daily entry, personal, recovery

day 401 – you + me

youandme.PNG

So, I’m participating in a little thing called the “Fall in Love with You” challenge over on the good ol’ instagram and today’s prompt, day 12, is “your passion.”

And so, here’s what I know…
My passions are this: you + me.

My passion went from being a slow-burning build up, to a fire that cannot be tamed.

My passion has been discovering myself, what I like, what I don’t like, what areas I want to explore, what areas are best left alone, who I am, what I want, and ultimately where I want to go from here.

I literally spent all of my 20’s trying to be everything and everyone but me. Looking back, I really was an identity fraud of sorts. It wasn’t intentional… at least it didn’t start out that way, it just kind of snowballed and gained momentum as the years went by.

I mean, I was good at certain aspects and roles in my life, but when I would lay my head down each night, all I knew was that I was lost, miserable, and basically a shell of a person, hollowed out entirely and no real grasp or desire to recapture any potential I once had.

I was good at maintaining a personal narrative full of redundancies and self-pity, and even better at complaining but never moving myself into action. It cost me lots of friends, but even more so, it cost me a complete loss of identity.

So, over the last 13+ months, I’ve patiently unlearned all my destructive behaviors and replaced them with creating the person I am still becoming at this very moment.

I’ve been picking up bits and pieces of the identity I competely destroyed and abandoned, and am continuously falling in love with myself more and more each day.

That being said, the more I continue to better myself and really become an example + living proof that we can and do recover, the more I find myself finding my voice as well as a path to the future: which is where you come in.

As I become the best person I can be, I become more determined to both nurture myself AND give myself to those who need it. A little “puff, puff, pass” if you will, about inhaling all of life’s blessings, and wanting to share/pass them on to others.

*~Getting naturally high on life, if you want to get literal~*

I’ve become increasingly passionate about accepting how beYOUtiful I really am, as well as how uplifting + empowering our sober commUNITY is; and all of these things are JUST. GETTING. STARTED.

My passion is something greater than myself, and I’ve never felt more alive and/or fulfilled than I do now. Showing up, speaking out, helping others, encouraging others, LOVING others is what/where I was destined to be all along.

So if ANYTHING good has come out of my past, it is all of these things, and I am grateful for them every single millisecond.

Here’s to you.
Here’s to me.
Here’s to us.

Here’s to the future; may it be wild and bright and limitless.

daily entry, misc, personal, recovery

day 385 – an ode to recovery month

Did you know September is National Recovery Month?

Probably not. Hell, I didn’t know or even care until recently, to be honest. I’m willing to bet that unless you, or someone you know and deeply care for is currently or has previously struggled with addiction, substance abuse, and/or mental illness… you probably think this has nothing to do with you, and will most likely skim over this like the vast majority of your feed. Which is fine, and maybe this (*~recovery thing~*) will never be something that infiltrates its way into your life. Should you be so fortunate to not have to really try and understand and digest what all this entails of, that’s awesome. It really, really is. However, for me, this is a subject that I have become really well-versed in and heavily focused on over the last 385 days, and I’m here to be as evangelical as shit about a multitude of things because I’ve finally found my fucking voice, and it’s about time I speak up and use it for something good.

The world needs more good in it, yeah? The world def needs more good… and love, understanding, empathy, compassion, and the list goes on and on.

Anyway, in regards to the few friends I’ve managed to keep in touch with via Facebook, I’ve stayed mostly quiet about my past struggles with alcohol abuse, minus a few milestones I’ve hit over the last 385 days (as I should, because I’m REALLY fucking proud of myself and how much I’ve evolved and grown as a person, woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and working professional). However, since September is winding down, I found it appropriate to write an open letter to those same people, about mental illness, addiction, substance abuse, sobriety and recovery, because today I don’t feel like being quiet. Today I feel like being unapologetically honest, real, raw, vulnerable, and explicitly vocal about these things, because I have a firm belief there are several people (unbeknownst to me) that need to see and read something such as this – this testimony of mine, and how insanely important it is to COPE and COMMUNICATE.

