The Incoming Storm

Ever notice a storm coming? That can be addiction. When we’re not facing it or looking in that direction, we can get sideswiped by it. We can become overwhelmed by it and lost. When we’re facing away from the storm our only warning signs are changes in temperature and maybe a few drops here and there. But we still see blue sky…

And then the storm hits and everywhere we look is dark and stormy. And it can be hard to find shelter. Some storms pass without much cause for concern while others destroy everything in their paths.

Something to think on…especially for those of you close to an addict.

Check This Out: We’re Always Free To Change Our Minds

Anytime.

Over anything.

Over anyone (including ourselves).

🙂

I’ve come to believe that when we change our minds, our attention shifts, and then we shift – internally. This is something like rearranging our internal living room furniture. And it’s not inconsequential. We can change our minds about whether or not we want fries or onion rings with our burgers or we can change our minds about whether or not we believe in God. All sorts of subjects are on the table. Minor topics to major topics. When we change our minds and then act on these changes – they cause different outcomes. Think about it – of course they do. Ever say to yourself “What might have happened had I done that instead of this?”

When we decide to think differently about people, events, or situations, we’re changing our perceptions about them. Our ability to make choices and weigh options can be likened to a pendulum that swings in either direction, and covers all the area in-between, for the good or for the bad. Sometimes good folks do bad stuff and vice versa. Either way, this pendulum is always in motion – swaying. Sometimes it only moves a little bit near the center, and maybe that’s when things might feel or look boring, but this is life. It’s alive and always in a state of movement.

We know that some things are constant: the sun rises and sets because the earth rotates, people age, we need air, food, and water to live, etc. But – earthly scientific facts aside – one thing we can all rely on is change – whether it’s within our power or not. People change, the weather changes, situations change, our jobs change, our home environments change, etc. How we perceive and react to changes are on us. We have to own everything we do including what we think – which is a choice. We can either think for ourselves – independently – or be followers. Our perceptions of life and of ourselves are changeable. And because they are, it’s best to always think first before we ever do anything. At least in-as-much as we’re afforded.

All this said – I suggest that when things get rough, and it feels like life might never look up – we ought to keep rolling with the punches. We might not always understand why we are the way we are or why people and things are the way they are – but give yourself enough time and the tide will change. It always does. And if it’s not changing fast enough for you – move. Turn around and face another direction. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Sure enough, the second you change something about your own situation or perception, change will follow. This is cause and effect. And our lives are a reflection of our perceptions – not just what we see outside the front door, but what we ‘see’ and feel in our hearts.

Being human is a tough job. My guess? We’re all here to learn. So, we might as well do it with a positive attitude. When we learn to lift ourselves up, internally, people notice. Even if they can’t name it, they can sense it and they see it in our behaviour. Sometimes they’re even moved, and this can be infectious – like Covid, but better. Goodness and positivity are contagious.

So, change your mind, change your perceptions, change your attitude and behavior, and infect others – with positivity – just by being you.

🙂

Your Alarm Just Went Off And It’s Time To Start The Day.

What.

You stumble over the cats as you make your way into the kitchen with one eye open and flip on the switch to the coffer maker. Your cell phone rings but you can’t find it because you’re not awake enough to realize it’s in the pocket of the robe you’re wearing. You need to pee but haven’t made your bed yet, and you can’t decide which to do first – so you do neither while the coffee brews. You stare at your feet and realize one is longer than the other. One hundred thoughts about any and everything zip through your brain, but which one to focus on has already become your biggest challenge. That and finding a spoon.

Waking up takes time. At least for some of us. And having an indecisive personality doesn’t help.

This mental state can be compared to the mental state of someone who has recently stopped drinking or using. It takes time to wake up and air out.

For those of us new to sobriety, airing out our brains can take months. A cup of coffee and a few hours just won’t cut it. Coming to can be a strange and new experience for the acute alcoholic who has just spent a quarter or more of his/her life drinking or using. New thoughts and ideas occur to us. New routines present themselves. Our perspectives change and with them – our attitudes. Everything is new without the blanket of alcohol/drugs. And we don’t know what to DO with newness. It’s raw and not always much fun.

