finally at the age of 62 I do not want wine in my life anymore. I want to wake each morning with a clear head and memory, no more guilt, I want to enjoy my life and make the
most of every minute with my family and friends and be at peace with myself
Thank you MissFreedom. Feeling like this while sober reminds me that any choice to drink would be crazy to make myself feel like this. I’ve always assumed that any time I wasn’t feeling all that flash it was self inflicted and I didn’t look after myself. Its a fine day outside and I just want to curl up in a snuggley place inside.
Hello there lovely @mari135 , thank you so much, it’s beautiful and the words are perfect as I have been struggling with depression for the last few days, fucking awful, so familiar yet so foreign at the very same time. Hate it so much, such a life stealer 🙁 I’m gonna be okay! Thanks so much xo
Lots and lots of hugs, if you’d like them today and only if. oxoxoxoxxo We’re here for you if you’d like an ear. You have my sincere compassion for the “pressies-wave” that seems to have been passing through right now. Been there, done that. And I’ll do it again. Extra self-care and self-compassion for yourself, is just what the doctor prescribes right now. Be patient and gentle with yourself until it passes. As always, do reach out to your mental healthcare team, if necessary….I always forget to do that and when I reflect on a depressive episode with my therapist I keep being reminded how much lighter it feels with professional support.
Heres for @iowadawn, @sobermommy1013, @mamatomany, @rise2015, @saoirse, and those I’m forgetting. I heard on Radiolab today a section on addiction. Very interesting! A piece that stood out to me is that genetically, the strongest people turn out to be the addicts. I’ll let you listen to the episode but here’s to us for being the strongest of the strongest. xoxo
My psychologist thinks I might have aspergers……. a few other people who work in the mental health field have mentioned that they think so aswell……. looking at the symptoms I think it fits…… I used to just think I had anxiety but the eye contact issues, the obsessing over one or two things to the detriment of everything else…… the sensitivity to sound…… the lack of long term relationships….. the difficulty in relating to people……. I think this might be me……. am going to try and get officially tested and find out for sure…….
awesome @emjaycee hope some more people ‘see the light’ and head our way because of your piece. One has to wonder who profits from those articles- Maybe Dunc gets a case or two of cellar wine who knows . . . laughed at your tripping up bit whoops a daisy 😉 oh well no more of that now eh you’re an inspiration to me
Thanks for sharing this @emjaycee. A brilliant article which is a piece of writing so many people will relate to. I find it hard to hold back when asked how and why I gave up the booze- life is so infinitely better – I wish everyone that needed to could experience the freedom of life AF. It’s not easy getting to this point but as time goes on the benefits certainly make it easier! Thanks again
Yes it sure does @marypp . Trust in your decision, and don’t beat yourself up for being back at day 1. Keep moving towards your goal. Countless people here have returned to day one and it’s only made them more certain they don’t need or want alcohol . All the best !
Love your writing, as always! My therapist said something similar a while back when we talked about sobriety and also eating healthy….how it really is NOT a deprivation of ‘something good’…it’s the opposite….when we change that mindset (hard to do but possible) it releases a lot of unnecessary suffering from our life….thanks for sharing this!
Hey this just came up as a memory on my Facebook from 2 years ago and thought I’d share it again for the newbies. Not wanting to hog the feed but hahaha looks like I am!!
YAY! Might as well say it’s two years today since alcohol has passed these lips Sometimes miss my fun party self, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this When I was boozing, I wasn’t just snoozing, not quite the proverbial train wreck Gave it a good nudge for two thirds of my life, comes a time when a girl think’s Heck! The me that I’ve found underneath my facades has gained so much more than I’ve lost I am free, I am strong, I live real and raw, feeling all my emotions whatever the cost No guilt, no shame, self-respect is my game, and trying to be all I can be It’s different and lonely and sometimes it’s rough, but it beats being out of my tree So many upsides OMG who knew? Always real, authentic, gritty and true Growing up in a culture that idolizes drinking we get sucked in without even thinking Now seems time to stand up and be brave, it’s way more than dollars and health that we save Every aspect of life enhanced in all ways, brain is awake, not in a daze Clarity, empathy, intuition galore, motivation, energy, time for others, lots more I’d have to say it’s the best thing I’ve done, and the biggest reward has come from my son He saw my life change, saw the battle I’d won, he gave up the piss, yes indeed and the weed Feeling pride and awe deep down in my core, I’m so impressed, and I know I am blessed I’m lucky and plucky and happy and free coz my son and my daughter are in turn proud of me I’m winning and grinning, don’t need to be told, that this is pure gold for me growing old.
You so should take over the feed! I just lost another response…never a post. Four years in and still our inspirer. Love the way you have rocked along this path -goat track. Always amazing us xxxx!♡♡♡♡♡♡
That actually is an excellent piece. I also get sick of all the bullshit written about coming out the other side of it. So many just live with it and never come out the other side of it for life. Thanks for that xo
The weekend is in sight, peeps!! I’m just about finished with reading “Sober Ever After: A Memoir by Jackie Elliot” and read this little bit of gold on my way to work today:
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any”(Hugh Laurie) My lesson here, is this –if you are worried about your drinking, then stop. Don’t question it, if it bothers you, it is a problem. Don’t try to measure your drinking against anyone else’s, the quantity isn’t important, the negative impact on your life is. Stop now. You’re not ready. You never will be. It isn’t going to be easy –there’s no negotiating the first part, you just have to do it. You will NEVER wake up not wanting to drink, until you have experienced sobriety, and you have come to cherish it. When that happens, and if you do the work, it will….. I promise you that THEN, and only then, will you wake up never wanting to touch alcohol again.”
I really loved reading this because how many times did i say i will quit on monday, or after the holiday’s, or after summer, or after _____. There is no right time to do anything, we just need to do it. And I’ve hit some bottoms and I still kept on drinking. I didn’t want to hit another bad bottom to stop again. As with anything in life, we must grab it by the horns and take it!! Take back our lives, our integrity, our health. Do it today!!!
This popped up in my newsfeed (from “All Right?” which is a mental health wellbeing campaign here in ChCh) and thought I would share as there are some good things on there: Winter Bucket List * Start a Bullet Journal * Treat yourself * Wite a thank you note to someone * Take a long, warm bath * Do 3 active activities in 1 week * Donate 10+ unused items * Drink warm lemon water in the morning * Go tech free for a day * Try something new * Develop a mantra and repeat it * Finally organise your ………. * Youtube yoga stretches * Hang a print of your favourite quote * Read in bed, or by the fire * Watch the sunrise * Cook a new recipe * Listen to a new podcast * Start a gratitude journal * DIY a skincare product * Note 5 things you love about yourself * Visit a museum * Go beyond your comfort zone * Practice a focused breathing exercise * Pay it forward * Break a negative habit * Bring home flowers I’m going to try and incorporate a couple of these into my life! D193x
Lots of good things in the list, I’ve saved it. In fact, think I’ll hit up the hot bath thing a bit later….have started a new morning ritual too – includes a bit of journalling, gratitude etc, only thing supposed to not include caffeine but that is seriously just a bridge too far… 🙂
I read someone’s post about trying to figure out why they drank so much, because their life is pretty great (maybe you, @butterflygal3 ?) and I tried to post a reply, but it didn’t work, so trying again here.
If someone starts smoking cigarettes occasionally when out with friends, then a few months later starts smoking daily after work, then eventually over a few years ends up smoking a pack a day, no one, including the smoker herself, asks, “why did I end up addicted to cigarettes”. Its well-known and accepted that nicotine is addictive, and if someone exposes them self to it enough times, they will eventually become dependant. No one thinks the smoker must be emotionally damaged, or have had a really hard life, or zero self-control, or be a bad person. Everyone knows cigarettes are to blame – not the person – they are addictive.
