feelings & thoughts are not facts

our thoughts are constantly in over-drive.  actually, let me just speak for myself here…my thoughts are constantly in over-drive.

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thoughts help us to interpret the world and what goes on all around us.  our thoughts describe to us what is happening.  they interpret sights, sounds, scent, feelings, etc.  unconsciously, we are constantly using interpretation and giving meaning to all things happening around us.  we decide if something is bad, good, dangerous, immoral, etc.

because we are all individuals with different life experiences, different cultures, different upbringings, different beliefs, we likely come to different conclusions and interpretations for what we experience around us then someone else might.  these perceptions of ours…these interpretations, result in feelings.  there is an occurrence which triggers a thought which triggers a feeling/emotion.  for me, this is where the danger can manifest if I am not careful.

I tend to automatically believe my thoughts.  I don’t usually stop to question their validity.  and what helps them become more believable for me is the fact that they are habitual.  my thoughts tend to repeat over and over and over again, becoming very habitual and persistent.  these thoughts then set off a whole new set of  relatable thoughts that make me feel even worse, triggering more negative feelings/emotions.

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so where is the problem in all this?

my feelings begin to run my life.  with all the faulty thinking and wiring upstairs…feelings and emotions that usually are uncomfortable or bad begin to take over….my mood rises to the occasion.  i become irritable.  depressed.  angry.  sad.  hurt. etc.  character defects pop like corn in a hot skillet.  flying in all directions.  and before i know it, my life is miserable.  and it all started from one single thought.  that led to a feeling.  that led to irrational beliefs about myself, others, or the world around me.  my feelings have the muscle to run my life.  and that, my friends, is never a good thing.  it is very alcoholic living, thinking, and breathing.  for me, faulty thinking=destructive living.  and a shaky sobriety.

why do the bad feelings overtake the good feelings?  i don’t have a definitive answer to that question.  all i know is they do.  for me it’s easier to absorb the bad then the good.  it is also easier to remember the bad then the good most of the time.

here are some popular negative feelings that have the ability to haunt me and run my life if i allow them to:

anger. insecurity. jealousy. envy. fear. sadness. disappointment. empty. hesitant. despair. frustration. tragic. useless. unhappy. rejected. nervous. anxious. worried. restless. insensitive. disinterested. cold. lifeless. dull. stupid. resentful. shy. distrustful. alone. provoked. scared. guilty. powerless. irritated. hateful. ashamed.

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when i repeat my faulty thinking over and over again and allow these kinds of feelings to be triggered and i engage in them, they become very powerful.  i begin to identify with these negative feelings and i believe i am what these feelings tell me i am….angry. fearful. unimportant. but the truth is, these are just feelings that are ever-changing.  they are not facts.

in order to not let my feelings and thoughts overtake and run my day-to-day life, i must have a strong sense of emotional awareness.  an awareness of HOW I FEEL, not WHO I AM. having such an awareness can help me to stay on track and remember that who i am has very little to do with how i feel.  it is beneath all the feelings that my true self resides. seeing through the debilitating thoughts and feelings is all part of the process of discovering my authentic, sober self. i have spent most of my life identifying who i am based on my feelings.  good or bad.  but the truth is, there really are no good or bad emotions once we dig deep enough to get to their roots.

it all boils down to cause and effect.  once that relationship is discovered, we can affect positive change within.  we have the choice.

i have the choice to be happy, grateful, and serene…or i have the choice to forego happiness, and give in to the false belief system run by my thoughts and feelings for the past 36 years.

im working towards on an increase in daily happiness and gratitude through positive perception and thinking and strengthening of my own emotional self awareness…..one day at a time.

thanks for stopping by.

#CMO2012 National Coming Out Day

while trolling facebook early this morning, i was made aware that today is national coming out day.  In reading that, i became overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude.  gratitude for being “out.”  for being loved by those in my life for exactly who and what i am.  not everyone agrees with my sexuality, but most people in my life seem to accept it.  and for that, i am grateful.

i remember when i realized i was gay.  that feeling of uncertainty.  excitement.  a new energy that illuminated. i had just been intimate with a woman for the first time.  my body spoke to me.  and so did hers.  it was a feeling i had never experienced before.  i was 24 years old.  and my life was about to change.

i never quite felt right with men.  i was always “one of the guys.”  i had boyfriends and experiences with men throughout my younger life, but i never really felt intimately connected to them.  They were buddies, not really boyfriends.  i tried, but was unsuccessful at playing the heterosexual.  even when i thought i was heterosexual!

