12 Steps: A Design for Living.

12 Steps: A Design for Living.

Good morning and happy Monday! I was struggling with a blog idea this morning but I had the itch to write. I usually choose between 3 topics; witchy stuff, sobriety/recovery stuff, or life in general stuff. I was pondering the things I talk about with people on a daily basis and I kept coming back to the questions people ask me who aren’t in the program. Then I started thinking about how much the steps have started to transform my life. I will let you in on a little secret…the 12 steps aren’t just for drunks and druggies!

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Yes, the 12 steps have been used for ages to help people conquer alcoholism, drug addiction, quitting smoking, getting over heartache, etc. What the 12 steps really are though is a design for living your best life. Who doesn’t want that? I am going to present to you the 12 steps and a road map on how to use it even if you are a normie (non-addict). By the end of working a 12 step program you will have a spiritual awakening and feel the weight of the world lifted off your shoulders. This is how it’s done (some editing has been done to remove words like “addiction, alcoholism, etc. for the purpose of making it relatable to life as a whole).  

1.) We admitted we were powerless – that our lives had become unmanageable. 

Ahh, beautiful and burdensome step 1. Nobody has their life all together no matter who you are. There will always be something that seems unmanageable whether it’s your finances, your stress level, your children, your husband, or your job. We always have room to admit things aren’t going as well as they could be. Even if your life is peachy fuckin keen there is always room for growth and change. You might even feel your life is completely well managed until you start working the steps and realize it wasn’t. All you have to do for this step is admit to yourself there is room for improvement. 

2.) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

I know what you are thinking, “who does this bitch think she is telling me I am insane and only a higher power can restore me to sanity?” What I think is I am a person who struggled greatly with this step and the next but I kept working on it day by day and life feels a lot less insane when I know I can rely on something greater than myself to help me through. All you need in this step is to be open minded. Do not slam the door on me yet. 

3.) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

“Oh, now this bitch wants to start bible thumping and shoving religion down my throat!” WRONG. The 12 step program is a SPIRITUAL PROGRAM, not a religious one. We use the word God because it is the best adjective we have in our language to universally explain a higher power. I don’t care if your higher power is a tube sock….call it whatever works for you. All you need in this step is to be willing.  Have you ever heard people use the phrase “let go and let God?” That is what this step is about. It is about understanding that you are merely a character in the play of life. Things are going to happen and you cannot force life to do your bidding. This is where your willingness comes in. I tell myself about 50 times a day under my breath “thy will be done” and it helps me coast through the day with a fraction of the stress I  used to have.

4.) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

The DREADED step. This is where we get into the leg work of the program. This step is messy, uncomfortable and necessary. Our personal inventory is like a backpack of bricks we have been carrying around our whole life. It’s time to open it up, take a good look at it, reflect on it, accept it and embrace it as a part of us. Your inventory needs to include all the messy details. Childhood traumas, heartbreaks, resentments you are carrying around, broken fragments of your soul that are still floating around aimlessly inside of you. If you are still thinking about it, include it in your inventory. Nothing should be left out. Are you still mad at Susan from 2nd grade who bullied you? Yep, she goes on the list. Write out your life story and you will find that your backpack of bricks has been weighing you down without you even noticing it. All you need for this step is your memory, a pen and paper, and grit. 

5.) Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

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I know right? You would rather stick a fork in a light socket. But this is the most important follow up on your 4th step you can do. This is laying down the backpack of bricks so you can walk freely without that weight. Have a talk with your higher power first. Gather your wits and ask for strength. Find a trusted human to read your 4th step to. I suggest not having it be a spouse or someone that will be personally offended by any of your inventory. This will create a situation that is uncomfortable for all parties involved.  All you need for this step is bravery and honesty. 

6.) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

If you are still with me CONGRATS! The next few steps are a nice little reprieve before we get into some more meaty ones. This step can usually be done in a short period of time. Read your inventory and accept that it is time to remove your defects. All you need for this step is acceptance. 

7.) Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

The keyword here is “humbly”. If you successfully did your 4th step you have probably been knocked down a few pegs anyway and are feeling quite humble so this is the perfect time to ask God, the Universe, your tube sock, whatever to remove your shortcomings. Some things that can be considered short comings are the gift of gab, gossiping, lying, cheating, poor time management, over-spending, over-eating, etc. Nothing is off limits. If you consider it a shortcoming, ask your higher power to remove it. Make sure to thank your higher power at the end. All you need for this step is to ask. 

