Excellent advice for anyone on the sober journey…

Hurrah for coffee has written a great post full of truth. Please check out her blog!

 

anne

 
What my lapses and relapses have tought me.This is a post for myself to refer back to if I EVER feel like drinking again. If this helps anyone else that is awesome too. I had 5 years sobriety in my 20’s but was white knuckling it alone. Then in my 30s 2and half years then another year and half. Then a couple […]

alcohol, coping, Recovery, alcoholic

https://hurrahforcoffeeblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/what-my-lapses-and-relapses-have-tought-me/

Happy New Year

Happy new year to all those on this sober journey with me.

If you are new, and seeking, you can do this. It is not only worth it, it is amazing. The potential that come with giving up alcohol is unbelievable. And I know you don’t believe me…but read my blog, or others. It’s true!

For those who have been around a while, thank you. This community is a special and powerful force.

2016 was a really chaotic year for us, but we ended it wiser, full of gratitude for the love and support shown our community in our time of need and comfortable in our own home. Gifts.

It was also a year of huge opportunity. We travelled to over twenty concerts. Everything from slayer to Jennifer Lopez, Chris Cornell to disturbed. Each and every one was an experience amplified by the fact I was clear headed and engaged.

Every day we get a chance to begin again. Take this opportunity to make your life beautiful.

stillness and peace

anne

Anne’s word for 2017- santosha


 I have written about this before, but for anyone new…

I came across the word of the year in early 2014. I liked the idea. A word to use as an intention, a though to remind me of my desires and hopes for the year. A word to help me stay on my path. A word to inspire myself.
I had decided to quit drinking for a year on December 1, 2013. By early 2014 I was in awe that life was already better without alcohol, but I was also anxious, clinically depressed and generally in the midst of a breakdown (or spiritual awakening, as Brene Brown would put it).

My therapist continually drew me back to the idea of unconditional self acceptance. A concept I didn’t really believe possible for me, as I could only see all my deficiencies and was unwilling to accept them in any way.

 And there is was. My word for 2014 would be ACCAPTANCE. I used it at yoga as my intention. I used it when I was mad at how life was. I used it when things didn’t go my way.

By the end of 2014 acceptance felt familiar. 

In 2015 i chose LOVE. I believe love is the root of everything. That we all need more love, not less, especially when we are angry, hurting, failing. And so I tried to respond to life with love. I was kinder and gentler to myself. 

I though love might continue and be my word every year, but when 2016 came around it was clear that my word would be FAITH. Faith in myself. Faith that I was ok, that I was a capable, competent and worthy person. Faith that I was on the right path.

Faith took me far in 2016. When we had to flee our home and drive through a fire (literally…I drove my van down a road burning on both sides). I had faith that I could handle the situation. And When I needed help doing that I asked for it. By allowing others to help hold me up when I was falling apart I realized that I truly do have faith in me. That I trust myself.   Staggering.

So. 2017. Starting my 4th sober year, I have chosen SANTOSHA or contentment. It is one of the niyamas, one of the 8 Limbs of ashtanga yoga. For me, it is being satisfied with what is…not rallying for or against what isn’t. It’s that deep feeling that everything is ok, that things are exactly as they are supposed to be. The fresh tattoo is on my right wrist, and is santosha in Sanskrit. I almost had it done earlier this year, but I decided to wait until we were in vegas this past weekend. Perfect timing.

Lao Tzu provides a perfect description of santosha for me.

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu

And, because I was getting tattooed anyway, I added a bit of colour….(tattoo done by Lacie at Hart and Huntington Vegas).


I hope I have motivated you to choose your own word of the year. Blog about it or comment!

Stillness and peace

Anne

Milestone – 3 years 

Just writing that seems outrageous. 3 years? 3 years since I finally decided enough was enough? 

I never expected that on December 1, 2013. I just knew I neede a change and that all my other attempts to fix myself -extreme diets, excessive exercise plans, rules and lists and criticism and repercussions-had stoped working. I was so lost and lonely and sad…and very very scared of myself as my behaviour around alcohol had become sneaky and compulsive.

Deciding to give myself a year of sobriety for my birthday (which is December 8) seemed like a last ditch plan. Could I make a promise to myself and keep it? It seemed unlikely, as I had been lying to myself for a while. And that lying was crushing my soul.

But I did. I heard the inner voice that begged me to take care of myself. And so, unlike all the other times I proclaimed I would cut back and drink less, I asked for help.

I called a therapist. I cleaned out all the booze from the house. I told people, out loud, of my plan for zero drinking for a year. Not andrink here and there. Not drinks on my birthday the next week. Zero. Many laughed. Others thought I was just being extreme. Maybe that helped make it real for me. 

I have a journal from that month. I wavered between elation, seeing the freedom of sobriety almost immediately, and hysteria. My anxiety peaked. My depression, that I had never acknowledged, crept in deeeper and deeper.

But the promise to myself became a touch point. I didn’t think I could survive breaking it. And so I did whatever it took.

Yoga saved me. I found a way to make peace with my body and my mind. I began to understand myself more.this is a daily practice for me. A life. 

