Gratitude

There are so many reasons to write what you are grateful for, but I’m going to share my story of how it changed my life.

Last January, I started a New Years’ resolution (I actually kept one!) to write down 3 things I’m grateful for every day. Although I didn’t do this for 365 days of the year, I managed about 300 days (more or less) and I’m pretty happy with those numbers. 

I wrote something every day and I tried not to repeat my blessings. Most days, it was the mundane and simple things that made it to my paper: coffee, a sunny day, and a healthy family appeared a few times. Other days, my perspective changed entirely from things I “had to do” to things I “get to do”. 

I no longer viewed laundry as this huge task, rather, I looked at it through the lens of being surrounded by these little people I love and a husband who works hard. I have a healthy family and I’m at home doing laundry for them when other people would do anything to have messy children to clean up after. There is someone somewhere right now who wishes all they had to do was laundry for a family of 5 today instead of sitting in a hospital hanging onto their dear ones. 

Yes, my perspective has changed on many things. I complain a lot less than I used to and I can’t help but let thoughts of gratitude seep into my mind when that spoiled little brat in my head wants to complain about someone spilling their juice again for the third time today.

So I challenge you to write down 3 things every day you’re grateful for. Do it on your phone, do it on a post-it, or do it on a napkin, but just do it. I’m sure you can find something to be grateful for today. 

**I’ll get you started if you need help: 

1) You’re alive

2) The Earth revolved around the sun yet another day 

3) You have the means to be on the internet when there are people in the world who have never even seen a computer

Making Amends

I didn’t understand this concept until my husband started with his list. There were events from the past, stuff from the present, and many things he hadn’t thought about in a long, long time. I think I’ve done this list, mentally and without a sponsor, for a while now. Let’s just say, left unsupervised and without a plan, this process can be very messy!

I’ve had things come into my mind here and there, but I ignore them or pretend they don’t really need my attention. Ha…as you can imagine, this doesn’t end well for anyone.

I’m in the process now of making my own amends. It’s hard. It sucks at times, but at the end of the day…knowing I’ve done the right thing beats the hell out of any uncomfortable feelings I have dealing with my past.

So I wish you luck in making your own amends. You can do it. Faith over fear. Don’t let that nasty monster fear take control of your life. You can do it! I can do it! 

Oh, and happy new year!

Talking to Others

So, I know the entire purpose of AA is to create a safe environment for people to share everything without scrutiny or ridicule. And I know Al-Anon was created for the same purpose. But what about friends you become close with over time? People outside of your 12-Step circle. 

We moved about 3 years ago to a new area of our state and starting over making new friends has been a challenge for all of us. I finally have a few close, quality friendships and I feel like not sharing this part of my life with them isn’t necessarily a lie, but an omission of truth. This is such a big part of my life, my past, and my lifestyle that I feel like I should share with one friend in particular. 

I realize by sharing with people outside of the understanding crowds I am opening myself up to the possibility of judgement, but at the same time I know to not share this information with people who would take advantage of me and my story. 

Maybe no one else feels this way, but I get awkward and squirmy (internally) when close friends mention, “We all need to go to this great Mexican restaurant with free margaritas!” or when telling me about a fun party she recently attended with the fancy wine out on the table.

My husband tells me just to say “We don’t drink” and leave it at that, but with a close friendship I feel compelled to explain myself. Anyone else have a situation like this? 

When You Just Want to Lose It

I don’t know if it’s my age or the fact that I have 3 small children or if it’s just simply my personality now, but I have moments where I just want to completely lose my shit! 

It’s not necessarily that I WANT to lose it. It’s more like “If I lost it, I’d definitely feel better. If I screamed at these little people I love, then I’d feel so much better.” That’s pretty messed up, right?

When I say it out loud (or write it down), I feel like a complete monster. But these are the thoughts that go through my head when I forget to stop, say a little prayer, and ask my HP to help me out. When I try to remain in control, it usually ends up with me raising my voice (due to my impatient attitude) and unintentionally hurting someone I love. It’s been my kids; it’s been my husband; it’s been a close friend; it’s been my own mother.

Today, I’m throwing out a reminder that whatever you said yesterday or the day before may have been hurtful, but it can still be addressed with a simple statement of “I’m sorry to have hurt you.” And to avoid having that same issue today, try to remember to stop when you begin having negative thoughts, say a little prayer, and give the situation over to your HP.

Shhh…We Don’t Talk About It

This is what my inner voice told me for years! Way before I ever met my husband, way before I was a parent, and way before I really understood what it meant to be a responsible contributor to society. 

“Shhh…we don’t talk about it,” actually came up quite often when I hit my teen years and throughout adulthood. But the thing is, the phrase wasn’t directed at any one situation. It was directed at the part of myself that wanted to speak up and say what I was really feeling. If my ideas went against what the majority of my peers thought, I sold myself out for popularity and being included. 

I kept doing this through my early twenties until the only time I felt I spoke my truth was after a few too many drinks. I felt so ALIVE being able to truly speak my mind. I was addicted to being able to tell my truth to the world. The only problem was that the path to get there was going to ruin my life.

I’m happy to say I’m here today, still not perfect at telling my truth every time, but I am trying to do what I need to do to be the best version of myself. 

Honesty

The truth sucks sometimes. No getting around it. No running away from it. No more hiding it away in the corner and pretending it’s not really there. I avoided the truth for a LONG time before everything finally fell apart. 

There are still very hard conversations I have to have with my husband on a daily basis (letting him know when I still think my idea was better than his), but I’m so grateful to be able to share those hard conversations instead of pretending like they don’t exist. 

Yes, honesty sucks sometimes…but it’s always worth it in the end.

A Meeting

I could list lots of “reasons” why I don’t attend more Al-Anon meetings, but the truth is most of the time it’s not convenient. 

I live in a rural area and there aren’t meetings right down the road from me. I have 3 kids who are always needing something (the matyr syndrome tries to sneak in there). I have a husband who needs to attend meetings more often than I do because I can’t worry about him relapsing (this isn’t healthy for anyone). I don’t have time to drop everything I’m doing and go to a meeting right now.

Well, I hate to break it to you (I’m talking to myself), but if you’re not intentional about going to a meeting it will never happen. Life is busy. We all have stuff we “should be doing”, but if you don’t put a meeting as a priority in your life then it won’t ever make it into your schedule.(I’m sorry I’m having a conversation with myself today, but I really needed to hear these words.)

We all need to make things priority in our life that will help us be a better person. Take care of yourself physically. Take care of yourself mentally. Take care of yourself spiritually. Get enough sleep. Get enough rest. Take more deep breaths. Laugh every single day. Cry when you need to cry. Blow off steam in a healthy way when you need to release it.  But whatever you do, do it all intentionally.