at 24, i was handed a gift.  and since then, i have found passion.  intimacy.  love.  expression.  with women.  i began to live with a deeper sense of authenticity.

my “coming out” experience was fairly organic.  one day, i was gay.  and from that day on, i have been gay and will forever be, from what i can tell.   life just naturally progressed in that direction for me.  i told my closest friends, who claimed to know i was gay before i did.  i slowly came out to my family.  that was the scariest and toughest part of outing myself.  like i said, not everyone agrees with my sexuality, but most seem to accept it.

i feel blessed to have the ability to live without fear of my sexuality.  i believe in expression of who i am. and being gay is a huge part of that expression.  it does not define me, but it is a permanent glowing impression on my blueprint.

happy #nationalcomingoutday to all. #cmo2012 #countmeout

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

i’m taking back my power

one of my biggest emotional challenges in life is to not let you control my happiness.  not let how you are feeling, determine how i will feel.  i have a really bad habit of absorbing other people’s energy, and making it my own.  so if a co-worker, or friend, or lover is angry, sad, defeated, hurt, etc., and i am in their presence, my mood can change in an instant.  i can go from giggly and happy, to very serious and dark in no time at all. i turn my power over to others when i let them control my happiness and my emotional behavior….based on their own happiness and emotional behavior.

the other way i donate my power to others is by being so concerned with how you feel about me.  i’m an alcoholic, and like many alcoholics, i am a major people pleaser.  i’ve improved, but i still have this pleasing need in me.  if i feel like you are mad at me or upset at me for some reason, the thought will consume me.  it will affect every molecule in my body.  and i become miserable until the situation is sorted out, or until i find out that i am actually not the cause of your disappointment or anger.  most of the time i haven’t actually done anything that i am aware of to piss anyone off, but because you might be acting “off” today, and not so friendly, happy, or the like, i will assume you are mad at me.  it’s really selfish and self-centered thinking. again..the alcoholic mind.  it is not all about me.  i do not affected your life.  why would i even think i had such power?  crazy ego-based thinking.  hey, at least i can recognize it nowadays.

why is it so hard for me to just control my own happiness and my own emotional behavior?  and not hand it over to you?  I’ll tell you why….at least in part…..it’s because of the underlying fear of rejection, abandonment, and dislike from others.  this goes way back into childhood and my experiences as a youngster.  without going into a long drawn out story, i will leave it at this….kids were cruel and tossed a lot of rejection my way.  some psychologists might also blame this fear of rejection on the fact that i was given up for adoption as a baby.  i question that.  but i don’t discount it entirely.  with that said, i simply don’t want you to reject me as a human being and toss me aside.  so i don’t want you to have any ill feelings towards me.  and if i feel you might, it consumes me…it’s a vicious cycle.  and it’s no fun.  and really, handing you the responsibility of my own happiness is just not cool.

but this behavior of mine is manageable.

it’s manageable now because i recognize this life long pattern when it begins to creep up on me.  i talk about it (or write about it).  and since i can feel it coming on, i have the ability to stop the insanity from progressing and ruining the beautiful day ahead of me.  of course, sometimes my self-centered and generally false beliefs still gets the best of me and i have trouble getting out of my own misery.  but more times than not, i am able to dig myself out before it’s too late.

basically, i am becoming more and more autonomous.  it’s that simple.  im letting you off the hook, my friends.

i am the only one in control of my happiness and my emotional behavior.  maybe i should tattoo that on my forehead.

the habit of self-disclosure

how much is too much disclosure?  eh, i don’t think about that too often these days.  my life is much like a permanent tattoo on my once blank canvassed body.  i put it out there.  on facebook.  wordpress.  pinterest.  twitter.  if i press delete, it’s not really deleted.  it’s permanently out there.  and i don’t worry about it.  i’m not going to hide behind a false bravado any longer.  what you see, is what you get.  i’m a little bit of everything, all rolled into one.  i think that’s a song lyric.

hiding behind a false bravado and masked self brought me no real happiness.  it was actually quite stressful acting as someone i wasn’t.  i think i lost my true self in the process.  im certain i did.  not anymore.  the real donna is out and continues to be pieced together daily.  with the help of self-disclosure.

I’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR TOO LONG:

i use to hide my addictions.  my fears.  my uncomfortable dispositions.  my thoughts and feelings.  my tears.  my opinions….  you get the idea.  and i hid it all behind what appeared to be a mysterious and confident girl who held her own.  so im told at least.

it wasn’t all false.  i still like to add a little mystery to my persona.  and i do have a confidence that is growing.  however todays confidence is real and not a fallacious coverup.

i say how i feel more often.  i am honest to myself and to you.  if im scared, i’ll acknowledge it.  if im angry, i’ll acknowledge it.  if im hurt, i’ll acknowledge it.  i live by reasonable self disclosure.  i say reasonable, because of course there are some things in life that may need to be gently coddled before disclosing to someone.  or a deeper trust may need to be built before sharing.

so………

i have gotten into the habit of self disclosure.  what does that me exactly?

