Letting Go of a Toxic Friend

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January 2021

Drinking:

First you take a drink.

Then the drink takes a drink.

Then the drink takes you.

That time I was stuck in the cycle and hubby dumped out my wine. He hated when I drank because I would disappear.

https://thedevildrinksvodka.com/tag/soberliving-soberlife/

Drinking:

One is too many and one thousand isn’t enough.

Once you take the first one, it takes over. At this point, I’m legitimately terrified of taking a drink and hope that I always feel this way.

Drinking:

One Day at a Time. Don’t think about the birthday or vacation coming up, or how you will navigate summer fun without a drink. The only thing you need to think about it today, or even this moment.

Thinking of future events can be mega overwhelming, counterproductive and sabotaging. Really, for real, don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t give the thought of it any energy.

Learning in Progress, February 2017

That’s all! Day 662, Sunday and despite Covid restrictions, work turmoil and a whole lot of drama seeming to be everywhere, I feel that I’m holding it together okay.

I am so utterly grateful that I have my drinking under control during this time. I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety that would be piled on top of an already stressful time period.

Much love people, don’t forget the self love and to take things One Day at a Time

Big Bertha

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I’ve neglected our yard for years. Not exaggerating- years. 

One giant bush, in particular, has been looking really hideous. I spent all of summer 2020, and maybe even 2019, looking at the dead vines and branches covering it, and thinking that I need to cleaning it up.

Well, in late May, I saw a different picture outside my bedroom window. I saw vibrant green baby branches, trying to escape the smothering rotted vines holding them down. Suddenly, this inanimate monstrosity was speaking directly to me, and she said “help!”

And I did. 

And it was like no other yard work I’ve done before.

I got lost in it, for several days, not literally, although I can see why you might think that could happen..

Guess what? It’s over a month later and I’m still not done cleaning up Big Bertha. I did get a majority of the vines off the top, so there are lots of little Baby Birtha’s maturing nicely. 

It wasn’t stressful like yard work used to be. Instead of wondering and thinking about when I’d be done, and how great it would feel, I enjoyed working out in the hot sun doing something physical. On the days that I had to leave the bush suddenly, it was no problem, I dropped everything and knew I’d return in a few days or maybe even a week or two. 

This would have annoyed me in the past. So much that if I thought it might happen, I’d skip out on the yard work completely. How silly is that?

 

 

Bertha’s baby branches trying to survive 

Jules has been enjoying yard work too!

Can you see somewhat of an improvement?

So that’s been the theme of this summer- doing whatever makes me happy at the moment. It might be yard work. It might be reading or writing, or meditating. Or it might be a nap or to give the dog a bath. 

All while trying not to think about the end result- which is a defect of mine- and just enjoying the task at hand- without worrying about the other chores that have to get done. And if I do, then I try to catch myself and ask myself which of those things actually must to get done, if any. 

So yeah, it’s been an amazing and low stress summer so far!! Day 822 is treating me very well. 

 

Counting Days

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Day 817

Humans like to count and measure. At what point does it stop serving its purpose? Who cares what day it is, we’re all just a sip away- it truly doesn’t matter, does it?

The Recovery Elevator app is full of measuring tools. Mine currently says that I’ve gained over 1,000 productivity hours and saved over 300,000 calories, along with a few other cool stats.

 

 

 

 

Now, it’s super easy.  The app pictured above counts my days for me and it’s rarely a thought of mine. It wasn’t always that simple. There were times that I didn’t even bother resetting it, yet- because I slipped, but wanted to make the sure the slip counted, so it went on for days or weeks. 

There were times that I turned it off, because I was tired of thinking about the days. And obsessive thoughts were the last thing I needed. Sometimes it would be dormant for months before I had the strength to make another promise to day one. 

