daily entry, personal, recovery

day 401 – you + me


So, I’m participating in a little thing called the “Fall in Love with You” challenge over on the good ol’ instagram and today’s prompt, day 12, is “your passion.”

And so, here’s what I know…
My passions are this: you + me.

My passion went from being a slow-burning build up, to a fire that cannot be tamed.

My passion has been discovering myself, what I like, what I don’t like, what areas I want to explore, what areas are best left alone, who I am, what I want, and ultimately where I want to go from here.

I literally spent all of my 20’s trying to be everything and everyone but me. Looking back, I really was an identity fraud of sorts. It wasn’t intentional… at least it didn’t start out that way, it just kind of snowballed and gained momentum as the years went by.

I mean, I was good at certain aspects and roles in my life, but when I would lay my head down each night, all I knew was that I was lost, miserable, and basically a shell of a person, hollowed out entirely and no real grasp or desire to recapture any potential I once had.

I was good at maintaining a personal narrative full of redundancies and self-pity, and even better at complaining but never moving myself into action. It cost me lots of friends, but even more so, it cost me a complete loss of identity.

So, over the last 13+ months, I’ve patiently unlearned all my destructive behaviors and replaced them with creating the person I am still becoming at this very moment.

I’ve been picking up bits and pieces of the identity I competely destroyed and abandoned, and am continuously falling in love with myself more and more each day.

That being said, the more I continue to better myself and really become an example + living proof that we can and do recover, the more I find myself finding my voice as well as a path to the future: which is where you come in.

As I become the best person I can be, I become more determined to both nurture myself AND give myself to those who need it. A little “puff, puff, pass” if you will, about inhaling all of life’s blessings, and wanting to share/pass them on to others.

*~Getting naturally high on life, if you want to get literal~*

I’ve become increasingly passionate about accepting how beYOUtiful I really am, as well as how uplifting + empowering our sober commUNITY is; and all of these things are JUST. GETTING. STARTED.

My passion is something greater than myself, and I’ve never felt more alive and/or fulfilled than I do now. Showing up, speaking out, helping others, encouraging others, LOVING others is what/where I was destined to be all along.

So if ANYTHING good has come out of my past, it is all of these things, and I am grateful for them every single millisecond.

Here’s to you.
Here’s to me.
Here’s to us.

Here’s to the future; may it be wild and bright and limitless.

daily entry, misc, personal, recovery

day 385 – an ode to recovery month

Did you know September is National Recovery Month?

Probably not. Hell, I didn’t know or even care until recently, to be honest. I’m willing to bet that unless you, or someone you know and deeply care for is currently or has previously struggled with addiction, substance abuse, and/or mental illness… you probably think this has nothing to do with you, and will most likely skim over this like the vast majority of your feed. Which is fine, and maybe this (*~recovery thing~*) will never be something that infiltrates its way into your life. Should you be so fortunate to not have to really try and understand and digest what all this entails of, that’s awesome. It really, really is. However, for me, this is a subject that I have become really well-versed in and heavily focused on over the last 385 days, and I’m here to be as evangelical as shit about a multitude of things because I’ve finally found my fucking voice, and it’s about time I speak up and use it for something good.

The world needs more good in it, yeah? The world def needs more good… and love, understanding, empathy, compassion, and the list goes on and on.

Anyway, in regards to the few friends I’ve managed to keep in touch with via Facebook, I’ve stayed mostly quiet about my past struggles with alcohol abuse, minus a few milestones I’ve hit over the last 385 days (as I should, because I’m REALLY fucking proud of myself and how much I’ve evolved and grown as a person, woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and working professional). However, since September is winding down, I found it appropriate to write an open letter to those same people, about mental illness, addiction, substance abuse, sobriety and recovery, because today I don’t feel like being quiet. Today I feel like being unapologetically honest, real, raw, vulnerable, and explicitly vocal about these things, because I have a firm belief there are several people (unbeknownst to me) that need to see and read something such as this – this testimony of mine, and how insanely important it is to COPE and COMMUNICATE.

