George who?

Yesterday, for the most part, the news headlines revolved around what you’d expect,  namely, the Secret Service Chief who’s got some explaining to do; ISIS militants who scare the shit out of me and of whom I want to know as much as possible (as well as anything else going on in the Middle East); a grassroots uprising in Hong Kong for democracy that is taking on steam and some other bits and pieces about Ebola and the passing of Ruby Dee.

But my TV happened to be on NBC’s Today Show as I got ready for work in the 7:00 am hour.  What does that mean you ask?  Well let me share with you.

MY news yesterday morning led with the marriage of George Clooney and whoever the hell he married.  On a show where a 30 second interview is considered a LONG TIME, they devoted at lease 3-5 MINUTES on the coverage.  What they did all weekend, what they were wearing, how they arrived to the various locations in Venice, who attended the various parties, what was trending on social media, blah blah blah blah blah.  At one point I swear to God I thought the British correspondent on the scene was going to pee his pants when he started talking about how “ANY MINUTE” they would be pulling up to some soggy building in Venice to sign the official documents.

Really?

What the heck is that about?

Don’t get me wrong.  I happen to love George Clooney.  I think he’s a good actor and he’s definitely not too hard on the eyes.  Yes, he’s been single a long time and has had many many MANY girlfriends in his 54 years but for Christ’s sake, he’s not ROYALTY!  He’s just a single guy who happens to be in movies, has movie star good looks and has commitment issues!

Point me to any street corner in LA or NY (or Peoria for that matter) and a I’ll show you a million of them.  In fact, if you take out the part about being in movies and movie star good looks, you’ve just described 90% of the male population from the age of five until…well…death!  Not sure why I’m supposed to care enough about his wedding to forego ACTUAL NEWS first thing in the morning.

Again, I love me some good gossip.  I read “People” and “Entertainment Weekly” from time to time.  I’ve been known to spend an odd 30 minutes or so watching E! I never miss Project Runway, Love It or List It or Ink Masters and the only magazines I get are Marie Claire and HGTV. 

I’m not a total twit after all.

But when it comes to what’s really important in the world I’d like to know that my news networks understand how to prioritize and balance what’s happening in a world that includes Hollywood without excluding Washington and the Middle East and my local news.  I’d like to know that there are still some real journalists in the world who just report the news rather than opine on what Hillary is wearing or what Michelle’s hair looks like this week.  I want more than fluff at 7:00 am people!!!!  I want hard hitting news that has it’s blow softened by Chelsea’s new baby and Lady Antebellum’s new single, not replaced by it.

I want to know what is going on in the world first, then in Washington, then in my region (including weather and traffic) and then, only if there’s time, I’ll listen to chatter about George and his new wife.

Is that too much to ask from the Today show?  On NB-freaking-C?  Please don’t tell me I have to start watching Imus with the hubs? 

Nevermind, there’s always NPR.

Namaste

It Is Better to Give Than to Receive

When I was a youngster (in my twenties), I gave blood once, at work, during a blood drive.  Everything was perfectly fine.  In fact, I went out partying that evening without any ill effects.  Even the hangover the next day wasn’t that bad as I recall.  Of course not – I was YOUNG.

The next time I went to give blood, they refused me.  It seemed I had inherited my father’s heart murmur.  That particular heart murmur had kept him out of the service during WWII – he hated that and wished desperately he had been able to serve.

In researching my own heart murmur, I discovered that it was only a mild irregular heartbeat (after a multitude of tests) and so I had a special form signed so that the Red Cross would be absolved of all blame should I croak on the damn table while helping to save someone else’s life.  No use…they still wouldn’t take me.

Fast forward 30 years.  In all that time I never even tried to give blood.  I just assumed they would turn me away yet again.  So when I walked up to the table at a recent blood drive for my current employer, and the attendant took my vitals and said, “You can step behind the curtain” I almost fell off my chair!

Yay!!!  Woo-hoo!!! They want me!!!

So I sat right there and gave them my blood.  And then it took me a full 48 hours to recuperate.  WTF is THAT all about? 

It’s about age THAT’s what it is about.  The old bod just doesn’t bounce back the way it used to.  Sigh….

At least I was able to give blood – finally – after over 30 years!  I knew I’d give again, I just didn’t think it would be so soon.

Six weeks later I received a call from the community blood bank.  Seems my blood has been deemed “pure” because it doesn’t have some kind of virus most of the population has and that makes my blood suitable for babies and cancer patients AND I’m O+ so, in a pinch, my blood can be used for other blood types as well. 

