Monday, September 30, 2013

Denial Baffles My Brain

So, I'm in a meeting earlier tonight and I see a young man in so much pain. Denial of a problem, still strong in his addictions. Losing his family as he spoke and not wanting to change a thing. He had honesty about the issues, yet the addiction was winning. How could this be possible? I wept, hard.

Nobody could get through to this young man. Nobody. Then again, nobody could get through to me when I was active in addiction. Nobody but God because he was the only one that could see what I was like when nobody was looking and the only one I asked for help from.

When I look back at the moment I asked God for help and told him, "I can't do this anymore.", it's strange. I felt like a zombie. Like my life was on the line if I didn't change, if I didn't drive to that twelve step meeting. Though all I did was ask for help. I was willing to live differently and yet I still don't have the answers as to why I was given the gift of being present for my own experience in the midst of that bender.

I was in denial for so many years. I lied to myself daily to continue drinking. To continue reveling in selfishness and flopping around in grandiosity-denying truth. I told myself it was fun, that I was rich and could afford to buy people drinks, that I was irresistible, that I had all the I wasn't and no I did not. My brain could not conceive of the truth, especially while intoxicated.

1. A refusal to comply with or satisfy a request.
2. A refusal to grant the truth of a statement or allegation; a contradiction.

Denial still baffles me in my own life and the lives of others. Though, if I go to my closest friends and family, and to God, with willingness to listen, and ask them to reveal the truth of what they see in me and of my life, I know from experience that they will...with love.

For this willingness to be a student, I am grateful. I thank all of my teachers. Especially God. I hope to always show my gratitude in return.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

When I Clench Onto My History...

When I hold onto my history, clenching to it with all my might, I do it at the expense of my destiny.

Much has been revealed to me in the last two years of truly working the 10th step:
-Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitting it.

One realization is that I have the tendency to hold onto what is familiar, whether it's healthy or not. I have drudged up the past time and time again. I am guilty of flinging old feelings or insecurities about what may have happened in a past relationship at someone in a fresh, new relationship.  I have realized this by being aware, mindful and taking my own inventory.

Though the past is a good indicator of the future and I can learn from it, it's also good to have balance rather than coming from a platform of fear and expectation. That is why I feel strongly that by simply working the 10th step daily, my mind, relationships and my life benefit greatly. They are all more evenly balanced. For me, it's a self-esteem booster and keeps me open for my destiny with an un-biased heart and mind.

I have used so much energy on dwelling in my past and getting stuck there. This leaves less energy for the present (my life now). It's freeing to know that my past does not have to control my future. Though, I can be inspired and make changes in myself and choices to make my present shine. Yessssssssssss! That feels wonderful.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Theodore Roosevelt-An Inspirational President/Mentor

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing."
Theodore Roosevelt

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“Believe you can and you're halfway there.”
Theodore Roosevelt
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.”
“To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.”
Theodore Roosevelt
“When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on”
Theodore Roosevelt

“Knowing what's right doesn't mean much unless you do what's right.”
Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Spiritually Flatlined To Spiritually Alive

There have been many times in my life where I have spiritually flatlined. I am grateful for these dark, pivotal moments for they have shaken me with strength and infused faith to becoming spiritually alive!

Some of the wisest people I've had the pleasure of knowing call these times a test of faith, and I agree. In experiencing the trials inside of darkness, I now see that, unlike years ago, I zip like a bullet, determined to find the light! Then I look back at where I recently was and say aloud "Thank you."

My 12-step program has taught me that to sit in the ancient emotions of pain, anger, jealousy, not being good enough or guilt, I am choosing to be spiritually flatlined. This is detrimental to my well being and my usefulness to others. I have purpose in being here, as I believe everyone does. So would my Higher Power, which I choose to call an all-loving God, want me to feel this way? Heck no! So, I do the work to release the emotions. For 'Faith, without works, is dead' resignates inside me. I've realized time and time again that I feel undoubtedly better when I take action and step outside of my comfort zone.

Being honest, fearless, clear and consistent, I am able to look at my part and clean up any wreckage as best as I can. I am not striving for perfection but rather progress. That feels easier on my soul and keeps me spiritually alive, not flatlined.

Faith only gets me so far. I have got to own my part and do the work.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Letting Go Means To Let Things BE

Letting Go means to let things BE- atleast for me.

When I was new in recovery I was frustrated quite often. Discontented-yep. Anxious-yep. Controlling-yep.

There was a book that truly helped me to just be okay and present in every life moment I could capture. This book still helps me when I'm struggling with acceptance. The book is called BE by author A.C. Ping. I was amazed that such a small book could make such a profound difference with its' quick read....that for years beyond its words are still vibrant tools for me!

Reading this book was the beginning of my journey of realizing how to let go. That in releasing, I am simply accepting what is.

Given Circumstance – Struggle = Acceptance (no control)

Maybe there is wisdom and truth in the Beatles' song Let It Be. There will be an answer...let it beeeee!

Maybe it will be useful to one of you…just thought I’d put it out there!

Love After Love -Poem

(One of my favorite poems)

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Letters To My Sober Sisters

Hello to all! Hope your week is going by fabulously!

