Please Don’t Struggle Alone

A friend recently told me she was struggling with a case of identity. Her sexual orientation came into the conversation. She told me how much she struggled with this aspect of her life, especially with her family.

Some of them know. Some of them don’t. Some have told her to be happy. Some have told her they love her, but it’s unacceptable in the eyes of God. Some may never find out because she’s scared they will completely disown her. This is some deep stuff she’s going through.

But I’ll be honest, I’m overjoyed and honored that she told me.

I can’t imagine carrying that burden alone. Whether you agree with how someone else lives their life or not isn’t the big picture here. The big picture in this scenario is that someone reached out to me and told me they were really struggling.

I would much rather a friend reach out and say that they’re not sure what’s going on in their life or that they are having a very difficult time rather than read about a fatal mistake they made.

The same goes with someone struggling with addiction. The “easy button” choice is to hide it and not tell anyone there’s a problem. But this decision will only burden us all further down the road. Whether it tears apart our families or the side effects eventually tears apart our bodies, we can never fully be whole again living in secret with such a disease.

Please get help if you need it. Surround yourself with people who will love you no matter what you struggles are in life.

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Hurting for a Friend

We all watch people in our lives make bad decisions. Sometimes it’s as simple as them getting a speeding ticket on the way to work. Sometimes it’s watching them stay in an abusive relationship. Sometimes it’s them settling for less than when they could have the life they have always dreamed.

Watching someone we love struggle isn’t easy. Especially when it’s from a distance. Hearing from other people that your friend is known as one of the “druggies” in town doesn’t help either.

I wish I could convince her that she has so much potential! Why does she keep throwing her life away? Why is she hanging around with people that are no good for her? Why won’t she listen to me?

I wish I could sit here and say I’ve been able to say all of that to my friend, but the truth is I haven’t talked to her since May. She won’t call me back. Whether she’s decided I don’t belong in her new life or she truly is busy with other things, I’m scared for my friend.

What I really need is an Al-Anon meeting.

Her decisions are completely out of my control. But still, that’s incredibly hard to accept when you love someone and want to see them happy.

Maybe she’ll wake up one day soon and realize she’s living in a toxic environment. Or maybe she won’t. All I can do is continue to call and check on her, even when those calls are never answered and voicemails never returned.

One day at a time…

To Drink or Not to Drink

Life as a stay-at-home isn’t all that glamorous. (Shocking, I know!) I’m not waiting to go to dinner parties when my husband gets home from work, or trying to get ready for the ball everyone other weekend. I try to get out of the house as much as possible and go places that both work for my schedule and help me get stuff done – the gym, the grocery store, the post office, etc. (Calm down. I know I should have told you beforehand this was riveting stuff!)

There are some people, moms specifically, who choose to get together ever so often for drinks or a “girls night”. (Although, I do know some moms who may meet too early in the afternoon, on a school night, to call it “girls night”. But I digress.) 

For a multitude of reasons, I don’t go to these types of gatherings. I’ve been invited to go to an early dinner at a beautiful winery to enjoy the scenery. Pass. I’ve been asked to go have margaritas at the local Mexican food joint. No thanks.

So, why not go? Maybe you are thinking, “You don’t have to drink. You have enough will power to just say no. Just go and be social.” There are two reasons why I don’t and won’t go to these kinds of activities.

  1. I still don’t 1,000% trust myself when I’m sucked into the vortex off a girls’ night out. (Plus, have you seen girls when they get sloppy drunk? And you want me to be the DD and take care of everyone? No thanks!)
  2. Drinking and being around drinking has a very personal connection with me. I realize some people have a healthy relationship with alcohol and can stand to be near it, but I am no such people. I don’t like to smell it. I don’t like to see what it does to people. And I especially don’t like it when people offer you something to drink, you politely respond with “No thanks. I don’t drink,” and then that’s followed with the infamous question, “Not even a glass of wine?”

I realize this may not apply to everyone’s situations and my reasons may be completely different than yours, but they are valid nonetheless. Don’t put yourself in awkward positions unless you are 1,000% comfortable in your own skin and know that you are in control of yourself.

You Know, THAT Time of the Party

Have you ever been to a wedding , birthday party, or reception of some sort when you realize everyone is totally wasted? Or maybe not even wasted. Maybe everyone is to the point where they are beginning to slur their words. Maybe someone stumbles every now and then or really bad dancing is going on from the shyest person in the room. That’s when you know it’s THAT time of the party.

The time that I am no longer serving my purpose as a participant of the celebration. It’s usually the time after all of the important things have happened – cutting of the cake, singing “Happy Birthday”, or opening gifts.

It’s the time when someone has non-verbally declared the original party over and the “after-party” just beginning. That’s my cue to leave.

You see, it doesn’t bother me to be around drinking when I’m serving a purpose. Being a supportive friend; celebrating a distant cousin’s new marriage; or even being a part of the family get-together. But what does bother me is when everyone stops making sense and I can see trouble on the horizon.

