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:)

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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.☺❤✌

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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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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.

 

 

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Have you ever worked on a puzzle for hours, or days even(in my case), becoming frustrated, irritated, or just down right angry that there is that one piece that doesn’t seem to fit where you think it should fit? Do you become so pissed off that you consider quitting until almost like magic, the final piece does fit and you are relieve, maybe even joyous that you didn’t give up on the puzzle?  Now that it’s complete you say to yourself, ‘now what??’…at least that’s what I do.

So yes, I am comparing my life’s journey to a puzzle.  It makes sense.  I’m not really sure how I came up with this subject either, because to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of puzzles.  Growing up my family was very much into puzzles, especially during the holidays.  Of course, I couldn’t be bothered, and thought it was a nerdy activity.  While I was locked up in the hospital during my detox stint, I spent some serious time putting puzzles together with someone I now consider a big brother.  We started our recovery journey together, over puzzles, and are friends to this day.  Post lock up, I was on medical leave and spent my days in an outpatient program and many nights alone, with too much time to think, and I turned to puzzles.  I would stay up half the night, not wanting to stop, becoming obsessed with just putting together one more piece.  It kept my mind focused, it kept me sober in those early days.  My puzzle obsession lasted only about a month.  I began feeling better physically, the fog was lifting, and I was becoming comfortable in sobriety and in my recovery. The puzzles have been in my closet ever since.  Its a reminder of where I came from…

At this point in time I can confidently say that all the pieces are currently in place. That being said, I  am not ignorant to think that some pieces could get lost or break.  But at this moment in time all the pieces are exactly where they are supposed to be.  No one piece is forced in a position it’s not supposed to be.  There are no extra or missing pieces.  And guess what?…I am happy and content with the puzzle and have no plans to take it apart.

Who would of thought it;)

☺❤✌🏿

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2Years 730 days.

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I’m 2 years old today, sober years that is.  In many ways I am like a toddler…. Stubborn, inquisitive, fun-loving & snuggly one minute.   Fiesty, irrational, & just a plain pain in the ass the next  minute.  Admitting this is the first step;).

So what has made year 2 different from year 1…

Faith, not fear.   Confidence & humility, not self pity or arrogance.  Selflessness, not selfishness.  Inner peace  & mindfulness, instead of restlessness.

Gee, sounds like I stole this ‘stuff’ right out of some self help book.  Truth be told I have read a lot about these topics over the last 2 years,  but I truely feel & believe that I have attained these attributes or characteristics over the last year or so.  Trust me, I still have lots of work to do!  They are not always present nor are they always on the forefront of my mind.  Just like a toddler, I am sane & learning one minute, unhinged & on the brink of insanity the next. (Have you all figured out I am dealing with an actual toddler at home?;).   Fortunately, I am able to reel in my emotions & think rationaly (99.9% of the time), unlike a toddler.

Year 2 in recovery  has led me on a path to deeper self discovery.  While year 1 was all about the why’s & the how’s of my addiction, to not obsessing about wanting a drink one day at a time, to working 24-7 on the 12steps.  To this past year really learning about the true me.  Who Katie really is…..what exactly makes me tick, & trying my darnedest to live in the 12 steps.

To be honest, all this self discovery and exploration hasn’t been half bad.  I have learned that I am definitely more of an introvert than I originally  thought.  I enjoy being alone at times. I am a great nurse, kick ass mom & a descent writer.  I am a morning person (who would of thought that after many many  horrible hangover mornings).  I usually root for the underdog & try to look at situations from both sides (which drives my friends crazy;).  I am still ultra sensitive (this can be both positive and negative).   Honesty is definitely always  the best policy.  I would like to be in a long term loving relationship, but I am also OK being a  single independent gal, (wants vs. needs).   I am  not as handy as I think I am, (I have learned this the hard way, on more than one occasion;).  My past is just that, my past. It doesn’t define me, I am not ashamed of it, & those around me can bring it up, but its not me today.  I have let that shit go, I cannot help it if they can’t, (Bless them, change me).   I do not  miss drinking.  The obsession is gone.  Thank God!  But I am not naive to  think that my addiction is not waiting to pounce, always lurking, waiting for me to falter.  That’s why I try to live in the 12 steps.

Year 2 has been a pretty good year. Lots of happy memories & some not so happy memories, but such is life.  I  do think its cool that my sober birthday coinsides with the new year.  Twice as much to celebrate & look forward to in the coming year.

