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 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 acceptance, gratitude, motivation, self-care, sobriety

A Matter of Choice

Yesterday, I was having a really terrible day. I got woken up repeatedly by my senior cat all night. Then I got woken up 6 more times early in the morning. Then my Outlook crashed 15 minutes before a meeting. Then I showed up to a doctors appointment on the wrong day…and so on and so on.

I’ve written before about how we choose the state of mind we want to be in. And I still believe that, but I was reminded how difficult it can be to WANT to change it when you’re immediately in it.

I reset myself 5 different times yesterday. I went into it kicking and screaming and all “what’s the point”, but after a 5 minute guided meditation, or a breathing exercise, or a shower, or even a short nap – each time I was completely regenerated, calm, and at peace. It really works, if I allow myself to do it.

Recently, I started an online class about happiness. One of the daily exercises is to write 3 good things that happened to me, how they felt, and why they happened. This practice reminded me just how much I control my mood.

If I were to look at my initial description of yesterday – I could say that the day sucked. Based on my opening description – it truly was a terrible day. But, if I look at my 3 good things from yesterday – seeing my hubby after he was gone for the weekend, getting surprise flowers delivered to me, and having an awesome playtime with my pups…watching them wag their tails and enjoy their time with me – if THAT’S how I describe yesterday, instead of all the negative parts, then yesterday was actually an amazing day!

Now, I’m not saying ignore the bad parts or pretend they didnt happen. But instead of dwelling on them – I’m trying to accept the not so good and focus on the good. In the end, it makes me feel really good. It also helps me see more of the good than I use to see.

Anyone else try the 3 good things practice? Any other ideas on seeing the positive in your lives?

Posted in acceptance, motivation, recovery, self-care

Being Judgmental

Good morning everyone! Is it possible to meditate TOO early? I swear, I was practically falling back asleep during my meditation this morning. Today’s meditation was all about being non-judgemental. Is it ironic that it is also the meditation I could barely stay on track on, and I so much wanted to judge it poorly lol.

This topic reminds me of one of the mantras from sobriety school…”I am not here to judge other people’s process. I am driving my own bus”. That mantra is such a good reminder. (It comes from Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is” – which I will add to my ever growing list of what one day I should read but will probably only buy and then never actually read…because that’s what I do…collect unread Kindle books).

We all have so much going on in our lives. Honestly, we don’t have time to judge everyone else. All the time and effort spent thinking about other people’s situations, what they should or shouldn’t do, how I would do it differently…it is all a waste of time. During that time, I could be focusing on my own improvements. I could be using that energy for good. Spending time judging others, is stealing time from myself. Plus how many times have I judged something I’ve never even been through…only later to go through it and totally understand what I judged? Too many times. Honestly, we are all just trying to do the best we can, with what we know at that time.

Have you ever noticed how judging others really makes you feel shitty inside? Sure, sometimes it makes you feel good temporarily…a fake good…like, “oh I’m so much better at xyz” … That’s really just some sort of fake self-approval. I quit drinking to stop all the fake in my life. Ya know…the fake fun, fake social, fake relaxation that we think alcohol gives us. So that includes giving myself quick-fixes of self righteousness. Although man, can that be a hard habit to break -especially when I’m over here self-improving my ass off. It’s hard not to compare and fall into that trap of suddenly knowing it all and being better.

While on the other hand, being proud of others or being loving and compassionate – now that is a real dose of goodness. If I’m taking the focus off of myself and my self-improvement – then that is where I should be…in that sweet spot of love and compassion. Where being judgemental is a quick fix for me and nothing good for you, being loving and compassionate is hands down a win-win for us both!

I guess where I am going with all of this…is that we are all on these journeys…trying new things, learning from mistakes, and we should give each other a break. We have our own busses to drive…and if everyone keeps getting out of their bus to try and drive other people’s busses… well that’s just a massive accident waiting to happen! We need to remember that the important part of life is living it…and if we are judging others, we aren’t living our own life. And if we are trying to intervene in others’ lives – telling them what to do or how to do it – we aren’t letting them live theirs either.

Posted in acceptance, gratitude, motivation, recovery, self-care

Motivating Myself

Around November, I started slacking off on my daily journal. I also stopped meditating before bed…or really any meditating at all. I stopped drinking lemon water, taking bubble baths, going to SMART meetings, or even checking into my Hip Sobriety School’s aftercare group.

Despite stopping what is really my day to day self-care routine, my sobriety was and still is 100% a-okay. I have never been more secure with that. I do not drink. Alcohol is nothing but a lie. I fell for marketing, became reliant, and lost my way for 20+ years, and I am NOT ever going back. I have faced reality long enough to know this is better than any of the lies alcohol fed me.
The thing is, though, I get tired and burnt out on the topic of sobriety, sometimes. I need to sorta “take a break” from all-things-sober. And I dont mean take a break like go drink…I mean like not fucking talk about or listen to people talk about it …Every. Damn. Day.

I obviously want to help others and obviously still need to keep sobriety important, but I just don’t need it to be the ONLY thing I am about. Not anymore. And yet, here I am talking about fucking sobriety in a blog post that wasn’t even suppose to be about it!

Anyways, we get a lot of our time back when we quit drinking. And if you stop all of your daily self-care, you get even more time back! (I don’t recommend that part, btw). It has left me sitting around lately, trying to find ways to “fill my time”. I’ve spent a lot of time mindlessly scrolling Facebook on my phone, surfing the internet, and watching every Amazon original series on the planet.

It left me feeling empty. What is the point of all the mindless activity? Isn’t that what I basically drank for? Isn’t the whole point of not drinking to be healthy, present, and make time meaningful? (At least for me that is the point of it).

So, I decided to ask Google what to do. “what to do instead of Facebook”…”how to find meaningful hobbies”…”what to do when I am bored”. Do you see the irony in this? Lol I stumbled across a bunch of forums where people were discussing these topics. One person said something along the lines of “look, if you just keep sitting around doing the same old thing – you can’t expect motivation to just appear. Part of being an adult is getting off your ass and doing things you might not want to do. From those things, you find stuff you like, stuff you don’t like, and sometimes you get inspired and motivated. Motivation isn’t going to just appear. Stop waiting to be motivated”. And it hit me just like that. Get off your ass! DO something! I have the ability to literally do anything I want to do. Am I really going to look back and say “I’m so glad I spent all that time scrolling facebook on my phone”? No I am not. But could I have great stories to tell about the book I read, the blog post I wrote, the phone call with an old friend, the pottery class I tried, the park me and my dogs checked out? You get the point.

Feeling empty? Get up and do something. Surprisingly, it makes you feel like your life has more meaning! Now, don’t get me wrong. I know sometimes depression, anxiety, and other mental health obstacles cause that feeling, and obviously, there’s a lot more to that than just “get up and do something”. I know when I went through my worst anxiety – I couldn’t even leave my home – and my response to this blog would have been “go fuck yourself, middle aged woman”. But if that’s not what’s holding you back…if it is lack of motivation, boredom, being stuck in a rut…then maybe you’re feeling like I am and maybe this post will be useful.