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Laura’s Story

I was born in 1977 and lived an uneventful childhood in the suburbs of Southeast Michigan. On March 17, 2000, I met my future husband while wasted on my 23rd birthday. On our first date, I ordered many drinks at dinner. When he insisted on paying, I told him, “You don’t have to pay for my alcoholism.” I said it jokingly, but those words would later haunt me.

We got married in 2001 and did the normal things people our age did. We finished college, had babies, got settled in our career fields, got laid off, found employment again, bought a house, moved a few times, etc.

In 2014 I lost my mom suddenly. This was the worst and best thing to happen to me. I often wonder what my path would have been if she hadn’t died. The whole year was just awful. A few months before losing my mom, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, we lost our old boxer to a stroke, then lost my mom, then my grandma a few months later, then our cat ran away, then we lost our young cousin suddenly, and then lastly, on the last day of that dreadful year, we lost my grandpa.

The good news is that within the first few days of 2015, we were on our way home from my grandpa’s funeral and received a call that our cat had been found, four months after he disappeared.This gave me immense hope that there is a much bigger picture and to have faith.

My drinking was going strong as I dealt with the loss of my mom. In the spring of 2016 I was diagnosed with Pleural Effusion. When I found out it can be caused by a bad liver, I opened up to my general practitioner. I was ready for inpatient rehab.

He told me not to go. He told me there would be many drug addicts there and it’s not a place for people like me. He gave me some information on a program their social worker ran, but all of information he gave went nowhere. When I finally did reach the social worker, she told me I couldn’t join the program because I hadn’t stopped drinking yet. It seemed like I would never be able to get out of the cycle.

2016 came and went and I tried my hardest to moderate my drinking. It didn’t work. All I could think of is that if a doctor couldn’t help me, then I was certainly an anomaly, and was left feeling hopeless. In early 2017 found the recovery community and started to explore sobriety. It took some setbacks and learning curves, but in March 2021 I will hit my two year anniversary of being alcohol free.

My favorite part of my recovery has been the spiritual growth I’ve experienced. I look at where and how I was then, and how I am now and it makes me so grateful for even the smallest things.

I can look at the horrific things, like my mom dying and me relapsing for the 100th time, and it reminds me of the many blessings I have received from these experiences. I am looking forward to years of personal growth in this area.

Read more about my recovery at:

http://www.thedevildrinksvodka.com

Death will be the Life of Me

Death is a trigger for me, and I’m not really sure why.

I only say this because of how impacted I’ve been, my entire life, by deaths of even people I don’t know.

I don’t know why death is such a huge thing for me. I had a safe childhood and didn’t lose anyone close to me until I was an adult.

The only significant event happened when I was about 5. My mom’s brother Bob died of cancer at age 21, back when I was a toddler. My mom had a picture of him in his casket. When we came across it, the subject of death came up. She told me that everyone dies at some point.

This was so upsetting to me, that it’s still a strong memory from my childhood.

I had a friend, Jonathon P, pass away at the end of our 8th grade year. He was more of an acquaintance to me, but we were in the same friend group. While his passing was a shock, it was due to a chronic illness, something I had no clue about beforehand. I remember being sad & confused, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The next death affected me for many years. A good friend of my sister’s lost her husband in a car accident. He was a teacher and going to meet with his principal on Martin Luther King Day, when the rest of the school was closed. His car hit black ice and slammed into a tow truck, dying instantly. He left behind a wife, young son and a six month old baby girl.

How could this happen? I looked up to this couple so much, they both had it all, and having just gotten married, I aspired to be like them.

At the time, my husband was driving almost an hour to and from work. We often talked on his drive home, and I always had a fear in the back of my mind- he could crash while we were talking. I can’t say this fear had a huge impact, but it was there.

I’m happy to report that this friend ended up finding another partner a few years later, had a third child and has a very happy life right now and has had for a long time because this happened about 20 years ago.

One thing I’m realizing, is that death has been an issue with a big impact even long before 2014- MY year of loss and deaths.

But why?

Why do certain deaths affect me so much more than others?

What makes one death so much more awful and heavy than the others?

Why do some news stories, like that poor teen who died on the ride in Orlando recently, make me cry like I saw it myself, or like I know the family?

And all the others, like Jack & Kathy, who I wrote about, and thought about for months.

I think this “death fear” inside me is prohibiting my body’s healing.

When I went to my 1st Reiki class in October, I declared that my body was going to heal itself! I proclaimed it to all, and talked to the teacher about purging trauma- even trauma from a past life. And in doing this exact thing, I became obsessed with the Kathy and Jack murder, right in the midst of doing wall sits on my lunch (wall sits help purge trauma, my teacher said..).

Since then, death keeps coming up and up.

think that I really need to work on this… I need to change my perspective. Death isn’t final, I know that, but that’s not what bugs me.

People losing people bothers me. Yeah, death isn’t final, but if I ever lose a kid and you say that to me, you can expect to get punched in the face.

