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“Let today be the day you finally release yourself from the imprisonment of past grudges and anger. Simplify your life. Let go of the poisonous past and live the abundantly beautiful present… today.”   Steve Maraboli

Don’t live in the what ifs, love in the what is…

Most of my whole life I have attempted to look in the rear view mirror to figure out why the hell I kept “screwing it” up.  “It” meaning life, my life and everyone in my life…. I have figured out that when I am not looking forward and keeping my eyes on the road, of course I am going to crash. Why in the hell fire and brimstone has it taken me so long to rip the rearview mirror off?  Learning to live in the moment has been a struggle for me. I perserverated for so long on the past and what “should have been” my childhood, my 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s. Obsessing about who wronged me and why. Accepting that I had and have a part in every event of my life has taken some time to resonate in my brain. Learning and growing in knowing there is “Power of Now” has taken more time than I would like for it too, but I am getting it. Turtle speed slow, but I am getting it.  Every day that goes by, I am learning to release anger and resentment that I held onto towards self and others. I can not go back and change situations, people, places or things. I think now as to why I would want to. This path is my life and I find gratitude in knowing I am awake NOW. I put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Getting the opportunity to live NOW is what I am to focus on. This thought process has come with maturity. Events recently in my life have allowed me to embrace forgiveness for the past so I can relish in the moment and enjoy the memories I am making daily.  I told myself this year was the year to blog more, write more and finish my book. Here we are in July and I have not done what I told myself I was going to do as of yet. Yes, I can beat myself up for 6 months of non compliance OR I can pick up today, share my blog and keep it moving. I have to go easy on myself as we all know “self” is our biggest critic. I can look at this 2 ways. I can look back and be frustrated with what I have not accomplished or I can look back and see the past 6 months of growth in all areas of my life. Spirituality, family, relationships, work, study, travel, and I could go on…You see everyday we have the opportunity to learn something.  When we embrace gratitude and humility on a daily basis, we do not have the time to think about yesterday, last week or last year except that it’s over, and a lesson good or bad was learned. Honestly I have stepped back from engaging in social media so much and have taken that time for me in working towards a healthier information outlet. Whether it be studying, reading, or listening to a podcast of one of the many on my Podcast App, I have truly realized that a peaceful mind, body and soul resonates with who I am wanting to become. For the past 10 years I’ve found myself trying to “catch up” or rather “make up” for the past. I became exhausted from this process. I can not ever make up, catch up or change yesterday.  If I can awake with gratitude and humility of the NOW, I can breathe a little better. If I can be open to TODAY, I can learn. If I can embrace where I am at and know I have the opportunity to be PRESENT, I can have peace. If I can forgive the yesterday’s RIGHT NOW, then I can love. Love what is, and you won’t have time to be stuck in what was…

May the angels above surround you all with kisses hugs and love….Amy C.

 

God bless the roots! Body and soul are one. Theodore Roethke

The roots of our family go deep. We don’t decide the 2 that make us…  We don’t decide how that life will turn out after birth. If we did, well, I am sure there are those who would have asked for different roots.  Most of us no, but yes there are some that wish it would have been different. We also don’t decide who else will be part of the family by blood or by marriage.   No, we don’t decide, but yes we do get to make a choice at some point whether to be a part of the lives that become added.

We all get that choice after a certain age to decide if our roots are really healthy for us.   I make light and fun and say all the time I have a Jerry Springer family. I have drawn my family tree many times for people to show how many lives were united because of marriages(plural) and divorces(plural).

This past week I was given the opportunity to reunite after over 20 years with my sister on my biological father’s side.  We were supposed to do this almost 5 years ago and it just didn’t work out, I felt so bad. We were talking about that before I left to come home, and agreed it just wasn’t God’s timing. Yes, I was a little nervous, but more so peaceful as this is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

When we saw each other it was overwhelming,  yet no fear. We talked non stop like we had never missed a beat in all this time. I was honored later that evening to meet her husband, 2 children, and 3 dogs. We ate pizza, played games and I felt like I had been a part of them forever. I think I could have talked all night long as we caught up about how our lives had been over the past 20 years. Her and I have a lot of the same mannerisms. She, like myself,  plans for family get together’s and attempts to keep everyone united.

