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!

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…

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/

what does ‘americana’ look like?

i am doing visual research on the subject ‘americana’ for a project i am working on and it has really saddened me.  the visuals that are tied with the word ‘americana’ are horrifying to me.  america and what it is known for seems to visually look like McDonald’s burgers.  super sized fries. coke. and mass amounts of junk food.  i even ran across an advert for a DONUT BURGER:

we really have become a fast food crack house of a country.  the red white and blue has been well associated with McDonald’s since the burger was 15 cents:

and it has only gotten worse.  i used the search term “americana” and here are just a few of the images that i ran across:

a picture of american health huh?  i think not.

and we wonder why we are in the midst of an obesity crisis.  some call it an epidemic.

we introduce this horrible food to our kids at such a young age.  McDonlad’s happy meals.  cotton candy.  gummy bears.  coke.  ice cream.  etc.  they become little addicts of junk food quickly.

i loved fast food as a kid.  as a teenager.  i craved it.  the sapidity of it all.   my taste buds coated with the salty fried goodness.  i wanted more. and more.  and more.  and more.  fast food is addictive.  fried fatty, salty food is addictive.  sugary sweets are addictive.  just like cocaine.  alcohol.  nicotine.  there is not much of a difference, in my opinion.  

some people don’t buy the idea that food is addictive.  that the term addiction should be linked only to  drugs and alcohol and that people who overeat are simply lacking self-control and self-will.  hmmmmm.  i disagree.  lets examine this further:

“What other term would you use for a woman who gets into her car at 11:30 at night and drives six miles to the 7-Eleven to get a chocolate bar, and does it every night? She’s gaining weight, she feels profoundly guilty afterward, and though she resolves to stop this behavior, she does it every night, night after night? That’s a food addiction.” – (pulled from webMD)

that sounds much like the actions of a drug addict.  replace the word chocolate with cocaine, vodka, or heroin.  addiction is addiction. and america is feeding it to us by the mouthful.  breeding addicts through inexpensive, fattening, processed, meat heavy, dairy heavy, salty, sugary, horrible excuses for food and beverage.

luckily i escaped food addiction in young adulthood.  i woke up to reality and realized the harm i was doing to myself.  i managed to stay away from fast food 90 percent of the time once i reached 25 years of age.

i got even smarter close to a year ago, at age 35, when i chose to become vegan.  today i am a compassionate, healthy, plant-based consumer.  and i couldn’t be happier with that decision…and i certainly feel much healthier ridding my body of americas fast food, meat and dairy based consumption.  i am a guilt free consumer today.  and the chances of me becoming obese, are much less being a vegan.  and i feel good, knowing no animal died in order for me to eat today.

i hope that america can move away from the iconic fast food symbolism that has been stamped upon us, and adopt a much more compassionate, healthy, guilt free visual for the red white and blue.

aren’t these much nicer visions of health:

i think so.  and i challenge you to give healthy and compassionate living a try.  only good will come of it.  and if you think being vegan lacks taste in the mouth, you are mistaken.  it is some of the best, most imaginative food i have ever had.  i will never go back to how i ate in my younger years.  i couldn’t possibly stomach it, for a number of reasons.  but for the purpose of this blog….try the change for your health, if nothing else.

 

 

 

 

a random act of kindness for donna-day 5

we need to be kind to ourselves.  we are our own worst enemies…you’ve all heard that statement before.  it screams truth.  i am my own worst enemy, without a doubt.

random act of kindness #5:  today i am having compassion for myself.  giving myself a break for my mistakes/behavior.

i started this RAOK pledge because of the way i have been feeling, or rather, acting as of late.  not feeling myself.  acting abrasive.  losing my smile.  expressing a lack of gratitude as well as a lack of kindness towards others (and myself).  and being kind towards others, helps take me out of my own head…which ultimatley is where i have disappeared to.

i’ve been hard on myself for my recent behavior.  beating myself up for my actions, reactions,  and feelings.

this morning, on an early morning bike ride, i processed some important details about my life and what i have put myself through in the past 10 months.  let’s review:

1.  i found sobriety and stopped drinking. began recovery. (10 months  and 20 days ago)

      2.  i quit smoking, after smoking 2 packs a day for more than half my life! (6 months and 5 days ago)

      3.  i went off of my antidepressants.  being flatlined by meds is not my definition of living.  i wanted to really feel life again. (about one month ago)

      4.  transformed into a full-fledged vegan. (about 7-8 months ago)

those 4 things are big life changes.  huge.  and it is not recommended to make so many drastic changes all at once.  especially when newly sober!  but being the good alcoholic i am, that is the way i operate.  all or nothing.  that’s my personality.

as i was riding my bike along the beach this morning, i thought about all of those amazing positive changes i have made in my life, and how much success i have had in my growth as a sober, non-smoking, un-medicated, vegan human being.  but the success does not come without challenges and mountains to climb , lose balance on, and roll down face first.

emotional stress.  emotions period.  they can cause me and my happy- go- charming mood to vanish into a black hole.  and that is what has happened.  im human.  and i am emotionally overwhelmed, perhaps.  my body is changing from the inside out.  brain chemicals are being depleted and regenerated, in the attempt to find a natural balance for me.  my feelings are surfacing tenfold, without the erroneously zen presence of zoloft and wellbutrin.  i can’t run to the vodka if i become irritable or discontent.  sad or hurt.  happy or eager.  instead, i must sit with those feelings.  and as we know, bad/uncomfortable feelings are not always fun to sit with and ride through.

therefore, i am giving myself a break for being a little dark and abrasive, or sad and uncertain in the past couple of months.  life is not always a series of clean smells and warm weather days.

so here i am, giving myself a well deserved pat on the back, coupled with some personal compassion and forgiveness of self.  my random act of kindness for the day.

give yourself a break!

and with each smokeless, vegan, un-medicated passing day of sobriety, my smile and feelings of gratitude grow back.  patience with personal growth is not an innate quality for me….but i am training.