I sit here, my thoughts flip-flop between fear of judgement & the power to believe I can give hope to just one person by sharing my experience, strength, and hope.
The Power To Believe wins.
This past Memorial Day I celebrated 14 years of sobriety. 14 years without a drink. 14 years without cocaine. 14 years.
In order to own my 14 years I must accept and love all of me.
Accept and love all of me?
There was a time I couldn’t even imagine going 14 months, 14 days, 14 hours without a drink or a drug. Something to alter me. Something to numb me. Something to not feel. Something to take the edge off.
I used to drink when I was upset.
I used to drink when I was happy.
I used to drink when I was lonely.
I used to drink when I was nervous.
I used to drink when I was excited.
I used to drink when I was anxious.
I used to drink when I was bored.
I used to drink when I was sad.
I used to drink.
During the last two years I realized I drank because I was fearful of standing in my truth. I drank because I was fearful of owning all my feelings and emotions. No matter what state I was in, I drank to accentuate that state or feel a different emotion. I didn’t know what to do with the pain from my childhood and the sense of failure I had after my Arizona State University Swimming career. I didn’t know what to do with my feeling of not being good enough. I stood drowning in pain.
So, I drank.
I had an internal and external shift. My morals, values, and expectations changed. I switched my friends on the playground. I became someone who tried to be someone she wasn’t meant to be. Deep down I knew I was choosing the wrong path. Deep down I knew my choices were wrong. Deep down my soul was hurting. Deep down I didn’t care. I just wanted to feel better. Drinking and drugs made me feel better.
Drinking and using served me for a while. In my mind’s eye, I was prettier, smarter, cooler, taller, thinner, happier, faster, better, stronger, more desirable when I drank. Cocaine, in my mind’s eye, sobered me up & allowed me to drink more. I had my new role, with my new friends, with my new rules, and new consequences.
I was operating on 100% clarity. OBVIOUSLY. NOT.
This cycle continued for 10 years. 10 years of my life I chose to be an alcoholic and drug addict. This was my choice because I chose to not get help. I chose to deal with my pain by drinking and using. I chose to run away from my life. It was easier for me to sit in the pain of being stuck, complain of all the reasons why I could of, should of, would of moved on to a life of greatness. All my dreams, hopes, and desires I had growing up evaporated as my new goals and dreams became about how fucked up I could get on a daily basis. Just to not feel.
I cannot believe how real I am about to get…..
You see, for 10 years the toilet was my best friend. For 10 years I hung my beautiful head in the toilet to puke. Every day. For 10 years my head was in the same place I sat my ass to go to the bathroom. Brutal, right? For 10 years. I. chose. that. path. I. chose. not. to. get. help. I chose to stay sick. I didn’t really think I could stop. Crazy thing is, I didn’t really want to stop. Only when I became sick enough that I was forced to detox myself at home, did thoughts of changing surface, only to sink back down to the bottom, because as soon as I felt well enough again, I drank. I was drowning in self loathing, and I couldn’t figure out how to “choose” to swim up to the surface.
Until I hit rock bottom. My rock bottom might surprise some. It wasn’t when I couldn’t take notes in law school because my hand shook too much, when I couldn’t follow an episode of Law & Order, my one car accident, my overdose, the hole in my nose caused by my cocaine use, the asshole I made out of myself with countless people, that I couldn’t hold onto a job, or that I failed the Bar Exam 5 times. The only bar I couldn’t pass. It wasn’t any of these things. It wasn’t even that I was a total & complete mess, or that my life was completely unmanageable.
It wasn’t that….
I wasn’t beautiful.
I wasn’t strong.
I wasn’t brave.
I wasn’t smart.
I wasn’t sexy.
I wasn’t amazing.
It was, in being a total and complete mess, I hurt someone who had nothing to do with my ugliness. I crossed a line within my soul. A value I had forgotten about, trust. Someone had trusted me with a secret. Someone I love. I chose to betray that trust. I betrayed that trust in anger, in hate, in spite. I betrayed that trust to hurt someone else. I lashed out & told someone else’s secret because I wanted someone to hurt as badly as I did.
That was my rock bottom.
A couple weeks later, after a two week vacation in Maui, of which I remember nothing of, I had my moment of clarity.
I remember the way the sun was shining in the bedroom through the window treatments and warming my body but not shining in my eyes. I remember I was laying diagonal, not straight, on my bed. I remember the feeling of dread in my heart, as my eyes filled with tears, with the thought of facing yet another day. I remember I made a choice.
