I Love finding New Awesome People

Anyone interested in one, or all of the following:

1.  Sobriety

2.  Being Vegan/Vegetarian

3.  Lesbian/Gay Lifestyle

Should check out this new blog.  This woman is awesome!  I hope you will check it out and show some support by following and sharing.

www.soberveganlesbian.com

thank you my fellow blogging community!

How Do I Feel This Good Sober?

On July 11, 2013 I turned 2 years old, in sober years.  That is 730 consistent days of drug free blood running through my veins.  Wow.  Let me say that again….WOW!  For this alcoholic, that is nothing short of a miracle.  On the day of, I failed to recognize my real gratitude for this miracle, and my life.

I was not in the best of moods on the 11th of July, just 7 short days ago.  Although I should have been glowing with gratitude, I was instead sitting in self pity, resentment, and irritability.  My surroundings were awkward and unfamiliar, as I was out of town for uncontrollable reasons, away from the two places I call home…New York & Los Angeles.  However, life was good, and I couldn’t see that at the time.  Why?  Because I was wallowing in self-indulgent sorrow.  Which then led to sparks of fiery resentments to surface.  Then that moment came, where suddenly life felt unmanageable, too difficult, boring, and unworthy of my efforts to express love, compassion, and service towards others.  My emotional sobriety quickly went dark.

That is what the spinning wheel of this alcoholics mind looks like when it latches onto that familiar feeling of “poor me.”  Normally, at this stage of my sobriety, I can recognize these negative feelings and terrorizing thoughts creeping in, and am able to poison them quickly with my AA tools for survival.  Remembering that most, if not all,  of what I am thinking and feeling is not real, and quickly asking for guidance from my higher power, and the willingness to shift my perception of the life and/or circumstances in front of me.  But on this particular day, I chose to ignore those useful tools that keep me sane.  And so I spun.  and I continued to spin, for the next 6 days.  I created laundry lists of why the life I am currently living is not right.  I developed resentments against those closest to me.  I beat myself to a pulp, telling myself that my life is about to fail, and the decisions I have made in the past two years have been way off the rail.  My rather pleasant immediate world shifted to misery and it became hard for me to crack a smile.  So I simply didn’t try, because if I was feeling miserable, you were going to know it by my simple passive aggressive silence.

By the evening of day 6, I had ranted to a couple of friends about the circumstances of my “so-called” life.  I spewed about my unhappiness and circumstantial qualms.  I was also called out on my passive aggressive behavior.   Ouch.  By the end of it all, I felt better in some ways, because the thoughts were no longer festering in my head, solo.  They had been let loose.  That does bring relief to some degree.  However, I didn’t feel great about myself.  I  felt emotionally hung over.  I started to see my recent behavior for what it really was.  Certainly not the attitude and actions of a well-balanced sober woman.  Some-what immature behavior.  And very unsatisfying.

Cut to today.  7 days after my 2 year sobriety birthday.  7 days from the start of my dark spin-out.  I woke up this morning and felt much like a different person.  My perception had  shifted.   Although I still may have the same concerns I was so deeply obsessing over for the past 6 days, they somehow look different today.  More like, just part of  my life’s path & adventure.  My concerns are my journey and experiences.  This morning my faith had returned, somehow. It must have followed suit with my perception.  My “so-called life” is not exactly as I may have mapped out in my mind, but it is my life and it is my choice to view it for what it is.  It is beautiful.  It is a gift.  It is filled with gratitude and grace when my head doesn’t get in the way.

Now that I’ve escaped the grips of my alcoholic mind, I will be celebrating my 2 years of sobriety this weekend.

Hello, my name is Donna and I am an alcoholic.

Now for some random entertainment…

Pink’s song “sober” seems to be interpreted differently by many.  Is the song about addiction?  You tell me your thoughts…click on the link below

634 days equals…

1 year.  8 months.  25 days.

That is how long I have been clean and sober, today.  One day at a time.  One feeling/emotion at a time.  One life event at a time.  One solution at a time.

