That Area…you know, that hurts!

That Area…you know, that hurts!

Completely and utterly blessed!

It is so very easy for me to say this when I am having a good day or more importantly things are going MY way.  If it’s not going my way then I am a very large 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum both in my head and to everyone that will listen to me and not want to listen to me, just let it go.

I don’t know why I do this, maybe because I haven’t grew out of that little child within me or maybe it’s because I just feel like I am right (That’s the sales person in me), or maybe it’s because I just like to debate…and that just boils down to wanting to be right.

Ever just come across a person that just irks you, that makes you lose control of what you say or do…it’s just an automatic reaction?

There is someone that I know that gets so under my skin and I love this person very much.  So many of my friends, family, and my sponsor say that the qualities that I see in this person is what I harbor in me and that is why it bothers me so much that I cannot control myself.  I practice a program and they do not, so I have to hold myself to different standards.

Most people in recovery will tell you…if it makes you feel something then you should look at it or what step are you practicing?  When it comes to this person I do not practice steps.  This person is controlling, selfish, and self-centered.  There is always motives when they do something.  When they are nice there is always a hidden agenda.  They will tell you they love you and that they care, but the only way to show it is to buy you something and then throw it in your face.  Love is not materialist anyway.

Overtime, after knowing them you see the real them…and I was always asked if you know they act like this, then why do you let it bother you so much?  You can say that I hold them to a different standard, I seek their approval, that I want to see them happy, but yet nothing ever makes them happy.

ENOUGH! THIS IS THE PROBLEM….WELL WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

The solution is within me, it’s my decision, my choices to entertain such negativity.  If they are exactly like me, an addict, but they do not have the drugs or hit their bottom yet to know they have these issues then I have to compassionate.  I have to listen to what is being said to me and not just react to everything that comes out their mouth or what they do.

I was told that if they are use to me being defensive, argumentative, and verbally aggressive than that is what they always expect of me.  How can you change anything if you do not do something different?

Step 1 – I cannot control them only myself and my reactions.

Step 2 – Do something different.  Instead of run at the mouth or cause myself grief; listen, be more agreeable, be loving towards a person that is sick.

Step 3 – Trust that the differences that I do portray will change the relationship dynamic.

Caveat: I do not have to accept the unacceptable!

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Hold up?  What does that mean?  I do not have to be a doormat.  Being agreeable does not mean letting them just walk on me and being taken advantage of.  For me, it’s always been all or nothing.  I do something and give it my all or I just will not do it.  Remembering that caveat protects me from going to extremes when trying to practice the steps that I have in my life.

There is so much more that I could say about this, but really that sums it up.  Its really just that simple.  The program I am in is just that simple.  I do not practice this perfectly, but it’s getting better.  If any part of this post has reached you, if you are still reading and going….wow, Andrea I know what you mean I can relate to this; I have a person in my life exactly like this and I do not know what to do…then just stop, know that you have a choice.

 

 

 

Red, White, and…Green

Red, White, and…Green

In light of my previous post last week, I wanted to start posting recipes on my journey to getting healthy.  I am going to start with just one recipe and then I will post more on a single post.

Over the past 2 years I have spent a lot of time battling what most Americans have been battling…trying to lose weight.  I have watched a lot of documentaries, read a lot of  articles, have gone to different meetings about supplements, and even became a team member for various types of weight loss programs.  Through it all I have learned a great deal about what and how to put stuff in your body.  I think the next thing I would like to study up on is how the body digests different foods.

You know, you always hear, don’t eat anything white, don’t eat processed, must be organic and forget about the gluten, but why?  What makes the body digest it differently than most?

I know maybe I should go to school to be a dietitian!!!

I don’t know why I always get off topic, but without further ado….THE RECIPE!

Zucchini Salad

I made this over the weekend as a test to see if my mom would like it, as well as myself.  It was a hit!  So I made it for my meal prep throughout the week.

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2 Zucchini

1/2 red onion

2 plum tomatoes

2 Tbsp Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette

3 large fresh basil leaves

Grated Parmesan

Use the zucchini noodle maker to create the zucchini noodles.  Place in large bowl.  Mince the red onion and combine with zucchini.  Dice the plum tomato and place in bowl with zucchini.  Fine slice the basil.  Combine all together and toss around.  Add Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette and toss again.

Serve.  Add Parmesan on top when serving.

I hope y’all enjoy this as much as my family and I did!

 

The ultimate drug…Food?!?!

The ultimate drug…Food?!?!

Everything that you do you need to change! Everything that you’re use to…you need to adjust!