The thing that no one talks about is that ALCOHOL is also addictive. It is a substance that alters the chemical activity in our brains, and how our brain functions. So many people start out drinking socially, benignly, and then over the years it slowly escalates. Maybe there is nothing “wrong” with us… and its just that alcohol had the exact effect and followed the expected trajectory that scientists know it will.
Does that make sense?? I also have a pretty damn great life, and still found myself going from drinking one or two glasses a few years ago, to drinking a bottle of wine (or more) a night. It was a habit that eventually morphed into something else, due to altering my brain chemistry over time. I really recommend This Naked Mind (by Annie Grace) and all of her youtube videos, because she explains the exact science behind alcohol and how it interacts with our brains. Hope that helps. xox
Hell yes it makes sense. Alcohol is addictive. I’ll bet if you look at most drinkers, even the ones we call “normies” – their drinking tends to escalate over time. My wife for example now drinks 1 (or two) glasses of wine most every night. She started by only drinking maybe 2 nights a week.
She can stop on a dime, so she seems to have the “off” switch, but she still drinks more than she used to – and I suspect it will continue to escalate a bit more if she doesn’t consciously cut back.
The habit is insidious, just effects some of us more quickly than others. It is fucking addictive and that is what it does.
Exactly. And some do have the neurological structures, genetically, and socialised by drinking parents, that make it far more likely the move along the addiction spectrum is quicker, and often not reversible ( hence the ‘illness’ model idea evolved, right @ro?) Annie Grace is excellent, but I would also highly recommend your post – very clear and helpful explanation. Like it a lot 🙂
Yes this is an excellent post @SunshineStace and I like it alot too. I like it because I relate to it totally. We do NOT need to look for a reason why we were greedy little gormadisers when it comes to booze. Addiction. That’s it. I get tired of people blaming it on their parents or whatever, even though I agree with @Morgan it would move them along the spectrum quicker. But let us also see the objection to the rule, by remembering how many most excellent people through history have had the most appalling childhoods and have used this to find the strength and determination to become very successful. It is a choice I believe…….to follow in your parents footsteps…….or to forgive them and make your life a better one
I agree @prudence… we do not need a reason to drink!! I bet most people here can find ANY reason… being happy, or sad, or bored, or worried, or its any day ending in Y. And yes other people go through horrific experiences and don’t develop a dependance on alcohol. I know that childhood trauma can make us more susceptible, and it would be helpful to deal with those factors, to maintain being sober. But I also know that alcohol itself is addictive, and for some people, that’s the reason they drink too much.
I agree with the addictive substance/becoming addicted theory however I do think some of us (me) did drink to cover a lot of feelings. Its a great numbing drug and for me I had to start uncovering why I wanted to numb out. Healing things from childhood can help, for many years I clung to my “bootstraps” and said that I was “ok” it was all ok. For some of us the addiction was spurred along by wanting to deny the emotions of life/relationships/trauma/abuse.
Abso – blood- lutely Reena , just think of all the heart breaking stories here. It is a huge factor, no doubt. I can’t believe I didn’t get far worse, but I had some pretty significant brakes pulling me back, not the least being a feeble body. Never thought to be thankful that too much ( not much) made me throw up 🙂
Yes, @reena I agree that many drink to numb feelings and escape bad memories or situations. I don’t mean to minimize those experiences. I wish no one had to go through that kind of abuse/neglect. I am just pointing out that some people don’t have those traumas, and STILL drink. And alcohol addiction can happen to anyone, even people who have “no reason to drink”. xox
I like this @SunshineStace. My life was sailing along beautifully (so I pretended). My addiction to booze was really the only big downer. I had no idea how flappin fantastic life would be without it but here I am- loving it and living it like I never knew I could!
Great post! I didn’t feel really great about my sober journey until I chucked all advice and decided to NOT figure out why I drank. Trying to figure it out and make all the darn lists, triggers, etc. just made me want to drink more. I finally thought-I drink, it’s a problem, I need and want to stop that’s all there is to it. Thanks for taking the pressure off!
Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too. Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true and Hang-ups can happen to you. You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right… or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind. I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you.
All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your…[Read more]
@Ellislou. This is so amazing and meaningful, There is always a great message in his stories. Happy Birthday to your little girl and thank her also for sharing her wonderful birthday story with all of us here xOx 😉
For so many of us here, myself included, all of us trying to feel grown up when mot of us still feel like a little child just wanting a hug, reassurance and to be told we are loved and extraordinary xxx
Hi everyone. Looking for a bit of advice. I have a party to go to on Sat night. Know the hosts really well but very few of the other people who will be there (>60 guests I think).
I really struggle with deciding whether to go to these things because I am quite socially anxious so am never sure whether my reasons are protecting my sobriety or just feeling shy. It will be very much just a standing around with drinks type deal.
I don’t worry about the picking up a drink risk but I worry about that sense of feeling different and on the outer…it can stay with me for days and it’s really uncomfortable. But then sometimes staying home makes me feel more excluded, Gah!!!!
How do you all decide whether to attend functions or not?
Sometimes I just fake it til I make it. More often than not it is bigger in my head than when I get there. Once I’m there I am generally surprised at the number of people who aren’t drinking or just have a glass or two. If you have a look around the room there will be people who are probably feeling just as awkward as you. The good thing about being sober is that you can leave when you want. And just for the record, you are pretty darn amazing with what you are achieving at the moment with your Masters and everything you have going on… that’s some pretty fascinating small talk right there x
I agree with Kirst, i tend to just fake it, put a smile on and just see how it goes. I am quite shy as well and find social situations, especially parties a bit of a challenge. Most of the time if you really look around there will be others who are not drinking for various reasons. You wont be different or odd at all. I get myself quite stewed up sometimes and then when i actually get there find that its not so bad after all. Just go, even if you say to yourself you wont stay long, you might end up actually enjoying yourself and staying longer. x
Relate to that awful jumble @mtedenmummy. I particularly dislike the standing around with drinks type deal. So. Awkward. So pressured! Why is that a good time? Drinking does not make that a good time either, it’s just not a good time. What is wrong with dancing, people? Why no dancing? I don’t see the point of the standing around, but that’s just me I suppose. (exception there is sober meetups which are just marvellous cos we rock). Feel like I need to include myself every so often, it’s important (only I can do that part) but I give myself permission to leave when I want. That seems to give me room to stay a bit. xx
Remember you’ve got options. Options to stay and options to leave and option to avoid altogether. Try and stay in the moment rather than projecting ahead (spot the person who has been meditating a lot ha ha I hope I don’t get annoying!). And a great piece of advise I found from someone else. The bathroom is your friend. If you are finding something uncomfortable take time out. Also no one is ever going to stop you if you say “I’m feeling a bit unwell” and leaving. Remember as well EVERYONE not just us find social occasions a bit scary thats’ why people drink through them! So just do as much as you can handle. Or avoid x Options x You can hold your head high at least you won’t be doing anything you’ll wake up in the morning the next thinking OMG what happened lol x So you’re safe in that respect
I decided a while back that I’ll pretty much go to everything, accept all invitations (unless it’s really seriously a bad one). I focus on the food! haha. I think always of what I will gain. Connection. Conversation. Friendship. Humour. Nice food. Music. If I have no more expectations I am never disappointed. If I don’t like it I leave. So I say go @Mtedenmummy but don’t think about it any more. Just rock along on the night. I often take some fresh mint and lemon slices in a wee container and ask for a nice glass with ice, and pour your hopt soda or whatever into it, add the mint and lemon, and your drink looks classy, and it shows that you are not embarrassed to be a non drinker, it shows you value yourself and are comfortable with who you are and what you’re up to. And if you are not, they won’t fricken know that will they!!! xoxoxo
@mtedenmummy I’ll be thinking of you while I’m at a party too on Sat night! This one I can’t get out of so will have to suck it all up with a smile (fake) on my dial lol! What I know will happen tho is i’ll feel pressure to party on with everyone after dinner and probly will do so in fear of disappointing my friend (I’m a people pleaser and have to work on this) I’m dreading the Auckland club scene sober and bed will all I’ll think about…argh so tough for us sober battlers…the ‘mind f**k’!!! Could you get your hair done or buy yourself a new top or lippy…..anything to get alittle excited about your night out?! Sleep well and let me know how it all goes xo
Recently I cavedxand went to an annual party I have avoided for well over 20 years – always mean to go, love my friend… but. And the first half-hour was all I dreaded. Painful small talk or isolated. Bored. Feeling weird and out of place. Then suddenly it flowed. I could chat, found links with people. The food was amazing and the house -i did feel rather inadequate, but it was ok!!! Maybe yours will be ok and if not, perhaps this time you will shrug it off as a tedious night. Leave early – but try first 😉
Oh yeah, totally get where you are coming from. I’m just soaking up all this good advice, I like just leaving if you don’t feel good there. Let us know how it goes! Isn’t it nice to know so many understand.
