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i AM enough

 

So I’m heading up to 14 years sober and once again the wheels have fallen off my life. I shouldn’t really say that because comparatively my life is pretty fucking awesome.
However! Same old same old shit is happening again! What the ACTUAL fuck is wrong with me I ask.  The same old unmanageable bullshit that just keeps rearing it’s ugly, ugly head.  To add insult to injury I’ve gained a truck load of weight too.
So now my finances are unmanageable, my weight is unmanageable, my love life is pathetic and I’ve taken up collecting pets. The current tally sits at  2 dogs, 2 cats, 3 FOSTER kittens and a chicken.  Now this all sounds reasonable? Right?
Now just about now, when I feel like    previously felt like taking to my bed for days on end, I now get my self into a solution. First of all I need to slow down, drop a few things off my already full schedule, say no to people, say no to my kid. Slow down. Use my God given program and take it easy honey… Relax, open my heart, open my mind, stop criticising, look for the good, look for the helpers; they’re everywhere. When my heart and mind are closed I want to rubbish the helpers. I want to rain on their annoying “helpy” parades.
Helpers are everywhere. Find the helpers and if you can’t help too, then stop for just 5 minutes a day and quietly applaud their contribution. Thank them for helping. If you read a great novel, don’t be jelly that you didn’t make 61 million bucks telling fairytales. Celebrate them! Applaud them! Be grateful to them. They helped, a little bit. Start to celebrate the success of others.
That’s the easy part… here comes the hard part. (Actually that was a bare faced lie, applauding others is not easy when you are struck dumb with “compare & despair”)  More on that later.
The other day I was having a mini mental breakdown when I realised I was capable of having every thing I desire. Financial abundance, romance, success, my dream house, my ideal weight – all of it. If I want it, I believe I can absolutely Manifest it all. So why haven’t I? What’s stopping me? I realised in the exact same moment that I “I could” have it, I aLSO don’t really believe I am “good” enough for it.  Oh what a crushing blow.
I don’t know how many therapists and self help books and 5th steps a girl can do to get past this whole “I’m not really worthy” crap.
For a brief moment I felt utterly defeated.
Then I heard a voice, my voice but different, say “who said you’re not worthy?”
Me: Oh that’s easy, my mum of course.
Voice of me: “Who died and made her God”
 Me: Huh?
Voice of me: “When?  When did your mum tell you, you weren’t worthy?”
 Me: Lots of times, from my earliest memory”
Voice of me: “Right, that makes sense, you perhaps had no more than 5 minutes of life experience and your 25 year old mother didn’t have much more and you’re going to use that information as your point of reference for worthiness?”
Me: ah… yeah?”
Voice of me: “That seems legit” ….. You know you can tell yourself you ARE worthy now, you ARE good ENOUGH
Me:    {LIGHT BULB MOMENT}

My mind immediately went back to a YouTube video I’d seen a few days earlier where this adorable cowboy guy Chad Prather demonstrated self worth using a $20 note, watch it, it’s life changing. It had been sitting with me and when my light bulb turned on I knew why it had stayed with me. I get it! It’s MY choice.
I shared some of my revelation on a Facebook group I’m in and someone suggested I listen to Marisa Peer. I had never heard of her but the first YouTube I found was EXACTLY what I needed. I took her advice and I wrote on my walls (they’re chalk) and mirror and set reminders on my phone. I AM ENOUGH… I have been using this like a  MANTRA.
And guess what, out of the blue I was invited to apply for my dream job. I wasn’t even looking. Immediately the fear, the dread, the “I’m not worthy” song started playing in my head. I looked that nonsense square in the eyes and I said ” who told you that crap”
i AM worthy, i AM “good” enough, i AM deserving, I AM ENOUGH!
If I am successful it will mean I get to relocate to my beautiful hometown… oh the fear is having a field day. But here’s the thing  I AM ENOUGH….

 

Just for today…. i AM enough

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Stop cutting my wings!