They want me…they really want me.

Honestly…they had me a babies and cancer patients.

So I made an appointment and gathered my son and my other son’s girlfriend and we headed to the blood bank bright and early one Saturday morning.  All of us very excited to be doing our civic duty.

I signed my blood away, settled into the chair and began squeezing my fist.  Once the machine beeped I was ready to go.

Except I wasn’t.  All of a sudden I didn’t feel so good.  When I said, “I don’t feel so good,” the formerly lackadaisical technicians who didn’t appear to like their jobs very much snapped into action so fast you would have thought someone overhead was yelling. “SWARM SWARM SWARM!”.  The chair I was in dropped my head down and brought my feel up.  Cold compresses began appearing from nowhere and were placed all around my throat and just when I thought it had passed…I puked…three times.  It’s not easy to vomit in that position and so those same techs brought me a new t-shirt and were so sweet to me that I expect to be exchanging Christmas cards with them from now on.

My poor son looked like he had seen a ghost (mom NEVER gets sick) and so I kept saying, “I’m okay.  It’s fine.  I just didn’t eat enough before giving.”  While the whole time I’m thinking, “I’m never giving any of my motherfucking blood ever again.  Even Twilight Edward wouldn’t stand a chance getting to these veins now.  Nope…holding on to this bloody blood from now on…ain’t nobody draining me…”

But later…I knew.  I knew I’d give again.  Babies and cancer patients.  Babies and cancer patients.  Babies and cancer patients.

They just called.  I’m scheduled for this Saturday at 2:30 which is AFTER breakfast AND lunch.

Babies and cancer patients.  Babies and cancer patients. Babies and cancer patients.

Namaste

Florida Beach Rehab Article

Guess what?

No really…guess.

I wrote my first article!

Mrs. D referred me to Florida Beach Rehab because they were looking for “writers” (am I really a writer!?!) to write pieces for the website.  I never thought in a million years my idea or article would be accepted. 

But it was!!!  Thank you Joanna for all your help.

Here’s the link.  http://www.floridabeachrehab.com/moderation-mis-management/

Take a peek.  I’m kind of really excited about this in case you didn’t notice all the !!!!!!

Namaste

I Ain’t Afraid of No Id

When I was in high school I took a Psychology course in hopes that it would help me understand why my family were all a bunch of nuts.  (No shit – that’s really why I took the course).  I got the only A in the class which makes sense when you consider that by the time I got to high school I had a Master’s degree in Crazy Shit with a concentration in Whack Jobs.

I took some other courses in college as well and remain fascinated by how and why our brains do what they do to us.  If I had the money, I’d quit my job and work on a PhD in Psychology.  I would love to one day help people by guiding them on their journey to figure out what’s happening in their heads.

One of the concepts that stuck with me (high school and college were a LONG time ago) was Freud’s theory on the Id, Ego and Super Ego.  Prior to the class I couldn’t have told you what an Id was if I fell on one.  I knew what an ego was and plenty of people would tell you that I had a super (meaning big) one but I didn’t think about it in Freud’s context.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it (take it with a grain of salt people…you know Wiki):

Id, ego, and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction our mental life is described. According to this model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.[1] The super-ego can stop one from doing certain things that one’s id may want to do.[2]

Although the model is structural and makes reference to an apparatus, the id, ego and super-ego are purely symbolic concepts about the mind and do not correspond to actual (somatic) structures of the brain such as the kind dealt with by neuroscience.

The concepts themselves arose at a late stage in the development of Freud’s thought as the “structural model” (which succeeded his “economic model” and “topographical model”) and was first discussed in his 1920 essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle and was formalized and elaborated upon three years later in his The Ego and the Id. Freud’s proposal was influenced by the ambiguity of the term “unconscious” and its many conflicting uses.

I’ve been feeling like my ego is being trampled on lately.  It seems that my feelings get hurt and I start feeling “less-than” more and more often.  When I look at these definitions, I realize that it’s more likely my Super Ego that’s feeling this pain since it is neither realistic or organized (Ego).  Ergo (LOL not Ego…get it?  I slay me!!!) it must be the Super Ego right?  Right?

Nope.  Not by a long shot.

When trying to figure out why I’m hurt or upset or feeling threatened, my first thought is, “Oh…I guess my Super Ego is bruised.”  (Yes…this pop psychology student really things that way…don’t judge.)  But when I stop and REALLY think about it – or better yet STOP thinking about it and just feel it, I realize that it’s not my Ego or my Super Ego.

