showing up for life.

showing up for life seems like a rather simple concept.  but for an alcoholic like myself, showing up for life was difficult.  near impossible.  and rather terrifying.  that is why i drank.  life, and the people who make up life, were unapproachable to me.  and i drank to get away from it all.  to avoid showing up for reality and the people who lived in my reality.  when i was in a blackout, reality was not in sight.  and that was the goal.  that is where i wanted to be.

but it stopped working.  and that is when my life began.

i have entered my second year of sobriety, and things are quit different then they once were.  blackouts no longer exist in my world, and reality is at the forefront of every waking day.  life stares me down.  and i show up for it.  people are all around me.  i don’t run from them.  they need me, i show up for them.

i deal with life on life’s terms, not mine.

i am currently going through an emotional time with a very ill family member.  it’s been going on for a few years, but has recently become much more critical.  it’s hard to see.  hard to watch.  difficult to witness the suffering.  but it’s not about how hard it is for me.  it’s about showing up for her, and the rest of the family during this time.  it’s about being present through it all.  it’s about showing love and compassion.  it sounds so….logical doesnt it?  it is.  however, 1 year and 15 days ago, it wasn’t so logical for me to be there for my loved ones.  i resented having to show up.  i didn’t know how to deal with the feelings involved.  i ignored it all.  hid from it.  lied in order to not have to show up.  it wasn’t about my family back then, and their needs.  it was about me, and my selfishness.  my inability to deal.  the distance between me and my feelings.  i never want to be that person again.  ever.

through recovery and my sobriety, i am growing into the person i always wanted to be, but could never find.  the person i sought out through drugs and alcohol.   little did i know the distance between her and I only grew further the more i drank and used.  it’s hard to find yourself in a blackout!

im so grateful that today i am able to show up for myself.  i show up for my family, and my friends.  i show up for life.

yes, i have moments where the thought of “escape” sounds appealing.  spotlights shine down on the fantasy of disappearing from reality for a bit.  when those thoughts arise, i be sure to follow the story to the very end in my head.  cause its the end of the story that brought me to my bottom.  and i must never forget that.  when i think the drink through, i can let go of that fantasy with very little hesitation.  and i can rejoin my happy reality.

 

alcoholism changed me.  sobriety saved me.

 

 

 

a little change goes a long way.

i was very different in the recent past.  one major change…compassion.

i always say how “time flies.”  and it does.  when i was twenty, i never thought i would be 30.  or 35.  or 36 (next month).  it just never crossed my mind.  i figured i’d be in my twenties forever.  i never looked into the future with truthful eyes.  i was going to be young for the duration of my life.  i went about my business as if nothing could harm me or touch me or kill me.  I lived behind a very thick smoke screen.  i ignored the sadness i recognize today in the world.  i paid no attention to the inconceivable.  if it didn’t affect me first hand, i didn’t care. and i didn’t care cause i refused to acknowledge anything that my heart couldn’t tolerate with ease.  im not proud of that, but it is the truth.  and today i speak the truth.  sadly, i know now that i was living my life with very little compassion.  for myself or for any other living being or species on earth.  i didn’t understand that at the time.

my eyes really started to open just over a year ago.  it started with getting sober.  eliminating the heavy drinking from my life.  forcing me to face reality head on.  all of it. 35 years of dirty build up had to be taken on.  challenged.  dissected.  acknowledged.  and dealt with.  it took a lot of forgiveness towards myself, and others.  it took, and will continue to take, many amends and apologies for my past behavior. and that is okay. it’s all part of the process.  and through this process i have found compassion.

compassion.  a small word with a massive impact on life.

       :sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

if someone says something unkind to me or is inconsiderate, etc. i am better at not taking it personally than i was before.  in the past, i would obsess over what they did or said for hours or days on end.  today i can accept, usually, that whatever they did or said to me most likely doesn’t have anything to do with me personally…but rather it is something born from their own issue/s.  maybe they are having a bad day.  or maybe someone said something that hurt their ego and they are taking it out on me.  whatever it might be, i try hard to not take it personally today.  instead i’ll have compassion for them and whatever they might be going through.  and then i let it go.  theoretically.  like i said, i am no saint.  but most of the time i can act with compassion today.

if someone is hurting.  i have compassion.  if i am hurting, i have compassion.  i try to be kind.  to you, and to all living species on earth.  i feel now.  and it is best to feel good about myself, then to feel bad.  and i feel good when i live in compassion.

compassionate living is something i now strive for.  i’ve taken it further than with just humans and human contact.  i want to live compassionately towards all living species on earth.  as i mentioned earlier in this post, back in my younger years i lived in a thick fog.  i refused to recognize the inconceivable that is around me.  and there is a lot of it in our world.  this includes the cruelty and lack of compassion that is thrown upon the animals on our planet.  i chose to bear witness to the truth nearly a year ago, and by doing so, i had no choice but to change my ways.  my heart wouldn’t allow me to turn away any longer.  and so i became a vegan.  i refuse to be a consumer of meat and dairy products, knowing what i know today.  this also includes non-food products that are tested on animals.  i can no longer take part in any of that.  i simply can’t do it.  it’s compassion.  and i have it today.  i suppose i always had it, i just didn’t know to what degree.  with the choice of becoming vegan and showing compassion towards all animals, i’ve gotten to know a side of myself that was once hidden.  and i like this side a lot.  it just feels…right.

no, im not perfect at the game of life, but i am certainly better at it today then i was last year and the years prior.  i still have many faults.  and insecurities.  and i make huge mistakes.  i still have a dark side i can fall into.  i can loose my compassionate side at times. i can take things personally.   if i didn’t then i wouldn’t be able to call myself human.  but i now recognize these characteristics when they present themselves.  i can move past those barriers faster.  continuing to better myself in the process.  it’s progress not perfection.

