I have been here awhile. It wasn’t a good night, but we knew it was going to be a fight. Yesterday was a hard day. I am in physical pain that won’t let up. It is making me exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I get low on reserves I get super raw. I also overthink. Super freaking fun combo! I leaned into the rawness yesterday. I know that when I shove things down they grow into dark voids that consume me. So I sit with it. I go for a long drive, turn up the music, turn the music up louder, double check the settings on the phone and turn it up even louder. Yes, my windows are shaking but so is my soul. I go to a place that brings me peace. I weep.

What’s wrong? Nothing. No, everything. I mean it’s been worse. Damn, I am not dead or anything. So yeah nothing. No, really, EVERYTHING IS WRONG!!

I contemplate cancelling my evening plans. Uh Beck that isn’t wise, but I look at it anyways. Screw it, I am going. I arrive early, because the ability to plan has left me. I tell the hostess it’s rough, but I am here, I cannot drink tonight no matter what. I nibble, laugh, rub my jaw, try to escape from my own personal hell, play cards. Eventually, I decide I have to go home. I simply hurt too much.

My friend stops me in the driveway. Why am I so worried about you?! My response, because this is what relapse looks like. Relapse is being frantic with pain, but terrified at the dance that opiates bring. Relapse looks like exhaustion with no real end in sight. Relapse looks like isolation and struggle all with a false grin plastered across the face. Relapse looks like wanting to escape this darkness and being willing to entertain the darkness of numb aka addiction. Relapse is standing 6 inches from a loved ones face and feeling 6 football fields of distance between us. Relapse never looks like what we think it does. Relapse is desperation. Relapse is running out of other choices and returning to the familiar of the abyss of numb.

I am vaguely aware of the offers that surround me to come stay the night, I can sit up with you, I am here, and please text me when you get home, have I mentioned I am worried?!? I arrive home. I send my text stating I am home. I receive back love, support, and encouragement. I pace. I send a PM to my person and say it’s bad. He reiterates that I have a place at his house too if I need. He listens. There is no magic wand, but there is the support of love that feels magic. I listen to a meditation. I ice my face. I sob. I take more ibuprofen. More oil pulling. it’s 3 am.

I stumble to my yoga room. Music turned up and I start to flow. I ask this container how do you need to move to release the pain? How do you need to move to make space for what is coming? How do you need to breathe to find strength in this moment? How do you need to chant to ignite that internal agni? What dear container do you need?

Yes, this is what relapse looks like. Yes, this is what it means to fight to be sober. Yes, this is what it looks like when I spill onto my mat time and time again releasing, refilling, replacing, rebuilding. When I say “Saved by Yoga.” Please know I wouldn’t be here this morning, or any day in the past decade, without my practice. Last night, I chose to fall into my practice and not into a bottle, a needle, or a pill.

Fear is a Liar

Raw, but worth it…
I have been told most of my life I am “too”… too loud, too happy, too sparkly, too broken, too driven, too much. In my head it was translated into you are broken and not accepted. This message played out many times throughout my life. 6 weeks after leaving in -patient rehab (straight up the hardest thing I have EVER done) my father sat me down with other family members to announce 3 things: I was his MOST expensive mistake, he regrets adopting me, and I had fucked my life up so badly that there was no returning. Please know this was all done after my Mum died, a 6 month period full of attempted suicides, and 120 days in patient rehab where I fought for my life. I was 32. The tears ran down my face as I stared at my bio father, his second wife, my dad, and his second wife. They smirked. Faith and Ruth both looked pleased. I silently cried. I come from hate. I come from people who enjoy destroying others. These are not my people, but all I knew. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to either die or drink. I did neither. I made another choice. I called my rock. He talked me off the edge and then asked… what do you believe about you? I latched on to the idea of “do the next right thing.”.

At 6 months sober I gave my dying father my 6 month sobriety chip. He threw it and said “It should have never fucking happened to begin with.” I cried. I shook. I called my rock. I rigidly locked into the belief… the next right thing.

As my father was dying, I was pushed aside. I was devalued. I was not heard. I did not drink in defiance to the hate. At his funeral my bio father announced… your family is dead now, no one wants you, no one loves you. I was not allowed at my father’s wake. I took this immense pain and transmuted it. This was the first day I fed the homeless. With red eyes and a tear stained face I took my last $20 made sandwiches, fruit cups, and juice box sack lunches. I wrote things like “you are valued”, “you are here for a reason”, “better days are coming” and passed them out to every needy person I came across.

In this moment I realized two things: EVERY human has value and needs love and I have the power to be a positive force of love in other’s lives. This would be my legacy.

Fear is a bitch of a thing. It encapsulates us. It chokes out life and hope. It changes the lens you view the world through. It tampers the joy and enhances the hurt. Fear is a liar.

Please know…you have value, you are enough, you are wanted, you are loved, you are here to change the world, and most of all I am grateful you are in my life. Transmute your pain. Take the pain and plant flowers. Take the hate and push out love. Take the feelings of being invisible and show the world they are seen. Be the change and know that you know FEAR IS A LIAR.

I love you. Thank you for being part of my path now. ??

Change is Possible

A couple weeks ago I had a birthday party with most of my tribe present. It was a wonderful night. The theme was unicorns and there was so much laughter my abs hurt the next day. The night made me heart break with gratitude and joy. It also made me reflect. Just a few short years ago the holidays and my birthday slipped by and no one really noticed, I didn’t even acknowledge they were special days. I was shrouded in the dark cloud of clinical depression and addiction. I had pushed everyone away…family, friends, my children.. everyone. I was suicidal, my Mum had just passed, and I was set on destroying myself. So how did I flip my life around to what it is today? I had one person consistently in my ear telling me to stand up. He walked with me as I crawled out of the massive black hole I was in. I got sober and went to therapy to change my thought patterns. That was truly the only drastic step I took. Everything else was a series of small steps.
1. I got honest, super honest. I became transparent with one person. Good, bad, ugly I shared it all. I never felt judged by this person and slowly learned how to live without facades, this was crucial. This honesty eventually spilled out into my daily life.
2. I started to address my negative monkey chatter with a series of affirmations and Byron Katie’s 4 questions. It was amazing how often I awfulized or ruminated on things that weren’t true or was beyond my control.
3. I moved every day. Running, yoga, walking something every single day. This helped the chemicals in my brain and helped me to heal.
4. I adopted the motto “the next right thing”. Instead of worrying about what might happen in 3 months or what happened in the past. I focused on what was the next right thing for me. I discovered the next right thing for me often didn’t line up to what society thought. That became okay.
5. I started to pursue my interests, regardless of what they were or how off beat they may be. I studied crystal healing, energy medicine, herbs, meditation, gardening, and more. This eventually became my path. Every new grain of knowledge slowly fed my being. It helped me create a life that I love, more than the craving for vodka and opiates. In this learning process I turned off the tv and read. This helped feed my soul.
6. I started tuning into me. For the first time, probably ever, I was in my body. I started to realize what made me authentically happy. What filled me up and what depleted me. This affected the foods I ate, the activities I choose, the people I hung out with. Truly it was revolutionary.
7. I made connections, authentic connections, from my heart. Life ceased to be about stature, what others thought of me, or chasing some facade. It became about love, joy, healing, being a good friend.

I am forever grateful for those dark days. They were the catalyst for the biggest change of my life. I now feel love and connection. I have real joy and I am living my truth. I am so grateful for my current reality and to have a tribe that I love and loves me. It didn’t happen over night, but it did happen. Change is possible. If you are wanting to create positive change in your life start small and be consistent.