8.) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

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We have all screwed someone over big or small. Maybe it was as simple as an argument over the remote and maybe it was as big as cheating on them. Whatever it is, it’s time to pull your head out of the sand and face it. Write it all down. All you need for this step is honesty and reflection. 

9.) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

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You heard me! This is even more uncomfortable than your 4th step but it is something that HAS to be done if you are truly going to awaken and be the best version of yourself possible. Take your list and work your way down. Ask someone out for coffee and explain what you are doing and how you would like to make amends. Even if the moment was long ago and even if you have both moved on. This is a cleansing part of the 12 steps that you will be grateful for after it’s done. If the 4th step was a backpack of bricks, this is a fanny pack of rocks. Time to unbuckle that sucker and lighten the load more. If you cannot make direct amends, making living amends. This is where you learn from what you did and live in a way that shows you are different and learned from it. All you need for this step is humility. 

10.) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Self explanatory. You don’t just get to do one 4th step and go on your way. You have to do a little 4th step every single day. Make sure you’re inventory is in line and clean. If you are wrong, fix it. Simple as that. All you need for this step is reflection. 

11.) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

This is a maintenance step. It’s a reminder to keep in contact with your higher power, continue practicing self-care and love and continue asking for love and support from your HP. All you need for this step is communication and self love. 

12.) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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THANK SWEET 8 POUND BABY JESUS YOU MADE IT! Now go plant the seed to others. Spread love. Carry your message to other broken souls who might not even realize they are broken a little inside.

 

In AA and NA we have sponsors to help walk us through these steps. Us addicts need a little push here and there and a little more guidance because we are battling a terminal illness and disease. Our lives literally depend on the 12 steps. I hope after reading this though you see how your life can benefit from them as well.

Take care of yourselves out there and if you need a spiritual sponsor my door is always open.

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Sober Holiday’s Blues.

Sober Holiday’s Blues.

The holiday’s are normally my favorite time of year. I love everything from the family time, Christmas tree hunting, sledding, snowboarding, Christmas parties, shopping for gifts and the food. This year I have a sense of dread. All of those events I mentioned above, I did under the influence. Yes, even snowboarding, which inevitably led to me injuring myself that has had a lasting impact on my right knee and ankle. My whole family for the most part drinks. The whole focal point of Holiday parties whether business or personal, is alcohol. I have a business party for my real estate business and I am thankful that the majority of my agent friends know and are aware I don’t drink and am in the program but I am still worried about so many triggers. I have a game plan in place for Thanksgiving. I am going to my friend from the program’s house first to eat with her family and then I am going to the “sober” family’s house. I can’t avoid family functions indefinitely though. Some of my family members in themselves are triggers for me. I used to only be able to handle certain people because I was half loaded by the time I showed up.

I guess the only thing I can do is take it one day at a time.  I wish our society was not so obsessed with alcohol and that you aren’t considered “different” if you DON’T drink. I wish I wasn’t sick and I could drink in moderation with my friends and family and not destroy my life. I wish there was a cure for addiction. As wonderful as the program is and how much it helps, it doesn’t wipe you clean of your demons and vices. The disease sits in me and will for the rest of my life. I would be lying if I said I don’t feel bummed that this holiday season I won’t be drinking. Drinking was a huge part of my life for the majority of my adult life. It will be weird and hard not having a drink on Christmas or New Years eve. I am still trying to figure out what sober people do on these days?

I do know that no matter what I will get through it because I have an amazing support system. It’s just been a thought in the back of my head for the past few days with Thanksgiving looming ahead and no pinot grigio to get me through awkward family exchanges.

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For my sober friends who are also in the same boat, here is a list of things you can do other than use/drink:

1. Live in the now.

You cannot change yesterday or control tomorrow. Focus on doing your best right now.

2. Seek support in nature.

Fresh air and sunshine are wonderful antidotes for depression and anxiety. Try out activities like hiking and surfing to establish a deeper connection.

3. Tap into your creative side.

Paint, draw, sculpt, sing or dance. If it gets the creative juices flowing, it’s good for your sobriety.

4. Don’t test your willpower.

Get rid of all of the alcohol in your house, including bottles “for guests” or special occasions.

5. Embrace change.

Change is good, especially when you are becoming a better person. Let go of the past.

6. Let go of resentment.

Focus on forgiveness; grant yourself and your loved ones forgiveness. Without it, moving forward is impossible. Reconnect with family and friends and make amends as needed.

