Month: February 2014

His name is Robert Paulson

A word or two about meetings. And a question.

I’ve attended a few meetings to date and while I do understand where they can be effective I’m yet to see what I can gain.

This is the format for a typical meeting: We show up at the designated hour; exchange pleasantries while waiting a respectable number of minutes for latecomers; then hold hands while we recite the first few lines of the serenity prayer. (Yes, I googled and the prayer is actually quite longer than most folks are aware.)

Continuing: The meeting chair introduces herself and asks if anyone would like to share anything specific; if not, we move onto a suggested chapter in The Big Book and we take turns reading and commenting if we are moved to do so. Then, a daily affirmation is read out loud from The Little Book; and we close with the Lord’s Prayer, (which somehow always sounds to me a little like “His name is Robert Paulson.” But that just might be because at my first meeting, there was another group in the next room which wrapped up before we did. I could’ve sworn their muffled words through the wall sounded exactly like the Project Mayhem tribute.

Robert Paulson

His name is Robert Paulson.
His name is Robert Paulson.

Perhaps I’ve watched so many movies with these sort of scenes that the whole group thing seems cliche to me now. Why do we have to sound like a bunch of broken desperate souls wanting to be reassured all the time? Yes, I know it is very difficult for some and meetings are their only outlet, but shouldn’t we also be accountable when we mess up? The whole “Would you like to share your story?” with the automatic assurances that “You’re ok, we’ve all been there, everything will work out.” seem a little too much like a Catholic confession ritual: if you sound sorry enough you’ll receive absolution.

(Please know that I’m not trying to offend anyone and I respect every person’s right to practice what they believe in.)

Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe I haven’t found my group yet. Aside from the fact that I don’t drink anymore, I have little else in common with the folks I’ve met. But I’ll keep looking. There are dozens of meeting groups in my area so I’m hopeful. In the meantime, I’m sticking with my online group. You guys have helped me in so many ways, without opening and closing rituals. 🙂

Oh! I almost forgot my question: Have you found meetings to be helpful?

Phoenix

Does that happen to you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird?

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All of us need to feel a sense of love and belonging. We’re hard-wired to want to be connected to others – that’s what gives meaning and purpose to our lives. (Brené Brown)

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A few days ago in my human development class we were talking about what drives our need for human connection, which led me to thinking about why those of us in recovery attend meetings. According to Gerald May, meaning comes to us through our relationships in life. He says, the three facets of human spiritual longing are the desire for belonging and union, the desire for loving and the desire for just being.

Even though we seek these three we are constantly frustrated because at the same time, usually out of habit, we protect ourselves against being rejected, or being found wanting, or not measuring up. We hesitate to open up completely and allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable. We have a false perception that to express any vulnerability is a sign of weakness. We hold back because of this ‘perfection culture’, fearing rejection or a sense of shame.

But we don’t have to hold back. We connect by mutual understanding and truth in life’s experiences.

Whether it makes you smile or cringe, a truth spoken is a healing thing.”(Jennifer DeLucy)

Our most fundamental sense of well-being is derived from the conscious experience of belonging. Relatedness is essential to survival. This is the underlying reason why we attend meetings or visit each other’s blogs on the sober blogging network.

We do it to connect with others who can identify with our experiences and who we can learn from.

“We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us–that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.” (Emilio Estevez)

Our feelings are our great connectors. Experiences and expressions of our feelings about those experiences allow us to connect and remember that we are not alone in this.

“Can I be honest with you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird? I mean, really, really, really honest? Sometimes I get sooo scared! I’ll wake up in the middle of the night all alone, hundreds of miles away from anybody, and it’s pitch dark, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen to me in the future, and I get so scared I want to scream. Does that happen to you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird? When it happens, I try to remind myself that I am connected to others—other things and other people. I work as hard as I can to list their names in my head. On that list, of course, is you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. And the alley, and the well, and the persimmon tree, and that kind of thing. And the wigs that I’ve made here with my own hands. And the little bits and pieces I remember about the boy. All these little things (though you’re not just another one of those little things, Mr. Wind-Up Bird, but anyhow…) help me to come back “here” little by little.” 

Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Phoenix

Dear Johnnie, Jack, Jose, (and the rest of my ex boyfriends),

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I sip my soda with lemon and mint and scan the dinner menu for a yummy bite to distract myself with. You see, you’re here tonight. You are right there, across the table enjoying yourself with my friends. I see you flirting, making them laugh and feel special, and for a moment I miss you.

