The best inspirational life lessons don’t come without a price. Mine was 10+ years of out-of-control drinking that beat me down to a pulp.

My last drink was a Heineken around 11 a.m. on a Thursday morning. Yeah, it’s probably safe to say that someone who remembers their last drink so clearly is at least on the brink of having issues with alcohol.

And someone who remembers the date of their first full day of sobriety is likely celebrating a few more of them. July 23, 1999, was my first day of recovery. And it’s only gotten better since.

Sure, there have been plenty of ups, downs and sideways motions—and times that it felt like I was going totally backward. But I just kept my favorite quote in mind. It comes from Winston Churchill:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Famous quotes. Not-so-famous quotes. Tidbits I heard. Hardships I’ve lived through. The lineup of wins, losses and fun and games over a 22-year stretch in recovery. All are invaluable sources of important life lessons.

Hopefully you’ll dig a few of the 22 I’m sharing with you below. Enjoy! 

Important Life Lessons

1. Life is too short to be cranky.

2. Try running TOWARD things instead of AWAY from things.

3. When you let go of something, it will be replaced with something else that’s 200 times better. Anyone want a 2008 Pontiac?

4. Get a four-door car if you have big dogs.

5. Reiki rocks (for people AND dogs!).

life is too short to be cranky rynski

Inspirational Life Lessons

6. Don’t forget to BREEEAAATHEEE

7. Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean.

8. Give yourself permission to be happy. Every. Single. Minute.

9. There is no other shoe. (For those still waiting for the other shoe to drop.)

10. There is no such thing as too many shoes. (For those who like to shop.)

don't forget to breathe rynski

Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way


12. You’re allowed to change your mind.

13. You’re going to get the same life lessons again and again until you actually learn them. Unless you’re a quick study, you’ll be dating a steady stream of jerks. 

14. Never be rude to the waiter before you get your food.

15. No amount of drugs, cupcakes or Budweiser will fill the God-shaped void. 

surrender rynski

Random Lessons Learned in Life

16. There’s an angel for everything

(including paddleboard headstands).

17. Sometimes problems resolve themselves. Don’t be so quick with a knee-jerk reaction.

18. You have NO obligation to answer random door knocks, phone calls or prying questions from Aunt Tilly.

19. Don’t touch your phone until at least two hours after waking. Whatever is waiting can wait.  

20. Your first obligation is to yourself.

21. Test your attachment to material things: hire shitty movers.

cartoon angel rynski

All-Time Favorite Life Lesson

22. When all else fails, take a nap. 

nap quote rynski

Illustrations from the Rynski Dazzle Deck.

Want more delight in your life?

The truth is, if nothing changes = nothing changes. But there is a design for living that takes care of it all.  That design is the 12 steps, and the Secret to Success in Everything  course treats you to an adaptation of the steps ANYONE can use, whether you’re in recovery or not.

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