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“A man was watching a butterfly hatching from his cocoon. The new butterfly tried and tried to get through the little hole in the end, but no matter how much it tried, it could not get out. So after watching this for quite a while, the man opened the hole, and let the butterfly out. The butterfly crawled out, and the man, pleased with himself waited for the butterfly to fly off. After 5 minutes though, it just sat there. He looked at its wings, and realized that they were stunted and malformed. That little hole was more important than the man knew. If the butterfly can not go through the process of working it’s way through the hole, the biochemical lubricants in the butterfly’s body can not squeeze out and disperse into the wings, pumping them up to be able to fly. By “helping” the butterfly, he  did more harm than good.”

In recovery is it necessary to “help” others? Or are we just required to carry the message and be of service?
Recently at a meeting I shared with some emotion about an experience I was having. Afterwards a woman I don’t know well came up to me and gave me some well meaning advice. She opened with “You know what you need? You need to do blah blah blah”
Really? She knows what I need? How arrogant of us to presume that we know what anyone else “needs” only my Higher Power knows what I need. Sometimes a single share from the floor can bring up unexpected emotions, when this happens for me I find I need some time and space to process those emotions then I like to talk it over with a sponsor or trusted friend. Usually it’s in this process that more is revealed, I discover for myself in my own time what I need to discover when I’m ready. Please stop cutting my wings.

Today I will be mindful of how I listen to others. I will not give feedback unless I’m asked for it.

This is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever done but I’m going to anyway. I want to write a letter to my ex. I am angry and I want to say things I shouldn’t say. It’s been 5 months, I had let go completely. I was free! Then up sprung a little anger. Just a little spout. It bubbled away until it erupted into a fit of  despair. I am overweight, lonely and angry at this very moment and I want to be free. I think if I write to him I will be free. I will not! If I write to him I will be re-shackled to him. Bound against my will. So I will write to you instead. I post it to the edge of the internet and hope it never bounces back……

You didn’t just destroy your relationship, you destroyed mine too..
You didn’t get it then and you probably still don’t get it, I imagine you never will.
I hear you’ve moved on and met someone else and that’s great I’m very happy for you.
The intensity of your anger and the craziness that followed has left me too fearful to move on.
What is wrong with me that I attract such crazy, angry men? Why are they drawn to me or me to them… ?
There must be something very wrong with me.
So thank you for the renewed gift of fear I will guard it closely, I will sleep with doors locked and lights on.
I will look over my shoulder and jump every time I am startled. I will avoid every man I meet for fear the next one will be crazier still. I can no longer trust my own judgement. I am scared to be attractive, to even give anyone the impression I might be available. I just work and go to meetings, I have gained 5 more kilos to make myself uglier so I can hide under clothes layers of clothes.
I read your “amends” and it made me so angry and the letter below angrier still. You do NOT understand what you did. With a history as violent as yours, to threaten me caused irreversible fear. The damage done can not be repaired by a letter.
This is such a mistake me writing to you, it’s beyond stupid but I feel the need to say these things.
 I was in love with the man of my dreams and he was stolen from me by a sociopath.
Good luck with your new love. I hope she can help keep you calm. I hope she can remain quiet and servile…… 
The thing is I don’t love you anymore and I haven’t since the day I ended it. I trusted my Higher Power and I was free, completely free from the pain of losing you. The anger is bubbling because you are free to move on and I am NOT! Do you remember the day we driving along the country road, we were right near that farm I love with the hedges and the purple and white agapanthus. You said you would kill me and my new partner if I ever moved on. You were so casual about it. It’s so NOT normal to say that out loud. Do you understand that comment had a huge impact on me. IRREVERSIBLE! I was struck at the time by how casual you were. Normal people do NOT say shit like that out loud. In fact normal people don’t even have an inner dialogue that sounds like that.
You did some damage and I’m angry, mostly at myself for falling for you in the first place. I’m hurt that it came to this. I wish I had done some things differently. I wish I hadn’t been so feisty, so opinionated. I wish we had similar values so we didn’t argue all the time. I wish you were not someone I had met in recovery. I wish sometime we go back to before the beginning to that February we sat out the back, at the farm and we laughed all night…. I wish after that night I had never sent the message.

