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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Only Everyone Can Judge Me.

Only Everyone Can Judge Me.

In the past I have written about unsolicited advice without thinking about the cause of it. Just like my alcoholism is a cause of a spiritual problem, unsolicited advice seems to be a side effect of judgement and judgement seems to run rampant in our lives. Be honest. You have found yourself judging your friends for taking back that boyfriend. You have judged your boyfriend for his outfit choice. You have judged someone for posting something on Facebook or for the amount of carbs they consume. You have probably at one point or another judged every person that has touched your life. I would be lying if I didn’t say I have done it too. It’s human nature. It’s what we choose to do with that judgement that makes all the difference.

Here is a scenario to explain better what I mean. Its completely fictional but it’s also feasible, so envision yourself in this position and stick with me. Your girlfriend comes to you in tears over a fight she had with her boyfriend. She is furious, spewing vitriol, planning her break up and post partying plans. In exchange you man-hate the hell out of the good for nothing asshole who made her cry. The call ends with some laughs, she blows her nose and goes on her merry little angry way. Stop right there though. As adults, if we are functioning ones, we should ALL know that a reaction that is based on emotion is not the most sound reaction. This is why there are entire courses on teaching you to not respond to an email when you feel emotion. This is why people tell you to WALK AWAY and breathe from situations. Venting to our trusted human’s is a part of that cool down period though. Ok so back to sassy pants and her boyfriend problems…The next morning you are scrolling through Facebook and see a picture of your bestie and her scum bag boyfriend canoodling over coffee and donuts and cannot believe your eyes. HOW could she forgive him after all we had discussed last night?! Instantly your brain starts firing off thoughts “she is so dumb. What is she thinking? She is just setting herself up to be hurt.” THAT. IS. JUDGEMENT. You are absolutely entitled to feel and think those things. But let’s stop and think through this a little further. Do you know what happened after you sent her on her way? Do you know what that relationship is based on? Were you a fly on the wall when they hashed out their problems? No. All you know is what someone told you in a moment of heat. Let’s pretend this is one of those stories you get to choose the ending. You have two options:

A) You like the photo and text your friend, “Glad to see things seemed to calm down. Let me know if you need anything, I’m here for you.”

B) You either send a passive aggressive text message or ignore your friend for days because you are personally offended by her life choice.

If you picked A you and your friend are on the road to a harmonious and healthy friendship. If you picked B you might be strong arming your friends and trying to control people too much. It is rare that people, especially women, go on and on and gush about the great things about their lives and their relationships. It’s much more common in this world to complain and bitch about the bad. I am SO guilty of this. But I am working on it.

I wanted to write about this because for years and years I have allowed people to tell me exactly what they felt I should be doing with my life. Who I should date, how I should dye my hair, how I should respond to life events, and so on and so forth. I either silently took everything in stride and let people throw their stones in the glass house or I erupted and burned their house down with an onslaught of verbal abuse (a horrid defensive mechanism when I feel attacked.) Sometimes I simply agreed because life is easier when you are agreeable.

Period, point blank, you are only in control of your own reaction to your own life events. You aren’t even in control of your relationships or friendships. Literally, the only thing you can do is control your attitude, your speech, and how you handle situations.

This has been an infuriating life lesson to learn. I have two sisters I have been spending a lot of time with lately. We have girls nights constantly. This entails…..ding ding ding, talking about boys and relationships. I have learned to sit back, LISTEN to LISTEN NOT TO RESPOND. I process everything and of course judgement is coming into my thought process BUT I DO NOT SPEAK ON IT. WHY?! BECAUSE IT IS NOT  MY PLACE. I wait until a question is directly asked to me…”what would you do?” and I give a gentle yet honest response. You  have to understand that people are ultimately going to do what their heart desires at the end of the day. You cannot prevent that…again…you can only control  your behaviors. This is why I can’t figure out why people argue online. I have never once seen a political fight on the internet end with someone saying “You know what? You are right! I am totally a republican now.”

Be there for your humans. Have an opinion because you love your humans and help them through hard times. When they ask for advice be grateful they trust you to supply it. If they want to cry give them a shoulder. Think before you speak.

