There Are Certain Experiences for a Reason

Imagine being a young child. You can barely see over the counter tops, maybe not even at all. You see a commotion going on just right over the edge of the formica counter-tops and your little brain gets curious. What’s going on up there? Why is all of that clear smoke coming up from that big silver thing sitting on that hot thing? Maybe I should reach up and touch it.

If you have had any experiences with keeping kids away from hot stoves and counter-tops with sharp objects, then you understand that one of two things is about to happen. Either a poor decision will be made by the child resulting in a harmful trip to the emergency room with either burns or a cut, hopefully none of which turn out to be fatal. Or another bystander will see the entire situation and warn the child (probably in an obnoxiously loud tone) that they are about to hurt themselves. (Plus, if they react anything like me instinctively, they will probably lunge forward and yell instead of being all calm-cool-and-collected.)

Get hurt or receive a blessed warning.

Those are the only two choices in this scenario. Those may be the only two options period when it comes to certain situations in our lives. When we make bad decisions we usually are only given too options: get hurt or make this a valuable learning lesson.

Learn from your mistakes and observe the warning signs along the way. They aren’t always obvious, but they can save you a whole lot of pain if you can see them coming!

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Don’t Lose Your Spontaneity!

So in this stage of my life, I no longer strive to be spontaneous anymore. Yes, every once in a while I’ll get a wild hair to order pizza for the kids on a Friday night (I know, CALM DOWN!), but that’s about as zany as we get these days.

I feel as though “spontaneous = reckless” in this season of my life. I don’t believe that’s 100% true, but I find myself being less and less spontaneous the older I get. Maybe routine is to blame. Maybe my need to be responsible is to blame. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown so comfortable in our little cocoon at home that venturing off to anything new kinda scares the crap out of me.

Yesterday, I took my kids to audition for a movie…3 hours away! We never do anything on a whim like this. If something requires us to travel on the weekend (especially 3 hours away), I’ve had it planned out for weeks with the well-stocked snack bag and drinks needed for the entire trip ready to go before we ever load up the car.

No such thing happened yesterday. I had a friend who was excited about taking her own kids (granted they were only 30 minutes down the road from the audition) and her excitement about it got the best of me. I thought, “What the hell? Why not? All I was going to do today was laundry!”

We have no idea if anything will come out of going to this audition, but I did learn one important thing yesterday…try new things even if they scare you. My kids did it. They actually had fun too!

You can be spontaneous and responsible at the same time. My kids didn’t miss school. Nobody missed work for us to go. And we made it home just in time for our nightly routines. Don’t lose your ability to be spontaneous!

Celebrating One Year, Yesterday

There was a pop-up notification that I have been writing this blog for a year. A whole year, people! That may not seem like a big deal to you, but man oh man…that’s huge for me! The reason why it’s such a big deal is because in the past year I have let go of so many issues that have been lingering around forever, and it’s all thanks to this community.

Before, I would walk around holding in my resentments about the past, complaints about the present, and worries about the future. That is until they started becoming too big of a burden to carry.

Now, I get to come here everyday and talk to y’all before any of the chaos of my life (that comes with having a husband, 3 kids, and a dog) takes over. I get to sit down with my cup of coffee and contemplate life with you fine people each and every day.

So yes, a whole year is a big deal for me! Hopefully, there will be many more to come!

 

Reflecting on How Things Used to Be

I don’t know about you, but I thank God every day that my life is drastically different than it was in the past. I’m not saying that this is something self-promoting and I’m awesome for realizing what a disaster my life used to be. Just simply stating how grateful I am to not have to live that kind of lifestyle any more.

“What kind of lifestyle?” you ask. Let me paint you a little picture.

Several years ago, almost 4 to be exact, I was living a life of total chaos, only I didn’t realize it until the ticking time bomb was ready to detonate right in front of my face. My marriage was collapsing right in front of me, I was binge drinking on the weekends to drown my sorrows, I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be with my career, I was dying inside emotionally from the passive-aggressive/co-dependent relationship I had created and encouraged with my husband, and I was just downright unhappy with where my future was headed.

Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with myself or where my future was headed. I needed to make a change. I had spent so long trying to change everyone else around me – my husband, my parents pending separation and divorce, and even the uncontrollable situations at work – that I forgot I’m only in control of myself. Realizing only I can make changes in my life, I finally felt that time had come.

I’m happy to report that today our marriage is solid and strong with a foundation we tore down and rebuilt ourselves from the ground up. We are different people today than we would have been had we not decided to drastically change our lives. I quit my job that was ultimately toxic and very hazardous to my life and my marriage. We made a fresh start in a new community and continue to keep growing and improving ourselves.

What’s your story? How are you different today than you were 5 years ago? 10 years ago? 

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.

Motivated, Encouraged, and Still a Little Scared

Sometimes we have to motivate ourselves to simply get out of bed. Sometimes we spring right up with no hesitation. Why is that? Maybe you are excited about something fun you are doing or you are going to have lunch with someone special you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe you are motivated and inspired to get to work because you absolutely love what you do! (That’s the dream for everyone, right?)

Hopefully you have found some sort of motivation in your life where you can turn to when things start getting tough. Maybe it’s a friend. Maybe it’s a sponsor. Maybe it’s a family member who has loved you through all of your life’s ups and downs. Maybe it’s an internal motivation you find when you take better care of yourself. Whatever the case may be, please continue to look for new ways of motivation each and every single day.

With all of that being said, I believe it’s perfectly normal to be motivated and encouraged with all of your life’s endeavors and still have a little fear. I’m not talking about the crippling fear that controls your life and keeps you trapped in a deep, dark hole. I’m talking about the kind that makes you question your own motives. The kind of fear that for a split second makes you wonder if you are making the right decision.

This kind of fear is more of a pass-through tool. It’s not meant to come in and set up shop in our lives. It’s meant to enter our consciousness, make sure we are paying attention, and then say adios before we’ve finished our next thought. It is just the right amount of fear. It’ll keep us on our toes, but also keep us aware of the decisions we are making.

 

So What Are All those Numbers?

If you are a seasoned veteran of any kind of recovery program, I’m sure you know by know that addiction comes with underlying issues. But I’ve been doing some research and came across some interesting stats for everyone today.

Here is what I found from The Addiction Center’s website.

Addictions (General)

  • Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction (excluding tobacco).
  • 2.6 million people with addictions have a dependence on both alcohol and illicit drugs.
  • 9.4 million people in 2011 reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.
  • 6.8 million people with an addiction have a mental illness.
  • Over 90% of those with an addiction began drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs before the age of 18.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions affecting Americans. It is also an addiction that goes untreated in many cases because of the legality of the substance. However, the recorded rates of alcoholism are decreasing (18.1 million people in 2002 to 16.7 million in 2011), but the addiction is still a cause for concern.

  • Binge drinking is more common in men; 9.1% of men 12 and older reported heavy drinking 5 or more days in a month, while 2.6% of women reported this.
  • Over 11% of Americans have driven under the influence.
  • Out of 16.6 million people with alcoholism, 2.6 million were also dependent on an illicit substance.
  • It is estimated that over 95% of those who need treatment for alcoholism do not feel they need treatment.
  • More people receive treatment for alcohol than any other substance.
  • Over 30% of those who received treatment in 2011 reported using public or private health insurance to pay for treatment.

(All information can be found at The Addiction Center)

Maybe you already knew these stats. (I didn’t!) Or maybe everything is all new to you. PLEASE get help if you need it. PLEASE find a loving and supportive group of people to help you through this journey of life.

For more information on addiction and recovery programs, visit Alcohol Treatment & Rehab.