Those two “c” words can be awfully overwhelming for some people, so I’ll throw in COURAGE and CONQUER for good measure, because those words are more motivational and powerful sounding, and aren’t nearly as intimidating.

I’m not really sure where to start, because I’ve got a pretty colorful past that’s heavily punctuated with shameful moments (some I remember, some I don’t), narrative redundancies as they pertain to my interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, mental breakdowns, spells of deep depression, and an overall lack of honest perception and perspective of myself and the world around me. If we’re being honest, I truly believe almost all of my friends-turned-acquaintances have seen me drunk out of my mind, and sadly some of them saw me that way more than once. And while most (all) of them have moved on from those times… (and let’s face it) moved on from me and them knowing each other, except for what’s shared on social media… I still hold onto those moments, and they usually come to me in stabbing strobes of fragmented recollections, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it can be excruciating and almost panic attack inducing.

My flashbacks are terrible. They are terrible and vivid, and I hate them as much as I love them. I love them because they’re a part of what’s helped me stay the course, and serve as forever humbling reminders that I don’t EVER have to be that person again. While I know I can’t change the past (and somedays I have to really try to let things go completely), I know I can use the past to help shape my future. A future I once honestly believed was unattainable.

I did a really good job at convincing myself that a lot of things in my life were shitty, and am eternally grateful I am fortunate enough to have been able to wake up and see things for what they really are, and it’s bonkers how much I have fallen head over heels in love with things that have been right in front of me the whole time. All these magical things I’ve found in the mundane are 100% thanks to the gift of sobriety and entering a life of recovery.

Anyway, as far as my personal story goes, at this point in time, it doesn’t matter about the tipping point(s) that occurred which set this transformation and lifelong journey into motion, what does matter is this: I feel fairly comfortable and confident enough to open up a bit more about the intense, euphoric, and incredibly desolate revelations since I entered a life of sobriety and in recovery. I feel even more comfortable with sharing this because it’s quite apparent we’re not all who we paint ourselves to be. I feel I am a fairly decent example of that. I mean, I’ve got this really cool guy who loves me unconditionally, I’ve got two healthy and happy kids, I’ve got a college degree and a job I’m great at, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of how awesome things are in my life.

Except they weren’t always authentically awesome because I didn’t give these things the love and attention they deserved, and I could paint the prettiest picture in town about how great my life is. And again with the whole “you can’t always believe what you see on the internet” but how about the smiling, successful person living the American Dream… do you/we/I believe that when it’s shown to us? More than likely. I mean, like, I know we take a lot of things at face value and are pretty confident that all of us are sharing a decent amount of “edited for television” snippets of our lives, but how about the person who’s in a darker place than the average person, how can we tell them apart? We can’t. Simple as that. We can’t tell them apart because they/you/me convince themselves that either nobody has time for them and they don’t want to be a burden, or maybe they would feel shameful about the way things in their life are going, or maybe they just bury it all together and try to tell themselves these “bad” things will disappear if they keep them buried long enough.

People suffer in silence, and that’s a fact.

That’s why I’m here now, doing this whole “recovering out loud” thing, because I think people who are hurting are the last people that need to keep quiet or ignore their pain altogether. We’re really good at finding temporary quick fixes to alleviate, or drown out, or (again) ignore our pain. And when these fixes wear off, we face the same demons again, and we go ‘round the circle again and again. That circle is fucking exhausting, y’all. Getting off that damn merry-go-round was the best decision I ever made.

Fortunately, I was never “addicted” to alcohol (I only say that because I mean in the physical sense, I never got DTs or withdrawals or anything like that) but I became addicted to the way it made me felt, even if I knew deep down what I was doing was nothing more than keeping the devil company. I’ve hurt a lot of people, guys. I’ve hurt a lot of people, burned a lot of bridges, made myself unavailable, and never cared about making amends because those people weren’t waiting for me all nice and frosty in my fridge when I had a hard day. Or a good day. Or a day. Because I started making all these excuses to myself that I wasn’t doing anything more than rewarding myself for doing nothing more than living. Except the day I started doing that, I stopped living, and I started merely existing. Then I’d get depressed and look for scapegoats to pin my pain on, and again… would seek relief in something that never did anything but make my situations worse. These problems continued to get worse, and more frequent, until I just couldn’t do it anymore and I surrendered to all sorts of things, but mostly to my poor heart and brain, because I’d hurt them most of all.

