Posted in acceptance, addiction, change, growth, motivation, recovery, self-care, stress

Dear Avoidance,

I sit here this morning feeling fairly broken. I have many great things going for me. I just successfully completed my first semester in grad school. I’m over two and a half years alcohol free. I have a great marriage. I have sweet dogs that bring me joy on a daily basis. No matter how many amazing things I have going for me, though, sometimes shitty things happen anyways. Sometimes the economy is upside down. Sometimes the world has a global health crisis. And all too often, everyone seems divided about how to handle these things.


I’ve spent a lot of time these last few months being pissed off. I’ve followed the experts, I’ve read the evidence, and I’ve compared the models. I’ve made my mind up on what is right for me and my family, and then I continued to judge and ruminate over how everyone else SHOULD be doing things differently. It made me full of rage because every day, someone was doing something that SHOULD be done differently.


I’ve spent so much time angry and exhausted and guess what? It didn’t change ANYTHING. I have no control over the outside world. The only thing I managed to accomplish with three months of anger …is the ability to completely ignore how I’m feeling about this pandemic. I’ve spent so much time focusing on what everyone else SHOULD be doing, that I got to blissfully ignore my own emotions about this crisis. I masterfully escaped the fear, anxiety, and grief in the only way I’ve ever known how – running away from it.


Today, I say farewell to this old defense. Avoidance, you are no longer needed. Thank you for what you did for me before. You protected me when I couldn’t face reality. But I am now a strong woman who can face uncertainty and get through it. Today, I can lean into uncomfortable feelings and work through them. Today, I can focus on myself and what I can control. Today, I can let the rest of the world worry about itself. Just like my old friend, Alcohol, use to serve me well and then it didn’t…you, Avoidance, are the same.

Posted in acceptance, motivation, self-care, sobriety, social anxiety, stress

External Measures of Success

So as you guys know, I started grad school in January and am pursuing my masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I made the decision to make this complete change in career while blogging in October! It is hard to believe that everything has happened so quickly!

When I made the decision, I knew it would be difficult. I haven’t been in school in over ten years. I have pretty bad social anxiety -so working in groups and presenting things to the class is going to be tough. Part of the school work is essentially intense therapy, and we all know I have my share of issues! but I wanted to do SOMETHING that mattered. I didn’t want to be a cog in the wheel anymore. I didn’t want to work in a field that is oversaturated and no longer creative and fun. I didn’t want to pretend for one more minute that I give a damn about forecasts, budgets, business suits, and sales meetings.

I want to do something meaningful, compassionate, creative, and purposeful. I told myself that I would simply work hard, do my best, and not let myself worry about the grades, the assignments, the approval of other students. Ha! I think we all knew that I’d be a stressful mess in no time lol! Well, I just got past my first round of exams and papers. I’m a walking ball of knots and stress! I had wine cravings and when I didn’t give in to those – my mind thought it would try for another old escapism go-to -gaming cravings. I did not cave to those either.

The thing is guys, I am programmed to give a fuck about all the stuff. I have spent my entire life believing I have to get the grade, the promotion, the 5 star writeup, and on and on. My anxiety is driven by my constant search for external validation…and here I am…enrolled in 2 years of constant external measures of success lol. Now, I can’t avoid it. I MUST find a way to be successful while somehow not caring SO MUCH about success. It is a great lesson to learn – one that I’m sure I’ll be helping many people through in the future.

Isn’t it funny how we can help others through something and be completely blind to our own selves needing to do the same thing? If I were supporting a friend right now, I would tell her to ramp up her self care. I would tell her that she needs to slow down and remember to also ENJOY the program. I would tell her she is smart and capable, and she always succeeds at everything she tries – so give herself a break! When she pushed back, I’d ask her to list a few times she was doing something REALLY important and thought she’d fail…and have her see how it worked out just fine then too. I’d even ask her to describe what would happen…on the totally unlikely chance that she didn’t make it through the program…and she’d see that everything would still be fine. Then I’d remind her that the reason she is anxious and stressed is because she wants to do well…and that’s totally normal too!

Well, it sounds like I have a pretty good idea what I need to do, huh?

