Getting through the lonely times that come with change.

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Many of us have gone through big changes or are in the process of some sort of life change.  Be it getting sober, getting out of debt, getting healthy, moving, changing our lifestyle for the better, going back to college later in life, switching careers after years or decades in one field, divorce, marriage, a new baby, the baby going off to college…

For some changes in life, we have family, friends, and community to support us.  Some changes seem to bring more loneliness than we can take at times.

When I truly committed to making a huge lifestyle change and quit all my bad habits such as drinking, smoking pot far too frequently, and cigarettes (mother had lung cancer and emphysema) I seemed to lose a whole group of friends and acquaintances.  Some I chose to move on from and some decided that I was no longer that fun.  I now understand that God was working in my life and was clearing out the weeds so He could sow a good and fine garden for my future.  However, I spent many weekends and moons alone with my tea cup and sadness.  I thought I would go mad on several occasions but I found AA and went to meetings, made friends, had a sponsor to call when I was pulling out my hair, and I began to really throw myself into it.  I attended every sober party, potluck, holiday, and meeting the group could conjure up.  I also took my dog on daily long walks along the beach and continued to explore my relationship with God.  I took to writing a couple books back then with no idea that I would publish one of them.  I just really enjoyed it and it gave me something to do during the lonely and dark hours.

Time passed and I got used to living life without habits of those sorts.  I got used to some lonely time and I began to enjoy life for all the small pleasures:  a job I enjoyed and had friends as coworkers, the time at the beach with Clyde, my hound mix, coffee in the mornings, a good Jane Austen movie, reading, writing, and dating (not always enjoyable).  I realized that my habits had helped me endure my pain and the lonely times.  If I got stoned I could care less about spending a Friday night by myself.  Now that I was sober I cared and I was also socially awkward as I had spent much of my life alone or with stoner friends.

When we first make a huge change like getting sober or healthy, we often must let go of a lot of our old life.  In AA they say, “All you have to change is everything.”  Everyone would laugh at that because we knew it was painfully true.  You can’t succeed and remain in the same life that got you where you are.  You can’t find a solution with the same old thinking that got you into the problem.

You must go to different hangouts, find new friends that are like minded and doing what you are now trying to do or accomplish.  You have to replace old habits and patterns with new ones.

And then the lonelies come.  The long nights with no one to call, the weekends watching movies on Netflix by yourself.  Oh, it is sad, sad, sad.  You cry and feel sorry for yourself.  Ah, but it is the beginning of a new life, a new way.  Don’t worry, this story will end well with a big, fat happy ending.

I was hard for me to give up my habits.  The wine and pot had made many a lonely weekend bearable.  It also made me fat and sick and miserable.  I never moved forward and I was always depressed.  I was worried about my health and I wanted things that I knew I couldn’t get with this weekend ritual.  You reap what you sow and with drinking, drug use and smoking cigarettes that would be not much except some major health issues, depression, and a life not fully lived.

Sure enough, after a year of sobriety I was involved in a theater group, I wrote two books, one I have published, and I adopted a puppy (or rather was given one at the local laundromat).  Two years later I had a wonderful life on the coast with new friends, a good job, community, then I was married, then I was pregnant with my first son.  I had all that I had dreamed of but it only came once I got healthy and sane.  And after a year of being very alone and doing a lot of healing and crying…a lot of crying.

Today I have two rescue dogs, a cat that moved herself in after being dumped on the river road, two amazing sons, a really good husband, a solid marriage, our first home and a new community.  But even these changes have had times of loneliness.

When we had to move for work and lived in a pear orchard on the river I had a little one and was pregnant.  I had no friends nearby except an old high school friend I reunited with after 30 years.  I had no community and one family member 40 minutes away.  My husband worked 60 to 70 hours a week with one day off.  I had some time on my hands.  But I used the time to educate myself on all sorts of things, to learn the frugal life since we had a very small income to work with, making everything from scratch from laundry detergent to bread and I became addicted to Amish fiction.   That alone time paid off because when we moved to the city I took up writing and self-publishing.  I wrote about all I had learned on the farm during those isolated two years of learning a new way of life out of necessity.

The city was almost more lonely than that farm on the river.  I attempted to create community but it just didn’t happen.  That was for the best in the end also.  I had time to do the writing of books and blogging.  I was also driven to find us another small town where we could grow in a community.

Alone time can be hard, sad, frustrating, even downright depressing, however, it always is a period of great growth and learning if you let it be.  It is that gestation period where we are cocooned away to blossom into a butterfly.  This time is so valuable to learn what we want, who we want to be, how we want our life.  And for the great healing that must take place before we can manifest anything new and bright.