So after I threw in the towel, I started the most terrifying thing of my life: intensive outpatient program for addiction/ substance abuse. Slowly but surely, I started picking up the pieces of everything I’d destroyed, I started being completely honest with everyone and everything, I pulled all my skeletons out of their closets, and I got up close and real personal with my demons. It was the most painful yet liberating thing I’d ever done, and it saved me. It did. I couldn’t have done the things I did, made the progress I did, explore the grotesque intricacies that added up to a heaping mass of pain that I had doused with alcohol the way I did – I couldn’t have done any of these things without this program and the guidance of my counselor. My counselor released me back into the world with an arsenal of coping mechanisms, a newfound intuition to recognize and acknowledge when self-care is needed… I could go on and on with the amount of free crap my counselor gave me, that have come in handy numerous times, and ultimately helped me become the me I was meant to be.

ALL OF THIS being said, you can no longer say you don’t know anyone who has struggled with addiction, substance abuse, and/or mental illness. You can, however, say that you know someone who overcame these struggles and is no longer a victim, but a survivor.

P.S. – I have every intention of going back to school once the kids are older, so that I can become a professional, active member within the sobriety + recovery and have my eye on becoming a counselor as well. I’m just getting started with this journey, and I finally have genuine faith that the future holds great things for me, and I’ll get to that future – one day at a time.

P.P.S. – EDIT – To be very clear, and I’m going to quote a gorgeous badass I follow on IG (where my whole account is dedicated to my mission) and hold in high regards, “I’ve never had an issue being around alcohol since I made the decision to get clean. My rock bottom was so bad, so ugly, so life-threatening, so devastating that I’ve never even been tempted to pick up again. Doesn’t mean that I’m always going to be impervious to the temptation, doesn’t mean that I’m immune to relapse—but it also doesn’t mean I need to keep myself locked up away in a padded room in order to keep myself ‘safe’ from it.” – My rock bottom was the very real acceptance that if I kept going the way I did, I would lose those around me who love me the most, and them to me. I can be around booze and don’t get bothered, at all.

daily entry, personal, recovery

day 318 – so, i had an awakening…


So, here’s a #FlashbackFriday to this past #TransformationTuesday: The Spiritual Edition (if you’d like to see the holy shit visual/selfie version, take a looksie at my IG. Linked on the right side of your screen .)

So, my insomnia has decided to resurface, and with that comes an open gate / onset slew of events: severe flashbacks, intense feelings of regret, shame, and guilt, a tsunami of emotions, internal exploration, brief and simultaneous exchanges of incredibly short episodes of mild mania and depression, an increased desire to write and an increased desire to reel it all back. My insomnia enjoys being the life of the party, because when this bitch shows up, it thrives on throwing everything but the kitchen sink at me just to see what my reaction will be.

I gotta break it to ya, insomnia, I got some tricks up my sleeve this go-round, and you’re not going to bring me down because AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. (this time.)

Anyway, as I tossed and turned until the wee hours of the morning, I had a most beautiful breakthrough that ultimately resulted in a profound epiphany, and I felt alive. And terribly awake. Da fuq cares if it was almost 1:30 in the morning? This bitch had a motherfuckin’ epiphany. And it was glorious. And painful. And conflicting. And I debated 18 billion different times on whether I wanted to go furiously write down everything racing through my mind or not, and finally my brain flatlined (or my sleep-aid kicked in, idk) and I finally fell asleep.

This morning felt different. I felt different. I felt invigorated. I felt happy. I felt proud. I felt good. I felt peaceful. You see, last night as I darted in and out of flashbacks and in-depth reflections, I was sidelined with a pure moment of clarity – and all of a sudden, SO MANY THINGS made SO MUCH SENSE.

