What were you doing on New Year’s Eve in 1999? And what were you listening to? A friend just posted those questions on FB yesterday. I haven’t thought about that year for a LONG time, and yet, I immediately knew exactly where I was, what I was doing, who was with me and what I was listening to. On December 31st 1999, I was living at my parent’s house. I was in my bedroom, with a man who loved me, detoxing from methamphetamine for the hundredth time. The man loved me. I didn’t know how to love anyone. And if it wasn’t the hundredth time I detoxed, it sure felt that way. The what was I listening to part especially hurt, because the ONLY thing I was listening to were the voices in my own head. I should have been partying and living it up. I was 22 years old and I wanted to die. I hated my life and the people in it. I lived in a dark and depressing world. My “friends” and I were manufacturing methamphetamine. Dirty. That’s what my world was. A sick cycle of misery. Wait for the sun to come up, (because there was no sleeping), go see people I hated, do things I didn’t want to do, wait for drugs and eventually get high. After that, the next few days and nights would be spent being paranoid and hiding from the cops that I was sure were looking for me. Until the meth ran out. When I was ready to crash, I would roll up at my parent’s house and sleep for days at a time. I was always sure I was going to die when the crash came. I didn’t care. I wanted death to come. It would have been nice if that New Year’s Eve had been the last time I had to detox, but it wasn’t. I lived that way for another 6 months before I finally made it into the treatment center that saved my life. “Another 6 months” may not seem long, but meth years are like dog years. When I arrived there I probably weighed 90 pounds and I was the poster child for the “faces of meth.” Ever seen those adds? That was me. I lived that way from the time I was 20 until I was 23. It is truly a miracle that I didn’t die. And it’s an even bigger miracle that I was able to get off meth. I know people that I used with who are still hanging in there, struggling to stop. Many have died, and lots of them have gone to prison. Some don’t even struggle anymore. They just accept that as their way of life. There was a solid year before I got clean where I had accepted being a meth addict as my fate. I didn’t try to hide it. When you just accept that and live that, nothing good can follow. I am forever grateful that enough people loved me to not let that be my life. Believe me, I was quite unlovable. And, because everything comes back to Facebook, another thing got my attention last week. “On this day” FB memories from December 23rd 2011 reminded me that I was right up in my worst days of alcohol addiction. I was making horrible choices and breaking the hearts of everyone who loved me. It was at this time that I accepted the fact that I was an alcoholic. The reason this memory really jumped out at me is because of the date. December 2011. My sobriety date is November 13, 2013. I lived in Hell for two more years. And I took my family with me. Seeing those memories was like getting punched in the gut. I deleted a few, but I kept a few as well. Just enough to serve as a reminder. Not that I could possibly forget. Shit. I still remember that New Year’s Eve in in 1999. Addicted life is hard. I have a friend who is super struggling right now. I love this girl all the world full. She’s been reaching out from time to time for quite a while now. But she’s never actually ready. I like to throw the “want me to come over right now?!” on her when she texts me asking for help. I know it’s a little much, but I am always hopeful that it will be the time. Timing is everything. And…..when you’re really serious, right now is the perfect time. I feel like she’s getting closer. Stringing together more days of not drinking. She’s aware that it isn’t serving her. It doesn’t add any value to her life and it causes problems. Yesterday she texted me and said she needed things to do with her time. I suggested we go to the beach together. Right now! And she said yes. She said yes to my pushy ass “right now.” We sat on the beach and we talked and it was lovely to connect with her. I don’t see her much these days because of life things mostly, but also because I don’t live in the world where people party and get hammered anymore. She kind of fell away when I got sober. It’s ok. I don’t judge it, because it was part of my path. Until it wasn’t. I know how hard it is to be young and thinking about a life without alcohol. It’s scary. Talking with her took me back. Getting sober is hard AF. Staying sober is easy. Maybe she’ll figure out how to manage her drinking. I couldn’t. I tried. Maybe she’ll get sober and have an amazing ass life. That’s my wish for her. I spent so much of my life struggling with addiction in one form or another. It’s misery. Today, all I feel is freedom. And joy. I wish that for my friend. However she finds it. I wish that for everyone. I’m sure I’m still “addicted” to things today. It’s the way I’m wired. That “all in” thing I do. Today I choose things that are good for me.
