I Am Not Afraid of My Truth Anymore

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I AM NOT AFRAID OF MY TRUTH ANYMORE 

by Dee Harris 

Not Afraid of My Truth Anymore

     “My name is Dee and I’m an alcoholic.”  Holy moly.  One of the scariest things I ever had to say or do was admit that I am an alcoholic.  Especially in my first local AA meeting.  Dang.  There were going to people in there who knew me.  They’ll know what a loser I am and how weak I am.

   As a matter of fact at one of my first meetings I saw a friend go by on his bike in front of the club house and kid me about going to an AA meeting.  I quickly responded that I was going to the laundromat next door.  I felt so shitty I uncomfortably, but victoriously, told on myself in the meeting and later made my amends to my friend.

   And in that first local AA meeting there were, indeed, people I knew.  How could there not be?  I had lived in that town 18 years and was a grocery checker.  Unless they didn’t eat, we had met.  

   But something magical happened in that instant I entered the club house.  I got a feeling of “home”.  Damn, I’m home.  I’m comfortable.  I was greeted in this moment of overwhelming fear with open arms, hugs, understanding, and NO JUDGMENT.  No long-ended series of questions and words.  Simple.  Thank goodness, or I would have been out that door in a heartbeat.

   Backtrack a month.  I am going in for an assessment to see if “I qualify” to enter a 28-day treatment facility for alcoholism (an hour away from where I live so no one would no me.  NOT!).    I don’t know what they’re going to ask me.  I don’t yet know about rigorous honesty.  But they do.  They know an alcoholic is going to lie about their drinking habits and how much they drink.  I did.  I “passed” and spent over 28-days in rehab.

   And that first night when I lay in my bed I think that I don’t need to be here; I’m ok now.  I realize that alcohol is my problem and now I can go home and control, or even stop, my drinking.  But deep down inside I knew that wouldn’t happen as I had tried which seemed like forever, so I stayed.  

   Even when I called to make that appointment for the assessment and I was told that after that initial meeting I would be sent home and called back later to see whether or not “I qualified”, one of my first experiences with rigorous honesty appeared.  I said that if I was sent home, I would not return because my mind would think I am now ok because I admitted I had a problem.  I was told to bring my suitcase with me.

   The day before the assessment I want to yell from the roof tops that I am an alcoholic.  I’m going to get help and I won’t have to drink everyday anymore.  But I selectively let one of my neighbors know.  And my aunt and brother (I would have told my mom but she was on vacation in Hawaii).  I, of course, let my boss know.  And my husband and my two boys.  Something magical happened that day; the weight that I shed by admitting I had a problem was magical!

   And then on the morning of the assessment as I was getting ready to make the hour drive, I hear a knock on the door.  I know it is not my husband who had gone off to work.  I know it is not my kids who had gone off to school.  It was my auntie, grandma and brother who had driven two hours to take me, support me, love me to my appointment.  I break down crying, secretly.  I was full of guilt and shame for what I had allowed myself to become.  I was full of gratitude for the love that was apparent by their being there for me.  I was not worthy.  Why the hell would they drive all that way for the piece of shit that I had become?

   My husband and my boys don’t accompany me to the assessment.  Everything with them is blurry because most of my time with them is blurry.  I was a black-out, pass-out, closet drinker.  Only they knew the real me.  And that me was ugly.  And that ugly me is all I can remember of my life with them up to that point.  One who had to drink everyday to that place of pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.  Many of them.  Many, many.

   Backtrack to the day before the assessment.  It was my day off but the day prior I had hit my bottom.  I had not come to when my kids came home from school to get ready for work like I did forever.  I had passed out and missed my shift at work.  The red light was flashing on the answering machine.  The message was from the night manager who was concerned whether or not I was ok; it wasn’t like me to be a no call/no show.  And that night manager was one of my best friends (and still is) but I couldn’t call her back.  I just couldn’t.

   So I fish like I had done so many times before.  Fish for answers from my husband and my boys as to whether I had called back and, if so, what I had said.  I don’t remember getting a response from them.

   So on that day before the assessment I knew I had to talk to my boss to let her know what had happened.  What kind of excuse can I make up?  But I was so sick and tired of making up excuses, living a life that was a lie.  A life that was full of hiding.  I was exhausted.  So I told her the truth, on the phone, because I didn’t have the guts to look her in the eye.

