Living Life on Life’s Terms

It’s all about perception.

Hey all.. I hope that you are all shiny and well and that you have been kicking major arse on whatever you got going on.  I want to apologize for falling off the radar for the last couple months… it seems all writing and reading without working a solid program and keeping myself in a good place left me kind of angry and hostile.

But I am back.  I just found a new sponsor last night.. I have seen her around for a little while and I really like what she has.  I also discovered al-anon.  I went to my first ever meeting of that sort Wednesday night and just… wow.  It’s amazing the things we realize when we shut up and really listen.

So, here is what I discovered in the last couple months while adjusting to living life on life’s terms.

  • I have no control over anyone.
  • I can’t tell people what to do; I can make suggestions.
  • If something/someone makes me feel bad, I need to see my part in it FIRST, and then take action.

Seeing my part in all the stuff that has happened to me has really done wonders.  At first, I blamed everyone for my life.  Right down to my children!  How crazy is that?  When I realized that I have a part in how people treat me (how I let them treat me) and that I can stand up for myself…man, let me just say:  HUGE EXHALE.

Children are innocent victims of their circumstances, but as we grow older there comes a point in which we become responsible for our lives….

Living Life on Life’s Terms:  Life just keeps on happening.  It doesn’t stop.  There is no Pause or Rewind button.  There is no: “wait, this can’t happen to me!  I’m not ready!”

There are two choices:  either change the circumstances or change the self.  If we don’t change the self, chances are we’ll wind up back in similar circumstances.

Thanks for letting me share.  Enjoy your weekend!

ROW 80 – Six Years Sober

May 26, 2006 was my first sober day. It was two days before my eldest daughter’s sixteenth birthday.  Saturday I celebrated six years! It has been a roller coaster of emotions, trials, experiences, ups, downs and all-arounds.

I can’t say it was easy all the time.  The first three months were the “pink cloud” of getting clean and sober.  It’s the cloud of high hopes we talk about in the rooms, groups and such.  We all hop on the cloud and say things like “this is so great!  I’ll never pick up again!” and we all mean it. I meant it.

I remember in one group, the counselor asked everyone “if you could have your drug/drink of choice without any consequences, would you drink/use?” A few people answered and said, “yes!” “absolutely!” “hell yeah!”

When the question came to me, I answered “no.”  The counselor said, “but you have no consequences.” I said, “that is not a hypothetical I want to talk about, because it’s bullshit.  I will always have consequences if I pick up.”

I guess I thought, if I start talking in hypothetical mumbo jumbo so early in my recovery, I won’t make it.  And I had to make it.  If I didn’t make it, I would die.

These days, my worst day sober is better than my best day drunk or high.  I have learned so much about myself I continue to be amazed of what I am capable of!  I love to push the limits as I travel my journey never knowing what the next day holds.

And I do it One Day At A Time.

My ROW80 Goals/Progress are as follows!

  • continue to edit manuscript (I am making headway!)
  • AA meeting Tuesday night!
  • get back into Flash Fiction Friday (I just haven’t had any ideas!)
  • Triberr three times a week to share posts.
  • Read a book! (I have so many waiting – I haven’t decided yet)

That is my goal list for the week.  How is everyone else coming along?  Hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend!

A – Z Challenge ~ S is for Sober

image: recovery-gifts.net

Sober is a way of life for me.  I did some soul-searching (like I always do) and asked around.  Apparently I am breaking the Anonymity rule by mentioning AA on my blog.  So there will be no more of that. Apparently I read the text differently.  I can talk about “support groups” and “help” and “alcohol” and “alcoholics” but AA is a big no-no.  I certainly do not want to be “that girl.”

I will be sober six years this May.  I got to say, in the beginning, I didn’t know how I would function.  When I was out there, I hated myself and the thought of a day without drugs or alcohol was so foreign to me.

How would I deal with life?

How would I feel normal?

How would I fake the persona I came to be and make people like me all the while loathing who I really (thought I) was inside?

These were honest, legitimate questions I pondered the first three days of getting clean and sober.  Those three days were spent locked in my apartment (a room) with water, cigarettes and the Military Channel. I have yet to feel as sick as I did for those three days.

