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

Two Years!

2 years! It has been 2 fucking years since I cut alcohol out of my life. In some ways, it seems like a miraculous victory. In other ways, it feels like no big deal anymore. But, I’m not going to let that “no big deal anymore” feeling take away this joy.

2 years ago, I saw things that needed to change in my life, and I did what I had to do to make it happen. I made a decision and followed it through. Sure, I second-guessed the decision hundreds of times, but I trusted “my why” and stuck-the-fuck-at-it. I was miserable, stuck, desperate, but hopeful. And guess what? Everything I thought I’d miss – I don’t. Everything I thought I’d gain, I got …plus SO MANY MORE THINGS that I didn’t even know I was missing.

I am somehow both a completely different person…and yet every bit ME as I’ve ever been. I am still a walking rom-com at times, but that’s me, and I love everything about that. I may still overthink things. I may still worry and suffer with anxiety. I may still have self doubt sometimes, but I also know that I can do anything I put my mind to. I know I can face challenge and adversity. I know that pain, anxiety, and doubt are all temporary feelings. I know how to take deep breaths, meditate, discuss my feelings, and sit and trust that things will work out.

Honestly, what more could I ask for?

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 Judgemental

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 gratitude, motivation, recovery, self-care

Mornings, Meditation, and Moods

Good morning everyone! I’m here at the cabin with my sweet pups, watching the sunrise in the woods, in front of a fire. I am forever grateful to have quiet and peaceful moments like this – time to appreciate the present.

I just completed a 10 minute gratitude meditation. I’m always so amazed at how far meditation goes to restore my calmness, appreciation, and overall wellbeing. 10 little minutes, and my entire morning has changed. 10 minutes, and my day has a renewed spirit.

It is so inspiring to know that I have complete control over my mood, and at any moment I can stop, take a few minutes, and redirect my energy.

I am forever grateful for my teacher in sobriety school for introducing meditation and the concept of slowing down and starting the morning off right. I really did a disservice to myself when I woke up, grabbed my devices, and jumped into the world. Just a half hour or even ten minutes …to be present and set an intention for my day – is a game changer for me.

Of course, you learn things when you’re ready. You just can’t absorb everything all the time. I wouldn’t have been able to absorb this concept 2 years ago. I would have been too tired, too hungover, too worried about whether I was going to drink again or not. There’s no time for present in that environment. There’s no capacity for appreciation- it’s just…survival.

In two days, it will be 18 months since I cut alcohol out of my life. 18 months of learning who I am, facing my past, and learning to appreciate all those beautiful details in life that I use to mute and dull.

In some ways, it feels like I have a ton of experience under my belt, and in other ways I have just touched the surface. I know I have a lot more to learn in life, and the only way I’m going to is if I am clear minded and present.

Posted in Uncategorized

Alcohol & It’s Lies

I use to wake up, exhausted, run down, emotionally beat up, ashamed, and anxious. The birds chirping and the sun rising were just a headache-inducing reminder that another day was starting that I needed to drag myself through. I couldn’t appreciate the day. I couldn’t appreciate what I had. I couldn’t be anything other than a girl…who drank too much at night…regretted it all day the next day…and drank again later.

Oh, the hell I was in for so long. Oh, how scared I was. And I couldn’t understand how I got there, how to get out, and I was so embarassed. I was so ashamed. How could I be like this? How could someone with so much talent and ability have fallen into this trap? Everyone drinks to relax, to have fun, to unwind. Why did it go wrong for me?

Well, now I see things differently. I don’t think all those people around me are ALL drinking “just fine” anymore, and I hope that they get out before they get where I was. I don’t see it as ME being unable to “drink responsibly”. I now recognize it as me consuming an addictive substance and eventually becoming addicted.

We are told that “alcoholics” are people who just can’t control their liquor…that only “some people” will ever become like that…that it is their fault for not consuming the product correctly. When in reality, anyone can become addicted to addictive substances, but most of us don’t view alcohol as an addictive drug. We are marketed to, instead of educated. We learn slogans, instead of facts.

If we don’t view it as potentially dangerous, how can we use it safely? And by the way – why do we NEED to use it to begin with? Why do we need to escape, not feel, miss out on the present, mute the world, dull the details? Isn’t THAT the true tragedy? That we all grow up believing that we need that in our lives?

Posted in addiction, recovery, sobriety, social anxiety

Thankfully Sober

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! Today is day 1 of our vacation! Me and Hubby are celebrating our 3rd year of marriage this week! It is hard to believe I have been sober for A THIRD of our marriage! It’s harder to believe that I drank for TWO THIRDS! I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! I am thankful I found Hip Sobriety and This Naked Mind when I did. To be honest, who knows how much Hubby would have put up with if I hadn’t! I am thankful that he stood by my side while I found my way! A lot of people in my life didn’t.

I’ve been thinking about addiction and mental health a lot lately. I didn’t choose to have debilitating anxiety and when people learn about it – they dont blame me at all. I also didnt choose to become addicted to alcohol. In fact, I had been taught that only “some people” become addicted to alcohol -so I had no reason to believe it would be me, but it did happen to me.

