Thursday, November 29, 2018

GET in the box!!

It has been another exceptionally difficult week. In addition to responding to the obvious stressors that currently exist, and I knowingly and willingly accept, there are a whole lot of other emotions that seem to be surfacing. Old feelings that go waaaay back are catching up with me. Core, irrational, beliefs have been bubbling over, and I am in full attack mode, facing and challenging all the $#!t that is coming up.

Over the weekend, already amidst the storm, and its intensity increasing, I was sent spiraling when my daughter presented me with a few curiosity driven, innocent and serious questions. As the massive wave washed over me, the tears began, the grip in my chest and on my heart tightened, and, in my stomach, the gnashing and gnawing began to swallow me. All the grief, hurt, pain, soooo many feelings and thoughts about situations in my life, past and present, amassed over my life time, came crashing down, sweeping my feet from beneath me, knocking the wind out of me, and slamming me to the ground.

Yesterday, I made it through a fantastic, albeit exhausting, CAB session, was treated to and enjoyed a great lunch with Teeny, and promptly went home, requiring some serious self-care, which came in the form of a planned forty-five minute rest that turned into a much needed, two hour nap.

This morning when I woke up, I knew that I needed a plan to battle back against the suffocating weight that was upon me. I could not carry on in the state that I had been.

I thought back to the containment exercises, specifically "The Container", shared with me during AADP that are used to aid in controlling the anxiety, feelings, and thoughts that accompany memories, thoughts, and triggers that are too chaotic and overwhelming to cope with in the moment. I also recalled a meditation I had tried that involved visualizing being on the shore of a beautiful beach, placing negative triggers, people, words, events, images, etc. in a boat, and sending the load far out into the ocean.

From there, I devised my method of preservation.

I visualized a simple loft like space with many rooms, and saw all the people, images, feelings, STUFF, floating around like they belonged, pretending to be tenants. I identified them instead as squatters, none of whom had paid rent in quite some time. I handed out eviction notices for non-payment of rent and began to clear them all out, tossing everything into cardboard moving boxes.

It’s been a busy day, in my minds eye; I’ve been packing and scrubbing the spaces clean. Every time a "squatter", an unhelpful/unhealthy person, thought or image, tried to make its presence known, I would sternly say “NOPE. GET in the box!!” or “BACK IN THE BOX!!”, and imagine myself tossing whatever it was into a box with a laugh. 

For the most part, I managed to make it work. This little exercise truly helped me to maintain a semblance of sanity, remain in wise mind thinking, and it truly kept me from drowning today. I felt calmer, my eye on the sun shining through the billowing sheers that adorned the open windows, as the now empty rooms begin to fill with the warm and gentle aura of clarity, peace, and hope.

Find what works, and work the $#!t out of it. 

Until? It would seem, until it all becomes second nature.

I’m doing it!! I’m working it!!

I got this.

(The tools that seem to work best for me often involve allowing my rebel side to brightly shine, the use of facetious talk with Insidious and friends, and humor. I didn’t realize until later this evening that I had been performing, in my mind, like Bob Newhart in this video all day; I sounded just like him! LOL)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"It's Like Taking Buckley's..."

Last week I hit the eight months mark of this healing and recovery journey of mine. Eight months without a drink, and eight months of finally looking at myself, my thoughts and behaviors, and working to make healthy and positive changes.

I’ve had the usual daily “life” stuff, raising my child, working towards getting back to work, and turning forty to deal with. Beyond that, I have also faced deeper, dysfunctional family issues, three deaths in the family, situations and emotions surrounding my ex-husband, and the break-up of a relationship.

Much to my surprise, I haven’t fallen on (too many! LOL) old behaviors, drank, or done what I previously would have assumed to be the only option; I haven’t crumbled to my knees! Well, its close some days!! LOL But in a vastly different and less threatening manner.

During these eight months, I have found it (knock on wood!!) far less difficult than I imagined it would be to get through it all without a drink. I’ve been feeling the feelings, living life on life’s terms as they say, and so far, I seem to be surviving!

I have become more aware of, focused on, and am working at healing other areas of my life, outside of the alcohol, or maybe because of the alcohol?, where my toxic, unhealthy thoughts and behaviors continue to wreak havoc.

I find myself in moments, where I can laugh (or emit a sound that slightly resembles a laugh, perhaps a snort, or maybe some other sarcastic, pfffft, like sound), recognizing what has truly come up for me, and am easily able to change it around and re-frame it into a healthier thought or action. Other times, the moments prove to be a little more difficult to accept and work through.

I’ve been consumed by the depth of some of what has come up; I have sat absorbing it with tears streaming down my face, feeling raw and worn to the bones.

I've also been filled with pride, and reminded of the strength, courage, and wisdom that already exists within me.
I keep going to my groups, CAB and Smart Recovery, counselling, talking, reading all kinds of books, writing, painting, meditating, working with my crystals, and feeling all that comes up.

I am doing it.

It sucks. It’s hard as shit. It hurts terribly.

But I am doing it.

And I AM healing.

With a smile on my face, I reflect over the words someone spoke in CAB on Friday, “It’s like taking Buckley's, all this work… Tastes and feels like shit, but it works.”