Death is final, and it’s sad. The books that I study say otherwise. It’s just an illusion, it’s not even real- they say.

Okay, I want to be more awakened, but seriously. If I lost an immediate family member, no amount of knowledge or beliefs is going to make me not miss them any less, or be less angry or sad over circumstances.

So how do I keep death out of my living life? I mean, all year long now I’ve been affected by the deaths of people I don’t even know.

So why does this matter? I’m trying to heal my inflammation and have the belief that illness is a manifestation of suppressed feelings and emotions. I’ve been on the autoimmune protocol diet for a few weeks, with little relief to my inflammation. Physical therapy, nor my weekly injection seem to bring much relief, if any.

All this death stuff came out after I declared my intention of helping my body heal itself. I have to believe that it’s somehow connected.

Writing this out has helped a bit. Now it’s time to ponder. Any words of advice is appreciated ❤️

Physical Pain, Mental Pain, is it all the Same?

t’s a chilly morning, here in the northern state of Michigan.

For my 45th birthday a few weeks ago, my family got me tickets to something called Bovine Therapy. They’re all coming too and we will have an hour to snuggle with cows! I’m really excited for this, but do wish it was going to be a little warmer today, the high is only 40.

My recent posts have been a lot about the AIP diet I’m on, or trying to be on. I figured I’d update and want to write about a big “A-Ha” moment I had yesterday.

The entire week was an AIP success, in my eyes at least. For the past several days, I’ve steered clear of gluten, caffeine, sugar, nuts, beans and legumes, rice, seeds, nightshades and a few other things. Caffeine and sugar are the big ones for me to give up- I have an addiction.

The first time I cheated was yesterday. It started with lunch. I had Panera and had peppers in my soup and parmesan cheese in my salad. Last night I had a Larabar (all natural ingredients but has cocoa and nuts), an oatmeal cream pie and 3 little Easter chocolate eggs.

My pain had been noticeably decreased the past few days, so I wondered if I would wake up today in more pain, but my hand is still about the same. I didn’t take pain meds upon awakening, that’s good for me. While I’m happy this “binge” didn’t seem to affect me, I’m eager to get back on track today. Additionally, I have been picking up ingredients here and there all week so I plan to make some yummy meals and sweet treats this weekend.

Nothing feels as good as eating an AIP compliant meal or dessert that I find absolutely delicious. I haven’t found a ton, yet, but feel like I’m adapting recipes to fit my liking and this is becoming easier the more I learn and practice. I was stoked to make a chicken and cauliflower rice dish with coconut aminos and ginger seasoning that tasted just like a yummy Asian dish. I had never cooked with spices like that before and was over the moon excited. I eyeballed the spices and when I made it again a few days later, I put WAY too much ginger. It was strong and not great, but you live and learn, right?

Ok, so back to my epiphany.

First, I feel that it’s important to say that for awhile now, I have a belief that the illnesses/sicknesses we have in our body is a direct result of suppressed emotions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my inflamed hand and scratched my head until it was raw because I can’t figure out what I’m holding onto.

As I cut out sugar this week, I felt like I was looking at it like I look at alcohol. No, I shouldn’t have it- it will come with loads of consequences that aren’t really worth the two second taste of it. So CAN I eat it? Yes! Is it worth the consequences? No. This helped me especially when I came across unexpected goodies at work or home.

So, yesterday morning my sister and I were talking on the phone and decided to draw a card from our spiritual deck to give me a message for the day.

The card was called, “Let Go” and talked about letting go of addictions. I told her, “Hey that’s perfect! This means I’m right on track, I AM letting go!” Then I told her about how my thinking had seemed to change and I was able to think about sugar like alcohol.

Then she said something that I have never considered that absolutely blew me away.

“Isn’t it funny, how the very first coping skill, the first addiction, food, is now the thing that you are almost being forced to overcome now?”

My jaw dropped. Food has always been an issue with me, always. I found life hacks to get around this imprisonment, most notably having irreversible bariatric surgery ten years ago.

Immediately after the surgery, I felt a freedom I had never felt before. I no longer had to think about dieting or what I was going to eat- I simply couldn’t eat the things that were killing me, and it was an awesome feeling!

What I didn’t acknowledge is that transfer addiction is real, and I already loved my alcohol a great deal. With the stomach surgery, the alcohol effect is much more severe and it’s common for us to become alcoholics. And I did.

You know the rest.

Geez, everything truly is connected I’m realizing more and more. I think that as I purge caffeine, sugar, etc, I’ll be able to work through any emotional stuff that comes up.

I don’t know why this was so mind blowing to me, typing it out makes it seem really obvious, but it wasn’t. Not to me, anyways.

I mean, I’m working on my diet 100% because of my inflammation and the hope of decreasing and getting off the medication I’m on for RA. I hadn’t considered the mental and emotional effects.

I’m still trying to digest this and figure out what it means. I guess I really need to pay attention to what triggers me to cheat and go from there.

This truly makes me more confident that complete healing is quite attainable if I keep at it.

