A Birthday Tribute to YOU, Mom

A special HAPPY BIRTHDAY tribute to my beautiful mom, Bea. Mom, you were the quintessential Active Chick! It was appropriate that I create a business to empower and support women being active not only in nature, but in community. Your incessant caring, your desire and ability to reach out and make a difference in so many others’ lives, was something I absorbed. Your physical abilities were superior to most. Always a supreme athlete- a cheerleader throughout high school and college, you aced every sport. You were amazing on ice skates (!) spinning around and looking like a ballerina. At the gym (where you spent a lot of time!) everyone always told me “I want to be JUST like your mom!!”. I loved hearing that even as I grew weary of hearing it. You loved the water and everything related to it (me too!!). You were the one working out harder than the Instructor at Aqua Aerobics, you easily could have lead the class. I am surprised you didn’t instruct fitness classes, even into your seventies. You could put your whole leg behind your head and do the splits even well into your seventies. I so wish I had inherited your flexibility. Dad gave me my muscular legs and nice feet, but I would loved to have been blessed with your stretchy ligaments.

You were close to age fifty when we moved across the country to Deerfield, Massachusetts. I never really thought about how hard it must have been for you to leave thirteen years worth of deep, close friendships behind because Dad was let go of his amazing teaching position when that brutal new Headmaster was hired. That whole episode of life for all of us was somewhat of a nightmare. Then Dad got sick and none of us knew what was happening. That had to be excruciating for you, so lonely and sad. My heart bleeds for all the pain you endured, the feeling of alienation, the sadness at losing the love of your life. I adored hearing you talk to me about how you and Dad met in college, how he was the President of his fraternity and absolutely the life of the party, the most admired person you knew. I probably asked you to tell me those stories a hundred times. It was important for me to hold that love you felt for Dad in my own heart. He left our world way, way too soon. Then you met Bruce and had the blessing of a second great love for ten years until cancer took him down. Bruce was a gift in my life. His incredibly sharp wit and intellect, his humor, his stubbornness, his zest for life, his love for you and for me – he was a special person and I am beyond able to express how grateful I am to have known and loved him for those ten years. You made many beautiful, life long friends while we lived in Deerfield. Best of all, you and I bonded deeply in our mother-daughter friendship which lasted the rest of your life. The beginning of our deepest connection on that level was experienced as I navigated through the most excruciating year of my life, my senior year of high school.

You learned to ski both downhill and cross country when you were nearly age 50 in Massachusetts. You were so passionate as a downhill skier you traveled internationally to five different countries over the years to ski – all the way into age 80. I admired and adored you. I worked hard to learn to walk as fast as you, a metaphor for my endless attempt to keep up with you. Then I became you in many ways. My boys were blessed to have you as their incredibly loving “Grandma Bea”. You spent one on one time with them, so nurturing and playful. I recall coming to your home and finding you on the floor immersed in legos with Sean or cooking Tobin’s favorite spaghetti with butter. You let them know how much you loved them by your attention and your adoration. You cherished them, and they you. Now I have the role of Grama Judes and it is the best thing ever. I feel you in my heart intensely these days, more than ever. I feel the influence of your love in all the choices I make. I feel great appreciation for all the gifts I received from you. You were the perfect mom to teach me what I needed to learn this lifetime. I am still learning SO much. Your resilience upon losing not just Dad but later Bruce, your strength despite so much loss of family and loved ones, was an example of your amazing courage. You were a powerful role model. I also learned what not to do as I watched you unable to release the immense grief you felt at the loss of your son, my brother, Doug, which I believe ultimately caused your fatal illness. You kept all your grief inside, and it was intense. It festered and became your disease. I thought you would live to be 100, but grief can take us down. It took you down.

