Alison's Insights

Accepting Mid-Life Addiction Recovery One Slow Deep Breath At A Time

Layers of Protection

I love fairy tales. There is a rhythm to those stories that leave me feeling joy and hope for what could be. However, one connected with me in ways I couldn’t understand until now.

This is the story about the princess who endured a sleepless night due to a pea hidden underneath mattresses and feather beds. Even with all that separation from something so small, she still felt pain.

When I first heard that fable, I wondered how such a little thing could cause so much discomfort. Surely all those layers of softness would protect her from hurt.

I had no idea how that story, and that belief, would impact me for years to come.

Silent stories I told myself about how life worked never seemed to match how I felt about what happened around me. When others heard bits and pieces of my emotional confusion, their response was either in disregard or complete dismissal of my feelings.

Rather than any attempt to further that conversation, I buried those little girl emotions with layers of self-imposed rationalization to confirmed how I felt didn’t matter.

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However, no amount of coating placed over what I hid, or distance put between when I did, that unacknowledged emotion festered. Instead of a deep dig to uncover and release what I denied, I sought relief in the form too much alcohol and not enough food. That magic mixture helped blur what pierced through me when others seemed to have a better shot at life or why I was never good enough in the eyes of those whose approval I longed for.

I couldn’t make sense of rejection, shame, or “less than” feeling because I never learned how. That’s why everything seemed a whole lot easier when lost in a drunken delusion or dazed from poor nutrition.

In time, just like that pea beneath the princess, the pain underneath the protective layers I put in place became stronger than my ability to avoid the hurt. I faced a crossroad where no amount of booze or lack of food could prevent me from the truth about who I was, how I felt, and what I needed.

With no idea how that could happen, I asked for help from those whose footsteps I now follow. The suggestions made led to actions I took to peel back the layers and investigate what I hid from and why.

Layers of protection are great for contact sports, winter snowstorms, and a leap from a plane, but they are no good when distracting from the truth.

A Moment to Breathe

For most, acknowledging emotion is not easy. The tendency to belittle or even hide from them is strong but dangerous. Are you using unhealthy behaviors to layer over how you feel as a means of protecting yourself? Take a moment to breathe. Consider what’s more painful; dealing with emotion, or the chaos and shame unhealthy protective layers present. Take another slow deep breath and consider what you really need to unveil truths long-buried beneath the stories you tell yourself. 

Feel free to leave a comment below or include your thoughts when sharing what I wrote via your favorite social media site. Either way, thank you for taking a moment to breathe with me.

 

Keep Coming Back

Over the years I heard, then said, three of the most powerful words anyone could offer to someone who struggles with overcoming some unhealthy behavior. The words are, keep coming back.

Woven together, those fifteen letters comforted—and continue to comfort—me, and many others, who walk away from a conversation that offers hope for change no matter how dire the situation.

When I first took in those words, I teetered between what made sense and what could be. I thought the invitation to another meeting of like-minded people was just a polite gesture. While I had my doubts about a return visit to a room filled with people I didn’t know who talked about things I didn’t understand, I went back anyway. I was desperate for a life other than the one I existed in. The lies, rationalizations, and manipulations were unbearable. I felt horrid from the inside out. The people in those rooms suggested I didn’t have to feel that way anymore as long as I keep coming back.

So, I did. I still do. However today, that powerful mantra means much more than the benefits of a return trip to a room of recovery wisdom.

When life tosses an emotional grenade my way, I’m thrown off-balance. Thoughts scatter. Next right steps aren’t clear. I doubt my options. Yet somehow, between the shrapnel, that mantra clicks in and I return to my proven recipe that shifts me from chaos to calm. Much like beloved, handed-down family recipes that many rely on for that perfect meal, this one, offered by the family that welcomed me when I felt lost and alone, is equally stained and torn, nurtured and shared and now, much-needed.

During the last several months I had striking examples of what can happen when friends lose sight of the recipe that once worked for them. An alert of another substance-related death, handcuffs then jail, excuses for unhealthy behavior use, and so on. The outcome is raw. The denial is unfathomable. The reality is startling and for some, beyond recognition.

Actually, I felt a bit tossed around too. I lost sight of what keeps me sorted in thought and focused in action. Yet, there, in the midst of all that, I kept hearing whispers from friends and interestingly, mere strangers who had no idea what they offered through their briefly shared words.

Time for A Comeback

So, I’m dusting off that recipe card. I’m coming back and perhaps in time, others will find their way home too.

