Recovering My True Self

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The journey to self discovery is fascinating to say the least. I embarked on mine a year ago, but I do believe I have spent a lifetime searching. What I have come to realise is that self examination is very painful from a place of judgement and shame. They have a saying in the rooms of 12 step and that is, “God only gives you what you can handle”. This is apparent, based on the trauma, which has only, just surfaced. Before connecting to it, I got to a place of complete self-acceptance and gentleness.

I had an experience with my best friend, which broke me. She is my greatest mirror! She came to me with a scenario, which I went straight into judgment over. My judgement was rooted in fear of what I didn’t know. Naturally I took her inventory for her and judged her the same way I would have judged myself if I had been in the same situation. Her reaction, though painful, is exactly what I needed to see. I hurt the person, who I love the most and it was as painful for me to see myself doing that as I think it was for her to be on the receiving end. It was from that moment, that I realised exactly how harmful I can be, to myself… She just allowed me to witness it. I felt regret and deeply feared abandonment.

She didn’t leave, she like me, stuck around and thank God for that! I made a mistake and I was forgiven and it is from that I started to believe I was forgivable. I let go of trying to be this perfect specimen, who will never slip or make a mistake and I connected with my humanness. I found self-forgiveness and in turn learnt self-acceptance. The shame has left me, because for the first time I can love me for who I am and that is enough. To know that nothing I do is wrong OR right. That I am like a little girl learning to run. I may fall and I may hurt myself, but that is ok, because there is nothing wrong with learning through doing. And if I am constantly fearing doing things, I will do nothing at all. I will merely escape into the fantasy of doing things, which lives in my head. Then I end up disappointed that I don’t do them.

When I am afraid, I ask God, “Please come in and hold my hand”. I was a frightened little girl with no freedom to express myself without punishment. This is no longer the case, but that little girl is not going to come out with harsh words and judgement. Love, open arms and encouragement on the other hand, are the antidote. “A spiritual awakening is the antidote for fear”, from one of the questions on step twelve – Yes it is. My spiritual awakening was unconditional love and acceptance of self. If I love myself no matter what. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

I went to Sydney last weekend. The trip was something special. I did a meeting for adult children of dysfunctional families and for the first time in my life I cried in front of people who weren’t my mother or my therapist – not to mention in front of an entire group! I hobbled out of the meeting and I realised I had literally forgotten everything people had said. Bessel Van Der Kolk explained it best, when he said that when people get scared, frightened or upset we loose our frontal lobe and the limbic system takes over (which is the primitive part of the brain that was created when you were a kid to help you survive) – so the question he poses is how do we build up our frontal lobe so that it can still operate when the limbic system takes over. – Anyway, he explains it much better than I do. I watched the video in February for the first time and on Sunday, I had my first lived awareness of this actually happening to me. People would say their names and no sooner had they said it, would I forget their name completely. It was really weird and confronting. We went for a ridiculously over priced massage afterwards and ate ice cream and then passed out early. My experience is that you can have all the stamina in the world, but it means nothing to keep you standing in the midst of this emotional work… It is there on my knees that I can comprehend humility.

Another thing that happened on the trip and the day before I left. I went into a clothing store to buy a pair of shorts. This was really difficult for me, because when the shop assistant asked me what I was looking for I had NO idea! She brought out the full range of women’s shorts, which were all high wasted and inappropriately short. These are the kind of shorts I have worn for the past 12 years and have sat in meetings completely uncomfortable. My codependency was starting to kick in and I started feeling really bad that I wasn’t going to buy anything – maybe this was a little bit of a blessing! What it inspired me to do was ask her about the boys shorts I had seen when I walked in. She was a bit shocked, but brought me a full range of guys shorts in different sizes and I was able to try them on and find the size that fit me. I had my first happy shopping experience EVER!!! It was great, because when we got to Sydney, I went into another clothing store and walked around with my friend feeling totally uneasy and overwhelmed. Disheartened, I sat and waited to give my friend the thumbs up while she tried on her outfits. I got up and shuffled over to the guys section. I started to get quite excited when I found 2 pairs of shorts I liked and knew the size I was looking for. 1 didn’t look great, but the other did and I was over the moon… this was a second INCREDIBLE shopping experience for me.