Those two “c” words can be awfully overwhelming for some people, so I’ll throw in COURAGE and CONQUER for good measure, because those words are more motivational and powerful sounding, and aren’t nearly as intimidating.

I’m not really sure where to start, because I’ve got a pretty colorful past that’s heavily punctuated with shameful moments (some I remember, some I don’t), narrative redundancies as they pertain to my interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, mental breakdowns, spells of deep depression, and an overall lack of honest perception and perspective of myself and the world around me. If we’re being honest, I truly believe almost all of my friends-turned-acquaintances have seen me drunk out of my mind, and sadly some of them saw me that way more than once. And while most (all) of them have moved on from those times… (and let’s face it) moved on from me and them knowing each other, except for what’s shared on social media… I still hold onto those moments, and they usually come to me in stabbing strobes of fragmented recollections, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it can be excruciating and almost panic attack inducing.

My flashbacks are terrible. They are terrible and vivid, and I hate them as much as I love them. I love them because they’re a part of what’s helped me stay the course, and serve as forever humbling reminders that I don’t EVER have to be that person again. While I know I can’t change the past (and somedays I have to really try to let things go completely), I know I can use the past to help shape my future. A future I once honestly believed was unattainable.

I did a really good job at convincing myself that a lot of things in my life were shitty, and am eternally grateful I am fortunate enough to have been able to wake up and see things for what they really are, and it’s bonkers how much I have fallen head over heels in love with things that have been right in front of me the whole time. All these magical things I’ve found in the mundane are 100% thanks to the gift of sobriety and entering a life of recovery.

Anyway, as far as my personal story goes, at this point in time, it doesn’t matter about the tipping point(s) that occurred which set this transformation and lifelong journey into motion, what does matter is this: I feel fairly comfortable and confident enough to open up a bit more about the intense, euphoric, and incredibly desolate revelations since I entered a life of sobriety and in recovery. I feel even more comfortable with sharing this because it’s quite apparent we’re not all who we paint ourselves to be. I feel I am a fairly decent example of that. I mean, I’ve got this really cool guy who loves me unconditionally, I’ve got two healthy and happy kids, I’ve got a college degree and a job I’m great at, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of how awesome things are in my life.

Except they weren’t always authentically awesome because I didn’t give these things the love and attention they deserved, and I could paint the prettiest picture in town about how great my life is. And again with the whole “you can’t always believe what you see on the internet” but how about the smiling, successful person living the American Dream… do you/we/I believe that when it’s shown to us? More than likely. I mean, like, I know we take a lot of things at face value and are pretty confident that all of us are sharing a decent amount of “edited for television” snippets of our lives, but how about the person who’s in a darker place than the average person, how can we tell them apart? We can’t. Simple as that. We can’t tell them apart because they/you/me convince themselves that either nobody has time for them and they don’t want to be a burden, or maybe they would feel shameful about the way things in their life are going, or maybe they just bury it all together and try to tell themselves these “bad” things will disappear if they keep them buried long enough.

People suffer in silence, and that’s a fact.

That’s why I’m here now, doing this whole “recovering out loud” thing, because I think people who are hurting are the last people that need to keep quiet or ignore their pain altogether. We’re really good at finding temporary quick fixes to alleviate, or drown out, or (again) ignore our pain. And when these fixes wear off, we face the same demons again, and we go ‘round the circle again and again. That circle is fucking exhausting, y’all. Getting off that damn merry-go-round was the best decision I ever made.

Fortunately, I was never “addicted” to alcohol (I only say that because I mean in the physical sense, I never got DTs or withdrawals or anything like that) but I became addicted to the way it made me felt, even if I knew deep down what I was doing was nothing more than keeping the devil company. I’ve hurt a lot of people, guys. I’ve hurt a lot of people, burned a lot of bridges, made myself unavailable, and never cared about making amends because those people weren’t waiting for me all nice and frosty in my fridge when I had a hard day. Or a good day. Or a day. Because I started making all these excuses to myself that I wasn’t doing anything more than rewarding myself for doing nothing more than living. Except the day I started doing that, I stopped living, and I started merely existing. Then I’d get depressed and look for scapegoats to pin my pain on, and again… would seek relief in something that never did anything but make my situations worse. These problems continued to get worse, and more frequent, until I just couldn’t do it anymore and I surrendered to all sorts of things, but mostly to my poor heart and brain, because I’d hurt them most of all.

