An Apple A Day


I’m an addict. This is not news to many of you. I’ve been chemically sober from cocaine for close to twenty-five years, but I’ve only been emotionally sober for a little over four years. That’s a big gap. It happened because I was clueless that I even needed to be emotionally sober.

I was mostly happy on the outside. Good job. Great kids. But my relationships never seemed to fulfill me. I didn’t know I wasn’t happy with myself. I had some major issues to resolve that stemmed from childhood trauma that I swept under the rug…numbed with drugs…then swept under the rug again…and I needed to deal with them.

It wasn’t until my husband’s sex addiction disclosure that all that childhood trauma came back, along with the Relational Trauma, that forced me to look myself in the mirror and say, “It’s time to do something about the inner chaos you’re ignoring.” Or, maybe at that point, I was blaming it all on the PTSD. But by then, those symptoms had started to abate. I wasn’t fighting them on a daily basis anymore.

It wasn’t fair to blame my husband or his addiction for my lack of action in fixing me and the trauma that happened to me. Yes, he was partly to blame, but what was I going to do? Blame him forever for it? He couldn’t repair me. Only I do that. He couldn’t give me what I wanted. I wanted peace. I wanted serenity.

I started to work my S-Anon program. I made a promise to myself, one that I still keep today. I do at least one thing each and every day that’s recovery related. Just like an apple a day keeps the doctor away. One recovery thing a day keeps slips away. (Don't care if it's drugs or hypervigilance!) It wasn’t easy, especially in the beginning because I was still focused on my husband’s recovery and what he was up to. Not to mention, I still had the responsibilities of kids, work, and a home, but I made the time. I found the more I worked on me, the less concerned I was with him.

There are days it takes work, lots of work, to do even just one thing in my recovery. Other days, I can dedicate several hours to reading, writing, sponsoring, volunteering, etc., but as long as I know I’ve done something, rather than nothing, I feel good that I’m not headed into a place of stagnation and complacency.

And some of you know, I’m in handful of programs, cause one just ain’t enough for this gal, so it makes it easier to choose from several different options each day.

Is there something you do everyday to stay on top of your game?

(Scheduling note: I'm taking next week off. Enjoy the hazy, hot days of July!)


 

Kintsugi and Cover Reveal for Steps Along My Shore




Kintsugi is a Japanese word meaning to repair with gold. Rather than throw away a broken piece of ceramic, it's mended together with a golden lacquer making it more valuable in the process.

Kintsugi is also a Japanese philosophy about embracing life’s changes and one’s flaws, rather than hide them away in shame and embarrassment. They understand that our experiences, even the bad ones, make up who we are as individuals. We should not cower from them, but wear them as badges of honor. Those flaws can make us more valuable people too.

I agree with this philosophy. Almost. I understand I am who I am today because of all I went through in my life and I would not be that person today without the triumphs and without the traumas. However, I don’t know that I’m able to display that golden badge proudly on my chest for the world to see just yet. Being anonymous is one thing. Being not-so-anonymous is another.

Imagine what our world would be like if we didn’t have to hide our past, or even our present? How cool would it be to talk freely about the things we’ve experienced as we’ve grown into own unique selves? As we've become so valuable to those around us.

It’s a shame it took me thirty years to tell my closest friend that I was sexually abused as a child. Something she experienced too. All that time we could’ve helped each other through it. Instead, we hid in our own shame and embarrassment.

Just as we did about our shared drug addictions. We each knew the other had “problems” with drugs but never to what degree, or when or if the other stopped using. She recently entered the program, and had I said something earlier about my experience, maybe she would’ve done something for herself sooner. Maybe. But I said nothing. Because I was too afraid of being judged…even by my best friend, who was in the same spot as I had been.

Perhaps one day I’ll be able to embrace the Kintsugi philosophy completely and reveal to the world all of my flaws without the need to remain anonymous, but for now, I think I’ll embrace my gold-dusted flaws quietly and discreetly.

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Just like I'll reveal my cover quietly. No big parade or blog tour. Just little ol' me sharing my cover for Steps Along My Shore letting you know I'm stoked! Remember a couple of months ago when I mentioned I was putting the book on delay to get feedback on it from some fine folks who have "been there, done that"? 

Well, I've not only gotten some valuable feedback, I also got this fantastic cover too...which just happens to be my new profile picture. I love it that much! A big thank you to it's creator who requested anonymity...at least for now. You'll know who he is soon enough one day.

pardon the poor picture taking skills -  that's all me!

My target release date for Steps Along My Shore is June 30, 2016 if not sooner. I'm doing my final read through, and then it'll be ready for release to the masses. I'm scared to death, but I'm excited too.

Do you like the philosophy of Kintsugi? Have you heard of it before today? Any words of advice before I release my book?


 

Keep Coming Back...

The other day I was cruising along, reading my Facebook posts, when one caught my eye.  It wasn’t the typical, “I hate my alarm clock” post or “delay the Common Core curriculum” I’ve seen a ton of lately.  Instead, it was a link to this video (click "post" if it doesn't pop up):


Post by The Five.


The above man is Bob Beckel.  He’s on a television show called The Five on the Fox News channel.  Beckel is the lonely liberal on a panel of conservatives.  Normally, he takes being the sole democrat with ease but I’ve seen days where it’s been a bit much for him.  He’s dropped the F bomb twice on live television – which I found hysterical.

