Thursday, October 31, 2013

Consistent Bottom- I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH

My consistent bottom was falling into the belief that I am not good enough.

When I was in the grips of my addiction I self-medicated and lied to myself and others. I was chasing the ‘buzz’ to get away from feeling, dealing and coping with life on life’s terms-and to get away from myself (Whoever I was...because, girl, I was double minded and flip-flopped often in actions and talk!). Drowning my sorrow constantly-not realizing that sorrow floats!

I never thought that my drinking was affecting anyone. Heck, I convinced myself that it wasn’t even affecting me! The lies I told still baffle me.

Remembering My Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Lookin’ Like This:
I’m not as pretty as those other girls- I need a beer.
I feel shy and don’t know what to talk about-I wanna get buzzed.
Why am I always being picked on-I need to get high.
He’s cheating on me/Doesn’t like me/Treated me like crap/Gone forever- let’s get wasted!
I messed up big time-I need a drink.
I cannot deal with this right now-I need to get drunk.


I was in denial until I was finally present for my own experience, had an awakening filled with pain and hope and then realized my life had become completely unmanageable. Not at all what I had hoped it would look like when I was younger.

With the help of others who were part of a 12 Step Program (hearing my story from hundreds of others-sharing their story), faith in God and a willingness from inside myself to finally be honest, I was able to climb out of my rock-bottom, ‘not good enough pit’ and fight for the life and the person I knew I could be! At first I was scared, then I was willing and then, finally, I loved it!

Today, I can now deal with life on life's terms, look people square in the eye, give kindness, compassion and love. I like who I have become. Today, I know that I am enough. Recovery is a process and it rocks!!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Keep It Simple Stupid is one of my favorite phrases of all 12 Step Recovery programs.

Inside this frame below, my life is filled with sweet joy and simplicity...truth. It reminds and affirms that I am fully responsible for my actions and reactions. God gives me a lighted pathway to walk upon. For all of this, I am abundantly grateful.

It's simple~His will, not mine.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Life Is Delicious!

From the wisdom of others in recovery, I now understand that I see people, places, things and the world all through the lenses the following:

1) Attitude
2) Ideas
3) Up-bringing (conditioning)
4) Faith

So, if I'm not seeing life as delicious and I am taking my time here for granted...what can be changed?

Charging Up Tools for Life Usage
1) Change attitude by infusing gratitude. When l recognize I am feeling a wee bit down, I say to myself, "Okay, 3 things you're grateful for...GO!"
2) Evaluate ideas by asking, "Will these help or hinder myself and others?". Make and implement new ones, gradually.
3) Unlearn some of past up-bringing by honestly looking at the parts that do not fit in with how I want my life to look. Breaking unhealthy family patterns is sometimes very difficult, though necessary.
4) Faith can be strengthened through listening about spiritual awakenings, sitting in meditation, studying, expecting miracles (pick a couple small ones) or by experience (usually through desperation).

Taking my own inventory helps change everything.

I've heard it been said again and again, "Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is." And fruit is freakin' delicious, as is life!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What Ifs Close-Vulnerability Opens

When would you say a woman is most open and vulnerable? I'd say when she's in labor!

Recovery can be scary sometimes when I get caught in the 'What Ifs'...and that's when I know my vulnerability barometer is winding down. Not a good place to be, though I can look inside and ask myself honestly, "Am I being open?".

What if I can't stay sober tomorrow?
What if this person says that one thing?
What if I don't succeed?
What if this isn't true?
What if, what if, what if...blehk!

When my mind falls here, I try hard to stay vulnerable and open. I've heard it said that vulnerability is the cornerstone to confidence and that you can't get through to courage without walking through vulnerability. This reminds me that most people are conditioned since childhood that vulnerability is a weakness. It is not. It is strength!

Inside of being open and vulnerable, I am embracing a greater intimacy with myself, my life and connecting closer to others. It always looks like bravery. So, when I lose tolerance for vulnerability, for openness, I am closed and the joy goes away.