So after I threw in the towel, I started the most terrifying thing of my life: intensive outpatient program for addiction/ substance abuse. Slowly but surely, I started picking up the pieces of everything I’d destroyed, I started being completely honest with everyone and everything, I pulled all my skeletons out of their closets, and I got up close and real personal with my demons. It was the most painful yet liberating thing I’d ever done, and it saved me. It did. I couldn’t have done the things I did, made the progress I did, explore the grotesque intricacies that added up to a heaping mass of pain that I had doused with alcohol the way I did – I couldn’t have done any of these things without this program and the guidance of my counselor. My counselor released me back into the world with an arsenal of coping mechanisms, a newfound intuition to recognize and acknowledge when self-care is needed… I could go on and on with the amount of free crap my counselor gave me, that have come in handy numerous times, and ultimately helped me become the me I was meant to be.

ALL OF THIS being said, you can no longer say you don’t know anyone who has struggled with addiction, substance abuse, and/or mental illness. You can, however, say that you know someone who overcame these struggles and is no longer a victim, but a survivor.

P.S. – I have every intention of going back to school once the kids are older, so that I can become a professional, active member within the sobriety + recovery and have my eye on becoming a counselor as well. I’m just getting started with this journey, and I finally have genuine faith that the future holds great things for me, and I’ll get to that future – one day at a time.

P.P.S. – EDIT – To be very clear, and I’m going to quote a gorgeous badass I follow on IG (where my whole account is dedicated to my mission) and hold in high regards, “I’ve never had an issue being around alcohol since I made the decision to get clean. My rock bottom was so bad, so ugly, so life-threatening, so devastating that I’ve never even been tempted to pick up again. Doesn’t mean that I’m always going to be impervious to the temptation, doesn’t mean that I’m immune to relapse—but it also doesn’t mean I need to keep myself locked up away in a padded room in order to keep myself ‘safe’ from it.” – My rock bottom was the very real acceptance that if I kept going the way I did, I would lose those around me who love me the most, and them to me. I can be around booze and don’t get bothered, at all.

daily entry, personal, recovery

day 318 – so, i had an awakening…

anaisnin_ownworld

So, here’s a #FlashbackFriday to this past #TransformationTuesday: The Spiritual Edition (if you’d like to see the holy shit visual/selfie version, take a looksie at my IG. Linked on the right side of your screen .)

So, my insomnia has decided to resurface, and with that comes an open gate / onset slew of events: severe flashbacks, intense feelings of regret, shame, and guilt, a tsunami of emotions, internal exploration, brief and simultaneous exchanges of incredibly short episodes of mild mania and depression, an increased desire to write and an increased desire to reel it all back. My insomnia enjoys being the life of the party, because when this bitch shows up, it thrives on throwing everything but the kitchen sink at me just to see what my reaction will be.

I gotta break it to ya, insomnia, I got some tricks up my sleeve this go-round, and you’re not going to bring me down because AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. (this time.)

Anyway, as I tossed and turned until the wee hours of the morning, I had a most beautiful breakthrough that ultimately resulted in a profound epiphany, and I felt alive. And terribly awake. Da fuq cares if it was almost 1:30 in the morning? This bitch had a motherfuckin’ epiphany. And it was glorious. And painful. And conflicting. And I debated 18 billion different times on whether I wanted to go furiously write down everything racing through my mind or not, and finally my brain flatlined (or my sleep-aid kicked in, idk) and I finally fell asleep.

This morning felt different. I felt different. I felt invigorated. I felt happy. I felt proud. I felt good. I felt peaceful. You see, last night as I darted in and out of flashbacks and in-depth reflections, I was sidelined with a pure moment of clarity – and all of a sudden, SO MANY THINGS made SO MUCH SENSE.