Small consistent changes over time will produce large results.

This seems to be the forefront of what is going on.  That’s the thing if you are not changing for the better, then what are you actually doing?  For the longest time in my life I was lost, with no direction, no ambition to make changes or even further my life in any form.  Now that I am working on myself for the last few years I am coming to the point where I want to make not only the internal changes, but the physical changes as well.

There are blogs out there that are all specifically about recovery, about depression, about weight loss, healthy eating, and even about current events that affect us today.

What about life?  You know we always see the blogs or websites where the people are successful at the changes and this is how I did it.  I get a little frustrated with it because I see it so much; I want to see the struggle, the slow transformation….not the before and after pics.

I am not just talking about weight loss transformation here.

So much has been focused on my recovery because that is a huge a part of my life and what has given me my life, but I want to make sure I show other aspects of it as well.

This is reality…this is a single mother in America.

I lost my job in July last year and trying to survive without help and making $300 a week on unemployment will bring anyone to their knees.  They say welfare was designed to help Americans who need it.  I needed it, so I got on food stamps.  Those food stamps bought my daughter and I food that was actually healthy for us.  I was able to provide healthy meals.

In November last year I found a job.  I am not one to stay unemployed for very long.  Working give me direction and a sense of accomplishment.

I work at a place that is very reputable, that is one of the best companies to work for and the pay to start, well, is decent – or at least it was about 10 years ago.   The government decided to take away my food stamps because I made too much money!  I was making $200 more every 2 weeks after taxes then I was on unemployment, yet paying $600 more a month in daycare for my daughter.

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DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO ANYONE???

Their reasoning was that a family of 2 people in a household has to make less than $1700 a month BEFORE taxes!  Who can even survive off this!  Welfare was designed to help Americans get back on their feet, not keep them struggling because they can’t help you when it is actually warranted.  People that legitimately need the help CAN’T GET IT!

My daughter and I now can barely have the food we need in the house.  We are surviving and there is ALWAYS food in our belly’s, but it’s not the diet that should be fed to my baby or myself.  She needs more than carbs, fats, and processed food.  Food pantries are help, but you get the same types of food…processed.

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We wonder why there is the problem of obesity in America.  If we do not teach our kids about the food they put in our bodies this will continue.  We lead by example…going to the nearest fast food restaurant or buy all the quick frozen dinners at the grocery store is just showing kids that these food are what we should put in our bodies.

I am a heavier woman that is not a secret.  I grew up as a fit and somewhat thinner, but was considered “big boned.”  My mother was always in weight watchers and I saw her successfully lose 70 pounds through this program.  A lot of what she taught me about writing the food down, being conscious of what I am putting in my body has stuck with me, but I am stubborn, hard headed and impatient…so I lived in the trap of fast food and convenience.

I could be very real and just blurt out my weight, but this isn’t what I am going for here.  I want to feel comfortable again, I want to feel healthier, I don’t want my knees to hurt or back to hurt (surgery didn’t help that I am sure), I want to be confident again and feel sexy.  I am not looking to become some swimsuit model or even what we have been bombarded with by the media as beautiful, but I want to lose some pounds and become fit.

Recovery has taught me how to stay away from drugs and change my life for the better.  How can I view something that I need everyday to live…as a drug?  I used drugs to cover up the way I felt.  I eat when I am happy, sad, mad, stressed, so really what is the difference?

It is not that I do not think I am beautiful, people.  So I am not looking for compliments, I am beautiful, I am curvy and vivacious.  I am also beautiful on the inside and have a huge heart.  I just want to be fit.  I want to fit into the clothes that I chose and not what is available.  I know there are several other people out there that feel the same way as me.  Where are you?  Speak up!  Join me!

I want to talk about the real issues.  I want this to be real.  I want to know what you thoughts are, your feelings are.  I want to know your struggles with this and so many other topics.

You have to change EVERYTHING!

So much pressure!  Everything really?

People think that if you cut out this, if you limit yourself of that, and kill yourself doing, and then take this pill that the weight will magically fall off and stay off.  The thing to remember I didn’t get this way overnight and I certainly am not going to change everything overnight.

Small consistent changes over time will produce LARGE results.

Although, I do not have the extra money for the healthier food or the expensive name brand gluten free items I still am making it work.  I have been changing this now for the last 4 weeks.  I have changed from a frozen pizza every night when I get home to looking at it in a different perspective.

I am not the typical 9am – 5pm person.  I wake up later with my daughter and stay up later.  My schedule at work is what dictates this…so…my eating schedule had to change.