But I got through it.  I had two choices:

1) get sober.

2) die.

There is a whole slew of crap that goes along with this.  I have entertained writing a memoir. If my reaching out, writing and sharing helps one alcoholic or addict than it is all for the best.

To keep what I have, I have to give it away.

Thanks for letting me share.

A – Z Challenge ~ P is for Peaceful

Peaceful spot at Mallards Pike Lake Away from ...
Peaceful spot at Mallards Pike Lake Away from the picnic area, it's possible to find a tranquil spot by the lower lake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peaceful.  Tranquil.  Serene.  How great is it when we are truly at peace?  Last year, before my co-worker passed away, I walked in Tyler State Park every afternoon at lunch time.  Things got pretty hectic after she passed, and I was not able to continue my routine.

I think about her a lot, and hope that she is at peace.  She should be, she was an extremely peaceful person.

Peaceful is a way of life along with a state of mind.

I was looking around for peaceful places and found an article called The Ten Most Peaceful Places to Live on Earth. There are some beautiful photos in this article along with some exotic locations.  Canada is in there.  Not sure how exotic Canada is (no offense!) but it is definitely on my “places to go” bucket list.  I have read and heard that Canada is amazing.  I really want to see a moose.  Ok, that was random, but wildlife brings me a sense of inner peace I find it difficult to explain.

Where do you go to find peace?

A – Z Challenge ~ N is for Newcomer

Welcome - Keep Coming Back

Newcomer – In the Twelve Step Programs of the world it stands for that person who walks through the door of a support meeting for the first time (or in the first months of their sobriety) and really has no idea what to expect. I was a newcomer once.  We’ve all been a newcomer in one way or another in one situation or another.

The newcomer is so important.  Of course, they don’t realize this.  Their naivety and fear helps us that have been in the program a while just as much as the program will help them.

Some slogans to remember as newcomer:

  • It works if you work it.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep coming back.
  • One day at a time.
  • Easy does it.

I will celebrate six years of sobriety on May 26th of this year.  I got to tell you… I was scared that first year.  I was scared of a sober life.  How would I have fun?  What would I drink when I went out to restaurant?

And the biggest question of all:  How would I deal with life?

Fortunately, I met good, sober people and realized (for me) that my newcomer status was a good thing and that even though I was getting help, I was helping others.

I am no longer a newcomer, but the newcomer now helps me just by letting me help them.

Question of the day: Can you recall an experience as a newcomer in any aspect of your life?  How did you react?

A – Z Challenge ~ C is for Caution

Caution.  It means be careful, warning, danger and other things. But in the midst of life, sometimes caution can be a death sentence that leads to a mundane existence filled with the same boring pork chops and applesauce every Thursday night along with Sunday night bowling.  Hey, bowling is great.  Pork chops are great.  But… wouldn’t Bowling for Pork Chops be even better?

Exactly.

There have been times I have played on the safe side of the fence.  Okay, most of my life (unless I was drunk or high) I played on the safe side of the fence.  I took risks, but they were extremely calculated risks with a high percentage success rate.  I mean, one thing I hate is to fail or be wrong.  So it makes sense that caution was something I exercised often.

Caution can be a death sentence.  It can be that thing that suffocates you.  You’ll wake up in thirty years, roll out of bed and look in the mirror and ask yourself, “why?” And you’ll pepper your soul with “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.”

If we don’t take chances, we don’t know what can happen!  Sure, we’ll always know that our food will taste good because we order the same thing, or that we’ll make it to work on time because we always take the same route (boring!). We can always be sure we’ll be entertained because we watch that movie we love every time.

Calculated risks are a way to step out of our comfort zone and grow as an individual.  Do you remember the last time you took a calculated risk?  Maybe you took a deep breath and asked for a raise (which I did last week – it paid off!) or maybe you decided to wear a different color sweater than that gray one you always wear.

Whatever it is, step outside your comfort zone and take a calculated risk.  You will grow in ways you won’t begin to believe.

Talk About It Tuesday – Penguins, Wine & Peanut Butter

Welcome to Talk About It Tuesday. Today is Valentine’s Day!  Happy V-Day you love doves!  I figure there will be a lot of mooey gooey Valentine’s Day posts out there, so we’re gonna stick to the wackos.

