Saturday, July 22, 2017

Don't Give Up

Dear Readers,
Mr. UT and I went for long hike today, in a beautiful park.
When we had gone two miles we debated how far we should continue hiking.
We ended up hiking 5 miles in 92 degrees heat.

Half the time, I complained to Mr. UT about how hot, tired, and thirsty I was.
But Mr. UT just kept reaching for my hand when I was going up a steep hill, and encouraged me to keep moving.

And guess what?
When we were done, I was so very glad I kept going and didn't give up.
The woods and lakes were lovely, green and blue, and little frogs were hopping everywhere.
I felt good about getting my exercise out in nature, and having time to discuss life with Mr. UT.

I am also thankful I went on a hard walk to find sobriety.
And yes, I complained to Mr. UT about how hard it was, how left out I felt, how I didn't think I could keep going.
But he, along with other people, offered me their hands, and pulled me along when my energy was sinking.
They talked me through my fears.

If I had given up on my road to sobriety, I would have never found the joy and peace of mind I have today.
Being sober brings me joy.
It brings joy to my marriage, joy to my family, and joy to all I meet in the world.
It brings joy when I water my flowers, volunteer, do the laundry, and have coffee.

It's not as if I am running around happy all the time.
I still have crabby times, tired times, sad times and angry times.
But there is an underlying joy and peace of mind knowing that these times will pass, and that I can meet any challenges that face me with grace.

It occurred to me last weekend, as Mr. UT and I ran around the city having too much fun, that I didn't miss drinking at all.
We went a museum, a sculpture garden, walked by lakes, and ate ice cream galore. (It was National Ice Cream Day!)

Now I am sore from our hike, my back is killing me.
I'm still a little crabby.
And I am so happy that I am still walking on the path of sobriety.

With an Iced Tea,
On Day 1,052,
Love, 
Wendy 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Grievance Stories

Dear Readers,
When I was in college, I had to do a supervised teaching semester in a kindergarten school. I went to meet the teachers and the school.
As soon as I returned home, I was informed by the dean of education, that they didn't want me to teach there.
He said It was because of my speech.
I was deeply hurt. This came out of nowhere. 
I was sent to see the speech and hearing clinic at the university, and found out that I had a hearing loss, and because of that I had a lisp.
I had no idea.

Later, when I first started teaching, I was hurt by another teacher.
She reported me to the superintendent, saying I shouldn't be teaching because of my speech. 
It was a horrible time. I almost quit teaching. I went into a severe depression. I didn't know who to trust on the staff, as she told many other teachers.

For many years I told these grievance stories, over and over. I struggled to let go of the hurt and pain. I was so angry. One night, many years later, in a drunk stupor, I called the teacher who reported me to the superintendent, and raged at her. 

These are but a few of my grievance stories. Stories where I have been hurt, but struggle to let them go, to learn from them, but not carry them. I first heard of the term grievance story from a book called Forgive For Good, by Dr. Fred Luskin.  Here is an excerpt from an interview he gave on Virtues for Life:

"A grievance is created when we take a normal life event that is painful, make it very personal as opposed to something that just happened, and then exaggerate how personal it is. Then we practice this pattern over and over, and forget that there are other ways of looking at the same situation."

When I was drinking, my grievance stories were about how horrible work was, and about how everyone had wronged me. They were magnified by the alcohol. I would sit for hours with my drinking buddy discussing everything that I was resentful about. 

Now, you can't rush the healing from these real hurts. 

In order for someone to forgive, "They have to have done some grief work about their loss or wound. They have to have done some grieving of it, which means that they have felt the pain and acknowledged their loss. Also, that they’ve looked at how they handled things and said, “Could I have handled it better?” So a lot of inner exploration and again going through these stages of grief. Then when these stages have been explored, you can look at letting it go. So you can’t forgive too early before you’ve had a chance to grieve the loss. That’s the biggest obstacle that people run into.

Now, one of my biggest grievance stories is about how I was hurt by being left out, or not being included.
My other one is being angry at my body for making me deaf, and the loss of hearing music. 

I really do have a choice. I can continue making myself feel bad, or I can change my story.
In terms of feeling left out, or feeling hurt, I can choose to see that in most cases, nobody tried to hurt me on purpose. If I reach out to people, I feel strong and happy, rather than wait to be invited some place.

I can choose to forgive my body for making me deaf.
I have had to grieve the loss of music. (A cochlear implant changes music and makes it sound very strange, and unpleasant.)
Now, I am telling people how lucky I was to be able to have insurance to cover a cochlear implant, so I can hear speech. 
I am telling myself and other people how happy I am I can hear birds, and hear people talking! I can hear speech on the radio now, too! 

Real life takes work. I just don't want to sit around moping about all the hurts I had past and present. 
By taking drinking out of the equation, I have been able to heal and let go of the resentments much faster. But I still have a ways to go.

In college, the dean found me another school to do my supervised teaching of kindergarten, and the teacher there was warm, loving, and I thrived. 
In the case of the teacher complaining about me, the district office put me in a different elementary school, and there I also thrived. 

Being grateful for all that I have, and remembering I can grieve, and then move on, helps me change my stories from a poor me Wendy, to a strong Wendy!

With A Sunny Walk,
On Day 1,044
Wendy

Thursday, July 6, 2017

When Pigs Fly

Pricilla Likes to Stay on the Ground
Dear Readers,
Yesterday I impulsively bought a flying pig for my yard. Mr. UT really didn't think we NEEDED a flying pig, but I did.

Mr. UT thinks I am getting a little bit daffy in my older years, as I keep adding animals to my yard. I have Bunter, the squirrel, (thank you Barb), and Hedgie, and now Pricilla, the flying pig. Oh, and I forgot I have a dragonfly, too. (But he's really a bug not an animal).

These little guys bring me delight when I go out in the yard and see them. We also have many real squirrels, birds, rabbits, deer, fox, and chipmunks.
If I am ever bored, I just go outside and sit quietly and all of a sudden there is a zoo out back! (Oh, I guess Mr. UT is right after all about being daffy, although I prefer the word eccentric!)
Ready to go to breakfast!

Mr. UT and I had a delightful sober holiday!
Four long days of biking, golfing, seeing a bad movie, going to yoga, having friends over for dinner, and riding our bikes to breakfast.
(Well, Mr. UT doesn't go to yoga, so he mowed the lawn.)

This was my third 4th of July sober.
I did not miss drinking this year. I am seeing more people who don't drink, or don't drink much, as opposed to when I was drinking, I was only open to seeing people who drank a lot. I have changed what I do now, and instead of shopping and drinking on the 4th, I am shopping and not drinking!

It feels lighter, being sober.
Things have lightened up.
Even the gray days are not so heavy on me.
The heat is not as oppressive.
I don't worry quite as much.
Things don't have to be so perfect.
My hurts are not as deep or last as long.

I joined Twitter today, and have been laughing all day long.
I joined to meet up with the wonderful people I have met in the blogging world, who support each other at  #recoveryposse.
This will be another support for my recovery, and will also bring me much needed laughter.
And laughing, like loving, is so healing.

With a Bike, a Bug, and a Pig,
Bunter
But NO gnomes allowed!

On Day 1,036,
Wendy

@untipsyteacher

Hedgie