Friends and family may magically disappear upon your new changes and choices for a new lifestyle.  Let them go.  Ne people will show up to take their place and these people will be your true tribe.  These people will love you just as you are and be on the same path working toward the same goals.  Jobs may go.  The right job for you will appear.  Lovers may leave.  Let him or her go.  The good one is right around the corner.  You may not be able to go to the local pub anymore and you may not be invited to parties now.  That is the best thing that could happen to you.  Find a Church or Center.  Get true friends and a joyous and solid life.

Man’s rejection is God’s protection.  I heard this decades ago and it is so true.  God will lead you down the right road, he will bring new people, new jobs, new matches, and he will provide all that is good and right.  He will take care of you if you call out to Him and then have blind faith.  And sometimes it will take a lot of blind faith as your world seems to be falling apart.  But it’s not falling apart, it’s being destroyed so a new and victorious one can be built.

 

 

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In the desert for 40 years.

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Joyce Meyers was talking about the Israelites who took an eleven-day trip and spread it out over 40 years in the desert this morning.  I love this story as a teaching tool and I, myself, have had this experience.

I try not to have regrets, I’m sure my lost years can be a way of saving others from this fate if used as an example.

I came from trouble in all forms: addiction, alcoholism, insanity, anger, guilt, fear.  And that was just the person who raised me.  I went on to continue some of these traits.  I was raised with so much negativity and instability that I grew up to be controlling, stressed out, fearful, depressed, and found comfort in drinking and smoking pot constantly.

I knew at a young age that this wasn’t the way to go.  I remember being 8 or 9 years old and being disgusted with the adults and all their drinking and smoking.  Then I discovered pot and just how good it made me feel, how it made my miserable world with my mother seem not so bad.  Then I discovered liquor and that really was, as they say, quicker.  Quicker at escaping the world altogether.

On and on went a wretched life on into youth and my 20’s and most of my 30’s.  I knew all the time that real freedom and peace would come from living a wholesome life.  But how do you build a wholesome life when you’ve been raised in thick dysfunction and turmoil?  How do you become a worthy and happy soul when you have been told your whole upbringing that you were worthless and didn’t have the common sense to amount to much more than pregnant and barefoot (which isn’t really such a bad thing as it turns out)?

Well, the first thing you do is quit the bad habits that keep you dulled in spirit and depressed mind.  You don’t drink, do drugs, smoke pot to stupidity, and party.  I needed all the strength and all my wits about me.  I knew this all along and I tried and tried (half-heartedly) to clean up my act.  I really didn’t try as hard as I should have.  If I had only known the life I was going to have sober and loving God, I would have done everything and anything to reach the prize sooner.

I had so many dreams.  But as I continued to live a dark life they stood back in the shadows.  I couldn’t overcome my depression.  I would drink more, smoke more, eat more and call all my friends to sooth my never ending pain.  I had a girlfriend ask me if I had considered medication.

God was always there whispering in my ear.  I could barely hear for all the commotion in my head but there were those times I would have that one spark of silence and in it I would hear the message.  I knew that if I stopped what I was doing, living how I was living, that my life would change for the better and I would have my dreams actualized.  But not until then.

Drugs and God don’t really mix.  Drugs and booze cut you off from the Source.

Today I live a completely different life.  There is music and sunshine and laughter.  My heart is full of good things, my mind has so many fun ideas, my home is filled with children of the human and the furry kind.  I have stability and sanity.  Someone may ask if I’ve had my coffee but never would anyone ask if I considered medication today.  I’m pretty happy without getting too annoying.  I wake up in good spirits and I go to bed grateful.

I still have much work to do.  I’d like to get to a place of no cares and pure jolliness.  That’s my goal.  And to sell a fictional book to a publisher.  My priorities are to keep my family healthy, happy and continuing to thrive.  To be a much better wife.  To be more playful.  I never thought I would say this but God is at the top, the center, and everything that makes it work.  The more I seek Him the more he answers, shows up in beautiful ways and the more I experience almost daily blessings and gifts.  I’m in a constant communion with the Creator and it is the sanest and emotional I have ever felt.

Today I’m doing my dreams.  I’m a mother, wife, housewife, and writer.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  For me at least, since these were my dreams.

But how did I get from alone in a studio apartment hung over and crying to today sitting at my computer with my classical music loud, two boys making playdough spaghetti, a hound that keeps pestering me for snacks, and a desk loaded with books I’ve written, photos of my family and all our fun, a file for our new house we just purchased and my big mug of coffee?

Find God and get sober.  Then start rewiring that brain.

I’ll give an example.  I don’t watch, listen to, read, or take in any music, words, or images that are violent, negative, vulgar, perverse, nasty…you get the point.  I do fill up on positive sermons with Joyce Meyer, John Gray, Joel Osteen.  I read the Bible, I read clean books.  I was actually really into Amish fiction for awhile.  It doesn’t have to be that boring but when I read books they are positive and have good happy endings (that’s not required but I have to have them).  I listen to sermons that teach me to be more positive and have hope.  I listen to music that lifts me up.  I watch Pureflix, Hallmark channel, Disney…I know, borrrrrinng.  But I love it.