We need to learn to be patient with ourselves, with other people, and with life. It’s a challenge. And other people close to us who recognize what we’re going through need to utilize patience. We’re like wee babes – learning to walk. We fall down and trip over socks. But eventually – those of us determined to get it right – do get it right. And it pays off.

Just a little something to chew on for those of you with a loved one in early recovery or for those of you thinking about trying to get your shit together. It’s not an easy or a fast process – coming into the light, that is. But it sure as hell is worth it.

Ambivalence

Of course I can decide – I just can’t make up my mind.

NOUN

  1. the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.

Is this or is this not the MOST uncomfortable mental state – ever?

***Yes, I want to get up earlier so that I can get stuff done and enjoy more of my time off – but I want to stay in bed and play WWF on my phone because I love my bed and I’m happy in it.

***No, I don’t want to go to the store and enter mainstream society, but I should because I’m low on food and apparently my body needs food.

Crossing that threshold into either Yes or No is such a delicate space. And it’s tiny – yet consequences of some kind and in some form arise from either decision a person makes. Yes or No changes everything. How fucked is this?

My part time job is driving me painfully nuts. The pros are that I get to cycle there and home (I love cycling, but I don’t need a job to ride my bike. I can do that anytime I want to), the money (but I don’t need this job to have some), and knowing that I’m helping someone who really needs it (Okay -this is the biggest pro. It makes me feel like I’m a less selfish person than I really am). The cons – I can’t stand the way I feel when I leave and I dread going.

Ambivalence means being on the fence about something or someone where a decision is being called for, and teetering from one side to the other without falling off. It’s RIDICULOUS. And it has NOTHING to do with balance. If anything – it’s the opposite. It’s being UNABLE to find balance. Feeling stuck and unable to make the RIGHT decision. Yes? No? Maybe.

When I land in this state I have to shove myself – internally – into falling off the fence to one side or the other and then deal with whatever happens next. I’m a Libra. Maybe that’s part of my problem. I have a hell of a time making up my mind about some things. And it drives me NUTS.

Life is short – right? So why do things you don’t want to do unless you really have to?

What to do when one con is so big it equals about 14 pros?

I don’t know. Right now I keep pushing myself to do things I don’t want to do and I see that I continue to ask myself WHY I keep doing these things…

Are the pros worth it? I can’t decide…

JEEEEEEEZ!

So – There’s This Guy I Know.

Some Guy

We were talking last night and he mentioned that he’d either heard or read that all humans alive today are here by incredible odds. The odds of any of us waking up – again – this morning are about the same as the odds of TWO MILLION people throwing a ONE TRILLION sided dice – and each dice landing on the same number.

That is some unlikely shit right there. Astronomical odds.

Think about the number of ancestors that came before you. This is thousands upon thousands upon thousands of your distant relatives. If anything had interrupted their life span before it actually did – you wouldn’t be alive. You would not exist.

Wow. Just – wow.

And when we do have the privilege or luck or the good genes to live a long life – we don’t have to worry about living forever (thank God, because life is a bit grueling and tiresome), because life takes care of that for everyone. We all have a temporary pass down here to traverse the planet and try to accomplish some stuff before we’re yanked back into the great womb. Again.

Just something to think on.

I for one appreciate the fact that I am still here after everything I’ve pulled. What are the chances of THAT? I could have gone POOF about a hundred times by now, but I haven’t. I didn’t. I’m still here.

I’m still freakin’ here. And these days I’m all too aware of the fact that my days aren’t guaranteed. I could go POOF anytime of any day. So – – – I’m doing my best. I continue to try to do the next right thing – by me.

Do you?

I Get It.

Some folks are absolutely terrified of life and some of them don’t even recognize it.

Life is scary sometimes. It’s not for the timid. There’s a lot we can’t control.