Wanted to give you an update that the first draft of my book Letters To My Sober Sisters is complete!

I am so grateful for blog-viewers support and to be of any help I can in continuing to respond to emailed questions. The Can't Keep A Sober Girl Down Blog has reached over 13,333 people in over 54 countries as of today! Never did I ever even dream of that through just sharing my experience, strength and hope.

You. Yes, YOU-keep moving forward, pay it forward and dream big...there is no limit to the sky when you help others!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Heavy Quotes From Wise Folks

“People see what they want to see.” –Goldie Hawn

"Listen to the stories you’ve never taken the time to hear."-My sponsor, Glenda

"You want respect? Give respect."-Robert Downey, Jr.

"We’re not meant to be perfect; we’re meant to be whole." -Oprah

"If something is important, do it now. Don’t put it off until tomorrow."-J.F.K.

"We can’t tell our children to be perfect because NOBODY is perfect."-Goldie Hawn's mother

"Learn from the highs and lows of someone else’s life. If you’re open to being humble enough to listen, and brave enough to watch how you react and respond to life…and if you’re courageous enough to be aware, transformation is inevitable."-My First Acting Coach, Pam

“Comedy is a mask for pain and sadness. So, what people tend to not realize is that people who are really funny are innately disturbed.”-Keenen Ivory Wayans

"Stop worrying about everyone else. Focus on what's going on with you."-My Mother, Kathy

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Dance With Fear

In my own experiences in life, I have been the biggest coward I know-internally-in anything that requires a change or effort. So I usually chuckle when I hear from others that I am so brave. "If they only knew how scared I really am" goes through my mind quite often. I think I just accept the dance with fear...and faith in both grace and love (God) solidifies my springboard to face anything life gives me. Vulnerability usually rides shot-gun next to bravery.

The worst response I've ever heard in the face of a passionate pursuit has been 'No'...that word is not that scary. I can dance with that word for a bit. Though one word that still makes me cringe is 'Failed'. Yet again, failure is just simply temporary if I add the effort to make the changes needed to succeed.

The fears that I've danced with in my recovery have opened my eyes time and time again;  made me more whole, aware and strong. The dance is a great teacher of ever-promised and sometimes painful change. The blessings from the tangos have never stopped and are most vivid to me inside of contentment and gratitude.

I am grateful for the fears-they keep me on my toes. :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Top 10 Myths of Recovery

There are oh so many myths about sobriety. Here are my top ten favorites.

Wait. First of all, who am I to be writing about myths of sobriety? Well, I am a multi-faceted ex-drunk who has had eight consistent years of sobriety. That’s it. All of my opinions on recovery are based on my own personal experiences. Recovery is my everyday is new and all things are possible kind of life. Quite literally, it rocks!

With that being said, I’d love to share some myths that I hear quite often from people in and out of recovery that drive me a bit up the wall of, "Oh, that's so false!"

First –“Relapse is inevitable.”
No, it is a choice to drink or use. Although addiction can be very extremely powerful, we still always have a choice.

Second- “People who are in recovery are poor.”
This is absolutely ridiculous. First of all, if I am speaking economically, some of the richest people I have ever met have been in recovery. Speaking spiritually and morally, I would say the same-- wealthy.

Third- “You have to stay relationship/sex-free for one year to stay sober.”
I swear! Okay, in all the people I have met over the past eight plus years, I have yet to meet one person who has succeeded in this. It’s a great barometer for focusing on yourself inside of living a new found life, though I did not personally have experience with this until years into my recovery. Heck, I got married three months into sobriety!

Fourth- “Once you quit and have God and tools, you’re cured.”
Umm…no. There is no cure, that is just delusional, wishful thinking. Some people prefer to say they are ‘recovered’, however, recovered to me means lack of obsessive thoughts about the addiction.

I’ve seen it time and time again where people say, “I’m good now. I have the tools. I can drink normal.” Though, loosely like a love affair where everything goes to chaos, you’re constantly always trying to get back to that high. When all was fun and well. When alcoholics/addicts pass that point with a drug or drink where they have conceited to their innermost self that they can no longer use or they may die, there is no going back to that beginning stage.

Recovery is the best decision to stick to or else our relationships with others and our health, career and self-esteem quickly becomes incredibly damaged. Some even die shortly after deciding to think they can drink and use again.

Fifth- “I’m different than other people who are addicts.”
The moment this thinking sets in, that person will begin to separate themselves from a true program of recovery. From what I have seen, their life goes into a downward spiral. I always hear encouragement of, "Focus on the similarities, not the differences."

Sixth- “I do better on my own.”
Really? Because I didn't. I needed someone who understood what I was feeling, who gave me direction and things to do to remain sober. People who accepted me and revealed empathy for where I was at.

A big part of my dis-ease is feeling like the outcast and that nobody understands me. I rarely was vulnerable to ask for what I needed which was to be seen, heard and understood. Human companionship is normal. Unity in recovery is vital.

