Thanksgiving and the holidays are quickly approaching and its at this point in time that I start thinking about my sobriety anniversary as well.  I like to reflect on my journey….keeps me humble.

I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I was meant to experience all that I have over the last few years.  The heartache, the jealousy, the shame (lots of it), the loss, the anger (lots of that), and the fear….all of it….and I wouldn’t change a damn thing…not one single thing…

Its hard to put into words why and how I exactly feel this way…I just do…. My recovery has been life changing, life altering really.  I didn’t just stop drinking,  I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I stopped the self loathing, I stopped being afraid of what everyone else thought, I stopped disrespecting myself and everyone who cared about me when I didn’t.  If I’m being honest,  the not drinking was the easy part.  All the other stuff, not so much. It requires attention and work each and every day.  Everyday I make a conscious decision to be grateful, to be kind, to be present, to be mindful.  I don’t always succeed at everything everyday,  I’m not perfect;), but I try.

When I first got sober, not drinking was the most important and biggest challenge.  Today, I am grateful I don’t have the urges or cravings to pick up a drink, but I am aware that those feeling could creep back at any moment.  Today my biggest challenge is being the best I can be.  That means, being grateful for something even if its the crappiest day ever.  It means being kind to those who don’t exhibit kindness back, or whom I may not agree with….for I do not know what battles they are up against.  It means being a positive, loving example to my kids, my friends, my family, and my co workers; at a time when society is not so positive and loving.  It means being honest with myself, and those I care about.  

And if I’m being honest, its not always easy living life this way.   

Some days are just plain shitty.  Some days I want to throw the covers over my head and not speak to anyone.  Sometimes I just want to throw a temper tantrum like my son…..I don’t….but I want too…. On days like these, I step back and think how far I have come….it wasn’t that long ago I was drinking every day to numb everything…  That my daughter was going to bed by herself because her mom was passed out… That I was unloveable and alone because I couldn’t love myself…and my kids would be better off if I was dead…. Lowest of the low….despair….

Fast forward to today…..

My kids are my world….and they teach me about true unconditional love everyday.  I have a new renewed passion for eating well and exercising.  My job is taking me to new heights and I am so grateful to be in a career that I truly love. I’m in a healthy relationship that is loving and honest.   Fear doesn’t control me, its just a feeling that I acknowledge & move past.   I live in the present. I love me.

So yes, I am grateful for going through hell.  And yes I was born for this wild wacky journey….I wouldnt want it any other way.

:)✌❤ 

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Thank you bunches

I feel the need to write a gratitude list for a few reasons. 1. I haven’t done it in a long while & it’s an important part of my recovery program.  2. With all the hate, lack of compassion, arrogance, & nonsense in our world today,  it is, at times, difficult to be mindful let alone grateful.  3. I have ALOT to be grateful for.  So, without further ado, my gratitude list.

1. My sobriety & continued growth in my recovery…. Enough said:)

2. M&M… These 2 continue to keep me on my toes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

3. My family: My momma & sisters.  I can’t tell them how grateful I am that they didn’t give up on me when I was in the throes of my alcoholism.  These days I  honored to be a big sister, daughter, and aunt.

4.  My bestie Kerry.  There really are no words, you know me, & get me.  Through thick & thin you have stuck by my side, especially when I ‘thought’ I was all alone.

5.  A few of my friends in recovery including my sponsor,  who, have been by my side since the beginning….& who I can count on always. (I’m talking about you Melanie & Reggie:).

6.  My BB family, especially Leah, Lauren, Kim, & Whitney.   I know I have said it before, but I’m gonna say it again; there is a reason you all came into my life when you did.  My new venture is only just beginning.

7.  My new found passion for  healthy eating & fitness.  If you told me 3 years ago I would be eating zoodles instead of noodles, kale, & working out 4-5 times a week, I wouldn’t of believed it.  But truth be told,  I love my new healthy lifestyle. Its not always easy, but its so worth it.

