Starting the Conversation: Asking for Help

It’s been both an emotional and enlightening month. As I reflect on June- how it began and how it is ending- I truly feel I’ve come full circle and am finally understanding what I can do to fulfill both my purpose and passions.

I can’t do it alone, though.

My friend Nicoline is in town this weekend from NYC- the same friend I went to visit two weeks ago. I’m thrilled to have her here for both her company and her insight on life. She feels like a kindred spirit or sister to me- so having her around is comforting.

Tomorrow marks one year since Joe passed away- someone who was special in both of our lives. She was with him until the very end, which is something I don’t think I would have had the strength or patience for.

I hadn’t heard of a person dying of alcohol complications at 35 before, despite being involved in the recovery community since 2011. It was always an overdose, suicide, or another disease that killed friends or family of mine- not liver disease at a young age.

Despite the complications, he continued drinking. Right until the end. It makes me wonder, what went through his mind to give up all hope? Why didn’t he see the light?

Even when given the opportunity to be put on the organ donor list, he lost it due to his continued drinking. I had spoken to him near the end of his life, and Nicoline shared with me that my insight was helpful and comforting to him. For that, I am glad. However, it makes me sad that there was never a point in his life where he thought quitting was a possibility, or that treatment was an option.

This is why I am starting a conversation.

After the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, people around the world asked, “why? They had everything.” I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this- must of all, frustration for the lack of understanding of how complicated mental health is.

Having everything” means nothing when you don’t have inner peace.

When I met Joe, he had “everything,” too. A director job at a mobile tech startup in New York City. A great one bedroom apartment in Chelsea with exposed brick and updated appliances. Stories of work trips to Switzerland and many friends from all around the world, who he referred to as his “Ship Fam.”

However, he always had the “fun guy” image. I don’t think he ever built an identity for himself. That’s what Nicoline and I talked about last night- how he never was willing to let go of the party guy persona. He didn’t know any other way.

Building a foundation of confidence, self worth, and purpose is key to anyone’s recovery, whether they’re a drug addict or suffering with depression. There’s no difference what the drug or vice is; it all comes down to the person’s foundation.

When I decided to get help, I knew I needed to start my own foundation without crutches, family, or friends to hold me up. I knew I needed to live minimally, modestly, and mindfully in order to finally see the world clearly.

So, I came to Boston to build my own foundation.

It’s been quite a journey to say the least. I am forever grateful I started my blog when I did- just two weeks out of treatment. I was fortunate to meet some amazing people who helped show me the way, which ultimately lead me to a deeper spiritual foundation.

I hope that I have been able to help a few people by sharing my stories, and now, finally beginning to explain what happened to me before I came to Boston.

I didn’t have any hope. I thought my dreams were dead, I didn’t have anything to show for myself, and all I could do to cope was to date and drink.

Thankfully, my friends and family intervened- because they knew my potential and worth even when I did not.

~

My hope is to continue this conversation and inspire others to build their own foundation. It’s not easy to start from square one, or to let go of the negative things in your life that hold you back from success, but I promise- it is worth it.

Living With Grace and Grit

I’m still coming down from all of the creative and inspirational energy I took in from my last trip to NYC. Wow! From the moment I saw the skyline to the feeling I had while driving out of the city, the weekend was nothing but magic.

One of my favorite moments from my trip back to New York was when I arrived at Queensboro Plaza and noticed all the synchronicity around me.

From the number “7” (which had been following me around all weekend) to the purple color of the train line, it seemed like everything was a sign.

A sign I’m on the right path. A sign for my next steps. A sign telling me I am fine as I am.

After my trip, my perception changed; not just about the city, but about my own life. It occurred to me that I wasn’t living up to my own potential because outside voices have been holding me back. As a result, my dreamer (and sometimes grandiose) nature has second guessed herself, creating her own negative voices inside her head.

So, I stopped listening.

My path has been anything but traditional, and although I’ve attempted to go the “traditional route,” something has always blocked me from fitting in. It used to be my own self sabotage and issues with self esteem, alcohol, and emotions- however, as of the past year, it’s been because I have been standing up for what I believe in.