“No thanks. I’ve been there and done that wayyyyy too many times to count. I’ll be going now. It’s been great catching up with you, but I have to go because I’ll remember the next day all of the idiotic things that will happen here tonight and I really would rather just go to bed.” These are just some of the thoughts that have crossed my mind.

So know your purpose. Know when your threshold for “fun” is up. Don’t even let that temptation have a chance to sink into your lips or entice you with its aroma. Know when it’s time to say, “Bu-bye!”

When God Speaks Directly to Us

I’m not sure what type of relationship you have with your Higher Power (HP for short), but I know that sometimes I get a clear and concise message that I know was meant specifically for me.

For example, I’ve been working on creating a website. For months, I’ve created/managed/published/modified everything on this site myself. I built it from a pre-selected layout I chose and went from there. Now let me be clear, I am not a web designer. I am not a graphic designer. I have the ability to use Google to my advantage to figure things out, but that’s about it.

I started praying for guidance about someone helping me build a more professional looking site. And I kept praying. And I kept praying. “Am I just supposed to figure this out on my own? Do I need to hire one of these fancy people that I can’t afford to make me a really cool website? Do I need to scrap the whole thing and go get a real job?” All of these questions crossed my mind several times a day.

Then one day, several months after my initial prayer for guidance, I met someone by happenstance at a workshop I was attending. It was no coincidence that this woman sat right next to me, my mom, and my grandmother. As I was busy helping coordinate the event, all of the ladies at my table began to chat and one conversation led to another. Come to find out, this woman was a well seasoned web designer! What?!? By the time I came to rejoin our table, she had already jotted down her contact information and encouraged me to email her as soon as I was ready to take the next step.

Some may see this as coincidence, but I see it as God’s divine appointment. We don’t know when they’ll come, but I try to be as prepared for them as I can be. So I keep praying for things to happen in my life and I keep encouraging others to be on the lookout for these events to happen in their own lives.

Be alert to the people you meet and interact with everyday. You never know what message God is trying to deliver to you.

Selecting Who You Want In Your Life

This may sound harsh, but I’ve had to let go of quite a few people in my life ever since we stopped drinking. Don’t get me wrong here; in hindsight, hanging out with certain people just contributed to our being drunk every single weekend. But at the same time when those people try to call and get together with you, it’s hard to not say, “Sorry, but your lifestyle was killing me and I’d rather be better than that.” (You can physically feel the condescending tones in that, huh?)

I’ve never been a person who needed multiple “besties” in my life to be content. Yes, I had multiple acquaintances growing up, but I learned from a young age to only trust a select few of my friends for the deep stuff. Luckily, this has paid off for me in my adult years because I now only have a handful of people in my life who understand our new lifestyle and don’t judge us for it. (I know I shouldn’t care what other people think, but it still hurts when I tell someone I quit drinking and they follow it up with, “Yeah, that’s probably a good idea you stopped!” Empathetic or condescending once again? You decide.)

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is to not allow the same people in your life simply because they have always been there. Sort through the good, the bad, and the “probably shouldn’t” type of people in your life and decide who needs to stay and who needs to go.

I’m not saying you write these people out of your life forever. I’m suggesting that you maybe see them less. Perhaps only on special occasion or the rare holiday when togetherness is obligatory. You definitely shouldn’t be hanging around people daily who are toxic to your well-being and don’t understand your goals.

Who knows? Maybe you leading a happy and content life sober can encourage them to do the same.

When You Miss Someone or Something

Longing for things and other people used to make me feel like I was weak. I felt like I should be able to do things on my own and not rely on others. I was proud. I was head strong. I was stubborn…to say the least. However now I realize I need to rely on others for so much of my life.

We recently moved to a new town where I don’t know many people. We haven’t really met too many neighbors, besides the obligatory Facebook page where everyone tracks lost pets and missing front door packages. The kids and I have gone to the park several times, but haven’t really made any friends there. We’ve visited our local library and have become familiar with the librarian, but not made any new friends.

It’s lonely moving to a new place. This morning, I started thinking about the friends and familiar places I miss about the town we knew.  Old habits started creeping in as I noticed myself thinking, “Stop! What are you doing? The past is in the past. We don’t live there anymore. We need to move on and think about where we are today and the life we are living now. No need to sit around reminiscing about the life we use to have.” (Yeah, my “inner me” practices tough love most of the time.)

But the truth is it’s good to miss people. It’s good to miss places. It’s good to miss familiarity. Because all of these things remind us that we have so much to be grateful for! I’m grateful I met so many wonderful people where we used to live. I’m grateful my children made tons of friends and knew the school faculty so well. I’m happy that we had people who embraced us into their lives.

I know I had this exact same loneliness feeling when we moved to our old town and it won’t last forever. But in the midst of these feelings, I wanted to acknowledge that it’s perfectly okay for me to be feeling the way I’m feeling.

Have you had any of these feelings too?