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Single Mama Rant

Despite the growth I have been experiencing on my healing and recovery journey, the hard work that I’ve been doing, digging into myself, my thoughts and behaviors, there is still one area that is kicking my ass. Royally.

The role that I am in, “The Single Mom”.

These days, the role is eating me up inside, it’s overwhelmingly consuming and crushing me.

I remind myself that I am not the only one in this role. I remind myself that there are others with more children than my own, one daughter. I remind myself that while we have experienced hell, there are others who have gone through worse to get here. I remind myself that these others, moms, dads, aunties, uncles, grandparents, friends, etc., are in the same boat as I, and they are succeeding. I remind myself that I am strong. I remind myself that I am capable. I remind myself that it will get easier. I remind myself that I am doing the best that I can.

I am trying.

The struggle is real my friends.

My nights lately, intended for reviewing the personal work I am doing, catching up on homework (I am doing my English 12, and just started 2 online courses to brush up on my skills in the areas of computers and the fundamentals of being an Administrative Assistant), and quiet time to wind down with some self-care, have turned into a war zone, leaving me with little time to catch my breath or get a decent sleep.

I sit on the couch crying, the weight of my responsibilities feeling as though they are crushing me, and, as was the case last night, with the music LOUD, the fan on high, in attempt to drown out my daughters nasty screaming and wailing, and the urge to scream at the top of my lungs while running out of my apartment.

The yelling and friction between us have surpassed anyone’s comfort zone, even beginning to frighten one another, so really, releasing a blood curdling scream is not an option, nor is running away.

I know others can relate to having another parent in the house who really doesn’t contribute to their role in the family, in any physical or emotional manner. But, because you both created this child, you don’t feel completely alone or misunderstood in your hopes, plans, beliefs about the child. Until you are alone. Then, I know others can continue to relate to finding a partner who steps in to take on a parental role, thankfully, and wonderfully, but we still feel alone on the deeper levels of parenting this child who was created by two, then left with one.

And I know there are others who have experienced both of those situations, and then still find themselves where I now am: ONE. SINGLE. PARENT.

The strongest words racing through my mind lately?

(followed by huge tears and sobs, deep breaths, and loneliness)

I recognize the elements of age/stage that are present; the “normal” tough stuff. I am aware of the effects on her from the grief, loss and traumas that she has experienced. I realize that she has seen people treat her mom in unhealthy, unsafe and negative manners. I accept, with a giggle, that she IS my daughter after all; those who know me… LOL But, there is another side that I see too, a darker side that regretfully reminds me of her father, though I would NEVER say that to her. A side that is beginning to resemble a person who bullies her mom, a negative, unaccepting, unwilling, take no responsibility, constantly pointing fingers to blame side.

This “side” of her though, is beginning to feel like it might break this single mama.

Beneath the crushing and suffocating weight, overwhelming tears and need to vent, I continue to maintain vigilance. I continue to reach out to our counsellors, friends and family, I read anything “parenting”, and I just keep trying, one foot in front of the other.

I am determined.

The cycles end here. The healing begins. I will, and AM showing her a better way. I am sharing tools and skills with her. I am conversing about the tough stuff with her, attempting to ensure open communication with her for when the “big” stuff comes along.

One day, I remain hopeful, she will fully understand and appreciate this “role” I currently struggle to fulfill. I hope that she will be proud of me, for kicking ass at BEING a “single mama”.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Scheduling Balance to Create a Balanced Schedule

For quite some time, I have been listing "create routine in my life" as a goal, and for quite some time, I have been working on making that happen. My healing and recovery journey has me destroying old scripts, so that I can create a new and healthy flow; it takes time and effort to unravel a lifetime of chaos.

I have learned more about making SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-Bound) goals. I have been absorbing all that I can take in surrounding changing unhealthy behaviors and patterns, how the brain works, it's ability to make repairs, and how we can assist in and strengthen that process. I have learned about the repetition that is required, and the time in which it takes for a changed behavior, belief, or a thought to become wired into our brain fully, which is said to be roughly 21 days (although it really takes a little longer). I have also begun to fully understand the importance of having BALANCE in life.

I now understand that routine and scheduling will CREATE the balance that I, we, need in life.

In order for me to FEEL balanced in all aspects of my life, I must plan ahead so that I can fully immerse myself in completing the things required of me. For me to feel whole, there are things I believe(d) that I must include daily, on a personal and self-care level. But, as there are only so many hours in a day (and you cannot function with four hours of sleep nightly, attempting to fit it all into each day, as I recently discovered!), I have come to the realization that if I get serious about identifying and becoming clear about the why and what the benefits that I SEE and FEEL are when I accomplish these "must do" things, I will then feel compelled to MAKE them routine. Despite how I anticipate, or actually am feeling in the moment, I am making a great effort to no longer allow excuses, and I am really working hard to hold myself accountable in my intentions, goals, and actions. 

My current focus and goals revolve around work/school, being a mom, my healing and recovery journey, those things that I am passionate about doing, that fill me with joy and light, which have now grown to include loving myself. Self-care has FINALLY come into my awareness, and the many ways TO take care of me.

Prioritizing balance, by creating routine and schedules that ARE balanced, is the path that will enable me to reach my goal, and get the most out of this crazy and fluid thing we call life.

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