Posted in acceptance, change, growth, resentment, stress

Expectations & Resentment

Why do I offer to do things or help with something if later I will regret it or be pissed off because it didn’t turn out the way I thought it would?  Do any of you find yourselves in this situation? It seems like all of the women in my family are like this. We all seem to feel obligated to go above and beyond for others, and then we are annoyed because the others don’t seem appreciative.

In trying to unravel the “why does this keep happening”. The first thing I realized is the fact that these situations don’t end up the way I thought they would …clearly means that I had expectations going into the task. I think expectations set me up for failure unless those expectations are communicated and agreed to, but of course, when I’m helping someone – I’m suppose to be doing it just to help, right? Ah! Well, there might be the second thing to notice. If I were doing it just to help, I wouldn’t have any expectations, now would I?

Maybe another thing to ask myself is…what do I regret about how the situation ended up or how did I expect it to turn out? That answer should uncover my hidden expectation. Once I uncover that expectation, then I really have the answer to the “Why did I offer to do help in the first place”?

So with all this self exploration, what have I learned? I think I offer to help people with an expectation of appreciation, returned affection, or praise. It is clear that is the case because when that isn’t returned – I’m offended. I say things like “I didnt spend 4 hours of my day doing this just to be blown off or taken for granted”. Did they ask me to spend 4 hours on them? Did they ask me to put in more time, energy, or effort than I was willing to give? Of course not. I chose to do it under the guise of helping, but it was really in search of validation and acceptance.

So there’s the answer to why I frequently offer to help and then am pissed off at the end results…because I’m not actually doing it to help. I’m doing it either out of some feeling of obligation (that I am not actually obligated to do) or to get at some needed emotion that I’ve been searching for off and on my entire life.

Posted in gratitude, growth, motivation, sobriety, social anxiety

Well, that was fast!

One day, I’m feeling overly confident submitting grad school applications left and right.  Next day, I’m down and thinking I don’t even deserve to get into any of them.  Now….drum roll…I’ve gotten the news that I’m accepted into a program starting in January!  Wow, how drastically the world can feel when living life with anxiety.

Yesterday, I started my day with that great news!  And then I got to do something I’ve sort of missed out on with sobriety.  In giving up alcohol, at first, I was ashamed and embarassed that people would look differently at me.  As time went on, I developed this sense of “not everyone deserves my story” because quite frankly, not everyone does.  People often aren’t educated about addiction and telling those people my story just opens the door for judgement that this socially anxious girl doesn’t need.  So, I’ve spent over 2 years making amazing changes in my life – growing and becoming a completetly different person – but haven’t really shared it with anyone (other than my husband and fellow sober friends).  Yesterday, that completely changed! I got to tell the world that I am a new person… with new goals, new interests, and new pursuits!

I didn’t have to tell the world all about my past problems.  I now have a reason to just announce my change!  This new school adventure… this new career pursuit… gave me the opportunity to finally share this new side of me without having to get too personal with every “friend” on my feed.  Guys and gals, it felt AMAZING!  I got to say…”Hey world.  This is the new me!  I care about mental health and addiction, and I’m going to do something about it”!

You know what else I got to do? I got to give notice to my toxic consulting clients! The worst of my clients did exactly what I expected.  She was furious and said All. The. Shitty. Things.  And guess what? I don’t care.  I was able to tell her – “This is how it is.  Either take advantage of the time I’m still here to help… or waste it being pissed.  Your choice”.  Good riddance!

I know that going back to school is going to be HARD. I know that going into a new field in my 40s is going to be CHALLENGING.  I know that there will be unexpected downsides to this path.  Every path we choose has plusses and minusses.  I’m hoping doing something good in the world and helping people… will outweight whatever minusses come along with it.

Posted in Uncategorized

1 down 2 to go…

Last time I posted, I talked about how I made the decision to go back to school and change career paths. I want to become a mental health counselor. I am still very excited about the decision, but today I am feeling a lot of doubt.   Do I really have any shot of making this happen?

Last week, I got word that I was turned down by one of the three schools I applied to.  It’s funny, because I had actually decided I didn’t want to go to their program after all…but then they gave me the form letter rejection, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I actually wish I hadn’t gotten the notice until after my next school interview – because it really shook my confidence.  Logically, I know that I was never guaranteed to get into the program.  They get 100s of applicants and were only selecting 6.  I’m a great human being, but I’m not necessarily top 6 of 100s.