But eventually, I would turn it on and accomplish a decent stretch of sobriety, meaning over thirty days. The first began in February 2017 and lasted 93 days. I had dinner with a friend and decided to order a drink. I only drank half of it and thought I was cured. After all, I had become that person who leaves behind a drink. I bought a box of wine a few days later. That half drink woke my very sleepy alcoholic voice from a deep slumber, and now it was hungrier than ever. 

The next time was towards the end of 2017 and lasted 55 days. That streak ended when my police officer uncle was hit by a car in early 2018(he survived, but with a pretty significant traumatic brain injury). I hadn’t learned to live life on life’s terms yet and the anxiety of his condition, along with whisperings that he was at the wrong hospital for a TBI and should be transported to a better equipped place immediately, was enough stress to wake up my lovely AV who once again, rose with a vengeance.  

Next was 127 days starting in spring of 2018. I messed that streak up during the summer, and didn’t get back on track until spring of 2019. I finally had enough of my own bullsh** to significantly pulverize that stupid voice that had such a firm grasp on me. 

I’ve always been a fan of counting, even in those first viscous years because it allowed me to see those patterns. But does the actual day count really matter? I’m not so sure.

I still do it because it’s fun, and seeing the days soar is a motivator for me not to break my streak. I love to celebrate the occasional exciting milestone, such as day 777 or 800 (I’m easily amused, and like 7’s and rounded numbers). 

Heck, if you really like to celebrate every sober day could be an acceptable reason. I’m known for that. Say, it’s Friday evening and I’m craving some ice cream. I check my counter and see that it’s day 792. I holler out to hubby, “Hey hubz, guess what day it is!” 

“Friday!” he replies.

“No, it’s day 792 for me!” I say while clapping my hands. “We need to celebrate! Dairy Queen?” I inquire.

“I’ll grab my keys.” he says, without missing a beat. 

Yeah, I think I’ll keep on counting. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Love is a Superpower

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Day #808

I am this many years old (44) when I found out that self love is a superpower.

In fact, it may be the most effective force within us.

And it goes both ways.

I read something yesterday that resonated in a big way. When we don’t deal with our inner trauma, we run from ourselves. This hit me especially hard when I look at the most difficult people in my life. Describes them to a tee- they won’t or can’t deal with their trauma and therefore have become difficult/unpredictable and hateful. They continue to put themselves in harmful situations, but it is always someone else’s fault.

The trauma we hold in can stem from big, or little things. For me, it was mostly little things. For my entire life I ignored anything the least bit traumatic and packed it away to live forever in the bottom of my intestines.

Then I got sick. Sick in the mind, body and spirit.

I knew things weren’t right. We moved, had a baby, moved, had another baby, I lost my mom suddenly, we moved again, and then I surrendered to alcohol. This changed everything.

Alcohol was the only thing that quieted the subtle turmoil inside. Without it, the mind would become unbearable by evening hours, until it made me believe I deserved or needed a drink (which would then turn into drinking until passing out).

Thankfully I evolved. I got even sicker and tried many many times to stop drinking, until finally I had enough day 1’s to never want another one ever again.

When you stop numbing yourself, you start to see the truth in things.

I apologized.

I had difficult conversations.

I began to live life as I love it, instead of trying to escape it.

But it wasn’t life I was running from, it was myself, or maybe just my mind.

Now I have nothing to run from.

Sometimes, when I’m really grounded, I instinctively reach inside to find comfort.

The very thing that used to terrify me is now a source of comfort.

And knowledge, as I look inside to seek guidance.

What does this have to do with self love?

Everything.

I’ve been at both ends, and can see how loving or hating yourself affects everything in your life.

You move different. You see different. You talk different. You think different. You act different …

When we begin to love ourselves, we begin to notice all of the love around us.

We start to see the love coming from others, as our body radiates love.

We realize that we truly can do anything we put our mind to.

We stop being the victim of ourselves.

And our former scary world becomes loving and beautiful.

It’s shocking to me how this powerful nugget of knowledge remains so well hidden- like the world’s best hidden secret.

I mean, we often hear about the importance of loving ourselves, but do we really truly believe it?

