Category Archives: reform

Half a World Away

Half a World Away

Go ahead, give it a click. Aurora is quite lovely.

Coincidentally (or not?, if you’ve followed my journey of signs on this blog), she happens to be my newest artist discovery. A childhood friend shared her and it appealed to me and now, I cannot stop listening.

Turns out, Aurora is also a city in Colorado where there is a job with my name on it.

Well, I hope my name is still on that job. Allow me to explain what I have been up to in these past weeks. On the 5th of April I attended the Teacher Fair of which I spoke in a previous entry. Here I connected with five or six viable districts who were in need of services I could excel at providing. I had some nice leads. As luck would have it, my offer came in a form other than what I expected, but that I have grown to love.

I have been offered the position, there is the matter of the contract remaining. So, it’s as if we are moving and getting our wish granted, but kind of  NOT, all at the same time.

So, we are digging through the boxes in the attic and purging our home of clutter and things we simply do not need anymore. We are excited about taking very little with us and starting over and buying new. Our attitude toward home furnishings has changed. We want practical and temporary – not lifetime pieces. We did that already and that beautiful cherry furniture served us well, but it is time to let it go to serve someone else.

As one can imagine, it’s been a busy and kind of stressful time lately. My current students are doing a great job reinforcing my desire to leave and I am just tired and nervous and scared and elated and re-energized – and…and…and…

ALIVE.

And thriving.
So! Here’s to making it SUCCESSFULLY through a THIRD OF A YEAR (Day 121, y’all!) without drinking! For all the craziness right now, I can trust one thing – myself. I can finally trust myself after years of second guessing. Could be age, could be new brain pathways forming in my noggin while detoxing…No matter – I can make big decisions and trust that I am leading my family, instead of being led by that saboteur, alcohol.

Cheers to new adventures!

(whatever they may be!)

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Physical changes

I don’t really know a lot about BMI and water percentages, but I got a new scale in the midst of tracking changes in my body during my first days and months of sobriety and I think I have some decent results. I decided to post here today as I currently have no shorts or jeans that I cannot pull on and take off without buttoning or unzipping. I am back to my regular size, but I feel petite yet strong.

But, that means the yoga pants I took out of the spring/summer bin are a bit big.

Body Data

I’m not sure if you can tell anything by these “before” pictures, but I can’t find the ones where I showed my big belly. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)IMG_0438IMG_0425Being good to my mind and body has been good for my soul.

 

 

 

 

100 days of sobriety

I got a little off schedule with posting. I’ve been “working” on a draft for a week, but mostly, I have just been laying low. The production was a wild success and I have been getting reacquainted with reality. And having free time.

Right now I don’t quite know what to make of the time that was spent in rehearsal for three months, but I do know I am not spending it drinking. Staring at walls, maybe, but not drinking.IMG_1545

I was cleaning out the fridge this weekend (okay, so maybe more than staring at walls) and noticed that I have a little split of champagne left over in there for a guest. Before that would have been GONE the second I didn’t want to go to get wine one night.

I have been noticing the beer in there as my husband still likes to have one once a week or two, but it struck me to see see that this is Shiner CHEER, their winter holiday blend. It’s in my fridge – IN APRIL. Come to my house, I can offer you a beer!

Today marks 100 days of sobriety. Other than being kinda bored with seltzer water, I feel like I’ve got this. Now I just have to work through the awkward small talk moments on my own at social gatherings and I’ll be a pro. I am definitely not there yet, but I know with time I can do it. Practice, practice, practice.IMG_1558

Cheers! Have some bubbly with me!

Tonic and Lime, please.

10 weeks. 70 days.

For ten weeks I have not allowed alcohol of any kind to pass my lips. Strange that even though my last drink of choice was red wine, the drink I miss the most is BEER.

Ice cold draft beer.

It’s a great time to live in Memphis as there are craft and micro breweries popping up all around town. There are a fair number of outdoor events and the food truck craze is full on here. Couple that with spring weather and a nice afternoon in a hammock…a beer is an excuse to take a break and I sure do forget to do that.

img_4848That one time I spent TEN WHOLE MINUTES resting in my son’s hammock. I likely had an afternoon beer after I snapped this proof that I do stop moving sometimes.

