Love Yourself – Warts and All

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserves your love and affection.” ~Buddha

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved and cared for others. I never really thought about caring for myself and my needs until the last few years. For about 7 – 10 years I actually hated who I was. I didn’t feel like I deserved love. Sure I got compliments for looking nice, doing a good job or being nice but I figured people were being nice and didn’t really mean it.

How could I help other people if I didn’t at least like myself?

I always second guessed myself until I met someone who changed all that. This person, rather his passing, made me go outside my comfort zone. This was my first step in loving myself. Since I’ve done that, I’ve had lots of complete strangers all over the world compliment my work which has helped me to accept myself a little more each day.

Thanks to the love everyone has given me, I feel love for myself and that love is sent back out again to others. It is the love that is given, shared, received and given back out. It continues going from me to you, to my family, to your family, and on, and on and… It’s a circle of caring and sharing.

Thought for the day…Believe in yourself. Conquer your fears. Dip your toes in the water to test it if you must, but then just jump in. You are not as bad, ugly, or unworthy as you may think you are. Love yourself for who you are, warts and all.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

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This too Shall Pass

“Nothing lasts forever – not even your troubles.” ~ Arnold H. Glasow

So many times when we’re having a rough time in life, we hear words like “Keep your chin up.”, “Everything happens for a reason.”, “Fake it til you make it.”, and many other platitudes like that. A lot of times those words can help and we can put on that happy smiley mask for the world to see for the short term. Sometimes we lie to others around us so they don’t see our pain. But what about in the longer term when we are crying and dying inside?

I had gone thru a very rough time in my life. Between the divorce, my ill parent, finance problems, and temporary homelessness I was ready to give up the good fight. Some of those platitudes I repeated to myself and when I couldn’t tell them to myself, my friends told them to me. I had to remind myself that I had been thru worse times. I needed to call on my ancestors and ask for their strength to hold me up. In all honesty I found this very difficult to do. I had times I hated those words and the things my friends told me. Eventually I made it thru my darkest hours.

Thought for the day: Life, and those bumps and potholes we hit in the road along the way, do get better. Maybe not in the way we hope, plan, or expect, but they get better in the way our Higher Power feels is right for us. All that He asks of us is that we are true to ourselves as well as others around us.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Time

“The truth is, time marches on and you have two choices: You move forward, come what may, and you experience all the sour and sweet things that fly at you from around corners, or you sit still. Don’t sit still.” ~ Suzanne Palmieri

No matter what happens in life, good or bad, time marches on despite it.

There was a time in my not to distant past that tried to escape my reality and what was going on in life. I thought that if I escaped into my own little world, that what was going on around me wasn’t really happening. Or that I could run away in my mind until life returned to normal. I was sadly mistaken. Despite all my best efforts life continued on around and even past me.

I eventually came to realize that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. I met others who had done the much of same in their lives. With their help I came around to seeing that time and life go on with or without me. I could either get sucked into staying stuck in my own little world or I could deal with my thoughts and feelings and get thru my circumstances that were keeping me stuck.

Thought for the day: Today I enjoy living the life I have to the best of my ability. I know that bad moments pass. I know don’t have to run away to escape my reality.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts.

Thorns in Life

“Every rose has its thorn. Just like every night has its dawn…” ~ Poison

A number of years ago, my best friend and I used to go berry picking. Oh, how I dreaded it! I always got scratched up. And then we had our “secret” spots that had their own set of dangers besides the thorns. One time I accidentally stepped in a woodchuck hole and twisted my ankle. Another time she felt a sting followed by another and another. Suddenly she was yelping and ripping her clothes off while running around with her arms flailing in the air. Come to find out, she was standing on top of a fire ant hill and they weren’t to pleased. Thankfully we were on a private path where no one beside myself saw this hysterical spectacle!

After all was said and done, the berries washed, our wounds cleaned and bandaged, we ended up with sweet treats and even a little wine. Our first batch ended up more like moonshine, but I digress.

