals in recovery, relapse is recognized as something to be prevented as all costs. Stress management and stress reduction will reduce the risk of relapse. Conversely, when stress increases, so does relapse risk. Stress management skills are relatively simple and to learn easy to put into practice. Renowned research psychologist Terry Gorski, in his book, Learning to Live Again, writes, “People who have addictive disease are stress sensitive.” He goes on to explain that for some, the stress sensitivity is a preexisting condition which causes them to be more susceptible to addiction, for others the stress sensitivity is a result of damage from addiction. Either way, it’s essential for recovering persons to learn all that we can about stress management and to take special measures to reduce stress in our lives.

Stressors present themselves in our lives each day. Some we can avoid, others we have no power to control. Whenever possible, remove yourself from stressful situations or eliminate the stressor. When confronted with a challenge you cannot eliminate or avoid, you can still reduce stress by changing your perception of what is happening. You can also reduce stress by relaxing in spite of the stressful situation.

Relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, muscle tension / relaxation, exercise, laughter, meditation, prayer, and visualization.

A simple de-stressing breathing exercise is as follows:

Inhale slowly through your nose, saying to yourself, ” I am,” then exhale slowly through your mouth and say, “…relaxed.”

Try tensing different muscle groups for a few seconds, then release and relax. Take a walk, a run, a bike ride. Go to a movie, a park, a dance. Listen to your favorite music or read an inspirational book. Having fun and laughing are terrific stress reducers. Remember, it is your reaction to the stressor that determines the degree of stress you will experience in a given situation. And you can use stress management techniques to help relax in spite of a stressful situation.

Stress management is an essential part of your kickass recovery program!

18, Jul, 2011

Faith is More than Belief

img0710_0Faith is more than belief in something as yet unseen. It’s a fierce, tenacious trust in intuition; a knowing, an assurance of things not yet manifested.

When I act as if, I exercise trust and practice knowing that my hopes and dreams will materialize if I work for them. I may doubt from time to time, but that’s okay — doubts are checkpoints on the road of faith. I question, adjust my course, and strengthen my resolve.

Courage reinforces my faith in myself, what I believe in and what I am working toward. When I live in faith and courage, I live triumphantly and realize my dreams.

“A man of courage is also a man of faith.” — Cicero

16, Jul, 2011

Kickass Personal Transformation — Day by Day!

img1013Kickass personal transformation is possible — one day at a time! Any personal goal, dream or vision eventually materializes when you apply yourself daily, using transformative principles. Here are three examples of transformative principles which in turn unleash powerful forces in your life that turbo-charge your efforts:

1. Honesty is essential. When you’re honest with yourself about what you want to change or accomplish, you set more doable, measurable goals. Sit down with a pen and paper and jot down where you want to be in your life, for instance, you want better physical fitness and a leaner, more muscular body. Honesty applied here helps you to look carefully at your eating habits, how much exercise you’re getting daily, and helps you to realize you need to consult a professional trainer, join a gym, or see a doctor before building your plan. After you get rolling, be honest about whether or not you are applying yourself day by day. If you slip, apply the concept of daily renewal, and get back on the program.

2. Gratitude kicks butt in every way imaginable when striving for personal transformation. A gratitude list, done in your head in a given moment, will uplift you and give you the power to meet the demands of your program. Recovering alcoholics and addicts know that gratitude is the kickass attitude that can change your mental, emotional, and even physical state in moments. When maintained throughout the day, it’s like a massive power generator, churning out consciousness of more and more things to be grateful for. Expressing gratitude is contagious — it instills with the desire to ‘pay it forward’. So if you’re trying to get in shape and eat better, gratitude can get you there.

3. Forgiveness is an often overlooked and dynamic process. When you apply forgiveness both to yourself and others, you enter into a sphere of light, release, and happiness. So often we accumulate and carry a heavy burden made up of thousands of little everyday grudges, resentments, and perceived slights. It may be something as tiny as someone taking “your” parking spot, and if it’s not cleared away, it takes on an energy and attitude all its own. Soon you find you are piling other grievances on top of that one, and maybe even get angry with yourself for your bad mood. Apply forgiveness daily, in all situations, and you’ll see your stress level drop, your heart open up, and your life become more serene.

These are only three of many different forces which empower a person to a real change and progress. Applied daily, layer upon layer, they build a strong foundation for total kickass, badass personal transfomation. Why delay? Get out there and kick some ass today!