One of you (sorry, can’t remember who…) posted this a while ago…and I listened to it last night….very powerful…very healing…about addictions and unmet needs. Thought i’d repost it for anyone who has not yet seen it.
Yes, it has really helped me start to understand some of my feelings at a different level. Some of what Ive discovered has surprised me… and I am learning not to judge those feelings but to accept that there is a frightened little girl in there that needs to be loved. It all comes down to fear, it seems, its at the root of pretty much every feeling and thought that I try to push away. Xx
Hey kiwis with Netflix, I watched Stephen Fry Live:More Fool Me last night. Wow, what an intelligent and funny man he is (my opinion 😉 ) – talked a bit about his Cocaine addiction and also alcohol (not his addiction to alcohol but about the harm it does and why is it legal) – I was just in awe of the knowledge he had stored in his head! Highly recommend it if you like him. Bit of a low funk going on for me, hanging in – sun is out today which is a huge mood lifter for me. Thinking of many, to name but a few. – @frog@chardaNO@Noelle@Mari135 … actually many more. Am I allowed to say that I miss you @Mrs-d – miss hearing about your family and Stanley 🙂 Love to everyone out there xxx
Thanks – love recommends. I hope the sun does a work of magic on you for ages! It does help so much – unless migraine happening, as I do. Great day work, but at night, the usual disorganised fiasco. Heads should roll, but never do. And then I have a weekend with the colleague from hell, and potentially the kids from hell. But I will take charge of my attitude and have fun no matter what! So there! Wish me luck…
Good morning all, it’s day 4 . I had some good sleep last night, so I’m feeling good. My councillor advised me to create structure in my life, such as waking up, dinner time, exercise time and bed time. The new routine is giving me a bit of focus of what I need to do next to look after myself. It seems very simple, but my lack of routine previously just left my floating about (HALT) hungry, angry, lonely and tired. Here’s to a wonderful Sunday.
Structure is a BIG thing for me. That’s why week days are often easier for me than weekends. HALT has been a lifeline as well, and the answer to most mood lows and negative emotions and thoughts weather systems passing through.
Me too. I am in the process of learning how to relax on weekends after five day working week. I used to drink heavily on weekends because l really didn’t know what to do with myself, so was constantly exhausted.
Oh I know the HALT-thing! Day 4 is awesome, well done. Find your routine that works for you. In the beginning that is a great help to grasp how to do this. With a fuzzy brain there was not much routine in my life. Keep posting. @happyguy.
A quick and clear explanation of the fight in the brain when alcohol flows freely. GABA pulls up the breaks and we end up thinking clearly………about NOTHING. (Read a bit about glutamate and gaba and the job they do)
Interesting. I think he is dead on about wanting connection. I have a hard time when he gets going on patiently listening. But I love that he is passionate.. all good stuff. @behind-the-sofa. Thank you.
Yes, I think drinking is a way of connecting with people….. but ultimately way too dysfunctional….. but I think that’s what we all want at the end of the day….. hehe – when he gets going his lyrical word flow can be a bit overwhelming…. I often have to replay some bits he says…..
Hello best online tribe of sober warriors in the world. Hope everyone is doing ok and if you’re not hang in there because one thing I have learned in 6+ years of being sober is that life is naturally up and down and even though the downs suck balls they usually pass and are followed by a smoother period. And remember – vent honestly here because getting your glum feelings out and receiving lovely support in return will alone make you feel a little bit better. I have just published a new post about the thought process that got me to finally quit drinking.. link here if you are interested https://livingsober.org.nz/i-am-not-the-problem/ .. also I put up a new Drink of the Week on Friday which is rather delicious so check that out on the blog page as well if you are feeling like concocting yourself a delicious mocktail. xxx
I just read your post, loved it @Mrs-D! When I think of alcohol, I just think it would bring me somewhere I do not want to be. I like your encouragement to vent here, we don’t need to put on a fake face here, pretending things are ok when they’re not. But they’re much better without the booze. xo
Hello @Mrs-D its always gorgeous to see your smiling face here, I’m often missing some of our old timers, not too many of of us still here, most have let go the apron strings and living successful sober lives, and that’s great. But Not I said the fly!!! haha xoxo
Just had a crazy 2 weeks. Long story but basically my elderly parents are buying the flat upstairs, but first the owner was having to evict a problem tenant. SO stressful – didn’t drink but really felt like it a few times! All settled now. Realised stress played a big part in why I drank. Been listening to Headspace free meditations. Does anyone have any other meditation sites they would recommend? Anyhow…good to catch up with what everyone is doing. Have a fabulous booze free weekend wonderful people. X
Morning just watched Veronica Valli’s life post on sugar, it was really interesting. Yes use sugar for the first 30-90 days to help get off alcohol but then start cutting down and stop. If you can’t ishe says it means you aren’t dealing with the Why. That message also is in the first part of Russel Brands book that I’m reading as the cycle of pain. So I thought I would list my addictive behaviours in order. Alcohol, sugar/food, cell phone games, obsessed with health, internet shopping ( that feeling of receiving ‘presents’ in the mail) exercise, unhealthy relationships-fixing people, self help and reading. They are all the things I used to escape my feelings and I admit They can make like unmanageable. It’s time for me to dig deep so one day I can say I am ………….years sober and addiction free
Wow,this is going to hit home to lots of us. I battle the sugar and my phone /internet is right up there too. I also have used shopping and reading in the past. I have been trying really hard to be kind lately and wonder if this could also be added to the list. If I pick it all apart there may be nothing left of me. I might just start on the sugar. The evenings are hardest.
Hi – I have a lot of these “hobbies” too! Haven’t as yet got into internet shopping – would be too scared to!! But…have always had an obsession with cookbooks! Have literally hundreds. I see my internet , health, obsessions as never being happy to just sit with me and how I am – always looking for something else. I am.learning to relax more now being sober and have become aware that for me all these things were a way of avoiding what was really happening. E.g.. if I focus on helping someone else and fixing their problems I don’t have to start working on my own . Great post and really good reminder for me. I have Russell brands book on hold at library when it comes in and can’t wait for it!
Yep, alcohol and then sugar are my top two addictions. You know how there’s the HALT acronym for alcoholics. Well for sugar, mine is BS. When I’m Bored or Stressed, my cravings for sugar spike. Really need to watch that!
I loved this story I heard at a positive pts bologna seminat this week. Two Monks and a Woman – a Zen Lesson
–by ahlhalau, posted Jun 20, 2014
A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.
The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.
Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey.
The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.
Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”
This simple Zen story has a beautiful message about living in the present moment. How often do we carry around past hurts, holding onto resentments when the only person we are really hurting is ourselves.