Months ago I would have had too much shame to come out of hiding to publicly start to try to look for who I am. I would have been too ashamed of the fact that I wanted to wear guys clothing and I most certainly would have done everyone’s thinking for them and done the worst judgement of me through your eyes – let alone actually asking for help! Seeing the joy and excitement being myself brought to me over the weekend, I am not sure I can ever go back to suppressing that part of me. I heard some famous Bollywood director once say, “It takes an awful lot of energy trying to be something you’re not and absolutely no energy at all just being who you are.”

Two Young!!!

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The last time I blogged, I wrote about putting my program down. Now I am a strong believer in if you put your program down, you will be in a heap load of pain. This is true for me in the sense that I relapsed (on the sex stuff). The interesting paradox, is that the lessons come after the pain and I guess it was a risk worth taking. I learnt so much in the last month! Whereas before I was too afraid to stop doing the work, because I thought I was going to die.

I learnt to sit with a feeling. I learnt that I am not going to die when life gets unmanageable and I learnt that when life gets really bad, all I need to do is pick up my program. I have my ex girlfriend to thank for that – or my qualifier as they call it in this 12 step fellowship. We came into recovery together. We broke up after a year and in a desperate attempt to not relapse on drugs I started working a program like my life depended on it. The result was entering into a group, which made top lines a priority (my top lines were going for walks on the beach, doing comedy classes, socialising, talking to people… the list goes on!). For any normy, this would sound like day to day activities. If you are an addict like me, writing out these things as a good behaviour goal, stops me from either compulsively over working or spending the entire day in bed without showering.

It’s interesting, because I started this blog post before I lapsed and now I am finishing it after and the shift is fascinating. I had so much hope and strength in my bones before and now I feel slightly defeated. I am only on day 1 (well tomorrow will technically be day 1) – When I first entered this program, I relapsed that many times, that I was well aware of how each day felt leading up to day 30. Day 1,2 & 3 are all ok, because the high of acting out hasn’t quite worn off yet. Day 4 & 5 whatever pain you were trying to mask with acting out hits like a ton of bricks, compounded with guilt, shame and remorse. In my opinion, if you survive day 4 & 5, you can survive anything. By day 10, some normality starts to enter your life again and you feel like life is actually possible. And by day 20, you start to feel really good. – Well this is my experience anyway. It is by day 20 that I start to feel so good that I forget the pain and 20-23 I forget the pain to such an extent that I become cocky with my recovery – I think I start to glow when I feel that good and all of a sudden people just start coming out of the woodworks (temptations!) – If somehow you can sustain abstinence through this period, the drive to get 30 days outweighs the temptation and, somehow I tend to be able to white knuckle it there. Once I hit day 45 I feel absolute relief. So that is my goal – 90 days, but I will begin by aiming for 45 and doing it one day at a time. I have done 9 months of sustained sobriety, so I am happy to do it again, plus I have therapy in 21 days… pointless doing therapy while acting out.

So why the relapse? One could say it’s from sober dating someone without a secure attachment style. I wish that was the reason, but that was the slip, not the relapse. Last Monday, I unlocked some major childhood trauma in a brain spotting session with my therapist. My dad used to punish me by locking me in the cupboard, until I stopped crying. This happened when I was only 5 years old and cripples me in every area of my life today! The fear of getting things wrong, being punished and abandoned, causes me so much anxiety in work, relationship and even food, I had to sit with this feeling this week. I slipped with this girl, by going too far into physical intimacy. After the slip, I simply recommitted to my program and it was a great solution. I did a meeting every night, started working through the “Facing the Shadows” workbook – Patrick Carnes and picked up my 10th and 11th step.

What got revealed was my pattern of preoccupation – ritualisation – sexual acting out – despair, then the cycle repeats itself. I thought I did a sterling job of arresting it in it’s first cycle, but I spoke to my mom on the phone last night and we spoke about the abuse. She brought up that my dad did it to me when I was going through my terrible two’s… My heart sank, it still sinks and I well up (and I’m still in the fogginess of acting out – so I don’t even want to imagine the pain that is on its way) – I can’t help but picture a two year old girl being thrown into the cupboard and left there. My heart hurts!

I don’t really have that much more to say about that, because it’s still really raw and painful. My life makes sense though, why I am so full of fear and have such high expectations of myself. Why I always want to hide and any expression needs suppression… I was 2 years old, how the hell was I supposed to know what was right and wrong!?!

I relapsed on masturbation and even after I tried to numb out, I am still in tears writing this. I know acting out is not the solution. I also know I am going to be in even more pain soon. I know I wont die though and I know I have the tools to get me through. God has got me, as always! Just needed to get honest. This is my road to recovery. It’s not always going to be strength and hope. I am still going regardless… not sure how, but I am still here.