A Moment to Breathe

What happens when you start to cut corners, eliminate ingredients, or lessen the time you need to fully experience what you’d rather not? Take a slow deep breath. Now, consider what’s missing from that recipe that worked to make sense of things. What changes are you willing to incorporate into your day that will help you rise up and nourish hope for what’s possible. Use the space below to account for those plans and then, please share this post to your preferred social media sites so others might do the same.  

 

How One Day at a Time Saves Me One Day at a Time

The statement that can yank me from mental chaos to calm contains five simple words. They are, one day at a time.

Don’t be fooled. Things weren’t always that way for me.

For the majority of my life, if something when awry or scared me, the last thing I thought would help was time. Instead, I did whatever necessary for immediate change. I had no desire for the sit back and wait idea. Regardless of possible consequences, if there was a problem, I fixed that problem, and moved on.  I couldn’t run the risk that what I feared could happen, would happen.

That came to halt when the emotional after effects of what I hope was my last drink of alcohol hit me like a hurricane. Fear, sadness, guilt, shame, remorse, and lack of control swept me up and tossed me around like an upended snow globe. I crawled my way to rooms where sobriety wisdom filled the air. Surely they had the quick-fix solution for my emotional pain. Each person I asked smiled and suggested I keep my focus only on how to not drink that day. That seemed absurd. How could I possibly get through a whole day with those hand wringing, heart-racing, tissue-deep feelings without the relief I knew a glass of my addiction would ease? Yet I made a silent commitment that I would attempt anything to end my relationship with booze.

I tried what I then doubted, and love what still works.

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As time went on, that need for that one-day-at-a-time concept showed up more and more often. I heard those words when I questioned that never-again idea about a future glass of wine or the occasional mixed drink. Back then, I could not fathom a birthday, a wedding, or any other celebratory event without a drink.

Although I did my best to conceal the shudder of my shoulders, the wise woman who knows me better than I know myself provided a bit more intel about this one day at a time notion. She explained that how I feel one day may not be how I feel forever. My ability to handle forthcoming situations would change as I work to better understand myself one day at a time.

I did the work which then felt impossible, and love how the knowledge works for me.

Then came the challenge to understand why three meals and two snacks a day made sense. That’s when people wiser than me suggested a few words to enhance that one-day-at-a-time concept. They suggested I focus my attention on one meal at a time,

Armed with what I knew worked and what I hoped would, I reconstructed my one day at a time mantra to include the words, one meal at a time. That alone got me through some very dark days.

Yet, life goes on and things show up. On the surface, some appear almost too much to bear. A situation may arise that pings the memory of how a glass of wine quenched my fears or a skipped a meal fueled a need to control my imperfections. That’s why I need more than a one day or one meal at a time reminder.

For example, a few weeks ago, I sat in silence among hundreds of people inside a church I know well. Each time, a celebration of one’s life filled with words they don’t hear but we do. On that particular day, my gaze was set on a woman left alone in the first pew. She sat upright with grace hoping the beautiful blue dress worn would mask her weary, emotionally drained body. Soon the young children she shared with her husband that we were there to honor would sit beside her once their pallbearer duties ended.

When I passed a tissue to the person next to me, she tearfully asked how anyone could possibly deal with the loss of a spouse so young. I responded with words that seem attached to my every exhale. I whispered, “I suppose one day at a time, maybe even one breath at a time.”

That’s how I roll these days; one day, one moment, one breath at a time. This is my life line when everything starts to feel like too much.

Once offered as an idea to shift my focus from too much alcohol and not enough food, the meaning behind this one day at time concept not only saved me from two near-death addictions, the words now save me from myself.

A Moment to Breathe

We all see the one day at a time quote on plaques, paper weights, and notecards, yet have you ever breathed in the true intention behind the phrase? Have you considered the value of that when worry takes over or anxiety is through the roof? Maybe your thoughts live in days ahead rather than where your feet are. Take a deep breath, look around, and ground yourself in the right now not in the what if. Focusing on one day, one moment, one breath at a time is how you could get from where you are to where your next right step is needed. I hope you can relate to some of this. If so, please comment below or share via your preferred social media site.

 

 

 

 

Finding the Path from Justifying to Testifying

As an avid reader, writer, and speaker about life before and after recovery from life-threatening addiction, I appreciate the use of carefully placed words. The hope is that the tale takes anyone interested from point A to point B with little confusion and, with any success, a connection. I learned that when I testify, there is no need to justify.

