What’s Your Destiny? Are you headed in the right direction?

Turn down the volume in your brain.

What’s your destiny? Do you know? How do you know where to look for it if you don’t know what it is? Or is it within us? Do our dreams help us tune in? How do we know when or if we’re on the right track? What are we supposed to be listening to/for?

Oooh. Perhaps being aware of our options and the choices we make, and then doing the things that make our hearts smile – the kind of smile that escapes from our mouths and is shared with others – maybe our destinies lay within that arena. And when we share it or include others in it, the entire planet evolves – even if just by a teensy weensy bit. I think that might be what we’re each supposed to be doing – even when/if our agenda changes. Flexibility and an open mind are key. And a cookie for the road. Always.

Roger that.

Gift Ideas for Neighbors with a Barking Dog

My next door neighbor has a dog that barks. All. Day. Every. Day.

I’m starting to lose my cool. The noise permeates my entire apartment. Concentrating on writing has become impossible and I find myself wanting to leave just to escape the repetitive, high-pitched racket. The leasing office knows and assures me they will attend to the matter. Oh, I hope they do!

A MUZZLE

People are Talking Video…

So. I’ve been talking to my sister, Claire, and another friend who seem to think it a great idea that I start making videos for this blog and YouTube. I’m not sure about doing this because I’ve never done it, and while I’m willing to try most things at least once – this idea has me nervous. I’ve never uploaded a video of myself before.

This friend of mine videotaped us talking about this subject the other day and my eyes were glued – to me – on video! I cracked myself up. I was totally taken aback – by myself. I’m dry, sarcastic, and funny. I use my hands and gesture with great animation while I speak. I had no idea I could be so entertaining to watch during a conversation – never mind what I actually have to say. If I was ever asked to describe myself in one word (this is a challenge) I’d say I’m spirited.

So – I will buy something to hold my phone while I video myself and then I’ll upload it here for … I don’t know why I’ll do it, I just will. To see what happens. ๐Ÿคจ I’ll probably have a topic – either a story or something addiction/recovery/rehab related. It’ll be fun! Right? ๐Ÿ˜ถ

2nd Edition of Saturation: A Memoir

I am currently revising the 1st edition of my memoir, Saturation. I have created a new blog where I will share portions of the updated version. My new goal is to republish the book by end of 2022. You will find snippets of the 2nd edition here: https://wordpress.com/view/buildwithwords.com

I am also editing a short story I wrote entitled Cat and Caterpillar on that same blog. In case you’re interested, you can follow the development of both.

The following is a much appreciated review of my memoir by Kathleen Higgins-Anderson, Browns Mills, NJ – New Jersey, United States

Saturation by Jennifer Place – Jersey Girl Book Reviews

My Book Review:

Saturation is a memoir written by Jennifer Place, documenting her very real odyssey of battling alcoholism, dysfunctional family relationships, a toxic marriage to an enabler, and her journey towards self-discovery and sobriety.

This was not an easy story to read, but I admire the realistic, no holds barred, straight talking account that Ms. Place uses to tell her story. As a non-drinker that has had alcoholism affect both sides of my family, Jennifer’s account of her bout with alcoholism and struggle to gain sobriety horrified me, I went through a roller coaster ride of emotions as she described her daily drinking habit of four bottles of wine, and the occasional doses of vodka, I just couldn’t imagine how the hell she lived to tell her story. I totally got what the title Saturation stands for, she saturated herself with alcohol on a daily basis to get through the withdrawals, and to be able to go about her daily life. My heart breaks for everyone who goes through this on a daily basis, and it just cemented in my mind how horrible a disease alcoholism really is.

Jennifer’s struggle to overcome alcoholism was coupled with the dysfunctional relationship that she had with her family, and the toxic marriage to an enabler that she basically hated. Can you just imagine the hell that she was living? In her memoir, she feels that she was a terrible mother, who gave her two sons to their fathers to raise, and she writes that she felt guilt ridden for doing this. I do not agree that she was a bad mother, Jennifer, I applaud you for being a mother who cared enough to allow your sons to grow up in stable home environments, and your greatest gift is that they are both well-adjusted young men. The other thing that I would like to comment on is the family dynamic. While I can understand the author’s dysfunctional relationship with her father, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that from a family member’s standpoint, who had to deal with an alcoholic father’s verbal abuse, family members feel helpless as they watch their loved ones go through this terrible disease, and any attempt to help are often met with resistance and verbal attacks which we endure because through all of this, the simple fact is that we love our family member no matter what. As for the toxic short-lived marriage, I am so glad that Jennifer finally took a stand and put that behind her. As long as there is an enabler in the relationship, a person’s constant struggle with alcoholism would take precedence over gaining sobriety and maintaining it.

Jennifer’s account of the five times that she went through in-patient treatment, and her struggle to maintain sobriety only to relapse each time, demonstrated the reality of alcoholism as an ongoing struggle that a person endures in order to achieve sobriety and maintain it. As I read about each of the five times she was in treatment, I cheered for her, hoping that she would find herself and gain that sobriety. My heart broke each time she relapsed, and when her journey towards sobriety was finally achieved, I rejoiced over the strength that she displayed to finally be able to put that traumatic part of her life behind her.