Recovering My True Self

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Whoo hoo! I’m back!!! 🙂

I have been on quite a journey in the last month. It has been a real period of self discovery! I had been going flat out with recovery, since about April last year. I was in a desperate amount of pain after breaking up with my ex, the woman who I moved to Australia for. Since the break up, I did a step one on her and a step four on her in the drug program, but that really didn’t work. 6 months later, I fell into the love fellowship on my knees and desperate to fill the empty space that was so dark and lonely, it made death the more palatable option. I was scared. I didn’t want to die. It took every last bit of strength and God, to stop me from giving up entirely.

I started the steps in the love fellowship and in the process realised my codependent tendencies, so I started the first 14 days of questions in that too. I was acting out with workaholism and at the beginning my sex addiction was running rampage. I acquired a little self worth in the codependent program and managed to walk away from my job and a boss who was gas lighting me. I also managed to get more than 30 day abstinence with the sex and love stuff too. What I was left with, was the beginning of a life worth holding on to and that darn empty space!!! Somebody suggested therapy. I took the woman’s number, but with the ‘glamorous’ childhood I had, I really didn’t see how I could possibly need therapy (completely overlooking the fact that I had been to therapist after therapist since I was 14).

One day I was at home and I was completely overwhelmed with shame after receiving a message from my former boss. I was ready to throw in the towel and it was then and there that God gave me the strength to reach out to this woman. She called me and it was an instant connection. I had no idea how I was going to pay for these sessions, considering I had just walked away from my job, but I was desperate and I would have done anything at that point. What followed was a gruelling commitment to self recovery – Recovery from addiction, is in actual fact, recovery of my true authentic self (you know the one that was there before the dysfunctional family systems and societal jading).

Since February I have worked through books. Before then I didn’t even read. Books like: Claudia Black – Changing Course; Jerrold Mundis – Earn What You Deserve (Turns out I had a money addiction too); Julia Cameron & Mark Bryan – Money Drunk Money Sober. Charlotte Kasl – Women, Sex & Addiction; Brennan Manning – The Ragamuffin Gospel; Patrick Carnes – Facing the Shadows. I have finished the 12 steps in the love fellowship. I started in the money fellowship, got up to step 3, put it down and picked it up again. I did an improv comedy course. Have just started listening to a guide to stand up and writing jokes – this was all while working and studying. Every time I put my program down, I would get into a heap load of pain, so I was afraid to stop. I was even frantic around doing heavy therapy sessions fortnightly and writing this blog.

Now I don’t know if I had a spiritual awakening, but it sure feels like one (Many actually! Every time I turn my head one whacks me in the face – it’s like a profound realisation!). One month ago, I threw in the towel on therapy. I went into the session and just said I just cant do anymore. I wanted to live the life I had worked so hard to recover. My therapist supported me in a way so gentle, I have really just tried to carry it to everyone I deal with – it is a love and a gentleness that I had never experienced before.

After making that decision, which for me was the first step toward empowerment and independence, everything started to change. I booked a trip to Sydney. Reconnected with a love interest. Had a near fall out with my best friend, which pulled out my deepest abandonment wound and put me into the most vulnerable place I have ever been – I was naked and frail and so aware of my humanness AND I didn’t die! (I was able to self soothe and even though I had ‘lost’ my best friend, I was ok!) – It was there I let go of the self judgement and shame. I could see my defects and was able to make amends for the behaviour (taking people’s inventory). Seeing my humanness, helped me see it in other people and it is there I found true love for self.

I put my program down for that month, but I didn’t beat myself up about it. I have been able to start dating and start breaking the sober dating guidelines, but I go easy on myself. I am an addict, I am not always going to get it right! I got into pain around the money stuff, so I recommitted. As a result opportunities are falling out of the sky and God is actually giving me the courage to follow up on business and feel worthy of that business and feel good about the work I do. “Gentle judgement free approach to self” – I wrote that down as one of my top/bottom lines a year ago and I finally get to practice it.

Tomorrow I will do 5 rhythms, then go and ride a horse that somebody wants me to compete. I’ll go and watch a comedy shoe in the evening (Nadine Sparks) – an inspiration in my pursuit of my comedy career. And then ending off on a night out dancing in the LGBTIQ community. All four of these things are on my list of esteemable acts. I am blessed. I am working a program, but not like my life depends on it and I am living that life I have always dreamed of. This stuff works and the moments of stillness in my mind, make the work totally worth it!