Last week was a lot of fun!  I really enjoy finding these crazy articles and sharing them with you. Last week we talked about spiders with detachable man parts and gamers dying to play another round of their favorite video game.  Literally. This week we have penguins, wine and peanut butter…

John Holt / Dock 25 via New England Aquarium

Roast Beef the Penguin is going to old age homes to help the elderly smile.  Roast Beef loves the attention and looks forward to his visits. He is 13 and acclimated to visiting children, but did very well on his first visit at the Hannah Duston Rehabilitation Center in Haverhill, Mass.

Let’s just say you are having a bad day.  Maybe you just lost your job as a bacon inspector at the local Oink-A-Boink and you’re really down on your luck.  Well, find a cat to sit with, a dog to pet or a penguin to plop in your lap.  According to Psychology Today, pets makes us feel better!

Off to Connecticut we go to discuss wine thieving irony.  OK, you’re looking for a good bottle of wine but don’t have the cash to buy it, you say.  Well, you could do what Mark Clark of New Haven, Conn. did and thieve the wine from Wine Thief.  I do not recommend this because, well, stealing is illegal pretty much all over the world (and probably Jupiter, too).  It’s probably easier to panhandle for a couple of hours to get a bottle of booze, but where’s the fun in that?

Does it get anymore ironic than that? Well, it gets weirder.  In Kentucky, a 23-year-old man was found inside a convenience store naked, covered in peanut butter and chocolate.  So, I guess technically, he wasn’t naked. Apparently, the Reese’s imposter knew he was acting out of character.  He wrote an apology on the floor of the market in liquid NyQuil.

I seriously cannot make this stuff up. Well, actually I could, but it would be way time-consuming and would require mass amounts of LSD.  I have access to neither of those.  So I just troll news pages and share all the quirky stuff with you guys!

Hope everyone is over indulging in chocolate and rose petal bubble baths.. or at least chowing down on a candy bar while sitting next to a scented candle. 😀

Thank you so much for joining me for Talk About It Tuesday.

Caught Off Guard? Go With The Flow…

Just A Bike From The 2012 Bike Show in NY

Yeah……..my day. I won’t bore you with the boring details because they are freaking boring. I went to an AA meeting tonight… yep.  Been a while.  I get caught up in myself and think… “What. Me? AA? Phshh.. I got stuff to do!” But in reality.. I need those meetings.. So I went. God is a funny dude, let me say.  I haven’t been to an AA meeting in months.  I get there and an AA friend of mine asks me to speak. The conversation went like this:

“Hey, Dar, ain’t seen you in a while.  How ya been?”

“Hey! What’s up? Great. You?” I sip my Dunkin’ Donuts coffee hoping he doesn’t realize I didn’t say his name.

“Dar, you wanna do me a favor?”

I already know where this is going. “Depends,” I say. Another sip. What the frig is this guy’s name?

“You wanna speak?” big smile.  He has a great smile.

“No, not really,” I say and smile.

He starts his speech about how his speaker ditched him and all that jazz… I cut him off.

“I’ll do it.  I’ll speak.”

“Aww, you’re the best!”

“I know,” I kid in a serious tone and wink. I still don’t remember the poor guys name.. but I touched on my memory (and the reason for it’s lameness) when I spoke.

Speaking at AA meetings is important for the listeners at the meeting. Most of all, it is important for the speaker. When I share my story at a meeting I usually have it planned.  I have bullet points written on a piece of paper (a lot of us do this).  But I find when I get caught off guard like tonight, it helps me grow.

I am basically free writing out loud.  I am talking about painful stuff.  But I say some witty things, and laugh.  The listeners laugh. It’s all good.

Anyway.  Today was a good day.

I wrote my 750 words this morning.  Got to a meeting. Saw my sponsor. Read some blogs and commented on them.

ROW80 Goals

  • read blogs/comment blogs
  • continue with 750 words.com
  • update blog 1-2 times a week
  • continue Story#2
  • Journal.

Hope everyone else is coming along nicely with their goals. Check this link out to read ROW80 blogs or post your own update!