It is so easy for me to say this on a blog, but I have struggled for so long with standing up for what I believe in respectfully. Like I said I either keep my mouth shut or go off the wall with my mouth. But there was an event that happened this year that cost me a friendship and I do not regret it. A person felt it was their place to lecture me, dig into the past and try to tell me what I should do. I laid out how I felt [respectfully] and then I walked away. Life is hard enough without trying to win the approval of people who say they love you. I could of gone on to lay her past on the table like she did to me but you know what? Even though I was hurt, it wasn’t  my place. That is not my inventory. I am not going to pick it up and carry it around.

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A Year of Growth

A Year of Growth

I am sitting here on floor time at my real estate office reflecting on the changes that have occurred in me the past year. Isn’t it odd how day by day nothing seems to change but a year ago you might have been a completely different person? Married or dating someone entirely different than your current partner. More fulfilled or a bigger void. Friends may have come and gone. Feuds may have erupted and relationships may have died. The hope though is, that no matter what you have gone through, you have grown and learned something from it. This is the story of my change and my growth in the past year.

I acknowledged I am an alcoholic. For the first time in 29 years of life I began unknowingly working on my 1st step of the 12 steps. My boyfriend at the time whom I was very in love with and believed I was going to marry told me he hadn’t proposed yet because I drink too much. I tried in vain to “control my drinking” like many alcoholics before me. The results were nil. I was right back to drinking more heavily than the average person. I ordered the Big Book of Alcoholic’s Anonymous and the 12 and 12. I began reading them and thinking to myself what a crock of shit it was. I told him I would go to an AA meeting but I didn’t know where to start and he told me he didn’t really think I was “that bad”. “Why can’t you just slow down?” I had no idea then that the reason is because I am powerless over it. He broke up with me the day Trump was sworn into office. It was a Friday morning. I felt something was off and I called him to ask him if he was leaving me. I was on the way to a sales meeting at this very office that I never made it to. I wasn’t a broker yet, but I was coming to meet the agents and tour the office. In tears I raced home and lay in a broken heap on my bed howling like an animal. He kissed me and cried and told me he still loved me but it was too late. I didn’t eat or sleep for a month and drank myself into a stupid oblivion because what else did I have to lose? As the months went on I began to really get sick of my own bullshit. I met a new man who was in the program who opened the door to the possibility I should join it too. Unfortunately we were two broken people and our addictions took off and ran with us trailing behind trying to keep up. A battle you will never win I came to learn. We hit many rock bottoms but one thing that did happen, was he introduced me to the rooms. He took me to my first AA meeting ever. I was terrified, depressed, and completely spiritually bankrupt. I would go in and out of the rooms for the months that would follow but the seed had been planted and it wasn’t fun anymore. I began to truly work on my sobriety and spirituality. I relapsed a few times but today I truly want to be free from the obsession of alcohol. We are both now working our program the way it was meant to be worked. I will not get into details of what that entails, but it’s the first step in the right direction for both of us and if the AA promises are true, it will take us wherever we are meant to be and we will know a new freedom.

Thanks to the program I have also learned acceptance. There have been so many events that occurred that would have baffled me and I would have reacted with emotion and lashing out. Thanks to AA, I have learned to let it go. I don’t attend every battle I am invited to, in fact I rarely do. I am learning how to take a personal inventory not just for my 4th step, but EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am learning to accept even the hard times and the bad. Most importantly, I am learning to accept myself without shame. I am an alcoholic. I have asthma and anxiety and could stand to lose a few pounds. I could workout more and I could eat better. I could start going to sleep a little earlier and I could learn to make my bed in the morning. I do not see these things as flaws anymore though. They simply are. They are just a part of who I am. All I can do is love the person I am, who I am growing to be, and what I will be. Worry and obsession does not plague me like it once did. I now practice manifesting blessings every single day and showing gratitude for the things that have transpired in my life. Jealousy and resentments are leaving on their own accord because I know a new peace inside. I will never be Mother Theresa or a saint, for that I am sure….but I do know that I have successfully not verbally abused another human being as a means to deflect from my own short comings and character defects since I started the program and that in itself is huge. The egomaniac that comes with addiction is leaving. I also no longer think of my ex who left me with hate and resentment. My higher power knows more than I ever will, and knew I needed a wake up call. Honestly, he was a good man who deserved a healthy and whole girlfriend. One time before we broke up he said to me “you go to this place when you drink that I cannot understand. I didn’t grow up in the same situation as you did, and I don’t have all these traumas…I have tried to understand and fix you but I can’t.” No. You can’t. No one can fix the broken parts in us, we have to do find the will to do it ourselves every single day.