When you hear people talk about addiction – they always blame the addict, not the product that hooked them. We as a society drink…everywhere… all the time. We drink to celebrate. We drink to loosen up. We drink to be social. We drink to have fun. We drink to unwind. We encourage everyone to drink, and tell people they are no fun if they dont. Then when one of us becomes unknowingly and unwantingly addicted…we shun them. We shame them. We blame them. That makes it nearly impossible to ask for help.

No one sets out to be addicted. No one wants to crave a product that no longer serves the purpose it use to. No one wants to be unable to control their use. No one wants to physically become dependent on a chemical that changes their brain and body for the worse. Everyone just wants to be happy and cope with life the best they can.

We are told that alcohol is a great tool, and then it betrays us…and then everyone blames the drinker, not the addictive drink?! I guess that’s how the world use to feel about smoking. Funny how we finally see nicotine for what it is – but dont see the similarities to alcohol.

Well anyways, this is all to say – that even in a world full of drinkers…that may never truly understand me…I am thankful to not be a drinker. I’d rather be misunderstood and living this amazing, new, and shiny life…than be bonding over a fake chemical reaction from booze.

For anyone struggling with addiction, or having a hard time being sober in this crazy booze-soaked world….it gets better and it IS worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT. I know how hard the holidays can be when active in an addiction. While it isn’t your fault that you are addicted, you are the one who needs to reach out to get help. If not now, then when? There are options and people to turn to: Smart recovery, Refuge recovery, AA, Hip Sobriety School, and This Naked Mind are just a few to get you started. Hang in there and know you are not alone.
Posted in self-care, sobriety, social anxiety

Two Social Weekends Over!

Good morning, everyone! It’s 8am and hubby has left to go fishing. I am sitting in my happy place with a lap full of dog and one of my favorite views. The minute we stepped in the cabin yesterday, I could feel all of the icky, stressful week just melt off of me. This is totally my sanctuary.

The last two weekends, we had visitors. The first weekend was Jan and Bob (who I wrote about last time) and then the next weekend were two important friends of my husband (who I had never met).

I went back and forth about how I felt about having visitors at the cabin. This cabin is half paid for with the money I use to spend on wine & vodka. This cabin represents so much about my sobriety and my new focus on self care. Did I really want to share it with family that stresses me out or with strangers? And what about alcohol? This cabin has never had a drop of alcohol in it (at least since we bought it). Its never had a hangover in it. Would someone drinking in my sober sanctuary ruin it? Some friends counseled me to forbid alcohol in the cabin, but then I’d have to tell them about my reasons for not drinking – and tbh, that is not something I share with just anyone. Some friends said we should just skip the cabin, and I considered that too, but even though Jan and Bob drive me insane…I also really wanted them to see the cabin. For some reason, I am forever trying to show them I turned out an ok adult.

So anyways, we did the cabin thing with both sets of visitors. With Bob and Jan, it was really tight quarters. They brought SO MUCH STUFF to a 700 square foot cabin! That’s totally “them”…go visit people and be as inconsiderate as possible. They didn’t drink at all the entire weekend, though. It was a surprise to me because literally every photo they post is a photo of alcohol. Alcohol is heavily intertwined in their reality. I don’t know if they just don’t enjoy drinking around non-drinkers or if they are trying to be respectful. They just know we don’t drink, not my situation. Honestly, most people think we don’t drink because hubby can’t drink on his medication. And while that’s true that he can’t – the reality is…I don’t drink because me and alcohol have had a 20 year abusive relationship, and hubby doesn’t drink because he is supporting me. The weekend with Bob and Jan was tough. I was pretty tired and was happy to reenergize after they left.

The next weekend with hubby’s friends – let’s call them Mike and Wendy – was AMAZING. I thought it would be difficult. I was going to be alone with Wendy the entire day while hubby and Mike went fishing. I imagined my social anxiety running the entire day. I thought of every single way I could fuck up the day. I imagined saying all the wrong things – or even worse – sitting around in that horribly uncomfortable silence that always leads me to bring up the strangest topics out of desperation. “Isnt it weird how socks have such an annoying hem right on the toe”? Seriously – 42 years and I haven’t come up with a list of NORMAL topics for this situation yet?!

All that worry and stress and yet the day was perfect! Me and Wendy went to the spa, then shopped, and then talked for hours. And we talked about politics, race, immigration – any “off topic” topic for talking to strangers…we talked about it! It felt so good to have a conversation with someone I was aligned with. That’s rare where I live. But get this…Wendy brought wine to the cabin! Fucking wine! Ugh! But honestly, it was fine. Since I told her I didnt drink, she just put it away until dinner time. At dinner, her and her hubby killed the bottle pretty fast. I could see her eyes glaze over just halfway into her first glass. I saw the fast drinking and the heavy pour…and I wondered if she doesn’t have even more in common with me…but who knows.

It’s funny how different the two weekends were. I had family with me one weekend – and I was stressed, tired, and felt tortured. Then I had perfect strangers with me another weekend and had the best time. We didn’t feel crowded in the small cabin and it just felt relaxing and good. That’s the thing about social anxiety – you prepare for all the potential terrors, but rarely do they come true. I almost always come out feeling completely different than I go into it. I wish I could get my logical self to explain that to my irrational self!

Happy Fall! It is really beautiful today, and I have two dreaded social weekends over and behind me!