All We Need is Love

2020 U.S. Election

Some of us lost our dream candidate. Some of us gained our dream candidate. We are love. We choose Love. We pray for one another and believe the President Elect to keep a commitment to heal the nation. He cannot do it alone.

It takes TRANSFORMATION. Each one of us. Trust, laying down our grievances and committing to kindness, compromise, reconciliation, tolerance, forgiveness, empathy and love …in thought, word and deed.

❤️🌈

Day 591: Life’s a Beautiful Disaster

You could say that life’s been a bit of a drag lately.

2020 keeps dragging on.  And the election keeps dragging on.  And the pandemic keeps dragging on. The endless questions with no answers are dragging on. Nothing seems to be working, and everything is complicated.

It’s been okay in my neck of the woods. I have the rest of the world turned off for most of the time. Many of my connections are bright lights that I can navigate to when I start to feel down.

Since school began in September, cases around here have been going up, a lot. My district was supposed to start in-person next week (my kids have been in-person one-on-one), but now we are all remote– probably at least until the end of January. So last week was the last week for awhile that I can see my kids in person. It’s sad. I’m hoping to spend time sprucing up the office room (that is currently ripped apart due to flooding) and organizing my online lessons. I am grateful that with only doing online lessons, lesson planning will be easier.

Most of my students were excited to come into even a dark and empty school

I’m kind of pumped to have extra time each day not commuting for almost two hours. I’m also excited to be able to do things differently this year, maybe in some ways better?

About two years ago I had a brilliant idea. I wanted to put my Orton-Gillingham lessons online, or on an app or make into a computer program. I thought it was the perfect project for me and hubby to do together, and between the both of us we’d have the knowledge to do it. With grad classes and all that, we never got it started, but you know what? I’m putting those suckers online now.. how ironic, eh?

You know what else is ironic?  Waiting 43 years to get braces, but having to wear a mask all the time after getting them off. That’s the funniest thing that happened this week.

I digress.

I have been super scattered this year, most notably, making stupid mistakes with work. So much so that yesterday I missed my kid’s 504 Plan meeting at school. At my school, I schedule meetings like these and it drives me crazy when parents don’t show up- and just forget about our meeting. Well, now I’m one of those parents. We both had it on our calendars too. I felt awful when I got the email at 12:20, “we had a meeting scheduled at noon, would you like to reschedule?”

I was thrilled that before missing the meeting I had a doctor’s appointment and got a prescription for Ritalin. I’ve talked to her about it before, and am kind of apprehensive about taking it- but at the same time I hope it helps me.

Other than that, I have some good things to look forward to.

The holidays kill my spirit, and this year I stopped feeling guilty for thinking about skipping it. We bought tickets to Florida and will completely miss Christmas day with both of our families.

It wasn’t an easy decision, and we’ve both gone through different emotions about it (feeling so excited, but also guilty, especially since we’re taking our nephew and will probably get a lot of flack for him not spending Christmas with his mom), but now that it’s a done deal, I’m thinking why don’t we do this every year??

I love our families, I really do. But the holidays on both sides is extra stressful. His family works for days putting on giant dinner with all the bells and whistles. For the past few years, they’ve been leaving the morning following the Christmas gathering to head to Florida. Since doing that, the Christmas gathering is extra stressful as they are frantically preparing for the trip while doing everything else.

Christmas eve at my dad’s is a smaller party but normally pretty stressful. The only reprieve is to get wasted, and well that’s just not an option these days.

So now when I think of the holidays, I feel an excitement, not a feeling of dread like normal. Then I realize that I need to put myself first more often.

I’ve been trying to keep up on the self-care, which is hard this time of year, especially given the craziness of the school year.

At any point in time, I’m usually reading a spiritual program type book. Currently, I’m studying A Course in Miracles. The real book is wordy, cumbersome and hard to understand. So, I got a cliff note version. My sister and I talk almost every morning and read a lesson from it. These lessons are way easier to understand than the real book. There are over 300 lessons and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be doing them for the rest of my life. They’re good. Currently, the theme is how nothing is real, we make up everything, our thoughts impact our life, our perception is everything.. those kinds of things.

