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! 

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! 😀

All About Perspective

What do you see?

Perspective.  We all have our own.  Some perspectives we learn over time while others we form on the drop of a dime.  I have said, in earlier posts, that I find people fascinating.  Their tastes, their mannerisms, and their idiosyncrasies.  But what I am really into is their perspective.

For example:  the glass to the left of this post.  Half full?  Half empty?  Too much?  Not enough?  Do you even care?

I was at a meeting last night and at the end, we all went outside.  A lot of us stand around and chitter chatter sometimes; getting to know each other and all that. I was talking to my old sponsor, and I spotted this huge bug on the wall to the right of me.  It was huge and beautiful, from my perspective.

I started to ease my hand under the bug (my mother had shown me how to do this just this past weekend) and my old sponsor started to become uncomfortable.

“Please, Darlene.  Don’t do that!” she begged me.

“Why?  It’s a harmless bug.  Look how cool he is,” I defended as I edged my hand under the left rear leg.

“Cool?  It’s ugly and it will hurt you,” she said.  I could hear her perspective from the fear in her voice.

I really wanted to hold this bug and get a better look at it.  From my perspective it was just a bug; a misunderstood bug judged solely on appearance.  My perspective saw beauty and uniqueness.

I decided to spare everyone (at this point more people were watching) the horror of me (gasp!) actually picking up a giant bug to revel in the beauty I saw in God’s little creature.  My old sponsor relaxed and so did a few other people after I moved my hand away from the bug.  I felt a little sad because I didn’t get to pick the bug up.

However, I am happy that I got to see it and that I didn’t cause mass hysteria! 😉

Life is all about perspective.

Have your perspectives ever changed?  How do you feel about bugs?

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?