YOU CAN’T EAT LATE AT NIGHT WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!

Wrong!  I can as long as I do not go directly to sleep.  Since my body is use to a different schedule, when the clock turns 8pm my body doesn’t magically say to itself, “keep all this and store it” especially if I am active.

I have taken the food I eat and flipped flopped it around.  The traditional 3 meals a day consisted of a light breakfast, a little bit larger lunch, and a hearty dinner that we sit down with the family to eat.  WRONG!  I have changed to make my breakfast a little bit heavier with a healthy grain, lunch is moderate and dinner does not contain any carbs.  I have been doing this now consistently for 4 weeks.

I can’t tell you if I am seeing any results, but I can tell you that I feel better.  I have less bloating.  I have lost 4 pounds.  THAT’S IT?!?!  Absolutely!  This is a marathon baby not a race.

What I think I am going to do is incorporate some healthy recipe ideas and check in every week with the blogging world.  Maybe this can help someone stay motivated or you can help me stay motivated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ego, Pride…and a relationship?

Ego, Pride…and a relationship?

I have been focusing on the past or at least reflecting on the past and incorporating it into today’s issues; let’s fast forward to right now though.

I need to get this out!  I want to discuss something that is very current in my life right now.  Actually, there is a lot I want to discuss that is very current, but I want you to understand about me and my struggles of my past during active addiction.  Otherwise, I am just another crazy person out there rambling.

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I am overwhelmed.  I am struggling.  I am in fear and not operating in faith.  How does a person who has conquered so much in her life say that I am crippled in fear?  Fear of failure, fear of success…change, that is what is really the root of it.

How many times can you say, I faced my fear and overcame it?  I can say that it has happened a lot in my life.  When I do face it head on there is nothing but positive that radiates from the experience.  Even if the experience might have not turned out a complete success there is always something to be learned.

Right now, at this very time in my life, I can tell you about every bad thing from the financials that I am drowning in, to the lack of effort on both sides of the relationship with my sponsor and I, to the complete fear of making the decisions necessary in my life to change it.  For anyone who is in recovery or new to recovery, yes you can even experience a bottom clean.  This is new to me though, but the beautiful aspect of it all, the hope shot as we call it is, I can choose what my bottom is and I can change it at any time.

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What I am really struggling with is I AM HARD HEADED AND STUBBORN.  I have this situation in my life (ok, well a couple of them actually) where I need help.  What’s new, right?  The real problem lies within my ego and pride actually.

Pride…Ego! No, not me!  I have low self worth how can I ever have an ego?!

I think I can do this all myself…EGO!  I do not need help…EGO!

When I was with my son’s father he handled everything, he did everything, I didn’t even know how to pay bills or balance a checkbook (which thank god for online account because I still am pretty horrible at it), as a result he referred to me as one of his children, which I resented him for that for many years. Hindsight is 20/20 though, finally understanding that I was a child in every way.  I acted like a child, I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and went to any length to get it. When I left him I didn’t know how to do much, to pay bills on time or even pay them at all for that matter or anything else that adults do.

From that point on I vowed to myself that I would not let another man take care of me.  Where I come from or what my lifestyle consisted of was money always brought some form of power or manipulation.  In recovery, we strive to become fully self supporting declining outside contributions. I am a very literal type of person, so to me that statement means I should be able to do this on my own, to be able to work this tradition.

In actuality, this mean I should be able to get to the point where I can do this on my own.  Basically, what I am learning is as long as I am doing THE BEST I can that sometimes we need help and when God blesses me with the help do not deny it or it blocks other blessings.  I cannot wrap my mind around this.  There is always a catch, right?  There is always some ulterior motive, right?

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At work they gave us a little pot with dirt in it.  We are all growing plants at our desk.  Mine starting sprouting and it sprouted fast and tall, but thin and weak.  It died.  I gave up on the seedling, it withered to the dirt.  I placed my little green pot on the window seal at work and left for the weekend.

What the heck does this have anything to do with what you were talking about Andrea?

To my surprise I came to work on Monday and there was a strong seedling with bigger leaves and a thicker stem growing!  The moral of the story is, things are not always as they seem.  Sometimes when I rush to get things done or try to hurry through them because I think I can do it all myself that can cause that opportunity to die.  But when I can add a different perspective and take my time in a situation a strong foundation is able to be built and flourish.

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I don’t know if that made sense or not, but when I came in on Monday and saw that seedling sprouting (I named my seedling Bertha) all I could think of is how I related to my situation, were it needed the help of the sun to warm the soil and the water I gave it to help it grow.  It needed the help or the beautiful plant couldn’t grow.  The only remedy to pride and ego is humility.  That is admitting and accepting help when it is truly needed, that is part of loving yourself and having a healthy relationship with yourself.  I am not the great I am!

Today is a new day, new blessings, new start, new chances.

 

 

Choices…Decisions…Consequences. Nope You’re Not Gonna Make Me!

Choices…Decisions…Consequences. Nope You’re Not Gonna Make Me!

The hardest thing and I do mean the HARDEST thing is to make a decision in my life.  A decision ALWAYS implies action and execution.  Well, I am not good at that part especially if I have a lot of choices, then I have to think of the consequences…it hurts my brain just typing it out!  I wasn’t always like that though.  When I was younger, especially in my active addiction days, I could act very impulsively and just deal with the consequences later.  Some of those consequences I am still dealing with today.

I was rereading over my 4th step today that I wrote over and a half ago; just so I can remain fresh and understand my patterns.  Just in case you are reading this and are unsure what the 4th step is, We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Basically, I looked back over my life and made an inventory of the bad and the good of my life, so that way I can understand my patterns in the decisions, behaviors, and actions.  That way, prayerfully, I will learn not to repeat them.

I have come to the conclusion I have some memory loss due to my using because although I wrote this a year and half ago I forgot what was on it.  Funny how the brain works…you know when you can remember smells, exactly how something looked or felt from 20 years ago, but a year ago or even this morning you’re like, what did I do?

I can remember when I was a teenager talking to my friends and saying, “When I have kids they won’t get away with anything because I have done it all!”

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After reading this over again, I have to send out some prayers that my kids do not put me through even half of what I did when I was younger.  Through the years I have grown some longstanding resentments towards people, but what I have learned about resentments; just like everything else I have been learning, starts and ends with me.  Regardless, it all comes down to a choice…a decision.

I am getting pretty off topic at the moment, but I think that all needed to be said to really understand why I wanted to discuss this.  I was looking at all the decisions in my past and the majority of them were pretty bad.  I can’t even imagine what I was thinking when I made those choices; to lie to my parents, to sneak out almost every night, to steal money from my dad, to take taxi’s to my boyfriend’s house when I was in high school, to skip school, to do drugs, to become a stripper, to steal things, to stay with my abuser….can you imagine how much that weighs a person down.

I do know what I was thinking actually…self centeredness.  How can I get away with this?  I know some of it looking back was because I wanted attention.  I felt that my siblings got all the attention, so because I wanted what I wanted and I wanted attention, bad attention was better than feeling like I didn’t have any.  Even looking at the decision to be a stripper it was because I wanted attention and I would get it every night.

Every action has an equal or opposite reaction.

We are free to pick and chose as we please in this world, but the one thing we are not able to choose…consequences.  Oh Lord!  What in the world could happen if I did this?  Consequences come in both good and bad forms.  Some people call it karma.

Like the good addict that I am I try so very hard to control what those consequences, those outcomes are.  Even for all the decisions that I made in the past I tried to control the outcome and I didn’t even know it.  When I lied I tried to lie some more to get out of it.  That was just exhausting keeping up with all the lies that I told.  When my parents told me that I believed my lies, they were absolutely right.

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The consequences though were what really hurt.  My parents never believed me or trusted me (I don’t blame them a bit) and it wasn’t until I made the best decision of my life, to get clean that things were able to change.  In fact, it wasn’t until probably a year or more later that they started to put trust in me and even gave me the key to their house. I was changing the way I lived.  It has made me look at the decisions I make now differently.  I try to think them through.

I do not do this perfectly and what I am learning today is that my decisions won’t make everyone happy because I want everyone to be happy and like me.  That is a hard one for me to swallow.  I don’t know if this is something other people struggle with that are not an addict or codependent, but I would like to think it is.

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Hey! Hello! Did you even hear me?

Hey! Hello! Did you even hear me?

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A voice is a very powerful thing.  It can be soft and subtle, loud and boisterous,or stern and with a purpose; regardless of the voice it can come across and mean different things.  Have you ever experienced losing your voice though?

No, I am not talking on the literal sense, but lost your voice  to the point that you become a human doormat? If you stand for nothing you will fall for everything, I have been told.

I have always been in the sales field my whole life.  I have sold everything from Petro Heating Oil over the phone, to door to door sales for Cutco Cutlery (very very awesome knives, if you don’t have them you should look into investing), to customizable databases for businesses; a voice is very important, but not even as important as being heard.

