I am Johnnie Calloway. I am a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. I have been diagnosed with severe PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, clinical depression, and anxiety disorder, which resulted in severe panic attacks.
I have been homeless twice, and experienced at least 4 suicide attempts, where I consciously tried to end my life because I viewed my existence as one long death wish. With the amount of drugs I was using, it was clear that I was looking for a way out to end my misery. The Twelve Step Programs are what saved me from ending my life, and I have been in the 12 Steps recovery program for over 35 years, with a 6-week relapse after almost 7 years into my recovery. I attribute my studying A Course In Miracles (ACIM), which is a curriculum for those seeking to achieve spiritual transformation, as another path I took to help me return to a normal state of health — mind, body, and spirit.
I have written 3 books, host a podcast (Morph Into A New You: If You Want To Change Your Life, You Must Change Your Mind About Your Life), own an air-conditioning business, am a blogger and motivational speaker, and a certified Thought Coach. Not bad for a guy who’s a recovering addict, and didn’t think my life was worth living!
You might wonder, as I have countless times, how did I become the man who has accomplished so many positive things after being homeless, and at the very bottom level of my addiction. I can tell you it took a lot of painful work, and the road to my recovery was about as difficult as you can imagine, but I persevered because there was something deep inside me that desperately wanted to, and that something is what I want to share with you.
I believe it was because I had an open mind, and was willing to literally do whatever it took to get on the other side of my addiction, and overcome the mindset that had kept me trapped in my misery for so long. But, it also took me being brutally honest, meaning I had to admit to myself that I was an addict, and wanted to know everything I needed to know that got me to become one. If you’re not willing to go into the depths of your being, and literally venture up your entrails to find out what’s there, you can’t face your own personal demons that caused you to go down the type of destructive path I walked on. I can tell you that I looked my shadow in the face, and I knew right then and there that I was going to slay the beast that tried to kill me numerous times, and you know who the beast is? The beast is our mind. That’s right. The beast is all of the toxic, destructive thoughts we tell ourselves that keep us a hostage, believing every single negative, dark, and sabotaging thought in our mind — not knowing that we are the one that is giving the mental beast power over ourselves because we, in fact, created that beast!
All of the hard work I’ve done with the 12 Steps recovery program, my consistent practice of The Course In Miracles, and now, being a Thought Coach with the Says Who? Method, I know, without a single doubt that I am the master of my mind, and it is my mind that is creating my reality. I had to completely let go of the belief that I was a victim of my thoughts, and after everything I’ve done to maintain mastery of my mind, this is what I tell myself daily: “A thought creates a feeling, a feeling becomes a belief, a belief manifests into a behavior, and our behavior becomes our life.”
I have not had a depressive episode in 7 years, and I attribute that to my daily practice of managing my thoughts, which allows me to have mastery over my mind. I have not entertained the thought of hurting myself because I know I am worthy of living a healthy, productive life, and do what I can to support my wellbeing each and every day. I manage my thoughts by having an awareness of the ones that are not my friend, and can recognize the insidious, sneaky thoughts that try to pull me down, or fall back into old, unhealthy habits of thinking (the beast will try to rear its ugly head occasionally, but you need to show it who’s boss!).
As a Thought Coach, I know that the inquiry — the investigation of our daily thoughts is essential, and that I have the power to change a negative thought, and replace it with a positive one whenever I choose to. And, even if an anxious, or fear-based thought comes up, and they will, I can immediately catch it, and change it out for its positive counterpart. Yes, it’s that easy if you commit to it!
I no longer will allow a thought to carry me to that dark place I once lived where it felt that there was no return. Those type of thoughts are not real. They are the illusionary thoughts created by our ego to make us feel that something more powerful than us is in control.
It reminds me of this quote in ACIM, which says:
“The ego always speaks first.”
Knowing that, it’s my job to catch the ego when it begins to take hold in my mind, and make sure that my spirit, which is my authentic self, has the final say.