F.E.A.R.

I was working with one of my sponsors a few weeks ago, and she told me this phrase.  I almost fell out of my chair.  There are a few acronyms for “FEAR” such as: F*ck Everything And Run and Face Everything And Recover.  But… False Evidence Appearing Real is the one that works best for me. I have a lot of fear in everything I do.  Or should I say, everything I don’t do.  Fear holds me back in many decisions.  Is that why I am so damn indecisive?

Umm… definitely.

There have been times I felt the fear and did it anyway.  Like, the first time I rode a motorcycle, or a roller coaster, or stood up for myself in junior high school when I got in a fist fight.  There was definitely a lot of fear in those instances, but I did it anyway.  Ok, maybe getting in a fist fight is not the best example… The point is, I felt the fear and pushed through it.

A lot of us as children were afraid of the dark.  I remember when I was a little girl, I was afraid of my closet.  I swore to everything that there was a monster waiting to eat me.  The false evidence was the creeks from behind the closet door.  The fear appeared real because I believed it.  I would jump up and turn the light on, go look inside the closet and hey… no monster!  Imagine that.  The false evidence had appeared very real.

I am going through a major life change in the next six weeks.  I decided I need to leave my boyfriend.  We met in recovery a couple of months after I got sober.  He has done a lot for me and we have been through some great times.  But I see the big picture and it is pretty blank.  I won’t go into the sordid details (although it would make for some interesting reading).  Let’s just leave it in the “we grew apart” ditch.

Fear is absolutely a healthy emotion in certain situations.

So I have to be out by December 1st! How will I do it? Who the hell knows… I have faith in God, in my program and in myself that I will pull through this.

Have you ever pushed through the fear? How did you overcome? Share your thoughts and stories below! 

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K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid

Image: revivedmedia.net

Keeping it simple may seem pretty, well, simple for the average human being, but for us alcoholics and addicts, it can be anything but.  We just have a way of complicating the most uncomplicated things. Things like: working, driving and even food shopping become daunting because that’s what we do. Where this becomes a danger is when we complicate our sobriety.  Complicating life complicates our sobriety.

I was at a meeting last night and one of the gentlemen there used this phrase.  I wrote it in my little notebook because I felt like, “yeah, I want to talk about this.”

When I first got sober, I did not keep it simple.  I would create drama, over-analyze things and make problems out to be bigger than they actually were.  I was still stuck in the, “Poor me, look what I have to deal with!  Why can’t everything just be easy?” phase.

Living life on life’s terms is definitely a struggle for someone who always escaped with drugs and alcohol.  The reality of an active alcoholic/addict is that they abhor reality.  The cycle is: we screw up, we get drunk, we feel resentment, we screw up, we get drunk and we wind up doing dumb stuff.

I am no longer new to sobriety, and yeah, in the beginning I was trying to hold onto the old way of thinking (complicated) while maintaining my sobriety.
When I realized keeping things simple made my life simple, I started catching on.

Ways to keep things simple:

Plan ahead

Write up a budget

Go to work

Tell the truth

Do the next right thing

Taking a break

Keeping it simple isn’t just for people in recovery.  What are some ways you keep it simple?

Dear Me – A Letter to My Fifteen Year Old Insecure Self

So I came upon this post courtesy of the talented Jeff Goins.  Listen to me, I “came upon.”  The truth is I follow his amazing blog and even bought his book “Wrecked.”  Check it out.  You can thank me later.

The gist is this:  Write a letter to your fifteen year old self.  Simple!  What would you say to yourself?  What would you tell you to value?  What would you tell you to not get in such a tizzy about?

After you write your letter, link back here to the Friday, September 14, 2012 post.

Annnnd, one more thing before we get started… Check out Emily Freeman’s book Graceful (for young women).  I plan on it!

Dear Me:

Hey.  I know you’re sad and you feel misunderstood and you’re lonely. I get it.  But I have to tell you that you looked for love in all the wrong places.  Turns out, you may have been an ugly duckling (all skinny and gangly) but you filled out quit nicely.  You always had a problem with anger, but it suited you well and really calmed down after 30.