In order to enjoy life’s rewards, we need to go out and pick the berries. Anybody who’s been berry picking knows that to get that sweet fruit you need to watch out for the thorns. Of course no matter how careful we are we can still get snagged by a branch, step into a woodchuck hole or, Heaven forbid, stand on a fire ant hill. If the worst thing that happens is that we snag our clothing, get a couple scratches or sprain an ankle, that’s ok. We can always bandage or patch that stuff up. Dirt washes away, wounds do heal, and we still survive.

Thought for the day: Sometimes we can reminisce the times we got scratched up, bit up, or stepped in “stuff” and can have a little chuckle at our own expense.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Another Life Taken Far To Soon

“Addiction begins with the hope that something ‘out there’ can instantly fill up the emptiness inside.” ~ Jean Kilbourne

It’s one week shy of the one year anniversary that I got a phone call I didn’t want to get. That day I stopped dead in my tracks because I was shocked and heartbroken. I remember when I heard the news from my friend on the other end of the phone. I instantly went numb. The same thing happened roughly 5 months later when I got a social media message and again last night when I ran into a friend. What was this news you ask?

Another friend died. What’s worse is that they died a senseless death from a drug overdose.

If you’re not an addict, you might be wondering how I could possibly be friends with an addict? Simple. Because I am an addict too, but I am a recovering addict. I knew these 3 beautiful souls when they were at their best and their worst. Each of them did stop using for different lengths of time, but for whatever reason, they chose to start using again. I watched them come into recovery not only physically broke but also spiritually and emotionally broke.

At first, when they came in, you could see the pain in their eyes and hear the desperation in their voices. After they got some time clean, I saw the transformation. They started looking and feeling better. They began to have hopes and dreams again. They became productive members of society again and regained the love and trust that they’d lost from their families. But something happened. It was any number of reasons but it mainly boiled down to one thing.

They couldn’t or didn’t want to deal with their reality which was different for each of them.

I can hear the comments already from non addicts who are not familiar or don’t understand this disease – and yes, it is a disease. It is a mental health disease. I won’t go into the specifics of that today. I have written numerous pieces over the last year and a half and encourage you to read them. Pieces like “Who Is An Addict?”, “Reality of Addiction”, “A Demon Named ‘Addiction’”, “Addiction-Disease or Moral Failing?”, “Break the Stigma”, “The Demon” and many others. I write this today for another reason.

My hope and purpose today is to reach out and touch the life of just one addict with my words.

To any addict who may be reading my words, wherever you may be in the world, especially the addict in pain right now. Whether you have less than 24 hours clean or you have 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, 1 decade or longer clean. Whether you are an old timer, newcomer, relapser, or the one contemplating a relapse this message is for each of you.

“There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away.” ~ Sherman Alexie

I know your pain. I have lived it and I am still living it but I am still clean. I don’t care what your pain is, I understand it. Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “Yea right lady. How can you/You can’t possibly understand what I’m going thru? You’re not going thru what I’m going thru.” Ah, but I do.

I’ve been in recovery for a few 24 hours now. I’ve done research on the internet and talked to numerous professionals and other addicts in that time. I’ve also done something for a while now that’s helped me not only with my personal research but it’s also helped me stay clean. When someone who’s relapsed comes back into recovery I ask them, “Why did you relapse?” The answers I’ve gotten back have varied but there’s one common denominator. Reality. You don’t want, can’t, or know how to deal with whatever your reality is.

Pick a reason, any reason; this person died, your kids are making you crazy, you can’t deal with your spouse or kids clean, that person looked at you wrong, this person said something to you, that person pissed in your Cheerios, the sun is out, it’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s to hot, it’s to cold…or maybe it’s something I neglected to mention.

“But my situation is unique.” Really? Allow me to tell you what I’ve been thru and still stayed clean.

Since I’ve been in recovery, I have been thru a divorce and another relationship after that. I’ve been thru deaths of family, friends, loved ones and addicts I considered family. When my dad fell ill and was in the hospital, I had to tell my mother and sister that I agreed with the doctor when he advised pulling the plug on him. I had to force my mom into a nursing home and lost my blood family because of it. I’ve had financial problems, no food in the house. I’ve been gossiped about and stabbed in the back. I’ve argued with more people than I can count, and currently I am dealing with a potentially progressive illness almost as serious as addiction.

