Monday, April 27, 2015

Presence on Day 235

Dear Readers,
Last Friday, I went with some women from my AA group to conduct a meeting in a treatment center. It was a small meeting, a total of about ten or so.

We read a story from the AA Big Book, and then shared our thoughts about the reading. 
When it came to my turn, I ended up telling a little bit of my story and how I ended up where I had.
At first I wondered if anyone would connect to my story, and then I thought, it's not about how we are different.
It's how we are alike in our human condition. When I listened to all the women, I heard our hopes, fears, happiness, and sadness. We all started out as vulnerable little children, many of us with hard childhoods. Some of us came from rich families, others were poor. Some of us had children, boyfriends, husbands, others not.

If I only look at other addicts as how they are different compared to me, I am setting up a judgement, a dividing line, that I am better or worse than they are for one reason or another.
All of us are human, and being humans we struggle.
Being humans, we make mistakes. 

Perhaps one thing I said helped someone.
I don't know.
I do know I was helped.
I was helped by seeing all I needed to do was be present, share and listen.
I didn't need to be anything more or less than human.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Strength on Day 231

Dear Readers,
Spring 

I have the best people supporting me, including all my readers. I am always in deep gratitude for people's help, hope, and strength. I often think God shows himself (or herself) through people.
If I quiet my mind long enough to listen to other people's stories, I am reminded of our shared experiences. I am reminded of our need for love, belonging, power, and freedom.

Yesterday, I had the wonderful experience of meeting a woman who has been almost deaf for most of her life. She is considering getting a cochlear implant, and I was answering some of her questions.
Although her story was not exactly like mine, I felt a kindred spirit. A person who knows what it's like to be "different". She had a joyous attitude about life. I am always learning from people who have joy in spite of difficulties. It makes me step back and really ask myself what makes them so resilient? 
For her, it is faith. She just mentioned it in passing, but she said her faith is strong and it will get her through anything.

I also had the wonderful experience of meeting my life coach. I have been seeing her for almost a year. She is a powerful guide in my life, and I need to tell her that more often.
She is one reason I am sober today. She is one reason I went forward with my operation and now can hear. She is one reason I am letting go of things that no longer serve me, and open up to a loving Universe, a loving God, a loving way of treating myself.

Yesterday left me with a feeling of hope, happiness and joy. I was so happy to see my Loved One, and I'm pretty sure he was happy to see me! (Ha.)

Today, I know I don't need to jump up and run around for the sake of doing something.
I understand I can breathe into the day. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Anger at Self

Dear Readers,
This post is a little harder to write, and it might be harder for my family and friends to read.
It deals with a part of me that I do not open up about, except to my Loved One.

Last Wednesday, I read most of the day. I curled up with my book and read all day. Then when my Loved One came home, we went for a lovely walk together.
Sounds very nice except, I was very angry at myself for reading so much.

I had planned on going to yoga, and writing a blog post.
But I was tired. My body wasn't up to the demand of a hard yoga class.
I was angry I didn't push myself to go, that I gave in so easily.
I was angry I would miss out on something.
I was so angry that I wanted to stab myself.

That anger was intense. It scared me a little.

This is not the first time I have felt such intense anger at myself.
In my past, I used to yell at myself for being too heavy. 
I used to hit myself.
It was very painful.

My therapist wants me to look at that anger, and so in this post I am starting that process.
I get angry anytime I don't live up to my expectations.
My rules for myself are way too many. They are unwritten, and I don't even know them all. They seem to be hidden away someplace.
Here are a few of them that I can "see".
- I should be a perfect teacher. (When I was teaching.)
- I should always look nice.
- I should go to yoga every other day, no matter what.
- I should be walking more.
- I should be thin.
- I should have stylish clothes.
- I should be nice.
- I should be doing something more in my retirement.
- I should have more hobbies.
- I should keep my house cleaner.
- I should keep learning new things.
- I should get better at learning new things.
- I shouldn't be sitting around reading all day.

Now, my anger didn't help me get to yoga or do my blog.
All it did was make me angry at myself. 
I believe some of this anger is based in shame and perfectionism, starting in childhood. With my speech, hearing, turned eye, I always felt different. 

I had a hyper-thyroid condition that went undiagnosed for awhile. I gained 40 pounds, had to drop out of college for awhile, had to drop playing in the orchestra, and it caused severe mental anguish. 

I believe my drinking was tied into this anger. I just could not live up to being a perfect teacher. I could not live up to all my rules, and so I tried to escape. 

I am not sure where to go with this, but I do know that just taking with my therapist helped me see how hard I am on myself. I know that self-compassion has to be a focus. 

I can say, that being sober is leading me on the path of being happy and healthy. I have to examine these painful things in order to keep growing. Hiding them away in the basement of my mind is the worse thing I can do.

I will shine the light down the stairs and things won't be so scary anymore.