Thank you for your generosity over my lifetime. It was because of YOU that I was able to make my dream of having horses come true, and you were right there with me, with a horse of your own, riding and enjoying all aspects of the horsey life along with me. It was icing on the cake to witness you and Bruce getting horses and riding into the sunset of your golden years together. When I was young, you took on the majority of the responsibilities with the horses, but I learned enough to become a caring and responsible pet owner myself. I am grateful to have been raised with all the many dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, birds (including chickens), and various other critters we had growing up. You were a supremely loving pet mama and a beautiful example of how to treat animals. Your zest for life, your incredibly powerful love of music (your dedication to teaching piano) is instilled in me. You were adored by your students as their piano teacher for 52 years! Your over-the-top “social”, very extroverted personality, your beauty as you aged (you truly became more beautiful every year as you aged!), your amazing health and fitness, your vitality, are all part of me. Thank you. Thank you feels inadequate but you know how I feel. I love you SO very much.

Happy Heavenly Birthday! I miss you. And I know you are right here. Always. All Ways.

My WHY

Sober Curious?

I was asked what made me start writing my blog, “Fiercely Sober”, which is material for my book.

Here is my reply:

My intention is to be part of the pro-sobriety movement, shifting preconceived notions that sobriety is dull, hard, or in any way less fulfilling than a booze-filled life. I hope to help booze go the way of cigarettes, with factual information showing the dangers of addiction for some individuals. I know many have a solid handle on imbibing and I never wish to be judging or intolerant of anyone who enjoys partaking. I have no problem being around it and still have a large collection of valuable wine. Changing our culture’s heavy pro-drinking influence, especially the marketing that portrays alcohol as socially acceptable, even a necessary component of having fun, marketing that makes us think we will be sexier and more attractive, more appealing with booze, represents alcohol as confidence-inducing, that it rids us of anxiety, will take a village- a sober village. I do envision a successful shift of our pro-alcohol culture to one based more on unbiased information not funded by corporations that profit from the sales of alcohol and alcohol-related habits. I want young people to be knowledgable about the consequences of addiction, the negative experiences that can occur. It is right that more people be made aware of the facts about addiction and the brain, how easy it is to become addicted to addicting substances of many types, how to spot the warning signs, how to gain control, and knowledge of the truths that un-romance wine and all forms of booze so people can be better informed to make wise decisions.

Fit Recovery

Part of the reason quitting drinking can be difficult is the physiological withdrawal symptoms that make us feel absolutely miserable, because our body and brain are addicted to The Booze Bitch and her toxins. Our body and brain become addicted to the ingestion of alcohol as we become regular drinkers, awaiting the deluge expectantly, ready to garner all possible defenses to battle the enemy and restore balance as soon as possible. All our organs work overtime to rid our bodies of the toxins we ingest. When we quit putting poison into our bodies, we slowly begin to detox. The cleansing of toxins in withdrawal causes a variety of symptoms, none pleasant.

I felt pretty miserable for the first 40 days after I stopped drinking. I increased my intake of greens, drank a boatload of water with lemon, forced myself to exercise even when it was the last thing I felt like doing. I slept more than usual during the day – it was quarantine so that was easy to do. I was gentle with myself, didn’t beat myself up for not feeling like doing anything. I indulged in my sugar cravings more than normal. I upped my vitamins and minerals. Everything I did to help support my detox was beneficial. So many people suffer much more than necessary because they are not aware of all the ways they can assist their body in returning to health.

There are many great supplements that can aid our withdrawal symptoms and help us feel better faster. It is totally OK to take medications or supplements that can help get us past the worst of the withdrawal discomfort. I kept going on my sober journey even through the “feeling rotten” stages because I knew beyond any doubt, returning to drinking would only ruin all my efforts and make it exponentially harder to stop in the future. I was dying to feel good again, desperate to regain some vitality. Once I started feeling better, really great (around Day 41), it was like my body had fully rejuvenated. I still take some of these supplements and vitamins, but my body is so happy and healthy now with my clean diet sans booze, I don’t need much. I recommend doing lots of reading and research before you quit. Read everything related to withdrawal. Gather a support system for accountability and comfort when you feel weak or low. If you are a heavy drinker wanting to quit booze, PLEASE seek medical assistance. Quitting cold turkey if you have been imbibing at very high levels (more than a bottle a day) can be life threatening, not worth risking.