On the other hand, as a woman in long-term recovery, I appreciate those private moments when I witness the use of messy, scattered, nonsensical words spoken by someone who reached a point when their need to justify and deny turns into a need to testify and accept the truth.

I know that need from the inside out. For a long time, I tossed the details of my actions after one too many drinks and not enough food into a justification blender. My hope was that what poured out would make sense to those I prayed would listen.

Before I uttered a word, I silently practiced those well-mixed stories to assure they validated my chaotic, self-focused, emotionally disruptive behavior. I thought, once said, they would protect me from the judgement of others and shame from myself.

I believed justification and fabricated rationalization were my strong suit. I believed my use of manipulative words would alleviate vulnerable moments and emotional pain. I believed all that until one day none worked. People didn’t stop to listen, they started to disregard my means of denial. Those woven pieces of untruths were finally only believed by me.

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This was my turning point. This was when my need to testify and accept the truth became stronger than my need to justify my behavior by denying them with lies. When I turned that corner, my whole outlook on life changed.

No one could take that alternative path for me. Yet everyone who led the kind of life I wanted, free from unhealthy actions and behaviors that required justification, showed me the way. I listened with rapt attention to their testimonials, each laced with a sense of peace that was magnetic.

Today, my intention for writing and speaking is to offer the same kind of testimony that promotes the possibility for overcoming whatever keeps someone from living an honest life.

What pains me most is when I see and hear nonstop justification from people who are clearly struggling. The ripple effect of their denial is heartbreaking mostly because they can’t, as I couldn’t, recognize how far and wide that goes. I don’t hear their fictional account of what happened. I hear their cries for help.

I can’t walk the path from justifying to testifying for them but, if they are willing, I can show them the way.

A Moment to Breathe

Do you ever find yourself creating rationale for actions taken or words spoken? Do you wake up in the morning with a sense of fear that what happened the night before requires some back peddling? I have too. When that happens, take a few slow deep breaths to settle down those racing thoughts of doom. Nothing said in desperation will unwind yourself from those fears. Take a few more deep breaths and then, slowly, consider your options. Sometimes that includes a call with a trusted friend to account for what happened and then, together, you can create that next right step. 

 

There Are Two Chairs. Pick One.

Do you remember when age advancement was highly anticipated? We stood with pride at half-year marks and counted down the days until our friends gathered to celebrate in our home. I recall everyone enjoyed party hats, balloons, and games of fun that, at our house, included those my mom thought better for our young minds.

One of her favorites was a version of the memory game. A tray was presented with items underneath a towel. Once removed, small household items were revealed. Participants had one minute to study what they saw. When time was up, the person with the most remembered was deemed our winner.

Boring as that game was, we tolerated the challenge because we knew a fan favorite, musical chairs, was next.

This was a contest of strategy. We gathered in a circle around opposite-faced chairs which numbered one less than the participants. When the music started, a parade around the seats began. With great anticipation, all eyes focused on which chair would secure a continued spot in the game. When the music stopped, anyone not seated and one chair were eliminated. That parade-choice-exclusion process continued until two seats remained. One promised the hoped-for prize, the other a promise for next time.

Years later, I faced a similar challenge when the two chairs in front of me were marked PROBLEM and SOLUTION. I had two choices. Choose the chair that signified a continued effort to validate, justify and rationalize my consumption of too much alcohol and not enough food, or take a leap of faith and sit in the one that offered help to disengage from all that.

I paraded around those chairs in search of a strategy to sit in both. No matter how I maneuvered my foot placement, I could not make that work without falling through the space between them.

I had to decide. I had to pick a chair.

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Once made, relief fell over me like a warm blanket on a cold day. That four-legged seat marked SOLUTION offered my tired mind, body, and spirit the longed-for rest I never thought possible. From my single choice, things began to change for the better.

Yesterday, I shared that story with a woman who confided she was in relapse and could not stop her downward spiral. Although she talked in detail about what led to the return of unhealthy behaviors and how that made sense to her, the tear-soaked face before me begged for hope. Therefore, I felt compelled to offer a glimpse of what happened when I stood where she now stands.

As she reached for another tissue to dry her wet cheek, I touched her arm and said, “You know, there are two chairs in front of you. I suggest you take a slow deep breath and pick one.”

She smiled when we walked to our cars. My sense is, her choice was already made.