Hugs and Love From Wendy
Day 229

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A New Place

Dear Readers,
Today I felt like sharing my thoughts by writing a poem.

A New Place  

I am stepping into a new place,
A place of love,
A place of gratitude,
A place of light.

I am stepping into a new life,
One of acceptance,
One of calm,
One of joy.

I am learning how to feel again,
After running so hard,
After running away,
After running myself down.

I am stepping into new love,
After shaming,
After self-hate,
After comparisons.

I need not search too far,
And yet I do search.
All I have is here,
And yet I look.

I am learning now,
To look up,
To look out,
To look within.

Finding a peace,
If even for a moment.

Monday, April 13, 2015

With Love On Day 221

Dear Readers,
What do I value, what do I love?

family
friends
walking in nature
yoga
freedom
creating
helping others

Now, if you were to look at what I am DOING it would be, 

reading
watching TV
playing games on phone
meeting friends 
going to meetings
blogging
sleeping
practicing yoga
walking with hubby

Hmm. Looks to me that some of what I value is what I am doing, others not so much. 
Now changing habits are hard. I am working on this. 

However, I must keep in mind, that by not drinking, I am already in a better place. I am already changing. 
I must remember how long it took me to come to a place of acceptance of my problem with drinking. It was the slow realization that I wanted a different way of life, for me and the people I love. 
So, I also must remember the new habits or changes I want to make, might take some time too.

This quote from the book, Uncovering Happiness With Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, by Elisa Goldstein, PhD speaks to me. 

Sometimes you hear a voice through the door
               Calling you,
As a fish out of water
Hears the waves…
Come back. Come back.
This turning toward what you deeply love
                Saves you.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy Friday!

Dear Readers,
It was raining, then snowing this morning, and then it turned SUNNY!
I am wearing my sandals now, because I just can't stand being in boots any more.
This is pretty normal weather for us in the great mid-west. 

I started my beginning drawing class last night. 
All we did was to draw boxes, cones, and spheres.
I'm not the worse one in class, nor am I the best.
Just right in the middle. (This is my opinion!)
It was fun, and I will keep going for awhile. 
Now I need to practice. 

One of my yoga teachers asked me how was sober life. She was happy for me.
I am surprised that my answer was not a cheery one. In fact, I just said "It's okay."
But as I was talking to her, I thought, well I am happy right now. So I told her that.
My Loved One is sure happy.
But honestly?
I sometimes still am a little sad I can't drink anymore.
I don't feel sorry for myself, and I am not having bad urges or anything.
It's just sometimes I still wish I could have some wine at restaurants and dinner parties.
(Not that we go to many parties.)
Sometimes I think this is related to my depression. When I am down, my views on sobriety are down. 

As more time passes, I know I will feel stronger. 
I certainly feel much stronger than 7 months ago!
I went to one of my favorite AA meetings this week, and I felt welcomed home.
I understand that these connections are very important to me, both to help me stay sober, see  good role models, and just to make a human connection.
We celebrated a man who was sober 25 years.
He is a very cool guy, who is a great help to newbies. 
I noticed the people who have been sober a long time seem much more content in life. 
They have a strong spiritual foundation. 

I do miss my Women for Sobriety friends, and might see if I can get to that meeting next week. They have a program that is very life-affirming. 

Finally, as I had said before, I had a cochlear implant put in last fall. 
The cool thing is, I can hear birds now. I haven't heard the little chirps for years!
They are noisy, and I love it!


I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 6, 2015

7 Months and a Birthday Party

Dear Readers,
This weekend some of my family and I celebrated my mother's 90th birthday.
It meant a bit of organizing and traveling, but not too much.
My mother is independent, living by herself in her own house.
She is a musician and still plays her violin for music clubs.
Quite amazing!

My sister and I, and our husbands, came to our mother's the night before and we all went out to dinner. We had a great time, talking, laughing, and reminiscing. Nobody drank. 

The party was just right. It was at lunchtime in my mother's home. Many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were able to come. It wasn't fancy, just a gathering of people who love her.
Nobody brought or drank alcohol. 

In the past, things would have been different. I would have had wine the night before. I would have been sure we had champagne and wine at the party. Of course, I would be the one who almost always had too much. I am often anxious at parties, even with people I know and love. I used to think drinking helped me loosen up. But most of the time I just got too loud, trying to be cute or overly funny. 

Now, I am the only one at this party who is not drinking anymore, but I was so grateful that my family did not bring anything to drink, not because of me, but for the overall party. It was calm, happy and fun. We were great role models for all the children present. No one was driving after drinking.

After everyone left, my husband and I stayed for another night. In the past, I'd still be drinking. 
I would feel icky, be sloppy, maybe get mad about something. Instead, we went for a walk, helped my mother with her computer, and ended the night just being content.

All of this proves to me once again, it is not only possible to be sober at a party, it can be good. 

So at 7 months today, I can say, I am happy I am not drinking.