It’s my Id.

Why?  Because the base of all these emotions and feelings is not logical, realistic, critical or moralizing – those things are all to lofty and cerebral.  At the lowest, deepest level they are all based in one basic, primal emotion.

Fear.

I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of being abandoned or unloved or judged or WHAT-THE-HELL-EVER.  I’m just AFRAID.

Well damn.

Again from Wikipedia.

According to Freud the id is unconscious by definition:

“It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learned from our study of the Dreamwork and of the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of that is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations. … It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.”[9]

Fear.  Well fuck me naked!  If that’s all it is then I can handle that!  I’ve been afraid before and I’ll be afraid again.  I’ll just sit with it and wait until it passes or face it head on, swords drawn and torches blazing.

Because if there’s one thing I’m NOT afraid of…it’s fear.

Namaste

PS – Don’t bust my chops if anything of this isn’t text-book perfect.  It’s just me inside my own head.  Nothing to see her folks.  Move along.

Being Alone Doesn’t Suck

I used to hate being alone. And when I say hate I mean with a white-hot passion reserved only for poor grammar and whining. Quite simply, I just did not particularly like my own company.

I thought it was because I was a natural-born party animal who craved the company of others. Or that my less than perfect childhood had left me with a need to be with normal people so that I could absorb all their normalcy. OR that, because I had never lived on my own I didn’t know HOW to be alone.

Poppycock! (Fancy word for bullshit.)

Turns out my need to be in the company of other humans is directly proportionate to that big, God size hole that has been inside me since I was about four.  You know the one.  The one I tried filling with control, over-caring, over eating, exercise, smoking and alcohol.  By being alone and without any of those coping mechanisms (for the most part), I was left to deal with that hole and face all the demons and emotions that were hiding within it.  That hole was a scary hole and I wanted no part of it. 

Never being alone = Never dealing with my feelings.

However, things like the business trip I’m on right now laid me bare on a regular basis.  I would start planning where and with whom I would have dinner, or socialize, or shop, the minute the trip hit my calendar.  The thought of having one unoccupied moment in my itinerary left me weepy and, quite frankly, scared shitless.  I remember vividly those few times I was left to fend for myself at dinner and entertain myself the rest of the evening. 

The words “panic attack” come to mind…and that’s no exaggeration.

Since becoming sober, my business trips have changed dramatically.  In the early days I would rush back to my room and pray no one invited me out to dinner.  All I wanted was to be alone in my room with room service and a book or TV because the thought of going out to dinner with a group of boozy bankers made me REALLY uncomfortable.  Many times I feigned a migraine or upset stomach to keep from  having to go.  The excuses weren’t that far off.

Slowly but surely however, I began to enjoy my time alone.  I didn’t mind eating alone either in a restaurant or in front of the TV.  I learned to just…be still.  That everything was okay and that these moments were few and far between and I should be enjoying them rather than wishing them away.

The hole was beginning to fill from the inside out.

Which brings me to this trip.  I spent the most wonderful evening last night…alone.  I got back in from work and laced up my shoes and hit the gym until my Fitbit buzzed.  Then I ordered room service and sat down to write an article (more on that later) and get some work done.  I left HGTV on all evening (woo-hoo).  I relaxed, recharged and rejuvenated.  I slept well (you know…for being in a hotel).

Here’s the craziest thing, while I still missed my family, I enjoyed my own company for the first time in…well…maybe ever. 

I’m hoping that this means that while I may never LOVE business trips, maybe I can learn not to be afraid of them.

Because I get to go with someone I’m beginning to know very well.

Me.

Namaste

AchieveSobriety.org

A week or so ago, I received an email from a young man (I’m assuming) who wrote –

Dear Sherry,
I’m Brett and I’m a recovering alcoholic/pothead with three years of sobriety.  I founded achievesobriety.org because when I looked online to watch videos of people talking about getting sober on YouTube there were very, very few videos.  I was in serious disbelief in my discovery or lack of a discovery. 
One year later I have launched achievesobriety.org and there are already 7 videos for people to watch with more to be regularly released.  Since I’m one who regularly bites more than I can chew the website has more than just videos.  The website has a blog and I was hoping if I could post some of your blog posts on my website?  I’d really appreciate it.

Thank you for being a voice about an incredibly taboo subject.