8.  Fall:  My FAVORITE season:).

9. Manicures: got one today, haven’t had one in a long time….its nice to get pampered:).

10.  My boyfriend.  Its still pretty new, but its so refreshing to be with someone whom I can be my complete self & feel completely content.  Thank you for being you:)

11.  Books.  I’m in the middle of reading 2. My favorite pasttime for sure:).

12. Snickers ice cream…its delicious, its my new favorite..seriously  the best!!!…you know who you, who introduced me to it & has created a monster;).

13. My work family(last but not least).  You gals are the absolute best!! I love coming to work, not just because what we do is so rewarding, but because I look forward to the daily shenanigans:)

☺❤✌

A Fresh Start & Still Learning

Wow!  A lot of what is stated in this quote has happened, is happening!   This year I’ve embarked on new adventures.  Fitness & health being the biggest & quite honestly the scariest.  I don’t know why either.  I have no problem being honest about my sobriety & recovery, but when it comes to weight loss & exercise I clam up?!  I’m still working on the why’s of that one!??  I started the year off with my heart broken (or so I thought).  In retrospect, it was my expectations that caused the heartache.  I have learned to go with flow & let affairs of the heart happen naturally, & guess what?! I am capable of doing that & I am quite content☺.  M&M & I moved recently.  It wasn’t a big move in terms of distance, but one that mentally & emotionally means a lot.  We moved away & said goodbye to a place where a lot of shit went down.  Fortunately little M is to young to recall, but his sister certainly does.  It was definitely time to close the door on that chapter (not forget), of our lives.  To be honest, a huge sigh of relief.  The three of us are in a brand new place where we can make our own memories. That makes me happy☺.

Then I think about me.   I like to say I’ve come a long way since starting this blog nearly 2 years ago!! WOW!!. I’ve been re-reading my first posts.  It was  definitely progress, not perfection☺.  I was so freshly sober, so happy riding the infamous pink cloud, so spouting off anything and everything AA.  And you know what?,  that was OK.  I was  at a point where I was still struggling with the day to day recovery stuff.  I wasn’t yet completely comfortable with my new normal.  I still didn’t know what this ‘new’ Katie was all about.  I still had a lot of resentments to let go off.
All that being said, I’m still not where I  want to be today. I am striving each and everyday to be better. Not perfect, not searching for more of anything,  just better than I was the day before. Just plain grateful, its that simple.  

I think the biggest thing I have learned since starting this blog, is how important it is to be mindful.  Everyday, & yes everyday I take 5 minutes to just be…. I clear my head, I pray, I say thank you, I think, I reflect, I journal, I breathe…anything where I focus on the inner me.  Without these 5 minutes, the negative, nasty, scared Katie may rear her ugly head…& nobody, especially me wants that!

So I decided to attach my very 1st blog post. Once again its a great reminder of how far I have come, and how there is absolutely nothing I want more in this world than continue on this road of life; sober, healthy, happy road, & whatever surprises that are in store for me.

☺❤✌

October 2014  

Letting Go

No this isn’t about the now infamous Disney song, I promise not to break out the lyrics.  How often do we say to family, friends, or significant others “Just let it go”.  How many times is it spoken to us or more importantly do we say it to ourselves?  The words just roll off the tongue like they are no big deal, a shrug of the shoulders, say it, do it, wipe the slate clean, and move on.  If it was only that simple.  If it was, broken hearts, broken relationships, missed opportunities, feelings of hurt, guilt, and shame, and the should of’s, could of’s, would of, would not monopolize so much of our time, our minds, and our hearts.

Speaking from personal experience, letting go has been both a positive and negative experience.  Over the last 10 months I have learned to let go of a lot of garbage, toxic stuff I was carrying around.  That’s the thing about getting sober, it forces you to examine just about every aspect of one’s life.  The good the bad the ugly.  I spent so many years feeling inadequate, unhappy, and generally sad.  I carried so many feelings of shame over my behavior, especially when I would drink.  Learning why I felt this way, why I drank, and letting it go has been freeing, life changing.  That’s not to say that I don’t struggle with feelings of inadequacy or sadness, the difference is that I know how to deal with those feelings, and I do it without picking up a drink or other unhealthy behaviors.