I spent so much of my time during active addiction trying to paint myself and my life to be this tragic and romantic tale, an undiscovered muse sucked into a domesticated life, where things were periodically bleak, and despite having a lover a kid and friends (and stability), I thrived on keeping my soul in a tormented state and found myself continuing to try and try and try to be all these things I simply wasn’t. I lived and breathed and longed to be a manic pixie dream girl, and I tried to like all the “right” things, I tried to steer clear of mainstream and monotony, and I flailed and pouted and sought so many (wrong) things in so all the (wrong) ways as best as I could, for as long as I could.

And last night, I sat there retracing all my steps and then it ALL hit me HARD. I spent so much time seeking approval and attention from so many people, despite me keeping myself in denial that I was doing such because I didn’t want to admit I was wasting an endless amount of time and energy — all to just keep myself in this stupid hamster wheel and too scared to jump off. Because I just wanted someone and something (“someone” meaning seeking validation, acceptance and attention from others, and “something” being alcohol used as fuel to keep this negative flame and my candle burning at both ends)… and as I sat there scavenging in my own mind + scrolling through quotes on self-care… IT happened. That epiphany and clarity of realizing: I NEVER NEEDED ANYBODY ELSE TO SAVE ME EXCEPT FOR MYSELF. If I couldn’t ever love myself, how and why in the fuck was I thinking anything or anyone else would do it for me?

I’ve spent so long being this sadomasochist with myself and tried so hard to repel and push and pull at everything, kicking and screaming, and longing and it was all because I never loved or accepted myself. And I never loved or accepted (fully) that all these other “things” I was searching for – besides the whole self-love thing – it had all been there the ENTIRE time. Waiting. Patiently. For me to come around, and thank God I had a chance to wake up before everything I ever needed disappeared out of my life – and then it all sunk in that I could let go of all my old ideas and beliefs… just let it all go because I became painfully aware that I had to stop building up these fantasies and longing to be this special “thing” in the eyes of others… and that I have to be my own superhero, my own muse, my own princess in shining armor, or however the fuck you want to look at this… I let myself down for so long and tried to find it everywhere else but inside of me.

And this whole “a-ha” thing had me SO shook to my bones, that I felt electric this morning as I crawled out from under my sheets and I’ve been walking on sunshine ever since. If I only maintain this feeling for today, I’m okay with that, because I have learned something new. Something profound. On my own, but with the help of others (unbeknownst to them, more or less), and for all of this – I am grateful. I am aware – and all of these wonderful thoughts and growing pains have all been made completely possible because I’m learning to slowly but surely let go of everything I let weigh me down for so many years. And it is love and it is light and it is everything.

And you are everything, and I hope that you know that. And if you don’t know or see that right now, give it time and let it grow and you will reap the benefits. And every waking second until you find and love yourself, I hope you know that you are worth it. And you are enough. You are so enough.

I love you all. xo

daily entry, jam of the day, misc, recovery

day 311 – you look greatest when…

okay, so this song does and doesn’t have a ton of substance to it…
however, i really appreciate the message it sends, especially considering the fact i’m raising a daughter who’s not slowing down in age, and the older she gets, the faster time keeps flying.

this song is more of a “feel good” / “love the skin you’re in” type of song, and sometimes we just need a good ol’ bop to sing along to and really pump ourselves up.