I hope you believe it a little more now..

It starts with a single action of love. A bit of exercise, a nutritious meal, an overdue coffee date with a friend, a six hour Netflix binge with popcorn & ice cream (sometimes my body and spirit needs this – although its a fine line for me of self-care vs. laziness).

Sometimes it starts with not doing something. Quitting drinking, especially the first few times when I just had to trust how wonderful it would be, was a huge act of self love, and one that caused an avalanche of positivity.

Every single day I love myself by not drinking, and trust me, it’s sometime that I rarely think about, but the impact of it lives on & on.

So, will you nurture your superpower and show yourself some love today?

Eight Hundred Days

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It’s been 800 days since my last alcoholic beverage. Do I think about drinking a lot?  Nope, not really. Occasionally I crave a drinking session with hubby or a friend, where we laugh way too loud at meaningless things and wake up feeling horribly, not just physically- but mentally and emotionally too. The last part of that is enough to brush the thought off with a quick, “Not today Satan.” I hope it’s always that way, memories can be so powerful.

I was reminded of those hungover feelings recently. We had some family over last weekend. It was a great night with many laughs. One family member ran to get his beer during the evening, but other than that no one was drinking. I am so thankful that my circle of close people are not drinkers, for this makes my journey a million times easier, but I digress.

I woke up the next day with a feeling of paranoia. This would be normal, if I had been drinking. Thoughts like, I wonder what I said to ______, or I hope I didn’t _______, would plague my mind. As I started to clean up the messy kitchen, that little voice was jabbing me.

It was the memory.

I didn’t drink, but did feel a little hungover. We had been going going going all weekend and then ate a ton of crap food and stayed up way too late- so physically I did feel my body purging the toxins, and it felt so familiar. The feeling, the mess, the circle of campfire chairs outside and a huge pile of ash, and that teeny little voice that wanted me to feel guilty.

It’s amazing how our brains can trick us and how powerful our minds can be. I think this is the most important and most powerful thing that I have learned going through recovery. My brain convinced me for years that I needed wine to unwind, when really it just added to the pile of stress, and in a multitude of ways. After a day or two without it, my brain would be screaming at me.

But it didn’t sound angry, it sounded rational and sounded just like my own voice. Some days I could abstain, but other days it was like a light switch. I could be having an amazing day, preaching about how much I love sobriety, but then a shift would happen and before I knew what I was doing, I was in the car driving to the store for booze.

The more I gave in, the louder it became. But I started to notice something.

The longer I abstained, the less I heard from the voice (who by now, I had given a name and a whole entity known as “Betsy”). It didn’t take long for the voice to start to diminish. Days 3 or 4 seemed to be the worst, but after about 4 days it would start to slowly retreat. By 3-4 weeks, it’s hardly noticeable and usually just pops up at random (but often vulnerable) times.

Even back in 2017, when my journey first began, the voice wreaked havoc.

My Subconscious Screaming at Me

I knew it back then, but it still took until 2019 to finally quit for good. I had a lot of learning and practicing to do, but now I can see that my hundreds of day ones have served an important purpose and all of it has helped me with the voice and my internal peace.

At day 800, I am extremely grateful, for every day and all the past experiences, events, people and setbacks that helped me get here <3

 

 

 

 

Ego and Resistance, the Defiant Duo

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Day #798        Wednesday, June 2, 2021

My mission in life has become to do whatever I need to do in order to stay in a state of happiness. Everytime I think I’ve cracked the code, my mind laughs at me.

Since returning to work and dealing with typical work stress like traffic, I’ve found myself in the old pattern of being a little crabby on Monday, and having the crabbiness lighten up with each day during the week- so by the time I got to Friday I felt great. I was in this cycle right when Covid hit and feeling discouraged recently when I realized it returned. After pondering, it hit me that on the rare days that I workout before work, I normally have a light/happy day without the misery. So, I vowed to get up 4 out of the 5 workdays to workout. For the first few weeks, I really thought I broke this cycle of misery. I was as happy on Monday as I was on Friday, and overjoyed to get my workouts out of the way first thing.