Tricky Little Triggers

Several weeks ago, I was reading Gabby Bernstein’s new book, Happy Days. Early in the book, she talks a lot about triggers. I pondered the subject for a while and thought of my triggers. Family parties and family drama was a big one, or used to be. Now I know how to take care of my mental health and can handle these times with little to not stress or lingering emotions– usually. There were some other triggers I thought of as well, but they all seemed to be a thing of the past. Yep! I joyfully exclaimed to myself. I really don’t have any triggers.

Boy, was I wrong. 

The following week, I was at a Happy Hour get together with friends. They were drinking but it wasn’t the alcohol that triggered me. A random topic came up that made me feel an incredible amount of shame. It had to do with a family situation, that was related to the topic, but I didn’t share it with my friends. I just sat there feeling shameful for something that wasn’t really even mine. 

The next week I talked about it with my BFF from the group, one who is also reading Gabby’s book. I told her that I really don’t know why it made me feel so shameful. “Because it shows that you’re not perfect?” She asked. I thought about it and agreed, that must be it. 

It still bothered me after the conversation and I tried so hard to understand my feelings. The conclusion I came to is that actually, People thinking that I’m perfect is my trigger. It’s always bothered me when people say things out of jealousy or envy, especially if I feel it’s not true. So in the Happy Hour situation, I felt like I was hiding something, even though it wouldn’t have even been appropriate to share my story at the time. It felt like a lie– but just would have been so weird and awkward had I said something. 

So that consumed a few weeks. Now death is on my mind again. 

There is a horrific story from Florida. A 14 year old fell off a ride and died. 

This story affected my mind and emotions HUGELY since it happened. At first I thought it was because I have a child around the same age. When I saw a picture of the young man who passed, my emotions became even stronger. I realized later it was probably because my kiddo has a close friend who resembles him. 

While off work this week, this story has been in the back of my mind, just like the murder of Kathy Radtke and Jack Keyes. I’m crying for him, and hope he felt no pain. Also crying for his parents, his father found out on social media and the friends who he was with– who will surely be scarred forever- along with the workers at the park. 

This time I didn’t give it my energy. Anytime the sad thoughts consumed me, I blessed them and sent them away. I meditated on it and sent blessings to the family. Although part of me wanted to look up the details- I didn’t, and didn’t think I could handle it.

Yesterday a young woman lost her life in a car accident not far from my house. All from a driver not paying attention. The other occupants of her car were fine. But the woman, 28, perished in an instant. Here one second, gone the next. 

So I started thinking about the young man again and actually looked at his mom’s and coach’s facebook pages. Some of it made me feel better, and some of it made me feel worse. 

I realized that a quirk of mine is to look up Facebook pages of dead people or their relatives to see the awful posts. I don’t know why I do it, death has been a messy topic since my mom told me everyone dies when I was five. I then had a meltdown, and we never spoke about it again. It might explain why she always let me have pets, and always claimed that it helps us learn about death. 

The feelings of sadness consumed me yesterday and I couldn’t get the young man and his family out of my head. 

I couldn’t sleep and while my mind was running, I remembered the poor little boy who got eaten by an alligator at Disneyland back in 2016. I realized that people dying on vacation, especially children, is a trigger of mine. I simply can’t even imagine coming home without one of my family members- especially a child. But it happens. And life goes on. 

Then I remembered something. Early in our marriage, back in 2002, hubby’s (healthy) grandma died of the flu while on a cruise. 

This was the first relatable death in my life. This was the first time I saw someone who I had conversed with and had a relationship with in a casket. I remember that it was so hard for me to go in there the first time at her wake and being so upset. Honestly, I hadn’t been in the family very long at this point and wasn’t super close to her, but it was still so hard regardless. Incidentally, she’s buried at the same cemetery as Kathy Radtke. 

So I guess these triggers are causing my empathic mind to go crazy. I’ve tried everything this week; meditation, chord plucking, releasing, grounding, etc. It’s still on my mind and I think it’s more hormones than anything at this point, so time should help. 

The good part of it is that my sadness did NOT want to be alone yesterday, like it sometimes does. I used my sadness to spend extra time with my kiddos and thanked the deceased for the increased awareness of how precious our time here really is. 

Tomorrow I go back to work. Sometimes students come back from a not-so-ideal break at home. I’m usually not one of them, but tomorrow I will be. 

Not sure if I mentioned this recently, but the sewer/water project we have going on has been a total nightmare trying to get them to finish. The company is going under and they are getting aggressive with hubby trying to collect the last bit of money. We will pay them when it’s finished, but they supposedly put a lien on our house. They have been just an awful company to deal with (see pics – this is just one of the problems- so much incompetence).

I think we have it figured out now and have others who agreed to finish up the few things that need to be done. But, by the time it’s all done, the original company may sue us, but I’m pretty sure we’ll win (we’ve covered our butts and hubby has kept immaculate records on all conversations, etc). This project started in October and was supposed to take 2-3 weeks! 