Feeling love today and feeling SO grateful!

Giving it a red hot Go!

Just got to do the Melbourne convention. It was absolutely amazing! I was there the whole day and did loads of service, which is great, because I have never really been involved in service at a convention. I hadn’t discovered my primary fellowship until I found a home in these rooms and it was a beautiful experience for me that went full circle.

The first topic was healthy relationships, followed by healing the guilt and the shame and it finished off with “do you really want to have casual sex?” – For some reason the topics in that order left me with a well rounded perspective. First I got to hear what a healthy relationship looks like, just listening affirmed that I am really on the right track, firstly with the relationship to self, followed by the relationship I have been building with my Higher Power. It was followed by healing the guilt and shame and I got really vulnerable. My experience with this topic, was looking at the core belief systems, which make me feel like I don’t deserve that loving relationship. It got to the root of why I just give myself up so easily. The childhood tape of “I’m not good enough!” and “It’s not ok to get things wrong/make mistakes”. Once that was addressed, it moved up to the surface, to grapple with whether I really want casual sex or not… And the answer is yes, but the realisation is that I can’t have it. And it’s through becoming aware of it and noticing my misconception that Sex = Love = Sex = Intimacy… That I am able to let go of my desperate need for sex and simply have it as a byproduct of a loving relationship – as the program promises.

So after the big bonanza 😉 I have decided to go on a date tomorrow. We are planning to go on a beach walk, but typical Melbourne weather forecast 13 and rain… Hahaha Joys!!! I am busy frantically reading sober dating guidelines, in an attempt not to loose myself in the situation. The truth is a really like the girl. We have been speaking for 3 or 4 months now and I am quite excited.

To answer the questions in the outline: I have spent 9 months sober from acting on bottom line behaviours and I see my addictive patterns as clear as day. I have used withdrawal a number of times and may need to use a pause every now and again, but my pattern is avoidance, so I will need to start to learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings. I can date soberly, by not having sex or physical contact for 90 days (This is going to be the hard one for me – one thing I have learnt, is that if things turn sexual, I run for the hills and considering I am trying to break that pattern, it motivates me to keep my hands off this time) – I have a sponsor, I’ve worked the 12 steps, I don’t have a dating plan… yet! (Tonight that is what I am working on) – My intention is to get to know her better, do things we both enjoy and see if we can just hang out in one another’s company. I would like companionship and socialisation. My dating history is the same as the stereotypical lesbian with the u-haul story… Sex on the first night, move in after 2 weeks, have a toxic relationship for 2 years and end up in another country hahaha! <—– Hahaha, no wonder I am scared to date!

My biggest character defect is my avoidance (FEAR) – especially by the overwhelm of sexual attraction. The fear is of loosing (CONTROL), which is funny, because if I surrender and practice the third step, I shouldn’t be trying to control anything, so no need for the fear of loosing control… I am powerless. I have a good support network. I have my people – those who don’t judge and support me no matter what. My sponsor knows who I am dating.

My bottom line behaviour – I need to avoid, avoiding 🙂 Running is not an option in this one. If I choose to exit, I strive to do so as an adult (Please God help with this)… My life needs to come first while dating and no relationships for another 6 months… Just because I am prone to falling into them so darn easily.  My top line behaviours are the same as always. Maintain friendships; Do comedy classes; Take walks on the beach; Exercise; Meetings; Step work; Outreach; call my sponsor.

My addictive pattern is to always choose unavailable partners and having sex too early – So one down, one left to tackle. What do I mean by ‘available’? Hahaha, well a good start is for her to be lesbian… I always overlook that one 😉 – Secondly, her not being in a relationship with another person is a pretty good start for me too. She likes me back, which is another huge plus. Being sexual to me?… Kissing counts as sexual. Holding hands could even be dangerous, so that probably needs to be added in there too. Things are not going well, if we end up having sex before the 90 days is over and if we start living in one another’s pockets. The red flags I tend to ignore are the moving too fast flags. Once I get caught in that current, my whole outlook changes to anything goes. “Ah well we’ve broken those boundaries, might as well break em all!”. I don’t normally stay in unhealthy relationship, I normally run. I did become financially insecure with my last partner a bit and moved country and had nowhere to run to, so I stuck around until I got my independence.