In one year I have broken, grown, cried, laughed, lost people, gained people, but most importantly I have learned the lesson that we are only promised now. Today. This moment. Be present, be happy, be focused and be driven. Whatever wildly important goal you are trying to obtain will come to you if you live in now and manifest it.

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“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

I reached out to my social media friends for some blog ideas because the 4th step of alcoholics anonymous is kicking my ass. Someone said they would love a New York blog and since New York is one of my greatest passions and joys I figured it would be a good topic! I have blogged before about New York and how my love affair started, but this time I am going to talk about giving the gift of love to others. I have been to New York I believe 9 times. The majority of those times I went alone and spent it with my friends on Long Island, but there are 2 times I had the opportunity to bring my favorite people in the world with me.

It was June 2014 (maybe 2013?) that I brought my best friend since Kindergarten with me. We stayed with my friend Greco in Northport Long Island. THE CUTEST LITTLE TOWN EVER by the way. This trip might have been my favorite of all time. We took NYC by STORM. We stayed for a week and did just about everything you can think of to do in NYC. We went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, got our caricature done in Battery Park, visited Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in Greenwich Village, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, ate pizza in Little Italy, went to the broadway show “Of Mice and Men” starring James Franco, danced on the bar at Hogs and Heifers and threw our bra at the wall (just like Julia Roberts has done, so don’t judge), went to a Yankees game at Yankees Stadium, saw Heidi Klum shooting a commercial, went to Tiffany’s and Bergdorf Goodman, explored central park and the city. My friend, bless her heart, was too afraid to use the subway so we did A LOT of walking. One of the days we walked from midtown Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge. We got to spend an entire day swimming at Robert Moses, my favorite beach in the world. We always ended our city adventures by taking the train back to Long Island which I am positive has the best food hands down. Paradise Pizza. Northport Deli. Its a town full of Italians that want to stuff carbs down your throat. Before we were headed to the city for the last time we stopped at a little restaurant in Northport for a glass of wine. It was around noon and the waitress was your typical Italian, heavily accented lady “you girls can’t have wine on an empty stomach, let me get you some bread and butter” – we loved her. We still refer to her as our Italian substitute mother.

 

I am eternally grateful for the many opportunities I got to visit New York, all the fabulous things I have done and seen and it’s all thanks to my friend Greco. If it weren’t for our friendship I never would have had the capacity to visit so many times and I never would known to go to Montauk or go wine tasting in the Hamptons. I woudn’t have had such an authentic New York experience every time I went. We aren’t as close as we used to be but I will always be appreciative of the summers/winters I got to spend in New York.

*HOVER OVER PICS FOR CAPTIONS*

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Carrie’s apartment

 

 

 

 

 

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Northport, Long Island
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Eataly- Manhattan
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Winery – The Hamptons
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RIP to all the wine I consumed there.
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Feelin myself after a bottle of wine – The Hamptons
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Brunch with Babes – Manhattan
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On the Long Island Railroad coming back from the Yankees game!
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“Take us to the most country, hole in the wall bar you can find” – Hogs and Heifers, NYC
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Doin the most to make sure you knew we were tourists.
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“How did he know to give us wine glasses?”
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Sup Lady Liberty
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Brooklyn Bridge
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The infamous Naked Cowboy!
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Starry Night- at MoMa
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Why am I so basic?
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Spring in Central Park
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9/11 memorial museum
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Making friends at Gunther’s Pub – Long Island
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““If Louis was right, and you only get one great love…New York may just be mine. And I can’t have nobody talking shit about my boyfriend.” -Carrie Bradshaw

On another note, can we talk about how much my life was centered around Alcohol? I am pretty sure I had a strong buzz in every single picture. BUT, I have no regrets. I had the time of my life! Every time. Below is a homage to all the food I have consumed in New York.