7. Try meditation.

There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Choose the method that appeals to you. Meditation will help you quiet your mind and center yourself.

8. Don’t live in fear of relapsing.

Worrying about slipping back into old destructive patterns can consume your mind. Instead, focus on your strength in recovery.

9. Fend off loneliness.

Isolation can be dangerous. Spend time with family and friends who will support your recovery and provide positive reinforcement.

10. Use the 24-hour plan.

If a lifetime of sobriety seems overwhelming, start with a smaller goal. Decide that for today, you will not drink or use, no matter what.
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11. Don’t put too much pressure on one short stay in rehab.

It takes more than 30 days to develop and nurture a solid foundation for sobriety. It’s something you’ll need to work on every day.

12. Be good to yourself.

Addiction beats you up. Now that you’re in recovery, treat yourself to a massage or a new pair or shoes to celebrate how far you’ve come.

13. Get active.

When your mind and body are engaged, there is less room for cravings. Go for a run in the woods or kick a soccer ball around with the kids. You’ll feel energized, alive, and best of all, sober.

14. Adopt a pet if you don’t already have one.

The responsibility of a pet will add more structure to your lifestyle, and the unconditional love that animals offer is truly irreplaceable.

15. Check yourself frequently.

With every decision you make, ask yourself: “Is this the healthiest choice for me right now?”

16. Give back.

Whether volunteering your time or your skills, helping others just feels good.

17. Be willing to walk away from stressful situations.

You have enough stress in your life. Learn how to let go of what you don’t need.

18. Create a gratitude list.

Each and every day, write down a couple of things you are grateful for. If you’re having a bad day, look at your list and remember how far you’ve come.

19. Clean your mental house.

Get rid of the negativity. Speak to yourself with loving, supportive, encouraging words. If this is hard, be kind to that struggle.

20. Create goals.

Always have a challenging goal in the back of your mind; something that pushes you to be better and reach new heights.

21. Don’t stress over discouraging statistics.

You are an individual in control of your own success in recovery.

SOURCE: 21 tips to staying sober

God be with you. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

FOURTEEN DAYS SOBER!

FOURTEEN DAYS SOBER!

I don’t have a ton of time to write, and it certainly isn’t anything profound but it’s important to me. Today marks 14 days sober. The longest amount of consecutive days since 18 years old that not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips! Tomorrow is the start of August and I cannot wait to hit that 30 day mark and celebrate my birthday with my sisters in recovery!

This has been such an amazing journey in just two weeks I cannot imagine how my life is going to be months and years in. I owe my life and sanity to Alcoholics Anonymous.

It really is about taking it one day at a time, working the steps, going to meetings, talking to your sponsor and chatting your higher power’s ear off. If you don’t work the program it doesn’t work. This time I am dedicated to my recovery and my healing and it is paying off. Slowly, surely, and day by day.

Thank you for never giving up on me Universe/God/Goddess.

 

 

Don’t You Worry Your Pretty Little Mind, People Throw Rocks at Things That Shine.

Don’t You Worry Your Pretty Little Mind, People Throw Rocks at Things That Shine.

Most of my blog followers and friends know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and write from it. I am an open book, sharing my struggles, triumphs, lows, highs and everything in between. I have a public Instagram because I found when I turned the privacy setting off, an abundance of like minded people started following, commenting and liking my posts. I have found some truly inspirational pages since making my account public. I used to hide my heart and my social media due to fear. Fear of rejection, fear of being followed by people I didn’t want to see my life, and fear of bullies.

Recently some unsavory people from the past have been cropping up and my first instinct was to make my Instagram private and not blog. Then I went to an AA meeting and a line from the passage we were reading in the big book spoke to me…”Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope.” – The Big Book. This is the mentality I have taken on my blog posts about not only alcoholism and recovery but also recovering from broken hearts, anxiety, mental illness, and eating disorders. I also like to openly share the joys in my life because if this blog alone can span from darkness to light so can your life…that is why I write candidly and openly. Maybe somewhere these words are making an impact through sharing experience, strength and hope on all aspects of life.