Today I will be thankful that I did not send that email. (and that’s the best I can do today) tomorrow I will make a new wish xo

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be true

Getting honest with ourselves is never easy. Sometimes the truth is ugly, unpalatable, unbearable. One of the principles of the 12 step model is to connect to a Higher Power for guidance. This is not a new concept or unique to 12 steps, many spiritual philosophies follow this principle. Through quiet contemplation, prayer and meditation the truth will be revealed. Hearing the truth when it’s delivered can be a difficult prospect. Do I want to know the truth? What does it sound like when your Higher Power, God, Goddess, Deity or Spirit of the Universe speaks to you? To me it sounds like a feeling and that feeling begins in my core and emanates out. If I am being dishonest it spirals upwards like a mini tornado starting in my belly and pushing up into my diaphragm. It’s an uncomfortable feeling and sometimes it actually makes me unwell. Exhausted, moody, constipated even.  Dishonesty is not just a simple act of “telling a lie”, I am dishonest when I am people pleasing, when I’m changing the shape of myself to please others or to avoid disappointing them.

Earlier this year I fell in love. I felt so comfortable and connected to this man that I was utterly convinced he was “the one”. He felt the same, everything felt perfect, easy, fun & lovely. We felt like an incredibly lucky couple to have found each other. However, recently I started feeling “alarm bells”. Small but slightly disturbing inconsistencies in his character at first, however they became alarmingly obvious when he was charged with assault in a road rage incident. The alarm bells were screaming at me “EVACUATE! EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY” I hesitated briefly, after all how can an incredible love be harmful… he’s the one…. I’ll never find another…. he’s so lovely when he’s not being a sociopath…… I was afraid of the pain of breaking up and didn’t really want to go through that. I prayed a lot. “Please Higher Power, show me the truth” I kept getting messages of violence. The sound of my Higher Power was unmistakable, I had to end the relationship. So I did. I was clear and precise. I kept the focus on myself and my feelings. not on his antisocial behavior. I let him know that my gut feeling is to move on and I’m listening to that feeling.  It hasn’t been easy, his contact has been relentless, interspersed with declarations of “I’ve changed, I love you, I’ve had an ephiphany, I’ll wait forever for you” to “You’re a fucking bitch, how dare you smash my heart.” I have remained firm. I am not responsible for his heart or anyone else’s.  Right here’s the magic of Faith…. I had faith that if I listened to my Higher Power, acknowledged the truth and used the God given power to carry out the right action, I would be ok. And I am OK. No pain, no discomfort, no guilt… just freedom. I could have gone on pretending, waiting for an opportunity for him to trip up and behave badly or abusively toward me, giving me an excellent reason to break up with him, making him look like the bad guy. OR I can just be honest with myself and get out at the first sign of danger.

The uncomfortable feeling in my core is gone, I am at ease, I’m calmer as a parent, I’m more focused on my work. I’m not over eating or spending. The truth really will set you free.

Today I will protect myself by trusting my Higher Power.

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My sobriety date is the 6th of January 2003, however I officially stumbled into a 12 Step meeting on November 2nd 2002. After about 5 weeks (give or take) of sobriety I thought I had it all figured out. “Piece of Cake” I said. I honestly thought all the whiny 12 steppers needed to relax a little. It wasn’t that hard ~ Seriously, how hard can it be? Right?

Then I was invited to the staff Christmas Party….. {shakes head at the memory} Many well meaning members of my group made fabulous suggestions on how to how stay sober through the holiday period and I listened to NONE of them. Consequently my sobriety date is NOT November 2nd 2002. Here are my top suggestions heavily laced with Experience, Strength & Hope.