My life is so good today.  And it is changing daily.  So many experiences have manifested since I chose to show up for my life.  1 year, 8 months, and 25 days ago I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt.  I was sick.  Hung-over.  Ashamed of my behavior and my life.  I was angry and scared.  I was tired…exhausted.  I had no love for myself, and I certainly didn’t know how to love you.  I wanted to just vanish.

I am no longer that person.  I am not ashamed of who I am and the life I live and am no longer a puppet for the fear and anxiety that barely strung me along.

Life presents itself in so many forms, and today I embrace it, even if it is scary.  Even if I am unsure.  Even if I feel incapable of succeeding.  Where my thinking can destroy me, my perception can save me.  And with that truth I can trudge through anything. My world has changed dramatically since sobriety became my number one focus.  I recently left my job, after over a decade of working there.  I love the company I worked for.  I love the friendships I have made there.  However, it was time for me to move on.  To extend my creative playing field a bit more.  I needed a change.  And I went for it.  If I was not sober…if I had not worked this program during the past year and 8 months, I would never have followed through with my desire to grow in my career, and thus leave my job.  I would never have had the courage to do it.  Fear would have continued to consume me and I would likely have stayed where I was… comfortable, and therefore “safe.”  Today I see that as nice as it is to feel safe, there comes a time when risks need to be taken in order for growth to occur.

I am constantly growing.

Becoming a vegan has been a beautiful transformation for me in sobriety.  I realized the true definition of compassion.  After becoming sober, I became more present and aware of the horrible ways our human race treat animals that are slaughtered for food consumption. I could no longer be a consumer of meat and dairy after I witnessed the truth behind factory farming….because for me, it was not a compassionate, loving way to live any longer.  Sobriety brings many truths and many gifts.  Becoming vegan was one of them for me.

And more is constantly revealed.

I am in a committed, loving relationship with a truly beautiful, sober woman.  I get the opportunity to live a bi-coastal life, bouncing between New York and Los Angeles, living in the two best cities in the country, in my opinion.  Sobriety has given me this gift.  The confidence to be myself in my relationship.  Genuine and authentic.  Sobriety has taught me that with truth and honesty, grows intimacy.  And with intimacy, grows love.  Sobriety has taught me that my character defects do not define me, and I am lovable even with my faults.   My confidence and self-worth has blossomed, naturally.  I have learned the importance of loving without expectation.

Serenity is always near, should I want it.

I have sobriety to thank for that.  I wasn’t expecting to grow so much and have such awesome experiences in such a short period of time.  But it has happened, and if I continue to do the work, I suspect more gifts from life will appear, and growth will continue.

There are key tools for living that help make it easier….I have a couple go to suggestions that help me along the way…

The best tools for my life are:  Understanding and accepting that I am not in control.  Knowing and believing that most of my thinking and fears are not reality.  Realizing that if I just do the next indicated thing, and stay out of the results, life will work itself out.   It is all very simple, really.  And if I continue to live by these simple rules, I can say to myself:

dont worry

and for that, i am grateful!

Till next time…

my thoughts, my choice.

there are those days, many days, where i forget about the magic that is around me.  i wake up lost in my own darkness and lacking the willingness to find my way out. and without the willingness, i am unable to change my thinking and my perception.  thus i stay in the dark.  not present for my life, at all.  Those are the days i miss the magic.