Yesterday was a rough day emotionally. I took my real estate broker’s exam and failed by 5 points. Following that there was an onslaught of unnecessary drama and work was a struggle. I picked up the phone and called my sponsor and she was a voice of reason in the midst of chaos. She gave me page numbers to read in the big book to re-direct my faith and I felt like the load was lighter. Off an on throughout the day the waves of anxiety crashed over me and I kept repeating in my head what she told me…”It is none of your business what other people think about you or do. You know the truth about you and your higher power knows the truth.” Isn’t that the truth? People can form opinions of you based on emotions they are feeling, but that is a reflection of their heart, not yours. I have been a target of stalking and bullying for a long time and I could never figure out why. A specific example of the kind of messages that have been plaguing my inbox “I’m glad you finally admitted you are an alcoholic instead of being a fake bitch.” At first I was hurt when I read those words. Because yes I was in denial about my disease for a very long time. But I’m not anymore, so all I can do is agree with you messenger…I am really glad I admitted I’m an alcoholic too. To the people who don’t like me who might be reading this I am sure they are thinking in their head that I get targeted because I’m a bitch, I’m this, I’m that. But the only thing that can come to my mind is “Don’t you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at things that shine” – Taylor Swift.  I am not perfect by any means. I have petty moments, sassy moments, I throw tantrums, and I have insecurities. I even quote Taylor Swift. The difference is that I make attempts everyday to overcome my human defects to the best of my ability by spreading light into the world and that includes sharing my life story.

So, as of today the Instagram is back to public, the blogging will commence. I cannot promise you will always agree with me and more often than not you will probably be shakin’ your head thinking “this mess”….and that’s OK. I want to be alive and free in my own skin no matter how flawed it may be…with the hope that someone, somewhere is taking something away with them.

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Experiencing the Rawness of Living Through Sobriety.

Experiencing the Rawness of Living Through Sobriety.

The universe is throwing me curve-balls left and right this past week but I have been whacking them out of the park with grace, dignity, and sobriety.

This calm and peace came to me after my women’s meeting last Wednesday. Not only did I find a sponsor but we worked on step 3 of the 12 steps and that is surrendering our power over to God, or a higher power as we know it and acknowledging we are not in control of our addiction and our lives. This step on my own was very difficult to work through but hearing the women talk about how they tackle this step and utilize it really made me sit back, let out a deep breath and surrender my power. Since then even in moments of chaos I feel calm because I have accepted I am not the one in control. Not my circus, not my monkeys type of thing. When toxic people have started cropping back up in my life instead of allowing myself to get angry or emotional I ask myself “does their behavior have anything to do with me or is a reflection of the person I am?” The answer is always NO…leaving me free to go about my day and focus on my recovery.

I won’t lie and say the hard moments didn’t make me cry or feel anxious. One thing about sobriety is you actually FEEL everything again. The good, the bad and all of it in between. Your heart, soul and mind isn’t bogged down by alcohol or a hangover so you get to experience the rawness of living. This was what used to terrify me the most about sober living, but to be completely honest it’s been refreshing. A solid reminder that I am a human. I am flesh, blood, and a soul….no longer a zombie crawling towards my next fix. I no longer have to schedule every little thing I do around alcohol and “drinking times”. I am ALIVE.

Being this high on life has carried me through the obstacles that have been challenging me. I have so much optimism, hope and warmth in my heart that I don’t feel like I can be stopped. I am not perfect (or as we say in AA, we are not saints) but I am working the program as I know how with diligence and heart.

Some people have had some things to say about me being in the program, actually cutting me down for it…but they are still active in their addiction so I am letting it slide right off me and am praying for their well-being. Even if they are psychopaths, they deserve sobriety just as much as the next person.

This week my focus is working the steps, attending the meetings, meeting up with my sponsor and taking it one day at a time.  My sponsor always says “don’t say, I only have this many days, or this many hours…all we are promised is 24.”

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My New Birthday.

My New Birthday.

Today I had to hit the reset button on my sobriety counter and nothing made me feel worse. The guilt, the shame, and the suffering that comes when you let yourself down is almost unbearable to face, but it’s part of recovery. If you relapse, you have to face it. The whole time I was relapsing I knew I was fucking up and I honestly just didn’t care in that moment. So many things had stacked against me and my emotions were all over the place. The more I drank the more shitty I felt, and thus the cycle of relapsing over and over again commences. You drink, feel bad about it so you drink again to numb the pain and the shame. Normal people can drink and go to bed and be fine. I drink an ungodly amount and create miserable situations for myself that I need to clean up the next day.