I bring this up because having this routine has helped tremendously with staying sane and happy. My sister has had a lot of spiritual growth also, and we enjoy reading through the lesson and applying them to real life situations.

I joined a Pilates club and have been doing that a couple times each week. It seems to have helped my mood. I am enjoying the classes, but much more since buying tickets to Florida!

Another super cool thing is that I finally made it to the Buddhist temple for Sunday service! It was nice, pretty much what I expected. This was on my 2019 bucket list, better late than never right? I went with a good friend, another good friend was supposed to go, but her kiddo was sick, so she will go next time. Yep, next time, because now I have friends who want to go too. What a great feeling it is to have like-minded friends.

Lastly, I finally have gotten back to my manuscripts. I took a break since school started, I couldn’t get into it mentally. I started about a week ago and have been obsessed ever since. Each future novel is in a binder and whenever I walk by one of the binders, a voice in my head says, my manuscript, and then I feel so freaking happy! Who even cares if they ever get published and stay in a binder forever? It doesn’t change a thing 🙂

Several months ago, even before the pandemic, hubby and the boys were playing Minecraft together. Hubby can play for hours and hours. He especially likes to play after a stressful day or week at work. It gets his mind off the stress. He’s not a video gaming hubby, really, and goes weeks or months without playing, but sometimes it’s a good stress relief and he will get lost in the block world.

“I wish I had something that I could get lost in.” I said to him one night. I was jealous that he could play for hours, putting all the stress aside. I had nothing like that- except for maybe drinking.

Him playing Minecraft or even talking to the boys about playing used to be a big trigger for me because of boredom. It doesn’t trigger me often anymore, but I’ve realized that I need something to keep me busy.

When I started writing over the summer, I found that writing is that something for me. I could write for hours and they just fly by. It also is an amazing stress relief. Whatever I’m experiencing in real life somehow/someway comes out in my writing. Not in an obvious kind of way, but the therapeutic effects it has on me is profound.

I also realized that without knowing about the ego and the awful voice it has, I’m certain my writing would have never gotten this far. All summer long, that voice was like, This story is stupid. You’re wasting your time. No one will ever read this. You should stop now. 

I am 100% certain that I would have stopped by the second or third lash of the ego’s tongue, but now I knew better. I’ve often wondered if I would have written more, taken more risks in general, growing up if I knew how to shut up that voice- instead of taking it at face value.

I stopped writing when school started. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get back to my story while working during the school year. It feels so refreshing and great to get back to it. I’m going to try my hardest to carve in at least a couple hours each day to write- after all, that’s the amount of drive time I’m saving everyday.

It’s a huge and overwhelming process, but I’m taking baby steps and enjoying the process, most of the time anyway.

Life is a beautiful disaster.

🌈☀️🌏

 

 

I Didn’t Understand the Black Lives Matter Movement, But Now I Do

I woke up super early this morning and braved the elements. My mind was running while running through the dark cold. Something made me think of the incidents below and it felt shameful, so I decided to blog about it, even though it has nothing to do with sobriety.


When I was about 18, I was driving home from my boyfriend’s house late at night. I was tired and I could feel the tires of my Probe getting stuck in the grooves along the lines of the highway.  Not long into the journey, I saw flashing lights pulling me over. Shit. I thought, although I was not driving under the influence of anything.

They put me in the back of the car and told me they were going to give me some sobriety tests.  “No problem.” I replied.

One cop looks back and says to the other one, “She’s fine, look at her eyes.” And with that, I was let go and told to be careful night driving.

Several years later, I was student teaching and our school went on lockdown because a 1997 white Ford Taurus robbed a store in the area and was on the run. Later that afternoon, long after the lockdown was lifted, I was heading home in my 1996 white Ford Taurus.

I noticed a cop behind me at one point. I was nervous because I was on hold with my college trying to handle some red tape of some sort. But I knew that I would be talking to them soon and distracted so I pulled into a sub.  A few minutes later, I had talked to the college and so I pulled out of the sub and continued on.  The cop was watching and I supposed it looked suspicious.  He pulled me over, and I didn’t even know why.