But not all situations and circumstances are easy to let go of, broken relationships, wondering what if I had only done this, or what if I try this, creep into my head.  My mind is taken over by self-righteous thoughts of, well why the hell not me!  I pray and try bargaining with my higher power (I call God), please give me another chance.

The funny thing is, that I know that God has a plan in place, he has since day one, I need to let go of control.  10 months ago I started this journey, it most definitely has not been easy, everyday I must make a conscious effort to let it go, the past that is, life is so much simpler and I am so much better off living in the now.  Does that mean I completely forget the past?  No, of course not, I have respect for it, but I need to move forward and not dwell on the should of, could of, would of.  Everyday I need to remind myself to let it go, whatever it may be.  I know I will be ok:)

Sparkle on

Happiness, contentment, being comfortable in my own skin. 3 attributes that I can confidently say I now hold close to my heart and strive to exhibit each and everyday.  Why? Because I have come so far from the scared, lonely, unlovable (in my mind), desperate girl I once was.  I now know that fear is just a feeling, it can’t control me.  I love the woman I have become and know that I don’t need to or want to compromise my beliefs, integrity, or values for any one or anything.  I feel so much hope and am excited for what my future holds.

Does this sound like a whole lot of rainbows and unicorns and pink fluffy cloud crap?   Perhaps, but gosh darn it,  I feel so damn good:)

Life is just plain fabulous right now, and for once in my life I am not constantly waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop’ so to speak, or waiting for the bad stuff to occur,  because I can’t possibly be on the happy train for too long.  I finally figured out that I cannot control a darn thing.  I am merely along for the ride.  That being said, I can choose how I feel and how I want things to affect me. Today, I choose to just be.

A large part of my contentment can be attributed to my renewed interest in fitness. Over the last several months I have embarked on a journey that has led me to a healthier way of eating and enjoying exercise like I used to.  I now have a fabulous group of women in my life who push me, support me, and hold me accountable for my actions with regards to health and fitness.  I have come to believe that it’s not a coincidence that they entered my life when they did….my 2 year sobriety mark.  I am slowly but steadily getting back into the shape I was years ago.  It’s so much more than shedding the pounds. Mentally and emotionally I am stronger. 

I think the biggest change that I have noticed most recently,  is the sparkle in my eye, which to be honest, I never noticed before.  I wonder if it actually ever existed?  I was so miserable for so many years, I do not think sparkle was even an option.  How sad is that?? What makes me proud is that others are noticing it too.  Some want to know my ‘secret’.  No secret….I had to endure a lot of shit(wouldn’t change it), and worked my butt off to change my behavior, in fact I’m still a work in progress and always will be.  But thats OK, I’m happy with that.
So the sparkle it’s legit.  My ‘new way’ of living has a whole lot to do with that….more importantly my sobriety and recovery has everything to do with that!

Grateful for my sparkle.☺❤✌

Birthday Bucket List #2

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I some how accidentally erased my post during my editing…ugh!!! So let’s try this again…

The big 4-0, it came and it went. No big deal, in fact my celebrations will continue this week. I embraced 40, I definitely do not feel 40, nor do I look 40:). (What does 40 look like??). I said good riddance to my 30’s. There were a few major milestones, which I am entirely grateful for(my nursing career, the birth of my kids, & getting SOBER). But I can honestly say the rest of the decade was a shit show.

So I say bring it on! I am excited to see what my 40’s have in store for me:). I am ready to live my life the way I want to live it! I spent 38 years living the way I thought I should live it or how I thought others expected me to live.  No more… Take it or leave it, it’s about me now, and what I want and how I can live my best life.
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That being said, I have been giving Bucket lists some thought…ok a lot of thought…. I have decided to share my list with all of you. Some may think its silly, that’s OK. It may spark interest or thought in some, and that’s OK too. Its mine and I own it. Enough ‘I want to but’ or ‘I should but’…its time to start DOING!
So, without further ado…
Kate’s Bucket List❤
1. Fall in love (I believe in fate & soul mates & know mine is out there:).