I miss you being there for me, boosting my confidence, helping me to forget a rough day at work, or comforting me when others broke my heart. I remember how you made me feel that everything was going to be ok and you made me laugh too. You helped me find my creative side and finally set it free. Yes, you tug at my whole being when I think of all the fun we had together.

But there are other memories too aren’t there? I remember losing myself in you, being confused and disoriented because of you. I remember the frustration, anger and screaming matches; the crying, fear and anxiety; the black and blue marks, headaches, nausea and fever; the shame, worry and regret.

It was not your fault alone. It was mine too.

You see, we were never compatible, you and I.

Beautiful, enticing, comforting, reassuring You, we were never meant to be. Who you are and who I am meant to be, forever deems us better of as strangers. You consumed me and I let you. You made me see only you and I convinced myself of your importance in my life. That romanticized, idealized version of you was never real. And watching you now, I know nothing has really changed: you are the same You, not the better friend/lover to someone else that you appear to be.

I have changed though.

I am stronger, wiser, more confident and more creative. I am building real relationships which are equally loving and giving.  I’m learning more about life every day through MY clear unfiltered eyes. Life is beautiful, fulfilling and open once more.

So, my dear Johnnie, Jack, Jose, Jager and the rest of my exes, here is the truth of it:

I don’t want you anymore. 

I am happier without you.

Phoenix

You Don’t Say!

Now that my sobriety is growing up a little, (yup she’s three weeks old today and received a lollipop), I’m feeling a bit braver about letting others know I don’t drink anymore. But I’ve got to tell you, while most confidantes have been wonderfully supportive, in addition to the usual questions about whether or not I’m pregnant or on medication, I have received some odd responses:

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*The blank stare*

*The blank stare with solitary blink*

*The deer caught in the headlights stare* (I feel sorry for people at this point and usually say something funny to cut them some slack.)

“Ever? You’re not drinking ever again?” (complete with raised eyebrows)

“Yeah, it’s about time you did that. You were always making an ass of yourself!” (Ok, I’ll take that, even though I didn’t ALWAYS do it.)

One guy introduced me to a stranger by saying: “Hey Adam, I’d like you to meet Phoenix. She used to drink but now she doesn’t.” (WTF was that about?)

But I’m taking it all in stride. I try to keep my over-sensitive side in check because I know most of the time folks just don’t really know how to respond and what comes out isn’t necessarily what they mean.

One of my fellow bloggers, Unpickled, has some brilliant interpretations on her site which I chuckled to read a couple of weeks ago but now completely relate to. She explains:

Normies say:      “Are you going to stop coming out with us now?”

We hear:             “You’re ruining our fun.”

It likely meant:    “We still want to spend time with you. What’s the best way to do that?”

*

Normies say:      “Did I do something to make this happen?”

We hear:             “Your recovery is about me.”

It likely meant: “I would never knowingly hurt you” (or…”I feel guilty for something I’ve done.”)

*

Normies say:      “Do I have to quit drinking around you?”

We hear:             “I don’t want to be with you now.”

It likely meant:  “I am not ready to face my own issues around alcohol.”

*

Normies say:      “What are we supposed to do after baseball now?”

We hear:             “I only want to be your friend if I can drink with you.”

It likely meant: “Is this going to change our relationship? I like things the way they are.”

*

Normies say:     “It’s no big deal. I don’t care if you’re drinking or not.”

We hear:             “Don’t expect me to do anything differently to accommodate you.”

It likely meant: “I’m acting nonchalant to show you that I’m supportive.”

*

Normies say:      “My cousin was in rehab and it made him worse. Stay away from recovery programs.”

We hear:              “All alcoholics are the same. I know more about this than you do.”

It likely meant:    “I don’t know what to say so I’m relating the only thing I know about recovery.”

*

Thanks Unpickled, for helping me to keep a cool head. I do have a pretty decent support network and I know most people mean well, but it is handy having your wisdom in my pocket. 🙂

Goodwill Hunting

“It’s about willpower Baby. You have to set yourself a limit. Decide beforehand how many drinks you’re going to have or what time you’re going to leave and be strong enough to stick to that limit.”

