Let’s Get Real Here

There are multiple posts about “Being Real with People” so I thought I would expand on what I believe that means today. My definition of being real simply means raising the curtain. Taking away the facade that we all have to be perfect and that we are living Pinterest perfect lives.

Here are the top posts I suggest for being real today:

Needing to Take a Step Back

But Why?

When All You Can Do Is Love Them

Awkwardness Meeting New People

Let’s be real today.

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Oh The Holiday Season…

“Thank you big retail chains, especially the big box stores. Thank you for the outrageous bottles of alcohol you supply to the masses during this holiday season!”

We went to Costco this weekend as a family. All of us, and even my parents. I’m not sure if you’ve perused their adult beverages sections in a while, but they have a ginormous bottle of red wine that holds several regular bottles of wine. (My dad picked it up and looked around for a reaction to his “Did you see this?” astonished look on his face. I responded with, “Don’t do it. Trust me. We’ve gone that route before. There’s nothing but regret at the bottom of that thing!”)

It’s here ladies and gentlemen. The time of year that can be extra challenging for all of us sober kids. There will be holiday parties, cocktail hours, spiked this, spiked that, hot toddys, eggnog, and every other holiday drink Pinterest could ever create.

But you know what? When I think about being sober this holiday season, I don’t think about all of the “fun” I’m missing out on. I think about how grateful I am that I won’t be facing any holiday hangovers. I won’t have to deal with the aftermath from saying terrible things to that one person I’ve been trying to avoid, all because I slipped and had one too many drinks. (I used to let me drunk self take care of matters of the heart. It wasn’t the most productive way of dealing with my emotions.)

If this if your first sober holiday season, I applaud you. Good for you for taking a step in the right direction. It’s okay. Put one foot in front of the other. Take a deep breath. And remember, you got this. One day at a time!

How Do You Quit?

I had this romanticized notion that all alcoholics are big cry babies. All they have to do is declare, ” You know what? I’m done.” Put the bottle down and walk away. So simple. So easy. Why do people have a drinking problem when clearly the answer is right there?

But that’s not the case. At least not for our family anyway. We struggled through months and now even years of recovery.

Don’t get me wrong. Every day we aren’t peeling each other’s hands off a gripped bottle of vodka. Or we aren’t driving around with a flat tire hoping we can break down in front of a bar.

But we do apologize…a lot.

We aren’t perfect. We still say things we know we’ll regret later to one another. We make bad choices for which we may end up in the dog house.

But we’re both still sober.

And the only reason why is because we wake up and try every day. We try to be good people. We try not to let our pasts define who we want to be. We try to be good parents. We try to be good spouses. We try. We try. We try.

So, how do you quit? Easy. You wake up and try every day. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Progress, not perfection. One day at a time.

Looking Back to See the Real Me

You may be wondering why I tend to “look back” at the past often instead of gazing out longingly to my bright future. Well, the truth is, I’m still healing. I’m still dealing with a lot of crap from my past (some stuff goes WAY back) that I never dealt with when I was younger. I guess I didn’t know how.

So, yes. I’m going to talk about old stuff again here today. You want to know the real truth, though? Processing painful stuff from my past couldn’t happen at any other time in my life as it can now.

For the first time in my life, I can think more clearly and decipher between the emotions I was feeling at those dark times several years ago. Now, I can see that I wasn’t just sad, I felt betrayed. I wasn’t ignoring my feelings, I was burying them. I wasn’t always a bright and sunny happy girl, but I wanted to make sure everyone else thought so.

This stuff runs deep within my veins and being unable to attend therapy sessions like I probably should be doing, I’m sharing them here. In hopes that someone else may benefit or someone may have an emotional “aha” moment themselves, I will continue to show up here and share my thoughts.

There are bits and pieces that I will rescue from the wreckage that is my earlier years, but I feel like the most important part is forgiving myself. Not learning from my past, I am still pretty harsh on the previous decisions I’ve made. Instead, I need to focus on the good back then and what I want to salvage to take with me into the future.

 

Keeping Things in Perspective

Perspective wasn’t a term I thought about much before I started keeping a gratitude journal. I mean, of course I could be happy when something awesome happened in my life, but I wasn’t even aware of the little things I was taking for granted every single day. Now that I have challenged myself to write three things every morning that I’m grateful for, my entire perspective has shifted.

For example, after I’ve written my obvious answers down (family, husband, children, and steady income for our household), I’m challenged to recognize the ordinary in my life as being extraordinary. Realizing how lucky I am to have a roof over my head and beds for each of my children to sleep in is a dream for other families around the world. We have running water (both hot and cold) and we know it’s safe for us to drink. I have a good washer, dryer, dish washer, vacuum, and other appliances to help me in my daily life.

Before, I took these things for granted all of the time. I never would have thought to be grateful for carpet cleaner until I really started challenging myself to see the things that help make my life so much easier daily. I try not to repeat things I’ve said for my daily gratitudes – at least not more than once a month. This really helps to appreciate those things that may be overlooked otherwise.

I challenge you to find the extraordinary in the ordinary today. Maybe you have both of your parents still living. Be grateful. Maybe you have both sets of grandparents still alive. Be grateful and give them a call. Maybe you have something in your life other people around the world are fighting for. Don’t waste them. Be grateful.

Trying to Settle for Less Than…

There are days when I don’t shoot for the stars. There are days when I only do the absolute bare minimum in order for my family to be fed, the dog to be take care of, and for my husband to notice I actually got out of bed for the day. On these days, I settle. I settle for “survival mode” and don’t try to get much accomplished. We all need one of these days every once in a blue moon, but I believe too many of them and we start to form a habit of settling.

This practice of settling for things isn’t limited to our daily habits at home either. We settle in our careers once we get comfortable enough to not get fired, but not put ourselves out of our comfort zones. We settle in our marriages when we start seeing the years fly by without much of a spark in the relationship, but there’s not a lot of fighting either. (That’s okay then, right?) We settle in our dreams for ourselves, making sure they are not TOO big because then we might actually have to try harder than we’d like.

As a society, we like the idea of waking up every morning, doing what we love, being surrounded by the people we love with them loving us back, and making lots of money in the mean time. Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but this lifestyle isn’t sustainable. (Or at least I haven’t found anyone who has it that easy.)

There are discomforts and hard times when you try to be anything more than mediocre. There are obstacles and challenges we face almost every day when we are vulnerable and put ourselves out there, but it’s also worth it every single time.

So don’t settle today. Don’t settle for that terrible relationship you have just let happen. (Make a change to help bring the spark back!) Don’t settle for that job you really and truly hate going to every day! (Trust me…I’ve been there! It gets more toxic as the years go by!) Don’t settle for the easy button when it comes to your dreams. Make the BIG ones happen, even if they scare the crap out of you!

If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”

-Ellen Johnson Sirleaf