I spent so much of my time during active addiction trying to paint myself and my life to be this tragic and romantic tale, an undiscovered muse sucked into a domesticated life, where things were periodically bleak, and despite having a lover a kid and friends (and stability), I thrived on keeping my soul in a tormented state and found myself continuing to try and try and try to be all these things I simply wasn’t. I lived and breathed and longed to be a manic pixie dream girl, and I tried to like all the “right” things, I tried to steer clear of mainstream and monotony, and I flailed and pouted and sought so many (wrong) things in so all the (wrong) ways as best as I could, for as long as I could.

And last night, I sat there retracing all my steps and then it ALL hit me HARD. I spent so much time seeking approval and attention from so many people, despite me keeping myself in denial that I was doing such because I didn’t want to admit I was wasting an endless amount of time and energy — all to just keep myself in this stupid hamster wheel and too scared to jump off. Because I just wanted someone and something (“someone” meaning seeking validation, acceptance and attention from others, and “something” being alcohol used as fuel to keep this negative flame and my candle burning at both ends)… and as I sat there scavenging in my own mind + scrolling through quotes on self-care… IT happened. That epiphany and clarity of realizing: I NEVER NEEDED ANYBODY ELSE TO SAVE ME EXCEPT FOR MYSELF. If I couldn’t ever love myself, how and why in the fuck was I thinking anything or anyone else would do it for me?

I’ve spent so long being this sadomasochist with myself and tried so hard to repel and push and pull at everything, kicking and screaming, and longing and it was all because I never loved or accepted myself. And I never loved or accepted (fully) that all these other “things” I was searching for – besides the whole self-love thing – it had all been there the ENTIRE time. Waiting. Patiently. For me to come around, and thank God I had a chance to wake up before everything I ever needed disappeared out of my life – and then it all sunk in that I could let go of all my old ideas and beliefs… just let it all go because I became painfully aware that I had to stop building up these fantasies and longing to be this special “thing” in the eyes of others… and that I have to be my own superhero, my own muse, my own princess in shining armor, or however the fuck you want to look at this… I let myself down for so long and tried to find it everywhere else but inside of me.

And this whole “a-ha” thing had me SO shook to my bones, that I felt electric this morning as I crawled out from under my sheets and I’ve been walking on sunshine ever since. If I only maintain this feeling for today, I’m okay with that, because I have learned something new. Something profound. On my own, but with the help of others (unbeknownst to them, more or less), and for all of this – I am grateful. I am aware – and all of these wonderful thoughts and growing pains have all been made completely possible because I’m learning to slowly but surely let go of everything I let weigh me down for so many years. And it is love and it is light and it is everything.

And you are everything, and I hope that you know that. And if you don’t know or see that right now, give it time and let it grow and you will reap the benefits. And every waking second until you find and love yourself, I hope you know that you are worth it. And you are enough. You are so enough.

I love you all. xo

personal, recovery

it’s just a spark.

9

How many months I’ve been sober.

This has been, without a doubt, the most exquisite and excruciating but ultimately liberating adventure I’ve ever endured. The growing pains this evolution has provided is only parallel to the intense insanity that is motherhood, except on this ride — I’m finally nurturing myself.

Over the last nine months I’ve ripped so many skeletons out of my closet, I’ve gently but forcefully excavated a lot of my inner demons, and I finally pulled back the rug I’ve swept all my grotesque complexities and turmoil under; all the things that tormented me inside, that I chose to simultaneously fuel and suppress with alcohol, I’ve slowly but surely been facing them all. And you know what? It not only feels good… it feels even better… because it’s finally all feeling real.

I’ve ceased cheapening and/or forging emotions and experiences, both the good and the bad. It’s been far from natty and I’m ten million percent okay with that. Some days it’s been hard, some days it’s been easy; regardless, it’s been constructive and invaluable, day in and day out.