I am dedicating this post to sharing the amazing business called “Fit-Recovery”. Chris Scott is a Pioneer and I am grateful to him for the excellent work he has done in the field of recovery, especially for the essential aspect of what our body (and brain) needs to regain total health. Here is his website, full of wonderful resources: https://fit-recovery.com/alcohol-withdrawal-vitamins-supplements-detox-recovery/

May you feel like a million bucks. I sure do, and better all the time! Slay the Booze Bitch. Sobriety is Sexy!

Sobriety is the new Sexy

Sobriety brings many things to the surface, most of all feelings.

I never realized how much I was numbing my feelings. One of the many problems with numbing our feelings is that we can’t numb fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, depression, hopelessness, shame, resentment, and blame without also numbing all the good stuff. We don’t feel our joy, gratitude, inspiration, self confidence, trust, and excitement at their highest decibels when we numb out our scary emotions. Once I stopped numbing out, a part of me starting freaking out. Now what do I do when I want to scream, cry, run, hit something??! OMG, this road is not an easy one. I have done years and years and years of healing work on myself. I have been on an intense spiritual journey for two decades and devoted to my meditation practice for a full decade. But now I have to FEEL and FACE all my emotions? Woah.

These days I am seeing what an enormous gift it is to feel everything. Now that I have placed myself and my wellness at the highest spot on the pyramid of my priorities, I care a whole lot about how I am treated, whether I feel valued, respected, seen, heard, loved. The decision to care more than ever how I am treated by others has brought about some enormous new changes in my life. After a year of endless challenges along with huge growth and rediscovery of my true self, I gave notice at my work just after they offered me an incredible benefits’ package and full time hours, as my income reached its highest numbers. I am embarking on a new employment path that will deeply honor who I am; I will be utilizing my talents, my abilities, my skills, my light, my passion for team building, and my heart. This new direction fills me with excitement, eagerness, optimism, inspiration, and joy. I know it is meant to be, and I feel enormous gratitude. I will be collaborating with a powerful, amazing, highly accomplished woman I admire, love, and know well from years working together in the past in one of the best hospitality environments of my long career.

I finally closed the door on a relationship that has been on again, off again for over five years. I was deeply connected to this person, but I ultimately had to admit I felt more like a puppet on a string than someone he values at the level I deserve to be valued. I have always been available to him when he feels ready to be together. I have always worked my schedule around his convenience, always put him higher than he earned in my life. I forgave him all his indiscretions too easily. I took on guilt for things that were never my fault. I went along with his righteousness and placed him on a pedestal. I was one of his groupies, one of the many fans – the president of his fan club. I looked past all the problems and errors of his ways. I told myself I could live with all the parts of him that didn’t fill me with joy. I had illusions about us, about him. I held on senselessly to the hope he would stop drinking. Now that I see more clearly than ever, I can part ways without anger, resentment, or even sadness. I am finally feeling powerful again, unstoppable. Why would I want to be meek and vulnerable with someone who doesn’t deserve me? I have never been at the top of his priority list, why would I put him at the top of mine? It feels good to wake up and smell the coffee! I deserve better, and I know better is out there seeking me. Here I am! And I am ready for you. Let’s do this.

The espresso of my life is so sweet these days. When my drinking was completely out of control, when I kept promising myself I could moderate, take several days off my booze habit, just stop drinking – yet never succeeded in that goal, I lost all trust in myself. I stopped drinking alcohol because I got sick of feeling so rotten all the time. I got sick of waking up each morning with dread. I got sick of depression and anxiety haunting me at 3 AM. I got sick of tossing and turning most of the night and then taking an hour to force myself to throw off the covers and get out of bed in the morning. I got sick of my body aches, inflammation, lack of productivity, low self esteem, and procrastination. Now I leap out of bed at 4 AM and can’t wait to tackle new projects. My new work environment is bringing all sorts of exciting opportunities for me to build, create, inspire, develop, nurture, collaborate, shine, and love my life. I feel so thankful I can hardly express it. I have deleted what was causing me pain. I am FREE. I took the leap, and where I have landed on the other side is absolutely breathtaking. Risking it all and leaping with confidence, trust, and knowing is the bomb. I have found my holy grail. Sobriety is the new sexy!

Overcoming

Life is an obstacle course and how we navigate the obstacles is up to us. I have overcome some pretty great challenges in my days: incessant torment in early childhood by older brothers, bullying by playmates and others, sexual abuse both in childhood and adulthood, loss of my father early in adulthood and loss of my mother much later in my life, loss of a sibling in my arms, loss of many close relatives and dear friends, episodes of debilitating depression, addiction, moving multiple times-the first across the country just before my senior year of high school, two divorces, dissolution of a 7 year business partnership…I could write a novel about overcoming, about resilience. Perhaps that is why sobriety fits for me, it is the hardest and biggest example yet of overcoming.

Right now I have two major challenges showing up for me: my dogs (who have been with me their entire years, and together for 14 years), are at their very end of life. Tears are flowing as it feels unfathomable to not have them in my life. My other major challenge is my work life, my coworkers. I am an outsider there, an alien -very different in my perspective, my outlook, my personality, my style with customers. I feel excluded, criticized and shamed unfairly on a regular basis, made to feel very small at every opportunity. I make a great living and love my customers, love the owners, love my highest level supervisor; so there are lots of beautiful aspects of my job. I have a decision to make…

Sobriety brings everything to the forefront. Everything is bigger and brighter, including tragedy, crisis, joy, celebration -emotions of all kinds. I have an opportunity to develop a tough skin, or to move on. There is nothing I can do to change the fact that my dogs are old and close to transitioning, but I have a choice about whether I stay or leave my work. Yesterday was a good day, the most difficult person is off on Wednesdays, so that makes the day automatically better for me. My customers were awesome, as usual. I came home to perky dogs as opposed to early morning when I left for work. Sadie, my 14 year old yellow lab, looked desperate and miserable and I had a hard time parting ways but was reassured that my friend was going to check in on her repeatedly. She was a ton better by evening. So for now, all is well. I will choose wisely, no impulsive rash decisions. I trust myself completely. I am reactive and sometimes want to bolt, sometimes the pressure cooker’s lid threatens to fly off, but I am also in control and grounded. I will remember to breathe…I will remember I am loved…I will remember all the blessings in my life. Everything always works out for me. I am a cat who always lands on her feet. Resilience comes from confronting the seemingly impossible, leaping to the other side across the enormous chasm that separates despair from freedom. The result is that we ultimately find ourselves standing up again on our stronger and healthier two feet, brushing ourselves off, and stepping into the next chapter. I can do this. I have so many amazing opportunities awaiting, with or without this particular employment. I will choose what feels best for me. I am supported, I am resilient, I am invincible. I am woman, I roar!

The Journey

Sobriety is about so much more than not drinking alcohol.

Since I decided I was ready to slay the Booze Bitch, I have been highly emotional. I have felt ecstatically happy, truly proud of myself, fully trusting the Universe. I once again believe I can make all my dreams come true. I am incredibly energetic, hyper sensitive to what I hear and the way I interpret language, impulsive to a fault sometimes, perhaps more than ever in my life. Very old wounds are rising to be healed, an enormous challenge as I try to not burst with rage when I feel scolded and shamed. I cry a lot, equal amounts happy and sad tears. I laugh hysterically too, fall-on-the-floor laughter. I have more endurance physically, I am nearly tireless from my physical activities – many of which I am doing at double or more the distance than before. Life is brighter, more intense. I am being called to stand taller and become stronger than I thought possible. I am climbing my way, step by step, up the ladder of my spiritual staircase. I have always loved the saying by Mother Teresa “God never gives me more than I can handle, I just wish he didn’t have so much confidence in me!”

Becoming sober during a pandemic is a little crazy. The world is totally topsy turvy, full of negativity and hate, tension, struggle. People are attacking one another for the pettiest things. There is more separation than I have ever witnessed. Folks I thought were friends show me their true colors and I am shocked and appalled. I believe the worst, the scum at the very bottom of the drain of humanity, is rising for healing. I believe we are entering a brand new paradigm. I certainly hope so! Personally, I notice the worst parts of myself exploding to the surface when I feel attacked. I am prickly, ready to defend myself, standing guard and armored with protection. Maybe it is right and good for me to keep my armor on as I navigate my new sober self. Maybe if I can just hang in there during this transformation, I’ll come out the other side with even more joy and strength.

My appreciation for those I love is greater than ever. My beloved canines are at the very end of their lives, 14 and 16 years old. They have been with me the entire duration of their lives. Every time I think about not having my girls around, I feel tears stream down my cheeks. It is almost unthinkable. Life is full of sadness, loss, and grief. Life is full of joy, inspiration, and love. What we choose to believe is what we create in our reality. I have lived this experience throughout my many years. I often recall The Berenstein Bears’ children’s book in which Sister Bear wakes up one morning with turmoil in her heart and mind. She sees everything in her world as scary, dark, ugly, black and white- no color, no life, an armageddon. In her mind, the world is terrifying in every way. Page after page shows scenes of what is considered totally normal daily life: people walking in the park, sitting on park benches, children playing in a playground, cars and traffic, dogs frolicking. Sister saw everything as threatening and frightening. After a discussion with Mama and Papa Bear, Sister learned she had created her own misery, had influenced what she saw by what her mind believed to be true. She was able to share her fears and sadness about what had made her feel so down, and her world was magically transformed. Next scene shows everything filled with beautiful color, joy, activity, engagement, happiness all around. What we believe truly does shape our reality. Let’s be like Michael Franti, spreaders of light and positivity, way showers, light beings.

I will survive and thrive throughout my sober journey inclusive of my roller coaster of emotions. I will keep the lid on the pressure cooker that is me these days. I will focus on all the people in my world that bring me joy. I will love up my customers even more. I will hug my dogs day and night and tell them how much I love them. I will appreciate the sweet moments more than ever. Because this life right here, this life, is a very, very good life!

Nurture over Numb

I just finished hiking with one of my favorite people in the entire world. Tuesday Trail Therapy, 4.5 miles of processing whatever comes up or has come up in our lives the past few days. I was sharing how my cup is feeling pretty empty these days with everything going on, most recently a huge fire that caused a friend I dearly love to have to evacuate her home with all of her precious animals. She lives alone quite remotely in the heart of vulnerable fire territory. I have spent substantial time with her at her beautiful ranch with her horses, goats, chickens, dogs, and cats. I love being with her and I dearly love working with her horses. We have gotten to know each other very well over recent years, first as Co-Master’s Swimmers.

I freaked out in terror when I saw an enormous flume of smoke right in her area, looking East, as I drove home Saturday in the very late afternoon/early evening. I knew she must be stressed and anxious; the threat of a fire is her worst nightmare, understandably. I could not communicate with her. I wanted to be there for her. I left work at lunch time on Sunday to help her evacuate with all her beloved menagerie of animals. I was fortunate enough to be able to offer refuge at my place 30 miles south, as I live on acreage and have perfect accommodations for all but the horses. Since her menagerie arrived, we have been “the refuge camp for disabled dogs and others”. We have been thoroughly enjoying our time together, while at the same time trying to find updates on the fire to find out if she is clear to return yet, which has not been easy. We still are not sure.

My son and grandson spend time at my place, a wonderful gift in my life. I try to be fully present with them as much as I can. My grandson is newly seven and very animated. I adore him and his father. I love to share my cooking skills and my bounty of food with friends and family, which means I grocery shop and cook frequently. I like my house to be very clean, and that means major effort to keep it that way. I am involved in a lot of activities and projects. I have a very demanding job that I love, with a hefty commute to boot.

Our Tuesday trail therapy discussion today focused on how much better it feels to nurture ourselves rather than grab a bottle to numb out. It is refreshing to recognize when our cup starts to feel empty. We become more choosy about how we spend our precious time. We learn, slowly and over time, to put ourselves as our top priority, rather than trying to be the all TO all which leads to feeling completely depleted. We discover how much better it feels to nurture ourselves and give ourselves permission to opt out, to rest, to say no rather than feeling obligated and then resentful, and irritable because we feel drained. We recognize when our cup starts to feel empty, which is me right now. We celebrate how much better it feels to nurture ourselves with healthy choices over numbing with a bottle.

