Five years and 8 months ago, I thought all my problems were magically going to disappear along with getting sober after 25 years of using drugs and alcohol.
How could I have been so wrong?
Life is still happening, after all, and as it turns out, my life was just beginning.
It was the worst and best news: Ying and Yang, marriage and divorce, good and evil, losing 20 pounds, gaining it all back ... They are simple relationships, and one wouldn't survive without the other.
I wonder if these dichotomies live within all of us and perhaps some balance them better than others.
Some days I can't believe what I've accomplished sober, some days I don't understand why being sober isn't enough to take me through challenges. My reality today is that anything is possible, and that's what I teach my students in fitness class.
"You are stronger than you think you are," I preach to them, and at the same time they inspire me to stay strong myself.
Surrendering when I'm in the thick of a stressful moment can be tricky. I've learned and am still learning to find something positive in a seemingly negative situation. Being stuck in traffic, an insensitive comment that hurts my feelings, someone tagged the most hideous picture of me on Facebook, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office, a death of a loved one, the inhumane treatment of animals & mother nature destroying an entire city.
From the most ridiculous to the extremely real , being faced with anything uncomfortable triggers a mental and physical reaction in my body.
Let's take the most simple and relatable example of being stuck in traffic. It's annoying, but going through a mental checklist of what's really going on is helpful.
First, I remind myself to breathe. I look around at the other frustrated drivers. That's not helpful, so I look up to the sky, it's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, I'm so fortunate to have a vehicle to take me anywhere I want to go.
Getting myself in to a place of gratitude makes navigating through an unpleasant situation less extreme. Once I'm home or in a safe space and can reflect a bit deeper, I find it useful to keep the positivity theme active, I'll talk to a friend and ask them how THEIR day is, I'll walk my dogs, write, watch a funny movie, or exercise.
My point is that the chances of my being stuck in traffic again are highly probable, but if nine times out of ten I can lighten up on my reaction, the odds are that I'll float through the one time with more grace.
Accepting what is possible sounds scary sometimes, doing it is even scarier, but accomplishing it is magical and unforgettable. The truth is, in this social media driven world, good and bad news comes simultaneously, fast and furious, and when I get to take a breath and process, that's when I find some peace and can see what's real.
This has been my 5th time toasting the New Year with sparkling apple juice! I'm grateful for the good and the scary, ALL of it! It's kept me sober this long and I am very blessed to be and feel alive.