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My first White Castle
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Pizza, always Pizza.
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I think that is calamari in the back- which, EW I don’t eat.
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Starting to understand why I am a bit chubby.
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Northport Deli, Buffalo chicken Hero
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Eataly
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Gnocchi – when pizza is not available.
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Breakfast pizza
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Artichoke Pizza – Chelsea
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chicken Parm – Robke’s in Northport
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I cheated on pizza – Financial District

So there you have it and maybe now you understand a little better why I am so New York obsessed.

 

 

 

The Art of Loving Yourself.

The Art of Loving Yourself.

I haven’t been able to blog as much as my heart desires lately. Learning to become a broker has been a time consuming task but very fulfilling. I did however get a blog request! Today I am going to be talking about affirmations, healing, and balancing yourself. I am by no means an expert on any of the above, but I have spent a great deal of time researching and practicing affirmations and techniques to find peace within myself while I heal. Everyone needs to heal and balance at all times in our life. You might not have experienced any sort of traumas or even feel the need to work on healing yourself, but we have all experienced pain and stress in our life. You would be surprised how long you can subconsciously carry around past hurts and how abusive you can be to yourself without even realizing it.

Generally people are familiar with affirmations and the purpose of them.  For those who are not, here is the definition of an affirmation taken from http://www.mindtools.com

Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.

There are limitless ways to practice affirmations. Here are just a few. Try them out and see what works best for you. The key to remember is that you MUST believe the affirmation. If you don’t at first keep telling yourself it over and over until you do, or perhaps try rephrasing it.

Write it down: many people practice the post it notes on the mirror affirmation. It is self explanatory.  You write it down and stick it where it will quite literally stare you in the face. I have attempted this method before but find it does not work for me. It becomes too easy to start overlooking it when you get used to it being there. For this to be effective, you may try posting them different places every few days. Your front door, on your coffee pot, the fridge, etc.

Say it to yourself: we all have an inner voice. You are probably reading this in your inner voice and then your thoughts speak back to it. I fully support talking to yourself. It has gotten me through so many hard times in life. I am at a point where I truly believe I have my own back and can overcome anything just by talking to myself. I will get into speaking to yourself in more depth when I get into the healing aspect of this blog.

Journal it: this is a more involved method of writing it down obviously. The part I like about having an affirmations journal is you can go back and read them. It can serve as a subtle reminder how far you have come on this journey through life. What you wanted to overcome 6 months ago you may look back at and realize how trivial or unnecessary it was to fret over it. Or you may realize how much your confidence in yourself has grown. Personal reflection is an important part of life and I find myself frequently re-reading the many journals I own. It can also help you get into more of a routine. If you are only speaking them to yourself, you may get lazy and I believe affirmations should be an important part of each day. You wouldn’t go to work without brushing your teeth would you? Your soul deserves to be nurtured and cleansed too!

So now you are on the way to kind self talk and building yourself up with affirmations. Shit happens in life though. Sometimes, you need an extra push to get you out of a rut. Anyone who knows me, knows I am a big believer in our chakras and energies. This is why I started the study and practice of Reiki. You don’t have to know reiki though to cleanse and balance your chakras. Even if you are not a huge believer in energy, you will find that taking time to relax your mind and body has extreme benefits. I have never once sat down to meditate and got up and said “that was bullshit I am so much more stressed now.” Meditation is a wonderful tool, that when used correctly has many benefits. It also requires practice. A common misconception is that your mind needs to be completely blank for meditation to work. This is not correct. In fact, that is impossible. That inner voice I spoke about earlier is constantly humming along. I am going to give some pointers though on how to make your meditation session more effective and explain different types of meditation.