A Moment to Breathe

Do you find yourself circling a readiness for recovery or to overcome a difficult situation? Are you in silent battle of the pros and cons between what feels comfortable and what seems challenging? Take a moment for a slow deep breath. Consider your current walk in problem-living quicksand. Are you willing to deal with continued consequences that often result from endless justification, rationalization, and lies, or are you willing to see what living in the solution could feel like? These are the chairs are in front of you. Take another slow deep breath and pick one. The exhale felt once you make that choice will signify if your chair is the right one. 

I’m interested in your thoughts about readiness and chair choice. Feel free to leave a message here or include when sharing this post via your favorite social media site. 

 

 

I Don’t Have Time

Why, during the last few weeks of every year, do I feel as though I can’t catch up with myself? I rush from place to place and project to project hoping to cross one more item off the holiday to-do list. I forget more than remember and I talk more than listen.

I convince myself I don’t have time for a spontaneous cup of coffee with a friend, an extra few minutes of (much-needed) sleep, or another chapter of that spellbinding book.

The reality is, I don’t have time because time has me.

Without intentionally doing so, I give the tick-tock of time that kind of power over me. Why do I let this happen? When did this start? Do other people struggle to satisfy time expectations like I do?

I shudder to think how familiar these questions are. I asked them years ago because I thought I had a drinking problem and issues with food and body image when, in fact, alcohol, scales, and mirrors had me. I manipulated and rationalized everything to avoid treatment or well-considered amends or self-care. I thought I didn’t have time for such things until my time almost ran out.

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With barely a moment to spare, I found the kind of help I desperately needed. During those early days, I begged for time to create the kind of life I have today.

In that process I found out why time is a precious commodity and must be respected as such.

The idea that I don’t have time is as dangerous for me as a drink of alcohol or fork unfilled. I cannot allow myself to believe that time is an enemy with power to determine what I’m capable of or what my priorities are.

If that’s where I am today, something needs to change and that something is my perspective.

Thank goodness I have a proven, practical experience solution for what keeps me from a healthy life. I must become willing to let go of the must-do’s and should’s and expectations so I can be present for people, situations, and things that truly matter.

If I slow down, step back, and breathe deep, I’ll find plenty of time to:

  • Listen
  • Offer a hug
  • Hold a door
  • Reach for the hand needing reassurance
  • Make that phone call, write that letter, or knock on that door
  • Spend a few extra minutes with a newcomer to recovery
  • Tell people who matter that they do
  • Walk slower
  • Ask for help
  • Breathe deeper
  • Get quiet
  • Look up

Perhaps the problem isn’t that I don’t have time, but that I forget how much time means to me.

A Moment to Breathe

How often do you hear yourself say that you don’t have time? Whether said out loud or in the silence of your mind, the story you tell yourself about how much time you have often proves harrowing. Take a deep breath and consider how you navigate your time. Do you feel spontaneously free to accept an unexpected opportunity, or over-scheduled and exhausted? If the latter seems more realistic for you, perhaps a shift in perspective is necessary. Remember, your time is yours and thus, only you will ever have the power to choose how that time is allocated. Now, take another slow deep breath and rewrite today’s plan that will suit you and your peace of mind.

The Power of Inspiruption

When was the last time you heard or read something that shot a powerful bolt of inspiration through you? Maybe there was a quick turn of your head to listen closer, or a rapid eye-race back a few paragraphs to assure what you read still rests on the page. For me, the disruption to my train of thought is so sudden, the only words to bounce the walls of my mind are, “Wait. What was that?”

My arms tingle, my mouth goes a bit dry, and I scramble to grab a pen and capture what I mentally took in. In that instant, I feel a heart-to-heart connection to the words, the person sharing them, and the intention for which they are offered. Then, after silent recalibration, everything I thought about a certain subject shifts.

I call this experience an inspiruption. I am inspired to such a degree that my whole sense of what previously made sense is now disrupted.

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No doubt I experienced these kinds of sharp-turn realizations earlier in life. Teachers, authors, friends, bosses, even conversations overheard in strange places, pinged me to reconsider things.

Yet never with such intensity than the inspiruptions that led me to gather up the courage to put down my (hopefully) last glass of wine and pick up my first healthy and full fork.

Once in the arms of recovery, I heard the words that to this day can send a shiver through me. Someone looked me straight in the eye and said, “Yeah, me too.”

That small sentence is, perhaps, the single most important recovery blanket of hope and comfort for anyone in recovery. When the sentiment is wrapped around someone filled with fear and doubt and shame, what happens next is an inspiruption of profound measure. The body language cannot be mistaken. Facial muscles relax, shoulders drop, and fists unclinch. I’ve seen this happen right before my eyes and, for me, is nothing short of a miracle in motion.