I got 3 more pages of questions to answer on the sober dating guideline. The next question talks about balance and, well… I actually need to get some uni work done tonight, so I think that enough time spent focussed on relationships. Glad I have this outlet as a point of expression. Am I going to get it right? – Who knows! At least I will learn a lesson in the process.

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Matters of the Heart

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Today was one of the most excruciating times I have ever faced in recovery. I bawled my eyes dry this morning and as I lay there sobbing in the fetal position, gasping for air… I wondered, what am I doing in Australia? Why am I still so far away from home?

The truth is I love it here. There are just some days, where I feel like I am just holding on (white knuckling it, as they say). I also know that wherever I go, I take myself with me. I am lonely on my own and I am lonely in a room full of people (even if those people are my family).

Today was like something out of a dream, Déjà vu type experience. Granted it felt like I had cotton wool wrapped around my head from crying and like someone had taken a baseball bat to my skull, my head was pounding so hard. I felt like I was looking at life through the lens of my 10 year-old self. I felt as lonely, helpless and innocent as the day my family left me behind. Even the colours looked like they had a sepia effect. It felt nostalgic and raw. Nothing quite like anything I have ever experienced. It was so familiar and yet so foreign all at the same time.

Yesterday, I made a mistake and I took my closest friend’s inventory for her. It obviously didn’t get received well and though, when I was wrong, I promptly admitted it. The damage had already been done. She has disconnected from me. This is one of my dearest friends and the closest person to my heart. Now, I know, and many times I have preached, that the only person who can abandon me is me. I also know, this has nothing to do with her. What it did trigger was the pain I felt when I was young. I blurted something out in anger once and my dad ‘banished’ me. He refused to speak to me and sent me to live with my mom. From that day I have had an overwhelming fear of saying the wrong thing. In fear that I might loose you. I remember the remorse I felt and the overwhelming regret. I wished so deeply that I could have done things differently – that I could go back and undo what had been done.

My core belief became, “I can only get love by doing or saying the right thing” – there are times when I will say nothing at all, for fear of being rejected. My friend pulling away after I said the ‘wrong thing’, was like a scab being torn away and whats left is a gaping, bleeding wound, as fresh as the day it was made. This is the wound that makes me want to run. The pain that has me questioning if I can keep going. This is blood drawn from my veins, leaves me so drained and exhausted that I just feel I need to throw in the towel and give up. If I turn around and walk away, I can go far enough and I can forget the whole thing. I can even forget you, if I try hard enough to. – This is my brain rationalising, at it’s finest!

Today I didn’t run. I called my therapist. She facilitated my pain. I felt heard and validated and so proud of myself for picking up the phone. The second call was to my sponsor. She facilitated solutions, she shared her experience and gave me a good lesson in boundaries. Both calls were effective and God has put two of the greatest women in my life. I am blessed beyond words and I have profuse gratitude toward them and to God. I was met with loving words and nurture, as well as an action plan, so that I may use this pain as a learning experience.

And the rest of the day… well, I felt fragile and I wanted to hide. I went to work and my case manager was onsite, which made me want to dissolve, but I just fronted up. After she left, my client asked me to do something we had never done before. She asked if I wanted to walk to the park, instead of giving her a pilates class. We ran there. Then we ran around the oval a few times. We walked back and all the flowers have come unveiled for this beautiful spring afternoon. The gardens were splashed with the pastel colours of pink and purple and the trees dotted with colour. We turned the corner to see the sky stained crimson, as the sun set. We visited an elderly woman and picked some of her grapefruit after walking the rest of the way home kissed by the warmth of the Melbourne spring. Days this serene are rare in this part of the world. I felt like God was holding me with the gentleness of these conditions. Caressing my soul with the beauty of my physical surroundings. My heart is tender, but still beating… I feel loved, throughout all of the pain. Today was a gift.

 

The Spirit of the Twelfth

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I’ve been rather busy lately doing all sorts of wonderful things. It’s feels like the moment I complained a little that my life felt empty… God was like, “Oh yeah? You think so?… Well, how do you feel about this? and this? and this?…” – I am busy running around like a spring chicken now, busy, but so happy.

My trip is booked to Sydney… SO stoked! Another member mentioned there is a convention coming up soon there, that I should check it out – It turns out that it is on the exact date that I am there (so thank you God!) – And it’s my home fellowship. At least the one, which I resonate most with. I am pretty excited! The decision, alone, has inspired two friends to come with me and I know another woman who is going to be there, who asked if I could get involved in helping her represent the Victorian fellowship. What a privilege! The whole point of the trip was to expose myself to the fellowship in different places and can’t get more exposure than a convention & a regional service centre meeting, really!