And that’s just a snapshot of what I’ve dealt with over the last six years. Have I thought about using? Of course. Do I have an excuse to go back to using? Sure I do, but not a darn one of those excuses is a good enough reason.

Since i got clean I’ve also been able to pay off my car and buy my own home. They’re both mine. I don’t have to worry about being evicted because of divorce or family problems. I have a part time job and I finally have peace of mind. Yes I still worry about having money to live, but my drama and chaos is behind me. Best of all I still have family – a group of friends who will and have dropped everything to help me when I needed it most. Right now I can say life is good. Tomorrow may be different but for right now I am in control of my life. Plus, I’ve discovered new passions and a purpose for life.

Best of all I don’t worry about my next high or how I’ll pay for it. I don’t have to worry about being dope sick.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Look, I’m not going to lie to you. Being in recovery isn’t going to be easy. It’s not for the faint of heart? Some days will be damn hard. There are numerous ways to get and stay clean. Some of those ways are difficult and someone are easy. I’ve learned from other addicts that the easy way is a surefire way to not succeed. For an addict to stay clean we need tough love, not enabling, coddling or condemnation.

Most of all, we need the fortitude to commit to a new and better way of living.

I want you to know something that you may not know about yourself. You are important, deserving, loveable, intelligent, worthy, beautiful, brave, strong, powerful, resilient, fearless, talented, fierce, funny, loved, needed, alive for a reason and so much more than this list. You CAN do this.

Please, seek out recovery before your loved ones and friends bury you.

“Wait for me.” The words come out choked and pained. “I need you to wait for me.” ~ Krista Ritchie

…There’s no more time to wait. The time is now to live the life you were meant to live.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts.

Bad Days

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.” ~ Charlie Chaplin

See if you can identify with this. Not to long ago, I was having a really bad day. Between a funeral, some bad news and a lousy beginning of the day I was really grumpy. Later that evening I had a meeting with some friends. I really didn’t want to go but I was needed there. I have to chuckle a bit as I remember thinking to myself while getting ready, “Nobody better try to make me laugh or smile tonight. I’m grumpy and I’m going to stay that way”. No kidding, I really said something like that.

When I caught up with my friends, we got the hugs and “Hello’s” out of the way. I was asked how I was doing and grumbled out a “fine”. Then, I don’t know if it was on purpose or not but, a couple of people were chatting nearby me and they were loud enough that I easily heard them. Next thing I know one of them said something really funny and I found myself laughing really hard. By the end of the evening I was feeling a lot better about the problems I had plus I realized that they weren’t quite as bad as I first thought.

There are times when we blow stuff out of proportion and make mountains out of molehills. It helps to remember that no matter how big or small our problems may be, they are just bad moments and those moments will pass.

Thought for the day: If you’re having one of “those” days, stop, take a deep breath and rest assured that your bad “moment” will pass.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Courage

“Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr

A few years ago, I was involved in a self help group and my task was to find speakers for certain nights. I lucked out for the longest time and didn’t have to speak. I was grateful for this because I hate public speaking. Besides, I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear my story. I was able to get away with it until one fateful night. I had no choice. I couldn’t find anyone to speak so I was going to have to do it. I would be remiss if I said I was looking forward to doing it. Actually, quite the reverse. I was petrified.

Someone taught me a couple of acronyms for fear. I could Face Everything And Rise or Forget Everything And Run or that False Evidence Appearing to be Real. These acronyms helped me overcome my fear that night and other times since then. After thinking about it, I decided I needed to get passed my fears. So I stepped up to the plate and spoke.

All to often our fear of doing things in life is because we are afraid we won’t succeed. I used to hear, “If you don’t even try, you won’t know if you’ll succeed.” I also used to hear, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” by Thomas H. Palmer. No matter how old we are, when we can overcome our fears, we grow a little each time.

Thought for the day: What happened when I spoke? Many of friends came up to me and said that my story helped them and that I did a really good job. This was the first time I learned that I had a message I needed to share.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts.