Unmanageability Doesn’t = Alone

“Is there anyone out there ’cause
It’s getting harder and harder to breathe
Is there anyone out there ’cause
It’s getting harder and harder to breathe”

~Harder To Breathe, Maroon 5~

What would you define in your life as “unmanageable” or the parts you don’t want anyone to see? Or even better yet; what do you think is the definition of unmanageability?

I have had a few conversations with people in various people with different places of their lives of where they felt their manageability of their lives was at the moment. We are all human. Some are good. Some are bad. One was celebrating 30 days without a drop of alcohol. Another was feeling alone, isolated, and yet thought it was all kept together. One was in a life changing and air-grasping for God type of situations. One is making a life career move for their family, wife, and work life balance.

It made me think of my own place in life, my own definition of the word, and how…at times…that term unmanageability was my own damn existence. You see alcoholics and our very core of our program teeter to the very brink of survival around this word. The funny thing is, most of us like to be in control and have a character defect of being in control. I know I do, and I have to daily let the reigns go and let God!

When I think of what unmanageability is, its not being able to exist or cope with your own personal choices anymore. Something or possibly someone is now holding a control, a compulsion over you that is hindering every decision you make. When I am under the control of picking up my first drink, I am no longer myself. I am no longer in control. All I care about is where the next one is at. I will lie, evade, manipulate, plot, scheme, and even literally run miles to a liquor store to get my hands on the next one.

The beauty of the creation of the human mind is we do have free choice. I get to curse a situation out, go for a walk, say the serenity prayer until I am blue in the face, or write another to do list (control defect still under warranty…) before I stare down that first drink ever again.

The gift I have with that definition and the sainthood of alcoholics anonymous is that I know I have freedom of choice. I also know the monster I can create within that choice.

I have memories. Memories of sprinting to liquor stores in the dead heat of summer and inhaling my drink. And then, this is so gross, running back home buzzed. I have memories of holding one hand steady to put a contact lens in or guide a mascara wand over my lashes because my hands were shaking so badly with morning withdrawal. I had to appear I had it together though, right.

Because we can’t let anyone in to know we have problems we can’t manage.

Guess what folks, God put us here on this Earth to put together a we solution, not a me problem.

We don’t have to manage life perfectly, we can share in things together so when these choices lead us to the miserable unmanageability feeling of hopelessness-we know we are not alone.

So be kind. Make the first right choice. Celebrate those beautiful milestones. Relish in the last outdoor days of Summer.

As always, if you need help, please know you are loved and I am only a phone call away.

Bull Shit and Serenity

I can remember being at a workshop once where we once were supposed to write a life mantra. Something to keep ourselves floating on a pink cloud of happiness, take back laminated to our offices, and smile with warm, down to Earth good feelings every time we look at this.

I hated this work shop. My anxiety was swirling into lists of everything I had to be doing back in my office (or after hours since I had signed up for an employee workshop meant to help with stress management.) The fringe benefits in front of me were not grasped with the authenticity they were meant to. The hypervigilant performer in myself pretended to muse, smiled, and volunteered to read mine out loud. I remember throwing that thing in the trash within a month.

I remember thinking revealing imperfect layers of yourself on any level were weakness and utter bull shit. Authentic wasn’t a word in my vocabulary. Its no wonder I strived so hard in so many areas of my life to fit in and be “liked.” I had no clue who the hell I was. I was an actress trying to please the world and excel at everything I touched (all while appearing flawlessly unruffled and rested.)

I hate that version of myself. It literally served me no purpose and kept me feeling so alone and isolated for so many years. Anxiety may have added benefits of stress cleaning that proves to have results in the end. Not being present is a determent; not an asset. It robs you of peace, serenrity, and true authenticity.

I bring all of this up as it came up on my walk today as I was thinking about what these definitions really are in my life. What are: joy, peace, serenity, and being truly authentic to me? What are they to other people? I need to know what they are so I can figure out some type of status quo in my life to maintain and properly protect with boundaries.

I refuse to be inauthentic in any area of my life anymore.

Serenity to me also means safety. Sadly, when I was attacked and assaulted on a running trail over 5 years ago, someone took that boundary of safety from me. Because of that I struggle with personal space with strange men, walking or runing alone in the dark (at night primarily) and sometimes even being approached by well meaning strangers. I’ve come a long way from even a year ago, but feeling safe in my own skin again is going to be a life long journey I don’t expect everyone to understand.

So this will have to be ongoing, fluid, and require rigorous honesty with myself. No more bull shit painted on smiles.

Its okay to feel things that don’t feel okay and process them in a healthy way.

Its not okay to bottle anything up that can lead to a resentment and mess up my recovery.

