Recovery

Where to begin?

This is the most honest, soul bearing post I have yet to write.

My parents have come and gone on their annual visit. For most, this is likely a happy event. Not so much for me.

You see I grew up in alcoholism.

In a high functioning family, very driven and accomplished. From the outside everything looked good. On the inside, not so much.

I knew from a very young age that something was very wrong.

I won’t go into details here but suffice it to say that it’s a miracle I’m still here. What I have been through and then later in life, done to myself is horrific, painful and sad.

I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon. It’s a 12 step program for families and friends of alcoholics. I’ll be in recovery for the rest of my life because I know how dangerous it is to stray away from the fold, my program and my sponsor.

I had a slip this winter. I went back to old coping mechanisms and come spring realized the power of my self-destruction. I rarely do things in half measures. It’s a hallmark of this dis-ease.

I’m picking up the pieces now yet again.

I thought when I had walked through the doors of Al-Anon three years ago that I had hit rock bottom. Little did I know that I would be hitting several more rock bottoms. The fellowship and my program saw me through all these moments.

I’m there once again. I’m slowly coming out of it.

I’m heading off to a treatment program for codependency and family of origin issues. I’ve been in therapy in some shape or form for a large part of my life and from a very young age.

I believe in the healing power of therapy and especially group therapy. There’s something magical that happens when strangers come together and listen to each other’s stories and pain. There’s validation that I’m not crazy. That I’m simply a spiritual being living a human existence. As we all are.

There’s a letting go. A normalization happens. Secrets come out. Monsters fade away. Light is shed on the most painful topics of this very human existence we all share.

There is laughter and tears. Joy and pain. Exhilaration and suffering.

This is a great big gift and a reminder to place the focus on me and my healing.

I’d like to say that the visit I had with my parents was a good one. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There were a lot of good parts, however, there were some truly awful pieces that have left me gutted and gasping for air.

The level of denial, manipulation, control and abuse in my family is staggering.

I feel like a martian because I’m the only one in recovery.

I have yet to find the gratitude that others in the fellowship have for the disease of alcoholism because all I can see is what it’s taken from my family and my life.

I hate the disease. I’ve been ripped open again by it and I despise it. I hate the toll it’s taken on my parents, my brother and our estranged family.

My friends see courage and strength when they look at me. Right now I’m a mess as I type these words. All I can do is breathe.

All I can do is go back to basics and practice self-care. Sleep has been elusive again and I know that doesn’t help whatsoever. It makes things so much worse.

I’m trying really hard not to isolate and hide. I’m bumping up my meetings, making sure I get exercise, eat well and get out. I connect with my sponsors and touch stones and I am working the snot out of my program right now.

It’s all I can do until this heaviness lifts and lightness comes back.

I was reminded in readings today to act as if, to stick to a routine until it becomes more comfortable and normal again. Whatever normal is.

It’s huge to share this piece of me so publicly. This dis-ease has impacted every facet of my life and my business.

It is my greatest hope that as I progress through the step work that things somehow become easier. That there are less roller coaster rides, huge highs and devastating lows. Less darkness and much, much more light.

In sharing this story, I hope to impact others’ lives in some small way.

I hesitate to push the publish button.

Please be kind.

Thank you.

 

 

Gratitude

Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s my favorite holiday because to me it’s about being grateful.

I am giving thanks for all the blessings in my life:

The freedom and opportunity of the country I live in.

The beauty of nature that surrounds me.

The love and support of my family and friends.

The safety and comfort of my home.

The fresh, nutritious food I eat.

The comfort and love of my darling cat Tabby.

The work I do with athletes, helping them find confidence in life through sport.

The wonderful art I create.

The list is endless.

What are you grateful for?

I do a gratitude practice every night. I list all the things I am grateful for every day.

I also have a gratitude jar on my kitchen table where I put notes of things I am grateful for.

Going to gratitude when life seems too much or things get hard reminds me of just how much I do have to be grateful for. What you focus on expands. Choose wisely, choose gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Inspiration

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be on vacation in Lake George, NY to catch a triathlon and half Ironman.

Inspiring doesn’t begin to describe how it felt watching participants coming out of the water.

I stayed around to watch the last swimmer come out of the water for the half ironman, talk about not giving up. She made it under the cutoff time and couldn’t have been happier.

I’m not sure I would have had her resilience.

