By Alex Pley, Addictions Counsellor, Renascent’s Punanai Treatment Centre
There is an abundance of recovery resources available to anyone at all times in our modern world, but very few have left a lasting impact on me and my own personal program of recovery. I considered sharing certain books I read throughout my education or 12-step supportive works to seem “distinguished,” but after putting some thought into it, the resource that I reference the most in my counselling is the animated series of “Kung Fu Panda” movies.
This may seem like a silly choice, but there is an abundance of mental health wisdom in these films. There are many instances where concepts such as “attaining inner peace” and “staying present” are highlighted and discussed at length, and the main storyline is about overcoming adversity when it seems like there is no hope.
These were all issues I faced when I was finally able to confront my addiction issues. I was wracked with inner turmoil and thought there was no chance for me to “recover” as other people seemingly had been able to. I had people tell me that I was a hopeless case, and that there was no way that I could ever truly give up drinking – and I believed them.
“Kung Fu Panda” has been my go-to movie to turn on when I am going to sleep at night for years now as the early portions of each movie are filled with wisdom from either Master Oogway or Master Shifu that seem to straighten me out enough to fall asleep.
My favourite line comes from Master Oogway in the first movie, where he shares a very condensed and to the point version of the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – a reading that is included in many 12-step meetings throughout the Greater Toronto Area, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift…That’s why it is called the present.”