…and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

alas, here’s my choice for today’s jam of the day – “most girls” by hailee steinfeld

“Some girls, feel best in their tiny dresses
Some girls, nothin’ but sweatpants, looking like a princess
Some girls, kiss new lips every single night
They’re stayin’ out late cause they just celebrating life

You know some days you feel so good in your own skin
But it’s okay if you wanna change the body that you came in
‘Cause you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen
We’re all just playing a game in a way, trying to win at life

Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful
Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable
Most girls, our fight to make every day, no two are the same
I wanna be like, I wanna be like, most girls

They’re stayin’ out late cause they just celebratin’
I wanna be like, I wanna be like

Some girls, like to keep their physique real private
Some girls, wear jeans so tight, ’cause it feels so right, yeah
Some girls, every day searching, keep the page turning
Sleepin’ in late cause they just celebrating life

You know some days you feel so good in your own skin
But it’s okay if you wanna change the body that you came in
‘Cause you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen
We’re all just playing a game in a way, trying to win at life

Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful
Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable
Most girls, our fight to make every day, no two are the same
I wanna be like, I wanna be like, most girls
I wanna be like, I wanna be like

They’re stayin’ out late cause they just celebratin’
I wanna be like, I wanna be like

Most girls, our fight to make every day, no two are the same
I wanna be like…

Most girls
I wanna be like, I wanna be like, most girls
They’re stayin’ out late cause they just celebratin’ life.”

daily entry, misc, personal, recovery

Day 307 – Hope Dealer #563


“Greetings from  DFWTX—

First off, I just want to say THANK YOU for everything this movement stands for and for offering me the chance to be a hope dealer!

Second of all, I want to say that I’m writing this line after I wrote my story, and I didn’t mean to write a novel. It’s just incredibly difficult for me to try and simplify something so complex like living life with both a mental illness and substance abuse problem. I hope you’ll understand.

Now, I’m not going to lie… I was slightly selfish and held onto the chip for a while before feeling comfortable enough to send you my story. You see, I experienced a brief spell of exhaustion and a tinge of hopelessness during chip #563’s stay with me, and I wanted to be sure I was in the best state of mind and able to fully be the best version of myself, before contacting you + realizing there is somebody out there who could benefit from a token of hope more than I. That’s the whole point of this, right? To give hope away and deal it to those who need it more than ourselves? I’m now prepared the keep the hope I’ve regained, and am ready to pass the hope on.

Anyway, let me pull out my “crystal ball of doom,” so that I can give you a good understanding of what lies in my past + life in active addiction.

I didn’t start out drinking at an early age, really. I started out as a “normal” drinker, didn’t really touch or have any interest in alcohol until my senior prom in high school, and even still wasn’t sure why people were so smitten with essentially losing control of their inhibitions. After graduating high school, I would have wine coolers and other various fruity malt liquor beverages on an occasion, but nothing crazy or untypical for an adolescent, really. My behaviors and alcohol consumption were pretty “typical” from the ages of 17-20, as I was considered by others and viewed myself as a studious person, who was passionate about art and music, and enjoyed being as present as possible and couldn’t be bothered with the idea of getting buzzed. Now, between the ages of 17-20 I was becoming more aware that I wasn’t quite feeling happy (or what I imagined being happy should feel like), like people I knew. I was diagnosed with depression, which turned into later being diagnosed as bipolar, riddled with some anxious tendencies. I saw doctors and took my medication like I was supposed to, until one day I decided I’d had enough and took matters into my own hands, and eventually took myself off my medications and turned to other means of “feeling good” instead.

We’ll cut to what should’ve been deemed as a serious wake up call; well, more like two separate incidents that should’ve gotten my attention but didn’t. Mind you these happenings took place between the ages of 20-22; something that might be viewed as me acting in devious behaviors as a subconscious way of making up for the 18+ years I spent under a strictly run household…and more or less as a subsequent to me also playing doctor. Not long after my 21st birthday, like a few months after I turned 21, a doctor heavily advised I become abstinent from alcohol consumption for a lengthy duration of time due to how much gastrointestinal damage I was wreaking on myself. So, I went along with it and as soon as I was “allowed” to drink again…it was fairly obvious I was doing my best to make up for lost time. We’ll fast forward another 6 months or so, to the night of May 11, 2007. I went to see Bright Eyes play a gig with some friends, and the last thing I remember was trading my Xanax for drinks from the bartenders, and continuously popping them myself in between cocktails.