So all week home, I listened to hubby on the phone with various people and lawyers. All week workers were coming and going with various estimates. It was a tad stressful and I’ll be able to relate to some of the kids tomorrow. We’re part of the “school is an escape” club. 

I have to stop now, my hand is bad today and it hurts to type this. AIP went okay, but I just practiced so I didn’t cut out things 100% yet. The good news is that my family likes my dinners MUCH better AIP style! (They’re used to me making quinoa, tofu, all those disgusting things, LOL). 

I was going to start tomorrow but might put it off. I want to be well planned with meals and ingredients but not sure that’s going to happen today. 

So until I try this, I have no right complaining about my hand. It’s time to put down the donuts!

Namaste ❤ and if anyone has any advice for me when I have overwhelming empathic thoughts- please spam me with them 🙂

Betsy, Shut Up!

Ahhhhhhhh! Today is the first day of spring break! It’s about 6:30am on Saturday morning and I’m eagerly waiting for next week.

Tomorrow is my oldest’s birthday, he’ll be 19.

Monday is my three year sober anniversary. Three years ago, on my kiddo’s birthday, was the last time I’ve had a sip of alcohol. I haven’t been thinking about it too much, to be honest.

About a month ago, I had a hair analysis done to check my body for toxins and nutrients. I’m trying to figure out how to help this flair in my hand/wrist. It’s been two years! I remember, it first got bad at the start of the pandemic in spring of 2020. I went over the results with the nutritionist, who told me from the beginning that they really don’t do full elimination diets anymore. I was pumped. The first thing I said to her before committing to the test is, “I really have no interest in doing an elimination diet.” I had been there, and it never worked out. I was never consistent or without cheats, and never was successful with it. All it caused was stress and anxiety.

Her recommendations did not make me happy. She wants me to do a detox diet for 14 days and then the autoimmune protocol diet for 30 days.

I’m slowly coming to terms with this. It’s truly what I need to do, if I’m serious about helping myself. The 14 day detox diet is rough. Zero sugar. Not even fruit. Something about “starving the cells.” I believe in it.

So… i’m trying to prepare this weekend. There’s no better time, and it’s not even taking up summer break.

I’ve always wanted to go to a wellness retreat or a rehab facility that encompasses the “whole” person when getting healthy. Meetings, journaling, mediation, yoga, healthy meals, loads of sleep, and self-care up the wazoo! I’m going to try to simulate this experience at my house next week. I want to do all those things and will actually have the time.

The worst part thinking about all this is coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to start eating meat again. It was a heavy decision, and has been slightly haunting me, but I think it’s the only way I’ll be able to do this diet. I know of vegans who do the autoimmune diet, but it’s so incredibly overwhelming to me with all the restrictions, I don’t feel that I can get adequate nutrition with the current knowledge I have on it. I’ll need to cut out beans, legumes, soy, and a lot of vegetarian staples of mine. I hope I don’t start having nightmares about eating my pets.

I feel a little full circle-ish. When I was 37, after I was diagnosed with RA, I first learned and tried an elimination diet. This was the first time in my life that I was forced to look at my alcohol consumption. Heck, now that I think about it, this could have opened the door to my sober curiosity. I wasn’t successful with the diet, or quitting alcohol back then, but it certainly stands out as my first attempt.

This was a couple months before my mom died, and a couple years before I would look at myself as having a drinking problem.

Now it’s been eight years and I’ve successfully quit alcohol. So why on earth does this stupid temporary diet scare me so much? It’s so frustrating!

I feel caught up in the cycle. Betsy has been running my mind since the conversation with the nutritionist, trying to talk me out of it.

I know this is what I need to do. I don’t know why I have so much anxiety about it. I think I’m afraid to fail. Especially after spending a lot of money on the test and now on supplements she’s recommending to heal my gut. If I truly want to get better and maybe even get off my RA meds, I have to give this a shot! I have to change my thinking. This is what Betsy has been saying:

You aren’t going to be able to eat anything.

This is going to be so hard and you’re going to feel like shit.

This won’t help your pain.

You won’t have any energy for your workouts.

You tried this before, what makes you think you can do it now?

You get the point, man she is mean!!

I’ve been trying to put a positive spin on it:

I’m looking forward to pampering myself.

I’m so lucky that I have the whole week off and can focus on starting strong.

I’m looking forward to taking a break of my tough workouts and enjoying some leisurely walks and gentle yoga.

I’m going to feel so much better!

I’m excited for a week of self-care.

If I can quit drinking alcohol, then I can do anything.

There are lots of foods that I can still eat.

It’s not nearly as hard as my brain wants me to believe.

Some things never change, eh? I sort of feel propelled back to 2014. I mean, I know I’ve grown a ton since then, but somehow have reverted to my old self. I think it’s because I’m scared. I have a lot of fears of failing this again.

I’m worthy of eating totally clean.

And best of all, I’m two days away from my three year date! Although I won’t be celebrating with cake, I’ll be celebrating my growth, knowledge and continuously improving health with healthy habits.