We all go through times in life when other people say things or behave in a way that is hurtful towards us. We can chose to ruminate over past actions or events, but it will ultimately weigh us down and sap our energy.
Instead we can choose to let go of what doesn’t serve us anymore and concentrate on the present moment. Until we can find a level of peace and happiness in the present circumstances of our lives, we will never be content, because ‘now’ is all we will ever have.
Good morning all 🙂 I haven’t been posting much as I feel my life has been dominated by someone elses drinking. So how’s that, clear my mind of my own constant battle with booze and allow it to be taken over by the alcohol consumption of my DH. What I do know is that the nature of alcohol, if allowed, it will consume all that it touches. I really appreciated a post from, I think, @islandone, that coming here is to find support at Living Sober. Sober and parenting, sober and relationships, support for sober living. I am slowly taking on board that reaching out is part of recovery. Although, at the end of the day, we ultimately only have ourselves to rely on, we find strength, love and compassion by reaching out. I have tended to isolate myself of late (I still lurk everyday 🙂 ) but too much time spent alone and in my head just compounds the problem. Yesterday, I didn’t wallow too long in the sadness and disappointment of another Saturday night lost to alcohol. I started working on a quilting project, Japanese garden, that I started years ago. The time crafting and creating brought comfort, space and positivity to my day. Later, when I spent Sunday evening with my DH, I was able to be open to the moment rather than be lost in resentment and bitterness. The mindfulness is working and I am regaining my life 🙂 Go well sober Warriors, may you know peace today xx
Do are doing very well, better than you might know. You are finding ways to continue to nurture yourself and stimulate and occupy yourself. You are giving your focus to eating right, tending to your dogs, your children, yourself. You haven’t pulled the pin on the marriage. You are living in the present and appreciating the times that you can enjoy. To create a safe harmonious world inside the world you live in is no easy thing. I think @Reena is kind of doing this too. “Ya can’t always get what you want. But you can get what you need” (even if you do have to get it yourself). You are very strong. Your husband is one lucky guy. Hugs xoxo
I certainly couldn’t have expressed that any better, wonderful, wise reply @begoodtomyself. So many lonely people out there, (one of them my friend making snaky comments about me liking a moan in my life, comparing me to a friend she despises, nasty passive aggro) It is good he has at least stopped the negativity. The drinking, well, who can know, but you are being creativity and living your life positively. Xxxxx
So sorry about the depressive atmosphere in your home. My spouse is not a big drinker but we have control issues and costly outside hobbies that weigh on us coming from that side. There is always upheaval when changes occur. Our communication is so difficult as we are so very different. You plan sounds pretty good, I am proud you continue to nurture yourself. Please always reach out, it helps to know how others are coping. xo
Men and their control issues! You are doing well for yourself too @reena. We are off to a couple counsellor today. Some days we hardly know how to talk to each other. Continue to take good care of you xx
I get that so well @begoodtomyself. I have to by opposites of even all the food (coffee, ice cream, _) as we are polar opposites in so many ways. We still share a lot as we are both very invested in our family and our families of origin. My husband is an awesome dad and granddad and can be a generous and affectionate partner. He is a hard worker and buys me the most beautiful presents, actually he is the only person who can pick things our for me I really truly love. So there is some good and bad. We have done counseling also, I hope you have a good session and you both come away with some compassion and hope. xoxo
Hi @Begoodtomyself lovely to hear from you – been a bit tardy myself, lurking too but found self with very little to say that was interesting or useful. Sounds like you are still having a rough time with OH. Yes, reaching out. Having the strength to be vulnerable. If you’re anything like me, time alone in your own head is not always a good thing. At. all. Your quilting project sounds wonderful, I was thinking to myself ‘how zen’ and then realised that fits with the theme of your quilt also :). I think I may do something similar (zero sewing type skills though, so won’t attempt that!) – something to create that ‘slow down’ and mindfulness. Hmm. Will think on it. I hope you had a wonderful day and found time for self-compassion and peace xx
Thanks @trace, I love the zen comment. I hadn’t really thought about my sewing as time to slow down. You are right, thats exactly it and it is mindful too. Time to schedule more of the same 🙂 Happy hunting for your zen creation 🙂 xx
I feel your pain, my DH needs knee replacements too! He had an operation a few years ago that went wrong. He had a high tibial osteotomy that the surgeon got wrong and he ended up in a Taylor Spatial frame. And now about five years later he needs the knee replaced. Needless to say he isn’t keen after the last mess and, like your husband, is in considerable pain. And is a a pain in the rear as a result! You are doing really well @chick, Living Sober is a life saver 🙂 xx
This morning marks the day when one of my sons sets off on a 30,000 km solo journey from BC Canada to the southernmost tip of the world. He has always been a warrior for other people and their welfare and his kaupapa is to raise awareness and remove the stigma from talking about mental health and suicide. I’m not sure if this is the right forum to share but I’m sitting here, cup of tea in hand, quietly proud but also terrified of what might lie ahead for him. He has struggled with addiction and depression and is also doing this as a challenge for himself. Here’s the link to follow his journey. I know his blogging will be confronting and raw at times, but I also know he’ll take strength from people following his journey online. Happy sober day everyone! X https://www.awarenessonwheels.co.nz/
Hi @Elsa1202 I am smiling feeling so proud for you feeling proud for him. This will be a journey he will never forget, I’m going to save the site and check in on the posts, this is a great place to share that story. Happy days.
Hi Elsa Firstly what a gorgeous young man! You must be incredibly proud of what he’s doing. We have a son who suffers from depression and various forms of addiction. He has attempted suicide twice. My son is also overseas challenging himself! I am ashamed to say that after all we have been through I have chosen not to share our story with very many people, fearing the judgement that often comes with it! How shallow am I? So thanks for the inspiration to open up….a bit. X
Hi @redredred. There are so many of us who feel afraid of the judgement dished out by others. I say let them judge! I think it’s the judgers who are shallow- only good can come from sharing and talking honestly about this stuff. Big hugs to you x
What an awesome adventure he is going to be on!! Thanks so much for sharing his website, I will check in with his updates.
And no wonder you are also feeling all sorts of things about this. He is your baby!
There is probably nothing that can take away your worries for him, but if it is any help, the route he indicated on the map on his website seems to go through very very safe places. For example, he will not be going into Venezuela, which is good. Costa Rica is a safe as can be paradise, and so is Panama. Colombia is so very safe nowadays too, compared to how it used to be. Chile and Argentina are a lot like Europe in many ways, at least friends of mine who traveled there or moved there say so.
Safe travels, healing, and lots of FUN for his journey!!!
Thank you @mari135. Yes- this journey has been planned for a while and I know he’s a strong young man who people love so I’m sure he’ll be fine. But- 18 months is a long time solo on the road . Thx for your support
Thx @liberty. I figured because this community is all about support it would be ok to share here. I think I’ll be here a lot over the next 18 months- it will help to know that some of you will get what I’m going on about! X
hubby just showed me this. I know its a bit off topic for here but wanted to share…. somehow missed he had made a follow up
Watch the new trailer for An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth.
A decade after AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH brought climate change into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes – in moments both private and public, funny and poignant — as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.
How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs Curfews, sports, and understanding kids’ brain chemistry have all helped dramatically curb substance abuse in the country.
It’s a little before 3 p.m. on a sunny Friday afternoon and Laugardalur Park, near central Reykjavik, looks practically deserted. There’s an occasional adult with a stroller, but the park’s surrounded by apartment blocks and houses, and school’s out—so where are all the kids?
Walking with me are Gudberg Jónsson, a local psychologist, and Harvey Milkman, an American psychology professor who teaches for part of the year at Reykjavik University. Twenty years ago, says Gudberg, Icelandic teens were among the heaviest-drinking youths in Europe. “You couldn’t walk the streets in downtown Reykjavik on a Friday night because it felt unsafe,” adds Milkman. “There were hordes of teenagers getting in-your-face drunk.”