My whole life I have felt muffled by the people around me. Work was the only way I was ever able to be heard properly because I was able to persuade people into what I have wanted them to do.  Ok, ok…my dad says I am a good B.Ser and maybe that’s it. Honestly, I do not even think that is categorized as having a voice, but to me people actually listened to me and I was actually right for once. Recently though I have had a real hard time with the fact that I have a voice or even how to use it.

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During my relationship with my daughter’s father it was his voice that was heard.  I couldn’t voice my opinion, I was wrong even if I was right.  Honestly, I think I have to go further back than that and retrace most of my relationships starting with the most basic one…my mother and I.  I can remember her saying that I should fear her.  I remember that even if I thought something different than what she told me I was wrong and that she was always right.  From then on I was always afraid to speak up for myself.  Besides, if I am always wrong anyways, why would I speak up?

That has always followed me my whole life; even today, with my mom if I speak up it’s virtually impossible to ever be anything but wrong and if I try to speak up 9 times out of 10 it causes a fight.  This will translate to anyone that I feel is of an authority figure.  Some will suggest to approach these situations in a different matter, but it is so deep-seated within me that sometimes I do not know I am even doing it.  Most the time when a person is so use to being wrong all the time they automatically take the back seat.  A few qualities surface as a person grows into a teenager and an adult: defensive, codependent, controlling, approval seeking doormat.

Wait, look at those words…how can all those possibly go together?

First and foremost, I want to make sure everyone understands…I do not blame my mom for any of this.  Maybe this was taught to her, maybe she is like me or I am like her rather and that it’s just getting passed down from generation to generation.  .

Ok, back to these qualities, these words that just seem so funny to be put together.  Let’s break it down.

Defensive                grsdfgdasf

According to dictionary.com this word has quite a few meaning.  (I like to look up words because half the time I THINK I know the meaning and I really don’t) The meanings that stood out to me are; 1. serving to defend; protective. and 2. excessively concerned with guarding against the real or imagined threat of criticism, injury to one’s ego, or exposure of one’s shortcomings.

I feel attacked more or less.

Based on my experience with this, if someone is trying to overpower me.  Let’s take my mom and I’s relationship; when she tries to tell me something that I know isn’t right I automatically get defensive with her.  It is a mechanism within me that gets switched on because I want to show her I am right.  This ALWAYS ends badly and always in a fight, frustrated and still wrong.

Codependent and Controlling    aid6421-728px-Recognize-a-Controlling-Person-Step-1

A lot of people misconstrue what codependent really is.  It is a word with so many meaning and just about everyone who is codependent has a different definition of it, but the core of itis manipulation and control.

Control is an illusion! Say that again, Control…is…an…illusion!

When I am around a person that I feel like I am not able to speak up for myself or have a “hard conversation” with I try to control the conversation, or how the outcome of it, or even if the person is going to like me by making sure to be a “yes ma’am” or “yes sir” type of person…people pleasing.  I’ll tell you a secret…NO is a complete sentence.  When you feel that you do not have a voice, you dance around that word like playing tag when you are a kid.

Approval Seeking Doormat        download

I know what you’re thinking….this sounds so mean! It is, but its the ugly truth about myself.  I would much rather be walked on by my friends and family then see them not like me.  It is much the same as people pleasing, but I think it is a little more.  When you not only want to make sure you are liked, you will not only try as hard as you can to make that person like you, but you will also accept or do some things that you do not want to which is essentially being a doormat or a push-over, which ever is easier for you take.

Why are you telling me all this? What does this stuff have to do with my voice?

All of these qualities can affect your day to day relationships with people; not just a romantic partner, but your friends, you boss, you family, or your children.  This is something that I struggle with.  There has been a situation placed in my life where I had to look hard at myself because I was feeling something that was not normal with a relationship.  It took me close to a year of approval seeking, of trying to control, and even getting defensive slightly with this person when I decided the pain was great enough and I need to do something about it…enough was enough.

I am the type of person that will have a conversation with a person then it takes a moment to fully digest or for me to fully take it in.  After this conversation I still have questions that have gone unanswered and it was the VERY questions that prompted me to have the conversation.  How does that happen?  It happens when I do not get everything that I wanted out, the questions I wanted answered…answered, or if something just doesn’t sit right.  Regardless, it all goes down to one basic fact….FEAR.

I say this reader, do not let someone over power you.  Stand up for yourself.  Practice this with me.  Remember: Stand for something or fall for everything.  Can we do this together?