I think Monday deserves a little shopping trip! Maybe a fresh spring outfit, and/or make-up and maybe even a mani and/or pedi. IDK what Monday will entail, it’ll depend on my mood and energy that day, but I’ll try to find a way to treat myself. I think that’s so important.

In the meantime, if anyone has any AIP ideas or recipes, please spam me with them! I have books on it but they’re about 10 years old and I’m hoping for some updated recipes.

Namaste ❤

Day #1095

One Day at a Time

Why does it seem like things must completely fall apart- before the rebuild?

It seems like everything is falling apart right now.

School.

Home.

Family.

Life.

I’m ready to make circumstances better, but it’s like walking upstream in an overflowing river.

Some things are little.

Some things are big.

But nothing is right.

Right now.

Tomorrow is new.

It must feel better to me.

Just have to get through today

Day #1031

Empath on Steroids

Oxford Languages define “empath” as a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual. I’ve done this on a fairly small scale for as long as I can remember. Usually, I feel sad or sorry for someone, but it feels like it is me who is experiencing the emotions. This has happened with people I’m in close proximity with, such as family members or coworkers.

Last week my empathy sense took over everything for a minute.

It started on Thursday. On the way to work, I remarked to my sister that I forgot to put rocks (crystals) in my pockets. Then I told her that I normally bring at least 3 stones, in addition to the stone bracelets I wear. That day I forgot them all. My sister laughed, and asked me what I needed all that protection for.

I went on with my day, and encountered rumblings of a murder (on social media) that happened back in 1971, in the town that I currently live in. I was intrigued and spent a great deal of time looking at old newspapers with accounts of this story.

John “Jack” Keyes and Kathy Radkte were a popular, all american teenage couple back in 1971. They left to run errands on a Sunday evening back in January 1971 and never came back. Jack was found the next morning in his beloved 1969 fastback mustang, reclined in the drivers seat, hand holding his license, shot in both cheeks from the outside of the car. Kathy was nowhere to be found.

In the weeks and months that followed, the police interviewed hundreds of people and administered many lie detector tests- but all leads came up empty.

Kathy’s body was found about 4 months later floating in a lake 30 miles away from the crime scene. They drilled a hole through the ice, and stuffed her in. They tied the gun they used, pic ax and her belongings to a cement chunk and then to her body with a venetian blind cord. The cord eventually loosened or broke, which freed her body.

Everything I read struck a cord within me. I know where their houses are (back then, the newspapers stated the victims addresses) and drive through the subs regularly. At the time of the murder, they were about the same age as my oldest is now. They were born around the same time as my parents. Right where her body was found, in Holly MI, I have many family members and am familiar with that area as well.

It seems so silly to write out, but since then, it’s like I’m experiencing this first hand. How can something that happened 50 years ago affect me this much.

That night, it was still on my mind heavily and I went to bed early. I tossed and turned and thought about the sad murder every time I woke up. I reached out to my Reiki teacher the following day. I was at work but still thinking about Jack and Kathy.

Thinking about their murders makes me cry, even today, 5 days later. I think about my life as a child in the 80’s and I think of my mom, who was in her 30’s, doing the things she did as a mom with young kids in her 30’s. Then I cry because Jack and Kathy never had that opportunity- and would have been parents in their 30’s in the 80’s if they had lived.

I cry for Jacks brother and his friend, who found the boy shot and frozen solid. Was that why his brother Chris proceeded his mom’s death in 2007? When did Chris Keyes die, and how?

When I think of her parents missing her and not knowing where on earth she is for almost 4 months, I can’t breathe. When I think of them getting the news, and the circumstances, my breath gets even shorter.

I cry when I read the social media posts, remembering them and this awful time. Many people commented about what a sad sad time that was. Kathy’s mom was the elementary school secretary and was loved by everyone.

I’ve been doing things since last week to help re-align me spiritually. Someone suggested that something within this story has triggered me, yet I still can’t figure out what or why. It happened so long ago, and to families that I had no knowledge of until recently. So why does it feel like I’m directly involved in this? How can I be literally grieving for a 50 year old murder of two people whom I’ve never even met?

I thought it might help to write it all out, and I think it has a little. I’m going to attach an interesting podcast about this murder, and a few newspaper clippings.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/8261399/keyes-radtke-detroit-free-press/

http://oaklandcountyhistory.org/awweb/pdfopener?md=1&did=108449Posted byOrganic RevivalPosted inaddictionalcoholics anonymousalnonautoimmune diseaseBuddhismdogsfood overeating food addiction alcoholic alcohol addictiongriefgrievingpetspsychicsrecoveryTags:#addiction #recovery #sobriety #ODAAT #onedayatatime #socialmedia #depression #dothingsthatmakeyouhappy #soberlife#empathLeave a commenton Empath on SteroidsEditEmpath on Steroids

Honey, I Killed your Ego

If only it were that easy. If only I could don my superhero costume and go rescue my hubby’s soul… imprisoned by years of manipulation and abuse from his ego.