   She listened.  She offered empathy, kind words and support.  She got me into a recovery program that changed my life, saved my life, gave me a life, and I shall forever be grateful.

   So one day at a time I get better.  I go through the 28-day program for alcoholism.  I am the poster child for AA and do everything that is suggested to me there.  But something inside of me is missing and I can’t put my finger on it.

   So after about seven years I one day at a time get worse.  I go to fewer meetings, do less service and stop reaching out.  And then one day when offered a drink on automatic pilot I  reply that I haven’t had a drink for 13-1/2 years so no thank you.  That drink was left there for me in case I changed my mind.  

   At that point in sobriety my mind was once again king.  It was running the show.  My ego had once again taken over.  I had forgotten how awesome it was to live from my heart with my Higher Power in charge.  I had forgotten what it was like to be humble and grateful.  I had forgotten what it was to be a newcomer.  And I had forgotten that unless I give it away, I can’t keep it.

   So I drank that shot of tequila.  And IMMEDIATELY, and I mean IMMEDIATELY, the disease, the devil, whatever you want to call it, reared its ugly head in victory and yelled, “MORE!”  So my friend gave me another.  And the lying, cheating, hiding and all the negativity that alcoholism smothered me with once again took priority in my life.  That quickly.  Positivity and optimism turned to negativity and hell.

   Today I realize that shot of tequila and that friend who left it for me was a God Shot, a message from a Power Greater Than Myself that I have a purpose to share my experience, strength and hope with others suffering from the disease of thinking, whether it be alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, overeating, sex, shopping, abandonment issues, abuse, or life itself.

   Today I am not afraid of my truth anymore.  I am comfortable in my own skin.  I can be who I was meant to be and love myself, with all my character defects.  I no longer live in fear that you won’t accept me, judge me, talk about me.  You’re on your journey and I am on mine.  When our paths cross (like they are right now) I can give you the respect you deserve for your opinions even though they might not be mine.  That’s the beauty of life and the humanity placed on this planet.  I shall learn from your opinions and experiences and become a more compassionate person.  And I shall share my compassion with those who enter my bubble.

   Thank you for crossing my path.  I look forward to hearing about your journeys.  With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

   For those interested in experiencing another avenue of my sharing my experience, strength and hope, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

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Detachment

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Detachment

by Dee Harris

Detachment PDF

   In AA I’ve learned that I have no control over people, places and things.  Keeping that in mind and, more importantly, in my heart, has taken a huge weight and self-chosen unnecessary burden off my shoulders.  Before getting sober I thought I was some intellectual guru who could get anything I wanted, if I put my mind to it.

   When I discovered that no matter how hard I tried, how smart I was, how many college degrees I had, I could not go a day without drinking, I realized I had to try a new approach.  Well, not really.  I didn’t choose to black-out that day and miss work.  But that’s how my life in recovery started.

   Working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous has changed how I look at life and how I look at and feel about myself.  Taking that step back and looking at things objectively sure put a different perspective on my way of thinking and my attitude.  When I look at the part I played in the resentments I carried on my shoulders, the lightbulb slowly started to shine its light.

   The Serenity Prayer helped me tremendously in early sobriety and still does today  Simple and beautifully stated to get me back in the moment and out of my ego:

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

Courage to change the things I can.

And wisdom to know the difference.

   Remember, I have no control over people, places and things; therefore, I can’t change them, nor is it any of my business.  I’ve got to remember that just like I am on my own journey through life, so is everyone else.  Sometime in my life, even though I was told not to touch the hot iron, I got burned by it.  Only then did I take more care in preventing such pain.  So I won’t deprive you of your awesome journey and learning experiences.

   And I shall no longer let what you think or say about me lead me to react.  I won’t be hurt nor resentful.  I won’t lash back nor storm away.  You’re entitled to your opinions and actions.  Again, not my business because I have no idea what your journey has put you through to treat me in such a way.

   And today I have a Higher Power over to whom I can turn my will and life.  My God of My Own Understanding has my back, introduces me to who He sees fit, provides experiences He feels will serve my purpose of sharing my experience, strength and hope.  I only have to answer to my Higher Power who doesn’t expect perfection from me, but just to do my best.