Sober life is a rebirth. I am feeling all my roller coaster of feelings, my emotions, at higher decibels -and learning to BE with all of them, to let them in instead of escaping them. I am more peaceful, much happier, my energy is double or better than when I was a boozer, and life all around is joyful. Even when a day has so much stress, like many days currently with COVID and heat and masks and shaming everywhere, even with all of it, I have no desire to reconnect with The Booze Bitch. I broke up our long love affair. I fell completely OUT of love with her. She was the devil in disguise, the deceitful dishonest seducer, the betrayer of my trust and highest hopes. Now I am independent of her control over me, my spirit is free! I am full of inspiration and love for myself and others, and on a path that is making me proud, fulfilled, and courageous. I trust myself and I treat myself as my very best friend. Because I AM.

Sobriety is a SUPERPOWER

This statement “Sobriety is a SuperPower” was included in the first few sentences of Brene’ Brown’s post about her now 24 years of sobriety. Sobriety being a Superpower is right, it made me smile with such JOY! It takes a fierceness to become sober, hence the name of my blog. We have to rally against the culture that has us convinced we are flawed if we DON’T drink. That’s the most ridiculous, backwards, and WRONG perspective imaginable. The notion that we are inferior because we choose NOT to poison ourselves is insane. Something is wrong with US because we choose to be the healthiest, purest form of ourselves? Because we tried on the experience of addiction to booze and decided it didn’t feel good? I want to bust the lies apart, banish the false, deceitful marketing about the coolness of drinking a specific brand of beer or wine. I want to destroy the myth that booze makes us sexy, happier, more fun, relaxed, peaceful. It does NOT. I want to blow the hat off the clown that tries to convince us that booze makes life better in any way. I accept that many people enjoy booze in moderation, that’s awesome and more power to them. But the vast majority of those who imbibe alcohol are addicted at some level. Our culture enthusiastically supports and ultimately feeds our universal addiction to alcohol; the profits are enormous and the trail of deceit long. Perhaps in the future alcohol will go the way of cigarette smoking. Smoking went through a drastic change over time from being something people believed was healthy and stress relieving, with marketing and advertising singing the benefits and joys of inhaling nicotine, tar, and all sorts of contaminants and poisons, to being banned in most communities. The evidence came through after many decades of suffering and death. We finally learned the truth. There was massive proof that the dangers and life threatening consequences to those who smoke and those near them was seriously harming. Now we look upon cigarette smoking as pathetic. I go back to my first attempt at smoking and how horrific I felt. I would never have puffed again if I had trusted my reaction more deeply, if it had not been more important to be cool than to trust my gut. Booze is similar, the first trial is usually deplorable. Let’s hope the same thing happens one day with alcohol consumption as happened with cigarettes, may booze become no longer the cool thing to do, gone by the wayside in favor of our collective health.

But I digress. It is absolutely TRUE, sobriety is a superpower. We have no idea of all the joy, all the self love, all the trust in ourselves that comes from committing and persevering with sobriety. Happiness returns at levels not previously experienced. We grow up into ourselves when we choose sobriety. What a relief to never HAVE to drink booze again. I slayed that damn Booze Bitch and she is gone, gone, gone out of my life. She could have destroyed me like she did so many other lives, but I caught on to her in time. I wrestled her to the ground, and smashed her. I put up guards on all my windows. Now I have burned her in the fire of my sober passion. She is afraid of me, she has become small and unimportant. Now my life is richer, fuller, better in every way.

I am going to share a beautiful, powerful post that one of my sober sisters put on a FaceBook group that I am engaged in, with her full permission, of course. So many people struggle over and over and over to get past the beginning stages of addiction. It IS hard, it IS challenging, it IS exasperating. But it IS the best thing you will ever do, trust us.

Here are Geryth Iozzo’s words of wisdom:

I KNOW…

Making the commitment sucks…

I KNOW…it’s hard to commit.

