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

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.

To the Family That Still Suffers..

“If I’m helpless tell me now
Tell me now
And I’ll stop trying to figure it out”

~John Mayer~

Have you ever had a week that just ate you alive and spit you out? If you didn’t have to raise your hand, Congrats-its 2021-you have officially lived in a bubble. Life is filled with its ups and downs. We have to feel the glory to know the defeat and all that jazz.

My sleep tank is pretty empty, my journal has been furiously written into, footsteps beaten into, more serenity prayers to count and so much more. While I was stress cleaning the house today (that IS an entirely different topic for another rainy day!) I had so many thoughts cross my mind that I knew the universe was telling me to get it out there. You see at the end of my stressful week placated with a large drinking festival and overtime at work; I stand with my battle wounds at the end of the finish line still sober.

GRATEFUL to still be sober.

I had a serious overlap of recovery and relapse and the “addict that still suffers” happen before my very eyes. I also had a new sub sphere of recovery I hadn’t thought about before occur to me. The families that still suffer.

I came into a situation where in my line of work an individual had need due to a water damaged cell phone and more in the early am hours. As well as needing replenishing of gin and tonics prior to 8 am. He was asking staff to help him locate his brother (who is locally known in the area.) At first the length I went to was to tell others to “not judge” out of nothing but fierce loyalty to those I see still struggling. Then I mulled it over, this individual asked me for help, the internet is accessible, I know who he is asking for, I just had a nagging gut feeling I owed the brother a phone call.

So I trusted my gut. I called the brother and as politely as I could reintroduced myself and only revealed that his brother was here and his cell phone was damaged so was looking to try to connect with him. What I got on the other end of the phone was a grateful sigh followed by polite feedback on how to move forward. I was told the family was looking for this person and had combed the town hospitals and jails in desperation.

The empathy in my heart exploded and my mind swirled back to a different time. A time when I was sitting in the Bear River Health Treatment Center, and after a really intense group session I was overcome with remorse and called my Mom. I couldn’t believe that I had been so selfish when I chose alcohal over family and literally had my poor parents, Aunt Susie, and so many others worried sick for days that turned into weeks on what the ill fated outcome could be. As soon as she picked up the phone, I started to cry and told her how sorry I was for everything I had put her through and after what we had just been working on I had to call and tell her that.

I still rememeber her response.

“Its in the past, all I want is for you to move forward and be healthy and happy.”

I had forgotten until this past week the intense hell the addict that still uses or the alcoholic who still hasn’t surrendered yet put their family through. We call recovery and the recovery community a WE community. You have others to help you get through it for a reason. Its like having the largest, international extended family ever. The same is for addiction. Its not just a solo person it can take down. The entire family suffers.

So for me, from here on out, whenever I silently pray for the addict that still suffers, I will add on the family that still suffers. Weeks good and bad come and go. I’m forever grateful that my family can now sleep well knowing I am okay.

I hope and pray you can all do the same for yourself. As for me, I am going to work on better sleep habits, longer runs, and as always I am here if you need me.

“Good Enough for What?”

“And if I’m being honest
I’m not always as tough as I seem
And I can have my moments
Where words can get the best of me
And the ones that I say to myself
Are the ones that hit the hardest”

~If I’m Being Honest, Kaitlyn Bristowe~

What words do you hear in your head on repeat daily?

For so many of us; its version of negative self-talk. Something someone has said to us that stuck in a place of time of intense healing or need of character affirmations’ not assassinations’ and it just…well STUCK. The human nature tends to believe the very worst about ourselves during our very best days. Matthew Perry just admitted during the much famed FRIENDS reunion the amount of pressure he felt to always be “on” make others laugh, perform, and how paralyzing it was for him. The people that were around him daily had so much empathy for him. They had no idea. My heart hurt for him. I got it. Those isolating thoughts that lasso us into just “one more drink” in the early days of our addiction.

I’ve been there. I’ve always been the “not good enough” girl in my own mind. Its horrible, damning, isolating, leads to searching for something to numb and more. We snap at the things that people don’t understand. We seem like we have it all together. Its exhausting.

I share all of this because I’m in a place now where I’m sober, exploring my demons that lead me to drink in the first place, and able to reach out and listen to others. This past week alone with others has been eye opening, emotional, and so incredibly transparently reveling that others suffer from this too. People suffer in silence an perform at a perfect 10. Its heartbreaking. I get it and so have been there. They take on so many burdens, negative words, emotions and more and manifest it unto themselves.

I’m so done doing it.

I refuse to allow myself to be a part of anything that eats away at: myself, my self- esteem, my spirit, my recovery and my authentic self. I refuse to buy into the words I have been called this week meant to take me down: useless, lazy, selfish, self-centered, and more. I also refuse to watch anyone get taken down when they aren’t able to fight for themselves. Kicking someone when they are down is criminal and makes you weak. I have a bit of my Grandma (TT) Geraldine in me-don’t mess! I am who I am in this moment doing the best I can, and I am inclined to believe that the rest of the world is as well.

