Back to Life, Back to Reality

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!

 

Celebrating Another Holiday

Sometimes the holidays can be hard. Especially when you know you’re going to be surrounded by people getting belligerently drunk and all you want to do is say “Hi!”, grab some of the banana pudding to-go, and get the hell out of there as fast as humanly possible.

But, as hard as it may be tolerate other people’s choices and behaviors, I believe it’s also good to get out of our comfort zones every once in a while. If you aren’t challenged to be around people who are drinking in a casual social setting, then how will you ever be able to celebrate with the ones you love?

If you think about, almost all major celebrations have some sort of casual drinking involved. (At least in my family there always has been! Hmmm…piece of the puzzle? I digress.) Wedding receptions, graduation parties, birthday celebrations, bachelorette parties, Memorial Day pool parties, 4th of July cookouts, Labor Day lake parties, and then there’s always the actual traditional holidays of the year where people tend to “have an excuse” to drink.

I’m not trying to say that people who drink are monsters and should be told that they’re making poor life choices at every BBQ this summer, but I do believe everyone who is in recovery needs to find their own way to be with the people they care about regardless if there is drinking involved or not.

When my husband first started the road to recovery and we were faced with uncomfortable social situations where we knew people would be drinking, he told me he would repeat the question, “What is my purpose here?” over and over again to remind him that he wasn’t there to drink. He was there to celebrate whatever the occasion. He was there to high-five someone on another trip around the sun. He was there to hug the neck of the relatives he only gets to see once or twice a year. He was there to congratulate someone on another milestone achieved.

What is your purpose this weekend? Are you meeting people for a pool party? Are you hanging out with friends and relatives chatting over the BBQ and catching up? Whatever your purpose is this weekend, remind yourself of why you are there.

Consistency Really is the Key

The accomplishments I’ve had in my life can be attributed to consistency. I haven’t won a Nobel Prize. I’m not a doctor. I haven’t innovated the latest and greatest new technology. And some days I don’t even match, but damn it I am consistent.

I believe this is the only reason why I am still here writing today. There isn’t always an overflow of insightful information coming from my mind (or sometimes even information that makes sense), but I show up every day to write consistently. This is how I eventually got better at volleyball as a teen. This is the way I graduated college. This is how I stumbled upon writing my first book. This is the way I raise my kids every day. I showed up. I show up.

So if there is someone out there who is struggling with life being “sucky” lately, don’t give up hope. Just show up. Show up every day and do one more good thing today than you did yesterday. Maybe that’s making a better food choice to a healthier option. Maybe that’s applying for a yet another job that’ll get you out of the dead end one you’re in now. Maybe that’s simply not taking a drink today. Whatever the case may be, just show up today. Be intentional with your life today.

Summer is Finally Here

It’s funny how life changes. When we were kids growing up, we got so excited about summer. No more homework. No more early mornings. No more class everyday. We could usually just hang out with our friends, go to the pool, maybe the lake if we were lucky, and every few years we got to see the beach. Yeah, summers as a kid were amazing.

Enter parenthood…

Now, I look forward to summer break because we won’t have homework; no more early mornings; we can have play-dates with friends; we get to go to the pool; maybe we can have a lake day if we’re lucky; and maybe we’ll get to see the beach one of these years.

So, wait, what has really changed?

Well, for starters I have to keep these 3 tiny humans alive all summer. That’s definitely new! But also I get to watch the magical times of summer through the lens of a parent. Yes, the days pass by quicker for me than they do for the kids (whose hours and minutes drag along at a snail’s pace during the summertime – I do remember that), but I get to be part of new adventures in my kid’s lives. I get to partake in endless hours of board games, water fights, zoo trips, and maybe even a cool museum or two.

So, why am I sharing this?

Because I wouldn’t be able to do any of this with my kids had I not stopped drinking. Sure, I could still go to the pool, the zoo, the lake, the beach, or wherever the destination may be, but how can I be responsible for these little people when I can’t even responsibly take care of myself?

These trips would probably still be fun as I chased down chardonnay after chardonnay, but then who drives us home responsibly? Who takes us to the urgent care when someone falls at the pool? Who is able to care for my babies when they are solely in my care daily this summer?