There is so, so, so much good stuff out there now that is clean and positive.  Books, music, radio stations like The Fish and KLOVE.  There are channels on TV that are safe.  TMC is great for old movies.

I fill up on spiritual books that teach me and guide me to heal my mind and get it right.  I was raised with so much negativity and anger that it’s been a long road to clean out this poor and tired mind.  You have to change your thinking entirely.

Then there is the matter of who you hang out with and where you hang out.  If you hang out with negative complainers, gossips, party hounds, it will be hard to break the habits and change.  If you hang out in the pub on the weekends you won’t get far.

Find a Church, find new people that are on the same new path with the same mindset.  Find people who have what you want.  Watch and observe.  They will show you how to get to where you want to be.  Surround yourself with these new, happy, positive people.  Find places that are happy, safe, wholesome.  Make your whole life about finding goodness and light.

Why do this?  Because the life you will create will be so amazing that the past will be a distant and dark memory.  You will wonder why it took you so long.  Don’t wait, to waste all that time.  I started going down the wrong path at a ripe age of 12 and was really failing by 15 years old.  I didn’t start following Gods guidance and ask for His grace until I was 31 years old and it still took another 6 to 7 years before I really took hold and transformed my life.  Here I am 46 years old and finally in a fantastic spot in life and fully embracing God and all the goodness of life.

If the Christian scene is too much for you try the Center for Spiritual Living or Awareness.  Try The Law of Attraction books and other things to get you into a new mindset.  The Bible teaches all this too but I had to start out in other ways before I could grasp this Christian lifestyle and I had to really do some research before I was able to accept the Bible as being real and true.  We all find our way home in different ways.

Many blessings and good prayers to you.

 

Healing our mind. Starting a new life.

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Our whole world comes from our mind and how we live.  We have a choice every single day to grow our life, destroy it, start over anew, or remain stagnant.

To live the best life humanly possible is simply this; live a wholesome life, have a relationship with God, follow your heart and God’s guidance in all matters, put God, family, and then work in that order.

Of course, there are all the subcategories: live debt free, do not partake or encourage bad habits and addictions,  treat others with respect, do good deeds often, have a community.

Now, I know that there are mental health issues and addictions that keep some people from having a full life.  I’m no doctor or therapist so I can’t give that sort of advice.  However, I can speak from my own experience.

I was raised by a brilliant woman who had a mental illness and was undiagnosed until much, much later in her life.  And she chose not to continue with her medication even though it made a huge difference…for her and everyone around her.  She was also an alcoholic and addicted to sleeping pills.  I find that many people that struggle with mental illness are addicted to pills or alcohol.  The alcohol and pills or drugs help them feel normal or happy for a short period and they become addicted to that.

I grew up being abused verbally and emotionally abused almost my whole existence with this woman.  Although I’m not mentally unbalanced, I chose alcohol and marijuana to find an escape and comfort from the hell that was created at home.   After I left home I continued my addictions and also remained in touch with my mother.  I felt like it was my duty as a daughter to help her.  I even moved home to tend to her when she was dying.

This mother/daughter relationship almost destroyed me.  For years I would drink and smoke pot and cigarettes, I had no relationship with God, and I was deeply depressed.  I made poor choices that just perpetuated my miserable existence.  I tried outrunning my own sadness, moving from town to town, changing jobs yearly, dating men for only a few weeks or months at a time.  I lived in a fantasy world in my mind because I didn’t know how to create a life that was beautiful in my reality.  This went on for decades, literally.

Today my life is beyond completely different.  It went from dark to light, from silent to song.

Today, when I am in the kitchen with small ones playing at my feet and I’m kneading dough for the bread I’ll be baking, my music playing, the sun filling the room, my heart full…it’s hard to imagine the life I used to have.  No one would recognize my life today from even 8 years ago.

The two things that changed my life completely; getting sober and delving into a spiritual life.

The combination is nothing short of miraculous.  It doesn’t matter how you have to get to God, just do it.  Without faith and a relationship with Him life is bleak and has no answers.

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So long as you are poisoning your body and mind with the likes of booze, drugs, pills, even pot smoking on a regular basis, there will be no clarity or peace.

Debt is another darkness that must be overcome.  There is no freedom in debt.

Then the focus must be on healing the mind.  Center for Spiritual Living had a motto, “Heal your mind and you heal your life.”  Your words and your thoughts create your inner world that expands out and co-creates your outer world.

We see this all the time.  We all know that one person that is so negative and miserable.  They are always complaining of the injustices of their life.  And sure enough, their life is a mess.  Things go wrong for them all the time.  They have the worst luck.

Then we have that positive and cheerful person.  They sing about a good life and they are grateful for every little thing.  Their life is good, everything goes pretty well for them, they seem to have so much good fortune.