Until this week.

This week should be beautiful, especially since it’s a short week with only three in person days. Nope, still a miserable cow on Tuesday, which felt like Monday because we were off for Memorial Day. It was a great weekend filled with a lot of family and fun, plus my first outdoor bike ride of the season.

Tuesday morning I diligently got up to run and ran my fastest to date. I had a great exercise session in the silent morning woods, but I still felt edgy while getting ready for work. I went to Pilates right after work to a 1.5 session, so it was a challenging, but productive day, with a lot of physical exercise. Even so, by the time bedtime came around, I was still a cranky cow.

Today has been a little better- but it’s probably because I’m in the pattern again. I’m thinking it’s probably my hormones, but it’s still irritating. When I say cranky, I mean that my head is not fully clear of negativity. Usually it’s that voice, my ego, that just pushes and pushes until it gets the right button to set me off. It tells me how awful hubby is, or how so and so shouldn’t have done this, or how I should have done that. When it’s on a roll it’s persistent throughout the day. Most of the time I don’t feel like this. Most of the time I don’t have negative thoughts, and if they come into my head, they tend to leave fast (with my gentle urging). But my wish is for them to leave and never come back, but they always seem to worm themself back in.

One thing I’ve let slide is my meditation routine. I can’t even remember the last time that I did it. Yesterday evening I was sitting outside and thinking about how I dropped the ball and need to start my routine back up. I could have done it right then and there, but I didn’t, and the only reason why is because I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t want to put the time or energy into it, which now sounds utterly ridiculous especially considering we’re talking about five, maybe ten minutes, hardly a big chunk of time.

Come to think about it, whenever my ego is giving me a run for my money, perhaps I should try meditation. I preach to people All. The. Time. about why they should meditate and how this simple act will change their life for the better- and quiet their mind. So when I notice my ego is running his mouth, I should take that as a cue to strategically shush him. Why did I resist doing it yesterday- and why did I resist today? I’m beginning to think that my resistance and ego are working together to make me absolutely miserable!

So, what do you think the chances are of meditation and exercise being the MVPs in keeping my ego tame?

Day 791

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It’s 6am on a Wednesday morning. I’ve been awake since 3:30, and finally got out of bed around 4:30. I cleaned up the dishes the kids didn’t get to last night and took out the trash, then I put together a quiche for breakfast.

I don’t normally cook breakfast, but it’s a special day- Anthony and Andrew’s last day of high school! They have a half day, and I was a little nervous yesterday morning when Anthony said to me, “I’m going to have so much homework tonight.” Wait, what?! Let us hope it truly is his last day of high school..

We’ve had Andrew now for about a year and a half. It hasn’t been too hard, but as today has been approaching I’ve been feeling a few tons lighter. We did it. I would intrinsically think as this day got closer. All we really did was provide a safe place for him, but he’s had three great years in Novi. Much different than his freshman year in Adrian, where he had a significant amount of absences to care for his younger siblings. With a few weeks of school left, he and his siblings suddenly got uprooted to Novi to stay with my mother and father-in-law. My MIL and FIL were frantic and trying to find an extended stay or something so Andrew could finish out his freshman year (Adrian and Novi are a couple hours apart). I told them to talk to the principal and that no good administrator wants to see a student fail- and assured them that they would work with them- and they did. I think it helped that Andrew is genuinely a nice kid who seems to want to do well. Now he’s a man, and I still have to do a double take whenever I think about them as “men.”

Anthony and Andrew , circa 2007

When they were 3-4 they went to the same daycare. I would usually arrive first, and Anthony would sometimes get upset as I got ready to leave. On the good days, my sister-in-law would show up before I left with Anthony’s partner in crime and all would be good.

Around this time period, I was still in college. I had Wednesday evening classes, so my MIL would pick up both boys on Wednesdays to babysit. She made it a tradition to make monkey bread with them, and it’s a memory that has always touched them.

