Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the Mirror

The the hardest thing to do is to look at yourself even though we see ourselves everyday; in the mirror, on social media, or the million selfies we need to take to get the perfect one.  I know what I see in the mirror isn’t really what others see because of my self perception.  Call it low self esteem, call it low self worth, call it whatever you want; the fact of the matter is most people can see the outside of me.  The single mom with a decent car, decent job, little place in the country, doing it on her own.  Most categorize that as being strong and independent.  What people don’t see is truly what makes a person who they are…the inside.

Today was one of the toughest days in my recovery so far.  I had to have this hard conversation with my sponsor.  I don’t want to leave her, but my needs were not being met.  Before I approached her though I did a lot of looking at me, my actions and behaviors.  I needed to know what was I doing to cause this disconnect.  As we all know everything starts and ends with me, so I can’t totally put this issue on her. 
As our conversation started flowing there was a lot of emotions that have been trapped inside me that came out.  Although we didn’t come up with when I was going to schedule more time with her because at this point I need some attention in my recovery or the fact that I’m being held on a step that in our literature states we should not hesitate on doing this step…and that was the point of the conversation. I really hate confrontation.


I say all this to come to a place where looking in the mirror is more than just the outside appearance which is 9 times out of 10, a facade.  The most painful things about me are harbored deep within me.  I am so afraid to let anyone see me as anything less than perfect.  That I have spent my whole life saying I do not want to be like my mom, yet those character defects that she possesses are what is ingrained in me so deeply, which makes it so hard to accept myself as well as her. The fact that, if I am not a good at everything, that I don’t show you that I am doing the work, then I won’t get your approval.  

After all we all just want to be accepted and liked.

I guess once we really see ourselves for who we are; good, bad, or indifferent there is only one thing that can be done…change I must or die I will.  Maybe not die on a literal sense, but there is a death that can happen on the inside or even spiritual death that can be just as painful as the real thing.  It can drag you to this place and keep you there…out of fear, out of denial, out of not wanting to do what has to be done.  Believe me I know I’ve been there both in and out of recovery.

I wish I could see what others do.  Maybe then I would be able to say that I like myself more than what I do.  Don’t get it wrong,  I like myself a little, but I don’t accept myself.  Today, right now, it’s going to be a long road to change what I need to change to become the person I have always wanted to be and God intended me to be.  It’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it.


To the person reading this…that can relate…not just to the real life situation, but the pain of being this person that is struggling to be who they always wanted to be:  You are not alone.  I am here with you and maybe we can do this together.

Let’s Talk About…Love Baby…

Let’s Talk About…Love Baby…

What the heck is love anyway?  I’ve thought I have been “in-love” before, I have told people I love them when I really didn’t, and didn’t really know what love was until I became a mother; even then I don’t think I do it perfectly.  When you get into the a 12 step program they talk about, “We will love you till you can love yourself,” “unconditional love,” and “you have to love yourself before you can love someone else.”  Let’s pick this apart here.

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We will love you till you can love yourself, with unconditional love, but you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.  

What!! Is this for real?

Yes, absolutely!

It is the weirdest thing I have ever experienced, but it works and it really shows a person how love can have such a powerful presence in one’s life, all by example.  I can remember my first meeting  (I am sure if you are aware of 12 step programs what I am about to say or have heard it a million times already) I sat in the back of the room and intently listened to the stories, thoughts and emotions that were being expressed.  All I could think was, Wow I have done that.  Are you kidding me?  I felt that way too.  I spoke up and just said a simple, “I need help.”  People were cheering, people told me I was important, and most of all they hugged me like I have never been hugged before.

What is this?  Why are people hugging me?

Out on the streets I have never got hugged like that; with such passion and empathy with each person.  That was the first time I felt unconditional love.  These people wanted nothing in return from me, but for me to get better a day at a time.  Was this love?

It took some time for me to understand what this love was all about.  My time, thus far in the program,  has been calm waters for the most part.  As I have told you in other posts that I was in an abusive relationship before I got clean, well what I haven’t told you was that man decided to follow me down to Virginia to “get his family back.”  Since I was very, very early in my recovery I wanted to make my family work, I wanted to be loved, and I wanted to show my daughter the same love that was given to me when I was growing up with a mother and father in the same house, and I thought no other person is going to love me because I didn’t love or accept myself.

