(If you haven’t read the first part of this series, please go back to the beginning so everything makes more sense. Link here: Give Us the Dirt! & Give Us the Dirt! (2))
I wish there was a way I could skip over my entire teenage years and go straight to college and provocative living, but that started way sooner than college. When I was in high school, I had developed all kinds of bad habits already. I smoked cigarettes regularly on the weekends, even though I participated in every sport and was a good athlete to know smoking was bad for me. I drank every weekend without fail, even if it was only a beer or two I’d sneak from my dad’s Coors Light collection in the fridge. I lied about where I was going with friends on the weekend if I knew my destination was a place my parents wouldn’t approve of. I became sexually active with multiple partners and it almost became a goal to sleep with someone new regularly. I’m sure some of this behavior was typical for teenagers, but I also threw in another deadly habit as well…I drank and drove on a continual basis.
Growing up in the small town where I did, there was a hobby of sorts we called “backroading”. We would cram as many friends as we could into one vehicle, find someone of age to get us the booze, and then proceed to drive around town on all of the backroads we could find. Most of the time we were going well under the speed limit, doing 10 mph in a 30 mph zone. But occasionally my friends and I would wind up in the car with an idiot who had already drank too much and wanted to go fast! I must say that I’m lucky to be alive considering how stupid we all were. I do have friends I went to school with who weren’t so lucky. May they rest in peace.
This habit of drinking and driving set up the expectation in our young minds that we were invincible and even out of reach from the cops because most of the time no one was ever pulled over. I’m not sure if the cops knew what we were up to on those backroads and they just turned the other way, or if they genuinely had no clue we were all getting lost on country roads in the middle of nowhere blaring Kenny Chesney with the windows down going 10 mph.
There were several times when we went backroading that are memorable and no doubt have funny stories to be shared at a different time and a different place, but one story in particular rises above them all…and it’s definitely not so funny.
(To be continued…)
Hello friends! I’m so happy to be back with you today after a week of travelling. I was in another country for a dear friend of mine’s wedding. While we were gone, my husband and I had time to reflect upon many things in our lives.
One of the more notable mentions is the fact that we weren’t 100% ready for a wedding/party type atmosphere. We were in a country in South America where the liquor and beer flows freely during any kind of celebration. My friend’s family in particular likes indulging in drinks just as much as any American family.
We didn’t even think (or I guess I should say I didn’t think) about the rehearsal dinner and the reception being that much of an issue. But then they brought out the serving trays of beer and shots that kept rounding our noses every few minutes. (I mean, the waitresses were really doing their jobs in making totally sure we really didn’t want any.)
We tried to find the just the right amount of time between staying at the party and not being rude by leaving too early. Finally, we had all of the water our bladders could handle and enough temptation to feel like we’re playing with fire.
We left the party early as well as the wedding reception because we had served our purpose. We were there to celebrate our friend’s wedding, meet the people important to her, and enjoy the party. We were not meant to linger around tempting fate to see how long we could really stay before one of us accidentally drank the champagne sitting right next to our water glass.
We made it! We did it! We grow stronger every time we venture out to another uncomfortable social atmosphere and I’m proud of us. My husband even salsa danced with me…SOBER! I feel more in love with him at that very moment!
(If you haven’t read the first part of this series, please go back to the beginning so everything makes more sense. Link here: Give Us the Dirt!)
Upon entering adolescence (as I’m sure many of you can relate), I tried to find the best way to fit in with the right group of people. Since I already had the ideology of the multiple beer-guzzling action demonstrated in front of me, I thought that the entire point of consuming alcohol was to drink it very fast and as many as you can. As you can imagine, this was a terrible idea for any 12 year old. (Yes, I did say 12 year old. I was mischievous and curious from a young age.)
I wouldn’t say I was getting drunk all of the time with my new found enjoyment of alcohol, but I definitely remember early signs of lying and inappropriate behavior. I remember taking my mom’s wine coolers. It was so easy to sneak them because a 6-pack would sit in our fridge well over a month at a time and my parents would completely forget they were there. Like I said before, mom was “allergic.”
My brothers and I also noticed these other bottles that would appear in our house from time to time, usually after a family gathering, and they would be stored in this special cabinet that was under lock and key. What was so special about these bottles? And why did they need a key? The forbidden drinks became even more intriguing to me so I decided one time when my parents left for the day that we were going to investigate these special bottles.
I remember finding one bottle in particular that was in a purple box with a purple lush bag wrapped around the bottle that had a gold crown on top. Must be fancy to have it’s own bag, I would think to myself. I bet it tastes like rainbows to have such a fancy outfit. It did not. Straight whiskey never has had a big appeal to me unless I was trying to look like a bad-ass in front of friends in college, but that’s a different part of the story.
The introduction to the “hard stuff” was a pivotal point in my drinking career. It meant that there was more out there than the over-sugared wine coolers and beer that tasted like someone burped in my mouth. I had the taste of something new that made me feel powerful, rebellious, and most of all light headed and tipsy, which is the basis for all of my drinking to come.
When I was young, I started to gain a tolerance for drinking. Not so much as to say I was able to put down many drinks without the side effects of being tipsy. Rather, I built a tolerance for what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior when drinking. Let’s just say there was more acceptable actions than unacceptable. I had totally lowered my standards at this point.
(To Be Continued…)
Maybe you’ve been coming here month in and month out to see if there’s any “good stuff” being distributed here on this blog. “It’s called Healing for the Alcohol ashamed, but I mostly see her telling us motivational insights all of the time,” may be a thought that has crossed your mind. Or simply, “Where is the real stuff? I want to know that someone else’s life isn’t perfect just like my own!” (At least that is something I constantly think when reading other’s blogs.)