Today they are going to her house after school to hang out with her and make monkey bread (for old time’s sake), all whilst recording it for their Youtube channel. My my, have things have changed since three and four! I can’t help but to feel so thankful as I type this- grateful for their relationship and that she is still with us. I wish I could say that about both grandmas.

Other than this- status quo here. I’m eagerly counting down the days of school. I can’t even describe the past year- so many emotions and feelings. Some of it was great, like really really great, and other things were just awful- particularly feeling like the building I’m working in is toxic at the moment. But, I’ve been trying to steer clear of drama and gossip- it helps to just stay out of the nonsense.

I got the Covid vaccine yesterday (after much internal debate) and took today off. I am so grateful to be off today, it is a much needed mental health day- and I intend on turning my work email/phone fully off- at least for a few hours.

Today is day 791. I think about drinking sometimes, but the romanticizing is usually followed by thoughts of hell no.

I’m too scared, and honestly hope to feel like this for a very long time. Drinks are dangerous for people like me- and I’m not sure that I have another recovery in me- so it’s much easier to say “nope!”

Happy May 26th everyone! <3

 

Day #774 My Ego is Not My Amigo

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Today is Sunday, May 9th 2021, Mother’s Day. The forecast is chilly and rainy, which is kind of sad, but is at least a good excuse to stay inside and get cozy with my blanket and a book. 

It is also my seven hundred and seventy fourth day without alcohol- just over two years. I wondered, especially after hitting my two year anniversary after living in the middle of a worldwide pandemic for an entire year, if I’d have the urge to drink. After all, when I hit my one year in March 2020, I was hell bent on drinking afterwards. 

It was a few days prior, and I was standing in the kitchen with hubby. I basically told him I was going to drink and he couldn’t stop me. Well, the Universe was looking out for me. There was a couple events that happened that very night, that involved drunk family members, that strengthened my resolve to stay abstinent. When my one-year hit a few days later, I was long over my urge to drink. 

I often think about what would have happened if I had drank. That was in the very beginning of the pandemic. I’m pretty certain that I would have been stuck in the cycle for months or years, and probably completely miserable. 

When my two year was approaching, I wondered if that urge would come back. Ironically it didn’t, even though by this time we are all so incredibly sick of this pandemic and the politics and deceptions surrounding it. I didn’t think much about it actually.

I do get the occasional urge to drink. I mostly romanticize it. Lucky for me, I have a lot of memories of day drinking, passing out at dinnertime and waking up at night feeling like I missed half the day, waking up shriveled and disgusting (inside and out), feeling like I reek of alcohol, the list could go on forever. 

If the memories don’t get to me, the nature of it does. I know, without a doubt, that it’s an addictive substance and one drink will completely change my brain, and possibly my entire thinking and beliefs. I think about how I’ll feel bubbly and light at first, but then I’ll feel nothing, but still will be unable to stop. Inevitably, I’ll drink until passing out. Drinking just one or two doesn’t even sound appealing to me. 

I used to get very angry at our drinking culture/mommy wine culture. I’d see memes and they’d make me feel livid inside. Now they don’t bother me so much. 

Occasionally the drinking culture gets to to me. When I’m standing in the checkout line at Kroger, and there’s a huge rack of mini liquor bottles next to me, that’s irritating. At the same store, the flavored sparkling water is down the liquor aisle, which annoys the hell out of me (note to self: send a letter to management discussing alcoholism and how they can help support people who are trying not to drink). 

I’m on a pretty big health kick lately and enjoy loving on myself. When I’m in a difficult Pilates or spin class, I’m loving it because I know it’s good for me (and will feel good later). At Pilates two days ago, they announced some special events this month. I was looking into them on my way out and thinking about signing up. There was a walk, yoga and I can’t remember what else, you know why? Because I was too busy thinking about the wine served at each one. 

What the what?

I was slightly irritated and didn’t sign up, even though other people drinking generally doesn’t bother me. 