We approach a large building. “And here we have the indoor skating,” says Gudberg.
A couple of minutes ago, we passed two halls dedicated to badminton and ping pong. Here in the park, there’s also an athletics track, a geothermally heated swimming pool and—at last—some visible kids, excitedly playing football on an artificial pitch.
Young people aren’t hanging out in the park right now, Gudberg explains, because they’re in after-school classes in these facilities, or in clubs for music, dance, or art. Or they might be on outings with their parents.
Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 percent in 1998 to 5 percent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 percent to 7 percent. Those…[Read more]
Wow. Wow. A lot in there to process. Thank you for sharing. So much resonated, especially for me with my Mum hat on. This stuck out to me though, as an adult thinking about my childhood: “We learned through the studies that we need to create circumstances in which kids can lead healthy lives, and they do not need to use substances, because life is fun, and they have plenty to do—and they are supported by parents who will spend time with them.” My parents never spent time with me, never watched me play sport, and just expected me to grow up into a mature, grounded adult, without actually giving me the tools to do so. I don’t lay blame at all. Of course I wish it had been different. Maybe I wouldn’t be an alkie. Maybe I would have anyway. My goal is to not make the same mistake with my boys. Thanks again for this. It’s hugely thought provoking.
Talked with my flower essence lady about the black and white wolf inside for us and she told me that often the story is not told in full, that it goes on to say if you acknowledge both you become the grey wolf the strongest of all. “You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.” Full version here http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=927 Acceptance off all 🙂
Wow what a change in my brain from this morning to now. I love what being sober had given me so why have I just stood at the sink ,washing the babies bottles, crying wishing I could have a drink. It’s insane!!!! It’s been 1 of those days. Drops kids of to mans at 5.45am (normal for a work day but I don’t usually work Fridays). On the way to work realise miss 8 has forgotten her fife fir music-again. Arrange to leave work with just enough time to get the train, go home get fife & take it to school. Go to mothers to pick up kids bags from this morning. Back to school for miss 8, then to day care for baby, then to shops where they made a comment over microphone of specials in the bottle shop. Normally the bottle shop being right there doesn’t bother me. I looked longingly at the wine. Spent $64 on shite in Woolworths. Get home and dumped all the bags in the kitchen. Shopping bags, nappy bag, school bag, clothes bag, my wk laptop, my lunch bag. Laundry basket that needs folding, remember both toilets need toilet paper. Do that 1st. Ask miss 8 to put her 4 pairs of shoes away-4 times. She starts filling balloons with bubbles. The house still smells of cat piss. We don’t own a cat! Our front door was sprayed the other night from 1 of the many cats on the street. Seems not even bleach can get rid of the smell. Miss 8 still hasn’t put shoes away, there is water all over the floor, ask her for the tea towel I just put in the laundry. She goes to the linen cupboard. I yell. She crys and I hug her. And through all the driving around people just pissed me off. Isn’t it ridiculous that the notion of having wine would relax me! I might want 1, I will cry over it, it’s the 2nd time in 127 days I’ve cried over not being able to drink. What happened today was life. Everyone has busy days like that. There are lots of mams like me. I always drank to run away from life. It’s always felt too much for me so drink & block it out. Other mams can have that 1-2 glass of wine.…[Read more]
Oh yes!! You have had a very busy and stressfull day so you are entitled to be a bit overwhelmed..try to get a bit of time out to just breath..have a relaxing bath and treat yourself to something pretty..you are doing great..well done..lots of love xxx
It is great you wrote that out burno. Probably the difference between us (apart from the fact that you’re a success) is that I can sneak a wine, not much harm done. That option is gone for you. It sucks. But you can see you’ve gained. That’s neat xxxx
Aren’t they cute when they’re 8? Grrr. Well, they really are. Appears you had a day and a half. Couldn’t help but think that you have things pretty well figured out. I get a little of that voice too, I’m at about 230 days, and you’re so right, that voice is a huge lie. I suppose we all get that voice, and it has ruined so many. I remember when I was drinking, way back when I was drinking less, and even if I had just one or two, that was it–nothing more was getting done that evening.
@Burno976 – hugs…your day sounds hellish. i’m so proud of you for working through all those tough emotions…sometimes life can just knock us down…and you handled it like a pro. a good cry every now and again is soothing to our souls!!! i know tomato juice works to get skunk spray out, perhaps you can try that for the cat piss? hoping tomorrow is a better day. xo
Oh man, I am sorry it’s been one of those days. It sucks. No wonder you felt the way you did, and I am so glad you are here and shared this with us! One of my mommy friends was crying the other day because her daughter threw a mega-tantrum all the way back home in the back seat on a road where she simply could not pull over to deal with it due to traffic.
@burno1976 I relate so much to this post. We cry over the booze, but more or less it’s crying over wanting to escape from life just for a little bit. I’m happy you made the statement “everyone is busy, I’m not the only mam” I forget about this some days. Happy sober day to you and hugs your way xxooxox
@burno1976 ((hugs)). I get this, and how that would drive anyone to drink! Good for you for staying strong and posting with us instead. Now that I have teenagers, it is amazing how quickly I forget the stress of young kids and long for them to be little again…..and even got a little longing for the “mess/craziness” of what you posted now that they are angsty teenagers. BUT then I got my reality googles on and said that time was hard too! 🙂 xo fellow mom!
Such a busy day, RESPECT!! you are doing it and doing it well, maybe the tears were for a drink and maybe they were just exhaustion either way you are moving forward in such a beautiful way. Take care, I hope you get a little rest soon. xo
Oh @burno hun Sounds like one of those rotten days. The old drinking urge takes us by surprise aye! You must be around day 120? That was when the urges to drink came back for me too. Keep batting them away because it really is only temporary and very common for that amount of sober days. Time to up your self care and just hang on in because the cravings will go away honestly.
Love this…. “Dear Stranger, You don’t know me but I hear you are going through a tough time, and I would like to help you. I want to be open and honest with you, and let you know that happiness isn’t something just afforded to a special few. It can be yours, if you take the time to let it grow.
It’s OK to be stressed, scared and sad, I certainly have been throughout my life. I’ve confronted my biggest fears time and time again. I’ve cheated death on many adventures, seen loved ones pass away, failed in business, minced my words in front of tough audiences, and had my heart broken.
I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life, and that most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But they haven’t; in fact it’s the reverse. I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.
So many people get caught up in doing what they think will make them happy but, in my opinion, this is where they fail. Happiness is not about doing, it’s about being. In order to be happy, you need to think consciously about it. Don’t forget the to-do list, but remember to write a to-be list too.
Kids are often asked: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The world expects grandiose aspirations: ‘I want to be a writer, a doctor, the prime minister.’ They’re told: go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, and then you’ll be happy. But that’s all about doing, not being – and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness.
Stop and breathe. Be healthy. Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.
If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow. I speak from experience. We’ve built a business empire, joined conversations about the future of our planet, attended many memorable parties and met many unforgettable people. And…[Read more]
Lovely. I think I am way closer to that these days, but work gets in the way rather a lot… Not to mention demanding to kids, friends and family – love to have them of course, but the balance, oh god, finding the balance and the space to breathe. Back to Mrs D Goes Within 🙂
Its been over a year since I stopped drinking and I can see that a big part of my habit was using it to manage my emotions. I did need the extra assistance of prozac to fix the low level anxiety and depression that was behind me feeling like I wasn’t ever good enough. Its so nice to feel free of all that now…
this really resinated with me…. need to get her book….
Change You Didn’t Know You Wanted by DR. AMY JOHNSON on JUNE 29, 2017
I recently wrote the foreword to Jill Whalen’s new book, Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety.
Victim of Thought tells Jill’s story of finding freedom from something she didn’t know was a problem.
