november journal, entry {twelve}

Yesterday someone asked me how I managed to get to 44 -- 45 days, if I count today -- sober; she wondered how I kick the cravings and told me that she has attempted this detox many times and has failed -- each "failure" leaving her deeper into a place of self-hate.

First of all, I want to say "me too..." -- this is not the first time I have attempted to drop a habit that is no longer serving me and certianly not the first time I have tried to detox from booze. I also want to point out before I journal any further that this is in fact a journal which is my simple non-medical opinion and will not apply to everyone -- if you are reading this and you think you need help, you probably do -- there is no shame in that -- go and find help. 

So 45 days for me, hey? How did I get here? How did I leave an abusive relationship? How have I managed to cut sugar, dairy, eggs, gluten and now cold foods from my diet? How did I decide to quite running long distance or sever ties with toxic relationships? For me, the answer has been in self-compassion. Have you ever heard the saying "you can not hate yourself thin?" -- it means that we have to embrace our shadow, love our shadow, you may even go as far as to say, care for our shadow -- I do. 

Weeding my self-garden of booze has been different this go around. One reason I think the ride has been relatively smooth is that I am ready for this change; this change was the next step for me. I feel as though my growth has been a matter of the most simple of equations: one foot and then the next -- with each step I take, life seems to let me know moment by moment what my next healing piece is. I have been really diligent in terms of my self-care practice for 4 years now -- it has become a non-negotiable in my life. I show up to therapy regularly, I honour the things that hurt or no longer serve me and I participate with full intentions as to what my heart needs daily.  My self-care rituals are a fundamental medicine in my life and when I skip them or become slack I can feel a manifestation of intense emotional imbalances.

That is not to say in anyway that these practices are easy or that tending to the garden of the heart and weeding out that which is toxic comes without pain, humility, cravings and frustration. Many days I find this path exhausting and frustrating -- so much so that I refer to it as the {curseblessing} -- one word. Its both and all and opposites and everything all at once. Its hard and challenging and exhausting, tender,  emotional and it takes a stupid amount of dedication and yet, it is the most rewarding path there is. I find myself in deeper relation with self, I find myself more connected with emotions and life and my spirituality and ability to self-care and thus care for the world becomes more rooted and less chaotic and dramatic. 

So, yeah its damn hard and yes there are a million cravings and distractions each and every day -- fuck, each and every moment if we are to be honest here. I find myself feeling alone alot of the time, I find myself burdened heavily with emotions and always, always creating and maintaining new boundaries all the while getting to know -- daily -- who I am as I am constantly changing and shedding and forgiving and evolving.

I am new each moment. 

I dedicated my life to self-care when i nearly lost my life to self-hatred and that is a commitment that is unwavering for me -- however this does not mean that I am free of fucking up and falling prey to 'falling asleep at the wheel'. It took me a long time to stop drinking wine and a intensely long time to admit to self that it was an issue. I hated myself over this for too long -- shame, guilt, embarrassment... these ruled my interior world. No matter how much I hated myself or my perceived failures nothing seemed to change.

This time was different for me and I think a big reason is that my focus was vastly different -- as you know, if you read this blog, I work hard at not labeling emotions or conditions; I try not to create a "forever goal" (ie: I will never do ______ again.) rather, I approached this with curiosity and self-compassion and chose to dive into what "boring" would feel like for me. It was not about cutting things out or restricting my life -- it was about an honest look in the mirror and a true attempt at a way of living that I had never done before. It wasn't about booze, it was about getting to know another part of who I am. 

I never labeled myself an alcoholic nor have I told myself that I will never be allowed to have wine again -- I told myself that we were going to date a part of self that has been ignored for too long and that has been my priority. I am not labeling who I am or what I am feeling, I am simply acknowledging that booze was not serving me and I needed a small break in order to give space for the birth and exploration of boring.

You see, I came at this area of growth with compassion and curiosity rather than restriction, rules and self-hatred. I was also ready for this -- I was not ready for this change many moons ago -- I was being faced with other very important lessons to address -- this was the next area that life illuminated in my clear site. 

I practice answering when life calls; thus I practice trust.

Yes I do still crave wine and yes I would love to unwind with some red. Part of what I do to ride the wave of these cravings are a few things: 

- Acknowledging the why. Part of why i drank -- some of the time, not all of the time -- was a coping mechanism to the pain I felt -- it was a numb out strategy. This time I was ready to face whatever surfaced and holy hit has ALOT surfaced, but I knew it would and I am prepared -- I have my therapist and my husband and my tribe -- both in real life and my global social media tribe -- and I have my rituals, I know what I need to do when life overwhelms me. I know my personal antidote to anxiety, sadness and depression and numbing out is not on my list any longer. Sweeping is, journaling is, food crating is and so is exercise. I have my emergency list and I stay utterly dedicated to this path. 

- I surrender every day -- literally. I dedicate my life to a higher power every damn morning without fail -- it has become a part of my morning ritual. If i am learning anything it is that my mortal brain only comprehend a tiny portion of what this existence is and so I lean on a greater consciousness to guide and light the way. I lean on surrender all of the time -- humans do not know that much, thats the whole truth. My spiritual practice is huge to me -- absolutely huge medicine. 

- I put myself into positions that are set up for success -- you will not see me at nightclub or a pub these days -- it's just not where I want to be nor does in honour where I am at in my life. You will see me crafting herbs, reading (ALOT), writing, spending time at The Light Cellar or working out -- I am placing myself in environment that are conducive to my personal growth.

- I did not keep this in the closet for it to fester -- nor have I kept any of my growth hidden away for embarrassment and shame to eat it alive -- no, I was open and real and honest about it to the humans in my life and to the world via my blog -- for me, this is healing. You do not have to post it for the world to see if thats not your jam, but please, for the love of goddess do not think you walk this path alone -- you don't. Shine a light on shame and the hold it has will instantly start to loosen up... and then the work begins. 

I send you love my sweet sisters and brothers, for we walk this path together and when we hold hands via story telling, I believe we healer a little faster... at least we become aware of how un-alone we really are. 

more november journals ...