  1. Take a deep breath. Christmas (or whatever the occasion) is really just another day. You only have to survive 24 hours of it. Happiness is optional of course but it is possible. Whenever the thought of any of the events, expense, activities, parties or people start to overwhelm you, take a deep breath and remember you only have to do it one day at a time.
  2. Get Support. If you’re a member of a 12 step group it’s a good time to increase your meetings. Share at meetings or with your sponsor or friends how you’re feeling. Get extra phone numbers. If 12 steps are not your thing arm yourself with supportive friends, family & co-workers. Sometimes a friendly face and understanding friend is all you need to get a little perspective.
  3. Understand your disease. I am an alcoholic and thankfully I no longer crave alcohol, however the “phenomenon of craving” can still strike at any time. Usually the craving is for food, attention, or lovely shiny things that I don’t need and can’t afford. This time of the year is particularly hard for me. I can NOT go into a Westfield especially if it also is home to a MYER store. Myer is like my version of a crack house. I go in, the first hint of leather from the shoe department and I go into some weird shopping blackout and I come out with a whole lot of crap I don’t need plus a few pair of shoes. Christmas is worse… it’s like the “carols” cast a hypnotic spell and make me buy ridiculous gifts for every human I have ever met. I cannot afford to allow my disease to run the show, especially at holiday time. I keep it SIMPLE. I buy only what I need to. I make NO apologies to anyone. I shop online where I can to avoid temptation. Food is another area…. I could write a whole post just on food and money. The point is Keep It Simple, buy what you need and don’t let your disease call the shots.
  4. Avoid getting trapped. Don’t go anywhere you can’t leave. My first “relapse” happened at the staff Christmas party. I ignored the suggestion to “avoid getting trapped”, the party was an hour from anywhere, in the middle of the forest, on the edge of a freezing lake. It was a 2 day event so I was “trapped” there for 2 days. We had some great activities, horse riding etc and all went well until the evening after dinner. I had lied to my co-workers about why I wasn’t drinking. I had told them I was on a diet, so when a co-worker suggested I have a drink after eating my second helping of dessert, because after all, I had “blown” my diet, I thought. Why not? It’s been easy to quit, I can just “quit” again tomorrow. Famous last words. Epic disaster! If you want to fast forward about 6 weeks to find out how that experiment ended you can read here .     So avoid “traps” places you can’t leave, avoid giving lifts unless that person is cool with having to leave 10 minutes in if you need to.
  5. Avoid “pretend” drinking. Sometimes when I’m out I might occasionally have a Virgin Cocktail, depending on the occasion. I do tend to a order the drinks in the plainest glassware. I avoid drinks that look like wine,  champagne, martini’s or are served in those glasses. I loved fancy glassware as a drinker, I liked to try and convince myself that I was a “fancy lady” LOL! (There was NOTHING ladylike about my drinking) This might seem a little over the top but if I pretend to drink I’m saying to myself “I wish I could” the truth is I don’t but for a little while I did and my lower power is powerful, it will try convince me with very little provocation that I am not an alcoholic” I don’t need to pretend anyway, I am confident in my decision to maintain continuous sobriety and I don’t need to lie to myself or anyone else about that. Some of my friends want to serve me drinks in wine glasses so I “fit in” I decline every time. I also don’t need to make others feel more comfortable about my sobriety.
  6. Avoid Dream Stealer’s. Dream stealer’s are the “friends & family” that want to steal your dreams. They’re the ones that are so miserable with their own lives that they want you to be miserable to. They say things (usually after a few too many) “Oh you’re not that bad” or “You haven’t had a drink for weeks/months/years, you’ll be okay now” or my personal favorite “Don’t be silly, you’re not an alcoholic, I drink way more than you and I’m ok” These people are dream stealer’s ~ avoid them until you’re stronger or forever, whatever works best.
  7. Don’t eat the Trifle. Avoid the sherry soaked trifle, rum soaked pudding and brandy cream. Ask what’s in the desserts and if necessary take your own or offer to bring dessert to share. This goes for liqueur chocolates and even artificial flavors like “rum flavor” If you’re early in sobriety don’t tempt fate by tasting artificial alcohol free flavors. If you’re a guest, it’s OKAY to say “No thank you”
  8. Keep it Light. The holidays are for fun and family. While this may seem like a good opportunity to make amends, it not always a good idea. Everybody is a little more stressed than usual, blurting out your sins as someone passes the gravy may not be well received. Poor timing can be the difference between a genuine & sincere Step 9 and eternal dysfunction. Take it Easy and if in doubt, wait until the timing is less stressful. If you absolutely must make amends with a family member or friend make sure you discuss it with a trusted friend or sponsor before hand. What are your motives and reasons? Can it wait?  We don’t get hurt others to save our own skins.
  9. Keep your expectations in check. Yah, you’re sober and life is getting better. Naturally you’re very pleased with yourself. Don’t expect everyone else to be. Getting drunk last year may be a distant & hilarious memory to you,  but to your Aunt Wendy who wore 5 litres of your vomit before you passed out in her petunia’s may still be a little pissed. Your brother may still be seething because you told his wife that he was unfaithful when they were dating and your parents are probably walking on eggshells and may be a tad resentful when they notice you turn up in new shoes but haven’t bothered to make any attempt to repay any of the money you owe. Yes that “loan” does need to be repaid at some point. Soon. While it may not be appropriate to make amends as such, humility, honesty and a willingness to be of service to your family is a good start.
  10. Be of service. If you can’t be with family or you’re alone for the holidays. Find someone to help. If there is a strong 12 step community in your area, get involved. If not or it’s not for you, volunteer at a shelter or community group. Find another alcoholic or someone who needs support to spend the the day with. Working with others and service is the best defense against a slip.
  11. Get Connected. Get connected to your Higher Power. Immerse yourself in activities and people that nourish your spirit. Get out of the shops and get in the garden. Go hiking or camping (depending on your hemisphere) Go to the beach or the mountains. Turn off the television and get present with your family and friends. Avoid the people, places and things that feed your Lower Power and do more of the things that nourish your Higher Power. Be mindful of your Higher Power everywhere you go. Meditate and find extra opportunities to sit quietly. Easier said than done for some of us I know,  but it’s a good opportunity to learn how to ground ourselves when we’re in the epicenter of sensory overload. Get quiet & connected.
  12. It’s YOUR life.  I’m in Australia,  so this year my daughter and I are spending the day at the beach! All day we’re going to be tucked in a shady corner on this very beach! {See below} I don’t want to do all the busy stuff. I’m a grown up and I can do what I want! I’m the boss of me. I have 1 week off work and I’m exhausted. I just want to take it easy, spend the time with my daughter and friends and relax! It’s just another day after all.

