Step Into The Daylight and Let It Go

My love was as cruel as the cities I lived in

Everyone looked worse in the light

There are so many lines that I’ve crossed, unforgiven

I’ll tell you truth, but never, “Goodbye”

It’s strange how you can think about someone every day for half a decade, and then one morning… it stops.

He stops appearing in your dreams and haunting you in your nightmares.

You stop daydreaming about him being someone he is not, never was, and never will be.

Your nights are peaceful and your days are full of light.

You come to realize you deserve much more; more than he was ever willing to give.

You finally love right where you are, who you have become, and the future ahead of you. No longer dwelling on the past, you’re open to whatever is in store tomorrow.

On this particular morning, I’ve let go of the darkness and am ready to step into the daylight.

Giving Yourself Grace

It’s interesting to see old friends and bump into people who have known you for decades.  These are people who have known me through my innocence, the good, and the bad- and they love me nevertheless.

From the shy girl growing up in Traverse City to the hard-partying 20-something, I am no longer hiding in a big city, unable to face my past.

I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I’ve done- I’m proud I have overcome challenges and have made it out alive, healing, and happy.

Despite the grit, I have to remember to give myself grace.

After all, I am my own worst critic.

Living in New York City and Boston gave me the experience of meeting new people, recreating myself, but most of all, learning to love myself and all of my flaws.  Yes, I have made mistakes, but I’m not that woman today.

I no longer have to run and hide, I can be exactly who I am and unapologetically myself.  I am a woman with a wide variety of experiences, pain, passion, and purpose- and I will use my past to build strength in my future.

As I continue to write this new chapter, I will give myself grace- no matter what the voices in my head may try and tell me.

I will remember it doesn’t matter what others think- the only thing that counts is that I love the person I am today.

Social Anxiety and Doing You

Since November’s so nice, I’m writing twice.

Before moving back to Michigan I was afraid I would feel alone; lost in a place I used to call home.  That’s the furthest from my current reality.  Since being back, I’ve filled my days with writing, a lot of time with Mom, coffee and lunches, plus a lot of great conversations with old friends.

It’s important to balance “me time” with my social calendar.

From people pleasing to the pressure of explaining why I moved home, I’ve been feeling a little emotionally drained.

I had a lot of social anxiety growing up, so I kept to myself.  With one or two good friends (who I still talk to often), I had a very mellow teenage life.

Something happened along the way, whether it was college or coming back for summers, when I felt the need to be out and about all the time.  I worked in the restaurant industry from age 17-21, which is hyper social.  As a sober person and overall introvert, that social anxiety has returned, but in an entirely different way.

Instead of that awkward teenager, I’m now a woman who knows exactly who she is- and that’s the difference.

The social anxiety is still there- though I may not be awkward and uncomfortable around most people these days, I still get anxious when I feel pressure to “get involved.”  There are many events coming up, from author meetups to a book award festival, and those are things I’ll put my game face on for.

I know my goals, and I know the kind of people who align with my overall lifestyle.

Maybe I’ll become more of a social butterfly, or maybe I’ll always be be that girl who stays at home, writing in her leggings, chatting with old friends on the phone.  Time will tell.

I don’t have to attend everything I’m invited to, and I need to remember I am not obligated to respond to every message or email I receive.

So for today, I’m doing me.

No One Can Define My Sobriety (Or Life) But Me

It’s no surprise to most people when I tell them I don’t drink.

Whether they’ve seen me out of control in the past or have read my articles, I am finally open about being sober these days- and that’s a breath of fresh air.

I’ve made mistakes, though.

There have been many relapses (or “slips,” as some may say) since deciding to get sober in 2011, including a full two and a half years where I went back to drinking consistently.  I damaged relationships and racked up many, many new stories during that period of time, yet I learned a lot about myself- and what I do and don’t want out of life.

I went back to drinking several times while living in Boston, racked up even more stories, and learned that a structured recovery program gives me more anxiety than it does comfort and strength.  Although community helps many people, I am more of a one-on-one type of person.  I believe in therapy, working on yourself, and taking responsibility for your actions.

This may be controversial, but this is my truth:

I don’t want or need entities or other people to determine the quality of my sobriety.

I’m the only one who has to determine what is best for my life- and I want people to judge who I am based on my character, not my sobriety date.

I have a serious issue with groups who judge or push others to open up about things to they don’t want to.  There is no “one size fits all” method for anything in life, and putting down the booze is no different.  I have put so much pressure on myself over the years and have had immense anxiety about what other people think of me- but I am done with that.  

I’m honest with my family, good friends, and even strangers online- and that works for me.

There are several friends of mine who aren’t “in recovery” who have told me the same thing- that I don’t have anything to prove to anyone but myself. “You don’t drink now,” two of them said. “That’s all you need to say.”

Below is something my friend of 22 years texted me yesterday:

Amen.

It’s also no one else’s business if I am on a prescription, if someone has Medical Assisted Treatment, or what “date” someone put down the drink.

It’s my life, not theirs.

People have the option to do what works for them.  For me, it’s connecting with people who are healthy and aligned with my spirit.  It’s nature, writing, and self discovery.  It’s mediation and mindfulness.  It’s been open and honest about who I am and what I stand for.  It’s living in my truth, and living a spiritual life of reflection and growth.

I hope my own journey can inspire someone who go on their own journey, no matter what way it may lead.

Never let anyone make you feel bad about choosing your path- you know what’s in your heart and in your soul.