Why does wine get a free pass? It has an enormous amount of empty calories, is proven to cause cancer, has very little to no nutrients, I could go on and on with the negative effects of wine. Why would Club Pilates pair this with events, given the health aspect of it? To me it’s like saying, “Come on guys, let’s run a 5K and then eat the greasiest, nastiest non-food food there is!” 

I know why guys, you don’t have to tell me. And I understand that I am being completely naive to think that every healthy person is going to give up a little wine. But I still won’t support it. 

I guess I can thank our wine culture for helping to keep me sober. Things often pop up in my real life or on TV that remind me what my life was like as a daily drinker. That’s a reality I want to run as far from as I can. 

At day 774 I spend most of my time not thinking about alcohol. This is a welcomed change from the beginning, and from being in that cycle where 100% of my thoughts were about alcohol 100% of the time. 

Wanna know if you’re an alcoholic? It’s simple. 

Don’t drink. For an hour, a day, a week, a month, I don’t care. Pick an amount of time and follow through. When you’re not drinking, pay attention to your thoughts. If you aren’t thinking about alcohol, then you might be okay. If you find yourself thinking about drinking, maybe even obsession over it, more than you’d like, then you have a problem. 

People in sober groups ask about moderation all the time. They are usually met with a firm, “No!” Me? I tell them to go for it. Try it out, see how they like it. But you must pay attention to your thoughts. If you’re thinking about drinking when you’re not drinking, then moderation is not going to work. And if you can get it to work, I guarantee that you will be absolutely miserable with those thoughts. 

The absence of drinking helped me with those thoughts, and as the drinking thoughts faded, so did my desire to drink. So for me, abstinence from alcohol is the only cure, or treatment, for my obsession with it. 

In fact, the biggest and most profound change with 774 days is my head space. I am so much healthier mentally. When I was drinking nightly, I was operating daily out of dense feelings of guilt and shame. The giant flames of my ego were fueled with drinking and other forms of self destruction. My bossy ego ran the show while my inner true-self hid in the shadows. 

Slowly, but surely, I relearned everything I believed to be true. And as I did, I fell in love with my inner self. I learned which thoughts were my ego, and which were mine, and I learned that we create 100% of our problems, and so I stopped creating problems in my life. And because of the self-love, shoving my face with cake or drinking till oblivion usually doesn’t sound very appealing. 

So, my advice to you, wherever you are at on your life’s journey is to examine your relationship with yourself. How do you speak to yourself? How do you view your body/physical features? Do you need to forgive yourself for anything? All of these intrinsic thoughts and beliefs affect us way more than we can imagine. As Wayne Dyer’s quote says, Change your thoughts, change your life. 

Look in the mirror and find your most hated feature. Examine it. Talk to it. Compliment and appreciate it. Daily. 

Be on the lookout for Thought Worms. These thoughts are as damaging as a parasite and will suck the life right out of you! They say very mean things like, “You’ll never lose that belly. You’re so ugly. What are you, stupid? You shouldn’t have done __________, and now you should spend all your time thinking about and regretting it……”  

When you notice a Thought Worm, thank it and tell it to be on it’s way. Then give yourself a compliment for good measure. This will create new pathways in your brain and the pleasant thoughts will increase while the negative thoughts dissipate. 

Is your ego (synonymous with negative thoughts) unruly and out of control? This could be the start of a wonderful journey. You just have to open your heart and mind and be open to ideas that might go against the cultural norm (now remember, the cultural norm does not really do anything for your mental health/happiness). 

Notice and removing those thoughts and practicing self-love are two simple, no cost things that you can start doing right now to improve your mental health. I can’t think of a better day than a delightful Sunday in May! 

What are you waiting for? 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Things

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Day #760  April 25, 2021

The other day, an old Facebook memory popped up from 2017:

 

We moved into this house in 2014. It wasn’t as if the frogs started singing three years later.

They are loud in the spring, loud every single night.