Watching participants cross the finish line was awesome. All of this has inspired me to join the local triathlon club here. We’ll see what comes of it all.

I’m starting with a running clinic tomorrow. I was intimidated at first as I haven’t been able to run since my injury but anyone can run 5 minutes right?

Christmas

It’s Christmastime again, a time of year to be with friends and family and celebrate.

We are in our new house this year so there’s lots to be grateful for. We’re putting the tree up and despite the recent death of a close family member, we are blessedly getting into the holiday spirit.

We just got 35cms of snow, so it’ll be a white Christmas for sure which is wonderful. We are looking forward to skiing very soon.

So here’s wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, peace, joy and health for 2013.

Remembering

I lost a best friend 2 years ago, this post is in his honor.

James I want you to know I spent the day you died doing what I love.  I worked in the morning on my burgeoning business and had a great afternoon running in the woods.  I also went back to painting in studio that night after a year long hiatus.

My partner gave me an idea to remember you by.  I think I’m going to plant a tree.  I know you’d like that, we spent lots of time together surrounded by them and the peace they brought.  We now have a home and I can do this to honor your memory.

I miss you.  I talk to you on my walks sometimes.  I cry, share and inevitably smile. You had that effect on me and still do.  I know you’d want me to be happy and to remember to play. 

I try and remember to play.  It’s easy with an eight year old.  My partner and I are doing a better job of playing too.  Date nights, laughing and playing with his daughter.  Life is good.

I want you to know I carry your spirit wherever I go. I know you’re looking out for me and laughing at me up there.  I need to do a better job of laughing at myself.

Thank you my friend for your love, the lessons you taught me and the impact you still have on my life.

You may be gone but most definitely not forgotten.

I love you.

 

New beginnings

It’s been over 2 months since I’ve last written.  Trust me when I say a LOT has happened since then.  It’s been all for the good, though at some points I truly wondered whether it was.  Hindsight truly is 20/20. 

The catalyst for change began before I left for a 2 week holiday to the Bahamas.   

I was working a high end retail job that no matter how hard I tried to convince myself was good just wasn’t for me.  In a superfcial world of clothing making someone feel good about themselves is important but all the clothes in the world won’t fill the void inside.  As a former shopaholic I know that all too well. So when it ended I was relieved.

I know that 2012 is about love and compassion.  As a change agent, I cannot force change, instead I have to let people struggle or thrive and figure it out on their own while offering guidance when necessary.  I could feel the change coming in December.  I was no longer content with the status quo in my own life or in my relationship.

It’s fair to say that 2011 was a tough year for me by choice.  I chose to hide.  Hide from my power, hide from those who love me because I did not feel worthy and consequently hide from the world. It’s sad really but I truly believe it took the heartache, sadness and struggle to be where I am now.

My holiday was about perspectve and I got it in spades.  It truly is possible to be miserable in paradise.  The adage of wherever you go there you are holds true. There were moments of incredible beauty, joy and awe, however, it felt like I had work to do.

So I processed surrounded by my family.  I got to practice letting go with love.  I got to be triggered and have yet another opportunity for growth.  I got to speak my truth and recite the serenity prayer over and over again. I got to experience laughter, love and joy too.

The most important outcome of the trip was twofold: I discovered my brother as an adult after a 20 year hiatus and I came back to myself.

So here I am standing in this new found space. 

The decisions I made and goals I set for myself in the Bahamas are changing and evolving with the reality here in Ottawa.  Instead of cutting out what doesn’t work, an old pattern, I have learnt to stay open and receptive and to work towards change with someone instead of alone.

It’s a pretty great space to be in.

I will keep you posted.

The business of life

I’m in Whistler on vacation visiting with my brother and my beloved nephew.  It’s funny how life is when you’re surrounded by two and a half year olds.  My sister in law runs a daycare and the life of a toddler is lots of fun.  Snacks, naps and play.  I could definitely get on board with that.

I’m heading to Whistler today to do some sightseeing and shopping.  I always forget how lush BC is until I drive through Stanley Park.  This place is almost tropical.  I marvel and am in awe of the mountains.  I’m at the base of Mount Currie so I wake up and look out the window and there it is in all its white capped splendor!

We are all heading to Tofino Friday, I am booked in for surfing lessons this weekend at an all girls surf school.  I’m hoping I’m a natural and it’s not like my dreadful foray in rock climbing.  I can’t wait!

Enjoying my vacation, looking forward to the adventures ahead.