I’ve been learning to really tune into my inner intuition and have been making progress by: no longer suffering in silence and instead choosing to cope and communicate, learning to become more assertive without being entirely aggressive, when I feel myself becoming desolate I put forth my best efforts to find magic in the mundane, and pushed myself in other areas of discomfort and unfamiliarity, in order to flourish absolutely. Ultimately, I’m learning to transition into becoming as unapologetically myself as possible. I’ve got so much to say and I’m done hiding in the shadows; I’m ready to shake up the world and hopefully change some lives.

Along with this thorough admission of shortcomings and triumphs, I issued an apology to all of my friends. Well, the few friends I have left. I lost most of my friends over the years because I chose to have a “better” friendship with alcohol.

Almost every single one of my friends has seen me three sheets to the wind at one point. Or at ten points, depending on who they are. While this isn’t as personal or intimate as I’d like this apology to be, it’ll have to do until I’m able to see them in person and tell them straight to their face. Too many times have they all seen me trying to self-medicate and compensate myself for making it through another 24 hours of my life. Because nothing says “feel better” or “you deserve this” or “you’ve worked so hard today” or “I love you” like watering down your thoughts and drowning your feelings, right? Everyone I know, and myself, deserves better than what I’ve given them in the past. While I can’t change what I’ve done, what I’ve said, what I can remember and what only comes back to me in shattered recollections, I can wholeheartedly tell them that I’ve killed who I once was and I only pull out her image when I need a reminder of how far I’ve come.

During the last nine months I’ve been able to not only unlearn how to destroy, I’ve been remembering how to create, I’ve been able to fully immerse myself in experiences and emotions, I’ve learned more things about myself in the last 9 months than I’ve been able to accomplish over the last 10 years. And this party is just getting started.

Most importantly, I’ve been able to become the best mother, wife, daughter, and the best version of myself I can be. My potential in life knows no bounds, and I look forward to the future instead of hanging on to the past. My past is ugly, it’s messy, it’s shameful — but it’s made me who I am today, and for that I am grateful.

Once my kids are less dependent on me, I plan on going back to school to study and become a substance abuse counselor, and use my voice, my love, and my soul to help make this world a better place. I want to show, inspire, encourage and empower others to know that if they are being swallowed whole by their addiction(s), that there is hope. I want to show them that recovery and happiness are possible. I should know, because I’m living proof.

I love you all. xo

daily entry, jam of the day, misc, personal, recovery

hey! guess what?

i’m not dead, or fallen off the wagon, or anything like that.
(today is day 254 for my life in sobriety and recovery.)

i CANNOT wait to have alone time to fully pour my heart and soul into some entries once i get to my destination for my upcoming business trip.

i’ve found it best and easiest to fully immerse myself in writing and letting my thoughts and feelings flow when i’m 100% by myself.

however, i’m taking a quick break from entering in my 23,984,732,908,473,294,872 work orders, because i’m trying to salvage what bit of sanity i have at this millisecond — mmm, probably doesn’t help my toddler son is teething and/or growing and has established an absolutely unpredictable sleep pattern over the last seven days — because i have to gush and share a three part “jam of the day.”

y’all i love pop-punk. and while this band is now identifying as “genre-neutral” i love them just the same… if not, more than ever.

the older i get, the more i understand and appreciate how musical artists grow and evolve. over the last 14 years, i’ve gone from a wee, angsty “i can’t believe XYZ band made such a shitty album as their follow-up from a ‘perfect’ album” person, to a reflective soul who now thinks “wow, this is so cool being able to grow up alongside these artists and feel the emotion and understand the meanings, metaphors and themes behind certain songs and really identify with these people as humans.

i guess that’s part of maturity, right?

anyways, paramore has put out a nearly perfect new album, “after laughter.”
i shit you not, i’ve already listened to the album at least fifteen times since they dropped it this past friday, may 12.

so, i’m doing a MAJOR “jam of the day” by going hard with not one, not two — but THREE songs. i’m doing this, because i HIGHLY encourage you to listen to all three, in order, so you can ride this beautiful, turbulent roller coaster along with me. gaaaahhh — I FUCKING LOVE THE FEELS — ALL OF THEM.
xo

without further ado:

song 1/3 – “idle worship”