There is magic in life.  There are miracles all the time.  The Source is ready for you, there is an abundance of love and support waiting to help you, heal you.  Ask and you shall receive.

There are programs, Churches, Spiritual Centers, AA, and so much more out there to help.  There are Credit Counseling Agencies for your debt.

Becoming proactive about cleaning up the outside of your life as you clean up the inside of your mind is empowering.  As you overcome your addictions, your unhappiness, your debt…you will become so confident and empowered in your life.  Your life will get better and better and better, one small step at a time.  One day you will stop and look around and be amazed at the new life you have built.

Make the choice today to start a new life.

Some resources that helped me recover my life and joy:

  • Joyce Meyers. She is on TV every day and has a website and hundreds of great books.  One that I really recommend is Battlefield of the Mind.  She has a worldwide ministry.
  • Joel Osteen. Has a large ministry, can be found on TV daily also, especially Sunday.  He has several great books.  He is very positive and uplifting.
  • The Everyday Life Bible with Joyce Meyer.  I enjoy this because she helps you understand and interpret parts of the Bible.  She helps us apply it to our everyday life.
  • The Law of Attraction with Abraham and Esther and Jerry Hicks.
  • The Secret.  This is a movie, it’s fun to watch and helps those new to Law of Attraction understand it.
  • AA.  The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.  The toll-free number to call and find meetings and help in your area is 844-801-4370.  You can also look online in your location for a meeting hall.  From there you will find meetings all over the place.  Don’t just go to one, try all kinds.  Some are fun and bright, some are dingy and in basements.  You just need to find one you can relate to and feel comfortable.
  • The Case for Christ, The Case for the Real Jesus, The Case for a Creator, The Case for Faith, all by Lee Strobel.  These books are amazing for answering all our questions that keep us from fully believing in God, Jesus, and the Bible.  This is some good reading for those of you on the fence with atheism to faith.

 

 

 

 

What life looks like after years of sobriety and frugal living.

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Getting sober and getting out of debt are two of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.  They were also the most empowering things I’ve every done.  The hardship of both tasks was so worth it in the end.  Today life is a far different picture than it was pre-sobriety and debt.

I struggled with both items for years and years before I had victory.  I truly began living once these obstacles were conquered and overcome.  I love reminiscing over my last 8 years.  I can’t stand thinking about the years prior to sobriety.  There is such a darkness, shame, and gloom to all the previous years that I shudder to even go back in my mind.  Then I fast forward to the “golden years” and I smile to myself.  I love thinking about all my sober years.  They have been happy, fulfilling, and amazing.  They have been loaded with blessings and miracles.

In AA meetings I found that the people that would speak about their lives in sobriety loved to talk about the drunk years.  We called it drunk-a-logs.  They would tell their stories and go on and on about the using years, their years out there drinking and drugging, and then spend a couple minutes on how life is for them now.  It used to make me crazy.  How does that inspire anyone?  You need mass amounts of motivation and to be inspired almost daily in the beginning.  You are giving up a way of life and everything you know.  The AA joke is “All you have to change is everything!”  It’s not really that funny because it is completely true.  You give up old stomping grounds, vices, friends, even crazy things you wouldn’t think of like songs and foods…a whole world.

Getting sober is a struggle for the first year and sometimes more.  You have to replace those habits and addictions, you have to build a new life, a new world, new friendships.  Then there is all the healing work, mental, physical, and emotional, the making of amends, the long process of retying severed bonds of friendships and family relationships you have destroyed during the wild years.  There is probably debt and some court or legal issues.  It’s hard, hard, hard. That is why you need a big community to get through it all.  You will need a sponsor to talk you off the ledge several times and new friends to replace the ones that still want you to go to the bar. You will need to be surrounded by people who are changing their lives too or have already done it all and can advise and guide you through the process.

I do not go to AA anymore.  I went for two decades with the last two of those years being truly sober.  I have no desire to return, however, I do love going to a meeting now and then with a friend when visiting out of town.  It is filled with newcomers making their way on the first wobbly legs of a rigorous journey.  You don’t see many of the old timers because they have gone on to careers, family life, and different ways of living a wholesome life.  However, not many of us would have made it without an AA fellowship to get through the beginning.

But what is life like afterward?  It can be great or it can continual suck.  To be blunt.  It all depends on what you do with the first year.  I’ll go with the bright side because I know how it was and is for me.

I fought fully committing to AA for years.  I denied I had an issue for years.  I knew I did but then I’d get sober and get bored and miss my “life” and decide that I didn’t have an issue after all.  I was continually fascinated with others who got sober and turned their lives around and that is what kept me trying.  I tried on my own and I tried every way possible.  Nothing worked.  I tried going to church, meditation,  changing jobs, homes, towns, friends, lovers, exercising more, going back to college, getting 3 jobs.  Nothing worked.  Like the Big Book says, “we tried an easier and softer way to no avail”.  It might not say that exactly, I haven’t opened mine for a time. The point being that there is no “easy” way out of this pit of addiction and alcoholism no matter how mild your case seems to be.