So what will year 3 in sobriety & 2016 bring…. My 40th Birthday….eek!….Actually, I am ready, bring it on, I am only just beginning to live the life I am meant to live.  Sobriety will be the reason I will be able to celebrate this milestone.

So as I say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016, I say Thank you to all those who have supported me when I didn’t believe in myself & gave me a kick in the ass when needed.  I hope you will continue to do so in the future if warrented;).  My future looks bright & the best is still to come.

❤&✌🏿

Lyrics from the musical Wicked.

Defying Gravity

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Unwritten

Hello friends, followers, & fellow bloggers…. it’s been awhile!  I am still sober & entirely grateful every single day, (571 days to be exact😊), & serene (most days).  Since this is a blog about my recovery I figured that I should mention that.😊

So what the heck have I been up to, since obviously I haven’t been blogging??!!

Living Life!!!!!!!!

Year 2 of recovery is better than the first yet challenging.  The craving and temptation are gone.  Do I ever think about having a drink? Of course!  I’m not perfect, I’m human.  Difference is,  I know how to handle these feelings,  I have the necessary tools in my recovery tool box.  I know what will happen if I pick up that one drink…it will be much…& eventually 5th or 6th wont be enough…  I am blessed and grateful to wake up everyday with no hangover, no memory lapse, no feeling of shame, & no money lost.  I am entirely grateful to go to bed each night sober.  I sleep amazingly well😊

When I worry about the what if’s, or the what am I missing??? I get reassurance from my awesome sponsor who kindly reminds me that I am healthy, that I don’t need to be waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop’, so to speak.  That I don’t need to be in crisis mode or high alert 24-7.  I’m sober, I’m active in my recovery, & I am grateful😊.  Life Is good.

So, I am learning more about me.  What I want vs. What I need, & that what I want isn’t always necessarily what need, & vice versa.  Trust me when I say this isn’t always easy for this control freak, high expectation gal! Just to name a few of my character defects. I am also learning how to set boundaries with certain relationships and individuals in my life.  Most definitely a difficult task for a people pleaser like myself.  It’s progress, not perfection.😉

I’m also thinking about what I would like to do with the rest of  my life…. goals…. dreams….. I love my nursing job, but feel as though I need to expand my horizons. I often think about what It would be like to write book.  I love M&M with everything I have, But at times wonder what it would be like to have one more.   I wonder if I will get married again, or if I even want to…I have experienced deep true love…I hope for an everlasting relationship, knowing what I know now & what I have experienced the last  571 days.

I want to make a running comeback by my 40th Birthday.  I want to take my kids to Disney World (Someday).   I want them to know that making mistakes, mental illness, & hard times are all ok, it’s how you handle each situation that matters.  It’s ok to ask for help, its ok to not know all the answers.

As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of a song that my Aunt Ruthie mentioned on one of my earlier posts….

It has become my ‘theme song’ of sorts… I’ve come a long way, I don’t know what lies ahead, and I’m ok with that…

Unwritten, by Natasha Bedingfield

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Attitude is Gratitude

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I feel like I am way over due for a gratitude list… actually, I know I am.  Life has gotten busier, in many wonderful ways.  I have found  myself getting caught up In the craziness that is my life.  Mommy-hood, career, schedules, appointments, playdates, practices, social gatherings….it is all good stuff.  But….I find myself feeling a bit ‘squirrelly’ at times an uneasiness settles in my stomach. I’m not spiritually fit as I should be.  Huh???  Basically, I’m not doing all I can for my sobriety.  Yes I go to my meetings, yes I chat with sober friends, including my sponsor, yes I pray, and take time to be mindful, BUT, my lack of concentration and time has been lax.  So yes, I am calling myself out.  Even in the midst of my crazy busy fabulous life, I must keep my recovery 1st and foremost, other wise I can kiss every aspect of my life  goodbye.

So with that I write what I am most grateful for at this moment😊

1. My sobriety

2. The presence of God in my life today, I believe in my heart & soul that he is Always by my side.

3.  M&M, they amaze me every single day and they are the 2 funniest people I know!

4.  My family; they continue to support M&M and I, in more ways than I can count.  I’m especially grateful to my brother-law Dan, who has my back and makes me laugh 😉.