It’s like the old devil and angel on your shoulder, you know, the wolf you feed? We all have a devil and an angel, and only we have the power to give.

But that’s not the hard part, you see, this can get really tricky.

Our ego sounds just like us, and not only lies to us, but does not hesitate to pounce on us the moment we are in a vulnerable situation.

For example, you recently put on weight- a lot of it and instead of continuing to stuff your face, you decide to face the mirror. You get serious. You make an appointment with a nutritionalist and sign up for a gym membership, because you’ve had enough, gosh darn it and going to lose the extra pounds once and for all.

The first week goes beautifully. Everything is within your control and you manage to keep junk food out of your house, hit the gym everyday and stick to your meal plan. The first week you manage to lose over 5 pounds.

Week two starts off lovely. More of the same, gym, salads and lots and lots of water. Only, this time the scale doesn’t budge. It’s Friday, you’ve been working hard all week and just found out that you are actually one pound heavier than the day before. “Oh well,” you think as you head off to work, “It’s just water weight, I’m sure.” You try to convince yourself, while you notice a tiny raging voice in the back of your mind (aka, your ego).

You get to work and the entire scale debacle is forgotten. Until you get an email about a bunch of donuts and cookies in the lounge.

“No.” You firmly tell yourself. “I’m on a roll and not going to ruin it.”

As the morning goes on, your stomach rumbles get louder, and so does that nagging voice.

You never get treats dropped off at work, you’re missing out.

What does it matter anyways? You’re already up a pound!

You’ve worked so hard for two weeks, you deserve it.

And, unless you have the skills to recognize and ZAP it, the voice carries on until you either give in or are driven to the point of absolute misery.

So you head to the lounge with the intent of grabbing one, small cookie, which you manage to do successfully.

The day drags on and as the stress piles on and you glance at the crumb covered napkin, reminding you about the treats and making your stomach growl. By lunchtime, you’ve not only gone back into the lounge, but you’ve taken an entire paper plate full of cookies back to your desk and promptly inhale them without barely tasting them.

But that’s not all.

As you try to focus on the afternoon, that voice is still persistent. Only this time it has a different tune.

I can’t believe you, you’re such a pig.

I bet someone saw you, you’re the laughing stock of the building.

And you thought you could lose weight, you’re just a loser!

What the frick freakin’ ego?!? You just want to make me miserable 😢😢😢

I’m very very lucky that now I know enough to see the truth, and recognize that bastard ego (they’re all bastards, yours, mine, they’re all the same).

But, not realizing your ego is abusing you, you persevere and manage to stop at the gym on the way home. While getting in your car, you notice a missed call and voicemail from your buddy who invites you to dinner. You call him back and agree to meet him at Ruby Tuesdays, where you know you can make a phenomenal a salad, but instead you order the fish and chip special and split a liter of beer with your buddy- who only ends up drinking 1/2 glass, while you slowly suck the liter dry. You figure you already messed up, so what’s the point of holding back now, right?

The next day you’re up two more pounds and you spend the weekend binging on pizza and Netflix, because when you consider going to the gym – or prepping your meals- that mean voice won’t stop chiming in.

You’re wasting your time.

You’re nothing but a fat slob.

But that’s not working, so your ego takes a different tactic.

But you’ve worked so hard, you deserve a break.

You starved for two weeks and are no better off than you were before, so just enjoy the pizza.

And so you do, because it’s right. Right?

No.

It’s wrong, very wrong, all wrong, but all so tricky.

The ego wants external comfort, food, alcohol, sex, etc. The ego wants to compare you with everyone else and wants you to see yourself as separate, as special. The ego is a master manipulator and looks at our fears to grow its power.

So you have to call it out, and tell it to go to h***.

And then you have to pull up your big person pants.

If you ate the donut, fine, but don’t use it as an excuse to derail. And for heavens sake, if you know the donut will end in a downward spiral, then don’t take the first bite. Sugar addiction is real, just like I physically can’t just drink one drink so I have to completely stay away.

But, this goes much further than food and alcohol. Our ego is always with us, and more often than not bringing us down.

When I’m writing it tells me my story sucks and no one is going to want to read it.

When I’m celebrating an accomplishment, it tells me that I should have or could have done it differently and the praise must be a mistake.

When my key card at work doesn’t work to unlock the door, it tells me it’s probably because I got fired.

It doesn’t contain an ounce of niceness and often snickers at my aging body parts.

I want to challenge you to find, explore and defeat your ego. It’s very simple. It starts with recognizing that nasty little voice whenever it rears it’s ugly head.

Just recognizing it is power.

And when you notice it, tell it to go take a hike. That’s even more powerful.

It’ll start to get smaller until eventually it’s hardly noticeable.

Until you start going through something tough and become vulnerable. You might not even realize that you’re vulnerable, but your ego does!!! (Remember those cookies in the lounge? Your ego made sure to remind you of the unhappy number on the scale that morning- because your vulnerability gives it power).