Me…this sober mama right here will take pride in being able to do all of the mundane and sometimes boring things I’ll be doing this summer. I’ll do them with pride. I’ll do them with perspective. I will gladly play monopoly so many times my head will explode! Because I get to…

Don’t Fall into Fear’s Traps

There are landmines lurking everywhere. One wrong move and you can land on the one live explosive that is able to derail your entire existence. No, I’m not talking about actual bombs here. I’m talking about fear and the stupid lies it tries to tell all of us.

“You’re not ready. You’ll never be ready. You aren’t old enough to do that. You’re not young enough to do that. Why would they pick you for that job? Why wouldn’t she cheat on you? Of course you’ve gained weight. You aren’t as good looking as you used to be. You’ll never be enough.”  

I have to admit, I became infuriated simply typing those statements and lies out. These thoughts have crept into my mind, almost daily. And when I’m really weak, sometimes every hour. Fear tries to tell us everything that is wrong with us, all of our flaws. There isn’t any mention of the things you’ve done right in your life or the goals you’ve already accomplished. Fear wants to focus on the bad, the negative, and the impossible rather than give you any glimmer of hope or confidence.

Don’t fall into fear’s traps. Those things you hear fear whispering to you isn’t reality. Maybe if you let fear control you long enough it becomes your reality, but that’s when you need to fight like hell to get your life back. You are in control…not fear!

Now, watch your step today. Be sure to step over those landmines hiding in the shadows. And for goodness sake, don’t let fear direct navigate for you anymore.

Scared, Frightened, & Terrified…

Taking a leap of faith can be scary…maybe even terrifying for some people. Will it work out? Will I get everything I was trying to get out of the situation? Will I fail at this venture? Will people laugh at me and judge me when I do fail? Will I be completely wasting my time?

These are just a few of the questions that run through my mind daily.  I’m constantly coming up with new ideas for my writing, my personals goals, things to try, and for exciting new hobbies I’d like to pursue. But in comes Doubt, follow by Fear.

They both creep in like two burglars planning a sneak attack on an unsuspecting victim. Just when you think all of your plans are laid out, they knock on the door just to ask, “And what do you think you’re doing?  You can’t try something new without telling us.  We’re here to help you.” (Yeah, I wish those two would just go play in oncoming traffic sometimes.)

But instead of cowering down to these two thieves trying to rob us of our joy, let’s push back and tell them to get the hell out of our house! Why are we listening to them anyway? We are bigger than they are! We know we can take them down and kick them out. Push back and tell them to hit the road.

“You’re not welcome here Doubt and Fear. We are working on a project that doesn’t need your input. You are welcome to sit in the corner and eat chips quietly, but if you so much as say a peep to us while we’re working, you’re getting tossed out with the trash. Got it?”

Good. Now we are ready to take on the two things that hold most of us back from doing things that we love or that we need to do. Stand up to Doubt and Fear today. Don’t take their crap anymore!

How Do You Heal a Broken Heart?

This is one of those questions that will never have a clear cut answer. Your broken heart may be a completely different experience than mine. Yours may involve a significant other, while mine may involve a bratty teenager who said mean things. Your broken heart may consist of fighting and bickering, while mine was a slow death by a thousand cuts from someone continuously ignoring me.

There are endless possibilities on how to have your heart broken, but how do you put it back to together? How do you heal a broken heart? How can you make yourself whole again?

I believe the first step is to believe that you deserve to be happy again. Period…the end. No magical formulas to the equation. No tricks behind a curtain. No “fake it ’til you make it” when it comes to healing. You simply have to believe that you deserve to be happy.

Everything may not fall directly into place once you decide your worth in this world, but it definitely gets easier to arrange the pieces of your heart into new shapes. Maybe we aren’t meant to put the pieces back exactly how they used to be. Maybe we are meant to mold, stretch, shrink, knead, weave, and to create new pieces from the old ones that were shattered.

I’m not a therapist and I don’t claim to be an expert in the psychology of the human mind, but I know that when I feel that I deserve to be happy, life seems easier. Things figure themselves out. People are nicer to me (probably because I’m nicer to them). Not all of the odds are stacked against me.

If you’re suffering from a broken heart today, I hope you can find a way to fit your pieces (old and new) back together again.