Seventh- “I’m working a program of recovery. All I have to do is not drink or use.”
That is such crap. Drinking was never my problem. My selfishness, my self-seeking, my self-righteousness and little care, therefore, of other people and of my creator were my problems. Drinking was but a symptom of much greater issues of how my addict mind works. I’d be cheating my own recovery, life, if I believed this myth. This is where the term ‘dry drunk’ comes from. Taking the bottle away is just not enough. Although it is a good start-- if you're ready.

Eighth- “Alcoholics and addicts never grow up.”
Not true. Kids are love and power-seekers and will do anything to get attention and their needs met. Some of us started drinking and using as kids and now we have to finally knock at our own door and take a honest, long, hard look at ourselves. The twelve steps help lead us and are vibrantly rewarding.

I personally felt like I was playing catch-up for years because, for years, I didn't deal with my issues. Instead, I drank or smoked them temporarily away.

Ninth- “If it’s a prescription, it must be safe. I cannot get addicted to pills my doctor has prescribed.”
I've heard about people having a ‘marijuana maintenance program’ in many states. Well when I moved to Minnesota, I realized through many peoples’ stories of relapses that they were turning to pills. It’s an epidemic. I have even seen people relapse from diet pills and laxatives that were ‘prescribed’. I call shenanigans!

Tenth- “Addicts are not good people.”
Anyone who is trying to get well is not a bad person. Recovery is a process with great rewards of self-awareness, healing past issues and hurts, honesty, kindness, and hopefully living life to our fullest potential. Inside of embracing acceptance, finding out what works and what does not and possibly a beautiful relationship with a Higher Power, we all do what we can to live rightly. We feel our feelings while abstaining from using alcohol or drugs. Recovery equals living courageously, if you ask me!

The crown that shines as it rests upon these myths is that a sober life is not a boring life. Nothing about living sober is boring, actually! It's a blessed life for those who are courageous enough to receive it. Through a breakdown of our old life, we have all broken through into a new one.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reframing The Life I Want To Live In

When I studied a bit of physiology while trying to loose weight (used to be quite large), I discovered that the way anyone builds up strong muscles is by stress. By lifting weights-and resistance- the tearing occurs and then it takes approximately two days to heal and become stronger. Look at these guns *Pow! *Pow! Get it? Muscular arms? Guns...anyway ha ha!

When I allow myself to be open and willing to experience pain, I know that my personal strength will only grow and healing will occur. I can be stronger where I once was weak. Then I can look at all I went through and say, “Wow, I persevered and learned oh so much!” There is honor in that.

I love the 4th and 5th steps of the 12 steps for this reason: the process is painful, yet gives me healing and strength in an explosive way! Maybe not right away, though it sure does happen eventually.

Working out on these steps helps me to un-pack the UNs- unloved, unworthy, unnecessary, unmotivated, unkind, unhealthy, unfaithful, undecided, unmanageable, etc. I find out how to be more honest by looking at everything I’ve avoided looking at square in the face. They were a must for me to learn how to be open enough to let go of the un-serving bologna I told myself and others. Now I could let go of the lies I told myself and whomever else for years and reframe the life I wanted to live in and feel good. We are supposedly only as sick and sad as our secrets.

I started to feel whole again. I learned quite a bit about others, too. Pretty groovy. Yep yep!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

New Chapters-Life Is A Love Story

Life is a love story.

Well, my parents moved away yesterday to fulfill their dreams of building a home in the lush, mountain landscape of Washington State. It was so bittersweet to see them off, though I cannot describe the joy I have for them. They inspire me to thrive. Thank you both, I love you to the moon and back and I am excited to see your new homestead!

After some tears, time spent with family and friends, and a nap...well, I went on an 'official' date! He was unexpected and what I know so far is he is wise, passionate about Jesus and people, very sweet, handsome, and is active in his program of recovery. Feeling baffled, yet so blessed! We went to a meeting, a rockin church service about grace, a splendid dinner and shared great conversation with a slow dance-what more could a woman ask for from a first date?

Healing from my past relationship took quite a bit of grieving and I am glad I took the time for myself. I needed time to become whole again after the long stretch of heartache I experienced. I have no regrets and I would do it all over again. Every relationship, every encounter, every experience serves a purpose and adds to our life story. Eventhough I'm not able to read every word right now, God can and my belief is that He is a jealous lover. I will continue to lean on Him and trust in that.

New chapters can be frightening, however, I feel ready to discover what they have inside! How about you?

Friday, September 6, 2013

At My Worst

I am, at my worst, a huge contradiction.

I said this tonight on the phone with a good friend and he informed me to patent this. Thought I'd give it away ;)

I believe this to be true. Do I like the fact that I've been a huge contradiction from time to time throughout my life? Umm...nope. Though, it is true and feels oh so good to let go of perfectionism. What I'm aware of I can change. It helps to stay grounded in the truth that I can be kind and compassionate with anyone on the planet.

What I throw out into the world comes back to me-so I darn well better throw out love, truth, kindness and chocolate!! Ha!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Go Towards The Light

A wise friend of mine told me over a year ago to always go towards the light. In my darkest times, and when I'd start to sulk, I'd remember this. Simple.

Thank you Lee! You are a true life saver and a wonderfully uplifting woman.