You want the dirt? You want the truth? I’ll tell you the story, but this may take a while.
Growing up, I used to watch my father drink beer every night after he got off of work out in the heat. Being a larger man, I would watch him put down anywhere between 6-12 beers every night without losing all of his mental capacities. I never really saw my dad drunk growing up. Maybe once or twice, but it wasn’t many. When he was incapacitated, it was at a celebration like a party or a wedding.
My mother, on the other hand, still swears up and down she’s allergic to alcohol. It gives her the worst headache the next day, she doesn’t like the feeling of being “tipsy”, and she definitely doesn’t like getting to the point of being drunk. (Unfortunately, I did not receive this gene from her nor did my two brothers.)
With that being said, I watched my parents as we were growing up as I assume my own children are doing to my husband and myself. I noticed when dad would come in from a hot day and suck down several beers in a row without even thinking twice about it. Naturally, I thought I could do the same when I got to my preteen and teen age years. “Dad does it this way, so that’s how you’re supposed to drink beer.”
The biggest difference between my dad and myself was the fact that he was easily 100-150 pounds heavier than I was. When I entered adolescence, I truly thought this is how everyone was supposed to drink when they were given the opportunity.
Moving on to adolescence…
(To Be Continued…)
Why is it so easy to get caught up in the “trying to be perfect” mentality when we all know perfection isn’t attainable? We sometimes don’t even realize we’re doing it until it’s getting to the point of being ridiculous.
Why am eating nothing but protein shakes and salads? To have the perfect beach body selfie on vacation? Why am I making sure my kids have the right hair cut and clothes that are crisp and neat? To portray having perfect kids? Why am I so damn worried about putting on makeup for others? I don’t even wear it while I’m at home. Am I trying to be a different person when I’m around others?
I know I’m not the only person who struggles with the idea of perfection, otherwise there wouldn’t be the “Progress Not Perfection” rule out in the universe. None of us are perfect. None of us are perfect. None of us are perfect. (I figured if I said it three times, my fairy godmother would appear and say I was perfect in some way, but that didn’t happen.)
Foolishly, I tell myself I’m not trying to be perfect. I tell myself, “I’m not doing any of this to impress anyone.” Let’s be real, you may not want to “impress anyone else” but it feels good when people acknowledge the effort you put into something. Is this the pursuit of perfection or a whole other monster altogether? Is that the pursuit of acceptance? (Dang, now I’ll have to write a post on that one too. I digress.)
The reason I bring all of this up today is because I have been struggling with my own self-image the past few weeks and I needed to tell myself I’m being ridiculous. Like any good friend, I try to talk to myself in a constructive manner rather than tearing myself down. (The other way just doesn’t work for anyone and makes you feel like a complete failure all of the time. Trust me on this one.)
So to everyone reading this today (myself included), I wanted to tell you that you are a beautiful individual created by God.
Please tell me you’ve seen the 90’s movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. His character wakes up every single morning with the exact same song playing on the radio, the same people crossing his path, the same food being served, and every other thing about the day being the same over and over and over and over again. An endless loop of insanity. He can’t even get out by killing himself. He just wakes up again to repeat the day once more. The only way he is able to escape the cycle is to be the best version of himself and make choices that are truly honest to who he really is.
Sometimes I feel like I’m living in my own Groundhog Day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not to the point of trying to attempt being run over by a vehicle to escape the trap of perpetual sameness every day. But I often hear the words, “Didn’t we do this yesterday and last week and last month and last year?” creep slowly into my mind. Sometimes it feels like we eat the same food all of the time, read the same books, have the same workout, watch the same movies or shows on Netflix, wash the same clothes, wash the same dishes, and have the same conversations. (Note: When I say “we” I am mostly referring to the fact that I’m at home this summer with 3 small children.)
So what do we do to break the endless cycle of sameness? Do we need a new job? Do we need a new perspective? Do we need to make a drastic change in our lives? Do we need to hang on to these precious fleeting moments because we are told one day we will miss them?
I believe the answer lies in going back to the movie. How can we be the best versions of ourselves today and make the decisions that are truest to who we really are?
Try that on today. Try to be the absolute best version of yourself and make choices based on what you really want out of life. Hopefully tomorrow you’ll wake up with a different song playing on the radio.
Something I have been struggling with lately (maybe something all people struggle with at some point in their life) is my body image. Not in an over the top dramatic way I could have handled it, but in a more subtle, “Ugh, my clothes are fitting a little tighter and I’ve noticed I’ve got some more squishyness going on than I normally do.” A healthy awareness you can say that I may have been overindulging a little too much these past few weeks.
Maybe all people struggle in different areas of their life and don’t feel worthy at some point of their own love, not even to mention anyone else’s. Maybe women struggle with this more than men, or maybe women are just more vocal about it. (I only have a perspective from a woman’s vantage point, so any men out there feel free to chime in at any moment.)
With this body image “issue” I’ve had the last few weeks I decided to ask myself a few simple questions this morning. Why does it matter? Why do you care? What’s really the underlying issue here?
It turns out I was struggling with the burdens of not feeling worthy, enough, and complete. These thoughts of me telling myself, “If you would just lose 5 pounds, then you’ll be happy,” or “You should really go on another run. That’ll make you feel pretty again,” started to take over my mind.
The truth is, I am already worthy. I am already enough. I am already complete. I just needed my HP to remind me this morning that my worth comes from something greater than myself. Thank God I don’t have the rely on myself or anyone else for that matter to be made whole. I am whole. And I’m showing up today and trying.
One day at a time, right?