If I want more joy, vulnerability is always the answer! The more pressure I feel, the more joy I can have through the tools of being open with my own vulnerability.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

God Signs/Gifts/Miracles

My first year sober, my second sponsor shared with me that she new everything was going to be okay when she found dimes at her feet. Yes, dimes. She said God shows her dimes on the ground as a personal gift, sign or small miracle.

At first I was a bit apprehensive...then I started to pay attention and look for my own God sign. It became a flock of birds-in 5's. I'd see these birds when I needed to the most. Though, you know what's funny? As of lately within this past month, I am finding dimes!

Do you have a personal gift, sign or small miracle that keeps showing up that you believe is connecting you closer to God? If so, I'd be delighted to hear about it!

Don't stop believing. Expect the gifts, signs and miracles! They show up, especially when we pay attention.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Today Is All New

Something I've been personally struggling with for the past few days is letting go of past hurts, the right way. Projecting them onto others will only enable the cycle of hurt to continue.

I am deciding to refocus. The past does not define me and no longer has to keep me tangled. Though it's not easy to untangle sometimes, like pulling out a necklace that's been in my jewelry box for years, there is much to look forward to if I do the work. I also need to trust myself in the process, that I can do the work.

Today is all new. Anything, anyone, can be or atleast feel whole again. It's all in choice, action and attitude. I'm looking forward to not expecting a thing and just basking in gratitude for every new thing.

With every breakdown, there is a breakthrough!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Openness & Honesty

I remember two years ago listening to a man with over 20 years of sobriety say something that unnerved me: "I used to lie to myself and others, and then I got sober. Then I realized I would say I never lied, but even that was a lie! I still catch myself lying to myself...and to others."

This man was open and honest, and I could relate to what he had said. How could I have not been aware of this character defect for so long?

For me, today, the tools are awareness and action. I have found that the very moment I become uncomfortable-in the very essence of the word- there is something to be aware of inside of me (many times I have been lame and blamed others for my feelings, but that wasn't honest because I'm responsible for my own feelings). There are action steps I need to make. All I have to do is challenge myself to continue to be open and honest with myself first, then with others.

I am aware that I can stand in my own truth by practicing awareness and asking myself, "Why do you feel this way? What fantasy life are you trying to create by lying? Are you being fully self-expressed, or hiding something? How can this information help you grow up?".

Most times I don't like the answers I find, however, I feel stronger by facing the truth through being open and honest. It's progress, not perfection. Perfection, for me, is simply just more fantasy.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Today's Thought

Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Independence, like honour, is a rocky island without a beach.
--Napoleon Bonaparte

Who hasn't taken pride in doing something that no one thought could be done? It gives us satisfaction to do something difficult, to lift our head high and say, "I did this alone." We take pride in being the best we can be.

But we can't find happiness in the pride that sets us against our fellow humans, saying, "I don't need you," or even, "I'm better than you." We do need each other. And each of us has strengths, weaknesses, and God-given talents that God expects us to use to help each other.

I will offer my help to others, and in return, I will receive the help I need.

You are reading from the book:
In God's Care by Karen Casey. © 1991 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the permission of Hazelden.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Other Underlying Issues

I received an email tonight asking if I have ever sponsored a woman who is in recovery but also fighting BPD. Then she shared her moving story, which is not mine to share.

I responded by saying, "Thank you for sharing! Wow, I have learned so much from your story. To answer your question, no, though I do know a woman who has it and she informed me that it is more common than most of us think. With the help of therapy, she has nearly made a full recovery. What a blessing! I've also read that it's much more common in women than in men. I will post straight-to-the-point facts on the blog tonight, for underlying issues have always interested me...and, please remember, you are never alone. Your story could help many other women."

Here is what I found from The National Library of Medicine:

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition in which a person has long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions. These inner experiences often result in impulsive actions and chaotic relationships with other people.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cause of borderline personality disorder is unknown. Genetic, family, and social factors are thought to play roles.

Risk factors for BPD include:
Abandonment in childhood or adolescence Disrupted family life
Poor communication in the family
Sexual, physical, or emotional abuse

Persons with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values can change rapidly. They also tend to view things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people can change quickly. A person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.