It was when I was really done and couldn’t, wouldn’t, and didn’t want to live in the manner I was living that I finally gave in and surrendered completely.  I showed up to an AA meeting after calling a woman who had been my sponsor previously.  I ask her to take me back and she said to meet her at the women’s meeting that night.  I will never forget that night because I went in knowing I was done for good and I would do anything and everything to change my life.  I felt a huge burden lift as I walked in the doors to that meeting and I knew I would never suffer again.  My sponsor then is my accountant today some 8 years later.  You keep people when you’re sober.

So, my journey began.  I moved to the coast and they had a big fellowship with an adorable and cozy meeting hall in the harbor.  I immersed myself.  I became completely humble.  I had a sponsor, I made new friends, I went to meetings daily, I showed up early, left late, washed coffee mugs, shared, helped others, read the Big Book, I went to every single event and potluck, I volunteered, I did all my 12 steps deeply and completely, I cleaned up the past, I finished paying off debt, got healthy physically and mentally, I did every single dingle thing I was told to do to get sober.  And beyond.  I even did research on the effects of marijuana and alcohol on the body and mind.  I read other books and stories from fellow sober people.  I changed my music, where I hung out, my friends.  I even watched sober movies (yes, there are many).

The first few years I did all these amazing things I would never have done while using alcohol and pot. The first year I got involved with the theater company doing light and sound and acting in a play.  I wrote my first of many books.  I took on a rescue dog and I changed careers.  Moved to the ocean, made new and wonderful friends I am close to still.  That was my first year.  My second year I married and took on another rescue dog.  I became a mother and homemaker (my favorite career change.  The third year I had another healthy and adorable son and now I have written something like 14 books.  I even write fiction under a pen name.  Now I’m starting to have some success with my writing career.  I make enough from my royalties for my coffee habit and to pay for book covers and an editor that has been one of my sober friends from all those years back.

Now, I will be completely honest in saying that in the 8 years I have slipped up and smoked pot a few times.  But here’s the catch.  I enjoyed it for a brief moment and then I couldn’t wait to get back to my normal and healthy life.  I really can’t stand being under the influence of anything.  I used to love, LOVE smoking pot.  I can’t stand it now.  I have a life that is so wholesome, so normal, so full and so good that it is actually depressing being stoned.  It is creepy and exhausting to alter my state of mind and being.

If you really fix your life, clean it up, heal it, learn a new way, build a new life, you will never want to go back.  You may slip one day but you won’t go out for long.  You will have such a great life and so much to lose it won’t taste good.  It won’t feel good. Freedom comes in the form of a life free of addictions and debt.

Today we are looking to buy a house.  We aren’t working with a lot of money but we can afford it today and that is a miracle.  Today I wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed (maybe not every day) and I have a house filled with pets and children and life.  I pay my bills with ease and have some money left over.  I never worry about money.  I am trying to master saving more.  We have a big, fat savings that will be used for house buying and emergencies.  My family, and I, are in great health.  I have reunited with and healed old friendships and family ties.  I have cleaned out the ones that are not healthy.  I spend my weekends at home with popcorn and movie nights and two yummy boys.  I haven’t had a hangover in years and years.  I never have a reason to be ashamed or regret what I did the night before.

Today I laugh a lot and my drama level is about a .05 instead of a constant 10.  I get excited about going to the movies (happened once in 4 years) and my coffee in the morning, especially if I’m trying a new brand.  My biggest addiction is cake and I think it’s more the idea of it than actually having it.  I love my life, my sons, and basically all four seasons.  I have a normal, kind, strong, grounded husband.  All these things are miracles.  I didn’t get married until I was almost 41 years old and my children came along at 41 and 43 years old.  I had once thought I would be a spinster for life.

I have a reunion/funeral this weekend and I’m thrilled.  I don’t have to dread it because I have a great life, I have an adorable family, and I’ve made amends and renewed all the friendships and family I will be seeing this Sunday.  I’m plump as ever but who cares?!  I’m healthy!  I’m jolly!  I’m a happy, sober housewife and mother with a writing career!

Do it.  If you question your usage, if you question your partying in any way…you have an issue, trust me.  Don’t intellectualize it and explore it for the next 20 years like I did.  Get sober, do everything and anything to get and stay sober.  Work on your mind health, get physically healthy.  Build a brand new life.  I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful and fun and great it is after you get through the hell of the beginning.

Good luck.

Queen of Sober: Getting Through the First Year by [Singh, Kate]

 

Overcoming nonproductive​ habits.

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I have been reading Awakening the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins.  I lovingly and jokingly refer to it as “staying awake for the giant”.  It is one of those mammoth books jam-packed with so much information that you may pass out after a few pages from sheer mental exhaustion.  I’m only on page 145 and I started sometime this winter…it’s late summer now.  I will read a chunk and then I have to take a break with something fluffy with sparkles and hues of pink like The Secret or Law of Attraction.