5.  My friends, those in the program and those who didn’t give up on me, I value each one of you and your uniqueness.

6.  My job.  Best patients, best co-workers, best facility, most rewarding.

7. Financial freedom, I am slowly paying off debt and am paying bills on time, something that was not happening to long ago.  I even got a brand new car a few months ago…that never would of been possible a couple of years ago.

8.  My health.

9. Self confidence &  self-awareness,  both missing most of my life.

10. Being honest.

11.  A good book.

12.  Netflix, seriously, my lack of productivity at times is a direct result, of Netflix😉.

13.  Naps.

14. Flowers, I often buy myself  small bouquet just because😊.

15.  A warm bed.

These  were the first items to pop into my head.   A bit random, but that is how a gratitude list should be.

I’m  going to try to make a stronger effort to keep gratitude lists, but for right now #15 is calling me😊

Going to bed with a grateful heart.

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The Not so Great Expectations

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I will preface this post with I am far from perfect & I don’t pretend to be, so with that being said;  I feel like my expectations have been heightened since I got sober. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking clearly and have cleaned up so much garbage from my past.  Maybe it’s because I believe the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous can be the foundation for heathy living for everyone, not just alcoholics.  Or maybe it’s because I expect others to change because I have. (See I even use the word on a regular basis!). I say all this even though deep down I know that I can only concern myself with me, and no one else.  But that is not always easy.  I find myself disappointed in others and myself when a situation or event or even the mundane day-to-day stuff doesn’t go as I had planned.  I try to hide my disappointment on the outside, but inside I’m hurt, sad, frustrated, irritated(just to name a few).  And mostly at myself. I feel the resentment build within me, almost as if I can’t catch my breath.  When I let it get to this point, I must take a step back & look at the facts.  The majority of the time these resentments are a direct result of the expectations I have placed on others &/or myself.  I really wish there was an easy way to stop this cycle!  I have been thinking and praying about this issue a lot lately, I don’t like feeling resentful, it does me no good.  Resentments can lead me down a dangerous path, a path my addiction would love to see me on.  When I was drinking I resented just about everyone and everything, in fact I resented the fact that my resentments made me drink(if that makes sense), which is typical alcoholic thinking.
I guess when it comes down to it, I just need to focus on the task or day at hand.  I can be hopeful. I can (& should)  act and not expect.  Most importantly I can turn it all over to the big guy upstairs, ‘he’ knows what ‘he’ is doing and what is best for me….’He’ has not let me down.  I sometimes forget that….

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The 1st’s in Sobriety

Let’s try this again….. sorry about the “technical” err, user difficulties😉…

Over the past 11 months a lot of stuff has happened, a lot of firsts and without a drop of alcohol.  Events that in the past would have required a drink, or 2 or 4…. you get the idea.  The divorce, a breakup, financial strain, birthday parties, summer festivities, class reunion, the day-to-day hassles and hiccups life throws at you, when I used to respond with, “I need a drink!”, and most recently, first dates.

I can proudly and confidently say that I got through the good, the bad, and the ugly with my sobriety intact.  To the “normie”(what we alcoholics call the normal social drinker), this may seem like no big deal, but to those of us who are recovering alcoholics, it is a very big deal.  As each event or situation comes my way and my sobriety remains intact, my confidence grows, and I grow more peaceful and content within.  Spiritual growth perhaps?

When I say confidence, I don’t mean cocky, I am not, nor do I want to become complacent.  My sober life today includes a core group of special women, including an awesome sponsor, who I am in constant contact with each and every day.  This group has my back always, and vice versa.  They will and have called me out on my shit.  Going into events or situations, I always have a plan, including exit strategies.  I know when to decline an invitation if I don’t think it will be  “safe” or comfortable for me.  I realize that some may not understand my reasoning, others may be offended, but my sobriety comes first and foremost.  Yes, even before my kids, (gasp), because if I do not protect my sobriety, if I decide to test the waters, so to speak, I would jeopardize and most likely lose everything that I have worked so hard to obtain and achieve.  The most  important  being the relationship with my kids.

So as we are in the “throws” of the holiday season, and I am venturing into the world of first dates, I am relying on all the tools I have collected over the last several months.  I must say that with each situation and or event that is  a “1st” in sobriety, I feel so incredibly grateful and humbled.  I  did this, I am doing this, and I will continue to do this, God willing.  And maybe, just maybe, my experiences, my story, can help another who maybe struggling.

Sobriety aint so bad😊