Two weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch, making winter playlists for my classes and I heard myself say to my husband that winter is my favorite time of year. For real. It rolled right out of my mouth. That was immediately followed by, “except being cold, because I hate that.” So, I’m not exactly sure why I decided winter is my favorite. I think it’s just the practice of mindfulness in full effect and the fact that winter is almost here so I might as well embrace it. And I have. I made winter playlists. Obviously. I bought new boots. I planned a bomb ass Solstice Celebration. I put my spring/summer clothes away. That one was new. Never have I ever done that before and for some reason, it made me feel incredibly accomplished. Christmas isn’t stressing me out AT ALL. I just feel ready for all that winter brings. I am ready to slow way down. I am ready to spend time hibernating. I am ready for all the rituals involved in the upcoming weeks. I am ready to spend time with my soul. Every year I pick one word as my “mantra” word for the year. My one word for 2019 is Allow. To be in the space of allowing doesn’t come naturally to me, so this was a bit out of my comfort zone. I wrote about that last year. It’s here if you want to check it out. I just read it myself and it did a world of good for me. I never go back and read my own blogs. I should probably spend some time doing that this winter. Looking back, I think I got exactly what I expected from living in the space of allowing. Which is great, because some years the word I pick shows up in unexpected ways that make me say “What the actual fuck?” I have learned to be specific with intentions so the Universe and I are on the same page. In my year of allowing, I let go of trying to force things that I thought were for me. I had two big projects on my agenda this year, planned, promoted and floating around in the world. And guess what? Those things weren’t for me. They never came to fruition. And I know the WHY in that. Those two things were never an absolute YES from me. I went along with them and felt good about them, but they were never things that made my soul scream. And the lessons in that were HUGE. It was totally ok to put myself out there and try something that didn’t work out. Also, I fully understand now that if it isn’t a HELL YES in my soul, it’s a NO from the Universe. I need soulgasms. Cool. Thanks Universe. To be in the space of allowing meant that I just did my thing. I allowed the path to open up in front of me and kept stepping forward. The path led me out of therapy because I’m finished healing. Haha. I kid. But, I have the tools to handle myself, my emotions, and whatever pops up in my life. The path led me to The Hanuman Ashtanga Yoga Shala in the spring. If you follow me on social media, then you KNOW I started practicing Ashtanga Yoga this year. There’s a whole little story of how that happened somewhere on the blog, but I’ll save you and just let you know that I was divinely guided. Prior to stepping into the shala, I had zero experience with the practice of Ashtanga. I knew enough to know it was physically challenging and like all things that are good for me, it wasn’t for me. Until it was. When the messengers showed up, I paid attention. I allowed myself to try it out. It has been my biggest blessing in 2019. I love the practice. Most days. My teacher is amazing. The shala students are all wonderful. I have learned so much about myself practicing in the shala. I learned that I am stronger than I think I am. I learned that I can keep going when I am sure I am going to die. I learned that the pure joy that comes after the not dying is indescribable. I learned about trust in the shala. Trust is still a hard one for me. My teacher is compassionate and kind and I trust him to keep me safe. And he does. I allow him to help me when I need it, which is every time I practice. See? There’s that allowing again. I went back and forth with Allow last year, because it seemed a bit “weak” to me, but ultimately, Allowing is all about strength. Allowing is about having a strong faith that what is for me, is going to find me. I don’t have to chase it. What’s for me will always be for me. Allowing is being ok when things don’t work out. The strength is in pushing past the fears and trying. Allowing is living my life, writing my blogs, teaching my classes, all of it, whatever it is, when a new friend shows up on the path and says “I want you to write your book. I’m a literary editor. You just write and I will turn what you have into a book. No pressure.” And, because I have learned so much about trust this year, I just roll with it and assume she knows what she’s doing. Feels a lot like allowing to me. And it seems like the next logical step for me. I’ve always known it was in there. I’ve talked about it. Now I get to be about it. My word for 2020 is Expansion. I won’t be getting the tattoo. I know some of you were going to ask. I am about to grow on every level. Sounds scary as shit. I am ready to do my thing and be open to how that plays out. I have no real expectations, as the Universe prefers to surprise me anyway. I am just going to write. And write. And write some more. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron says “The first rule of magic is self containment. You must hold your intentions within yourself, stoking it with power. Only then will you be able to manifest what you desire.” I know what she means by that is to not tell people who will doubt you and make you second guess yourself. I circled that line in the book and wrote NO beside it because I am fortunate enough to live in a world where people believe in me. I live in a world where I can blast my intentions and people show up to help me make them reality. I created that world. So beautiful. So grateful. I really understood how much people believe in me that time I Facebook shared a photoshopped image of myself doing a handstand on an iceberg in Alaska. In all fairness, it looked pretty real if you didn’t stare and I had been in Alaska. The comments blew me away. My initial thought was that these people are dumb asses for thinking I actually got onto that iceberg. My next thought was WOW. People believe in me and think I can do anything! How fucking awesome is that?! It’s powerful people. I have always had people who believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. That is a true blessing and honestly, it’s the only reason I’m still alive. Seriously. Thank you for believing in me friends. Expansion feels good for 2020.