Guided Meditation: I am fairly well practiced at meditating, but sometimes I can’t be bothered to even put effort into meditation which is essentially, not very difficult. I have an app on my phone that provides guided meditations. There are a lot of different apps you can use. Most of them have soft background music and a soothing voice of a woman guiding you through the steps of meditating. I use guided when I am feeling very high strung, can’t sleep, or am anxious. It allows me to rely on someone else and solely focus on relaxation.

Chakra Balancing: Again, there are multiple methods of doing this. Each person has their own preferred way. You can find a ton of methods on the internet. This is the way I like to do it…I encourage you to try many different ways until you find something that feels the best for you. I have a massage table I use for Reiki, so I set that up but you can do it on the floor, a bed, a couch…wherever you feel the best. Lay on your back with your eyes closed and take a few deep breaths to start. Imagine one at a time the energy swirling inside of you where your chakras are. Start at your crown and work your way down to your root. If you are not familiar with them, here is a chart

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I like to place a corresponding stone or crystal over each chakra for healing and balancing. You don’t have to. You can simply focus on balancing out each source of energy. Sometimes you may find you only need to focus on one or a few that might feel out of wack. If you aren’t sure what chakra is out of balance but you know you aren’t feeling right, you can look up how they effect your mood and feelings. I have a tab also on this page that goes into more depth (click on crystals). This will also tell you which crystals to use for chakra meditation. I do this form of meditation anywhere between 5-30 minutes. If I am doing Reiki on myself it’s a little longer.

Something important to remember in all forms of meditation is that thoughts will come into your mind. The correct way to to handle them is to imagine them floating in and out. Or even if they stay, focus on not being bothered by them. They are simply with you. Meditation is a treat you give yourself to relax so your thoughts should not be given any allowance to bother you at this time.

OK! So now you have worked on speaking kindly to yourself and treating yourself to some relaxation but what about the things we cannot control? Like how others speak to us? We might not be able to control what others say, but we can control how we internally react. I am a big into beating myself up if someone brings toxicity into my life. I take personal responsibility for it which is not fair to myself. Here are some methods of coping with toxic people and how to not let it undo all the hard work you have put into your internal peace.

Speak to your inner child: This is perhaps one of my favorite methods of overcoming pretty traumatic experiences like breakups, fights with friends, or problems with family. That little inner voice I was talking about earlier comes into play here. I imagine myself sitting in my elementary school library (somewhere inner child loved). We are sitting together on the steps where the librarian used to read to us. Big me and little me. I always start the conversation with “hey little, how you doing today?” and little will respond. At first you may feel silly, but eventually you will be surprised at how much you may have been suppressing. You may find that little you is pissed off at big you. One thing I often have to say to little is “I’m so sorry you feel I have abandoned you in the past, but I am here now and will take care of you from now on.” You can speak to little even if you aren’t going through anything. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a conversation to tap into how you are coping with life in general.

Bounce off method: This is learned in therapy and it is highly effective if you are like me and take responsibility for everyone else’s actions. Allow yourself to reflect on what a person has said to you. Then ask yourself “does this have to do with me? Am I the cause for this person’s behavior?” Sometimes, you might be. If you are, you need to take responsibility for it, yet allow yourself to learn from it and grow. Take the steps needed to correct the situation. Many times we are not the source of a person’s bad mood though. If the answer is “No, I am not the cause of this” imagine the words sliding off you or like you are in a bubble and they are bouncing off. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to move on. We take on so many burdens we do not need to. Another person’s bad mood should not be one of them.

So that is how I get through life and I am still learning how to do these things everyday. We need to be kind to ourselves. If no one has told you today: You deserve to be at peace within yourself. You deserve the love you have. You deserve happiness. You are allowed to eat the cupcake or buy the shoes.

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But You Don’t Look Like an Addict.

But You Don’t Look Like an Addict.

I want hit you with some cold hard facts about addiction.

There are myths and legends abound about what an addict is composed of, what we do, how we think, how we feel, what we deserve and what we don’t deserve. With all due respect…until you have experienced the dark depths that is addiction, you don’t know shit. We are ALL human’s and the degree of our suffering varies from individual to individual.