Which is kind of interesting, isn’t it? Finding peace and freedom that you didn’t know you didn’t have?
Once Jill began to gain a solid understanding of where her experiences in life were really coming from, her mind quieted down. That’s what a simple understanding does for us. We no longer have to wonder why we feel the way we do, or try to rearrange life’s circumstances in order to feel better.
We are free to simply be.
When our minds aren’t spinning in complexity and unnecessary tasks, they get quiet. When Jill’s mind got quiet, she felt different. Her new found quiet showed her just how much of her life before that quiet was spent either in low level anxiety, or doing things to numb her low level anxiety.
We’ve all heard thing like “you have to want to change”, “you have to be ready for change”, “you have to be open to change”.
I’ve even said them (e.g., page 32 of The Little Book of Big Change).
But Jill found herself feeling more peaceful and less anxious. She found herself drinking a lot less. She found herself enjoying healthy eating and exercise.
Sometimes change looks like finding yourself changed, whether you knew you wanted it or not.
Sometimes it takes hindsight to realize that we wanted change.
A long time ago, a colleague asked me how you go bankrupt. I started to give a long answer about debt and taxes, but he cut me off with the correct answer : First slowly, and then quickly.
I have since learned that this is the answer to a lot of things, good and bad. Anything requiring a consistent effort – good or bad – in a consistent direction.
How do you screw up your marriage? How do you become obese? How do you win a gold medal at the Olympic Games? How do you make a billion dollars? How did Lorde become an “overnight” pop star? And, most definitely, how do you become an alcoholic?
The answer is, first slowly, and then quickly.
No child dreams of becoming an alcoholic. There is no Harvard School Of Alcoholism where people go to perfect their craft. Children don’t put posters on their bedroom wall featuring their favourite prominent alcoholics. You won’t find Alcoholic Woman’s Day amongst the periodicals offered at your local book store.
It happens a lot more insidiously than that.
For me, it started at 11 or 12, drinking cans of beer in my room at home. By this age, I was pretty much financially independent – think 3 paper runs and various odd jobs, schemes and scams – and I may as well have been living on my own. I kept the door locked at all times, when I was home at all, and I just did whatever the hell I wanted.
At that age, you don’t have a lot of tolerance for alcohol, so before long, it would hit. The sound of the old people yelling at each other would fade into the background. I zoned out of my brothers trying to strangle each other in the next room. It didn’t matter if I’d been called a nerd or a freak or a retard that day.
Everything melted away. First I relaxed, and then I slept. Both were almost impossible for me to achieve any other way.
At this point – the “slowly” part of becoming an alcoholic, there is no downside. Only good. I’d love to lie, but I won’t. Alcohol made…[Read more]
Wow congratulations @mrwtf I find it interesting how I’m feeling more depressed now than I’ve ever been throughout my entire life but its a different kind of depressed. Its confusion I think just as you state. Hard trying to unwind your whole life and put back some things you have lost in such a short space of time but thats ok. I may be an adult now but that doesn’t mean I can’t turn back time and relive some childhood fun. We just have to try harder to recognise what that is when we see an opening. Had a mad desire to go for a swim in the feezing cold sea today. Decided na too cold. Wish I had done it now lol. Love your post and massive congrats xx
This is really an amazing piece of writing and honest and raw and sad @MrWTF . I want to say congratulations but I want to ask you so much too! There are many of us here who suffer from depression and anxiety, I know that feeling well of being on the outside looking in. Feeling like that at many gatherings etc. I just know Lotta is going to want you to share your story, I hope you do. Congratulations xxx
This is the best post/self-reflection EVER! Congratulations on this most memorable milestone. It has been a pleasure following behind you on this journey during the past few years. Thanks for lighting the way!
Very well put my friend. Huge congratulations on your 1000 days. I agree you are a natural and brilliant writer, and you have much to write about, when you are ready. The part I loved the most was your daily visit to the mirror and your feeling of pride. Just as a massive fire begins from a tiny spark, so too can contentment, fulfillment, happiness and self-love grow from this wonderful and simple daily practice. I am thinking of you as a Koru, the leaf of a Punga tree, and how it is all curled up in a spiral or loop and it slowly unfolds as a silver fern. The Koru symbolizes new life, growth, strength and peace. All of which will be yours @MrWTF because you have patience and wisdom, and because me and nearly 5000 others all wish it for you. xoxo
I am so proud of what you have “fixed” thus far. What a mesmerising piece of writing, I relate to loads of what you said about not feeling connected, always looking in from the outside etc. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we do know that by being sober, and having a measure of pride in yourself, good things simply will happen. And as long as you push onwards, things will continue to change and grow. Welcome to the comma club xo
all I can say is wow, and thank you @MrWTF. I am going to save this post, it is strong and wonderful and wise and truthful. Simply, its bloody fantastic. You never got the chance of that innocent childhood, of unrestrained trust and joy in being. Such a loss for you, and now I guess is the work of making sense of all you were and are and seeing what can be grown from here. Keep going Sir. xx
Thanks so much for your honest and raw post. It was beautiful and powerful and heart-rending and it touched me in so many ways. Sending you lots of support. Congrats on 1,000! That’s huge and you should be very proud.
Authentic, generous and overwhelmingly damn brilliant. Your post has and will be a massive help to many. , Huge congrats making the comma club. Your analogy of ‘slowly then quickly ‘ in finding ourselves in a hole and equally moving out of the hell hole ‘slowly then quickly’ is the most apt and inspiringly succinct I have read. You have many gifts to offer and thanks again for this one
Jean McCarthy has a really beautiful piece she wrote entitled “Enough.” You can find it at Unpickledblog.com I so often fall into that trap of I need more, more, more. More wine, more clothes, more food, more fun times. She writes that once we start to believe we ARE enough, we start to realize we HAVE enough. Hmmm, this struck deep with me.
Although she has no idea, Jean and her blog have been really important in my recovery. Her story is very similar to my story and I have saved this quote from her blog that I refer to from time to time. “My story is one of quitting while I was ahead, before anyone even knew that I had developed an addiction to alcohol. I saw I was losing control and realized that if I continued, things would get worse, then embarrassing, then downright bad. Soon there would be no hiding it.” I also quit before the shit hit the fan, so to speak. I hadn’t lost anything big but every day I drank, I was losing chunks of myself.
By Sharon Martin, LCSW ~ 4 min read Why is addiction considered a family disease? 6 Family Roles in a Dysfunctional or Alcoholic Family. Alcoholism is a family disease that affect everyone.
Alcoholism or any type of addiction affects everyone in the family in some way. Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, a respected expect in the field of addictions and codependency, identified six primary roles in an alcoholic family as a way to highlight the effects of alcoholism on the alcoholics spouse and children.
I want to preface this article by saying that I know that labeling people doesn’t usually feel good and often it isn’t accurate. However, it can be useful in getting a general picture of the common dynamics in families dealing with addiction. Like anything else, please take the aspects of these family roles that apply to you and your family and leave the rest. Individuals and family systems are complex. In reality, people don’t fall neatly into categories. You may have played more than one role at different times in your life or you may identify with a combination of these traits and coping strategies.
The most important takeaway that I hope to convey is that everyone in an addicted family is impacted by the addiction; everyone adopts coping strategies to deal with the stress of living with an addict and many of these coping strategies have lasting negative effects. In fact, these family dynamics persist even when the addict gets sober, dies, or leaves the family, and they are passed down generationally through modeling and family dynamics.
Children with an addicted parent often experience a chaotic or unpredictable home life which may include physical and emotional abuse. Even more common is emotional neglect, where the child’s emotion…[Read more]
10 Things Emotionally Neglected Kids Grow Up Believing — That Are NOT True The fact that you learned them does not make them right.
