I was craving a space to be open and honest, which is why I began this blog. My life has had many highs and some extreme challenges which has made me who I am today. While I am not ashamed, some experiences are not only mine to share. Instead, I would like to create an honest forum where I can share my joys and laughter but also some of the most life altering events and how they have shaped me.
This past year has been difficult to say the least. That saying that someone has to hit “rock bottom” before they are ready to heal now has a mountain of meaning for me. There are ravines and valleys in everyone’s lives which do not always involve substance abuse. For me, mine has been codependency turned anxiety and depression and now I am scaling Everest. Growing up a child of an addict has lasting affects. Those seeds planted at a young age have taken root, growing with me like a shadow out of sight. For myself, I did not step into the light, I was shoved. After my panic attack that sent me to the Emergency Room with my children in the car, I realized that something HAD to change. It was not until I was able to step fully into the light and face the darkness from the past that I was able to begin my search for freedom.
When I first read about codependency, a light went off and I realized these were traits I was exhibiting in my personal relationships. The more I am able to acknowledge these behaviors, the more I have been able to shed them. We all want love and acceptance and our partners and friends to lift us up when we are down. Despite all of this, I have realized that the only thing I truly need is myself. I am strong enough to stand on my own.
This is what I have done to turn my life around in no particular order:
- Weed out the negativity. We all have those people in our lives who just bring us down. Out of some sense of loyalty, I have always had a difficult time letting them go. I have realized that if someone is doing more damage than good in your life, regardless of your history, it may be time to move on. When someone that you trust hurts you so badly, keeping that relationship together is no longer an option. Friends should want to lift you up, watch you succeed and be proud of your accomplishments. Not negative, shady and jealous. That is an ugly quality and not a ‘friend’ I want or need. You may know who you are and I owe no explanation. Sorry not sorry.
- Cut out the booze. I am not saying that I will never drink again. But when something is no longer giving you the positive effects that it is intended to do, it may be time to find an alternative. For me, my anxiety was getting out of control. I thought a glass of wine or two was the only thing that could calm my nerves. I do not want to believe that I need to have a substance to feel sane. This very thought scared me more than anything, coming from a family with a history of addiction. I have challenged myself to cut out drinking for a while, and I am so proud of where I am now. After four months, I have only drank two times and I have honestly never felt better.
- Exercise. I am not talking about doing a couple of sit ups. I am talking about serious boot camp exercising. I have always hated running, but now I am addicted! Anything that will get my adrenaline up and my heart pumping. I love releasing endorphins this way and I literally feel lighter on my feet when I am with my kids. Not to mention I have lost 10 pounds in the healthiest way possible. I am always looking for my next workout challenge and feel a little depressed when I can’t get to the gym. I have two kids, I am a full-time student and I work from home. If I can make time to work out, anyone can. To me it has become a necessity for my own sanity. Setting goals, and finding a way to meet them! Check!
- Ice Cream. Yes, I must indulge. This is part of my healing. The best part is, I do not feel guilty about it since I am eating healthy during the day and staying so active. I think when we take something away (wine in my case) we need to allow ourselves some sort of indulgence, in moderation of course.
- Read More. This is a struggle for me between my school work and everything else. I often rotate from a good paperback book to an audio book when that is what time allows. The best part about audio books is I can cook, clean or run errands with a good book playing in the background. Nothing beats snuggling up with a good paperback book though I must admit.
- Planning the next vacation. Having something to look forward to makes everyday more exciting. We love doing family countdowns until our next big activity. We recently traveled to Bermuda and Mexico. We even count down for small adventures like Gilroy Gardens or California’s Great America! Currently we are counting the days until our annual Tahoe trip! The kids ask how many more days almost every morning. Its fun to get them excited!
- Letting things go. I am obsessive when it comes to getting things done and completing tasks. It is to the point of losing sleep and pushing myself to the breaking point. This is something I am working on every day. Asking for help and accepting help without expecting or relying on others is work in its own. I have learned that I cannot control what others do and no one can make me feel a certain way. I am in control of myself and that is all. Every box does not have to be unpacked before I go to sleep. Sometimes my homework will be submitted a day late if life happens. We can order takeout every once in awhile. I am not ruing my children’s childhood by letting them watch too much T.V. for one night. It will be okay!
- Play with the kids. As parents we all do this, but do we actually enjoy it? Unplugging, and becoming a kid in that moment just might be one of the greatest joys in adult life! Designating time just for this, whether it be running through the park, miniature golfing, waterslides or playing arcade games! Being a kid for a day is seriously so much fun if you let it be. Seeing the joy on my kids faces when they see the joy on mine is priceless. And you never know how much longer they will want to play with mom.
- Making weekend breakfasts. Getting up early and cooking for my little family is becoming one of my favorite things to do. Kolton is such a picky eater, but he is becoming more willing to try things if I lay out a spread for him to choose from, rather than making his plate and setting it in front of him. Trying something new is our new motto!
- Self-care. This is something I no longer feel guilty doing (at least I try not to feel guilty). Taking care of oneself allows them to take better care of others. Aside from exercising, I make sure I can get a massage or a manicure when possible. I am also making time to have a mini girls weekend, buy myself something nice every once in awhile and take better care of my skin. These things help me to feel rejuvenated, happy and healthy. When I feel good, my family can tell.
- Talk to someone. Bottling things up or denying them all together will only hurt in the long run. I have a couple of very close friends and my sister whom I open up to. Putting the things that hurt the most out there into the universe sometimes are the only way you can heel. I have also seen a therapist who really helped me. There are many support groups available for just about anything you need support with. Whatever it is, someone else has gone through it or written about it.
Despite all of the work I have been doing on myself, I still have a ways to go. Here are the things I am still working on:
- Patience. I am working on this everyday.
- Being more flexible. Keeping myself so busy means when things do not go exactly as planned, things can fall apart. I am working on being adaptable to surprises and being ready for plan B. After all, life happens.
- Getting more sleep. This is a constant struggle for me. On top of the millions of things on my ToDo list, I like my alone time. This means I stay awake for the sake of staying awake. It is pointless sometimes and cuts into my sleep since I am also an early riser.
- Dwelling on the past. It is one thing to use the past to learn and grow in the future. But overall, the past should stay in the past. Moving forward everyday is my goal.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know it is lengthy but it is also very personal to me. My life has changed for the better these past four months and I only plan to move forward. We are all in charge of our own happiness.
Please let me know you thoughts on this post in the comments below.