Imagine this: folks are like leaves drifting on ocean waves when a storm comes. Poor leaves. We get tossed and turned and dunked and whopped upside our – heads. We get pushed under waves and rolled along the bottom of the ocean floor. OW! And then – “WTF!?!? Is that a SHARK???!!!” Oh, the stress is just unrelenting. Until, of course when the sun comes out, which it ALWAYS does, and we get gently washed ashore where we can rest on the sand and dry out. Until the next wind comes, picks us up, and off we go…

So – what to do? Ride the waves. Learn to tread water until you get to dry land. Learn what it means to be the best you and then spend your life becoming it. Why not? What’s more important than that?

None of us has a guaranteed amount of time on this planet. I think we’re here to accomplish what we can – internally and externally – WHILE WE CAN. Turn off the TV and start listening. What do your heart and intuition say? Are they pointing toward a specific direction or action? If you think you’re being held back – how can you free yourself? There’s always a way.

Existing is easy. Living takes courage.

What Does A Recovery Coach DO?

It’s disheartening to read about job openings on social media sites that are listed under the title of Recovery Coach (or something similar) that have absolutely zero duties that relate to actual coaching.

I’m not convinced that most folks know – exactly – what a recovery coach is supposed to do. We talk and listen. We communicate. We offer questions rather than suggestions – unlike counseling.

We ask clients what they think they need and then we dig – together.

We engage with clients in conversations that help them understand where they want to go in life and how to get themselves there. It’s a really cool process that is TOTALLY not counseling. It’s a conversation between coach and client versus being given direction from a counselor to a client. Big difference and much more in-depth because with coaching – clients find their own answers. It’s a much more self-propelling process.

Answers are not given – they’re discovered.

Someone’s OWN best thought-out answers to their dilemmas are always the best because they come from within. And THAT gives them value that no counselor or doctor or anyone else can offer.

Any questions? Email me at jlplace50@gmail.com

The Most Coherent Regret I’ve Ever Had…

I spent $45 for this piece of shit. Do not ask me what I was thinking.

After having a seizure and falling down a flight of stone stairs – I went home from the hospital the next day and blew over $2000 on shit I didn’t need. Clothes, food I don’t eat, I stocked up on crap as though a civil war was going on and behaved as though my last days on Earth were upon me.

They weren’t. I’m still here.

This small chunk of my history happens to be the most coherent single regret I’ve ever had. Nearly all my regrets follow black-outs or something having to do with being intoxicated and/or going through withdrawal. This experience of blowing through a chunk of cash is different. This one sinks low and feels even lower. I really wish I hadn’t spent that money. I didn’t need one thing I bought with it.

That $ was my head-start savings for a new jeep. And – well – – – SHIT! Now I’m wearing a dress I bought with that money that looks like something an 8 year old would like. LOOK AT IT! It’s ridiculous!! But instead of allowing myself to throw it away, which I nearly did, I’m forcing myself to wear it and use it as a nightgown so I at least get my freakin’ $’s worth.

JEEZZZZ!

Why Does The Exit Sign Look So – – – Close?

I reached 50 and realized that the exit sign of my life is closer to me than the entrance sign. When I’m gone – nothing is going to change and everything is going to change – over time. I never used to consider things like this 20 years ago. Twenty years ago – because I was blitzed out of my mind – I was going to stay 31 forever.

Didn’t happen.

How much longer do I have to live? I drank through nearly my entire adulthood. And not one brilliant scientist has figured out how to move time backwards. Not one! What’s UP with THAT?!!

Someone needs to figure out how to work that out!

I wonder how much it’d cost to go back in time 25 years? Could I choose a different life path? Make different choices?

So – I’m left with now and today and getting my groove on the smartest way I can manage. Learning to follow my instincts and intuition is something I’m still learning to do when I could have easily caught on to these things during my 30s, but nooooooooooo. I chose to drink all day every day instead. Drinking fucked up all sorts of possibilities. I took advantage of time, energy, money, relationships and opportunities that were – each and every one of them – gifts. I took my life for granted. Big mistake.

At least I’m sober today. I caught on before drinking killed me – or worse – turned me into an idiot. I’m still here, so that’s cool.

Some folks catch their over consumption before it gets out of hand. Some catch it before it kills them. Some learn from treatment and groups. Some get signs from the universe and some get taken out by it. Alcoholism is a bumpy and confusing and painful ride – in every way. No doubt.