2. Write a book. (Even if I only sell one copy;).

3. Travel & lots of it. England, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina.

4. U.S. travel: Grand Canyon. Yosemite. A road trip down the east coast. (Maine-Florida).

5. A tropical vaca, to Bora Bora. Just me, a hammock, sunscreen, flip-flops, bathing suit, and a book.

6. Sky diving.

7. Hot air balloon ride.

8. Learn to scuba dive.

9. Learn to play chess (again;).

10. Take a professional cooking class.

11. Advance my nursing career (oncology nursing is definitely my calling, but I would love to give more & learn more).

12. Volunteer work…a must!!

13. Watch the entire Godfather collection (I’ve never seen any;).

14. Goto the Olympic games (as a spectator;).

15. Reach & maintain my ideal weight (I’m getting there!:).

16. Complete another half marathon. Easily accomplished pre kids… Much harder now;).

17. Complete a random act of kindness everyday…doesn’t have to be over the top..just give back and expect nothing in return:)

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❤✌:)

What’s a Holiday without a Holliday Celebration?

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What a weekend! I’m exhausted, but so damn happy, content, & grateful. I’m not being corny here either;). This weekend was not only a 3 day’er , it was the wedding of one of my cousins. I have a large extended family on my mom’s side which includes approx 26 cousins & spouses, significant others. These days getting together is rare, as everyone has busy lives & we live all over the country. Fortunately for this event, just about everyone came to Cleveland for the festivities. It was one giant party for 3 days…. I went into the weekend prepared to have my guard up, as I knew their would be a lot of drinking. It wasn’t that I was so concerned that I would be tempted, those cravings are long gone. I was worried I wouldn’t have fun, wouldn’t feel included, and would become irritated & annoyed with everyone else.
That’s a whole lot of should of and could of’s….a lot of self-serving thoughts…seriously, isn’t this all about me??;)…Man, as the words come stumbling out, I’m rather embarrassed by my presumptuous ideas. Alcoholic(selfish) thinking never completely goes away. And that’s OK, I’m definitely not perfect;). What is important is that I recognize it before it takes over my psyche.:)

So, I will say this….I am overcome with gratitude towards my wonderful, fun-loving, goofy, caring, & loving family. We are a motley crew, but, the outpouring of love and kind words bestowed on me through out the weekend was very humbling. I down play all my rough times. To me, I do what I have to do because my other choice(s) are devastating.
I am so very blessed to have these wonderful, unique, quirky, individuals in my life. Each one has a special place in my heart. Even though I am exhausted beyond belief(I think we all are;), I wouldn’t change a thing.
:)❤✌
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Oh yes, those pesky expectations causing havoc in my head.  It is MY expectations that cause the unrest.  This unrest causes me to become my own worst enemy. Self doubt & negativity take over.  The ‘I can’t, I wont, & I shouldn’t’ take center stage.

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When this happens I run the risk of feeling resentful,  & that my friends is a slippery slope for an alcoholic like me.

So, as of late when I become disappointed in myself because I didn’t accomplish a goal as I expected myself to.  Or an individual in my life doesn’t respond or behave in a way that I think they should, my first thought (& second) is always to beat myself up mentally & emotionally. 

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Why? All this does is set me up for resentments & self doubt.  My expectations are just that, MINE.  I want what I want when I want it no matter what.  I also expect others to think the same.  So when reality sets in, & things  dont go exactly as I expected,  the anger, sadness, & pity party begins.  So in essence this is a whole bunch of self centered behavior.  I’m not saying not to have goals, aspirations, & self confidence.  God knows I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t believe in my self, if I didn’t have hope.

Hope that is what its all about.  Hope that the hard work & dedication will pay off.  The hope that they will like me as I am, & if not oh well.  The hope that I can live the best life I was meant to live. The hope that I will continue to believe in myself & in others. 

Funny….as I write, my perspective changes….. I started this post with a different mindset.   But you know what, its exactly what I needed at this exact time.  Just goes to show that there is something, or someone bigger than me who knows exactly what I need.
❤✌

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Pinky Swear with a Whole lot of Gratitude

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My heart is overfilled with love & grace for the 2 most important individuals in my life, M&M.  They are my everything, my world.  I am blessed that they call me mommy.  I have been reflecting on that tonight, mothers day eve.