How many times have I heard or said this? I used to talk to my friends about my ‘drinking problem’. I would say that I didn’t know what was wrong with me and could not understand why I would allow myself to overdo it time and time again. I searched for a reason to explain why I was so weak-willed when all my drinking buddies seemed to be able to stop whenever they wanted to. They knew their limits. Why didn’t I?

But none of us understood what was really going on with me. We mistakenly saw my abuse of alcohol as only about willpower.

But it’s not about willpower.

For anyone with a problem with alcohol it comes down to a matter of goodwill.

Goodwill toward oneself.

It’s about recognizing that we owe it to ourselves, to our dreams, to our lives, to figure out why alcohol is a problem for us. It’s about recognizing that we should have our own highest good at heart. Why shouldn’t we be better, kinder, more loving, nurturing, compassionate and understanding towards ourselves?

Long lasting changes are only possible when the driving force is rooted in self-kindness, self-compassion and self-love, as opposed to self-criticism, self-denigration and self-loathing. The first set of characteristics are rooted in love and the second set are rooted in fear – fear of not being good enough, fear of not being loved, fear of failure. Yes, we know these fears intimately, don’t we?

Most people think that being able to give up drinking is dependent on willpower, but it’s not about willpower. It’s about having a solid foundation rooted within the positive intentions of self-love, of goodwill towards oneself. Willpower is rooted in struggling, which can tend to be fear based. The foundation of change has to come from a place of self-love, of trusting that we deserve to be healthy and happy and that we can be.

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Elementary, my dear Watson.

One Way To Get Off “Part of recovery is about addressing painful things. If you ignore them, they become triggers.” ~ Joan Watson, Elementary (CBS TV Series)

I heard this last night while watching season one of Elementary again. I haven’t watched this season in a while so it’s interesting to me now from another angle: watching Sherlock Holmes handle sobriety. Joan Watson’s statement made me think, and take notes of course. When I think back on the times I really lost it and behaved badly while drinking there is an underlying common theme or emotional trigger.

There are topics that strike an emotional cord with me and more often than not, the nights when I ended up out of control were nights when those topics came up in conversation or were nagging thoughts at the back of my mind. Of course, there are several contributing factors to any volatile situation but I can see a common thread running through these incidents. I think I already knew this a year ago but while I was aware of how much of an effect these emotional triggers had on me, I ignored the self-destructive way I dealt with them.

Anyone who drinks the way alcoholics or abusers do has issues with self confidence, self care, and self respect and we tend to bury or deny painful or difficult memories. Instead we turn to alcohol for the rush, the adrenaline, or the numbness it offers. I understand how alcohol affects my body. I understand and accept that I will probably never drink again. But if I’m going to commit to this I have to come to terms with those painful and difficult memories that have become emotional triggers in my life. The memories which make me feel insecure, unloved, taken advantage of, unworthy, broken, hurt, ashamed, unseen, unheard and unsure are the ones I have to learn how to deal with.

In one of my yoga classes we examined the way our brains are wired to react to situations and experiences. When we are very young, infancy to age five, we observe, absorb and learn more than we will ever learn at any other point in our lives. We also learn how to react and respond to stimuli, including emotional situations. As we grow, most of the time, we react and respond to similar stimuli in the same way we did when we first encountered it.

Strong emotions like fear, sadness etc., beliefs and habits etc., create neural pathways in the brain (or wire the brain in a particular way) forming habits and fixed responses. From childhood the brain learns to connect certain responses to certain stimuli. This does not mean that your brain is hardwired and nothing can be done about it. You could learn to block these neural paths, obstruct the programmed behaviour and teach your brain to respond in ways that are different from its learned patterns of behaviour. ~ Sofs

So that’s my plan. I’m going back to the basics. I am going to come to terms with those difficult memories. I understand the chain reaction:

  • A current situation reminds me of a negative situation from my past.
  •  I have a strong emotional reaction to that memory which usually brings up feelings of unworthiness, unacknowledgment, alienation, fear.

After that two things happen next:

  • One: I stop taking care of myself and decide to have a couple of drinks. Years ago I realized I had a problem with alcohol but I did not care about myself enough to do something about it. Now it seems like common sense to me. Why I’ve taken so long to explore this is beyond my understanding, other than to suggest ‘everything happens in its own time’.
  • Two: This is where it gets scary. Some time after a few drinks, after the initial high has worn off, I realize that I’m not really feeling any better on an emotional level. So I drink more to get back to that first high. At this point I’m usually fighting a battle within myself to drink or not to drink. And the rebel in me always wins. She damns it all to hell. Good intentions and myself included.