I would recommend readingย Saturation, whether you are addicted to alcohol, or have a loved one that is addicted, as it may provide a sense of reality and hope that alcohol addiction can be overcome and sobriety gained.

~~~~~~~

I welcome feedback, comments and questions. You can reach me directly at jlplace50@gmail.com

Think On This:

What does your ideal life look like? Who’s in it? Who isn’t? Where are you? How do you spend your time?

We each have only one lifetime. And none of us are getting any younger. Tomorrow is neither guaranteed or predictable.

Permanent change doesn’t happen without action. So, seeing as it’s your life and you own it – – – what are you waiting for?

Just visited with both of my sons last month!

It had been too long and they both looked fantastic!

I was SO HAPPY to see them!! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

I couldn’t be more proud.

Uriah and I on the Oregon coast.

Sage and I in Dad’s kitchen.

I Shit You Not.

OW.

It’s true.

Not one addicted person that I’ve ever known, and I’ve known a lot of addicts, has ever consciously and purposefully tried to destroy their relationships with friends, families, partners, their careers, their driving privileges, their home environment situations, or their health.

AND…

If those same people could have just one wish, the majority of them would not only wish to be addiction free, they would simultaneously NOT wish an addiction on anyone – addiction is THAT horrid.

Trying to imagine the internal mental universe of an addict is no different than trying to imagine the internal mental universe of someone being attacked by a massive shark. All we know for sure is “OH, FUCK!”

It hurts and it’s scary and sometimes we die.

So why do addicts continue to reach for their drug/s of choice and destroy things?

Here’s an analogy for you: Try not to scratch your mosquito bite – you know – the big one that itches so intensely that you can’t think about anything BUT it. That’s what it’s like trying NOT to drink or use when we want to. It’s the flared-up bite that we’re not supposed to touch, except we don’t get to put soothing anti-itch lotion on it or a band aide. We either use our drug of choice to assuage it or suffer through it until it subsides (and resurfaces later, which it always does until we master it – which is possible, but that’s another blog post). And it’s fucking MADDENING.

I offer this: Do not ever give up on an addict you love. That will mean a lot of different things to a lot of people. But the addict will always know that you didn’t give up on him/her. You could be the one thing – the one person besides the addict’s own choice to suffer through their cravings because that’s what we have to do to get and stay sober/clean – that saves their life simply because you chose not to give up and not to let go.

Not letting go can also be interpreted many different ways. I remember my dad teaching me how to swim when I was little. He didn’t let go, but he only held on to me by holding on to my big toe. He held on and didn’t let go in a similar way during my active addiction. I wouldn’t still be alive had he let go.

I Got Bit. ๐Ÿ˜–

Valentine’s Day Bite – not the kind I had in mind.

Yesterday was a warm and sunny day. I took a walk around noon. As I neared the end of my walk, approximately 52 feet from my front door, I noticed a woman exit her apartment to pick up a large moving box next to her front door. At the same time, a dog about the size of a large meatloaf darted out behind her from inside her apartment, yapping at the top of its lungs – at me – for existing and being noticeable – and headed straight for my left ankle. It bit and held on.

“What the FUCK!?!?” I yelled and kicked it off. The dog’s owner was yelling No! No! and calling its name, but the dog didn’t listen or care. It wanted me, got me, and that was it. And it hurt. And it freaked me out. And then I got pissed off. And then – after I exchanged some words with the dog’s owner – I took myself to the Urgent Care and had to get on antibiotics.

Did I relapse and drink over this incident? No. Did I want to? No. I’m still sober. Nothing – not even the trauma of being attacked by a dog is going to tempt me to drink. And this, in and of itself has my attention because I used to drink over and because of A N Y T H I N G. Something else that got my attention was the feeling that I didn’t know quite what to do with myself after I got home from picking up my medication. I couldn’t get the image of this dog, or of it biting me, out of my head. I’ve never been attacked by an animal before. Animals love me. I’m cool. Regardless how big or small an animal is, being attacked by one is startling to say the least.

Look – it’s not like I feel sorry for myself or anything (Okay, maybe a wee bit) – it’s just that I keep thinking about what happened no matter what I try to do to NOT think about it. My timing to take that walk and her timing to open her front door could not have been more spot on. What was the likelihood that I’d be passing her apartment at the exact same moment she opened her door? I figure my odds were just as good at winning the MEGA Lottery, which has yet to happen. Getting bitten feels like, well, getting bitten – hard – but with smaller and sharper teeth. If you really want to know how it feels, bite yourself – hard.

Beware of dogs off leash and of dogs that dart out of their homes and head straight toward you. If it’s barking and not wagging its tail – that’s the time to say to yourself, “Oh, shit!”

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).

๐Ÿ™‚

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.

๐Ÿ™‚

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

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