This weekend had been great! I have been devoted to some service, which has really helped get me out of myself. (I’m also totally reflecting the step that I’m on, because service just keeps popping up – “Having ha a Spiritual Awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”)  We walked around Melbourne yesterday, asking shop owners to support the Marriage Equality vote, by putting up “yes” posters in their shop windows. It is an absolutely beautiful thing to see so many rainbow flags painting the streets of Melbourne’s display windows. Later, a sponsee shared her fourth step with me, in the most magnificent Bonsai garden  and then, I got to attend a committee meeting for our convention. Just to top it off, which is my favourite part – My client had a rice dish cooked for her, which she doesn’t like, because it has too much spice. She asked me to take it, but considering I don’t do starch. Rice doesn’t really work with me. I told her I am not going to eat it, but that I could definitely give it to some homeless people, who might be interested in a meal. So she’s packaged it up into four containers, each with its own fork and well… lets hope it’s well received. I tasted it and its pretty good! Service keeps me sober. I feel energised after a weekend, which was jam packed. I am so grateful for the program!

I had to laugh though, when I added yet another app for recording things. My first was the “Sober Time” app, which I downloaded to start recording my sex & love sobriety. I then got the “iExpensit” app to start recording my spending. This app is golden and really gave me so much clarity on my numbers. It helped with what I could and couldn’t afford to get paid, just based on how much I was spending each month. Also I saw that I was spending so much money on fuel, that moving to the sitting and dropping my second job cost me the same amount as staying in the country and continuing to work and travel for 10 hours a week. This brings me to the “Eternity” app – how to overcome time drunkeness 101 hahaha – I was initially split: 43% work, 9% uni, 4% service and 32% sleep. So sleep has always been great for me. I am an 8 hour a night girl, but to be spending 52% of my time on work and uni, it leaves very little time for anything else. (I am not a stats freak – the app works it out for me) – After using it for a few months I  am at 33% sleep, 30% self care, 30% work/uni and 6% service. So freaking balanced! And I’m exercising everyday. I feel great. Also earning the same amount doing 40% less work.

My last app is not exactly program related. I think it’s for women who want to get pregnant and gauge when they are ovulating… For me I just need something to tell me why I am shovelling gallons of chocolate down and taking everything so freaking PERSONALLY!!! After years and years, it still catches me off guard. Hahahaha! So now I have an app for that too. I don’t have to think anymore or work anything out. Technology has got me at the laziest and the most efficient I have ever been in my life. I love it!!!

Loving my life. Grateful to my Higher Power. Feeling full and rich with experiences. ❤

 

Married to Me

Who Am I?

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So Curious Mind Magazine has deemed it,  “Sologomy” and it’s a thing!!! I absolutely love it! I have been married to myself for a few months now and the things I have done as my wife… Well lets just say, I am one lucky woman 😉

Since I’ve been married to me, I really stick up for me, in all situations – I got myself out of a really toxic living situation without hesitation. I have moved us into a beautiful house, which gives me more time to take myself for walks on the beach and to do yoga and have dinner parties with friends. I have started doing meal prep and making myself lunches for uni and for work and instead of buying gluten free schnitzels and serving those up to myself. I went out and bought chicken breasts to make me, my own… Using pecorino and desiccated…

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Changing Course

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After writing last night’s post, I felt totally uninspired. It was another recovery post and I just felt it lacked so much inspiration. I was feeling flat and my program had hit this point of inertia, which left me feeling totally bored even writing about it. I went to sleep feeling disappointed and empty. My life felt hollow and meaningless. (The sound of a concerto played on the world’s smallest violin – haha)

I started thinking loads before I went to sleep and what came up was that my life is very small at the moment. Yes, I have huge insights and revelations around recovery and that gives me a lot to write about, but it just seemed so narrow and one tracked. All I really have in my life at the moment is recovery and work, which both are extremely fulfilling, but 2 things on a plate is not a very interesting meal if you ask me. This brings me to my next point, I wanted to blog about cooking or rather my creations. I don’t think I put it as an esteemable act, but it ought to be. I am at my most grounded when I am making a meal. Not only to have the opportunity to make a meal, but to be able to nurture and give love to my housemates – and have it appreciated… This is one of the biggest gifts for me.