Do you.

Be you.

Find out what truly matters to you and protect it at all costs.

Adult Time Out Chairs

“Still
Everything happens
For a reason”
Is no reason not to ask myself

If I’m living it right
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, tell me why
Why, why Georgia why?”

~John Mayer~

What do the terms boundaries and consequences mean to you? I’ve had to assert some boundaries in my personal life for my own serenity as of lately–and–its been very difficult. I’ve had to evaluate the terms in my personal life and questioned their meaning and fluidity. The ever changing definition of the word. Then I stumbled upon a woman’s personal quote from an in person speech she had given on good ‘ole Instagram.

“Boundaries have no value without consequences.” Diana N. Patterson M. Ed

That hit me like a ton of bricks. Its so simple at its core, yet as we progress into adulthood we overthink and complicate pretty much everything. A toddler hits another child, they go into a time out chair. Okay. So what is the adult version of this in our lives? We can’t make grown people sit in the corners of our homes….so how do we enforce the hits to our feelings, personal needs, inner peace, credibility, integrity, and spiritual fitness?

There are consequences for our actions. Boundaries are meant to value what we hold near. So step one is probably figuring out what that actually is. I am comfortable saying that at the end of the day I have to and need to have the following: sobriety, spiritual fitness, serenity of some baseline, lack of drama to maintain the first two, a connection with nature (even for a 5 minute walk), a conversation with God, gratitude, faith, and time for my partner and the people I love like family (and those that ARE family.)

Anything that messes with any of those things that I have worked so incredibly hard for needs to be put into an adult version of a time out chair in my life.

No ifs, ands, or butts.

This is easy to write out and point out to other people-but try acting it out.

I strive to live by the golden rule, and treat others the way I would want to be treated. That doesn’t always allot for a time to pause and grasp is this person treating me the way that I deserve to be treated or that is harming my precious recovery bubble of serenity. I have to hold a higher value on that. Even if it means putting someone on a time out in my life for now. I never make these decisions lightly, or base on one interaction (because we are all human and doing the very best we can.)

Either way I have to start valuing myself and what I have worked so hard for in my life to protect it. Just like parents don’t like handing out punishments all day long, I don’t like hitting delete, block ,and responding with “I’m sorry I can’t be there for you right now.” Trust me though…if I had to cut you off for now….I was handed the loppers not scissors to do so.

So this Sunday, I am going to challenge myself to one thing that I must protect and think hard about it while out getting some exercise. (I swear sometimes Lake Michigan and my conversations with God help me out with answers…) It may be sleep, less e-mail, less something, but I’m going to work to protect it.

After all value starts with v….v means victory and another beautiful day in recovery.

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

” Just for today, I could live through this day only….Not deal with life’s problems. Just for today.” ~George Harrison~

I recently came across a picture of myself from say circa 2017. In this picture, I’m smiling, its summertime outside, I look put together, teal streak in my hair matches my dress, in front of the library where I was spending time working on wrapping up another degree-fun phone no less!

Things aren’t always what they seem. I had a hard time seeing this one.

Not because I was so in shape due to running so many miles (which was bore out of a bit of self hatred for myself at the time….) its because I was so very sick still at the time. I was suffering from an invisible disease that kills 88’000 at a minimum annually.

I was a full blown alcoholic in this picture. I had even been to treatment; so everyone assumed I hoped and prayed I was better.

I remember taking this picture and then sneaking alcohol into a public bathroom for consumption. I will spare you more details, because it just breaks my heart and I don’t want to trigger anyone. I had it ALL together though right. That day I had gone for a long run, gotten dressed to match my hair, enjoyed studying in the sun, planned ahead and more. I looked happy. I was so incredibly empty and in pain in the inside. That is what alcoholism is its pain.

I can remember for the longest time I often heard, “well you don’t look like an alcoholic.” I heard it in treatment, meetings, you name it. Guess what, its pain, its real, its raw and doesn’t discriminate. The pain of that girl from four years ago makes me wince. I just want to reach back in time and hug her.

The AA promises ask us to not regret the past, but not shut the door on it. This very much applies here. I can’t beat 2021 Kate up over the actions of 2017 Kate, however I have to remember and forever be vigilant. I could wake her up real quickly and throw away a lot of hard work if I wanted to. I also thank all of you who stood by and loved me at my worst back then-I know it couldn’t have been easy.

Its good to glimpse back to remember progress and remember what used to be. I took a walk that evening to return library books and stopped to take a similar photo in front of a similar building. I am older, tired after a long day, hair is dirty, not in as a great of physical shape, but sober and like myself so much more.

The pain and hiding is gone and I’m starting to see a new freedom.