Other symptoms of BPD include:
Intense fear of being abandoned
Cannot tolerate being alone
Often pessimistic outlook
Thought disorders
Frequent feelings of emptiness and boredom Frequent displays of inappropriate anger Impulsiveness, such as with substance abuse or sexual relationships
Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing 

Signs and tests
BPD is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation that assesses the history and severity of the symptoms.

Individual talk therapy may successfully treat BPD. In addition, group therapy can sometimes be helpful. Medications have less of a role in the treatment of BPD. But in some cases, they can improve mood swings and treat depression or other disorders that may occur with this condition. 

Expectations (prognosis)
Outlook of treatment depends on how severe the condition is and whether the person is willing to accept help. With long-term talk therapy, the person often gradually improves. 

Drug abuse
Problems with work, family, and social relationships
Suicide attempts and actual suicide

Calling your health care provider
See your health care provider if you or someone you know has symptoms of borderline personality disorder. It is especially important to seek help right away if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Gratitude Timeline

One of my favorite past times for many years now has been camping, and fall is a great time to camp! The stories others share around a campfire, sounds of the wind, animals roaming through the trees, loons calling out and the smell of campfire smoke in my clothing...a nice break from the high heels, make-up and hustle bustle of the city. I didn't always value this past time. It's different now. I'm a bit of a campaholic! Something changed inside me. Attitude perhaps?

At a younger age, when I lived in Montana, my parents would occasionally take me out camping and hunting with them. I still remember how annoyed I would get that I couldn't stay home to party, stay up all night talking to older high school boys, going on nightly cruises on 'the drag' in downtown Missoula or just plain find something to do so I wouldn't be stuck with myself. Always to escape. Though, I do have vivid memories of enjoying the sunrise over the Bitterroot Mountains while feeding our horses, and the way my mom's beef stew tasted out of a bread bowl. I think these are now my favorite.

In my twenties, living in New York City...moving there, not knowing a soul, scared as hell but determined. I had visions of grandiosity thinking I was going to conquer that city! Going to school, babysitter by night...drinking every chance I got, curious about people, yet starving for attention. Sometimes I had to get away, even in the latest hours of the night. So I'd hop on the subway, ride it down to Battery Park, step onto the Staten Island Ferry and enjoy the peace and quiet of the harbor. I can still remember the smell of the salty, humid air, the creaking sounds of the ferry and the dazzling city lights in the distance. It was on that ferry that I made the decision to go to live there in that bustling city.

It was also in that city that I started searching and found out I was not the center of the universe, there was a God and I was not Him. This was a rude awakening. The awakening that other people, just like me, had hopes, dreams, loves, desires...and maybe some were actually really happy, whether or not I thought so did not really matter much. I didn't know it all. I awakened to this while waiting for a 'walk' signal on the corner of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue. Everyone was so busy getting to where they needed to go. Everything got quiet and I was frightened, humbled. I immediately went home to my basement floor, Astoria, Queens apartment and went to sleep!

Three years later, when the tsunami hit Thailand, my heart felt broken. I left my Van Nuys, CA apartment and headed for the Pacific Palisades. When I arrived at the beach at sunrise, I prayed for all the families that had been affected. This was an improvement from the earlier years of not understanding how much devastation was around me in other people's lives in NYC after 9/11. Here, on the beach at 23, I wasn't as self-absorbed. It was so quiet that morning. The gentle waves crashing was about all I could hear until the dolphins came so close to the shore. It was so majestic! I had never seen dolphins in nature! I found out they arrive about the same time there every morning and afternoon. This was my new favorite place for peace and quiet.

It was on Whidbey Island in Washington State that I gave up the booze and it was in the quiet of a foggy morning. I asked God for help. And today, in Minnesota, I treasure the bird songs in the morning, the colorful beauty of fall colors, the sound of truth and laughter and even the smell of flowers.

I don't live a perfect life, though I am grateful and carry an attitude of gratitude as frequently as possible. The shift in attitude helps me value my beautiful, sober life...especially when I'm in the peace and quiet, with a s'more of course!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Recovery Is A Process I Trust In

I am only as good as my ability to address my strengths and weaknesses. Through this concept of vulnerability, work and awareness, I am able to invest in others and be of service in the world. I cannot give something I do not have.