 

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Today I will breath and stay in the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

how to heal a rejected heart

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It’s been forever since my last post… I have been busy, too busy. Since my last post I been promoted, fallen in love, lost that love, collected a new cat and healed my oldest and most painful wound. A spiritual awakening of the most amazing kind.

The rotting,festering source of shame that was buried underneath all the other layers has finally been unearthed and let me tell you it feels like freedom.  My earliest memory of school is painful, I loved school and wanted to learn everything but socially it was traumatic. You seen I was born with a mild disability, an imperfection and from my earliest memories I was teased…. Teased for being born a little less than perfect. As I grew older and kids became more aware of the differences the teasing escalated into bullying. Daily bullying that was often intolerable. In my early high school years I hid in the library at lunch times, where I could read and hide. I loved to read it was a great way to escape… I loved Jackie Collins (it was the early 80’s) to lose myself into the fantasy of being sassy and beautiful and confident… oh what a dream that would be. Then I discovered alcohol ~ INSTANT sass & confidence. With a drink I was taller, thinner, prettier, funnier, smarter. Oh the magic! I had found the solution to what was wrong with me a new and lovely place to hide. It was like stepping through a gossamer curtain into a brand new world. Where I was equal and perfect. 
 Each new school day shattered my happy place and one fateful day, trapped on the school bus I was beaten by a girl 3 times my size. Imagine that? Being beaten by another human being for something as small as a birth defect. DEFECT! I’M DEFECTIVE! No-one helped me, no-one tried to defend me. Even my own friends didn’t think I was worth helping. DEFECTIVE REJECT! I wanted to die from shame and humiliation. I wanted the world to crack wide open and swallow me whole. I wanted to run and hide. I was trapped on the bus and had to sit there with every single set of eyes burning into me. Some snickering, some fearful. No-one sat with me for the rest of the trip. No-one came to comfort me. Too humiliated to breath I was NOT going to cry. Every fiber in my body fought back tears. I will not cry and let any of these people see what they have done, I will hold it all in. every. single. tear. And so I did. I held it in for 25 years. I drank down that shame for 15 and when I got sober I started peeling the layers. For almost 11 years I have been peeling the layers, occasionally the shame of that day would simmer and let off it’s toxic fumes and I would “pray” it away… the “prayer” went something like this.                                                               
“God please do let me think of that day ever again”