The next day I worked in my hotel and she was going to pick me up after. She sent me a text late morning about if I would like to see our father. She had contacted him and let him know that I was coming and that her and I were going to work on our relationship. He asked if we would come over. I was very excited for many reasons. 1. She had thought enough about me seeing him, 2. I had not seem him as well in over 20 years, 3. Closure in a sense of him seeing me not the hot mess that I carried myself to be active in addiction for a very long, long time. So, she picked me up early afternoon and we headed that way.  It was so funny when she did pick me up because she had bottled water and sour patch kid candies for the ride. You see, ironically sour patch kids are one of my favorite candies, just like her! We pulled in the driveway, and walked to the door. His wife greeted us (who is very kind, real and sincere) and walked right in. After a big hug and me teary eyed we sat for the next almost 2 hours and kept the conversation light. I showed him pictures of my daughters, we spoke about work, family and life in general. His wife has been taking care of him as he had a double lung transplant 10 years ago. When we were leaving, we took a few pictures together and I hugged his and his wife’s neck.  I had again a peace and serenity, gifts of my continued recovery.

Timing is everything and I truly believe that God’s timing is best. I honestly have thought of him and his kids often. I never reached out I guess because of fear of rejection. My sister told me she had wanted to find me for quite some time. That brought tears to my eyes. She reached out shortly after I came home from my hiatus in 2011 and we spoke via email in 2014, and I was humbled.  We got back to her home and it was kind of late.  I had a conference call for work so I was able to grab a bedroom for about a hour.  I felt at home, and didn’t feel a burden. That is huge for me, because for me, not so much now, but have always felt a burden in others people’s world.  Work in progress for sure. After my call we sat and talked again late. Laughed at things that have transpired in our lives that were similar, serious conversations about relationships and just life in general and where we are at. The last day I was there, she picked me up that morning and I went back with her to the house.  I went to pick up her daughter and we took her to get her hair done as she had a daddy daughter dance that evening. We got home and my sister pulled out a huge box of pictures,and we went thru them. I remembered those times which was really cool. We laughed at some and I heard the stories that were linked to other pictures.   Time was getting close for me to catch my flight. I called UBER and I was headed out. We hugged and promised to call, text and even Facetime. (I love technology) .

This was a decision I am so happy that her and I decided on. Long overdue for this reunion, but timing was perfect. I have no doubt our relationship will grow. I am bad about phone calls, holidays and communication at times.  I get so wrapped up in self, work, and life. No excuse for sure. I am looking forward to the future and having family roots grounded once again…also the connection of mind and soul….

May the angels above surround you all with hugs, kisses and love….Amy C.

“Life is about evolving. Don’t stay in a situation that’s not helping you grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.” Anonymous

We are human and our instinct is on a daily basis to evolve, grow and become who we were meant to be..That would be great, but for most that is not reality.  Why? Life. One word so simple and yet so complex. It is the daily routine we are already settled into. It is the relationships, our families, our work, our stress, our education…So many things in front of us daily which leads to “future tripping” of the future, the unknown which causes anxiety.  It is the looking back at the woulda, coulda, shoulda and what if’s that causes depression. Something so simple as to live in the moment, the present, the gift from God. We get stuck and life seems to be unmanageable and when we can’t figure it out its more than frustrating. So, we look at all the people, places and things around us and see what we can blame it on.  The problem here is simple. Look in the mirror, that at the end of the day is who you need to talk about this. It’s when WE stay in unhealthy mental, spiritual or emotional relationships, whether it be family, friends, or work that causes the stand still. You know I say all the time I am a work in progress. For me, setting boundaries to protect self was so hard for so long.  Why? Well besides being a recovering cocaine addict, I am a people pleaser. I looked to please everyone around me so maybe, just maybe they would love, like or even tolerate me. For what? As I look back, I see the self inflicting wounds that I caused. Yes, I said self-inflicting.

Wizard of Oz was one of my favorite movies, and still is.  Even as a child I heard the famous line from Glenda the Good Witch – You Had the Power All Along My Dear.’

Something so simple yet has taken me 45 years to digest.  We have the power all along to be who we want, do what we want, and set boundaries with those who are holding us back indirectly from evolving.  I say indirectly because at the end of the day, “what we allow will continue”

So, instead of a new years resolution, I have set a daily evolving resolution.  If the person, place or thing causes me anxiety, depression, chaos or confusion I will promptly recognize and disengage.  