Many moments of inspiruption have occurred since the day that reaction was mine. These days I surround myself with people and pages that wake me up, pull my breath, or push a tear beyond the walls of my pride; all indicators that more light must shine on a subject subconsciously left dim.

If I chose to disregard these moments of inspiruption, the opportunity for change might be lost. I’ve come way too far and gone through way too much to start denying  what is undeniable.

This is why I strive to keep my ears and eyes on guard in preparation for the next moment of inspiruption. Practical experience proves that when they arrive, what I do next is sure to powerfully change me for the better.

A Moment to Breathe

What came to mind when you considered my initial question? Did something happen as a result of that moment of inspiration? Were you overcome with excitement or startled by fear? If the latter, my suggestion is that when—not if—this happens again, take a deep breath and allow yourself to peak around the corner. What awaits might be a solution for something you never thought possible. Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences as a result of inspiruption here or as you share this post via your favorite social media site.

 

 

Aw, C’mon, One More?

Last week, I sat in another funeral home thinking of the power we give to the desire for just one more.

When I was young, I begged for one more hour to play outside, stay up late, or talk on the phone. I asked my dad for one more push on the swing, one more toss in the air, or one more story. Although I didn’t know at the time, when I was denied these things, my parents helped me when I couldn’t help myself. They knew what I needed regardless of what I wanted.

When I got older, I pleaded for friends to stay for one more drink, one less meal, or one more minute to grab that gorgeous guy’s attention. The next morning, I silently thanked my friends for their strong suggestion none of that would work well for me in the long run. They pushed me from the very things I wanted but did not need. Once again, I was helped when I couldn’t help myself.

Then came the day when one more led me to the desire for no more. Had that not happened, I could have ended up just like my friend we came to mourn last week. Her one more led her to the last decision she’d ever make.

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Addiction is not a game or a passing phase. Many forget that. I told myself thousands of silent times that the water rushing into that hole in my life’s boat was problematic, but there was always that one more piece of duct tape to cover what I refused to believe could happen. I thought my short-term solutions would take care of what was fast becoming a long-term problem.

Not a day goes by without some reminder of this insidious disease. I listen to story after story from people who taught themselves to believe that after some period of time in recovery, one glass of wine at a dinner party or one skipped meal during a busy day would certainly not become a cause for concern. Then, in no time, one more turned into many more and for some, the option to seek recovery isn’t theirs to make.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. We’ve got one shot at this thing. I’m grateful that simple idea called for my attention before the God I pray to called me home.

What lays heavy on my heart is that my now deceased friend really wanted the kind of life many in recovery suggested she might have. I know this because we shared many late night conversations about this very subject. That’s what is so heartbreaking. The words I heard of commitment and desire led me to believe something her actions did not.

As I drove home from the memorial service I cried. At first the tears fell for my friend’s family, in particular, her sister because losing a sibling is not a club I wish to welcome anyone into.

Then, in that moment of connection, I smiled knowing there will always be one more chance for me to offer one more person, one more message of hope.

A Moment to Breathe

Have you ever told yourself doing something unhealthy one more time wouldn’t be all that bad? Or, what about the last time you said hurtful words one more time to prove a point? Take a moment to breathe and consider whether those situations ever worked out as you hoped they would. Did you suffer any consequences—emotional or physical? Instead of regretting one more time, why not take one more breath before you do.

I’d love for you to share thoughts about what I’ve written. Please leave a message below or as a comment when you post this piece via your favorite social media spot.   

Feeling Broken? Find the Glue of Me Too

While driving alone, do you find yourself mindlessly scanning radio stations hoping to find something, anything that grabs your attention?

I sure do.

I’ll tap that seek button until a few notes of a song or words of a news story grab enough of my attention to satisfy that sound void in my car.

A few days ago I followed that routine on my way home from a support group meeting. My final radio stop was NPR perhaps because the lead-in for the next story warned of graphic content. When I hear a teaser like that, my curiosity kicks in.

Little did I know that what I was about to listen to would pull me from my usual post-meeting thoughts straight into the life of a woman who shared what she described was her turning point story.

As filmmaker and visual storyteller, Barbara Weiner, unfolded details of what happened to her thirty-one years ago, I didn’t feel connected because of them, I felt connected because what she went through to accept them.

