Getting to Know Yourself a Little Bit Better

Have you ever had someone come up to you and let you know that you’re being completely unreasonable and unpleasant today? (Maybe they don’t say it in such a nice way…) Do you know when you’re being completely unreasonable and unpleasant? (Sometimes I don’t notice my behavior until my husband points it out.)

The reason I ask these questions is because maybe we don’t know ourselves as good as we think we do some days. We don’t always have to have a 100% spot on/no mistakes kind of day, but we also shouldn’t swing to the other end of the pendulum every five minutes either.

I have mood swings. [GASP!] Shocker I know…a woman with mood swings. But I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I take someone else’s perspective for my own behavior or attitude when I can’t see it. Some days I’m overtly irritable and I don’t even notice until my husband asks me for the 10th time, “Are you sure nothing is bothering you?” From which my initial mental reaction is, “You’re bothering me with all of these questions!” Hence, this is when I realize I’m being extra cranky!

The point to all of this is to know your emotions a little bit better today than you did yesterday. Know when you need to give yourself a “timeout” and step away from the chaos to gather yourself. None of us are perfect (by any stretch of the imagination), but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep improving.

Progress, not perfection…

Advertisements

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.

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!”

Where Does the Time Go?

I know, it’s so cliche’ to say, “Time Flies!” But you know what, it really does! I was just reflecting this morning on my husband and I being together for almost 10 years, I quit drinking nearly 4 years ago, I started being a stay at home mom 3 years ago, and I’ve been writing for the past 2 years. What a crazy ride it’s been. That sense of feeling like it’s been a lifetime, but also a blink of an eye just blows me away.

Today, I just wanted to come here and challenge you to reflect on the past 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, and the past year to see how much you’ve changed. How have you grown? Have you not changed a single bit? Did you backslide a little? Have you accomplished your goals? Did you set any goals during this time?

Now, think about the next years ahead – next year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and even 20 years down the road. What do you see? What do you want? Where are you headed?

Hi, My name is ___________. Let’s get started!

Have you ever been to therapy before? I have. Several times actually. I went by myself once when my husband was still drinking and I was on the verge of filing for divorce if he didn’t stop. I went another time when my husband found out I had an affair several years ago (in the prime of all of the drinking). And then my husband and I went together for marriage counseling. Yes, I’ve been to therapy. I know the drill.

Lately though I feel like it’s time to go back for another round. I struggle with a lot of things internally that I don’t believe I should suffer through alone. But who am I supposed to share these deep thoughts with?

Some people say, “You should share everything with your spouse!” We both know the crazy that lives inside each of our heads so we decided a long time ago that we share things when they are necessary or really need to be spoken.

Some people say, “I share everything with my best friend…everything!” Though I do share a lot with my best girlfriend, I don’t believe she would quite understand some of the things I struggle with since we aren’t always on the same page. Plus, I can tell when she holds back and doesn’t say something she really wants to say to me.

Some people say, “You should just pray about everything and God will work it all out.” I’ll be perfectly honest, I pray every morning. I pray about all of the crazy in my head. I pray about all of the people I care about. I pray about my hopes and my dreams. Most of all, I pray for all of the burdens on my heart. But I still feel this nagging that I should go speak with someone. I need more guidance.

Maybe this is you too. Maybe it’s not. Maybe you think therapy is a joke. But from someone who has had my fair share of counseling sessions, I say try it if you are left with minimal options on dealing with your inner demons. Recovery meetings are great and I’m sure they are the outlet most addicts turn to when they need answers, but I also believe therapy is a safe place to be brutally honest with yourself.

Your Feelings Do Matter

Often enough I’ve been told that although I’ve been afflicted by people I love suffering from alcoholism, I really haven’t had it “that bad.” From the alcoholic’s perspective, I haven’t been physically beaten repeatedly or had to suffer what they would call major traumatic episodes of emotional abuse. In their eyes, things weren’t completely awful.

But to that end all I have to say is, how the hell do you know? How do you know what I’ve been through? How can you belittle my experiences because your own trauma is far more superior in its ugliness? Why is it a competition to see who has the worst story?

No one really knows what I’ve been through and I don’t know what anyone else has been through aside from them telling me their stories. Don’t ever let anyone take away your life’s experiences and try to convince you that weren’t real or that it wasn’t that big of a deal.

I used to listen to that voice that said, “It’s really not that bad…” or,“It’s not like I’m hitting you…” or simply, “I’m fine. We’re fine. Everything is fine.” 

What you have inside of you, that voice telling you the right things from the wrong, is there for a reason. Listen to it.