I choose to ask the God of my understanding for help.
And my life changed.
Slowly but surely, step by step, meeting by meeting, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. AA gave me the path to heal. AA gave me a program to follow. A manual to live happy, joyous, and free. AA poured its strength, experience, and hope into me.
All I had to do was RISE UP.
RISE UP & SHOW UP.
Rise up every day and be better.
Rise up every day and make it through without drinking and using.
Rise up every day and do the next right thing.
What a concept.
Rise up & Show up.
I began to remember the woman I wanted to become. I began to feel better. I began to look better. I began to be a better person. I began to do esteem-able things. I began to grow up. I began to take care of myself.
If you have ever not felt good enough. If you have ever felt like a failure. If you have ever dreaded facing another day — know you are not alone. I may not know your pain, but I know pain. I know wanting to give up. I know that deep soul sickness. You are not alone.
There is a better way.
There is a softer way.
Ask for help
Place your hand on your heart, palm center.
Let your Breath fill your heart.
Tell yourself that you love yourself.
Tell yourself that you are strong.
Tell yourself that you are beautiful.
Tell yourself that you are smart.
Tell yourself that you are powerful.
Tell yourself that you are capable.
Tell yourself that you are kind.
Tell yourself that you are loving.
Tell yourself that you are generous.
Tell yourself that you are simply……
When we love ourselves, all of ourselves, the good and the bad, we take responsibility for our lives, and we heal. When we begin to heal, we begin to believe in ourselves. When we find the power to believe in ourselves, we can accomplish anything. ANYTHING WE SET OUR MIND TO!
We must do the work.
RISE UP & SHOW UP!
The woman I choose to be today, is the one that stands before you….
Feet firmly planted.
Arms stretched long.
Palms facing the sun.
Shoulders rolled back.
Eyes wide open.
Heart full with love.
I choose me.
I choose to love me.
I choose to give back.
I choose love not fear.
And when I have fear…..
I face that fucker head on.
I choose to live, to laugh, to love.
I choose to learn.
I choose to keep finding my Inner Badass.
Today, I choose to be this woman. I choose to rise up every morning at 4 am. I pray, I meditate, I love me. I swim, I move my body, I own my body. I choose to fill my body with premium nutrition. Every single day. I fill my body with goodness. I fill my body with love. I place my hand on my heart and I remember the pain I was once in and I honor that pain. That pain has helped shape me into the woman I am today. That pain allows me never to forget how far I have come. That pain allows me to remember who I choose not to be. That pain pushed me to heal. That pain pushed me to lay it down, to surrender, to be vulnerable, to find acceptance of myself. That pain allowed me to be still enough to hear the voice within. The voice that tells me there is more for me to do. The voice that reminds me I have the power to believe.
In 14 years I have achieved so much. Most important, I have found myself. I have become a mother. I am raising two beautiful children who will never see me drink. They will never smell booze on my breath, hear my voice slur, or feel unsafe. Instead, my children feel my kiss in the early hours of the morning as I rise to go swim. They feel my arms around them every morning as I wake them after practice and whisper in their ear, “wakey wakey, time for your shakey shakey, you are going to have a magnificent day!” Together, we fill our lives, our bodies, our souls with goodness and health. They watch and learn as I train, race and win. They see their Mom as a BADASS swimmer at 46 years old. They celebrate the fact that I make goals, work my ass off, and achieve my goals. They celebrate my wins. I have qualified and been welcomed to Team Isagenix, an Elite Athletic Division, of the amazing company I work for! They see their mom, the CHAMPION. I now swim without fear. I faced my fear and won. I not only won, I broke the record at the Pan Am Masters Championships for 50 backstroke! They see their mom, the attorney. (6th time is a charm;-) They see their mom as a team leader, a business owner. They watch and support me build an amazing business all from the comfort of my home, so I can be the mom I deserve to be. They see the mom I am today; Beautiful, strong, smart, capable, kind, loving, powerful, sexy, athletic, energized, generous, independent, and happy. They celebrate every win and they are strong with me through every challenge. Life is full of challenges. With every challenge there is a chance for growth. A chance to learn. A chance to find a solution. I have found my solution. I have found my power. I choose to stand tall in my truth.
That is the POWER TO BELIEVE BABY!!!