   So I no longer have to react because I now know that everything happens for a reason, just perfectly.  I just have to ask for guidance to learn that reason, to share it, to provide hope and optimism.  So step back into the present moment, see the whole picture, and savor how you will grow.

   So when I was sober for over 13 years I wasn’t experiencing harmful cravings.  But I had stopped going to meetings, helping fellow alcoholics, being of service, and so on.  But more importantly, one day at a time, my old thinking came back and I stopped living from my heart.  I found myself being more judgmental and, although, I thought I was in close communion with my Higher Power, my brain was telling me that and there was no one around to call me on my bullsh*t.

   So when offered a drink, although I stated I hadn’t had a drink in over 13 years, my friend said she would leave it for me just in case I changed my mind.  I could surely cop a resentment about this but I look at this perfect moment as a God Shot and with endless gratitude.  

   You see, that drink yelled at me and I had no defense.  I feel that AA meetings pay my sobriety insurance policy.  Being active in the fellowship also allows me to be in service to the newcomer (I was once a newcomer and am a newcomer once again).  I had forgotten what it was like to be a newcomer…the shame, the guilt, the cravings, the rationalizations.  And, unless I give it away, I can’t keep it, so I forgot how valuable my sobriety was…and lost it.

   Immediately that first shot of tequila yelled at me, “More!”  So my friend brought me another and the lying, cheating and hiding once again filled my life that had been so positive, optimistic and hopeful for so many years.  I am so thankful for this relapse for getting me back right-sized, humble and grateful.  I shall never again stop paying my insurance premiums.

   So today I get to use all my energy in a productive and positive way.  I seldom get feelings of anger, anxiety or depression and when these arise I know to check whether or not I’m in H.A.L.T. (hungry-angry-lonely-tired) and I know that if I turn it over to my Higher Power, these feelings, too, shall pass; they always do.  I get to experience peace and patience, and contentment and self-love and -acceptance that I never experienced before, knew I was lacking, nor cared to find.

   My Higher Power and the AA fellowship has taught me how dangerous life can be for me if I get back into my selfish, destructive, ego.  By going to a meeting or by being of some other type of service, I get to experience the feelings of happy, joyous and free.  I remind myself to be mindful, respectful, loving and compassionate so that I can make eye contact with you when we meet and I shall learn what God intended me to learn today.  It is not all about me today; it’s about how can I be of service to YOU!

   I am not a saint.  I am not perfect.  I am a human being who still makes bad choices.  But today when I realize the yucky feeling that bad choice has put in my gut, I learn to steer clear of making that bad choice again.  And I learn to apologize when my actions or words have been inappropriate or hurtful; I’m just trying to keep my side of the street clean and get through life with a clear conscience.

   So today I do the best I can, stay close to the AA fellowship, be of service, stay mindful and in the moment.  Doing this allows me to be humble and grateful for a Power Greater Than Myself who is in control and this God of My Own Understanding has given me the most wonderful life in sobriety that I could have never dreamed of!

   If you find yourself struggling, please reach out to me, someone you can trust, or a wealth of support groups available to you.  Know you are not alone.  Know there is no need to feel guilt or shame; it doesn’t serve you.  Know that everything in your life has and is happening for a reason…just perfectly…to make you the best you that you can be!

   With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in inspirational quotes to keep you centered throughout your day, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

…Until I Got Sober

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…Until I Got Sober

by Dee Harris

don't stress it

   I never knew what peace was until I got sober.  My life was busy, sometimes overwhelming; but isn’t everybody’s?  I found myself drinking everyday just to take the edge off; but doesn’t everybody?  I’m no different than anyone else.  I didn’t know I didn’t have peace.  I wasn’t looking for it.

   I never knew what contentment was until I got sober.  I never prayed for it like I did for peace or happiness or wealth or to stop drinking.  But it came…when I got sober.  And it’s awesome.

   Happiness.  Hmmm…  I thought I was happy.  I had everything I needed pretty much.  My health, marriage, two kids, a job, two cars, house, dog.  I just didn’t know how void, how empty, how dark, my life was until I got sober.