“Excuse me, ma’am. Is this your vehicle?”

“Yes.”

“Well, we are looking for a car that fits this description. We had a robbery in the area earlier.”

“No officer. That was a ’97 Taurus. THIS is a ’96.” I said with an eye roll.

I didn’t realize at the time, that the two models looked identical and when I told my hubby what happened he was flabbergasted that I mouthed off to the cop. Only I didn’t realize how snarky and naive of me that was.

But.. he let me go. I don’t even think he was irritated at my snide remark.  But it was disrespectful on my part. I was probably irked to be pulled over when I was doing nothing wrong.

Two weeks ago I was rear ended. The person who did it didn’t stop when I pulled into a driveway, he/she kept going. I filed a police report. I gave my license and registration to the cop when he showed up. I didn’t have proof of insurance, but thought he could look it up.

Nope, he needed it and waited patiently while a made a few phone calls and sat on hold waiting to get my policy number.  In the meantime, he ran my plates.

I didn’t realize it, but I handed him the wrong registration completely (different car entirely).

“You must not normally drive this car.” He assumed.

“Yeah, officer. That’s right. I hardly ever drive this one.” (I drive it 99% of the time).

“Well, make sure you have the correct registration next time.”

This page screams white privilege, something that some people don’t believe in, including my hubby (I’m working on it, he’s getting there– but he also grew up in downtown Detroit and was the only white kid at his elementary and was bullied horribly because of it. He also could not walk safely in his neighborhood alone. He has to untangle these cords before moving forward).

I used to not get it too, but that changed this year. I belong to a running group on Facebook and there was a horrific story that was shared.

A man, who was a well respected father and husband, went out for a morning run. A local father/son duo assumed he was running from a crime and so they took it upon themselves to shoot him dead. He just went out for exercise.

https://apnews.com/article/96990a5023927df289c934d2decd90b8

The comments shared on that stream were unreal to me. People chimed in left and right about their apprehension and issues they’ve had while running. Many, especially black men, can’t run at night or early morning, have to be careful where they run and who they run with. One dad said he only runs when his daughters can run with him so that he’s not targeted as a criminal.

Reading firsthand accounts, along with that awful story hit home with me. I didn’t get it before, but I get it now.

Now it sounds so irrelevant whenever I hear, All Lives Matter.

Of course all lives matter, but that’s like shouting, “I too have felt loss!” at a stranger’s funeral. Or it’s like demanding a fireman put his hose on MY house, because ALL houses matter, never mind that the one next to mine is burning to the ground.

This post doesn’t feel great to publish. It feels controversial and preachy. I’m not trying to preach and admit that I, myself, was very late in realizing the big picture.

But we can and will do better.

 

Monkey Mind is my Super Power

What if our most despised attribute can serve us?

I suppose it started with a seed, planted by the world renowned functional doctor, Dr. Tent. Before him, I wasn’t aware of any ‘problem’.

When trying to figure out why my body was attacking itself, I admitted that I was an alcoholic.

Dr. Tent then went on a rant. What I got out of it was this: I have something called monkey mind, you can see it in my eyes, just like Catherine Zeta Jones. People in his family have it, and they have to run 10 miles a day to quiet it- or else they’ll turn to drinking.

Okay, lots of generalizations there, but what he said stuck with me.

I looked up ‘Monkey Mind’.

I tried meditation to quiet it.

I tried exercise.

I silently and innocently cursed my father, for giving me this trait I share with him.

I took the supplements that doctor sold me to quiet my mind, food grade lithium, I believe he said it was.

It made sense to me that I enjoyed quieting it with stiff drinks for so many years. I didn’t know what it was, I just knew it made me terribly uncomfortable.

I didn’t know what to do with it.

What if I don’t shush it?

What if I use it?

What if it’s a super strength?

Day #564

Day #560 Everything’s Weird

It is lunchtime and absolutely gorgeous out for October. The entire family is working from home today, and hubby and I are spending our lunch on the deck. It’s a sunny 66 degrees, but very windy. We have the small fire table on and it feels good.

We both have to be back to work on calls at 1:00. I will be giving my first virtual DRA test to one of my 3rd graders. I hope it goes ok.