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11, Feb, 2011

Persistence is the Cornerstone of Character

img0733“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” — Japanese proverb

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” — Ella Fitzgerald

Life can be regarded as a series of choices. Each day’s journey presents challenges, obstacles, and opposition. As each challenge presents itself, so does an opportunity — to persist, reaching toward your goals and dreams; or to give up, allowing discouragement to take you down. Persistence is an exercise in character-building. The act of engaging in persistence creates courage, resilience, and personal power. As you persevere in the face of obstacles and adversity, you learn how to strengthen resolve and muster enthusiasm.

If you stick with anything long enough, you will have a breakthrough. There are no “born winners” or “born losers” in life. The real comparison is between those who persist, who never give up or give in, who stay the course…and those who succumb to disappointment and cease to push forward toward the goal. Persistence differs from stubborness in that it is flexible. Those who are stubborn are rigid and close-minded, while those who persist are open and honest, open to new ideas and inspiration along the way to accomplishing the objective. Stay loose, and hang in there.

As you practice persistence, you will discover new reservoirs of talent, creativity, and the discipline to complete the many small tasks which pave the way to the greatest gains and accomplishments. Practice the application of perseverance as a process, and love and inspiration will appear to cheer you on. Engage in the conscious act of Knowing — explore and increase your self-knowledge, learn to recognize where you come from and where you are headed on life’s highway. As you stay the path, your self-confidence, poise, and inner resolve will increase exponentially — you will discover new purpose and meaning in your life. Allow these discoveries to act as a spiritual GPS, helping you navigate through life’s twists and turns.

Amazing things happen when you persist in believing in yourself, your goals and dreams. The situation in Egypt is a terrific example of persistence paying off. Peaceful protesters took to the streets for 18 days, and they persisted in the face of overwhelming opposition, violence, and and media naysayers. Persistent citizens brought down a stubborn dictator, and now they have a chance at freedom from oppression. If they had given up on day 16, or day 17 of their struggle, history would be different. Instead, they persisted till day 18 and won out. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2011/0211/Hosni-Mubarak-steps-down.-How-will-transition-begin

No matter how many mistakes you have made, opposition you face, or obstacles you must overcome, persist! Your breakthrough lies ahead — it may be only a few small tasks beyond the next big obstacle.

11, Dec, 2010

5-Star Review of “Never Give in to Fear”

c2688-macgibboncover-finalNever Give in to Fear, a memoir by Marti MacGibbon, received a 5-star (out of 5) review from Foreword Clarion Reviews on Sept.10, 2010:

ForeWord Clarion Reviews


Never Give in to Fear
Marti MacGibbon
Five Stars (out of Five)

Ever conscious that the past makes us who we are, Marti MacGibbon, a recovering alcoholic and addict, not only leaves open the door to her past?she goes in, turns the lights on, makes herself a cup of coffee, and gets comfortable on the couch. Her memoir of recovery is an unflinching examination of her choices and what they cost her?as well as how she was pulled out of her personal hell into a saner way of life.

MacGibbon, as a certified addiction treatment professional, clearly understands the value of honesty. The bald truth can make us laugh, or it can be a punch in the gut. MacGibbon?s voice in Never Give in to Fear is wholly her own. Her narration is funny? she can laugh at her old self, even as she shows the reader the terror and loss she felt in the past. When she goes to buy drugs from a madwoman dealer near Guerneville, MacGibbon says, ?My skin crawled at the thought of visiting this madhouse, but I knew the lunatic woman kept a stash of pain pills around her place. She was the ideal person to seek out as a de facto pharmacist. Besides, Firebird?s leg couldn?t wait while I shopped around the River for opiates in the wee hours of a stormy night.? Though the situation is dire, MacGibbon is self-aware, and is able to show the humor of the moment without losing the tense pacing of her story. The memoir whips along, hardly taking a breath.

Never Give in to Fear earns its place among other recent sobriety memoirs. Comparable to Mary Karr?s Lit, and Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp, Never Give in to Fear is an excellent story, both inspiring and entertaining. MacGibbon has a natural gift for storytelling?no surprise, considering her background as a standup comic and motivational speaker. What makes Never Give in to Fear shine is MacGibbon?s ease with her story. She doesn?t apologize for who she is, and she doesn?t try to win over the reader. It?s just the facts, ma?am, and by the time the first chapter is over she?s already on a roll. Honest to a fault, in ruthless pursuit of the story, MacGibbon?s memoir is captivating from the very first sentence.

MacGibbon has written?and lived?her way through a forbidding place. It?s wonderful to not only read her story, but to know that she has flourished in her years of recovery. A memoir that offers hope, even in the worst of times, Never Give in to Fear is a terrific read. It?s the perfect book for a reader in recovery, though MacGibbon?s real-life adventures will be equally appealing to anyone who needs a little more adrenaline in their reading list.

Claire Foster