   And I was in charge.  I had a college degree.  I’m smart enough to get whatever I want in life.  I didn’t need a God.  I felt churchgoers used God as a crutch.  I didn’t need a crutch.  I was too smart.

   Ew.  Who is this egotistical person?  That person was me.  And today I realize that no matter how smart I thought I was, I couldn’t outsmart the disease of alcoholism.  And no matter how I didn’t need a god in my life, it was a Power Greater Than Myself that got me sober and gave me a purpose for living.

   So it is what it is.  It was what it was.  It’ll be what it’ll be.  Don’t stress it, right?  Right.  Because of my intended journey through life, which includes the disease of alcoholism (by the way, it could have included drugs, gambling, overeating, sex, shopping, sexual abuse, abandonment, the list goes on and on…), I am in a place right now that is perfect for me.  I know that now.  I didn’t know that then.

   So on my journey I found myself unable to go a day without drinking.  Drinking was my life and that’s pretty much all I could think about.  I was a functioning alcoholic.  I was a closet drinker.  Most who came into my bubble were unaware of my disease.  They may have had suspicions, but didn’t realize how sick I really was.

   On my journey alcohol was my god, my best friend.  Life itself got in the way of my drinking and I started to get really sloppy and more out of control.  Numerous doctorates nor genius IQs could get me out of this one.  When one day I didn’t show up for work, the incomprehensible demoralization that we hear about in AA struck me down.

   I listened to the answering machine with a message asking if I was okay and this wasn’t like me.  I was also a blackout drinker so I didn’t know if I had responded to this message from work.  My husband and my boys were used to and fed up with the drunk I had become so it was difficult to fish for answers as to whether I had called work, what I had said, etc.  Humiliating.  I knew I had to do something; I needed that job.  I couldn’t just show up to work for my next shift as if nothing had happened.  My omnipotent college brain searched all possible answers and my teensy-weensy shoved-on-the-back-burner insignificant good and loving heart came to this conclusion, “Be honest and ask for help.  You’ve hit rock bottom, Dee.  You can’t go on like this anymore.  You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Just f*cking do it!”

   So today I don’t stress it.  I don’t stress having to drink everyday.  I don’t stress about hiding and lying.  I don’t stress about trying to be someone I’m not.  I am just me, but not “just” me but a me I am proud to be and comfortable in my own skin and accepting and grateful for my story.  That wouldn’t be had I not asked for help that one lonely, lifeless, dark, demoralizing day I missed work.

   Today I understand more clearly the disease that is alcoholism.  Today I am not alone with this disease and have a fellowship of like-minded, non-judgmental and loving individuals in AA, and today I have a Higher Power that is key in my life of “Don’t Stress It.”  And the icing on the cake…the gifts I receive when I share my experience, strength and hope with you.  So, please, let me know how I can help to get you “Don’t Stress It.”  I love any and all feedback.

   With much aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in what I do when I’m not writing, please check out my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

FINDING YOURSELF

  

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FINDING YOURSELF

by Dee Harris

finding yourself

   I just spent the most glorious day with my 4-year old granddaughter.  How refreshing to experience her light-heartedness, her innocence, her ability to be in the moment.

   How can I keep her like this?  I know that I was once pure and unscathed.  No regrets about the past; no worries about the future.  Once upon a time…I was not lost.

   But nowadays with both of our parents at work, we attend child care and pre-school before kindergarten.  We start to be exposed to the real world.  And we have television not only for educational purposes, but for our babysitter.  If we choose wisely what our children watch and what schools they attend, we can somewhat shield them from the big bad world.  But not for long.

   Our children need to be social beings.  We are all social beings and need each other to thrive.  However, there are some Big Bad Wolves out in the real world so we must teach them early about safety.

   Ok, done.  Don’t talk to strangers.  Safety in numbers.  No one can touch you.  Always tell a trusted adult when someone scares you or gives you that oh-oh feeling.

   But no matter what, we start to lose our true self.  We go to school.  We make friends,  We have peers.  We are influenced.  They say nice things; they say hurtful things.  Our pride suffers; our feelings are hurt.  We start to cover up our true self in order to prohibit more of those hurtful remarks.  And over the years with these occurrences, we lose touch with our true self.