-Brett Taylor

So naturally, being the attention hog that I am, I told him to post anything of mine he felt would work on his site.  AND I promised that I’d check out the site AND MAYBE post about it on my blog.

You guys…it’s a pretty awesome site.  His passion for videos makes the sites more relevant in today’s You Tube world and perhaps appeals to a younger generation.  They post written things as well (or else nothing I do will have a snowball’s chance of making it on the site) but I think the most captivating part is the videos.  Imaging reaching out on the internet and actually SEEING someone talking to you about why they are sober and how they got there.  Genius!

I realize that this might make some of you uncomfortable because you believe deeply in the concept of anonymity but that’s not my cup of tea.  I’m all about being out there, telling my story and hoping that it will help others.  Although let me state that I have NO intention of appearing on a video that will post on the internet.  After all, the camera adds 10 50 pounds!!!  Why would I do that?

Anyway, if you’re out there Brett then brav-the-hell-O dude.  Great job!

Namaste

Sherry

Put Down the Rope

I’m baaaaaaack!!!

My hiatus is over and I’m back and feeling ready to write!  I know because the “feelings journal” I’ve been keeping for the therapist is turning into way more words than pictures.  When I hit a full-page of just writing – I knew I had to start posting again.

Again – this shit is cheap therapy and you guys are the best therapists there are.

Speaking of therapy (nice segue don’t you think) I adore my new therapist and I think the combination of me being really ready to do the work and him being a good fit for me is my ticket to a little peace of mind.  The key to it all will, of course, be whether or not I can be brutally honest with him AND myself.

Time will tell.

For  now however, I wanted to share an “ah-ha” moment I had the other day because…well…it rocked my psyche.  For reals yo.  Like most alcoholics, I have that little voice in my head that is constantly telling me I’m not good enough.  Couple that with depression that brings on its own version of self deprecation and it’s no wonder when I look in the mirror I really don’t like what I see…let alone love.

So I’m talking through this when Joe uses a tug of war analogy.  He says that it feels to him like my “monster” is on the other side of the rope and that I’m constantly trying to “beat” it and win the tug of war.  I pull and pull and sometimes I get ahead and sometimes the monster gets ahead but the bottom line is no one ever wins.  He said, “Have you ever tried to put down the rope?”

I stopped, shut my face and just stared at him for what seemed like 10 solid minutes but was probably more like 10 solid seconds.  Then I said, “But that feels like quitting…or failure.”  (This would be the part in a TV show where the soulful music plays and we fade to commercial on a shot of my face.  I do have a flair for the dramatic don’t you think?)

Anyway, we chatted a little longer, he gave me some homework and I left.  And ever since I haven’t been able to get that conversation out of my mind.

Put down the rope.

Just put down the rope.

Hmmm…

The bottom line is that this whole tug of war thing is actually a fight with myself.  A version of me on one side of the rope and a different version on the other side.  There are no winners or losers.  Either way I win and lose.

Well when you put it that way I look like a fucking idiot if I don’t put down the damn rope.

THEN I started thinking about the version of me on the other side of the tug of war pit.  The first visual that popped into my head was a four-year old version of me.  A version with ratty hair and a dirty face and filthy clothes.  A little girl who no one cares for or loves. 

This little girl has never been cared for properly and has never been taught to express herself correctly.  As such, when she’s upset, or frightened, lonely or feeling too much she says things like, “You’re ugly!”  “You’re fat!”  “I hate you!”  “No fair!”  And all of those other things four-year olds say when they are trying to tell you how they feel but don’t have the words.

Because they are four.  Because they are me…at four…who never progressed beyond that because no one taught me HOW to process those emotions in a healthy way.  So I stuffed them down and that little girl got angrier and more frustrated and no matter how I tried to externally soothe her (food, alcohol, shopping, chocolate) she remained in there waiting till the time she could start her temper tantrum once again.

A 49 year temper tantrum.

Fighting her never worked.  It just left me exhausted and unhappy.  Arguing with her never worked.  It just left me confused.  (Have you ever tried to reason with or argue with a four-year old?  Yeah.)  So why not try something new?

This past week I’ve been practicing putting down the rope.  I’ve been meditating on loving this child of mine.  For now just walking with her hand in mine, building a relationship and establishing trust.  It feels wonderful.  I’m letting my caring side take over and treating her the way I’d treat any four-year old.  With compassion and kindness. 

With love.

Now THAT’s progress people.

Namaste