Wednesdays are interesting in that our kids have zoom calls for most of their classes. It’s funny to see them showing off their pets, working with a partner, and setting their alarm for an early meeting, while I nonchalantly drink my coffee and chat with my sister (being at the elementary level, I start later than them). It’s all funny and weird. They all think it’s funny to see me work with kids too.

What a funny little blip in history this will be! We’ll talk about it for the rest of our lives, I’m sure. As much as I dislike work right now, it’s IS nice to be able to work from home. So I’m mad at myself for feeling so miserable and unhappy when I know that when this changes and I have to work out of the house all the time, I’m going to miss this a lot- I bet.

So yeah, I worked from home would normally be getting home around now and have to do the things I’ve already done, like my workout and all my laundry (clean and put away). So it’s not even 5:00 and I feel pretty accomplished, so now I can spend the evening doing things that I want to do.

This sounds like a really peachy entry. In reality, the world seems to be in total chaos, especially the United States. The election next month is going to have huge repercussions either way. I think that was part of my stress last week- just an accumulation of some really big things that I have no control over. I’ve really had to dial it back and am going to have to continue to do so.

That’s all I have to say today. Peace and love to all <3

Day #549; the Lies of Alcohol

I didn’t decide stop drinking 549 days ago. It was more like 3 years ago that I decided I want to stop.

For some people, like me, relapses are part of the process.

For me, there was a pattern. I’d achieve some length of sobriety, 2 weeks, a month, sometimes even more before relapsing.

After that 1st night back to drinking, I wouldn’t set back my counter. I’d wait, because if I was going back to day 1, I wanted to make it worth it! So that one night of drinking would turn into 3-4, or sometimes more.

It was a full two years of this.

It was so confusing for me, because not only did I want to stop, but I felt so dang good mentally & emotionally every time I did! I didn’t understand why I kept going back.

Now I know that it was probably PAWS (post alcohol withdrawal syndrome) and/or my alcoholic voice trying to persuade me. It took me quite awhile to learn & grow my toolbox.

So when I say that I have over 500 consecutive days, know that they didn’t come without mistakes and setbacks. I’ve had so many day 1’s.

As frustrating as it was at the time, I’m thankful for the rough road in my first attempts at sobriety.

One day back in March, was the worst day one, and my last to date

After hitting my one year, shortly after the entire country shut down & was ordered to isolate, I considered drinking. It would be okay, I told myself, I’ll stop again, after this pandemic, if we make it out alive.

You see what my alcoholic voice did there? I could die, we all could, so why am I staying sober? It took my vulnerable state of mind & tried to talk me into taking a drink.

I didn’t overthink it, or stress about it, but knew in my heart that the switch in my head might flip after that day & I would grant myself forgiveness.

The day came & went & drinking was a fleeting thought. The thought of more day 1’s and being in that cycle was enough to make the thought of it repulsive.

There have been a few other times this year when I considered it. Like when our good friends got married this month. It was the fear of getting back into that cycle that stopped me from taking that first drink.

That knowledge is a gift of my relapses.

I have no idea if I’ll ever drink again. I just know that I love my life so much more at day 549 than I ever have before.

A few weeks ago, I woke up ill on a Saturday. Not terrible, but I was achey and had a headache. I didn’t have enough energy to shower until noon. Then it hit me.

This used to be every single Saturday and Sunday.

Every weekend day, I was a zombie. It took all my energy to do the minimum. By afternoon I was almost recovered and would diligently cross off all my (minimal) chores so that I could start drinking at 8:00.

I lived to drink.

I thought it was life.

The thought of quitting was a horrible prospect.

Sober people were much different than me, and I would never be happy without it.

These and about 100 more excuses all crossed my mind every time I thought of my drinking.

It was all a tremendous lie, courtesy of alcohol and Betsy, my AV.

My only regret, like most everyone else, is that I didn’t do it sooner.

Now I feel like the decades I spent drinking we’re wasted sitting on the sidelines of life and I can see how much I’ve missed.

Perhaps I was late to the game, but I’m grateful to be in it now, and remorseful for the ones in my life who are still on the side— the ones who are fully committed to believing the lies of alcohol.