The truth is, I have been so inspired in the kitchen lately I even considered changing professions. The moment that thought popped up, I heard the childhood tape in my mom’s voice, “you have to choose one thing Nicole and stick to it, you are burning the candle from both ends.” – This left me totally deflated and I felt shame for even beginning to dream a little. Looking at the photo of my recipe. I wanted to post it, but my narrow mind said to me, “This is a recovery blog Nicole, you can’t write about food.” – Then a shift – It is like my inner child came bursting through, adamant to be heard. I am nothing like my mother, though I admire and respect her hugely, we really are cut from a different crop (we are on opposite sides of the spectrum in numerology) – The diversity in my life and my passions is what makes me thrive. It is what makes me, me. I am passionate about a lot of things and if I do any of those things individually for a prolonged period of time. The flame will burn out, because it is a very little fire.

I watched a great interview of Joni Mitchell. She simply refuses to be put in a box and is admired for being able to stretch over so many different genres. Music comes second to her painting and she is celebrated for her durability and her diversity.  For me, I see this in all great artists and it inspires me to my core.

Though I am technically not an artist, I most certainly am a creative soul. I love to draw and to paint, I love writing. Creating delicious meals and presenting them to look like something that has come out of a restaurant kitchen is my favourite thing to do. Becoming a comedian is something I have dreamt about since I was very young. I am a good showjump rider and I absolutely love working with people and helping people, so it’s no wonder I have a job in the community sector and instruct pilates. The diversity keeps the momentum rolling for me. On my vision board it’s funny, I have stand up comedy. Sustainable living and a kibbutz community type thing (it’s actually the San Patrignano rehabilitation farm in Italy). I have a food truck, showjumping, equine assisted therapy, writing, leaders, children, multi-culture and road tripping – hahaha I most certainly don’t have one direction. The shift that happened in me the other night, was that instead of feeling shame around it, I got to celebrate it. I don’t have to hide who I am for fear of not being normal. What is normal anyway?

I thought about my therapy sessions and how far I had come. I thought about my recovery and all the work I had put in and there was a voice in my head saying, slow down and enjoy life! I went into the session and I just got honest. I have so much fear being in a country so far away from home. That I am recovering, but that I feel my life is so empty and that I have dreamt about going to Sydney, since I got here. I just want to see it! Oh, and I really want to dress like a boy. These may seem like simple things for most people, but for me, the ability to want something for myself is HUGE! I have internalised homophobia, so expressing that I want to change the way I look to be who I am, rather to fit into what is deemed “normal” is one of the biggest steps for me. Then expressing to my therapist that I want to cut my sessions in half and use that money to go away every second month, is even bigger… I am a poverty addict and I am used to living on nothing, so to spend money on something nice for myself that can be considered a luxury and not a necessity is monumental and something I have never done.

I left the session feeling on top of the world. My therapist, being the incredible woman she is, asked me, “what can I do to support you Nicole?” – I felt empowered and loved. I don’t even know how to express the gratitude I feel – I got home and started cooking hahaha! It was really well received and appreciated by both my housemates. A friend of mine is going to Sydney into an incredible treatment centre there and threw out randomly, when I mentioned my dream of going to Sydney, that I should come visit while she is in there. She totally planted the seed. And she is my best friend. I continued cooking and then got a reach out call from another member, who is a good friend of us both. She said she had the dream of going to Sydney to check out the fellowship and I said, “well I’m going on the 21st to go and visit….”, she immediately jumped on the bandwagon and asked to join. She said she was bad at organising so if I could do that she’d book her flight.

This was God’s will. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been motivated to do anything. If it wasn’t for the money program, I would have tried to do the booking all in hiding. Instead I voiced it and openly spoke about budget with my housemate. She put me onto the best car rental place, which cut the car hire costs in half – Vehicle Rent – you’re welcome 😉 hahaha – Anyway, the end result is I booked a holiday that was $100 under my budget and it will become even cheaper, because when I spoke to this other member this morning, she has booked her flights, so accommodation and car gets halved again! WINNING!!! The best part is the friend I am going to see, thinks that only I am coming… The look on her face when she sees both of us arriving is the type of thing that I live for.

It’s the simple things in life. Always through the most amount of pain, do I gain the greatest learning. Today I am beyond grateful. I am so lucky! My life is changing course and there is some beautiful scenery ahead AND I am walking hand in hand with God… Suddenly my life doesn’t feel empty or lonely anymore.