Making changes is difficult…

I KNOW…changes are a pain.

I wish I didn’t have an issue with alcohol…

I KNOW…me too.

WHY is this so hard?
I KNOW…it is.

I feel so alone…

I KNOW…but you’re not.

Why am I feeling so powerless?
I KNOW…you are NOT.

Why can’t I have just one or two?

I KNOW…I can’t either.

How come I don’t know how to stop?

I KNOW…I thought I couldn’t either.

Once you are truly honest with yourself and your relationship with alcohol,

You’ll KNOW too.

Keep going!! Keep trying!!!

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Thank you Geryth! I love the encouragement here, we are uplifters and Sober Happy.

We invite you to come join us, the SoberSphere world is filled with unlimited possibilities for a life without boundaries.

Leadership

Anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential.

I borrowed this beautiful definition of leadership from Brene’ Brown’s website. Brene’ Brown is one of my true Gurus. Her research on vulnerability, leadership, whole hearted living, and shame is life changing. If you have not yet had any experience with Brene’ and her work, check out her wildly popular Ted Talk on vulnerability, from nine years ago and with over 13 million views: https://youtu.be/iCvmsMzlF7o. Then get everything possible she has written, spoken about, published, or shared, and take it ALL in, you will grow, open, and learn. Brene’ is raw, real, funny as hell, and super smart. Brene’ is someone I would totally love to hang out with, AND she is 24 years sober! WOW. But that isn’t the main reason you should hear her speak or follow her wisdom. Her research on endless aspects of our Universal characteristics as Human Beings has the ability to change our hurting world in really BIG ways. She is an Agent of Change. I consider myself an Agent of Change too. We share the same big challenge – spreading positivity, vulnerability, kindness rather than hate, love rather than fear, smiles rather than frowns. Brene’ is an outstanding teacher, one of my all time favorites. Check her out!

On shame: I was raised by a very loving mother who I’m sure adored me. Along with the love, I believe Mom wanted me to become all she had fallen short of becoming in her own life. She did not hesitate to make that known to me by comments here and there, reactions to anything she considered unacceptable behavior or me falling short of some hope she had for me, what I think she believed was a reflection on her as a mother. Some of the criticisms she made of me, some of the feelings she verbalized to me, some of her actions, created decades-long wounds and hurts. I have forgiven her, I think. Maybe I need to work harder on that one! Or maybe I need to forgive myself more. At any rate, the shame I felt ran deep and stayed with me for most of my life, until I was determined to heal.

When we carry shame in our hearts and souls, we start believing we are flawed. There isn’t too much in the world more painful than believing we are not worthy, not good enough, not valued. From there, we believe we do not deserve love, belonging, or much of anything positive. We beat ourselves up, practice horrific negative self-talk, and carry on as though we hate ourselves. It’s time to STOP THAT and learn how to let go of any shame we have carried or passed along, perhaps unknowingly, to others. It is time we stop the toxic flow of passing these wounds from generation to generation. It is time for healing. NOW.

Someone very dear to me pointed out recently that I have a way of saying things that can be shaming to a person, or at least that she has felt it from me, directed toward another. OUCH! That is the last thing I ever want to do as a messenger of light and love – but we practice what we know! This is making me look at why I interpret some things as shaming. It is all coming together for me now! I am understanding why I am hyper sensitive to shame. I grew up receiving criticism and shame, and no doubt I passed it right along to my precious children and mates, like brushing gnats away, or flicking lint off a pair of pants. My shame ran deep and has taken many years to heal. Our world is filled with negativity and hatred these days, so much separation and division. It is time to take a stand for love and kindness. As each of us becomes more aware of what we say, and how we say it, and as we choose to take responsibility in how we affect others with our words, actions, and physical expressions, we can start healing ourselves – and ultimately our world. There is so much at stake, so many reasons to learn to forgive ourselves, understand ourselves, and love ourselves so we can become our best selves in all our relationships. Whether you choose sobriety or not, please take some time to get to know yourself, forgive yourself for all imagined wrongs, work on your stuff, stop blaming others for your predicament in life, and stand up for impeccability. Life is short, and our planet is slowly dying a painful death. Let us each make a difference today with the choice to be kind, loving, happy. Regardless of your political, religious, or righteous stands, opinions-be the nicest, most impeccable form of yourself today. Be your best self! THAT will be contagious, watch and see. Do something unexpected to make someone else’s day. I promise it will come back to you!