💙☮️✔️

Sweet Savory Ethanol

Day #532

It’s a chilly Saturday morning & I’m sitting in the dark by the fire— up long before anyone else around here.

I have a sage candle & sage incense burning, and Deva Premal chants playing.

The world appears to be coming unglued & I am at peace.

I am so incredibly grateful for finding recovery, especially this year. Now all those relapses in 2017 & 2018 seem to have a purpose, the knowledge I gained from them has no doubt helped me through the toughest moments so far this year.

And the toughest moments, like our best friends getting married after 20 years, weren’t that tough. When you see through the lies that alcohol spews it becomes easy (or at least easier) to resist.

WE see you ethanol! We see what you are doing to our friends & loved ones who are still afflicted and we aren’t going to take any more crap 🙌🏻💪🏻🔥🎉

Friendships are Hard

Day #537

I’m coming off the weekend feeling sad & exhausted, despite some personal feats.

I became an ordained minister over the summer & on Saturday I married my childhood best friend and the boyfriend she met over 20 years ago.

Let me start by saying what a mistake that was 🤦🏻‍♀️

I mean, it was sort of fun/sort of nerve wracking. It was fun to stand up there with the groom & watch everyone come down the aisle.

My friend posted pictures today.

I HATE my hair. I HATE my outfit. I HATE my face. And I HATE that I am in all of their most intimate of pictures at the alter.

So yeah, no more marrying someone I know.

I went up alone Friday night while my family joined me on Saturday.

The bride has been my friend since around 3rd grade. We’ve gone through a few phases throughout the years, sometimes not speaking for a year or so. Not out of anger or anything, just being at a different place in life.

When my oldest was born she was around a lot. Consequently, he is very close to both of them (friend & her new hubby).

Shortly after my youngest was born they moved 1 1/2 hour north, where he grew up. Therefore, my youngest just doesn’t have the same relationship with them.

Several years ago, they began driving off -road -vehicles as a weekend hobby. With it came a new set of friends.

While it was fun to be up north with all of the wedding excitement, it was also extremely sad. I felt like city mouse visits country mouse and that I didn’t belong. 

It made me want to cry, actually, and felt like I was grieving the close friendship that we used to share. 

It was totally unexpected because I have already done this. Years ago, I went through this and since then we are in a really great place with our friendship. So why was I feeling this way again? Additionally, my family and I have an open invitation to go camping with them and their friends, and she never fails to remind me that we are welcome. We try to make it up whenever we can, but life gets busy. 

Feeling this way made me feel even more crappy because her friends are so nice. They welcomed me Friday night and never let me feel like an outsider. 

Occasionally throughout the weekend, I had to find a quiet spot for several moments to decompress. I recognized the feelings and realized that in the past this situation would have been much different. I’m talking about pre-recovery years when I had no idea about the importance of self-care and coping skills. I wouldn’t have understood why I wanted to be alone and I would have become angry, probably at everyone there. I would have been reaching for the vodka 5 minutes after arriving.

Instead, I got my quiet time and emerged when I felt ready. Refreshed, grateful for the quiet moment and not feeling anger at anyone. That was a success! 

We left the wedding earlier than expected, mostly because I was completely exhausted, plus the drinking was starting to get heavy. My oldest remarked on the way home that he only knew a few people there. I think my whole family was a little sad afterwards, realizing what a backseat we’ve taken in their lives. 

I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to drink on Saturday. I didn’t know if I would be super tempted, and was going to allow myself to if I really felt the desire. My intention was to get right back on track afterwards. Even with homemade moonshine at every table, I didn’t have much of an urge. I can thank my past relapses for that. I know that drinking after a long period of abstaining is never fun the first night. The alcohol tastes terrible, the buzz sucks and the hangover anxiety is nearly unbearable. 

I definitely would have been more social if I had been drinking. I am very quiet and reserved without it. But, I can live with that. I’m currently trying to embrace it 😉

As far as the friendship goes, I know that my remorseful reaction to this situation is something I need to look at within myself. I guess I’ll chalk it up to another lesson of 2020.