He no longer…physically…abused me, but emotionally and verbally did, but I made excuses for him because I thought I loved him and he was in a bad spot…but he was trying.  I became his sponsor and he became my Higher Power.  In February 2015, I just had learned my patterns and a little on how I ticked.  What I would accept and keep on accepting because I didn’t know any better. Until that day when it was shoved in my face; he told me he was lying to me the entire time.  He had been using under my nose.  While I was working a full time job to support us, take care of all the bills, our daughter, go to meetings, do the laundry, and show him attention…he was out getting high.

Whoa! Stop the music! What just happened here!

Enough was enough!  I finally found enough worth in myself. I finally found enough love for MYSELF that what he was doing was not acceptable to me.  That I would rather be by myself with my daughter than with a man that was lying to me. That didn’t show me love in any form.

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We will love you till you can love yourself, with unconditional love, but you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.  

I finally got it! The greatest example of love was learned by the relationship with my sponsor. She taught me what was acceptable, how to show love (and not in the physical form which is what I thought love was) and slowly showed me how to receive love.  Unconditional love is love without wanting anything in return.  My ex’s love always came with a price; I love you baby….do this, do that, can you get me this…awe baby I love you thank you.  Finally, I understood the fact that he did not love himself, so it’s not that he didn’t love me, he didn’t know how to love me.

No one can tell you how to love yourself, or if you’re ready to love another person.  Even when my son was born, during the start of my real downfall of my active addiction years, I knew I loved him, but I was very unsure how to show him that love.  My idea of what love was consisted of spending money and gifts.  I have always associated love with gifts that you can give a person because that was what my mom did.  We use to get into arguments when I was younger and then my mom would take me shopping to show me she was sorry and she loved me.  After that she would say well look at everything I have done for you, I love you sweetie.  Love always came with a price or a condition.

It wasn’t until I had my daughter that I truly started to understand what love really was.  That I knew that it had to be more than what I was able to give her materialistically to show her love or at least I knew that I wanted to show her more than just that.  Thank goodness for the 12 step fellowships that helped me not just HOPE I could show this to her, but taught me how to love her, myself, and others.

No one person is perfect, so I will not say I am perfect at this on any given day, but I can look back and see the progression and say now, I understand what love is and what love isn’t.

We will love you till you can love yourself, with unconditional love, but you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.  

Too Much Too Handle…Expectations on Ourselves

Too Much Too Handle…Expectations on Ourselves

“I am suppose to be further in life! Why haven’t I been able to do this right?  She did it this way, why wasn’t I able to do it like that? I am suppose to be making this much money, man I am such a stupid loser.”

Ever say this?  I know I have; sometimes a little bit too much.  I am always hard on myself.  I AM my worst critic.

When I was on drugs, I literally thought I was going to die high and there was no way around that.  What I thought about myself was not the greatest…I am too fat or I was a failure was the two biggest thoughts that constantly went across my mind.  Even getting high though, I had these preconceived notions, visions even for the way my life was suppose to turn out – Graduate at 18, go to college graduate at 23, get married at 25 and babies and a house by 28.  That was one heck of a plan and so much pressure I put on myself.  If I didn’t achieve this I was a failure.

This plan, these…expectations, set me up for resentments towards myself as well as others.  What I have learned in the last few years about resentments are that it always stems from me or a situation that happened in my life that started with… well me.  The choices I made in my life caused my life to go in a completely different direction.  Until I was able to let that go, to ACCEPT that things happen in life and it is not always going to turn out the way we EXPECTED.

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Needless to say, the only thing that has rang true with the vision of my life was that I graduate high school at 18.  Shortly after 18, I became a stripper, but because stripper was a dirty word to me I called myself a “visual entertainer.” I was determined to show my parents that I could survive on my own, whatever it took.  That was a very short career for me because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, I am a people pleaser, and it disappointed my dad.  Thinking I should be able to take on the world by myself, at age 18, was a very silly notion.

I am getting off topic a little, that will be for another post.  Due to the decision to work there and make it on my own, I got hung up in a lifestyle that takes a lot of people out of this world in a box.  One day in 2013, I woke up and looked around me; I was in an abusive relationship, in an empty apartment, I felt empty inside, and my relationships I had with other people were just as empty as the apartment I was living in was.