But I didn’t hear them. Every night I would drink until barely coherent, in fact, I’m pretty that most nights I lost consciousness before my body found my bed.

So, fast forward to 2017. I’ve started this new thing called, not drinking every night, and I realize what I’ve been missing.

While I drank away my anxiety, egotistical thoughts and anger, I wasn’t only numbing the bad- but also the good.

When I can handle the bad without turning myself comatose, I can look at the simple things in awe. Those little things are so much richer, when I’m paying attention.

It might be the smallest of things, but this little reminder was a complete blessing and spilled into my intrinsic gratuity canister.

I appreciated the little things in the very beginning. The frogs singing loudly- keeping my sober brain awake and appreciating the call of nature, the newly spacious recycle bin- void of all the taboo stinky bottles that I’d shove to the bottom in attempt to make disappear without a trace, a sober family beach party- where I actually remember the drive back and have enough life in me to take my dog for a walk after arriving home instead of collapsing in my bed while it’s still light outside.

So, thank you Facebook, it turns out you are good for something.

These days it’s easy to forget how new, scary and exciting it was while I relearned how to cope with life without putting myself to sleep, but it was.

Especially in early sobriety, it’s so important to open your eyes and take in the good along with the bad, and there is good there even if you have to dig for it on some days.

One sober moment, turns into a sober day. That turns to weeks, then months, then longer.

The little things are actually the big things, so don’t miss out 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Honey, I Killed Your Ego

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If only it were that easy. If only I could don my superhero costume and go rescue my hubby’s soul… imprisoned by years of manipulation and abuse from his ego.

It’s like the old devil and angel on your shoulder, you know, the wolf you feed? We all have a devil and an angel, and only we have the power to give that will elevate or deflate.

But that’s not the hard part, you see, this can get really tricky.

Our ego sounds just like us, and not only lies to us, but does not hesitate to pounce on us the moment we are in a vulnerable situation.

For example, you recently put on weight- a lot of it and instead of continuing to stuff your face, you decide to face the mirror. You get serious. You make an appointment with a nutritionist and sign up for a gym membership, because you’ve had enough, gosh darn it and going to lose the extra pounds once and for all.

The first week goes beautifully. Everything is within your control and you manage to keep junk food out of your house, hit the gym everyday and stick to your meal plan. The first week you manage to lose over 5 pounds.

Week two starts off lovely. More of the same, gym, salads and lots and lots of water. Only, this time the scale doesn’t budge. It’s Friday, you’ve been working hard all week and just found out that you are actually one pound heavier than the day before. “Oh well,” you think as you head off to work, “It’s just water weight, I’m sure.” You try to convince yourself, while you notice a tiny raging voice in the back of your mind (aka, your ego).

You get to work and the entire scale debacle is forgotten. Until you get an email about a bunch of donuts and cookies in the lounge.

“No.” You firmly tell yourself. “I’m on a roll and not going to ruin it.”

As the morning goes on, your stomach rumbles get louder, and so does that nagging voice.

You never get treats dropped off at work, you’re missing out.

What does it matter anyways? You’re already up a pound!

You’ve worked so hard for two weeks, you deserve it.

And, unless you have the skills to recognize and ZAP it, the voice carries on until you either give in or are driven to the point of absolute misery.

So you head to the lounge with the intent of grabbing one, small cookie, which you manage to do successfully.

The day drags on and as the stress piles on and you glance at the crumb covered napkin, reminding you about the treats and making your stomach growl. By lunchtime, you’ve not only gone back into the lounge, but you’ve taken an entire paper plate full of cookies back to your desk and promptly inhale them without barely tasting them.

But that’s not all.

As you try to focus on the afternoon, that voice is still persistent. Only this time it has a different tune.

I can’t believe you, you’re such a pig.

I bet someone saw you, you’re the laughing stock of the building.

And you thought you could lose weight, you’re just a loser!