It was just a few years ago that I nearly lost my kids to my addiction.  It tears me up to recall my behavior towards them.  2 innocent children who could not rely on their own mother to care for them.  I  am not going to dwell on this, instead the fact that they never gave up on me.  They forgave me, they too, show unconditional love towards me.  No drama, unselfish, honest, love.  I do the same in return.  The best gift I can give this mothers day is my presence in their life each & every day, with the promise to myself, as well as to them, to stay present in my recovery.

I have attached a post from November 2014. It’s pretty raw, & speaks to how addiction effects everyone in the family, especially children. 

I am blessed & grateful for all that has happened in my life, that has brought me to this day…Happy Mothers Day❤❤

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Pinky Swear

I am blessed with 2 awesome kids, a boy who is 2 and a girl who is 8.  I often refer to them as M&M (as I will when I write).  They truly are the loves of my life! They are hilarious, kind, loving, smart, inquisitive, and creative (of course I’m not biased;)).

Fortunately their dad and I want what is best for them and we both love them unconditionally, even if the two of us are not married anymore.  I am truly grateful and humbled that they call me mommy.

My drinking “took off” after M was born in 2006.  I recently came across journal entries where I wrote that I was concerned with my drinking and that I was going to change my ways for the sake of my family.  Wow!  Well, that never happened and the drinking escalated. Every family event, holiday, and impromptu gathering required alcohol, wine to be specific.  I recall several of my daughter’s birthday parties being wasted, and sadly and selfishly I don’t recall much else.  In the evenings, when I should have been playing with my daughter I was drinking.  When she asked me to read a story I told her to wait, because I was “busy”.  I missed many nights tucking her in….

When M was 6, her brother was born.  Her little brother idolizes his big sister, who acted as a little momma while their real mommy was drinking.  Late afternoon it was time to uncork the bottle, a few hours and a couple of bottles later, M was a better mommy.  In the spring of 2013 I entered rehab voluntarily.  I “left” my kids, the loves of my life for 18 days… they didn’t understand why their mommy left …. nor was it fair that they even had too.  It was the hardest 18 days, being away from them.  Upon my return, I was told that M compared me to MissHannigan, Carol Burnett’s character in Annie….. whoa !!

Here I thought M didn’t know about my drinking, I didn’t think it was affecting her…… seriously??!

When I relapsed in January, M&M witnessed my behavior.  I believe in my heart of hearts that God wanted me to witness what my actions had done to them, because I should of been in a blackout, but the sheer look of terror on M&M’s face is ingrained in my brain.

It took a few days for M to talk to and feel comfortable around me, and rightfully so.  When she was ready, we talked (at a 7 yr old level) and I apologized.  She had me pinky swear that I would never drink again.  That was 10 months ago…..I pray every day that I keep that promise and I am grateful each night that I kept the promise, to her and myself.

M didn’t deserve to be forced into adult situations, she doesn’t deserved to have a mom who is an alcoholic.  Neither does little M, but by the grace of God, he wont remember his mommy as a drunk, but his sister will.  Fortunately, I have been, and will continue to be open and honest with both kiddos.  I won’t keep this a hush-hush topic.  I welcome the honest conversations as they come, age appropriate of course.

Today, I live in the present and am present for M&M.  I think this is the best way to keep the pinky swear I made  over 10 months ago.  I continue to work on forgiving myself for being absent in M&M’s lives.  I know I must keep the past in the past, but those feelings of guilt and shame creep up time to time.  Fortunately I have the tools and support to process those feelings.  More importantly, I  have the unconditional love of  M&M. I am one lucky mommy!

Tagged alcoholicalcoholismbehaviorsdrunk,gratefulgratitudehonesthumblelovemommy,recoveryrelationships

Changes in Attitude

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Ain’t that the truth?!  I try, I really, really do try, to make a conscious effort to have an optimistically positive attitude.  But man,  there are times, days, situations, or events, where my attitude is, shall I say, negative, crappy,  maybe even a bit pessimistic?.
This past week is the perfect example of how a change in my attitude changed my entire perspective.