Please understand I am not telling you to pack it up and leave your family, or career.  I am telling you that self care is up to you. Set the boundaries, Self care isnt about running away, it is about standing up for yourself and not allowing your emotions, your mental, physical or spiritual being be ran by someone else’s standards.   At the end of the day, if they can not respect the boundaries you have appropriately set, its on them my friend, not you. We are not responsible for others happiness. I tell families I work with all day long, “stop setting yourself on fire to keep someone else warm”.   Life doesn’t have to be so difficult. Awake with the attitude of gratitude and be grateful for what you have and what the day holds for you. You are alive as you read this and that is ½ the battle. Be kind, don’t gossip and love others as you would love yourself and this can happen, but only if you are willing to do it.   

We are responsible for our own happiness.  It isnt up to others to make us happy. It is up to us to find the balance, focus, joy and more importantly peace.  You can also ease these findings along with help from your Higher Power.

Setting boundaries is a must for self care.  We can not evolve if we dont work on ourselves.  We cant get over the past if we keep looking back and we cant move forward if we are consumed with anxiety… Just live, one day at a time. Tell who you see looking back at you in the mirror that you love them, appreciate them and are going to be good to them.  When our heart, mind and soul is driven by love you can never go wrong. Self Care today!

May the angels above surround you with hugs, kisses and lots of love…Amy C.

Holidays, Dysfunctional Families, Holy Hell and Yes…Sobriety….

The Holidays are here…as if staying sober isn’t enough struggle for some, add dysfunctional family relations, financial burden because of family demands and well, life on a daily basis during a high stressful season. Breaking it all down in layman terms….Most of us see January 2nd as the day like the last episode of Survival, wanting to just make it out alive.  I look back at my life and can laugh, at least now because for so many years I cried, and drowned myself in self pity with the alcohol and the coke. Being transparent about my life is a commitment I made when I got sober. I am the oldest of 2 half brothers and 2 half sisters, and have 1 older step brother and 1 younger. I use the correct terms of half and step for you to understand, but I have never considered any of them but being my family. They on the other hand may feel different, and that is truly ok with me.  As we learn in sobriety, we have family that we harmed in our addiction and they may not be present in our new sober journey.

 I like the analogy of families and trees. We.have many branches and roots. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandkids and so on. In the life of a tree, branches break, regrow, and attach to other limbs but always stem from the solid root.  Unfortunately addiction is a family disease. Some family members choose to participate and some don’t. We do not get to choose who our blood family is, but we do have a choice to be in their lives. If you are getting sober, been sober or are even contemplating is(which is a great idea), life is not going to be in the beginning, middle or end perfect. Life will though be a hell of a lot easier when our mind, body, and soul get clean.  Life on life’s terms is what I am told and what I read when I am at meetings. I listen to those who are wiser than I and hear they have issues too. I also get to hear and my own eyes see the miracles that do transpire when we choose sobriety.

What situations will you face this holiday season?  Are you a parent who will be without the kids? Are you a son or daughter that isn’t allowed at home because of your addiction?  Are you single, and don’t have anyone this holiday season to be with or around? These are all kinda depressing situations, huh? I have been in everyone of them, and was using at the time, and frankly used heavily while I sulked in self pity.  I tried to self talk myself into believing it was everyone else, it wasn’t though, It was me. My poor choices, which led to my crappy consequences. Some of my crappy consequences were extreme and affected my loved ones. I, in my self absorbed self thought I was getting the worst deal of all.  That is the mindset unfortunately of someone who is in addiction and using. We can not see past the end of our noses, we see only me, me and me…..Until I got sober, I never considered the hurt my loved ones felt, or the pain they endured. Until I got sober, I never considered the financial strain I placed on friends and family. Being about to feel emotions is what we tried for so long not to do, that is why we used drugs and alcohol so we would not. The true meaning of Holidays to me  are about Giving Thanks, the Birth of Jesus and The New Year ahead.

When we are in full addiction this is what we see and feel during this time……Holidays are full of emotions, drinking, drugging, partying and hoping our co workers don’t remember the fools we made of self at the annual party.  Holidays are full of gatherings with loved ones, or sharing the custody agreement with our former spouse. Holidays are about spending, spending and more spending, and shame and guilt because we didn’t spend enough. Holidays are a time we don’t really want to remember and hope the drink and drug will speed up the days as we are so ready for all of this to be over. Life DOES NOT have to be like this though!  The Holidays can be peaceful, and you can be soberly present mind, body and soul the whole time to enjoy. It doesn’t have to be dreaded.  Are you ready? You do not have to live another day in active addiction. Need help? I can relate and help on so many levels.

   I am here, amycooper@faithatthebeach.com    May you all enjoy your Holidays and be grateful!!  May the angels above surround you all with hugs, kisses and lots of love.  Amy C.