   And then there is social media (all that stuff on TV, movies, magazines, computers and the like).  Oooohhh, they’re so pretty or so handsome.  They’re so popular.  I can never be like them.  We shrink a little more; we feel a little more “less than”, experience by experience.  Now we are really out of touch with our true self.

   And what if we come from a family or home where love nor self-worth is enhanced, let alone provided.  Or we are hurt physically or verbally.  Geez.  What happened to that light-hearted, innocent child in us?  And if our family came from a family of abusers, what hope is there for us?  They don’t know any better or any other way either.  We’re screwed!

   It’s taken me many a decade to unlearn what was shoved down my throat as a child.  Most of our thoughts and feelings come from the early years of our lives.  I heard numerous times to strive for the almighty dollar.  More is better.  Go to college.  Push.  Shove.  Stab whoever in the back to get to the top.  Get a lot of money.  Get a lot of power.  Sacrifice everything (even yourself) to achieve this goal.

   And how many of us felt too fat, too short, too curly, wore glasses, wore braces, you get the gist.  We just didn’t fit in quite right.  We didn’t fit into that clique of peers that were so popular, so comfortable, and had so much fun.

   Guess what?  Those peers were never 100% comfortable in their own skins either.  These experiences are human experiences that we all go through.  But whether you were told at a young age or here and now, YOU are a gift!  You are UNIQUE!  You are SPECIAL with qualities that no other human being has on this planet.

   And when you’re feeling that you just can’t pull yourself up out of the hole you’re in, reach out your hand and don’t deprive us of the gift of getting you on your feet.  Yes, we can love you until you are able to love yourself.  We see your gifts even though you don’t…yet.

   And know that all of these experiences and feeling are what make you YOU.  Without this journey called life, with your thoughts and feelings, you would just be a robot.  Not much to contribute to humanity just being a robot.  Turn your thoughts and experiences, no matter how negative you might consider them, into the positives that make you the pure and unscathed person you once were.  You know, we always have that inner child in us; it is always there!  

   So know that there were no coincidences on your journey.  It happened just perfectly to bring you to where you are here and now.  Just perfect!  Dang!

   So one day at a time you find yourself smothered in the cocoon of cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions about who you are.  Guess what?  One day at a time you can start shedding all that sh*t, unlearning that which does not serve you, and find that kid in you again, the “real” you that you were always meant to be before the world got its hands on you.  Enjoy the journey.  Be excited for each new day and its new freedom.  And then share it with another struggling human being.

   Thank you for being here.  I encourage any and all feedback.  We’re on our journeys together with experience, strength and wisdom to share with one another…and one day at a time, our love and understanding will ripple its way around this wonderful planet of ours!

   With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those looking for Art with a Message of Self-Love and Well-Being, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

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LOVE YOURSELF

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LOVE YOURSELF

by Dee Harris 

when you love yourself

   I’m remembering kindergarten, playing with confidence, having fun, no worries.  In elementary school I was still pretty confident, in charge, and appreciative of myself.  In junior high school things start to change.  

   It has nothing to do with the school, but with me and this time of my life.  Although I’ve always been learning about the world around, especially from the people who come into my Bubble, the teenage years seemed to be where I really started to be self-conscious.

   So somewhere I started to question myself, how I felt about myself.  I started to worry about what you thought of me because my hands were sweaty when we danced together.  You made fun of my flat nose because I was Chinese.  You looked at me in “that way” when I didn’t know the answer.  I started to live self-consciously in a fearful kind of way.

   This is where my fear could have been nipped in the bud, but it wasn’t the journey for which I was destined.  In retrospect, being affirmed and taught from the get-go that I am unique, beautiful and worthy human being with my differences, might have helped me overcome my fear, perhaps not.

   Fast-forward to 1998.  I look at myself in the bathroom mirror.  There’s an “L” placed over my forehead with my hand denoting “Loser”.  I have self-loathing and self-hatred.  I look like sh*t and I feel like sh*t.  I hate myself.  Why?  Because I know I will drink today and I will drink too much today.  And I will feel like sh*t again tomorrow.

   I have tried many ways to stop drinking, but none of them work.  I am not living under the bridge nor drinking from a brown paper bag.  I have a family, a home, two cars, a dog and a job.  I am college educated.  Yet I can’t go a day without a drink.

