Hitting rockbottom was a necessary disaster for photographer and writer Michael Blanchard, forcing him into rehab and facing the thing he'd always dreaded: learning to accept and love himself.
Join Michael & Anne as they talk openly about isolation & running away, alcohol, addiction as well as finding empathy, compassion, beauty on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard where he is now an inspirational photographer and writer. .
Michael also has some inspiring insights about tuning into the spiritual energy of the universe that drops clues in our path, taking us to places that are better than we ever could have planned for or predicted. (Umm, yes, yes and yes)
At the end, this podcast also includes a PRACTICE: a guided meditation for Learning to Love Yourself.
Quotes from the podcast Why addiction
Happiness was always going to come in something else, someone else or somewhere else
Every time I got to that goal, it wasn't enough.
I was always chasing something. A therapist once said, what are you running from? Or what are you running toward?
Whatever it took to quell the unrest in me, I just had to make it quiet
In that moment, you are panicky, because you know you're going to go down.
It took me to the crash and burn before I could get out of that pattern.
I had to have everything taken away from me because I couldn't answer the question: live with it and live without it.
The person who's in the throes of addiction are desperate to make it stop. They will not tell a soul that they are desperate to make it stop.
After I got out of rehab, I felt I was worth something and that I could help someone else.
For once in my life, I felt. Like, Oh my God, I, Michael Blanchard is worth something. I can actually settle and sit in my skin because I just did something that I've never done before. I've thought of someone else before I thought of me.
I find most people just give up instantly. And if you can get them to take one step, a whole new world emerges.
Seeing life through a sober lens
The whole point is that stupid camera got you outside and suddenly you are back in life again
I'm the happiest that I've ever been. And I feel like my life has meaning and I feel like I understand myself better than I ever have before, because I can see myself in the pictures that I take, even when I wanted to shut down and be isolated.
I didn't take anything for granted anymore. Cause I knew it could all be taken away in a heartbeat
You can lose everything in a minute and I almost did. And that changes the way you look at the world.
Following spiritual clues
I didn't even pick what I'm doing. It picked me. I just happened to listen to the signs when they came along and I follow them
The one thing that I'm the happiest with in my whole life -- which is being a photographer and a writer -- happened without having one goal
I used to feel like I was alone. I hated God. I hated any concept of God. And now, this is what saves me.
I can be successful when I step out my step out of the way, and I let God shine through because I believe there's a divine nature to all of us and our lives can be beautiful because of it
Podcast breakdown 3:35 When your life “plan” doesn’t work out as expected...feeling like a lost soul with no self esteem.
8:45 Always hiding or physically running marathons, always pushing for more. One night he looked at a bottle of vodka and chose vodka over running, his usual escape.
13:45 Tough love or enabling? Advice for families on how limiting an addict's choices can help.
15:12 Finding purpose and connection
24:45 Cherishing the crash -- “flushed down the toilet” -- that made Michael more curious, more grateful, more open.
33:05 Connecting to a spiritual entity and letting things unfold. Discovering the divine nature inside all of us that can make life beautiful.
37:38 PRACTICE: Guided meditation practice on learning to love yourself, accept yourself.