The next morning I found myself in the ER, with absolutely no recollection of what happened past the point of trading and popping pills. But, being the good little barely 22 years old girl I was, I decided (well, not decided, more like just got too caught up in chasing the next buzz) that I stopped taking my oral contraceptive somewhere along the way, and found myself pregnant come late summer of 2007. The last 3 1/2 years leading up to that point had been “fun and games” and I didn’t really see or care what was happening to me. So, I found myself having to drop out of college in order to pursue a life as a young mom.

April 2008 I gave birth to my first child, then I returned to college and graduated with my B.A. in 2011, and so forth. I was doing good and things were looking up, only they weren’t as happy-go-lucky as I made it to be. From about 2010 or so until I became pregnant again in 2015, I drank pretty much every night. At first it was still “normal” (what I thought was normal, but what turns out to be textbook binge drinking by definition), but hey — I was still maintaining control and my inhibitions most of the nights, so it was okay, right? Only it wasn’t, and I can’t even recollect how many nights I can’t recollect. I began checking out, began filling my head and my heart with endless pity parties, even further trying to make up for lost time and convincing myself that getting buzzed was a decent way to compensate myself for the amount of hard work I was doing. It’s not something I look back at fondly.

Now we’ll spin ’round the tornado that became my final and absolute “wake-the-f***k-up call” / the event that has changed me as a whole for the better, the battle I finally lost but gave way to the war I eventually won (and will continue to battle every day for the rest of my life), as I finally threw up white flag against my raging, high-functioning alcoholic way of life. Leading up to the day that provided me with my “awakening” I had already tested too many waters, was lying to those who loved and cared for me the most, I was becoming sloppy and crafty with trying to conceal all that I was doing, and I was just basically killing everything inside of me, physically and mentally. But for some reason, I just kept chasing that imaginary feeling I had never and would never be able to capture.

September 6, 2016 is the day I simultaneously died and was reborn — and I haven’t been the same since. While I still prefer to keep these details as withheld and private as possible (I’ve only told less than 10 people in real life what actually happened, and I’ve shared some within a private sober commUNITY), I can safely say I no longer have to keep up the tiring, ruthless way of living that was that of having an active addiction + love affair with alcohol. I’d hurt and lost enough people over the years, because I fancied courting Mr. Al Cohol instead, and the time had come to fully stop hurting the person I was cutting down the most, myself.

Since September 6, 2016 I’ve experienced more spiritual growing pains than I had in the 31 years leading up to that day (roughly 10 1/2 of those years involving a continual reprieve I believed only alcohol could provide), and I have handled more stressful situations than I have ever faced — and not only did I live through them, but I’ve learned from them and have found an inner strength in myself I never knew was possible. I’ve successfully completed an intensive outpatient program with a substance abuse counselor, I am incredibly active within various online sober commUNITY families, and I aspire to become a substance abuse counselor of some kind once my own children aren’t so dependent on me. My number one job in life is that of being a mother, and everything else comes second until my kids don’t need me as much. Outside of being a mom, my other number one focus in life is that of my sobriety and life in recovery, and until I can become educated and professionally certified to become a counselor or therapist, I will continue to be as active as possible within my newfound family, those who have also converted to a sober way of life.

Recovery is most certainly not a cure-all for life’s problems, and I still have depression, but I’m now coping with these things as opposed to viewing myself as a victim or sufferer of these illnesses. I’ll always be an alcoholic, but I don’t have to live a life full of fear because of it, I simply just don’t partake in its consumption anymore and I don’t feel sorry for myself because I “can’t drink.” I choose to live now, not exist, and I’ll be damned if I don’t make myself find the magic in the mundane on a daily basis — because it’s the little things that add up to the big picture, and that’s all life is — one, big picture. It’s a f**king masterpiece, and I am so insanely grateful I get to be present for every millisecond I get to spend on this earth.

It gets better, friends, and I’m living proof.
So, now it’s time for me to pay my hope forward, and deal it to somebody who needs it more than I do.

Sending strength, support and love.

The above letter was the one I wrote to the lovely folks who started the Hope Dealer project, Plus P Productions. You can find out more by visiting them here.