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What Differentiates Me

"You have helped me get my life back. Thank you simply is not enough."

             -Janet G., Group Program Member


I did all the things that I was told that I was supposed to have a good life. I excelled in school, played competitive sports, engaged in social activities, went to church, explored my artistic nature, moved to my dream city, graduated college, got a job, got married, became a step-mom, and then had my own baby girl.

All of these things to be grateful for, BUT I was miserable. I had been suffering from anxiety, before I even knew what it was called, since age thirteen. This is also coincidentally (or rather uncoincidentally) when I began experimenting with alcohol and smoking cigarettes, which became my sources of “stability” for two decades. While I was achieving outwardly, I was so stunted on growing who I was as a person. By the time my daughter was born, I had lost touch with myself completely. My anxiety had become unmanageable, the panic attacks were becoming closer and closer to each other, so I would drink more because I needed to hold it all together for my family. 


Stephanie Brislin, The Life Within , Certified Coach

What I have since learned is by putting my oxygen mask on first and taking care of my own well-being, I can then truly show up for my family the way they need. I think as moms, we so often put everyone else’s needs before our own, which is actually a disservice to everyone. Self-care looks different to everyone, but I want to focus on taking responsibility for our actions and activities we choose to engage in spending time. By embracing the beautiful Southern California scenery as means of reconnecting with nature, moving our bodies, and choosing healthier options that better serve us.


I believe the meaning of life is love, and in order to share our love with others, we have to first love ourselves. By putting our own health and wellness at the top of our priorities, we are better able to connect with the world around us through compassion. Awareness is the first step in developing self-compassion, so that we may see clearly. Through clarity, we are able to take 100% responsibility for our experience. Reframing the thoughts and beliefs we hold, allows us to be the energy that we want to be in the world. 

For me, this means telling myself every day that I am perfect the way I am, but there is always room for growth. Further, I am willing to grow through meeting challenges with compassion and curiosity. By removing the massive load of self-judgment that I carried around throughout my life, I am able to engage with myself with compassion. Knowing the pains that I have experienced myself, I know that others are struggling and let go of judgments of them as well. 

Though we may not have control over the events that occur in our lives, I do believe that we have a choice. Living free from the addictive substances that numb our experience is crucial to achieving this awareness and clarity. From there, the future is a blank canvas for us to create. 

Morning practice, prayer, mantra, blessing, call it what you will

To Help You Move Forward

woman with hands in prayer form

The words we say to ourselves about ourselves is so important. 

Anytime you say “I am” anything – you are commanding your brain and body to a destiny."

Dr. Joe Dispenza

The following has been compiled from different things I have heard, read, learned, and adapted to fit my needs. I offer it to you in hopes that you will give it a try yourself.

After a short meditation, before I leave my bed, I place my hands in my heart space and say:


Good Morning, Steph, I love you.

You are perfect just the way you are and there is always room for growth.

I am willing to grow by meeting challenges with curiosity, compassion, and courage.

I choose to live authentically, whole-heartedly, and free.

My intention today is to feel playful, present, and productive.

Today, I am going to show you what abundance feels like.

Everything you need is within you.


While not all of these words may empower you, and you may feel silly, I invite you to explore what words make you feel good. Take a moment each morning to give yourself the gift of self-care and set your day on the desired trajectory. I wonder what will change for you when you decide to fill up your cup at the start of your day...

Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.

Dr. Brené Brown

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