Oh, and by the way, you’re an alcoholic.  Yeah, it turns out, after a serious run in the dirt, it is a blessing in disguise.

So here are my tips to you, lassy:

1. Boys are not everything.

2. Follow your dreams, no matter what your dad says!

3. Stop frowning!  Gram is right, your face really does stay that way.

4. Please stop cutting yourself. The emotional scars heal, but those scars on your wrist will be there for life.

5. You have great thoughts, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

6. No one is watching you.  Okay, maybe one or two people here and there.  But not everyone all the time.  Get over it and be silly!

7. I know you like to think you know everything.  You don’t.

8. You should listen to the adults in your life more.  They’ve been there and are so not blowing smoke up your arse.

9. Stop being such a people pleaser!

10.  You have an amazing smile!  Smile more. Frown less.

With much love and admiration,

The still crazy head banging chick you grew to love.

Bridges & Starlings

Covered Bridge

Bridges. We build them.  We burn them. We travel across them to new destinations and we let them carry us home.  We stand on them to stare at the awesomeness of water or to watch fireworks in the sky. If we are superstitious, we hold our breath as we cross.

I love bridges.  I love to look at them, travel across them, stand on them and take pictures of them.  I’m not sure if there is any significance of bridges in my personal life.  I tend to look at things in-depth and over-analyze everything.

I had a rough morning, and for some reason, bridges popped in my head.  My desktop is a picture of a glorious black train bridge (aren’t most train bridges black?) printed in black and white.  Sometimes I honestly just sit and stare at my desktop for a good three minutes.

So after bridges popped in my head, I started thinking about why bridges popped in my head.  I had just spent the morning on the front step with my coffee and cigarettes watching about forty starlings communicate in their “squeaky swing” chirps and sounds and I thought about how they were behaving as a group. I had some old crackers so I crunched ’em up and scattered them on the ground.

Granted, before my time with the starlings, I had just had an argument with someone who insisted on bashing me.  This took me back to my computer to look up the starling animal totem, which is relevant to working in groups of people (starlings are rarely alone) and I started to wonder what the heck bridges and starlings had to do with one another (in my mind).

Starlings
Starlings (Photo credit: Sergey Yeliseev)

And then, it clicked.  “By learning starling’s behavior, I can live peacefully with my friends and family” is what it says on the totem site.  Clearly, if I keep insisting on being right and dwelling on the problem instead of working in the solution, I will burn bridges.  But my pride gets in the way and I stray away from the group (or person) because I’d rather sit in my crap than find a solution.  Thankfully I can see this relatively close to when the situation arises, instead of further down the line after the damage has been done.

The other interesting thing is that I just started reading “Drop the Rock” which is a phenomenal book about working Steps Six and Seven.  For those unfamiliar with AA literature:

Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.

Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings.

Now, we all have character defects, and most (if not all) of us like to hold on to many of them.  I hold on to them more often than I  think I want to.  Which is why, when I am ready to have my defects removed, they will be, and not before.  I pray every day for my defects to be removed.  God, however, cannot live my life for me and I have this stinking thing called “free will” floating inside of me constantly. It takes awareness to be entirely ready to have my character defects removed.

I am now aware of the significance of the murmuration of starlings this morning.  I have to think before I speak.  As far as bridges go, I don’t have many left to burn.

Do you like bridges?

Do you have any character defects you don’t dig much?

Let’s talk about it! 😀

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!

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.

Just For Today

Image: kickstarter.com

Just for today is an AA/NA saying, but can be used by anyone in everyday life.

Just for today I will be kind to others.

Just for today I will be kind to myself.

Just for today I will take inventory only of myself and not judge others.

Just for today I will use the tools I have been taught to live my life to the fullest without picking up.

I found a great site while searching for “just for today” information.

Just For Today Meditations

BTW – this is not my A -Z “J” post!  I posted “I” yesterday and found out I was supposed to skip Sunday. *palm to forehead*

Have a great day you shiny, happy people.  Talk About It Tuesday will resume in May.