And my family. My awesome husband who also decided to quit drinking. My children who loved me.

The past 3 years have been the best of my life. Not the easiest…there have been deaths and losses and massive evacuations that have shaken me to my roots, but some of the most beautiful. I have found my husband to be my best friend…I never expected that. And I love him more every day. Even better, I like him more every day.

I have found faith and love and trust in myself. I have stillness and peace.

Tommy Rosen has a prayer that ends with thank you for the joys and challenges for my life.

I am truly thankful. For myself, my family, for all of you who walk this path of freedom with me. 

Stillness and peace,

Anne

The truth hurts

The other day my husband (also sober…we both are approaching our 3 year anniversary) commented we get so much more done on the weekends, and he no longer has to hold things together,  now that I am not passed out on the couch all day Sunday…

Ouch. 

After my initial ruffled feathers (after all, I had to do it all just as often when he was drinking) I relaxed and agreed.

If you had asked me in those days I would have defended my drinking to the ends of the earth. Everyone else drank…I has a highly paid preofessional job, I was fit, I exercised, our house was clean, I was a volunteer. I drank expensive wine…Yes, from the outside I looked ok.

But…was that true? I had started coming in to work late on Mondays…or calling in sick. The kids often survived on take out Pizza. I was fit, but I felt terrible and was forever covering bloodshot eyes and circles. I was unhappy and I hated myself. I felt weak and betrayed every time I drank more than I wanted to…which was most weekends.

No…I wasn’t fine. And my facade wasn’t nearly as good as I might have imagined.

The last year or so I drank I knew it was a problem. I could not stop once I started. I couldn’t keep to any of my moderation attempts. I even started missing workouts, or going so hungover I’m lucky I don’t injure myself.

I asked him why he didn’t say anything then. He laughed…knowing he was deep into his own problems…and told me I just would have gotten mad or upset.

And there’s the risk. Point out the denial, the problems, the slipping at regular life, and risk upsetting a person who is probably a bit irrational and compulsive. How might attach back.

When we ask our friends and families if we have a problem they often answer with what they think we want to hear. Or what they want to hear for themselves. Because I know I had many heavy drinking friends…and if I needed to quit, so might they!

Instead…get quiet and ask yourself. Ask yourself what you think…I know that little voice inside was begging for me to stop drinking…to stop my self destructive behaviour…to just give myself a break. I was so very tired.

I’m still shocked I listened. But as the booze cleared and my mind grew sharper, that voice celebrated. All those mean, self limiting, self depreciating, self loathing thoughts became a little cheering section. And as time has gone on it has grown into a deep love and faith in myself. I trust myself. 

Forget what other people think…what do you think? Are you living today? Because there is a deep Well of freedom, joy and peace and more fun and possibility available in sobriety than I can even begin to describe.

Do it. For you.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Open mind…so many options!

Hello!

I  are all well and finding your way through the fall. I had high hopes September would bring a sense on routine and normalacy to what has been a very disruptive year. But, alas, it just brought more things to do.

I used to think I likes rules and routine. That they gave me a sense of control. But I no longer try to control the universe, so while routine is ok, I actually miss the ease of summer. No lunches to make, no kids to wake up. Flip flops…

I’m going with the flow. It’s all ok.

After struggling with my back for a while, and doing much less to accomodate, I went to see an osteopath. Osteopaths look at the internal organs and their alignment and make subtle shifts to get things back to where they should be.

Oh my god! It has been amazing. My left leg is tingly and stronger. My back is straighter. My entire body seems to be coming to life. 

I’m still treating my back kindly. Pain is an excellent teacher and I see that more focused and controlled movements in yoga actually help me get into the meditative state I so love. Relying on the strength of my legs and shoulders instead of my lower back.

Every time I write about these alternate treatments I get a jolt of realization that this is growth. I am much more open minded than I used to be. Over the past 3 years I have found yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, energy work, reiki, osteopathy. All have been interesting. And generally helpful.

Letting go of past biases. Trying new things. Embracing opportunities. Like teaching yoga or writing my book…it’s something to try. I don’t have time to be bored, although I do make a significant effort to find time to be still and quiet every day.

Life is beautiful. (Oh, and I went to see Sixx:am and that song was awesome)! Keep moving forward!

Stillness and peace

Anne

Life continues…

Hi all!

I hope everyone is doing well!

 I have settled into the back to school routine. The kids have their stuff. They are doing very well.

I have moved office locations, sadly, and instead of being in the city I am a half hour drive north at the plant site. I used to work out here, but I had been in town for over 13 years. The one plus is craig also works out here “at site” and so we drive together. There is a bus, but it picks us up at 6:20 and that’s just too early for me. 

I’ve injured my back. Badly. I actually really hurt it over the summer, but Physio seemed to be helping. Then last week I went to a different yoga class and twisted in a strange way and BANG. intense pain. Stars pain. Pain that follows me through the day. Standing up, carrying things. 