Shining light on the past

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Something seriously shifted in me today. I had an experience. In my previous posts I’ve highlighted my impeding program and though I feel the rest was necessary, it left me in a huge amount of pain, with little clarity of how to get out. By cutting down on certain things, I got to experience first hand what has really been working for me with the reintroduction this morning. Step work, therapy work and prayer are simply not enough. Meditation and Morning Pages (A tool in the Artists Way), have been the things that took my recovery to a much deeper level.

I wrote the 3 pages of long hand, like Julia Cameron suggests, after a 20 minute heart chakra meditation. I cried my eyes out (which is totally out of character, because of a rather stoic family conditioning) – There were a number of core beliefs, which came up and the main ones were the feeling of not being good enough and no matter how much I do, it will never be enough for you to love me and choose me. This spurred from a dream I had a couple of nights ago, about a partner leaving me for someone else. I never saw the connection, until I wrote about it this morning. My dad, sister and stepmom left the country when I was 10. I got left behind. This has left an incredibly excruciating wound, which cuts me deep to my core. My mom, struggled with her own demons, indulged in workaholism and disappeared from my life at the same time. This trauma bond has been replaying as the blueprint for every relationship I have ever had. It’s no wonder when a woman chooses me, I immediately fall in ‘love’. There is such a deep longing to be enough for somebody to love and choose me. How I keep recreating it, is I continue to choose unavailable women, who inevitably choose their partner over me (hahaha, God I give myself the worst opportunities, but they seem to be the only women I am attracted to).

The tears were healing and I think a really long time coming. Sometimes the memories are buried so deep for me, I need the dream to trigger them. God works in mysterious ways and I am so grateful for the insight, because slowly everything is starting to fall into place. I have the opportunity to shine the light on my foggy past and finally heal from all of this unprocessed stuff. Breaking free from the chains of addiction one day at a time, unlocking a spirit inside me, ready to fly – I am blessed and so grateful!

 

A Human BEING, not a human doing!

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There had been something brewing in the air lately and I can’t put my finger on why my heart is so sore and lonely, not sure I will ever really know. I feel like emotionally I need to take a break. It is the most loving thing to do. I have been living in God’s grace for the last few days and that requires a solid commitment to not over planning my life. I have been going pretty much flat out since I started recovery. I have workaholic tendencies, so it is really easy to distract myself with busyness. So this whole go with the flow in God’s grace thing, though heavenly, has been really confronting. All this time to process emotions, which were always brushed aside as an inconvenience in my hectic life.

The result is, I am feeling rather bruised. I have tried to bury myself in my program, but God even has other ideas for that. I have found myself slowing right down. I do my tenth every night and I ask for God to direct my thinking every morning, but the rigorous way in which I worked my program in the past, has stopped. I don’t find time for it. Now you would think it’s because I have lost momentum and like I am putting life in front of my program. (This I would have judged other people in the past for, if I heard them talking about the same thing) But instead it is time taken out to go for a massage, take a bath or walk on the beach. Time taken to cook a really loving meal or get involved with my housemates in gardening and making a beautiful place feel like a home,

Sounds pretty healthy to me. The thing people have forgotten to mention, is that although living in God’s grace is simple, it is by no means easy. I have activities take place that ground me and then all this extra time to feel these feelings, that I have spent my whole life forcing down or distracting myself from. It is more painful than I realised and I’m truly present in my body to feel it. I am desperate to reach out to an old intrigue, but by the grace of God, I am holding on to my sobriety again, but that I have to pray for a few times a day, because she would be the perfect detraction from the pain in my body.

I am reading Brennan Manning’s book, “The Ragamuffin Gospel” – I absolutely love it. It is giving me a better understanding of religion, but more so it is really focussed on what “God’s Grace” actually means and how it has been misconstrued. For me, this deeper understanding, is deepening my relationship with God and that is fundamental during this process of deconstructing the barrier around my heart. I feel like, once through this layer, that I will be more vulnerable  than a naked baby and I am going to need divine guidance and protection. Manning said, “To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark side. By admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means… My deepest awareness of self is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn or deserve it” – I love this! I have become a human doing and I have always used what I do, to define me and the more I do, the more love I will get. The concept to be loved for who I am is so foreign to me, it’s not even in the same language.

It’s no wonder I am struggling with doing less. It boils down to self love for me. I can not expect you to love me for who I am if I don’t love me for who I am. And it is even more difficult to expect myself to love me for who I am, if I have always been to busy doing to actually be. Who is the human being… I have had a little glimpse. Too brief to really know.