I love this man! He’s this giant, all man kind of man, but also very full of love and compassion… and deep!  He is plugged into the Source for sure. There is a great documentary on Netflix called Tony Robbins; I Am Not Your Guru.  It was inspiring and I would love to go to one of his big seminars, however, I’d have to sell one of our cars to make that happen right now.  I’m setting my intentions for him to call me one day and invite me to just sit in as a guest.  I can dream…that is free and fits into my budget.

I was reading a section of his book that discusses addictions and habits and how to overcome them.  Well, one of the 5 or 6 steps.  A big part of overcoming a habit/addiction and NOT going back is to replace a bad habit with a fun activity, hobby, career or routine that becomes as fun and/or comforting if not more than the original “problem” habit.  I have discussed this in my books, especially the Plug in the Jug book.  No, it’s not so simple as getting a hobby to kick that booze habit.  Yes, it’s so very important to replace a bad habit with something of equal value that is positive.

Now, time for examples, because that is how we understand and process big information.  If you were to quit smoking, to replace it you could start jogging, crocheting, take up some hobby or sport.  It’s crucial for the survival and success.  You will not make it if you leave a void.  You will sit and think about how much you miss the smoking.  You will struggle and suffer and, eventually if not right away, you will be at the corner store buying a pack of ciggies the minute you have an excuse to fall back into smoking.

If you have a drinking or drug problem you will need a full community and all the support that comes with it.  You will also want to reconstruct your whole life.  Does this sound extreme?  In AA they love to say, “all you have to change is everything!”  It is so true.

I’m listening to Pandora and there is a traditional gospel song I just love for this scenario; “Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down”, by Shirley Caesar.  It is a powerful song and Satan to me is our addictions.  These things take over our lives and run the show.  Once you are addicted to pills, alcohol, cigarettes and even pot…you are no longer running your life.  Your life, your focus, all your thoughts, and emotions are on and around getting that first hit, that first drink or pill of the day.  This is what you are creating from… the illness.  And this is what you manifest…more of the habit, more of the drink, pill, pot…

To get your life back, you must create a new one and leave that broken one behind.  How do you do that?  You find meetings, community, support and help from those that are in the same boat and know how to navigate the stormy seas of sobriety.

  • You let go of the old life and surrender to the process of building something new from scratch.
  • You stop hanging out with the old crowd and friends that are still drinking, smoking or whatever they are doing.
  • You find new places to hang out, you listen to different music, not your old drinking music.
  • You go to the cafe for lattes with new sober friends and NOT the pub with old drinking buddies.
  • You read books and do research to help you understand your brain, your mind, and your addiction.
  • You fill up on funny movies and popcorn or even cake on a Friday night, not clubbing at the local dance club.
  • You learn to go for power walks when frustrated and you learn to clean, take up baking and knitting when bored, sad or lonely.

This is how you do sober.  Then there is all the spiritual work and praying, the meditating and relearning.  It goes on and on.  It’s so hard in the beginning, but it DOES get easier and easier and one day it is so worth it when you look at your brand new fabulous life filled with good and real friends and your great career, your new loving relationship and your happy family.  One day you realize that you would never go back for anything.  This doesn’t mean you won’t backslide or got back for a bit.  Some people go back to the old life and never come back.  I don’t understand that.  I think that to prevent this you have to build such a huge network and amazing lifestyle that you wouldn’t do anything to lose what you have.

It’s also a great idea to create and build hobbies, a career or side job that you love MORE than the former habit.  For example, I have motherhood and my writing.  I have gone back to nonproductive habits temporarily in the past, but I love the writing and home life so much that when I felt the habit was interfering I quit and returned to my more wholesome lifestyle.  My children and my writing give me so much more than the habit ever did. I have creative and fun outlets and that is key to continuing on a new path to healthy living.

It’s hard work.  Even for the little habits.  They are taking over more than you think and you will see just how much control they have when you try asking them to move out.  Load up on that gum and candy, get some books on the subject, watch some Tony Robbins and find a friend to talk to.  If it’s more serious, look up your local AA and get my Put a Plug in the Jug and Start a New Life!  It will lead you through the first year (the hardest) and set you on the road to living a wholesome and sober life.  Mind you the book is for everyone from a teenager to the grandma.  There is something for everyone in there.

Good luck and know that if you can overcome this habit, no matter how small or big, it will be the most empowering thing you will ever do.

 

 

How to climb up out of poverty and addiction.

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Some of you who come across this write-up will not do it by coincidence, just as I did not write this by coincidence.  There is no such thing as coincidence, bad luck, good luck, or happenstance.  Everything has meaning, everything has a reason, and it is all of our creation.  Choices we made years ago may still be affecting us today, the feelings and thoughts we marinate in today will create our tomorrow.  You called this in to your experience today.