I came to Boston to fearlessly look in the mirror and step into the person I am meant to be- without distractions- so the last thing I will allow in my life is someone or an institution to cause me to step backwards.

Most recently, my passion for helping people and inspiring others to see life through a new lens has caused quite a bit of discontentment with the “3D world.” Our society as a whole isn’t quite ready to see life through a new light, but I know there is a place and purpose for me to share my story and strength.

Some people just want to sit in their own misery, though.

This brings me to the whole theory of the “imposter syndrome.” It makes me wonder how many people wake up in the morning, put on their suit or shiny heels, and honestly can go in thinking they’re a “professional.” As if putting on a show and acting for the sake of a paycheck is any way to live. To think living for the weekend or retirement is the only way to live.

Sorry to say, boys and girls, but that’s how our society is programmed. It’s pathetic.

Personally, I would rather live a short life that is full of, well, life. A life of purpose, not routine.

How many of those people feel restricted? How many of those people know they have better ways to spend their day? How many have talents to give but never will, all because society is telling them their dreams are silly?

I have no idea, but I’m done pretending.

I was told to “tone down” my personality and to leave personal talk at home. That’s fair. However, that’s not the environment God wants for me. I wasn’t given talents to shuffle papers and follow some man’s rules to make him feel superior.

I wasn’t given the gift of a grit-filled past with a touch of grace to simply keep quiet.

My story is meant to be shared.

What’s my next step? I’m not sure. However, I am confident my work will be of use to many people- so I am done holding back.

I am ready for my answer, and my next big adventure.

Love Yourself: The Importance of Speaking Your Truth

“Being yourself ” today can be a scary thing in a world of so many mixed messages, expectations, fear mongering, and marketing.  Just when it feels safe to speak up or “be yourself,” someone seems to shoot you down or makes you second guess that “you” you’ve been striving to embody.

Well, I’ve finally shed the final few things that have been holding me back from being my authentic self.  For me, the most important element of being “Kristin” is simple: it is speaking my truth.

I need to be in an environment where it is safe to surround myself with people who allow me to speak my truth and can benefit from my stories.

As I feel safer and safer to share my story and speak my truth on a daily basis, the easier life has become- and the more I have been able to be of service to others.

As some of you know, I have been sober on-and-off since April 8th, 2011.

I’ve never publicly written about this before in fear of being both isolated or grouped together with other “sober people.”  I don’t identify with any group, religion, or title- nor will I.  I’ve tried it, and it didn’t work.  You will never label Kristin or put her in a box.

Today, I am simply “Kristin, and I’ll take a coffee.”

My reasons today for not drinking are different than they were a few years, or even months, ago.  I used to say, “bad things happen when I drink,” or “my body can’t handle it.”  I used to make excuses, such as “I’m on medication” or “I’m on a diet,” but today, my answer is simple:

“I’m fine as I am.”

Over my seven years of sobriety, relapses, periods of thinking I was “normal,” and drinking for pure self-sabotage, I found one common theme:

I drank when I thought I couldn’t be myself.

Being “myself” used to be a scary thing.  I used to water myself down, drink away my thoughts, and numb out my emotions.  I used to fear my imagination.  My creativity used to scare me.  I was told “creatives are flaky” or “artists starve.”  Again, that’s society’s stereotype, their lack of understanding, and their inability to think, create, or live on their own.

I get by just fine doing things my way.  I tried to fit in their box, and it didn’t work- time and time again.  So, with a clear mind and a lot of lessons under my belt, I’ll try the alternatives and create on my own.

Don’t listen to the others if their way doesn’t work for you. 

Keep doing you.  Keep speaking your truth.  Your niche will find you.

Today, I wouldn’t want to water down any message; I want to be my authentic self to share my experience and strength with others.

I am happy to share that I finally love being myself- and I’ll do my best to help you love yourself, too.

If you think you have a problem a problem with drinking or need someone to talk to, please feel free to send me a message. You are never alone: kristinfehrman@gmail.com