I’m Sorry

I am infatuated with so many sober authors, the great truth tellers. They share their gut wrenching stories in full detail, complete with admission of debilitating shame, with an unparalleled level of honesty, opening their hearts wide open for all the world to see. Here is a poem written by a woman and published originally by NPR in 2019. It is A Poem for Women in Sobriety:

“I’m Sorry” by Nancy P.

On a recent episode of The Bubble Hour (Nancy’s Story S7 E23), a poem was shared that touched many listeners. My gratitude to Nancy for her vulnerability and courage in telling her story and reading her poem.

I’M SORRY

I always said “I’m sorry”. I think that it began, When I was just a kid.

I’m sorry that I’m little. I’m sorry I get mad. I’m sorry if I’m not as smart. As my mom or dad. I’m sorry that I’m shy. And that my chest is flat. I’m sorry I’m not ready. To do the stuff like that. I’m sorry about the baby. He’s colicky; he’ll cry. I’m sorry I can’t comfort him. No matter how I try. I’m sorry for my house. It’s messy, we have boys… I’m sorry for my car. It’s making a strange noise. I’m sorry about my cooking. It isn’t always great. I’m sorry that I’m tired. I’m sorry that I’m late. Sorry about the garden. The yard is such a mess. I need to do some weeding. We need to fix the fence… I’m sorry about my dog. He should be better trained. I’m sorry about my kitchen. I’m sorry about my brain. I’m sorry about my hair. I’m sorry I’m a bore. I’m sorry sometimes I forget. What I had said before. Sorry I was quiet. Sorry if I said too much. Sorry I was clumsy. Sorry I was rushed. Sorry I spent money. Sorry I was cheap. Sorry I’m so sensitive. Sorry I’m too deep. Sorry that I drank too much. Sorry that I quit. Sorry if you find that weird. Sorry for my shit. I’ve been sorry for my flaws. Each and every one. And yet I have to tell you. Sorry isn’t fun. I’m sick of saying sorry. Or swallowing my words. It’s time I just said “fuck that”! All these “sorries” are absurd. I’m not sorry for my thoughts. My hips, my breasts, my brain. I’m not sorry for my feelings. I’m not sorry for my pain. I’m not sorry for my cooking. It’s nourishing and good. I’m not sorry for my car. It takes me where it should. I’m not sorry for my home. It’s filled with love and care. I’m not sorry for my body. My wrinkles or my hair. I’m not sorry for my voice. I think it should be heard. I’m not sorry for the many times. I’m searching for a word. I’m not sorry that I’m sober. It’s how I want to be. I’m not sorry if you wish I’d drink, I’ll have a cup of tea. I’m not sorry that I’m human. Warm and soft and kind. I’m not sorry I’m imperfect. In body and in mind. I’m ready for that chapter. Of apologies to end. I’m ready for acceptance. Of everything I am. And so I’ll just apologize. One last heartfelt time. To the person that I’ve been, and am. The person that is fine. I’m sorry, little girl. That I criticized you so. I’m sorry, awkward teenager. I should have let you know. That you were truly lovely. Compassionate and smart. I’m sorry brand new mother. With your enormous heart. I’m sorry middle-aged me. I love you, you’re a dear! I’m sorry that I’ve hurt you! But that is stopping here. I’m finding self-compassion. The missing link, I think. I know it’s what I didn’t have. When I would choose to drink. My light is shining brightly. My sisters are at hand. I’m ready to take care of me. In every way I can. I’m rising through my sadness. I’m rising from my pain. I’m rising from my guilt. I’m rising from my shame. I’m ready now to stand. I’m ready soon to soar. I’m ready, please come with me. I see an open door…

by NRP, a woman in recovery 2019