Self-disclosure means that you allow yourself to be open. It means that you have enough trust and faith in others that you can share your life, your dreams, your pains, your desire, your frustrations, loves, goals, and passions with another human being.

In doing so, you are opening yourself up for great happiness. You are also opening yourself up for great pain. Self-disclosure is a double-edged sword. You should, and need, to be open with people, but you have to choose the people whom you trust enough to let into your life.—-www.netplaces.com

yes, i have been sliced by the double-edged sword for trusting people i should not have trusted with such personal information about myself.  but i refuse to let a few bad seeds stop me from this great path of honesty, love, and happiness.  i cannot be happy if i am not authentic with myself and honest with you about the person i present to you.  and so, i take the risk in life to share.  if i don’t, i will never feel connected.  thus i will never be really happy.

TMI…..i don’t think so.

i found a self disclosure test online from psychology today.  you can find it by clicking here:  psychology today

and below, my friends, are my results:

 

give the test a try.  it’s fun!

i’ve been unveiling layer by layer and showing you the real me.  it’s your turn.

TAKE OFF THE MASKS….and you will find a real happiness.

 

i was a fictional character in my non-fictional life

what does it really mean to be honest with oneself?

as i grow in sobriety,  and grow in life, i am being faced with a lot of unseen, hidden truths.  more shall be revealed, as they say.

the importance of being honest with myself, is one area that i am constantly learning about.  working through.  and becoming better at.  honesty with oneself is not as simple as it may sound.

i have found that there is so much to be seen within my story.  i have to look in dark places and take many unexpected dives in order to see the truth in my story.  there are many angles to be examined.  to be seen.

with much experience and practice, i  learned how to convey myself, carefully hidden.   for security as well as deception.  so many years of this protection and deceit blinded me from what is actually uncensored within me.  and as i slowly tear down the walls and face the truths, i am forced to confront a quiet awareness.  it feels like my naked skin is being peeled off, layer by layer.

it is terrifying.  staring at my naked self.  this quiet self awareness.

i have always been aware of many of my imperfections.  but to be this exposed means i have many more defects of character to unveil.  and for most of my life, with great skill, i have hidden my defects with fictional characters played by myself.  act after act.  layers of misleading stories.  i hid behind those curtains because i must have believed the truth needed to be covered.

i’m exhausted.  tired of covering up what i fear i am.  it’s not so easy to hide from my defects, since sobriety kicked in.  my truths are now right in front of me, staring right at me. and right through any layers i might try to hide behind.

i now have a conscious self-awareness. and it is honest. i am free.

here are a few ways that help me try to be honest with myself (it’s a work in progress and i am by no means a master at this):

i hold myself accountable for my behavior.  i make my own choices.  i choose my own actions.  i make my own decisions.  and i am accountable for them.   if i did something or said something, i most likely meant to do it.  even if i tell you i didn’t mean to do it.  so if my behavior is off-balance and shameful, i must take responsibility and own up to it.  if that means an apology to someone is in order, i will give a sincere apology.

i’ve stopped throwing blame.  if i am blaming you then i am not facing myself with honesty.  i’ve learned that blame = avoidance.  as long as i feel the need to blame someone else or blame something else, then i am avoiding some truth within and i am living in fear.

i take an inventory daily (rather i TRY to take one daily).  i review my day.  was i dishonest?  unkind?  moody? spiritually disconnected? etc.  if i was any of the above, i address it immediately.  or asap.  if i don’t deal with immediate issues, they will become problems.  and once they have grown to problems, i find ways and reasons to blame.  i wallow in excuses and my actions become justified.  if i deal with my poor behavior head on, i am more likely to take responsibility for my part in it.  my eyes are sure to see clearer that way.

i expose my naked self. and i do so from a place of love.  i reveal my true story.  i no longer play myself as a fictional character.  this is the true me you see today. take it or leave it.  im not going to lie to you or to myself by trying to be someone or something i am not.  i only do that when i am living in fear, and today my goal is to live in truth.

there is so much more to be said on this topic.  and i am sure to discuss it further in later posts.  it’s a powerful subject, if you are willing to dig deep and be exposed.

self honesty is the key to freedom.  think about it.