When i am in this state, i don’t see you for who you are.  i don’t see the smile you pass to me.  the compliment you throw my way.  i don’t hear your voice in its real tone.  i don’t look you in the eyes.  and i certainly don’t appreciate you for who you are.  why you are here, and what you may have to offer humanity.

i don’t like when i am in this place.  the place where life goes on and i stand still, playing in my own sandbox full of self-pity.

what is the root of these dark feelings?  it’s simple really….me. me. me.  i usually get in this described head space if i am feeling badly about myself.  or if i am not getting what i want out of someone else.  or if something is not going as i had planned.  the dark place grows out of selfish behavior/thoughts.  it is so simple, yet i repeat the same thoughts over and over again, expecting different results.  insanity?  why yes it is.  it is, in fact, the definition of insanity.

the funny thing is, i very quickly diagnose the problem, and then choose not to make the necessary change in my thought process to get myself out of the ugly place i put myself in.  thus leaving myself to wallow in anger or disappointment.

as an alcoholic, i  love to sit in self-pity and play the victim.  it is my default mode.  having a little over a year of sobriety, i now know this.  and i also know that i have the choice to stay in it, or get the hell out of it and be present and happy in my life.  it’s a simple choice.  change my thinking.  change my perception.  and the magic returns.

trouble is, i don’t always choose to do that.

however, it’s nice to know the option is there.

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.

 

 

 

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!!!

i am enough.

i have a necklace that i wear everyday around my neck.  it reminds me that, the donna i am today, was yesterday, and will be tomorrow…is enough.  

getting sober is not always a ray of sunshine.   my eyes have been opened wide.  my heart has been exposed.  my feelings are in full force.  the reflection i see everyday can no longer be blackened by booze and drugs.  i have no choice but to really face donna, daily.  with that force of reality, i must accept myself and recognize, i am enough…just as i am.

do you have any idea how difficult that is to say…. for an addict like me?  i am a compare and despair kinda gal.  walking down the city streets, i look at the women trotting by.  no, not because i am a lesbian and am admiring their beauty.  i am staring at these women, comparing my outsides to their outsides.  i see thin and beauty in front of me, and i tell myself how i am not that.  i am too big.  not attractive enough.  getting old.  etc.  compare and despair…a phrase i learned in the rooms of AA.

i play the comparison game in other areas of life as well.  i am a photographer.  i look at photos all day for my day job.  and therefore, i begin to tell myself how amazing the photographers are that i am researching, and how un-amazing my work is.  compare and despair.

as difficult as it was for me to swallow the following concept prior to, and at the start of sobriety, i am able to grasp it now….these feelings and behaviors are all self-centered and ego based.  it still makes me cringe to say that.  why?  because overall i am an incredibly sensitive, kind-hearted, giving individual, who puts you way before me.  therefore i never thought i could be self-centered or have an overexposed ego.  but…this is not the truth, i now know.  comparing myself to you, and being so concerned about my appearance, is clearly me thinking about me and focussing on me.  damn ego.  

when this game of comparison occurs, i go into a very dark place.  a depression, if you will.  and it is not easy to get out of.  it’s comfortable.  it’s what i have known for so much of my life.  its false security.  it’s why i drank.  darkness was my friend, and still creeps in on occasion.  and it is up to me to crawl out of it.

now i have a little tool around my neck.  a gift from my cousin, who had no clue the impact this necklace would have on me.  i wear it everyday.  and when i begin to compare and despair…when i begin to tell myself i am not good enough… i look at the charms around my neck and remind myself…i am enough.

sobriety does not bring perfection.

but it brings the path to a new life, and a new love for life and for self.  and i am on that road now.

i consider it training.

and with everyday of training, my strength in sobriety, self-love, and self acceptance, gains the muscle needed to power down my ego, tame my self-hatred, and massage my self-love.

one day at a time.

i am enough.

 

 

it’s been 11 months since my last hangover…double-u-tee-eff!

today marks 11 months of sobriety for me.  seriously a miracle.  and i feel very lucky to be where i am today.  sober.  grateful.  and for the most part, happy to see the morning light when i awake.  wow.  times have changed.