Carl Jung says: “There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

Awareness gives me a choice in how I react to situations. When I am aware of how I feel or the feelings I am experiencing, rather than allowing them to overcome me, I can now choose the way I react to them. It is time for me to find a healthier way to deal with the painful or difficult memories. While I know that this will take  a lot of soul searching and will not happen overnight, I have acknowledged that the urge to drink is a reaction I have allowed to become a habit. When I see that reaction for what it truly is: Just a habit, (albeit a dangerous one), I can choose not to give in to that urge. It has NEVER served me in the past so why should it serve me in my future. I have to rewire my brain and form a new habit. I’ve been googling and visiting forums talking about this. There are some good tips here. While it’s not possible to block internal triggers, it is good to develop a range of strategies to handle the urge to drink. Here are some options:

  • Remind yourself of your reasons for making a change. Carry your top reasons on a wallet card or in an electronic message that you can access easily, such as a mobile phone notepad entry or a saved email.
  • Talk it through with someone you trust. Have a trusted friend on standby for a phone call, or bring one along to high-risk situations.
  • Distract yourself with a healthy, alternative activity. For different situations, come up with engaging short, mid-range, and longer options, like texting or calling someone, watching short online videos, lifting weights to music, showering, meditating, taking a walk or doing a hobby.
  • Challenge the thought that drives the urge. Stop it, analyze the error in it, and replace it. Example: “It couldn’t hurt to have one little drink. WAIT a minute—what am I thinking? One could hurt, as I’ve seen ‘just one’ lead to lots more. I am sticking with my choice not to drink.”
  • Ride it out without giving in. Instead of fighting an urge, accept it as normal and temporary. As you ride it out, keep in mind that it will soon crest like an ocean wave and pass.
  • Leave high-risk situations quickly and gracefully. It helps to plan your escape in advance.

I would add one more important note: Be gentle with yourself and leave the Judge behind. Those of us in recovery tend to be overly critical and judgmental of ourselves. We berate ourselves to a degree that is unheard of. This does not serve us in any way. It is OK to feel hurt, unsure, afraid, worried or stressed. It is OK to get that urge to drink. We are probably always going to feel that from time to time. How we handle the urge is what matters. We have to remind ourselves that we are stronger than we think and that we CAN do this. By the way, I know Doyle’s Sherlock never really said: “Elementary, dear Watson.” but it suited my post anyway. 🙂

Phoenix

“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go.”

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“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful — you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.”

— Daniell Koepke

This works both ways. It IS all right for those you have hurt to let YOU go as well. Those of us in recovery are well aware of the drama, confusion and pain we have dished out to our friends and loved ones. It IS ok for them to step back or write us off if they need too. Being in recovery and finally getting our acts together does not entitle us to automatic support and understanding from anyone. And that’s ok. It is OUR journey after all.

Even though we may have good intentions we have to understand that each person should make their own wellbeing a priority and if doing that means they have to let you go, so be it. Support and encouragement can be found among others who are going through what you are. It is the best place to look. And don’t worry, life is an ever evolving journey and connections will be made, broken and renewed, time and time again.

Phoenix

Love Letters

Quill-and-Ink

I’m still learning to understand the difference between an alcoholic and an abuser of alcohol. Apparently there is a difference.

An alcoholic is someone who no longer has control of his/her life as every activity and thought revolves around the next drink. They get sick when they go a day or two without alcohol and their lives deteriorate rapidly on a professional, emotional, social and spiritual level.

An abuser of alcohol is one who binge drinks – more than 8 drinks at a sitting, (8 for men, 6 for women), or has difficulty stopping once he/she has started. An abuser also suffers blackouts just like an alcoholic would. This is me, as far as I see it. But nevertheless, drinking is no longer an option for me.

To those of you I drank with, please know that because I will no longer partake it does not mean that I won’t hang out with you. We’re friends and I would like us to remain as such. Nor will I judge you if you drink. We all know ourselves best and you can probably handle your alcohol. I can’t. It affects my body differently and we all know that I have been a right proper arse at times. (see here for The Truth about my drinking) I’m sorry for that. I did not understand the effect alcohol had on me.

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To my loved ones: I apologize  to all of you for not understanding and realizing the seriousness of my situation. This is not who I am meant to be.