I am a 5’1″, blonde haired, blue eyed girl with a sunny disposition. I smile at every stranger I make eye contact with and car karaoke to Britney Spears and Taylor Swift. I meditate and pray to reiki music and use the healing touch of reiki to help others. I like to cook and walk on the beach and collect seashells. I hike and revel in the beauty that is the pacific northwest. In all senses I come across as a very “normal” and peaceful person. Just because the vessel that is carrying out these day to day motions looks calm and collected does not mean the soul that resides in it is calm. Stevie Nicks says “Never have I been a calm blue sea, I have always been a storm”. I am both. On the outside I am a calm sea, on the inside I am a storm. Not always…but that darkness is in there.

Addiction is not prejudiced. It touches the religious, the atheist, the broken and downtrodden, and the CEO’s of major companies. It grips women and men, young and old. It suffocates gays, straights, every national origin and race. It kills the rich, the poor, the beautiful and the ugly.

You get the point…addiction runs rampant like a tornado picking up and destroying anything that happens to be in its path. Now let’s talk about the aftermath. You have finally come down, fallen on your face which we refer to as our rock bottom and realize you can’t go on like this. This is when we tentatively walk into our first meeting with our eyes on the ground. Uncomfortable with the warmth and hugs being passed around between these humans that seem so different from you, who are actually the same as you. Laughter and joy swirls around the room on the wings of the scent of percolating coffee and you wonder how these people are so happy when they don’t “get to” drink? This is what they get to look forward to? Sitting in a circle talking about the shit show they have made of their life? You sit silently your first few meetings still digging your heels in the ground. Reading the book letting it flow in one ear and out the other. Sometimes, a lot of the the time, we relapse. Rock bottom comes faster and harder this time. A month has gone by and you’ve been on a bender that has left you shaky in the hands, weak in the knees, sick to  your stomach and ashamed. With heavy feet you walk back into that room and as if time hasn’t touched anything, they are all still there. Hugging, laughing, and sipping their coffee. Still happy, still not “getting to” drink…and then you realize…its because of their lack of drinking, its because of their supporting hugs, emotional outpouring, and acknowledgement that they are the ones smiling. A little bell goes off in your brain, you lift your heels out of the mud and you pick that book back up with a new drive to learn how to do this too. A week goes by and you are almost out of the woods with your withdrawals. The night sweats are gone, your mind is more clear and you are soaking up the message AA (or NA) has to offer and opening up your wounds to begin healing them from the inside out. You begin to have a subtle obsession with recovery rather than alcohol or drugs. All of a sudden free coffee and women’s meetings are you new liquor store. You feel euphoria walking into church rooms and hugging those women and men who not long ago felt like weird, foreign creatures. They are now your family. Your friends. Your life line.

All that sounds rosy and fantastic and like the happy ending of the story has come. The truth is the ending never comes for an addict. I do not desire to drink, but I crave the drink. I don’t want to be drunk, but I miss being drunk. To “normies” that makes no sense and is a total contradiction but I guarantee most addicts will understand….we know we cant drink and we really don’t want to, but yes we do. I know I can’t sit on my deck and watch the sunset with a glass of wine. It never ends that peacefully and it is not a moment of serenity. The first glass of wine turns into two bottles and a hellacious mental ordeal. At one of my women’s meetings we read a story in the big book and this line from it knocked the wind out of me with its truth “that special relationship with alcohol will always be there, waiting to seduce me again. I can stay protected by continuing to be an active member of AA”. So you see, the work of the 12 steps never ends. The choice to stay sober is a DAILY choice. We do recover but it is an everyday effort. You cannot give us a pill and we are magically cured. Actually, if there were a pill we would probably become addicted to that.

When we speak about recovery we speak with gratitude, joy, and appreciation. We rarely talk about the parts we all know to be true though. We feel anger, stress, desire to give up, we scream into our pillow “why am I like this”, and we sit in the midst of emotions we have suppressed with booze or pills that are now crashing over us like waves that want to take our life. But this recovery thing is a journey….the ending of this journey doesn’t come until the vessel that carries our soul has expired. But I promise that journey will fill you far more than any substance ever could.

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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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