 

When I was looking at how to quit drinking this summer, one of the options I thought to give myself was to allow only beer when out and about at festivals and concerts. In my mind, I was pleased with the image of being “that” kind of drinker. That image appeals to me, but the jury is still out … not sure if I even want to think about what might be in store for me – someday. Gotta concentrate on today.

Based upon the limited recovery reading I have had time to do, it doesn’t sound like a “healthy” relationship with alcohol is likely in the cards for a girl like me. The data indicates that I’ll be fine with a beer or two at first, but that after time, and a short one at that – I’ll be chasing 12 packs and kegs again because those addiction pathways are deep and not easily mended by a little sobriety thrown into the mix.

So, I continue to choose NOT to drink. Went to a concert Saturday night for a college and life-long favorite, Ben Folds. Ordinarily, I’d have “pre-gamed”having at least two drinks before I even left. Then I’d have spent half of the evening wondering how I was drinking so fast and when I could get another drink from the bar without missing my favorite song. Or, I’d have spilled all over myself and been an embarrassment. That last part’s not entirely true, but it has happened before. At minimum, the drinking at the concert would have been automatic. It may well have been my first sober concert ever.

Turns out that I was perfectly happy drinking a tonic with lime. They actually didn’t have lime wedges, so the bartender used lime juice and it was DELICIOUS! It’s like I play a little game with myself – where I used to call it a “treat” to have an alcoholic drink (even though I would have four or more daily), I now reframe it and call my “non-alcoholic replacement drink” a gift to myself. Something about allowing that psychological process to happen is helping to shift things for me.

I have always struggled with self-talk. My inner critic is a blazing ASSHOLE. My mother was (is) very critical. She’s wicked smart, but because she had me at 15, she lost out on many opportunities to advance herself. She made a wonderful career in the USAF and obtained her Bachelor degree in journalism, but she still has untapped potential. She is an authority on just about everything. So, I carry that with me and it’s loudest when I am not perfect. You know, all the time. 

Strangely, I find it easier to silence that critic now that I am free from alcohol. There’s less happening in my brain to confuse the issue. Things are far from perfect and I have a heaping lot of mess to sort through yet, but I can much better discern bullshit from truth.

Good thing, since my 2017 word is TRUTH.

I’m getting plenty of it.

 

Gong Sound Bath

You may have noticed I have been interested in all things holistic lately and engaging in the closest I can get to a toxin free life. I have worked to heal my mind through various talk therapies over the past thirty years. EMDR was a wonderful way to put a good seal on my childhood sexual abuse and the assault that took place in college. Now I am trying to finally remove myself from the family traumas of my youth.

I think a large step toward that came when I enlisted the assistance of a group on Facebook called SearchSquad to locate my biological father. They helped me also to craft a letter and made suggestions about how to send a self addressed stamped envelope and photographs. It has been almost 9 months and I have heard absolutely nothing. The first months brought a touch of sadness when the mailbox didn’t contain my SASE and then, after a while, I just forgot to look for it.

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Meanwhile, my relationship with my mother remains at a distance. I am allowing her the space to be consumed with her latest grandchild. My parents have somewhat recently moved to Texas, about two hours from my only sibling (yes, half brother) and his wife. They have married and had a child in these past three years. Prior to this, my parents had moved from Louisiana to my father’s hometown in Massachusetts. This cut our regular visits dramatically.

I have had a struggle with hurt feelings and longings for my family to be something that it is not, has never been and likely simply never will be. And it has been a bitter pill, indeed. So I continue to measure my words and stay aware of my expectations and ground them in reality. My breath work in this regard has been most helpful.

My husband and I have been considering a move to be closer, but this is such a complicated situation and there is a tugging that tells me to go on ahead and fly out. I booked my flight Tuesday to see what Colorado might offer and I could really use a few signs from the universe to the effect of whether or not we are heading down the right path.