So for now, do what Ellen DeGenerges says, “Be Kind to One Another.” People are already playing tapes on repeat and suffering from things you know nothing about. For so many that I love; your kindness is what may help keep them sober and serene for that day. (seriously.) Words matter and so do you.

I love you all and am always a phone call away.

Love always, Kate.

“Get Feisty!”

What do you hide that scares you to not talk about?

I know for me for MANY days, weeks, months, and may be even years it was the broken pieces of my broken past littered with trauma, addiction, healing, and moving on.

In the beginning, I wanted to be the poster child for everything I had going on to heal from. It helped me feel connected to others. I was LOUD and PROUD. Then somewhere in the dark and twisty parts of my life story, I got quiet and retreated. (I call these the shame pockets Satan wants us to dwell in.) I have had some odd reminders lately that have pulled me out of these pockets.

I was able to talk about my life, my moments, my own path, my own healing, my own recovery, my own trauma to look someone in the eye and let them know they weren’t alone more than a few times in the past week. I explained to a physician while talking about a very dibilitating migraine issue that NO NARCOTICS and “sorry I get very fiesty about my recovery!”

I loved the response back, “Get fiesty! Its YOUR recovery and your life!” I was not expecting that response. I mumbled something back like, its not something I have ever had a problem with, but I just don’t trust my brain. I also got the response, “You shouldn’t, you have a disease we need to treat and nuture too.”



“I said thank you so much for saying that” (then damn near cried when I had a moment alone…)

I am grateful for the checkered path of a very cumbersome week that pulled me out of my comfort zone. There are no coincidences in life or God’s plan (in my opinion.)

I am not sure where my pathway is for this moment, but I want to say this.

We are all human. We all have our own stuff. Some of our rock bottoms and trauma are so incredibly jagged and scary. That doesn’t mean you have to be alone or that another human being can’t connect with you. I care. So many people in this world care.

You are a worthy, blessed, incredibly human being.

And I am always a phone call or text away….even with a migraine.

Love Thy Neighbor

“All you need is love…” ~The Beatles~

Aren’t we supposed to say “hate the sin, not the sinner….?”

I’ve noticed a trend lately. There appears to be a whole new entity of “isms” and prejudice(s) present in our country. Its not about being red or blue, but one side of the aisle of the other but more. I have witnessed pure hatred between people who consider themselves decent, law abiding, some Christian, people towards people who voted differently than they did the last election. Hate towards a person simply because they voted differently than you.

I am talking hate, disgust, contempt towards one another. Severances of friendships. Lack of understanding. Just labeling of another person and assuming they are BAD or a supporter of (insert.) I know of families split, and friendships ripped apart. I could keep on going.

This is a new “ism” in my opinion. This is not loving thy neighbor. This is hating someone based on how they voted. Aren’t we a country united on the belief that this shouldn’t be happening at all anymore? Freedom of so many things, religion etc. If you were to gossip with your friend that you couldn’t stand so and so because they were practicing a religion different than you, a different ethnic make up you would be a bigot or racist. This is a slippery slope folks and not much different.

In order to grow and not be where we are at, we have to talk about the uncomfortable in the moment of reality. We have to stop seeing things from our own lenses, and own jaded media outlets (and they are all jaded and adding fuel to the fire…another topic…) No more finger pointing.

So lets all embrace one another. This past year has been ROUGH! I am sitting in a newly reopened public space wearing a mask. A year ago when this would not have been my norm seems so far away. So lets imagine where we all can be a year from now. Will you have learned from your friends? Had meangingful conversations? Opened your mind and heart up? Mended wounds? Disenganged from hurtful social media?

Where do you want to be a year from now? What is ACTULLY in your realm of control?

You actions of kindness, respect and more. I am so serious when I say this. You don’t have to agree with everything, everyone, and may be upset about the election or possibly still celebrating. Neither makes you a better or worse person. It makes you a person who made a choice.

So what choices will you make? Will you go shovel the walk for your elderly neighbor or not because their political signs tell you your have differing politics? Hold open the door for the person still wearing the whomever 2020 pin different from you at the grocery store? Will you put away the judgement and go back to looking at a person as a person.

We were commanded a long time ago to love thy neighbor. I could think of nothing more fitting for Valentine’s Day week.

Spread the love.

You might be surprised.

Connecting the Dots…

“Is it getting better, or do you feel the same?”

