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http://maintainingthezen.blogspot.com

Namaste

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One Simple Question Saves the Happy

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling lately with my beast.  Something woke the sonofabitch up and it’s been making noise.  If I had to guess, I’d say that the culprit is likely complacency…that little bitch that hangs around, strokes my hair and whispers in my ear that “every little thing gon’ be alright”.  (She sounds a lot like Bob Marley.  I’m a child of the seventies after all.). But the noise my beast is making isn’t even close to a roar.  It’s more like an annoying little whine and if you know anything about me at all, it’s that I detest whining.  I find it grating and annoying and it pisses me off.

Yep…that about sums it up.

So on the way to our anniversary weekend celebration (love me some Ritz Carlton…especially when it’s free thanks to Marriott points…love you JW), I started telling the hubs about the beast and how much it’s pissing me off.  He asked a simple question, “What is it that you miss?  Do you miss the taste or the experience?”  My husband possesses the unique talent of being able to cut through the crap and get right to the heart of the matter.  It’s one of the things I love most about him.

But instead of answering the question, I said, “I’m not sure but I can tell you what I don’t miss.  I don’t miss the noise.  And I love the peace.  I know that while one sip of a cold Chardonnay would likely not get me going again by itself, what it would do is turn that beast from an annoying, mewling little brat to a dangerous and very loud animal.  The incessant, constant dialogue would begin in my head immediately and I truly believe, with all my heart and soul, that it would, finally, drive me stark raving mad.”

And with that, the beast fell back to sleep, peace returned to my head and the happy was safe once again.

Namaste.

Sherry

A Different Shade of Living

Pink roses make me happy.

Thank you for all of the wonderful comments to my post yesterday.  I’m so much better today.  I had dinner last night with an old friend of my daughter’s and just being in a more normal, family-feeling situation kind of reset my attitude.  I’m happy, I’m sober, I’m powerful.

And I won’t, under any circumstances, risk the happy.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve had some conversations while here in San Fran with some folks that would like to move me to a role that will put my skills to their highest and best use.  I was very, very excited by the prospects and then I had  my meeting with the big boss.  He was less than enthusiastic.  Hmmmm…

So, of course, I did what any self respecting female does in these situations…I got my feelings hurt.  I took something that was a business decision and turned it into something personal.  Like every decision this teams makes is about me.  Like everyone sits in a room and makes all their decisions based on how I will react.

Well fuck me naked.  I hate it when my brain goes to that world.  It’s a scary world…really bad neighborhood.  Bars on the windows and 911 on speed dial kind of world.  Letting my brain go to that place makes me feel vulnerable and, quite frankly, stupid. 

So I thought about it, got some sleep and woke up with a revelation.  I failed to ask for the business.  I got so wrapped up in the fact that people weren’t throwing me a freaking parade that I failed to clearly state what it was that I wanted.  So I set up another meeting this morning with him, clearly articulated what is was I had to give and what I wanted to do with my skills and then shook his hand, thanked him for his time, and walked out of his office.  I think we both felt better after the meeting…I know I did.

I wish there was a way to turn my “girl” off when I got into the office.  Women tend to process things emotionally and with a different part of their brain than men.  Our hearts are never far from our minds.  Men…not so much.  And since I work in a male dominated industry, I learned a long time ago that I would have to adjust my way of thinking in order to survive with my ego in tact.  Which I had no problem doing during my heyday.  But I’m sober now…and in recovery…and that colors my whole world a different shade of living.

Namaste

Knocking Me Wonky

I’m traveling for work this week…all week.  I’m in one of my favorite cities on the planet – San Francisco.  I just love it here.  I miss my family like crazy but Northern Cali always helps.  I’m also getting my first introduction to our west coast business partners which is making this trip a little more stressful than my business trips usually are.  And I’m having a hard time with alcohol cravings.

Hmmmm….

Business trips always have a lot of drinking associated with them.  New people in town means dinners out,  happy hours, late night partying.  It’s an excuse to cut loose not only for those traveling but also for those in the office…mainly because the company is usually picking up the tab.  This is not new to me.  In fact, it’s old hat.

But hey, I’ve had a number of business trips since getting sober!  In the beginning I had a hard time.  I can remember being in an airport on the phone with the hubs, in tears, because I was exhausted and I wanted to step into the airport bar and have a drink – or five.  But I haven’t felt that way in a long time.

That’s not to say I haven’t had pangs.  Long term readers of this blog know that I’m often found panging on trips like this (or a warm day, or a cold winter’s night…whatever), but pangs are not cravings.  Pangs are blips on the radar, cravings are a nose dive that sends the air traffic controllers in my head into full on defensive mode. 