If you are struggling with hard times…financially and emotionally (because they go hand in hand), if you have more bills than a paycheck, big debt, and other dark times…I’m here to help!  I’ve got some great advice that I have used to pull myself up out of poverty, debt, and bad, bad habits.

First, know this; all this will pass.  You will not be here forever, the debt will go, the hard times will pass into more golden times, life is about to get easier and better.  I promise!  But…and here is the but, you have to be willing and surrender to the process.  Willing to do whatever you need to do to change your circumstances and surrender to whatever happens in the journey to get you from darkness to light.

There is a saying in the AA fellowship, “All you have to change is everything”.  There is also another saying, “You can’t change your situation from the same mindset that got you here in the first place” (not really word for word but you get the idea).

If you are in the crap hole of life and you want out…you will have to work from the inside out and outside in.  Your actions and your thinking got you here, so you will have to reinvent yourself.  How exciting and fun right?!  Yes, it is scary, but it is easier than you think and it will get easier with each step.

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Creating abundance for the future:

So, how do we start the climb?  Here are some ways to start fixing things from the outside and inside.

  • Take a good look at where you are financially and start finding ways to cut cost in big ways.  Move to a smaller home, get rid of cable, get rid of the car and bike or walk everywhere, reduce the cell bill, start finding ways to reduce the electric and water bills.
  • STOP going out, period.  Make all food and coffee from home.
  • Find every book on being frugal and use every tip.  Queen of Penny Pinching is my book and I have every bit of advice and tips that I had researched and read for years, along with my own practices.  I will teach you every frugal and thrifty tip and way to get out of debt, live on a tiny budget, and I will point you to other books and resources to help you in big ways.  I give away a free ebook at the beginning of each month so just look and you can get all kinds of great books of mine with tons of advice.
  • Start growing your own food.  Even if you have a patio you can grow buckets and pots of herbs and food.  Even some fruit and lemon trees grow in barrels.  Be creative.
  • Look up Dave Ramsey online for advice on getting out of big debt.
  • The Complete Tightwad Gazette was my frugal bible for years.  You can get it at the library.
  • Love the library.  You will never have to buy a book again.
  • Consider homeschooling.  It can be an amazing experience for the whole family and can be free if you utilize the library and internet.
  • There are all kinds of programs to help with food, shelter, college, free internet, discounts on electricity and gas.  Do some research to see what assistance you can get.  If you are in dire straights, get the help to help you up and out of the situation.
  • College can be free.  There are BOG fee waivers for free classes and financial aid for the books that you don’t pay back.  Go back to school to learn a new skill.  You don’t have to get a Masters, you could do a secretary program, dental assisting, mechanic, computer training, and all kinds of trades that take less than a year but will improve your life.
  • If you have an addiction or bad habit…overcome it.  Find AA meetings and support to heal and get sober.  Find a Church.  Get a community that is improving themselves.  You can NOT get out of poverty or a shitty situation if you use drugs and booze.  You must be clear and present.
  • Join a Church or Spiritual Center.  These people are loving God, living wholesome lives, are sober, and many of them are also working toward getting out of debt, overcoming addictions, and improving their lives. You need a support, a community of people that will show you the way and carry you when you need it.
  • Work toward moving up in your job or getting a better one.  Take classes or whatever you need to do.
  • Start working on your mind.  Get into huge gratitude, learn to be positive no matter what, and heal yourself.  I would suggest the Bible, Law of Attraction teachings such as Abraham with Esther Hicks, Tony Robbins, Florence Scovel Shinn, Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen.  You can get it all free on the internet and Joyce and Joel are on TV.
  • Get negative people out of your life.  People that are doing drugs, drinking too much, angry, creating drama.  Act like they have the Black Plague.  For your spirit they do.
  • Find new and positive friends that are working hard on their lives to make them shine.
  • Believe in yourself.  Give yourself full respect, love, and honor your feelings.  If it doesn’t feel good go.  If it feels good stay.
  • Eat healthily and get rid of all the junk food.  Cook from scratch to get nutritious food and save money.
  • Exercise daily.  This will improve the mind, body, and spirit vastly.  It can be free.  Walk or do exercise on the internet for free.
  • Simplify your life.  Spend time alone if you need to for awhile.

This is a long list and simplified.  There is so much that goes into healing and righting the mind and changing your life.  You will need to do a lot of reading and research.  Think of it as the college of your life.  Jump in with both feet and get to work with all the diligence you can muster.  It takes some time to get a rhythm and start to see change and improvement and then it is like a domino effect.  Once the train gets going you become unstoppable.

Just don’t give up.

Many Blessings!

Queen of Sober: Getting Through the First Year by [Singh, Kate]

 

A New Life in Sobriety.