   Drinking helped me when I felt self-conscious.  Drinking helped me when I didn’t fit in.  Drinking helped me when I didn’t know the answer.  It took the edge off for a long while until one day…POOF!…I HAD to drink.  No if’s, and’s or but’s.  I was going to drink today because that’s all I could think about and drinking was my life.

   So in 1998 I am in an alcohol treatment program.  I learn that drinking, alcoholism, is a disease of mind and body.  It has nothing to do with self-will.  And from that day forward I learn to love myself for who and what I am.  What a beautiful thing to be on the upside of my journey, to look at the glass half-full, with hope and optimism for this beautiful time in my life.

   I know that I couldn’t have got to this magical place in my life on my own.  I would still be trying to scrape together enough self-will or willpower to not drink today.  I would be devising some other new plans to keep me from drinking today, or just drinking only one or two.  It wouldn’t work.  So the recovery program set me on my new, and clearly, right path.

   Having counselors and students in my program was the first time I realized there were others out there that battled with drinking.  And then going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as was suggested, is where the real freedom began.  Working with a sponsor, surrounding myself with like-minded people who just wanted to be sober for the day, confirmed for me I do not have to do this alone.  And not only that, I wasn’t judged.  I was loved in the rooms of AA before I could love myself.

   So now I get to love myself, to glow from the inside out.  I get to attract people who love, respect, and appreciate my energy.  I am worthy and get to be comfortable in my own skin.

   Just know that if you are feeling like a “loser”, feeling worthless and will never be good enough, together we can get through this.  Don’t give up.  Put out your hand and let us love you until you can love yourself.

   Thank you for sharing your time with me.  I encourage feedback so please don’t feel yours isn’t deserving.  It IS!  One day at a time, one ripple at a time, we can be the best we can be and help others to do the same.  The rewards are massive!

   With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

   For those searching for affirmations and inspirational messages, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH YOUR DISAPPOINTMENT? 

When certain blogs touch me I share them with you, with a few short paragraphs from me about how it pertains to my life in recovery…Dee Harris

Dee:  This blog was inspired by “How Do You Deal with Your Disappointment?”

by Aishwarya Shah. 

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INSPIRATION 

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH YOUR DISAPPOINTMENT? 

JANUARY 7, 2019 BY AISHWARYA SHAH 

Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams. 

Though some do get more than their share of disappointments, I believe that we have the inner strength to deal with whatever life doles out. It is not the amount of grief or disappointment that comes one’s way, but the manner of dealing with it that shapes a person’s character. And, moreover, I think, those who can take the good and bad, success and failure, victory and disappointment with the same equanimity are the ones who pass the test of life. It is your response to setbacks that set the blueprint for how life treats you for rest of the journey. 

When disappointed with something or someone, how do you react? Do you get angry or depressed? Do you sulk or start a blame game? Or do you withdraw into yourself, discouraged and defeated, to lick your wounds in self-pity? 

Disappointments are inevitable for everyone. Expectations cannot always be met to our satisfaction, nor can all dreams be fulfilled. This is the hard truth of life. People will not always act as we wish them to, nor relationships proceed in the manner we plan. Parents won’t always approve what you have set your heart on; lovers won’t always dole out ardour and compliments; children won’t always aim to please, nor if we allow it to, disappointment could lead to sadness, grumpiness, disillusionment, discouragement or helpless anger. We often tend to vent our spleen on those closest to us, which of course leads to further issues. Most of the caustic, anti-social people we come across, those whom we label ‘frustrated souls’, have been repeatedly disappointed in life and not dealt with it right. Some even develop sour facial features, so deep is the surliness etched into their souls! Surely you do not wish to end up in that category? 

Dee:

I love being an alcoholic in recovery, the “grateful alcoholic” that folks would call themselves that made me cringe in bewilderment.  Today I AM that “grateful alcoholic.

A 28-day treatment program for alcoholism and, more importantly, Alcoholics Anonymous has taught me so much to make a better, lighter, freer life for myself.  Many slogans on the walls of our meeting places and a toolbox for living in the 12 Steps and the Big Book all started to make sense as I trudged the road to happy destiny.

One very important slogan or quote I learned in AA that I carry with me always is “No Expectations.  No disappointments.”  You see, I learned that I have no control over people, places, or things.  I was given the opportunity to “make up” a Power Greater Than Myself over which I could turn my will and my life.  