The great news is that once you start calling it out, it becomes addicting. It feels good to be the one in power and to recognize it for what it is- a master sabotager.

It’s not a hard thing to change but it does require you to be conscious of it and consistent with turning it off. It becomes a habit not long after- and you’ll more than likely experience an immense amount of happiness during the process.

The process is subtle but transformative.

As the ego fades away, self-appreciation, self-confidence and self-love tends to take root. With the tiny ego in the background, the good stuff will flourish. You may notice some subtle but positive changes.

•You might gossip less, because it no longer makes you feel good.

•You might choose the salad for lunch, because your body is craving a nourishing meal.

•You might skip a workout because your body feels exhausted and allowing it to rest feels like you’re honoring yourself.

•You might go the extra mile, because even though you only committed to three, it feels just so darn good.

•You might get teary eyed, driving home on a sunny day. Not because you’re sad, but because you’re looking around at the grass, the trees, the houses, the other cars, the sky & clouds, and you just feel so incredibly grateful for the beauty and simplicity of this life.

Killing my alcohol addiction was also the death of my ego. But you don’t need a vice or addiction to squash your ego.

Just recognize it- that voice, the rude one that likes to ramble. That’s it, it’s that simple 😊

So no, honey, I didn’t kill your ego. I’d love nothing more than to gruesomely murder your ego, along with every other ego out there, but that’s just impossible ☹️

Two Years, No Drinks

Two years ago was one of the most shameful days of my life.

I won’t go into details, and they aren’t tragically awful, as I was a ‘high bottom’ drunk. I’ve never had a DUI or anything like that. But I knew that I had to stop drinking once and for all.

In these two years, the blessings and gifts haven’t stopped coming. These come in the form of simple things like the intrinsic appreciation of a warm, sunny, lazy day. Other times they are bigger gifts, like getting an A+ on my physical exam and bloodwork or actually communicating effectively with my spouse. 

At any rate, I can honestly say that these two years have been the happiest of my adult life. 

Read that again.

What if I had known this all along? 

I can’t go back and I don’t do regrets anymore, so my point is if you are reading this, today is the best day to quit. There will never be a better day than today and you are not getting any younger. 

Speaking of younger, according to my Arboleaf scale, my metabolic age is lower than my actual age 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

If you have no idea how good that feels, than you are in need of some self-care/self-love. It is a boost that no amounts of drugs/alcohol could ever provide- and the results are long acting and cause a chain of other positive events. 

The false highs do the opposite. While the pleasure is immediate, the fall is hard and the only way out seems to be located somewhere that contains more, more, and more.

Okay enough soapbox talk. Wanna know how I’m going to celebrate? I’m going to go to TJ Maxx to get back some of the stuff I tried to buy a few weeks ago.

I was yearning for that stuff for about a week, then finally forgot about it.

Now I’m almost out of conditioner for real and tried to order a similar product off Amazon but it’s not nearly as good, so I’m just going to have to go back to that store.

The good news is that I know exactly what I want and it’s only a few small things, not a cart full like I had before. And it’s now a need. 

I hope you all have a happy Sunday 😻🌸💐

Don’t Look at Me

Spring has sprung, and the sunshine couldn’t feel any brighter. The birds are getting louder every day and the grass is slowly turning a lush green. 

Despite the arrival of spring, and my birthday, last week was tough. Low vibes and low energy, all week long. I didn’t workout as much as usual and my workouts all week were weak. 

Still feeling kind of low, despite the fact that this has been the most perfect weekend, if you’re looking at outside factors beyond my control. 

But, I’m focused. Shadow work has been popping up everywhere, so naturally that’s what I’m focused on. I’m in a somatic writing class for the next two weeks- and I’m not enjoying it too much. I am in way over my head. The women in this group seem to be very far above me spiritually. I’m trying to learn bits and pieces from them, but I’m feeling sort of lost in this class. 

I joined a book club group for the book, May Cause Miracles, that starts in a couple weeks. This is a 40 day soul program that I started a couple years ago and have been meaning to get back to. 

One thing that I’ve really recently noticed is that I have awful body image problems. That’s about where I stopped while doing this program before, so I’m eager to see if it helps. 

By awful body image problems, I mean I feel awkward and uncomfortable when anyone compliments me on the way I look. 

In 2019, I lost a lot of weight. I attributed it to getting off Prednisone after being on it for a year, plus intermittent fasting and eating better in general, and finally getting out of the alcohol cycle and completely omitting that poison. Whenever anyone said anything about my weight loss, I immediately told them it was because I’m off the pred. Fine. 

Well that was fall of 2019. Since then I’ve gotten healthier. I’m eating cleaner, joined Club Pilates, and workout regularly. 

Someone recently commented on how healthy I looked. Immediately, I used being off Pred as an excuse. I later thought about it and wondered why I wasn’t honest. Especially given how much work I’ve put into my health. Why didn’t I just say that I’m eating better and doing killer workouts? 