If you think you have a drinking problem – you probably do. If you let IT take you too far – it will.

Nip it before it’s too late. Don’t wait. Learning to know yourself and learning to hear what’s tugging on your heartstrings is why you’re on the planet. Do something meaningful TO YOU with your life. 👍

Your time is running out.

Why Are Relapses Blamed on Triggers? And What’s A Trigger Anyway?

Uh-Oh!

Does the word ‘trigger’ suggest that addicts sometimes act unaware of emotions that are driving their behaviour? Unfortunately – yes. Does this mean addicts are powerless over their drug of choice? No – it suggests they’re temporarily powerless over their ability to control themselves. There’s a huge difference.

But I don’t think this happens very often. My opinion is that most relapses are not the result of a ‘trigger’ – they’re the result of a conscious choice/decision to drink or use again. Keep in mind that not everyone understands the word ‘trigger’ to have the same definition. I’m not particularly fond of the word because being awake (not to be confused with being aware) is all it ever took for me to choose to drink a glass of wine. I never needed anything external to cause me to want to drink.

Becoming sober is one act. STAYING sober requires something else entirely. It requires staying in a constant and diligent position of self- awareness. This feat alone is just that – a triumph of epic proportions. Not easy to do. Addicts are faced with the challenge of ultimate self-control – at all times. And this requires tools. Tools like intense patience, compassion and forgiveness – all things that take time to acquire through the process of practice.

It is possible that sometimes an addict will relapse over something so unsettling for him/her that their emotions (unconscious emotions beneath the obvious intense ones they’re aware of) drive their behaviour before they’re even conscious of them? Yeah. It’s weird and a little scary.

So then, what kind of internal control does it take to lasso these intense unconscious emotions that result in unhealthy and harmful behavior toward self and/or others? Especially when/if we’re not even aware of them in the first place?

An extraordinary sense of awareness and internal perception. And this is totally possible for every and anyone to attain/become/do…

Which Addict is Immune from Seizures?

Be helpful or walk away.

Not a fucking one of us. But for the record, here is a short list of some of the causes:

  • Genetic changes that run in families
  • Trauma or injury to head
  • Medical conditions that affect the brain, for example, brain tumor or stroke
  • Infectious diseases of the brain such as meningitis
  • Damage or injury to the brain during birth
  • Developmental disorders of the brain such as autism
  • Detoxing from alcohol and/or drugs

For the detoxing addict, the absence of the addict’s drug of choice coursing through their brain sends it into shock. Humans are little electrical beings and our cells use electrical signals to send messages to each other. It’s how they communicate. It’s how our brains communicate to us that we’ve just stubbed our toes. It’s extremely cool except when we do stupid shit to our bodies like take drugs, drink excessively on a regular basis or starve it from our drug of choice. Our brains get used to having our drugs of choice over time. When or if we suddenly take it away – our brains freak out. The cells go into panic mode and shoot off signals haphazardly like fireworks rather than softly like a light rain gently tapping leaves as it falls.

This brings up the subject of attempting to detox on your own. It’s not smart. But if you insist, not only do you have to be EXACT about how you do it, as in record amounts and times of consumption, the amount of time you take to taper alongside the slow decrease in consumption is critical. Most people who choose to detox on their own taper too quickly. And for those of you not in the know – tapering means to cut back slowly on your drug/drugs of choice. Tapering or cutting back too quickly is just as bad as not doing it at all and it can and often times does lead to one or more seizures.

The last time I had a seizure, I fell down a 17 stair stone staircase. It wasn’t pretty and I had to spend the night in the hospital. I was lucky that I didn’t break my neck. Apparently, my time on the planet is not yet complete and I still have more work to do. Go figure. Not everyone would have survived with just a few bruises and cuts like I did – so I’ve been told.

Anyone with questions about detoxing/tapering and/or addiction, whether you’re an addict or a friend/loved one of someone who is, is welcome to email me with questions. I can be reached at jlplace50@gmail.com.

Best.

Keanu

He’s soooo like a waffle with berries

>

In moderation pickles are okay. ]

I ride my great white with

A belt.

If it hadn’t crossed into traffic …

I’d kill it

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