U2, One

Ever run into a somewhat complete stranger who gives you a jolt of nostalgia? I recently had a run in with someone who recognized me from my past career at Michigan State University. The person lives locally and while I was working at my current job, looked at me and said, ” wow, you have such a familiar face!” (Insert eye rolls I swear I have an evil doppelganger running around…I get this one a lot. Also, as a person in my recovery I don’t ALWAYS WANT to be recognized for my past moments ….) “Did you used to work for MSU?” was the follow up.


Sure did.


If I am being forthcoming and transparent, I have been struggling a bit lately. I sometimes wonder a lot of things. I have lived in Northern Michigan and now have called it home for about a year now. What’s my actual place here? (I think.) It has been a whole year, do I have the roots down I had anticipated? (Hmmmm…) Life I had dreamed of when I relocated up here? My mind things horrificially insecure thoughts sometimes. Do I belong here? REALLY belong? Would I be missed if I left? Who am I today versus a year ago? I hate the insecure thoughts.

The thing of it is I moved to a new area during a pandemic, started new employment, a new relationship, new lots of things, but did I really feed my soul with connections I crave and needed? NEED? I tune into my former church from downstate and sometimes cry thinking about attending with my gals from Wings of God. Those times were so precious and fleeting to me. Why didn’t I honor them more. We never really seem to know when the “good ‘ole days” are right in front of us and instead always yearn for more.

I am so guilty of this.

I have also forgotten about all of the positive parts of my past so many times. I think what I tell myself is that I’m a terrible person for becoming an alcoholic. I don’t deserve nice things of a fragment of what I used to have. This blocks out any joy from reflecting back. All it really feeds me is bitter tasting medicine and sadness.

I forget I have knowledge, happy memories and more. I forget the happy memories such as spreading joy on the RHS Celebration Team, gaining confidence and friendships with Toastmasters, happy tears as I watched my students graduate, the LITERAL blood, sweat and tears I put into my eight years at the State Room.

I forgot and forget I matter. My connections matter to where I have been and where I am going to go. Brene Brown talks about all the dots in our life connect us to where we need to be. This resonates with me. Dr. Brown nails it. Sometimes we don’t love the dot we are on nor possibly see the link from the past.

If I am being totally forthcoming and honest; the sting and aftertaste of my former life can surprise me at times. Its a palette I had perfected that now lingers in my throat acidic and raw.

It hurts.

Feeling disconnected and isolacted can hurt. Craving things you used to come by so naturally hurts. Things like : female church fellowship, coffee dates with friends, community, committee work and more. Some of it is COID-19 to blame, some of it is my own undoing.
We are WIRED for connection for fucks sake (yes I swear.) So why feel guilty for craving it???

Surely I cannot be alone here.

Does anyone else ever glance back and smile/cringe at the same time?

“Shame is the Gremlin…”

“Shame drives two big tapes: 1) Never good enough…and if you can talk it out of that one…. 2) Who do you think you are?”

Dr. Brene Brown, Shame Ted Talk

I overslept this morning. Overslept to not be late for anything but my prearranged plans of my own deemed perfection. You get up and do 1000 things before work and BOOM you are queen of the world, your day, your recovery you name it. Also, might I add, that when I say I overslept I woke up around 8:15 am to tell a friend I wasn’t going to be able to make a work out class. I didn’t lay around all morning, I wasn’t being a slob kabob. I just literally rested longer than I intended to.

So now what?

So now my stinkin thinkin sets in and I have deemed that any linear plans for what is supposed to happen in my world today are ruined. I failed, surrender the white flag, “you suck, KATE!” your day, weekend, image, and more are off track from here on out. I hate when my mental state is like that. I hate that my thinking goes back to the mind of a fall down drunk who can do nothing right. I challenged myself to reset my mind with the help of a loved partner, a few devotions, calling my sponsor, praying, and finding a way to make it to my nail appointment.

This is where I made a decision to try to reset my day. To follow what my program teaches me that I can have bad moments, and they do not have to turn into bad days. I plugged my headphones in while I was in the nail salon, and tuned into a Brene Brown Shame Ted Talk. (And yes, I apologized to the staff for listening to my own self care instead of conversing ….whole other topic for another day…really…)

As she always does, Brene smacked me right in the face. I’m operating on my biggest trigger that “I am not good enough and nothing I do can be.” I hate being in this place. It makes me defense, hypervigilant, constantly overthinking about what I should be doing, what conversation should I have had. There is no self forgiveness nor turning it over to God or those who care to help me in these moments. Its full on recoil and mind assault.

Shame is a bitch. She calls us the worst names. She is self inflicted, and if you believe in any type of Higher Power as I do today, she does not need to dominate any of your thoughts. Tell that Gremlin to take a hike and do something that resets your body, mind, and soul. I grabbed my Sadie bug for a quick walk taking in the beauty of Fall, nature, God’s creation, a happy doggie smile, and the faith that God is with me and urging me to the best version of myself.

Not today Satan.