My week started with the sun shining,  I was feeling happy, grateful, and ready to tackle the week ahead!  (I know, way to happy for a Monday:).  Content, I was feeling content.  By Monday evening after a series of unfortunate events, my attitude had done a complete 180 degree turn.  I was experiencing a poor me attitude.  Mind you these ‘unfortunate events’ were not life threatening nor earth shattering.  Just slight detours in day to day living, vinets so to speak.  And if I am being 100% honest (which is the main objective of this blog), I was responsible for the biggest ‘hiccups’ that caused the distress.  But it was sooooo much easier to blame something or someone else.  It was  soooooo much simplier to say ‘but poor me, no body has it as bad as I and no body can possibly understand what I am going through’.   At the time it felt so much easier to sit in my own ‘muck’ and complain and wallow in self pity and doubt, than to say ‘ you know what, yes this sucks right now, but it doesn’t have to be this way.   What can I do to change it?

I took a moment to step back, and reflect at all I have and how much I have to be grateful for.  I was reminded how there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for! Most of the  week I spent wallowing in self pity and wasn’t feeling the least bit grateful, which resulted in a shitty attitude.  I did get over myself, but not until I had cried it out….more than once;).   I made a plan, executed that plan, and guess what?,  everything came out ok :). I even learned a lesson or two.  But the best part is that I stayed sober, my recovery fully intact.  Picking up a drink after my bad day(s) didn’t even cross my mind…now that is a miracle, that is a change in attitude!

Today I was able chuckle at myself while sharing my escapades at an aa meeting.   I don’t think, no I know,  I wouldn’t be able to laugh at myself, let alone share my misteps with others a few years ago.  I was to sick, way to wrapped up in selfishness and self pity, and topped off with a poor attitude.  I don’t expect myself to be happy go lucky Katie all the time, that’s ridiculous! Not too mention completely delusional.  What is acceptable is to have an attitude of gratitude every day, those days will carry me through the bad ones.  Because in the end, life is too short for a bad attitude. ❤✌:)

Attitude By Charles Swidoll

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company…a church…a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.

 

 

Just a Glimmer

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Easier said than done, but I have come to the conclusion that it’s much easier to have that hope, even if it’s just a glimmer than to give up, be angry all the time, or let my expectations take over.  Because you know what?…. I have no control over the events that occur around me and to me.  I hate the saying ‘everything happens for a reason’.  In times of great grief and despair that isn’t what I want to hear.  Instead I prefer in God’s time, (higher power, goddess, whatever  you prefer), ‘he’ knows EXACTLY what he is doing and it will eventually all make sense.  It sure as hell doesn’t right now, but in time it will. That’s when faith and grace come into play.

As of late, I have had thoughts of wtf God, and wondered if my guardian angel has been on an extended vacation.  Feelings of loss, grief, anger, and sadness have incapacitated my family, a number of friends, and myself over the last few weeks. It hasn’t been easy to hold on to that  sliver of hope let alone faith.

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But you know what?..  It is possible.  I know I may sound like an annoying cheerleader, floating around on my pink cloud of cheeriness.  But my recovery has taught me that yes, indeed, there is ALWAYS a glimmer of hope, my faith tells me that, and I am full of gratitude for what I have and where I came from.  Because it wasn’t all that long ago that I had given up all hope of ever being happy or healthy, or worthy of love. I lived in constant despair. Faith…. What the hell was that?  In my eyes, God had abandoned me, everyone had abandoned me, and no one could possibly understand where I was coming from or what I was feeling.  Talk about rock bottom.

But because of that rock bottom, I am full of gratitude today.  Life is definitely not full of sunshine and rainbows.  It can be a struggle.  It can be, and is full of love and loss.  It leave a lot of unanswered questions.  But no matter how difficult my life becomes, I know in my heart that God has my back, and I have faith that it will all be ok. It may not be easy, but it will be ok.  I will be ok. My loved ones will be ok. And for that I am entirely grateful.

☺❤✌🏿