“Standing here like I’m supposed to say something
Don’t hold your breath, I never said I’d save you, honey
And I don’t want your money
If I was you I’d run from me or rip me open
You’ll see you’re not the only one who’s hopeless
Be sure to put your faith in something more
I’m just a girl and you’re not as alone as you feel
We all got problems, don’t we?
We all need heroes, don’t we?
But rest assured there’s not a single person here who’s worthy

Don’t let me let you down

Hey, baby I’m not your superhuman
And if that’s what you want
I hate to let you down
I got your hopes up
Now I got you hoping
But I’m gonna be the one that let you down

Oh, it’s such a long and awful lonely fall
Down from this pedestal that you keep putting me on
What if I fall on my face?
What if I make a mistake?
If it’s okay a little grace would be appreciated
Remember how we used to like ourselves?
What little light that’s left, we need to keep it sacred
I know that you’re afraid to let all the dark escape ya
But we could let the light illuminate these hopeless places

Just let me let you down

Hey, baby I’m not your superhuman
And if that’s what you want
I hate to let you down
I got your hopes up
Now I got you hoping
But I’m gonna be the one that let you down

Oh, no, I ain’t your hero
You’re wasting all your faith on me
Oh, no, I know where this goes
Think it’s safe to say your savior doesn’t look a thing like me

Don’t let me let you down

Hey, baby I’m not your superhuman
And if that’s what you want
I hate to let you down
I got your hopes up
Now I got you hoping
But I’m gonna be the one that let you down”

song 2/3 – “no friend”

“Another brick-red room
Another black-top town
Another misspelled band burning their own houses down
Another pine-box tune to fill the cemetery day another stay
A touch of orange over purgatory gray
Another thorny field to scatter fruitless seed
Another song that runs too long
God knows no one needs more misguided ghosts
More transparent hands to drop a nickel in our basket
And we’ll do our riot! dance beneath another burning sky
Behind our painted lips in scares of catatonic smile-covered ankle-bitten ships
So throw your pedestal of stone in the forgetful sea as protection from the paper-thin perfection you project on me
When this repetition ends behind the window shades,
A semi-conscious sorrow sleeping in the bed I’ve made
That most unrestful bed, that most original of sins
And you’ll say that’s what I get when I let ambition win again
I’d hate to let you down
So I’ll let the waters rise and drown my dull reflection
In the naïve expectation in your eyes back in a cast bit-part
Back when I felt most free
I had a butcher’s heart and no one thought they knew me
So before the regiment resumes
Before the dreaded sun appears
My driver’s waiting so let’s make one point crystal clear:
You see a flood-lit form, I see a shirt design
I’m no savior of yours and you’re no friend of mine”

song 3/3 – “tell me how”

“I can’t call you a stranger
But I can’t call you
I know you think that I erased you
You may hate me but I can’t hate you
And I won’t replace you

Tell me how to feel about you now?
Tell me how to feel about you now?
Oh oh let me know
Do I suffocate or let go?

Think I’m tired of getting over it
And just starting something new again
I’m getting sick of the beginnings
And always coming to your defenses

Guess it’s good to get it off my chest
Guess I can’t believe I haven’t yet
You know I got my own convictions
And they’re stronger than any addiction
But no one’s winning

Tell me how to feel about you now?
Tell me how to feel about you now?
Oh oh let me know
Do I suffocate or let go?

Tell me how to feel about you now?
Tell me how to feel about you now?
Oh oh let me know
Do I suffocate or let go?

Keep me up with your silence
Take me down with your quiet
Of all the weapons you fight with
Your silence is the most violent

Tell me how to feel about you now?
Tell me how to feel about you now?
Oh oh let me know
Do I suffocate or let go?

You don’t have to tell me
If you ever think of me
I know you see me dancing wildly in the fog
Of your memory
You don’t have to tell me
I can still believe…”