My sister and I are reading the cliff note version of A Course in Miracles. We read a lesson nearly every day. A couple weeks ago, the author told a story about asking his daughter what she was doing. 

“Just laying here, feeling beautiful.” She replied. I can’t even remember what the point of that day’s lesson was but my sister and I had a long conversation about it. 

Sister loved what the daughter said. Said she was going to use that line. That line was horrifying to me. I would never say that, unless it was a sarcastic remark made to laugh at myself.

I decided right then that I would be happiest not even discussing looks or the body at all. 

But why?

Why is this so Taboo for me? 

So… I’m relying on my favorite guru, Gabby Bernstein to help me out! I may just need a miracle 🙌🏻🙏🏻

So, happy day 725! Almost two years, and the real work has just begun.

Maybe work is the wrong word. Most of the time it feels like miracles and magic and is way more play than work. Oddly enough though, the toughest situations or lessons often produce the most magic. This I must remember— it’s very easy to forget and resist. 

Happy Sunday friends! I hope you all have a great day and are able to rest, relax and get in some sunshine ☀️

Are We Sure Stuff Doesn’t Make Us Happy?

Yesterday was a gorgeous March Friday in Michigan. In celebration of the great weather we’ve had all week, I ventured out to do some leisurely shopping at TJ Maxx. The only thing that I was specifically looking for was a St. Patty’s Day mask. Anything else that I found would be a bonus.

It takes a certain mood for me to poke around a store without worrying about time, and yesterday I was in that mood. There was nothing I needed, but I spent who-knows-how-long looking at endless racks of purses, and then sunglasses, and then off to the make-up section where I would spend even more time.

I found some amazing treasures! I have a very saggy face, from being middle age and from losing a significant amount of weight. My intuition recently told me to use manuka honey on my face to help with firming up the skin, so when I found a night-time manuka honey firming cream, I knew it was meant for me.

The make-up/skin section had a slew of cheap goodies. I got a leave-in conditioner, another hair towel (I bought one for the first time around Christmas and am constantly washing it), a room spray, two clay masks for detoxification and firming, tinted lip balm, and that might be it for that section. Off to the bras/underwear.

I immediately found a pack of Lucky bras that were soft and exactly what I was looking for, but they didn’t have my size. I searched and searched and as luck would have it, I finally found a set in a size L- I was thrilled!  I also bought matching underwear and a pack of pj shorts that were so soft. Mission accomplished in the lingerie section- off to the food/home goods aisles.

Not a whole lot here. I found some chocolate/caramel candies and chocolate fudge. I looked at the notebooks and candles and then glanced at my cart with stuff piled in it, and knew that it was almost time to go. But not before hitting the clothing section. Near the clothing section is the workout section, and I scored two yoga blocks on clearance!

The store was starting to get busy and I knew I’d be quick. With the aisles getting crowded, I set my cart off to the side while I quickly rummaged through the clothing, glancing at my cart every now and again to make sure it was still there.

After looking at and almost buying a couple of tops, I decided that I didn’t need anything else, and it was time to go. I moaned when I saw the growing line as I went to get my treasures.

Only, my cart was gone. Just, gone.

It couldn’t have gone far. I looked all over- by the service counter, the checkout lanes, the restroom, where was it? If an employee took it, they couldn’t have emptied it that quick, and so I circled the store, not once, not twice but three times looking for my cart. Throughout the whole ordeal, a little voice was telling me that there is nothing in that cart that I really needed.

After three rounds, and about three minutes of reshopping and attempting to refind the same treasures, I gave up and left, feeling empty.

TJ Maxx did not have any St. Patty’s Day masks, so after leaving, I ran into Walmart. No masks there, but I did find some other St. Patty’s Day decorations and a couple of bras similar to what I found at TJ Maxx, and probably just as good. I felt good as I checked out at Walmart, thinking of the money I probably saved not buying a bunch of junk.

I felt a little happy when I arrived home and thought about all of the items and packaging that I now did not have to put away and sort through. Putting all new stuff away sometimes leads to feeling let-down and I acknowledged that at least I didn’t have that to deal with. I was still sad. I told my oldest son what happened, and we laughed and laughed, because it was kind of funny.

Last night, I thought of the tinted lip balm and got excited to try it, until I remembered I didn’t buy it. It was one of my ‘cart casualties.’ Every time I thought of this, it made me feel empty, and I had to remind myself that it was all stuff I already had.

This morning is Saturday morning, which means when I woke up, I didn’t have to get up right away.

Want to know the first thing I did?

I grabbed my phone and went on the TJ Maxx website to see if I could find some of the make-up and conditioners I found on clearance, and to see if I could find the Lucky bra and underwear. No luck, nothing, and so I’m writing this out.

I have the urge to go back today and get some of my stuff. I don’t know why the pull is so strong, and why I feel that I am missing out on something.

It’s a nice day and I’m going to forget about it. I’m taking the dog to Proud Lake and going to enjoy the sunshine by the river.

Lucky for me, there’s a Dollar Tree by the park and I can’t wait to stop and poke around on the way home.