Growing up in an emotionally neglectful household (Childhood Emotional Neglect, or CEN) takes its toll on you. When, as a child, no one notices enough what you are feeling or what you need, you receive covert messages that are never stated outright, but which will nevertheless guide your life going forward.
Silent, unintended, usually invisible, these messages take root early and well. As you go through adolescence, they undermine the self-confidence and self-knowledge you should be gathering. As you grow into adulthood, they prevent you from making the choices that are right for you. As you form relationships and fall in love, they prevent you from valuing yourself. As you have children and raise them, they weigh you down and leave you feeling mystified about what you are missing and why.
The only way to reduce their power over you is to realize they are there and how you got them. And to make a conscious choice to stop letting them hold you back and push you down. Here are 10 lessons victims of childhood emotional neglect learn early on and how these lessons are wrong.
1. It’s not good to be too happy or too sad.
As a child, you naturally had intense feelings, as this is how all children are wired. Exuberant one moment, intensely frustrated the next, you needed someone to teach you how to understand and manage your emotions. But what you got instead was a covert message that your emotions were excessive. What you learned was to dampen your feelings, not the skills you needed to manage them.
2. You are overly sensitive.
As a child, you naturally felt upset when things upset you. You naturally felt angry when you were hurt. What you needed was to have your upset feelings soothed by a loving parent so that you could learn how to soothe yourself. But what you got was a mes…[Read more]
Ummm, I understand all that you’ve written here and I’m quite sure that many of us can relate to some form of childhood and formative years of neglect, abuse (physical andor emotional) and trauma. One of my greatest learning experiences as I reached adulthood was to acknowledge those feelings, come to terms with them, realize that my parents were doing the best they could at any given time, with whatever resources and knowledge or lack thereof they had, and forgive. Once I did that I could let go of the resentment, stop playing the victim, assume responsibility for my decisions, and take control of my life. As they say, it’s our choice whether we want to live as a victim or a victor.
My mom died recently and now both parents are gone. Her funeral is Friday and I don’t think I can go. I’m the last of seven and have witnessed and experienced so much dysfunction and abuse (sexual) that something solidified in me which mom’said passing. I physically feel sick about attending. My family is all alcoholic and codependent. How do you handle complicated family situations like this?
You have my deepest heartfelt sympathies. I wish I had an answer for you. Not just for yourself, but because I’m faced with a similar situation – only my mother is still alive. I live on the other side of the country and feel that I should go home and see my mother before she passes (she’s 95), but I can’t go home again. I just can’t emotionally force myself to go back to the town I grew up in. That’s where all the really bad stuff is and I left it behind. I get physically ill when I try to think about going there. So, I can’t advise you @AmyB on how to handle your situation because I can’t really handle my own. I’m sorry.
@amyb – that’s right. It’s so important to listen to our brain and do what’s best for ourselves and our own emotional health, even if that’s hard. I can’t worry about what others may think of me for not going – they can’t judge me. They haven’t been where I’ve been. The Scott’s have a word for it. It’s “hiraeth” and it means a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never really was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for lost places of your past.
I think every situation is different. But if it’s bad for you to go, then it seems to me that you shouldn’t go. Could you send word to excuse yourself; possibly send flowers? That way you are acknowledging the sad event. Silence is often misinterpreted.
Hi Tom, I’m sending everyone a letter (short and sweet) explaining why I’m not coming. I kept it all about me. I didn’t go to my sister’s 60 birthday last week and they were ruthless. Telling me how disappointed they were in me and how could I miss such an event when all my family was there.
You have my compassion. And like the others mentioned, you have the right to take good care of your mental health and well-being. If attending this funeral fills you with pain and suffering, instead of the emotional grieving “relief” funerals usually provide, give yourself permission to not attend the formal service, and grieve in a way that feels right to you and only you.
Everyone grieves differently. For some people funerals are necessary. For others, funerals can be more traumatic than allowing them to grieve. I found all funerals I’ve attended so far to be traumatic, and I realized I traumatize myself when attending them instead of grieving in a way I feel works for me.
YOU lost your mother. YOU alone have the right to your grief, and to grieve the way you need to grieve right now. It’s easier said than done, but the flying monkeys will accuse you anyways. Good and compassionate and emotionally mature people would never look at the way you grieve as a problem for THEM. That is such a narcissistic view anyways, and it would fit in with the abuse history you described.
Healthy families allow each other space. My husband’s family would never ever accuse me of being bad if I so chose to not attend a funeral of their side of the family. My aunt and certain family members on my end would also support whatever I need. My mother and brother and a few other family members though, would definitely try to attack and shame me if I skipped a funeral or other family functions.
Love the letter writing solution you mentioned. Way to go for taking such good care of Amy. Because you too have an inner child who deserves your love and support and care.
Feeling for you. Only you can answer if to go or not. But what will you do instead? Beat yourself up for not going then drink yourself I into further misery. There is no perfect families-al are in some way shape or form are dysfunctional. You are grieving at the moment FOR everything that was/is . You can stand tall be proud that you are still you-warts and all -lije us all. FOR now get through to Friday, then as it arises deal with that. After function frm funerals are hardest so maybe give that a miss. Keep posting on here ALOT to clear your mind,inner turmoil it will help. Thinking of you @AmyB take care xo
Does anyone find that there’s a ‘theme’ to what depresses or pisses you off in life over the long term? And that this theme is what you experience in your family life, your friendships, your relationships, your work environment etc.? I have this theme of what hurts me deep down sore and some days it’s like all the aspects of my life work together to make it come to the fore. Today was one of those days. And I’m thinking that I’m the only common denominator here so I am actually the theme (the person creating the feeling or circumstances) but I don’t know how to start changing to not let this hurt me anymore. Some days I accept this better than others but I can’t believe I can still feel like this and that it can persist for so many decades. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better. Today was a crap-ass of a day! 🙁
I am sorry today feels a bit heavy. Those days are tough. xoxo
Sometimes getting one good night of sleep helps, and everything looks already brighter the next morning.
If there is a theme in my life, it’s the “I am not good enough for anything” that is holding me back. That, and people-pleasing. Working on that though. Giving others so much power over my well-being is dangerous, and it lead me to the wine bottle in the past.
Yes @MsM, I think I know what you’re talking about. I have certain sore points/deep hurts that I come back to over and over. It’s a great thing to stay curious about. How much do we play a part in generating the very situation that we then feel hurt by? Such a revelation, isn’t it, to see another person in the same situation responding to it very differently. Whether we play a part or not, how can we do it differently? How can we ease or support that hurt so it’s not the part of us making choices for us all the time? I hope tomorrow is better for you. xxx
Me too @MsM, I have themes or certain triggers that really get to me. Recently I have been reflecting on the serenity prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” Hugs to you, and sending you love and light for a more peaceful tomorrow xo
Idea listen on you tube of Eckhart Tolle regards to the pain body. Saying that we all have hurts and if we allow ourselves to feel ok or good our mind goes oh that doesn’t feel right and we go back to what’s the norm-pain-regrets-hard done by me-parents didn’t love me I wasn’t heard-blah blah all the rest. Has books on Audible. Highly recommend xo.
The Buddhist teachers are great in recovery + in general, for life. I also love Pema Chodron, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield + Susan Piver. Susan Piver gives great instructions on how to meditate, a life-changer. Happy day, x
I’m not a big fan of listening to Tara Brach (something about her voice-but that’s just me). I do enjoy Pema and Sharon. I read Thich Nhat Hanh and Daniel Siegel, among others. So much inspiration to be gleaned from so many wonderful sources.