The cadence of her voice was startling familiar. She spoke of perfectionism, the fear of exposing parts of her truth that would shine a light where she felt bruised and ashamed. She spoke of a desperate desire to appear put-together so others would see her life in order when inside she felt scattered, disordered, and alone.

As her story reached the point where a turnaround was looming, she spoke of how she found someone who, after hours of conversation, made a promise that she would not be abandoned no matter what was in that emotional box she neatly packed away to avoid falling apart.

That confirmation safety-net allowed her to step out from behind the curtain of shame she believed protected her from feeling what she was terrified to acknowledge. As those words tumbled from her mouth faster than she’s imagined they could, she felt relief from the release.

And that was how she began to heal.

In time she took her whole, unedited, for-mature-audiences-only story to others who needed to share their own. She paid attention with intention to what they said regardless of circumstances because that wasn’t the point. What mattered was the freedom shared once the truth was told.

Eventually she found her broken pieces held in place by those connecting stories and now, when she stands back from her own, she sees the beautiful mosaic of her beautiful life.

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I’m grateful I get that. I’m grateful I get her. I’m grateful I get the process.

On a daily basis I have the privilege to listen as others empty pockets where they’ve kept their secrets and broken pieces. Through that interaction, I give them, and myself, permission to heal.

Their stories, pasted with mine, lock together what felt broken. We’re bonded by the strong and powerful glue of “me too.”

A Moment to Breathe

Are pieces of you that feel broken? Are you wondering like Humpty Dumpty once did, that if long-held protective parts of you were to fall, could even the greatest of friends and family put you together again? Take a slow deep breath and consider if maybe they aren’t meant to. Maybe the ones who are meant to help are those who will you in the eye to confirm they’ve stood where you stand. Find them. They are out there. All that’s required is to start talking. Those who have what you need will listen, nod, and offer you two words that is the glue to fix your broken pieces. They’ll simply say, “me too.”  

I Just Want to Feel Normal

How many times have you been asked about your goals in life? Seems from high school on into adulthood, that question nudges a way into countless conversations with friends, family, and prayed-for employers.

For decades I would field such an inquiry with a memorized, finely worded, sure-to-please response that pointed attention to ideal social status, financial stability, and my next career move.

All that changed when I found myself in the vulnerable stage of early recovery. Instead of saying what I thought others wanted to hear, I exhaled with the admission I needed to hear myself say. My forever goal was to just feel normal.

I fantasized about this because I doubted normal people spent the first sixty seconds of early morning consciousness cobbling together flashes of fact from the night before. They probably didn’t have to ask themselves what they did or said, what lies needed maintaining, where the stashed unopened wine bottles were hidden, if they ate dinner or anything at all, and perhaps most crucial, if anyone saw them doing something they should not have done.

Back then I tried to play the role of a normal adult while hiding the fact I spent my days sneaking more than a few drinks and pushing through an occasional meal. I thought if I portrayed that high-achieving business woman who breezed though meetings, settled irate client calls, and finalized budget-binding projects on time without breaking a sweat or losing her cool, I’d be thought of as normal.

For years I wished for a different kind of normal. I just couldn’t figure out how to accomplish that without disclosing my secret supply of unhealthy behaviors. I convinced myself that if that were to happen, society would drop me from any definition of normal as I dropped my bags in front of the reception desk at a treatment center.

When I eventually experienced the latter, the stars seemed to rearrange themselves when I heard someone suggest I might consider a new normal.

New Normal

Instead of quenching my thirst for what made sense with booze, scales, and lies, I could satisfy my craving for sanity by aligning myself with people who offered the kind of recovery-focused practical experience I could relate to.

As the last traces of alcohol left my body and proper nutrition settled in, clarity of mind did too. I eventually understood that what I had labeled as normal was nothing more than a story I told myself based on unrealistic expectations.

Today, normal is what happens when I do the next right thing, stay consistent with what keeps me holistically healthy, and remain teachable.

I’m grateful my life doesn’t mirror the definition of normal I once hoped for. The changes I’ve made and peace of mind that brings is convincing evidence that what’s normal is nothing more than how I feel. And that, in fact, is what I’ve always wanted.

A Moment to Breathe

What’s your definition of normal? Has that description wavered over the years? If not, take a few slow deep breaths and consider if the time has come to establish a new one. Remember, what seemed like the natural course of things years ago may not align with how you are naturally meant to live.

I’m curious about your thoughts on this topic. Please leave a comment below or via your favorite social media spot.  

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