Naturally, when I saw this Gong Sound Bath at a local holistic studio, I signed up and then in a fun twist, invited my husband and he decided to attend as well.

“Immerse yourself in healing vibrations at our upcoming Gong Sound Bath. Sound healing has been shown to relieve stress and tension, combat anxiety, help regulate sleep cycles and digestion, normalize blood pressure, and create feelings of overall health and happiness.
Aaron, a professional drummer/percussionist with fifteen years experience, has fallen in love with the gongs. The vibration of the gong impacts the body and its meridians on a physical and emotional level. Prolonged exposure to its sound can activate higher states of consciousness and trigger inner healing of deep emotional traumas. If you have wanted to experience a more meditative state, but felt some assistance could be of service, the gong could just be that friend (or tool) you were looking for.

Lie back, relax, and rejuvenate at our Gong Sound Bath. Blankets and bolsters will be provided. Please bring pillows, special supports, and whatever else you need to lie down comfortably for one hour.”

My husband seems to have really enjoyed it so I hope it resonates with him. (Yes. Sorry, not sorry.) I read that the effects can stay in your body for three days. I think that’s glorious. It was a carefree hour and I got completely lost in the sound, the moment.

I have linked the research I have done about sound therapy directly for you here, here and here.

I look forward to the signs that will eventually come…

Edit: Once I hit publish, I directed my attention back to the single piece of mail that had been placed on my desk while I was writing. A direct mailing for Planned Parenthood, an organization with which I have no real personal familiarity, but that arrived practically in my lap today. I was reminded of going to the local health clinic at age 15 or 16 to get my first gynecological exam and a prescription for birth control – you know, just in case, since I was the product of a fifteen year old getting pregnant…

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Keep the signs coming…I can take it.

Breathe in, breathe out

Heal the trauma and the decisions will make themselves…

Second edit: Even later after I published,  I looked down at my arm where I had put a temporary tattoo the day before. I had kind of randomly selected one of the quotes that didn’t resonate as much…”the universe doesn’t make mistakes – you belong”

Just going to keep listening…

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(yes, those “track marks” in the crease of my elbow are from lithium toxicity tests)

 

First Dream

I have taken a much needed day off work to keep to myself today – a “mental health” day if you will. I was putzing around and just realized that I think I had a glass of wine or a beer at an event I attended during a dream I had last night. I left a long day (and a week of Mondays) into evening at work to go home and address some personal issues with my son and his behavior affecting his education and I remember thinking as I got into my car, tuning out with a glass of wine would usually be in order about now. But I knew I wouldn’t and didn’t actually want to. The thought went through my consciousness as quickly as it came.

First of all, dreaming is pretty much a thing of the past. Well, it was, until now. How ironic that I should have my first dream in as long as I can remember after I spend sixty sober days and it is about drinking?

So many thoughts to process. Which rabbit hole shall I travel? The more I think about it, the more real the dream felt on a visceral level. I was ashamed of doing it.

These dreams are normal.

This forum has a thread of experiences posted by many others with drunk dreams. It seems to me that this might be common in these first months of sobriety. Looks like that is right on target. Textbook case.

I am looking forward to witnessing a blossoming dream world in my sobriety. I remember many years ago the revelations I was in tune with in my dream as a young adult, before I began to drink dreams away, unbeknownst to me all the while. I have been tossing around the reality that soon I will begin Julia Cameron’s “morning pages”. I have to wrap up the current youth theatre production at the end of March and then I will be able to explore it further.

Though I started The Artist’s Way on December 27th, my first day of sobrietyI quickly realized I would have to put it on hold until a prior commitment came to pass. I also wanted to firmly establish my morning  yoga and breathing ritual that I began attempting on January 3rd. Currently, I am just shy of a week of 100% mastery of that goal. I have talked about those morning routines here and here. I may elect to begin exploring the idea of morning pages before I conclude the play – perhaps when I have a dream that needs to be recorded. I want to make up for lost time now that my mind is healing, and I want to take full advantage of all of these rich experiences without getting completely overwhelmed.

I got the help of my husband to finish the shelving project in my study.