i’ve visited my darkest demons through this journey.   and continue to.  and let me tell you, my skin has thickened in the process.  my heart has grown.  my voice has been found.  and my personality has escaped its own personal jail… and continues to make itself known.  i am present.  finally.

sobriety and my truth has brought me far.

far from what i once was, but not yet what i am going to be.

what a journey.

incase you are interested, below are websites that have helped open my eyes and helped me make my choice to become a vegan:

http://www.peta.org/ 

http://www.farmsanctuary.org/

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/

random act of kindness #9

yesterday i was so busy with work and feeling stressed about a few things in my world.  at the same time i was thinking of my friends and missing them.  i wasn’t able to pick up the phone and chat with all of them at that moment.  i was in a time crunch.  but i could easily send a quick text message letting them know i was thinking about them.  i know that when i get a random text from someone in my life, it makes me smile.  makes me happy if i was otherwise bummed out.  a simple text says so much and many people don’t realize that.

in today’s world of technology, it is easy to get away from one on one conversation and hide from any real face to face or voice to voice  interaction with other humans.  for the introverted type like myself, that can be dangerous.  for anyone really, it can be dangerous.  texts, social media, emails…can all act as a shield from society.

but there is a flip side….

this same technology can act as a bridge for connecting people as well.  when life is busy or has its own plans for me…it prevents me from having the time to call everyone on my list or to check in with those i love.  that’s when the beauty of texting comes in to play.  i can say “hello”…”thinking of you”  in a matter of seconds.  and the receiver is sure to appreciate the act (generally) and will then know i am thinking of them and they are still on my radar, even though im not present or able to pick up the phone.  texting is a way to stay connected to those i love.  and i am grateful for that.

so random act of kindness #9 was texting a few friends that were on my mind…just to let them know i was thinking of them.  it’s that simple.  and it generally has  a big (positive) impact on the receiving end.

use our technological world in a positive way to stay connected.  it works.

IT’S SO SIMPLE AND THE KINDNESS IS APPRECIATED….

 

today marks one year SOBER!

7-11 has a nice ring to it.  todays date marks 365 days of clean blood running through my veins.  no alcohol.  no drugs.  one year of dealing with life on life’s terms.  feeling every prick and prong.  earning every tear and smile.  i am nothing short of a miracle.

what was i doing on this exact day, one year ago…?

i woke up with a beating headache.  my attempt to not drink the night before turned into a high-caliber blackout.  i woke up on 7-11-11 with that horrible feeling of incomprehensible demoralization.  what had i done?  what had i said?  where is my car?  how did i get home?

and then came the phone call from my dear friend, who i shall call beth.  she reminded me of my behavior the night before….and the pieces began to come together.

here is the short story:  i was  hanging out with a few friends. started off at a restaurant in venice beach and ended at a backyard bonfire.  where i attempted with drunken passion to turn my straight girlfriend gay. sounds rather humorous, and i can laugh about it with beth, now.  but at the time it wasn’t so funny.   i wanted what i wanted when i wanted it.  that was me, drunk.  not attractive, at all.  i wasn’t violent or anything like that.  but i was aggressive with my words and was often seductively persuasive. not classy at all.   i was known for taking straight girls to the dark side for a night.  (there were some good times!  ha ha ha)  but this night was a big FAIL.  and i m grateful it was…as this was/is a very dear friend of mine and i had no business saying what i said and acting as i did.   i will spare you the details…but when alcohol entered my blood stream, there was no telling what would happen.  what i would say or do.  who i would take home or go home with.  how i would get home.  if i would get home.  this night was no different from the rest.  and like most mornings after, i woke up drowning in humiliation.  completely exhausted.  sick.  stricken with a deep self-hatred that never seemed to escape me.  i wanted nothing more than to hide from the world and all the people in it.  a typical feeling for me during my drinking days.  i hated who i was.  what i stood for.  i hated the feelings that overwhelmed me.  i hated your happiness.  and i wallowed in my misery.  that was donna exactly one year ago.

can you say GRATEFUL?  i am so grateful today that i do not have to live that way any longer.  i don’t wake up in the mornings with that loathing self-hatred.  my memory isn’t taken from me any longer by booze and drugs.  my actions are in control.  my words and my behavior are manageable today.  and most importantly, i feel love for donna.  the spiritual depletion i felt 365 days ago is replenishing in me.  i didn’t know how to feel before.  i didn’t want to feel.  experiencing my feelings was way too much for me to handle.  living life on life’s terms was not a choice for me while i was drinking.  my world was unmanageable.  one year later i can say with confidence, that i truly experience every possible emotion and feeling that crosses my path.  and i take it in with pleasure.  painful or otherwise.  i absorb it and i live through it.  and i am grateful for that.  life is worth living when i do so on life’s terms…not mine!

what i know today:  i know now that it’s the first drink that gets me drunk.  so i stay away from the first drink.  i know now that once alcohol is in my blood, i have no control over donna any longer.  i know i will end up right back where i was 365 days ago…hating myself and everyone in my line of vision….if i should choose to drink again. i know i need to go to AA meetings in order to stay sober.  I know i need to work the steps daily, as best i can.  I know i need to keep a close relationship with my HP.  i know i have an allergy of the body and mind.  i know my head speaks louder than my mouth.  and most of the time, my head is lying to me.  i know now that most troubles in my life are born from fear.  i know how to feel today.  i know what it means to be authentic.  i know how to love and be loved.  or at least im better at it then i was before sobriety. i know what it’s like to be in the moment.   i know how to live today.  it’s not a life without problems, but it’s a life with an authentic truth that allows for pain, challenges, happiness, and laughter, successes and failures….it’s a life worth living.

my name is donna, and I am an alcoholic… with one year of sobriety!!!