It’s really uncomfortable to be sitting next to a woman who has a glass of Savingnon Blanc that smells crisp and citrusy on a warm San Francisco night.  Especially when your mouth is watering and you can’t keep track of the conversation AND you’re getting all pissed off because you can’t have a glass of wine AND you find yourself awfully close to ordering one…or asking for a sip.  Too close for comfort actually.  Way too close.

Aw fuck.

Of course I didn’t order any wine, nor did I take a sip, but it did unnerve me a bit.  In fact it continues to unnerve me.  Not that I thought that I was over such mundane things as cravings because I know I’m not; but because the craving and the potential tumble off the wagon was so strong and felt so close.  Double fuck.

So naturally, being the analytical human that I am, I began to analyze the reasons why this is happening to me…because, damn it all to hell, this feels like shit and I want it to stop and not happen anymore.

Yeah…good luck with that.

Anyway, I figured out it’s because I’m with new people who I don’t know.  As a formerly closeted introvert, this is very stressful and puts my world in the “I’d rather have root canal” category of life. 

Secondly, this is a very long trip.  Probably the longest I’ve been on in quite a while.  This means I’m not sleeping or eating properly and my heart hurts because I miss my family so much.  Again, knocking my world a little wonky.

Finally, there are some decisions I am going to have to make about my career soon that will more fully utilize my skills but that likely will leave some people unhappy.  Sigh…after all my recovery efforts, I’m still a people pleaser to some extent so doing anything that will make someone unhappy leaves me unhappy.

All of the above serves to make me restless, irritable and discontent.  Not exactly the best place for a recovering alcoholic to be.  Even one with three and a half years under her belt.

Don’t you love how, everytime you get a little cocky about something, God comes along and reminds you who’s boss?

Yeah…me neither.

Just kidding.

Maybe.

Namaste

A Powerful Lesson

This year for Lent, I gave up giving up.  In short, I took a break from giving things up to lose weight, or change my body or whatever the hell I was trying to do.  Instead, I tried to eat well, move more and just focus on being happy.  I was pretty sure that after all the work God did creating this Universe and the people within it, he would appreciate it if I stopped beating myself up and just tried to be happy.  Isn’t that what any parent wants for their child?

But now, Lent is over.  Do I go back to “dieting”?  Do I sign back on to My Fitness Pal and start recording my calories again?  Do I go back to worrying about every freaking thing that I put into my stomach and how far and fast I will have to walk to get rid of it?

Nope.

I’m not going back on that carnival ride for several reasons…

  • Over the past month or so, I’ve learned to look at myself differently.  In having to accept my shape, I’ve learned to try and look past what’s on the outside to who I actually am.  While I’m sure some people might be put off by my appearance, those who I care about love me for who I am.  Maybe I should too.
  • Beyond who I am on the inside, I’ve made a concerted effort to look at my body in a more realistic manner.  I’ve tried to actually see myself as I really am…as others see me.  It’s still a work in progress (trust me on that) but I’ve made some headway.  For one, I see that I’m not nearly as fat as I think I am.  I’m still not what I would call healthy, but I can work on getting healthy without the unrealistic expectation of looking like I did when I was 35.  Let’s face it people, that ship sailed almost 20 years ago…it ain’t coming back ’round this way matey.
  • I’m still addicted to sugar.  But now I am looking at it, not as an enemy, but as something that is just not good for me.  I was doing a really good job of doing the whole, “everything in moderation” thing until Easter.  I, like many others, overindulged this Easter season with too much chocolate and a “to die for” Southern Coconut Cake that I made from scratch.  As a result, I’ve been suffering with reflux at night so bad it wakes me up, burns my throat and has me od’ing on Tums and Tagamet and I still have to sleep propped up.  I don’t think that God (or Mother Nature or just my damn body) could send me a sign that’s any clearer.  Knock it off dumb ass.  You did some damage with all that boozing and you ain’t getting any younger.  Time to get on the low sugar express!  All aboard!!!  Yep, I hear that one loud and clear. 
  • I actually like looking at food not as what it might do to my body, but what it will do to nourish me.  I also like listening to my body and responding based on hunger and need (I tend to crave what my body needs – low on iron?  I crave red meat.  Low on potassium?  Get me some bananas.).  It’s quite liberating to listen to your body and respond and then feel good about it.  Hmmm…this must be what it’s like to eat like a “normal” person.

I’m sure there are more reasons that I’m not getting back on that ride but the most important one, the fact that I’m happier, will have to suffice for now.  Recovery from alcoholism has taught me a lot of wonderful lessons about how to live my life.  The most important of these is that being happy is possible, is good, is something to cherish, is powerful.

So I will continue to eat well, move more, watch my numbers (blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar) and let nature worry about the size of my pants. 

Because I like being powerful.

Namaste