What the heck freakin’ ego?!? You just want to make me miserable

I’m very very lucky that now I know enough to see the truth, and recognize that bastard ego (they’re all bastards, yours, mine, they’re all the same).

But, not realizing your ego is abusing you, you persevere and manage to stop at the gym on the way home. While getting in your car, you notice a missed call and voicemail from your buddy who invites you to dinner. You call him back and agree to meet him at Ruby Tuesdays, where you know you can make a phenomenal a salad, but instead you order the fish and chip special and split a liter of beer with your buddy- who only ends up drinking 1/2 glass, while you slowly suck the liter dry. You figure you already messed up, so what’s the point of holding back now, right?

The next day you’re up two more pounds and you spend the weekend binging on pizza and Netflix, because when you consider going to the gym – or prepping your meals- that mean voice won’t stop chiming in.

You’re wasting your time.

You’re nothing but a fat slob.

But that’s not working, so your ego takes a different tactic.

But you’ve worked so hard, you deserve a break.

You starved for two weeks and are no better off than you were before, so just enjoy the pizza.

And so you do, because it’s right. Right?

No.

It’s wrong, very wrong, all wrong, but all so tricky.

The ego wants external comfort, food, alcohol, sex, etc. The ego wants to compare you with everyone else and wants you to see yourself as separate, as special. The ego is a master manipulator and looks at our fears to grow its power.

So you have to call it out, and tell it to go to h***.

And then you have to pull up your big person pants.

If you ate the donut, fine, but don’t use it as an excuse to derail. And for heavens sake, if you know the donut will end in a downward spiral, then don’t take the first bite. Sugar addiction is real, just like I physically can’t just drink one drink so I have to completely stay away.

But, this goes much further than food and alcohol. Our ego is always with us, and more often than not bringing us down.

When I’m writing it tells me my story sucks and no one is going to want to read it.

When I’m celebrating an accomplishment, it tells me that I should have or could have done it differently and the praise must be a mistake.

When my key card at work doesn’t work to unlock the door, it tells me it’s probably because I got fired.

It doesn’t contain an ounce of niceness and often snickers at my aging body parts.

I want to challenge you to find, explore and defeat your ego. It’s very simple. It starts with recognizing that nasty little voice whenever it rears its ugly head.

Just recognizing it is power.

And when you notice it, tell it to go take a hike. That’s even more powerful.

It’ll start to get smaller until eventually it’s hardly noticeable.

Until you start going through something tough and become vulnerable. You might not even realize that you’re vulnerable, but your ego does!!! (Remember those cookies in the lounge? Your ego made sure to remind you of the unhappy number on the scale that morning- because your vulnerability gives it power).

The great news is that once you start calling it out, it becomes addicting. It feels good to be the one in power and to recognize it for what it is- a master sabotager.

It’s not a hard thing to change but it does require you to be conscious of it and consistent with turning it off. It becomes a habit not long after- and you’ll more than likely experience an immense amount of happiness during the process.

The process is subtle but transformative.

As the ego fades away, self-appreciation, self-confidence and self-love tends to take root and flourish. With the tiny ego in the background, the good stuff will blossom. You may notice positive changes.

•You might gossip less, because it no longer makes you feel good.

•You might choose the salad for lunch, because your body is craving a nourishing meal.

•You might skip a workout because your body feels exhausted and allowing it to rest feels like you’re honoring yourself.

•You might go the extra mile, because even though you only committed to three, it feels just so darn good.

•You might get teary eyed, driving home on a sunny day. Not because you’re sad, but because you’re looking around at the grass, the trees, the houses, the other cars, the sky & clouds, and you just feel so incredibly grateful for the beauty and simplicity of this life.

Killing my alcohol addiction was also the death of my ego. But you don’t need a vice or addiction to squash your ego.

Just recognize it- that voice, the rude one that likes to ramble. That’s it, it’s that simple.

So no, honey, I didn’t kill your ego. I’d love nothing more than to gruesomely murder your ego, along with every other ego out there, but that’s just impossible. But now you know how