Recovery is a Process
-Suiting Up & Showing Up
-Being Rigorously Honest
-Admitting Complete Defeat
-Giving It Away In Order To Keep It
-Therapy or Doctors, if needed
-Faith In Higher Power

If I stop trusting in the process that threw me into a new, beautiful life, I am in trouble. My recovery becomes weakened. Very often, when I have stopped trusting and doing the work, it’s because I have started trusting more in the people, places and things the process gave me.

Just as quickly as I received the precious gift of sobriety, it can be taken away if I do not reside in good works, faith and gratitude.

Life is a gift! I will do my best, just for today, to take nothing for granted.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Believe In You & Fake It If You Have To!

Courage. Fear. Either way, when it comes to empowering myself on a daily basis to do great work and live boldly, one always wins. I do believe they sit next to one another at any given moment and it’s up to me to let courage win, or allow fear to sink me once again.

If I choose to do what I used to choose to do like:
Take a drink
Have a toke
Hurt Others
Selfishly Strive Through Life
Am I living greatly? Am I being courageous? Am I going to be happy with the person I am and have become? My experience has been no.

My first sponsor told me, “Fake it until you make it!”. I faked a lot because I believed that faking it could help me make it. After all, she hadn’t steered me wrong and I wanted what she seemed to have. That happiness, fearlessness, business sense, and years of sobriety!

I Faked the faith in a higher power-miraculously, I now truly have faith!
I Faked that I completed the 9th step all the way through –and I had half the pain lifted.
I Faked that I knew what was talking about in regards to alcoholism-and now, years later, I do.
I Faked that I could start my own companies and know what to do-I did and was successful.
I Faked that I, too, could live boldly without drinking-and now, I am!

The initial ‘faking it’ forces me into the ring. Courage keeps me fighting.

If and when I can’t seem to believe in myself, or to lift my spirits, I fake a simple smile…and within minutes, I’m feeling the vibration of joy. Try on a fake smile for a even 30 seconds. It’s impossible to not feel different and better after that! Did you try? For me, faking it works from time to time!

What does believing in yourself look like? If you believed in yourself right now, what would you be doing?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Prayer Opens Up Connection

What I Receive From Prayer

When I was younger my grandfather taught me “Now I lay me, down to sleep…” and I still say that prayer every night, it has just been added onto quite a bit over the years. I view this prayer as my ‘protection prayer’. Though, my prayer life is so much more spectacular than that since implementing Step 11 into my daily life! Honestly, it took five years of pain in my recovery to really surrender to working this step on a daily basis:

"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

And during those five years of surface-working a program of recovery and not practicing the 11th step daily, most of my prayers to God were like this: “God, why!?!!!” or “I’m so mad at you God!”. I lacked in faith and ran on self-will fumes.

Now, my prayers usually look like this:
“God, help. I’m going through this…”
“God, I know I can only see the threads, but could you please reveal more of the tapestry…”
“God, please send light and love to such and such person…”
“God, please show me how to be loving here.”
“God, I need to talk…”
"God, thank you!"
"God, allow me to be like an open vessel for your love because..."

I have found that, for me, there is no wrong way to pray. Prayer works in any way. It opens me up and allows me to be absolutely vulnerable and authentic in my life. It keeps me accountable and helps walk me to my own door instead of peeking through the windows of everyone else to see what they do or do not have. Prayer releases my most soulful emotions and helps empowers me to brave!

Prayer to my Higher Power (which I choose to call an all-loving God) has given me a beautiful permission-the ability to see and truly accept my light and my dark. I can accept all of my facets and empower myself through knowing that I am an imperfect child of an all perfect, loving God who absolutely hears, teaches, cares and loves me.
I am curious, how does prayer work for you in your life?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Appreciation and Gratitude

My focus today is simply to say "Thank You". Thanks to God. Thanks to family. Thanks to friends. Thanks to all my mentors and teachers. Thank you.

I am in appreciation and gratitude for everything in my life. All is well and is as it should be. I'm going to smile with that, just for today.