It isn’t a way to live. If you stray the path of recovery for even a moment you can hit bottom. It started with just missing a meeting here or there. Then I started allowing people to influence me. “You really can’t have a glass of wine?” NO. I CANT! But I told myself maybe this time I could. This leads to a bottle which leads to another. I DO NOT WANT TO DRINK. I WANT TO STAY SOBER AND LIVE A HEALTHY, NORMAL LIFE. Alcohol doesn’t phase normal people the way it does addicts. It creates a dark,empty hole inside of me. It unleashes every demon I have ever tried to drown in whiskey and it opens the flood gates for emotions and suppressed anger. It’s not fun for me like it is for others.

This is me taking accountability for what I have done wrong. I am new to recovery and still learning. I fall down but I pick myself back up.

My new birthday is 07/17/17. I believe in synchronicity. I believe numbers have meanings and come to us for different reasons as signs from the universe. I believe the power of this date will mean so much more to me than my previous birthday (6/19/17). Even if its just my superstitious belief alone that keeps me going…so be it.

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My Reasons Why

My Reasons Why

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I’m on my second cup of coffee for the day and ironically my second blog post. You can expect a lot more production out of me now that I am in recovery. The coffee is necessary because I am having some minor withdrawals and its wiping me out. Night time is the worst…I have been getting headaches and sweating a lot in my sleep but I guess that’s just my body pushing all the toxins and demons out of me. I look forward to when the night sweats stop though because they are quite unpleasant.

I decided to write again because I have been communicating with some truly lovely souls today and it’s uplifted me and made me feel like I truly can accomplish anything. It’s so refreshing to be able to talk to people that understand the battle and the struggle of relapse.

I won’t lie…reading the AA book today made me want a drink more than anything. My S/O promises that feeling goes away after awhile and has the opposite effect but for today it was challenging me. So I wanted to take time to write my reasons why to remind myself why I am doing this.

MY REASONS WHY

  • Health– I am always bloated and puffy. My fingers are always swollen. I have constant heartburn and won’t even get into the weird shit my stomach does. I have headaches, my hands shake, and I feel weak. It also increases my anxiety when I don’t get enough sleep and have been up drinking all night.
  • Weight– I follow the Keto diet perfectly and am losing weight at a snails pace. Obviously when you’re consuming alcohol your body will burn that before it burns fat. Hence, a pause in weight loss.
  • Motivation – Since I started drinking heavily again my progress in Real Estate has plummeted. I was on course to be finished by June and now its more like July, but at least I didn’t quit! I also quit feeling motivated to work out, go places, even get out of bed.
  • Hobbies– You want to know all the hobbies I threw out the window when I was drinking? Hiking. You can’t go hiking if you have a raging hangover or are still drunk from the night before. Writing. Look at how little I blogged. Look how little I spent on the Witty Witch Instagram or shop. Yoga. Can’t do downward dog when your head is spinning and you might barf on your mat. Reading. I am the kind of girl who can finish a book in a day or two. I finished two books in 5 months. Meditation/Reiki. I meditated and did reiki on myself TWO times. I used to do it everyday.
  • Money – First, I was spending probably a good $100 on alcohol a week if not more. Second, I think I am Beyonce when I am drunk. $90 shoes? No problem! Airfare to NYC? Why not!? I have a freakin mortgage dude…what was I thinking on half the shit I bought?
  • Relationships- I purposely left this one for last because it’s the most important one. Drinking had put a wall up between myself and so many people. All I wanted to do was recluse and when people would reach out to me I was usually ornery or bitter. I wasn’t being the kind and loving person I am by nature. I got into fights with people I normally never fight with. I said horrible things to some of them. I even fought with my S/O when we had no reason to be fighting. I also didn’t have a good relationship with myself. I started turning into a mean girl. I have a heart of gold and would give the shirt off my back to anyone who asked for it…but addicted me is a dick.

So you see. My life was not very enjoyable where I was but I was convinced alcohol made everything so much more fun/exciting/glamorous. Bullshit. It robbed me (well, I robbed myself) of all the joys and beauty this life has to offer. The universe is full of joy and happiness and you can’t tap into it when you are constantly tapping into a bottle of wine trying to find answers at the bottom. The answers can be found inside of you, but only when you are focused and clear headed. I am no expert and probably never will be. But for right now I am driven and ready to keep going for my reasons why. If I don’t get it down on “paper” I might forget like I did last time.

Oh yes, and don’t expect every blog to be all about how shitty I messed up my life. There will be a lot of witchy blissy things coming up!