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I remember the New Years resolutions, all the things I was going to change, all the task I was going to accomplish toward becoming a better person, a more civilized and enlightened human being.  It would last the first few days and by the next weekend it was all old news and forgotten.  I wasted many years not getting my act together and living in a world of being “nonpresent”.

I quit drinking 8 plus years ago.  It dwindled down for a couple years to nothing and then a final commitment to being clear and here.  I don’t miss it one bit and I, personally, can’t stand drinking.  I watch people at parties go from normal to some unrecognizable, insane ghoul that wants to yell-talk, sing too loud, and dance in a manner that should be left for behind closed doors…alone!  Alcohol, when used as a vice or abusively, can destroy a person, a life, a family, a community.  I include drugs also, of course.  It is a dark poison and does what poison does best, sickens and eventually kills.  Sometimes it just kills the spirit and that is the worst death.

I’ve seen it in our homeless community.  Many are mentally ill or forgotten soldiers. Then there are the ones that have fried their brains on drugs and alcohol.  They are no longer home in their bodies.  Who has taken over, I can only guess, but they cannot take care of themselves and are completely reliant on others for food and goodwill.  They still chase after the bottle and whatever else can get them high like Gollum was after the Ring from Frodo’s possession.

It’s hard to overcome such a powerful darkness.  It is like leaving a lover that was destructive but you had amazing chemistry with.  You want the good stuff and miss it when you have ended the relationship.  You very quickly forget the broken furniture and public scenes, or how much your family hates this person when you long for the sweet moments.

Ah, but if you can just be strong enough to get to the other side.  If you can just get through all those lonely nights and weekends were the phone doesn’t even ring and you feel abandoned in this grief.  The other side is like finding paradise at last after a long journey over rough seas and meager rations.

It helps if you find support.  It helps greatly if you can find people on the same mission.  You need a tribe when going to war.  But this is a war you want to win.  The outcome and peace is worth all the fight you will need.

What’s life like without drinking and/or drugs?  It is like going from an overcrowded and violent city to a small, charming town where everyone is happy to see you and there is fun, real laughter, and peace.  It is like going from an eternity of darkness and turmoil to light and sparkly lakes were you float around for hours humming a good song.

It’s hard to get from that place to the other side.  Many people join a group.  The fellowship can provide meetings and coffee, therapy and new friends.  It gives you a place to go every day besides the pub.  It gives you new friends that will carry you when you want to fall back into the old life and run back to friendships that will take you right back to hells party house.

Why be sober? Why get clean and healthy?  Because it’s a great life where good things happen.  You get out of debt, you make great friendships that last, you meet your true love and build a home and start a family, you get a college degree, you build a career, and live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood.  Sobriety is full of life and love.

Being a drunk is filled with pain, misery, humiliating moments that no one forgets.  It’s filled with severed relationships and heartbreak.  It’s filled with missed opportunities and dead ends.

You can’t manifest or create a rich and thriving life if you are poisoning your mind and spirit with drugs and alcohol.  Universal law doesn’t work that way.

Changing my life was the most empowering thing I have ever done.  My life went from that opening scene on the first Bridget Jone’s Diary movie where she is in her pajama’s drunk off her ass and alone.  There is a sad song by Celine Dione in the background, “All By Myself”, an ashtray overflowing, empty bottles on the floor and an answering machine that keeps telling her “you have NO messages” to a life quite different.  I used to spend my weekends like that.

Now I have a cozy cottage in town and two yummy boys, two spoiled dogs and cat running around the home all very busy with their own agendas.  I have a good and solid marriage to a man who is loyal and hardworking.  I am healthier at 46 years than I was in my twenties.  I have a fabulous writing career and good friends.  We are close to family, both, blood relations and adopted.  I wake up clear-eyed and happy, to the sound of babies and smell of brewing coffee.  At night I go to bed with cuddly boys and books about fairytale lands.

I know without a doubt that none of this would have happened if I had continued my bad habits.  I didn’t just drink to excess on the weekends, I also smoked cigarettes and was a chronic pot smoker.

I did go to AA meetings and really dove into the fellowship for a year.  I no longer go to meetings.  I have no desire for that either.  I have a life where there is no room getting liquored up.  I have created a life that is so full of good stuff that there is no room for anything false or poisonous.  I love being present, healthy, clear, and alive.  I have too much to lose and I know what living on the “other” side is all about and I would never leave this world.

However, the year I did spend in AA was a great year!  I did so much work and healing.  I had so much support, friends, and fun.  I did all the steps, all the work.  I attended all the sober parties, the bar b q’s, and potlucks.  I could not have done it without that little meeting hall in the harbor in my old ocean town.  I will be forever grateful.  You have to find what works for you.  I just don’t see that much success with those that go it alone without sober friends, support, therapy, spiritual and emotional work.  Sometimes it takes a village.

Good luck to those planning to get sober this year.  Swallow your pride and get what help you can.  This could be the best year of your life!

Queen of Sober: Getting Through the First Year by [Singh, Kate]