I guess this is the point where promises and grand declarations are made but this letter is not about that. No promises or grand declarations can be made. This is just something I have to do, for me.

I’ll see you on the other side.

Love always,

Phoenix

I am Jack’s Desperate Need for Approval

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I’ve told four people about finally choosing myself instead of drinks. Granted, I’m only a few days into this process so not many opportunities for disclosure have presented themselves but nonetheless, last night I was wondering if I should confide in more loved ones or not. Then I had to ask myself what was it I wanted out of telling someone new:

Do I want absolution for having hurt that person in the past? Do I think my apology will carry more weight because I’m trying to change?

Am I looking for support or encouragement?

What if what I share does not matter to that new person? What if they are indifferent? Should that matter to me?

Am I seeking approval?

If I’m honest with myself the answer is YES to each of those questions and while that is not necessarily such a bad thing, it is also good for me to give myself absolution, encouragement and approval. This has always been difficult for me. I need approval like flowers need sunshine. I blossom and flourish because of it.

I suppose most people do but the balance is upset when we don’t recognize our own worth and only seek these things from others. We stop listening to our hearts, do battle with our minds and then turn to loved ones, or facebook, or studying the stats on our blogs for proof that we’re doing well. There are downsides to needing approval from others to such a degree.

For me, even though my logical mind says it is silly, I still feel unheard, unseen, unwanted and then unloved. It’s a knee-jerk reaction sometimes and I have to consciously shift and correct my way of thinking to remind myself that my worth is not dependent on how others see me. It’s dependent on how I see myself.

It’s a lot of pressure to place on others as well. No one is responsible for your happiness but you.

“We flourish under the benefits of encouragement, praise, approval, and acceptance.  If we live with encouragement–especially our own–we learn to be confident.  If we live with self-praise, we learn to appreciate what’s around us.  If we coexist with self-approval, we’re more likely to give ourselves–and others– a little slack.” Leslie Levine

In my travels, I’ve come across some very good advice on Tiny Buddha which I try to put into practice as much as I can. Maybe it can help you too.

How to Let Go of the Need for Approval

1. Build a sound sense of self-acceptance.

The first step is to strengthen your core foundation so that you feel strong enough to go with what feels right for you. This way, you will no longer feel the need to look to others to feel good enough about your choices and decisions.

Keep a self-appreciation journal, where you start acknowledging daily or a few times a week the things you’re most proud of about yourself: choices you’ve made, insights you’ve learned, things you like about yourself, times you’ve stayed true to yourself, or whatever feels right for you.

2. Let go of seeking validation from others.

Secondly, you need to practice letting go of seeking validation for your choices and most importantly, for whom you choose to be.

This means noticing your language, self-talk, and behavior, and identifying when it is coming from wanting someone else to say you’re ok, that you made the right choice, or that you did the right thing.

Instead, when you do make a decision, check in with yourself that it feels right, remind yourself that it is your choice, and give yourself validation for just being you.

3. Evaluate tasks based on approval-seeking efforts.

Lastly, start being honest with yourself when you take on a new task or commitment, whether you are doing it because it is “right” for you or because you want to get approval and avoid disapproval.

Sit down and evaluate your weekly tasks and ask yourself what is really necessary and important, and what is driven by people pleasing. Then slowly work through the “people pleasing” list and eliminate them.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

The Big Bad Wolf’ by Graham Franciose

The Big Bad Wolf; The Beast; The Demon Alcohol. The ‘Drink’ is given many names when you’re learning to accept that you have a problem with alcohol. The funny thing is I’m not afraid of being tempted by The Dark Side.

Today, there are others things I fear.

“Your life is going to Change!”

I’m reassured of that again and again. I hear others in recovery talk about how much they hated their lives. They hated how much of a hold drinking had over them. By the time they realized they needed help they were mean and cruel to loved ones, lying, sneaking around, selfish, impatient, unfocused, unmotivated and falling into despair. They talk about how forming and keeping relationships became increasingly difficult.

While I do admit that I hate how I felt when I drank too much and was routinely disgusted and disappointed with myself, I love my life. I treasure my relationships and meet with loved ones as much as I can. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I surround myself with books, music, art, movies, good food and philosophy. I enjoy exploring life and run around snapping photos of the beautiful things I see around me. I try to see the good in every day and every person and encourage others to do the same. I love to laugh, dance, make love, hug, and sing (even though I can’t carry a tune). I eat healthily 80% of the time, avoiding overly processed foods, soda and sugar, and I’ve been a pescetarian since February 2011. I think of life as an adventure and I’m drawn to others who see life the same way.

