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What I've learned by Jo Dee Messina As told to Michael McCall

Jo Dee Messina's new hit, "My Give A Damn's Busted," shot into the Top 10 faster than any of her previous No. 1s, including "I'm Alright," "Bye-Bye," "Stand Beside Me" and "Bring on the Rain." Today she's at the top of her game-but only a year ago, she was at the bottom. In early 2004, after breaking off a seven-year engagement with former road manager Don Muzquiz, she checked herself into a Utah alcohol-abuse treatment center. She then replaced longtime manager Stuart Dill and most of her band. As she releases her first CD of new music in five years, Delicious Surprise, Jo Dee feels better than ever, physically and emotionally. "Each day is a blessing," she says. "I don't worry over every little thing like I once did. I enjoy my life more. This is not a tragic story. It's a positive one." Jo Dee's experiences in the last year have led to a series of life-changing realizations-and now she's ready to share what she's discovered. 1 EMBRACE THE UPS AND DOWNS
Life is a roller coaster, man! You fly up and down-and it's a wild ride. There are times when you're zooming down as fast you can go and you think it's never going to end. You forget that it's going to go up, too! You have to remember there will be a time when it levels out and you get your breath back and the fear goes away. Then you start climbing back up to the top. I had to learn not to panic so much when things aren't going the way I want. Just keep pressing ahead, do your best, hold on and follow your heart. Things will get better-I promise you they will. 2 YOU'RE NOT ALONE
Whatever you're feeling, someone else has gone through it, is going through it or will go through it. That's what I wanted to communicate on Delicious Surprise. Every feeling and emotion, from the lows to the highs, everyone has gone through that. And if you haven't, you will! 3 DON'T FRET WHAT YOU CAN'T FIX
I've always been a worrier. Even if everything else was going right, I'd go crazy obsessing on that one thing that might be wrong. I didn't notice all the good things. I noticed the bad. I think we should forget words like "right" and "wrong." Things are what they are. You try, you do your best-and you let it go. You can really drag down yourself if you focus on what's not going well. Focus on the good, not the bad, and accept both as part of how the world turns. 4 TAKE TIME TO YOURSELF
This is a big one for me. I was doing what I loved with my life, but I also was letting it drive me crazy! But if you get away from everything once in a while, you come back fresh and with a new perspective. I went away on my vacation; I had to get away to save myself. As I was leaving, I thought for sure everything would fall apart, but it didn't! I took time to reassess and recharge, and I came to what I loved- my work, my family, my fans-with a better perspective and a better appreciation. I adopted an attitude of gratitude! 5 FORGET THE BIG PICTURE
Take one step at a time. If you concentrate on what the next step is, it's easier to stay in balance. But if you start looking at all the steps you've taken and all the steps you have left, you'll get overwhelmed. I got so caught up in trying to keep on top of everything that I started falling over myself. I couldn't keep my feet straight. I listened to what everyone said, and I took in every criticism. I second-guessed everything. Now it's one step, then the next. Enjoy each step and what it means. Keep your feet planted, yet keep moving. If this step is hard, then take the next one and the next one until it gets easier.

To read more about Jo Dee Messina's life lessons, pick up the new Country Weekly on newsstands now!

***To listen to Jo Dee Messina's new CD, Delicious Surprise, click on the below links.

***To WIN A FREE Jo Dee Messina music catalogue, including all of her CDs and a DVD Video Collection, CLICK HERE! 'Not Going Down Real Player Windows Media Player Someone Else's Life Real Player Windows Media Player I Believe It (Delicious Surprise) Real Player Windows Media Player It Gets Better Real Player Windows Media Player Who's Crying Now Real Player Windows Media Player My Give A Damn's Busted Real Player Windows Media Player It's Too Late to Worry Real Player Windows Media Player Life Is Good Real Player Windows Media Player Love Is Not Enough Real Player Windows Media Player Where Were You Real Player Windows Media Player I Wear My Life Real Player Windows Media Player You Were Just Here Real Player Windows Media Player