Since then I have been trying to accomodate it, but have been doing a poor job. I taught yoga Friday, Monday and Tuesday. During each class I found myself in a position where I could not move without great pain. Mainly because I insisted on demonstrating a posture that put pressure on my lower back. Poses I can normally hold easily. Ego.

And, in my stubbornness and refusal to accept I am injured, I went to a nice class I like last night. And suffered through it. I tried to modify poses slightly, but I quickly was in constant and severe pain.

I recognized my ego. It is really hard to modify when you”know” you can do something. Especially when that something is something you love to do. I love sun salutations, triangle, shoulder stands. It always feels like a celebration of life to me.

It is hard to do less. 

At some point in the class I realized I’m grasping. I’m worrying about what others think if I don’t do the full pose. I’m not listening to my body. I’m not embodying my belief that it’s not about the pose, but the intention. That Maybe I still do want yoga to change my body, as well as to change my mind…so many thoughts! I almost packed up and left. 

Instead I stopped. I laid on my back while the class continues. And it was REALLY HARD to stay there. I kept noticing my want to get up and try again. And I just kept telling myself there is honestly nothing to do. This is yoga. Honouring my body. Accepting things as they are. Breathing. Releasing. One pose is not better than another. Savasana is not less than trikonasna. They are all yoga.

By the time the class come into savasana I had found my stillness. She ends the class with mint oil and it was absolutely lovely. 

Perhaps this is my path right now. I may go to class and spend the entire time laying in savasana. Giving myself the stillness and peace I so love. Finding acceptance of what is.

There are lessons everywhere.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Check in

Hi friends.

I keep meaning to write and then all that comes out is a sort of sad, slow whine about travelling too much and feeling like an outsider in my home town…

So I keep breathing, and doing, and remembering what I was up to in May before the evacuation. And things slowly start to feel less disjointed.

I am currently in vegas at psycho Las Vegas. Metal. Alice Cooper and blue oyster cult are headliners, but there are lots of randomn bands. Lots of tattoos and black clothes and head bangers. Lol. Craig and I met some others at the pool party last night and shared a cabana. They were varying stages of completely wasted, but we had fun. 

We are here for 6 days. I am embracing it as my rest. I have purged the house and the garage. I have given bags of clothing and household goods away to people who lost everything. I have restarted teaching yoga. I have resumed my life.

I see others around who did not fare well during the evacuation. Drinkers who slide further into problems. Sober friends who relapsed. All trying to find out how to create a new normal. Without destroying themselves with shame and regret.

It is a heart wrenching thing. And it reinforces my belief in sobriety as the best choice for anyone. We all have stress and trauma. It’s hard to know how each of us will deal with it. But sober provides the foundation to keep moving. Or to start rebuilding. Because I today is the perfect day to begin to live again, especially if you have found yourself floundering.

I’m going to get another tattoo! Because…Vegas!

Stillness and Peace

Anne

Making space 

One thing I have always wanted to do since I got sober was to purge the house.

2 kids, disposable income, feeling like an inadequate parent because I drank too much = way too much stuff.

In early sobriety it stressed me out that the house was so cluttered, but every time I tried to start I was overwhelmed. This was a big job. So, instead, I decided to let it go. Messy play took, whatever. Closet crammed full, humph. Nothing for me to change. 

Then last year I read the Kon Mari book and cleaned out my closets. It was a good start. I liked the clothes that were left. It was easier. I probably still kept too much, but it was a start.

Then may came and the fire. Evacuated for almost 3 months with one bag of very randomn clothes (tee shirts, no underwear, etc). I just never expected to walk out the door that day and not return for so long…

While we were away I bought the minimum. 3 sets of yoga clothes. 6 work outfits. Jeans. And we lived in an unfurnished condo with the bare essentials – one pot, frying pan, etc. While there  I cooked a turkey and made homemade soup. I didn’t need a million tools.

So. We came back to the mess. Thankful, and with new eyes. I decided that it was time the playing room be transformed into a yoga room. The kids don’t play any longer, and it was my turn for the space. Plus, there were closets to empty, cupboards to clean, the garage to purge…

At some point i started to see this compulsion to clean was a bit of anxious avoidance. By purging, I didn’t have to leave home….and I could be safe. On Saturday night I had a little breakdown, accused craig of not helping and cried. He told me I was doing too much, and needed to eat. I cried again. Unwilling to let me stomp off in anger, he drove us to the dump with a load to dispose and I saw the reality. The city is different. And I cried more. I saw the real extent of the destruction inthe city. Thousands of homes. Destroyed beyond recognition. It was heartbreaking. And freeing. I know I can’t be home without mourning the loss of what was. Even if what is is good. Change hurts.

I had to continue what I started. I ate and slept and the next day I continued purging, giving anything and everything away that might be used by someone else. We do not need 10 knives, wine glasses or clothes that don’t fit. Even if they are still new with tags. It became a way to help myself and others. 

And now I have my yoga room. It is lovely. I have practiced on my own in the mornings and it is just what is need. A fresh spot to continue the healing. And to celebrate the life I have.

Stillness and peace

Anne

I wish I had a before picture. Imagine this room completely full of toys in boxes and bins.