What if I stop seeing life this way? What if this addiction and subsequent battle for sobriety breaks my spirit? Will the positive parts of me remain? Will I become disappointed in and judge myself harshly if I falter? Will I give up? Will my life change so much that I lose what I love about it too? This  scares  me. Very much.

“Once an addict, always an addict.”

To become an alcoholic in the first place you have to be genetically predisposed to addiction. I am aware of alcoholism on both branches of my family tree so maybe that’s true. My fear is that I will replace this addiction with another. What if I am unable to understand and deal with my triggers fast enough and seek solace in another drug? Remember, I love the high, the rush, the numbness, the silence. So what if I start smoking weed or I find a super awesome herbal tea, or something? What if I substitute alcohol with coffee, cigarettes, sex, exercise, popcorn or even writing blogposts? What if I need another addiction?

“You’ll do less drinking and more thinking.”

I’ve been told I’ll think alot more. Oh crap, please no! Anything but more thinking! I am a powerful Super Analyst to begin with. I think that’s what started my problems in the first place. Haha, “I think.” I think you get the picture. I get tired of thinking so much. About three months into my eighteen month long therapy term, a friend explained ‘slipping’ to me. It’s when you become aware of all the thoughts in your mind in an instant. ALL OF THEM. Then you see your mind start to fragment. You see and feel yourself slipping. I understood right away what she meant. I’d already felt it. It lasted only a fraction of a minute but felt like an hour. I was terrified but calm at the same time. It was quiet. The bottom line is, that is a scary place to be, because it’s easy to disappear into it. I’m afraid that if I don’t learn to handle or quiet all those thoughts, they’ll overwhelm me and I’ll fragment.

So how will I face my fears?

This is the point where I take a deep breath. One day at a time. One hour at a time. One moment at a time. That’s one of the rules right? I’ll try not to worry about what will change. I’ll continue to do what I love and explore my life. Maybe I will learn new thing and meet new people. Every change is an opportunity. Change is inevitable and it is reassuring in its consistency that way. I chose not to worry about what will and won’t change and accept that right now I am exactly where I need to be in order to become who I was meant to be.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami

Taming the Addict: So what if I need another addiction. I have to accept that I have an addictive tendencies and channel them into positive things. I’ll stock up on more fruits and veggies so I don’t grab candy and potato chips on the way home. I’ll stick to my green tea and switch to another favourite if I get bored. I’ll write and write and write. I watch movies and read books and continue to write reviews about them all. I’ll balance the gym, walking and yoga so I don’t obsess about any one activity. I’ll keep adding to my Happiness Jar and pull out those little notes when life feels too rough. And I’ll rest. I’ll rest to repair.
Taming the Mind: There are only three simple solutions which I know have worked for me in the past: Quiet Time, Meditation and Routine Tasks. For me, Quiet Time is allowing myself 15 minutes on mornings to sit with my cup of tea in the stillness of the early morning, or 15 minutes before bed to lie in the dark without checking my email, facebook, whatsapp, instagram, blogger, wordpress or twitter accounts. It’s falling asleep in my bed instead of on the couch with the TV on to drown out my thoughts. I’ll develop these habits to ensure that I find enough Quiet Time. I’ll find different ways to meditate so I won’t get bored. The more I spend with me the better I’ll get at relaxing my mind and stopping my over-thinking. Routine Tasks like household chores, washing the car or de-cluttering my apartment work wonders. Even though my mind is still pretty active, there is a calming effect of doing these methodical tasks. And by the time I’m finished I have a tidy apartment, a clean car and a healthy sense of accomplishment.
“There’s no room these days for half-heartedness. Either step up, or step off. It’s time to show up as the person we burn to be. Not some half-baked version of ourselves or as what we think we should be.” – Shavawn M. Berry
Ok so there you have it: My plan to face what scares me. If you are anything like me: a grand explorer and lover of life, a euphoria junkie with mild case of OCD, or a  super analyst who excels at over-thinking, maybe my plan can help you too. So face your fears and go after the life you know you deserve and were meant to have. Embrace it all. You’ve got this.
Phoenix