I just got home from a group interview from a second school.  In that interview, every other applicant was already in the field!  For every question, they could speak to how they’ve already encountered it professionally or how they’ve been trained to.  Then there’s little ol me.  I work in a completely different field.  Most of my experiences related to therapy are related to my own personal therapy journey.  Many of the reasons I think I would be good as a counselor are related to my mentoring within sobriety – which I have no desire to even discuss publicly.  The other candidates seem to already know exactly what they want to do, what will be involved, and how to articulate it.  Meanwhile, my social anxiety was alive and kicking in a way I haven’t seen in over a decade.  I just couldn’t get the words out of my mouth.

I don’t believe I did great on the group interview.  Maybe, it’s just a case of me needing to know what a group interview is like.  After all, I’ve never been in an interview with other candidates before. Or maybe, I’m not far enough along to really deserve to be there.  What gives me the right to decide to go into this new field with little to no experience in it?  On the other hand, this is a field where there is a shortage of professionals AND an increase of patients.  Why is it so damn hard to get into a program when you’re willing to cast aside a successful career to get involved and help?

I should hear back from this 2nd school at the end of the week.  I’m either going to get great news… and then can start planning for how I will tackle social anxiety on a weekly basis while role playing and presenting things in front of groups of people LOL…or I’ll get bad news and then have to reevaluate what I’m going to do differently.  Either way, I know it will all work out in the end.  It always does.

Posted in acceptance, change, growth, motivation, self-care, sobriety

It’s happening!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It has been awhile since I’ve blogged. After getting through the initial “firsts” and becoming pretty stable in not drinking- I haven’t felt like I have had much to say. But, this blog isn’t just about sobriety. It is about life after drinking. Yes, getting sober was very difficult . Yes, there were many tools and techniques I had to learn. Yes, there was and still is support needed, but also…those things eventually just become the new normal. That is all just the way life is – using all of my tools, self-care, and support in everyday life. What I’ve learned is that I drank because I didn’t have healthy coping tools…and you actually need those just to live life. And now, I have them…and use them everyday!

So what is there to talk about? Well, how about how I am no longer held back? How about how I have a hope in life that I was never capable of having before? How about how I am a completely different person…and yet somehow the person I’ve always been?

I made a huge decision recently. I decided to career change! There are some things I really love about my current work, but it feels empty at the end of the day. I am a consultant. I help companies discover and solve problems. While I love the analytical nature – the research, coaching, problem solving – what is missing is that rewarding part… the part where I make a difference in something that matters. I’ve been seeking purpose since I got sober. Recently, it hit me – what if I didn’t use these skills to solve companies problems… what if I helped solve people’s problems instead?

I have always loved psychology, mental health, and wellness as subjects. I am frequently following articles, blogs, and studies in that area and have been for as long as I can remember. Why not take what I am drawn to, combine it with my current work skills, and make a real difference?! So… I’m in the process of applying to grad schools, and signing up to volunteer with a crisis line!

It is gonna happen guys and gals! I know it won’t be easy and that there will be obstacles I didn’t expect. But ya know what else? I know I can tackle anything I set out to do! Ya know why I know that? Because I have faced many difficulties and gotten through them. Somehow…someway…I always make it happen. Getting sober gave me an unexpected gift- the ability to trust and believe in myself.

Posted in Uncategorized

Grateful

Happy Thursday, everyone! I am on the third and final day of my little weekday escape. I have had the most amazing time this week. Life is really beautiful, isn’t it?

I have spent the last two days, meditating, reading, listening to my favorite music, sitting outside in nature, watching sappy romcoms, and going to the spa. My soul feels healthy and happy. My heart feels full of love.

I have a lot to be thankful for. While I do suffer from anxety, and addiction took more from me than it was ever worth – I have a full and beautiful life. I have a meaningful marriage – a true partnership. I have sweet dogs who love me unconditionally and are always there to throw a curve ball in any boring day. I have every opportunity I could ever ask for.

Today, I am grateful.