i read  an article in the NY times this morning about the “hijacked brain” being used more and more as a description for addicts.  i related so much to that description.  think about it…when you envision being hijacked, what is it that you see…that you feel?  for me…similarly described in the article…i imagine a person, with a mask and a weapon, probably in all black, who forces control over a car, plane or train.  the hijacker may not be the one who drives the plane, car, or train, but with his/her violence, there is no doubt who has the power and control in the hostile situation.  and why do hijackers hijack?  one main reason would be because they need to escape, get away, or use the vehicle as a weapon in a far greater scheme.  hijacking is only geared towards the needs of the hijacker.  innocent people are torn away from their normal everyday lives, by the agitation and forced intrusion of the hijacker. hmmmm…sounds so very familiar!

let’s examine further….

compare the above description of the hijacking scenario to the “hijacked brain” of an addict.  the brain becomes an innocent victim of drugs and alcohol…which overtake the brains normal chemical/behavioral  responses, therefore hijacking it.  taking over control.  taking over the body and the mind.  the person is now powerless over themselves.  fascinating!

even after the “high” is gone, the addicts brain is under attack, as it is constantly chasing the high.

in the simplest form, this basically means…..

i am powerless over drugs and alcohol (among other things!).  with that first drink or drug, my brain becomes hijacked, and i become overtaken by the insanity of the hijacker…be it cocaine, alcohol, etc. i loose all control over mind and body.

thank god…i know longer have to deal with such an overwhelming lack of control.  i’ve taken my life back….  the bad guys are no longer welcome.

so what has changed & what have i learned  in the past 11 months?

1.  i do not suffer from that incomprehensible demoralization any longer.

2.  i do not hate the girl in the mirror any longer.

3. i am able to love myself more often than not.

4.  i no longer have hangovers.

5.  i always remember the events that took place the night before.  i remember who i was with.  how i got home. etc.

6.  i’ve learned to have compassion for myself, and others.

7.  i’ve learned to be of service to others in order to find happiness within myself.

8.  i’ve really gotten to know my ego.  and i have put him in his place.

9.  i’ve completed 11 of the 12 steps which are changing my life daily.

10.  i’ve learned what love really feels like.

11.  i feel everything! every emotion.  and i am learning to love it.  even the painful feelings.

12.  i’ve learned to not judge.

13.  i’ve learned the power of compassion and kindness.

14.  i’ve learned the importance of friendship and the dangers of isolation.

15.  i’ve realized staying calm brings me closer to serenity, and acting hysterical takes me further away.

the list really can go on…

the most important thing i have learned, however, is do not take that first drink or drug…no matter what!  

so today i celebrate myself for:

11 months

336 days

8,065 hours

of continuous sobriety!

signed. sealed. delivered.

20120514-003021.jpg

in the end. i’ll turn it all over, with no hesitation. no fight. no regret. at least i hope i will.

in the end of what?

the end of today. the end of tomorrow. the end of this very moment. and now this one. the end of a relationship. the end of my career. the end of my beloved fish or family dogs. the end of my flight home. or the one to new york. the end of a fight. or the end of a love. the end of this week. this month. this year. the end of life.

signed. sealed. delivered. i’ll turn it over.

this is how i want to live my life moment to moment. do the next indicated thing. stay out of the results. turn it over to a power greater then myself. brush off any wounds. and continue forward. until there is no more forward. and when there is no more forward that i recognize, i’m convinced there will be a new journey. a new beat. a new dance to learn. and a new love to give.

God, grant me the serenity.
to accept the things I cannot change.
the courage to change the things I can.
and the wisdom to know the difference.

most things i am confronted with, or that i confront, I cannot change. but I try to anyway. and when i do bump into a rare changeable circumstance, ifind my courage to be lost in hiding.

donna, accept the things….most things in life….you cannot change. just do the next indicated thing, and turn the rest over.

donna, be courageous and make a change if it’s changeable. if you feel the need. if its in your heart. make the move and stay out of the results.

live in the moment. in the now. it’s so powerful…rewarding….and much less painful. yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never exist.

you are of no use to the past or the future. just the now.

live it.

and then…let it end. the moment.

signed. sealed. delivered.

be happy. be free. and have faith.

Life is not your responsibility.

20120514-001017.jpg