I just love this room of my own.

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New Imaginings

I wept at the beginning of yoga this Saturday. The instructor created a really great flow that happened to work well for me and I was more able to get out of my own mind and just BE in the pose and spend the time with myself. I cried in meditation too. After weeks of not being sad or anxious at all, really. I don’t know if I have managed to put a spell on myself or what, but I feel a gamut of emotions, but they just wash over me, like the tide. Eb and flow.

Nothing rattles my cage much and I think that my calm affects the entire home. I do not say that to be egotistical, but realistic. We ALL affect one another. I have worked so hard and studied so much to change and help my youngest son  and while that has been a noble cause and much progress has been made, I promise that my work on myself will go further.

I am intentionally creating a better life for myself. I had a vision of what I thought it would be and there has been a peeling away of many unnecessary layers in recent years and this is the last big one. Underneath this one is the truth of who I am. I have always known that I am a treasure to be sure, but trauma has a way of dulling one’s shine.

There are many resources available these days which link addiction and trauma and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Of course, an additional connection I also share is the link between giftedness and all of those things. I think back to Grace saying I have been running from crazy all my life. It’s true.

No one taught me about my gifts.

No one explained “giftedness” to me. I thought I was supposed to be smart at everything and get perfect grades. When others in my class of “Talented and Gifted” kids succeeded in ways I could not, it never occurred to me to consider the ways I excelled in which they did not. Looking back at that now, it seems silly. But that is how retrospect works, I suppose.

I am grateful to be able to read articles like this one now. I feel like I have misinterpreted myself all these years. It looks like the work of Stephanie S. Tolan will be some interesting reading  for me as I stumble through this latest discovery. I find the link between my giftedness and low self-esteem as this article describes in studies. I visited her website, but found that my primary interest is with her blog, The Deep End.

I remember my giftedness being fostered when I was in Germany in the Department of Defense schools and I recall some off campus programming once my parents were stationed in Florida. Unfortunately, those exploratory courses (the two I remember best were about government, specifically electoral college and latex mask-making) gave way to honors academics. No longer were creative outlets or alternate teaching methodologies relevant or seen as appropriate offerings. Kids like myself suffered.

How many others are out there who also feared their gifts, not seeing them for their promise but instead seeing a burden? How many years did I keep drinking because I thought I had found a “delicate balance” and didn’t want to upset it into “crazy” territory? All the while, I was creating new, negative pathways in my brain and I had no idea. Why do they not teach us these things in school? How much of this can I teach in school?

Where can I go to turn this into a career? This is very much where my FLOW STATE gets rolling…theatre, drama, film, trauma, giftedness, writing, speaking, yoga, play, addiction, energy, therapy…I want to be able to delve into this more regularly. I wish I could teach workshops to teenagers or even elementary school kids. I have so many ideas and so much I could offer if I could just figure out the HOW…

Until I figure out what I am going to do for “the rest of my life,” I very likely will engage in Reiki training and yoga teacher training as early as this summer. I just booked my trip to Colorado Springs and Greeley to check out their teacher fair in April. My oldest is moving into 8th grade next year, so we’re cutting things close for our dream of moving from where we have lived for almost twenty years. We keep trying and had some interviews for Germany, South Korea (Department of Defense schools) and two positions in Austin, TX last year. Still working that angle again this year, but expanding to Colorado.

Worst case scenario, I see Colorado for the first time and also a former colleague and maybe even my best friend from seventh grade (we’ve seen each other since then, but not after 1991). Best case scenario: we have the possibility of a completely different everyday reality.

Cheers! I’ll drink to that!img_8375

 

Pro Life?

Full disclosure – I am not a particularly political person and if I were, I never would have thought that I would post something from Chris Christie – but I sure am. And I hope you’ll be open-minded too and take a minute to think about whose lives we value life in America.

This clip goes well with my post from yesterday and I was delighted to find it this in my Facebook feed.

“I think that if you’re pro-life, that means you gotta be pro-life for the whole life, not just for the nine months they’re in the womb.”

Rethink drug and alcohol treatment