But, this isn’t about politics or his brash demeanor.  Rather, it’s about what he did during the recent snowstorm.  He made his way home than found out he was needed to help chair an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at LaGuardia airport.  Out into the storm Bob went, to help his fellow AA members.

At the end of the show, one of the other panelists decided to do a, “shout out” for Bob and his good deed.  When I saw the post, my initial reaction was one of appreciation.  Bob is really a teddybear on the inside.  I respected his dedication to his recovery program, and how he helped others work their own recoveries.  I felt the shout out was well deserved.  It takes a special kind of person to volunteer at twelve-step meetings.  I felt he exemplified the slogan, “Keep coming back. It works when you work it.”

Then, I read the comments.  I felt somewhat discouraged.  I found many of them to be just rude and hateful.  But, when you’re in the public eye, I suppose some people just can’t help but be mean.  I ignored those comments and focused instead on the ones that attacked him for not respecting the 11th tradition:

  •          Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. Al-Anon Addition: We need guard with special care the anonymity of all A.A. members.

My S-Anon group uses the same steps and traditions as AA & Al-Anon.  I’d always interpreted the 11th tradition a bit different than what I read in the comments.  I get the whole “attraction rather than promotion” part of the tradition.  It’s best to lead by example, speak from our own experiences rather than tell everyone we meet we’re in a 12-step program.  If a person wants to know how I got where I am today, than I will share about my specific program.

However, I was a bit confused (I suppose I still am) about maintaining personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.  I see no harm in what Bob shared.  He didn’t mention who attended the meeting with him or even where it was specifically held.  If he’s comfortable enough in his own recovery to share that he’s in AA, more power to him, I say.  To me, it sounded more like he was working step 12:

  •         Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

How many alcoholics did Bob reach that night in the storm?  How many more did he reach by allowing his journey to be shared on national television without shame?

I understand the possibility of relapse and how those he inspired may see that as failure rather than an opportunity to dust off and start again.  But, I see more potential for him to motivate versus deter.


Thoughts?

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Speaking of meetings, I am attending one today. So, I may be late getting to your blogs, but I'll be there!

Have a beautiful weekend everyone and be well!

Audio Post on Emotional Sobriety and a Way Cool Announcement if you missed it

Shortest post ever!  I felt compelled to share this with you, my Hooligans.  It brought me to tears several times so naturally I want you guys to cry too.  No, seriously, this is such a powerful lecture this guy belongs on Ted Talks.
He is speaking about Emotional Sobriety but it isn't just for alcoholics or addicts, it's for anyone who is filled with emptiness, unhappiness, fear, self-doubt, self-hate, and it rocks.  Yes, it is an hour long but it is totally worth it.  

I hope you enjoy it as much I did and remember to love yourself!  You're worth it!

Tom B. Jr. Emotional Sobriety


Oh, if you missed my post the other day on my other blog I made a wicked cool announcement.


I'll be here in the morning but this afternoon...not so much, so enjoy your weekend everyone, I know I will and if you have plans, I want to know what they are!!  Are you partying?  Spending time with the family?  Working around the house?  What do you have in store?

Humbling and Wonderful Reminder

source

A few weeks ago, I was watching a great new show, Elementary, with my husband.  It’s a modern day Sherlock Holmes and I love it. It’s one of my new favorites of the season, right up there with Chicago Fire. 

(For anyone keeping track, my love affair with Honey Boo Boo is officially over.  I saw an episode of how they interacted with people outside of their home and they had no regard for others or their property, it was horrible and disrespectful and my kid is no longer allowed to watch that crap.  Where was I?  Right, rambling, how unlike me.)

Sherlock was investigating the kidnapping of his friend’s daughter and the friend is also his ex-drug dealer.  The case turns out to be a bit more difficult than he anticipates and he begins to allow self-doubt to creep into his head along with his friend’s doubtful words. 

Sherlock’s friend tells Sherlock he isn’t as talented when he’s not high and not as perceptive and his friend brings Sherlock drugs to help him solve the case.  Sherlock is full of so much self-doubt and insecurity about his ability to solve this particular case without the help of drugs heightening his senses, we are left not knowing whether or not he will succumb to the pressure of taking the drugs until the end of the show.

As I sat on the couch and watched Sherlock’s struggle, I could feel my fingers gripping the armrest.  Twenty years.  It’s been twenty years since I’ve put cocaine up my nose but the way the show framed Sherlock’s inner battle, his insecurities, I felt like I was him.

I understand the inner turmoil of first seeing the drugs right in front of you and saying “NO!” not today.  Then walking away, sometimes literally running.  Then once sobriety is accomplished, the insecurities set in. 

Am I good enough to maintain life in this world?

A Life where I am not high? 

Am I really funny? 

Am I really pretty?  

Will I still be able to write well? 

Will I still be creative?

So many insecurities to overcome once sobriety is reached.  I think many people forget that.  I know I did and it’s a humbling experience, a humbling reminder, as I watch Devin maintain his sobriety for so long but struggle with his insecurities in life as he continues his journey through recovery.  

A wonderful reminder in my meetings as I listen to others, and share, I am again reminded of where I was, how far I came and yet I still wonder…

Am I?  Will I?