About a year ago I had an emotional breakdown. I lost my way, I lost my faith, I lost my hope. My Higher Power illuminated  a path that led me here. To a rural village a million miles from where I grew up. This journey has done a lot of healing in a year. Mended my relationship with my beautiful mum. Restored my faith in 12 steps and my Higher Power. Introduced me to the most amazing women in recovery and it’s in been in these relationships with my mother and my sister’s in sobriety that I finally felt safe enough to dig around and find that festering, rotting piece of shame hiding under the layers of me. I picked up that shame, I looked right at it, at every single angle of it. I named it, I shared it with other human beings and just like that it dissolved. I finally understand what it means when I hear the cliche ~ “You’re as sick as your secrets” My secret was the shame and it was making me sick.

Today I will share honestly with another human being and I will be loved.

 

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The most exciting update so far. There is a woman I work with who has been impossible to make any kind of contact with. I have made it my personal mission to focus on love & kindness with her. Usually I don’t even get a response when I greet her in the building , I persevered anyway. Acting with kindness and compassion, after all I get that it’s not personal. We all have our battles. This morning she smiled 🙂 The this afternoon she engaged in some friendly banter with me and do you know what happened next? Her whole face changed right in front of my eyes and she has the prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen. Was a lovely moment, I am grateful I was present during the conscious contact.

today I will be thankful for the intimate moments between strangers

namaste

 What a month I have had!  It has been interesting to say the least. I wasn’t sure when I started this little experiment how long it would last because lets face it, I am notoriously bad at sticking to anything. I have stuck to my little “namaste” project however and the results have been surprising.  The initial point of the project was to help me cope with my social phobia’s in a new work place and I must say it’s been an amazing experience. I work for a fairly large company and so far I have been quite successful with maintaining a nice working relationship with most. There were a few that were a little standoffish and rude to begin with but I made them my primary targets when it came to greeting them spiritually. I suppose it’s important to note that while 1 or 2 have not become any friendlier I am definitely not taking it personally and my fear or “attitude” has shifted to compassion. Where I once saw aggression & rudeness I now see sadness. My ability to feel compassion rather than judgement has shifted.  I was also invited to attend a work social function and normally I would have declined but I went and had a great time!  So it’s fair to say that as far as work goes “Project Namaste” has been an enormous success. I will continue!
It’s hard to say if shop attendants are friendlier or if I am but it’s also fair to say that I don’t have a single incident to complain about ~ again obvious success!
On a personal note there have been many small & subtle improvements. Friendships are shifting and once where I was always the first to initiate contact that has shifted. I have found in my usual social circles friends are making the effort to reach out to me more, rather than the other way round. I am feeling very loved by the usual suspects. 🙂
Most importantly of all I am practicing this with my daughter and my patience & tolerance has dramatically improved. I am feeling more connected to her; to her little person and less a sense of “ownership & control” of her as “my” child.

 In general, I have felt calmer and more in control of my emotions. My mental alertness is improving possibly because I’m not spending so much time thinking about myself. It’s exhausting thinking about my life all the time. In addition to my usual levels of self obsession which are characteristic of many addicts I am also addicted to fantasy and can spend hours in my own imaginings wandering here, there & everywhere. Project “namaste” has helped keep my focus on others, how I can be of service, what I can bring rather than take. I have found it easier to keep my head where my hands are and be present.

 For those of you following I would love for you to share your stories.

today the divine in me will honor the divine in you. namaste  🙂

Great Advice

“The most effective way to do it is, to do it.”
~ Amelia Earhart

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good advice

Hug someone you love today and in that hug be in the moment. Don’t rush it, really be present in that hug. Allow all that is pure & divine in you connect deeply with all that is divine & pure within them. Namaste beautiful people

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