I’m reading Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp at the moment, it’s so good. One part really struck home for me and I thought it might speak to someone else on here…… “In some deep and important personal respects you stop growing when you start drinking alcoholically. The drink stunts you, prevents you from walking through the kinds of fearful life experiences that bring you from point A to point B on the maturity scale…… When you drink to transform yourself , when you drink to become someone you’re not…. your relationship to the world become muddied and unclear…. After a while you don’t know even the most basic things about yourself – what you’re afraid of, what feels good and bad, what you need in order to feel comforted and calm – because you’ve never given yourself a chance, a clear, sober chance to find out…… After a while you alter the equation, make it stronger and more complete. Pain+ Drink= Self Obliteration”
Yep, it really clicked for me, that’s what our sober tools are, us learning how to self soothe without reaching for the bottle, like tension+hot bubble bath= relief, or how to celebrate without alcohol.
Hey people ! Just finished reading an Amazing book “dying to be me” by Anita Moorjani and one of her quotes I thought worth mentioning “love yourself unconditionally and be yourself fearlessly!” I’ve learnt through getting sober how our reality reflects how our innerself is feeling and how important it is to honour those feelings and ultimately our souls , I could never do this whilst drinking heavily , also this community has taught me so many things and I feel I always read what I need to read at the right time , healing truly takes place when we all learn and grow and change those damaging thought patterns , I’m so grateful for this site and highly recommend Anita’s book she is one cool lady ! Stay sober folks !! Xx
Hi @MsLSober ! Yes I’ll be at the next meet up for sure been hanging out to see you lovely ladies again 🙂 have a great day xx looking forward to meeting you @morgan ! It’s a great book I’m about to lend to my dad he will Love it !
omg so true, thanks that sounds awesome. writing this down so I can go back to it x I’ve learnt through getting sober how our reality reflects how our innerself is feeling and how important it is to honour those feelings and ultimately our souls
Can I add something here-well going to anyway lol. A disease is something that is progressive,doesn’t repair-,but is terminal. Unless your liver is fine,as it repairs,it’s not a disease. My attitude to alcohole is chioce according to R.R. . A disease is like cancer it progresses. Your liver repairs hence not a disease,it’s mind patterning. You alter your obsessive thoughts you alter-your “disease”. Think it through, what is disease, my belief I’d if you think it’s a disease it gives you the right to continue to drink-does it not? It’s like- oh poor me I have a disease I can’t help it. Bullshit you choose to pick up and carry on-woe is me-look at me- I can’t help it. Bullshit you can,jut stop. My thoughts.xo
I think a quote is in order: “By believing, despite a lack of clear evidence, that there is physical, mental, or spiritual difference that causes someone to be an “alcoholic” we put the blame on the individual (alcoholic) rather than the addictive substance (alcohol). ” The fear of the label, she says, can stop people addressing their increasing addiction; we are all on the spectrum somewhere, and can rapidly move to a serious place if circumstances overwhelm us.
Hello 🙂 I have not posted here in awhile. Life is feeling very calm and full of simple pleasures. I wanted to share with you a TED talk I have just watched titled “The power of vulnerability” by Brene Brown. I was at a conference for work last week and a speaker mentioned it. Definitely worth a watch. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability
What I am finding interesting is that I am finding common themes intertwining in my personal life and work life. I am drawn to books regarding happiness, meditation, mindfulness and have been doing a lot of reading. Then I go to a conference for work where the two key themes are kindness and compassion. Everything seems to be aligning. This is an indescribable feeling. I know I am on the right path.
To all the new warriors on this journey, keep at it. I know for some of you it is the hardest thing to do and can feel like it is all consuming. But if you push yourself and push through, you will see for yourself the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It is so so worth it. I am Day 303 and by golly life looks bright. xx
I’ve been reflecting on some sad stuff and I’ve written a blog about Loss: http://southerndiscomfort2014.blogspot.co.nz/ Other than that I’ve got a very busy week ahead on all fronts. Got Brenda staying for the week, then new flatmate moving in on the weekend. Eeek! Over and out. Happy days to you all xoxo
Feeling the stress of sleeping in and needing to do 10,000 things in very few hours i came across Tiny Buddha – there is much more in the article -if you like it follow the link below:
1. I’ve let go of the need to be perfect.
I am perfectly beautiful and beautifully imperfect, and this is what allows me to be me.
Perfection is an illusion—it doesn’t exist. I stopped stressing myself out trying to be perfect and now I am always aiming for “good enough.” I have learned to embrace my mistakes as much needed opportunities for growth, blessings in disguise that make me wiser. If I fail at anything, it doesn’t mean I’m a failure, because I am not what I do. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn. We never lose.
“Your best is going to change from moment to moment: it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz
🙂 it was you who introduced me to these two very funny women and I thank you for that x Oh, I’m up and down and all over the place, anxious as hell, I was just reading about your suggested supplements… I could do with tipping a whole bloody health store down my throat! j How are you doing in your very stressful work atmosphere? Doing wonderful work, I am sure xxx
Apart from st JsW I’m not sure what is thoroughly researched. Even that may not be effective for acute anxiety/ depression, but it IS very soothing – and well researched. Me? Well, shit, always something happening. I did a big post about today’s drama but it seems to have disappeared (my 1st Lost post if so, but I may have been I such panic I shit the laptop without sending. Trying to stop the compulsion to charge n check, need sleep, yoga in the morning. Xxxx it may appear, but have to be careful as all my events/ stories seem so identifying! Cannot criticise my workplaces!!! Not allowed. Xxxxx perhaps we should email . Have you got the energy? xxxx
I recommend this article. I love the way she turns something negative (character flaws) into a blessing. Don’t get distracted by the talk about god if you aren’t spiritual. Focus on how she flips her perspective.
Feeling stressed with a very challenging situation in my job. Because of the situation..my sleep has suffered, arrgh. In the past would deal..Well..not deal, but react by smoking and drinking. Also struggling a bit with some feels of sadness, loneliness and anger. No danger of losing my path but would appreciate hearing how others cope with these situations.
Aww @robynb sorry to hear this!! I have found meditation to be extremely helpful. And believe me, in my boozy days, I used to think meditation was the hokiest thing going! Now it’s one of my top tools for healthy coping. I like the headspace app. Tara Brach podcasts are good too. Also I just listened to a Bubble Hour replay on this exact topic!! It was so helpful. It’s called “Feeling Our Feelings: A Brave New World.” It’s from October 2015. It had a ton of great advice!
@robynb – I agree with @tolivefor. Well, I don’t exercise, but I’m really good at sitting still so I like meditation and practicing mindfulness. But I’ve heard that exercise can be beneficial to some in coping with day to day stress and drama.
so hard.. just grinding through and treating myself kindly with sober treats and understanding and talking to people who get what you are doing in facing everything head on and in the raw – i.e. us!!! you are a sober superstar and even though it feels hard doing it without drinking actually in the end you’ll deal with it better and faster by doing it this way. hugs x
Tough stuff and also I feel how we respond to such stuff is the basis of many of our coping mechanisms. Therapeutic techniques such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) have lots of techniques that can be useful to manage stress and triggering situations – there are lots of websites about with info about this. But I don’t want to ‘technique’ my feelings away. As to the feelings themselves, building up my capacity to just be with my feelings without reacting. ‘Minding the gap’ as it’s been described – the gap between what we feel and what we do about it. Meditation can be useful for developing that capacity. So can mindfulness, counselling…some find yoga helpful. Maybe others find journalling or fishing or running can get them to the same place. Knowing that feelings and situations pass helps me remember I can stand what I’m feeling. Moving my body to help it cope with tension. xxx
Rather than reply to all of your generous answers, I will do it once here:). I do practice yoga in a class and recently have been attempting a meditation practice, and it has been helpful..Thanks all. I think this loneliness is what has prompted my drinking in the past. I am rather shy (but I love to socialize!) and I moved a couple years ago and haven’t developed a support system where I now live (Anchorage Alaska). I slept poorly for a few days and today just took a four hour nap so that probably has been contributing. Very happy I found this site. Thanks Mrs. D! Was though your book..one in a long list I’ve read over past three plus months.