Now, completely off drugs and living a “normal” life (what is normal, anyway?), I have a whole different set of expectations.  Why can’t I figure this out?  I am 3 years clean, I shouldn’t be acting this way.  They are 3 years clean and on step 6, why am I only on step 5?  I should have a great paying job, graduated college and starting to pay off my debt by now, my Lord I am 32 what’s wrong with me?  Why am I never enough?

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Why is it so hard for people to just accept life and live in the present?  Living in the present is a very hard concept, but if it can be done, will release a person from the expectations we put on ourselves.  Expectations have always caused me to self hate giving me the lack of self acceptance. I have learned to not place expectations on others because I do not want to be let down, but when it comes to me, it is so very hard.  In fact, 95% of the time the expectations on myself are what causes my greatest pains.

I was on the way to work today and was thinking, (That generally can get me in trouble.) but when you have a 40 minute commute there is plenty of time to think.  It hit me, everything stops in my life as a result of this.  Just looking back on my life the past couple of weeks it has become evident of this.  What I mean by this is because I think I should be able to do everything on my own, carry everything and be able to do it all flawlessly, I fail to realize that life can be harsh sometimes.  Recently, I have had a few “abrupt turns” in my path in life which has landed me completely stressed to the point of making myself sick and in the ER, dizzy from dehydration and bronchitis.

I say all this to make a point; to myself and whomever else this may reach, that I can’t carry this all by myself.  I expect perfection from an imperfect world and it causes nothing but depression, not eating, not sleeping, not drinking, and in the hospital.  It’s time to take life back.  Yes the bills might not get paid on time, yes I might not be a perfect recovery addict, yes I might have to make changes in my life to adapt to what is happening, and yes I MIGHT HAVE TO ACCEPT HELP.

Wooo boy, accept help, that’s a rough one!  Today, let’s look at life differently and let’s give ourselves a break.

Awareness is Key – Change is Possible

Awareness is Key – Change is Possible

From the blogs that I have read in the past I noticed a lot of the bloggers first posts were started with something to the effect of not sure how to start a first post.  Honestly, I do not know either, but something was posted to my FaceBook this morning that struck me hard that I figured would be a good first post because it is so near and dear to my heart.

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Click to hear his story.

August 31, 2010 – The day the breath was taken out of me.  I can remember that day so vividly.  I was with my boyfriend at that time finishing up my work from home opportunity I was working on.  The smell of dinner was filling the house.  Then…the phone rang.  I answered it and it was static, but I heard my dad’s voice very vaguely.  They lived in Fredericksburg, VA.  They tried calling me back and just static again and faintly my dads voice.  It was breaking up so bad and I knew where my dad was heading at that time.  He was headed out to where my brother lived.  That was the only place where cell phone service goes to die.

Finally, a clear connection.  Then those words that will stay with me the rest of my life, “He’s gone.”  My little brother was dead.  He committed suicide.  All I can remember was coming to my knees not being able to breathe, to think.  I just wept this cry that I don’t think anyone has cried before and screamed no!

This is something that happens on a daily basis here America.  Unfortunately, it is a subject that most just sweep under the rug.  That won’t happen in my family and if it does we can’t talk about it.  It is disease that is sweeping the nation silently, but luckily it is gaining a little more exposure and people are starting to realize it as more than the person’s fault they are the way they are.

Addiction, depression, bipolar disorder…suicide.  My brother was an addict like me.  His suicide note said he felt like a bad person.  Most people think that addicts; people with depression or mental disorders, they are misunderstood or they are bad in some way.  We are not like that at all.  We are good people plagued with this “monster” inside us that screams to be fed, so we make bad decisions.  That’s it.  Some decisions are more permanent than others.

Not all my posts are going to be this serious, but in light of it being Mental Health Awareness Month and specifically Mental Health Awareness Week it is important that the message be carried that this is real, this does affect people and everyone around you.

My brother did not die in vain though.  Since 2010, my family and I have connected with other individuals in our community that have similar stories.  Just in the last 6 years the numbers are growing significantly.  My father has spoke at the Out of the Darkness walk last year to let other know about his story to keep my brother alive.  Without awareness there is no possibility for change.  Do not sweep this under the rug and let’s bring this to light!

I am not sure this will have the effect that I am hoping for, but if I can reach one person with this and just let them know YOU’RE NOT ALONE.  If you want help, it’s here.  Just reach out.

dsfsd