Today I can trust that this Higher Power has my back and has the control.  And with faith that everything is perfect at this very moment I have no disappointments, just journeys toward learning and growth on a path to make me the best me I can be.

The first step towards dealing with disappointments with maturity is to set realistic expectations. Even while doing so, keep room for disappointment. Do not get into anything expecting disappointment of course—that would be a sure recipe for disaster! But do keep Plan B ready. If your plans or expectations are thwarted, allow yourself time for disappointment; there is nothing wrong in feeling disappointed or disillusioned. Wallow in the emotion for a bit; understand what you are experiencing and what the loss means to you. Just know you have to snap out of it soon and in time you will get over it – whatever it is. 

Dee:

So if your plans or expectations are thwarted, embrace those those incidents..  Thank them for coming.  And then let them go…even blow them a kiss good bye as you send them up to the clouds.  And then move on, knowing that everything happens for a reason, perfectly, and the best is yet to come.  A Power Greater Than Ourselves has plans for us that we can’t even create in our wildest dreams!

This also gives you time and the opportunity to assess the situation and your position. I have spoken about this in my last post on The Uplifting Power Of Perspective, that, Getting a perspective is important. How big will the impact of this disappointment be in your life? How can you minimize the damage? Do you see a silver lining and can you try and make the most of it? 

Dee:

I always try to look at the glass half-full.  Living optimistically helps turn any negative situation into a positive one and always helps get me out of my ego and back in touch with who’s running the show, my Higher Power.  Taking moments throughout our hectic days to recenter is so important to our mental health and emotional well-being.  Remembering that we are NOT in control of people, places, or things is crucial.  Trust and faith helps heaps, too!

So turn it over.  Trust.  Learn.  Know that these situations are uncomfortable and try doing something differently in the future when similar situations arise.  That’s what it’s all about.  Learning.  Growing.  And then sharing with others compassionately and lovingly who are going through similar situations.

Once you accept the situation, it is easier to move away, take an objective view and plan future action. Maybe you can be allowed another chance – assess if you would like to take it or pass it up for something else. Or maybe all doors are firmly closed and you need to look towards something else. That is ok too. Life offers so many options – and gives you several chances to make good your mistakes or disappointments. Take those chances. 

While you have life and health and a positive outlook, you can always move on towards other, different victories. The key is in not letting yourself be dejected, to accept and objectively assess before moving on… 

The size of your success for anything is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way. 

Dee:

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share my experience, strength and hope with you.  So how can we deal with disappointments?  By remembering “No Expectations.  No disappointments.”  Ta Da!!!  Go with the flow, that which life offers you, and know that everything is happening for a reason, perfectly!  It starts to make sense that all situations are sent our way to help us to be the best we can be!  Enjoy the journey…

With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in inspirational quotes to get you through your hectic days, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

ECLIPSED WORDS BY AISHWARYA SHAH | JANUARY’2019 | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 

I AM: THE POWER OF POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

When certain blogs touch me I share them with you, with a few short paragraphs from me about how it pertains to my life in recovery…Dee Harris

Dee:  This blog was inspired by “I Am:  The Power of Positive Affirmations”                      by Aishwarya Shah. 

27_hrtmorn (dbh)

AFFIRMATIONS AND REMINDERS 

I AM: THE POWER OF POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

NOVEMBER 5, 2018 BY AISHWARYA SHAH 

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. – Buddha 

Let me teach you. 

(Yes. exactly. I will practically teach you through words here, how to use positive affirmations to your benefit. but don’t get me wrong. as Jim Carrey says – affirmations and the law of attraction is just that…you can’t say them or write them down somewhere and go and eat a sandwich and expect the universe to work in your favor miraculously. The work and effort to put into them are just as much important as the oxygen is to your lungs.) 

As you all know I’m a huge believer of affirmations and practicing meditation. 

Today’s topic has been covered by motivational speakers and has become popular over the years. I believe we are currently in a spiritual revolution where increasingly more people are practicing meditation and relaxation. In other words, Eastern medicine is becoming more popular through mainstream media, as we see more of it on television. However, people still don’t know what is meant by the phrase “positive affirmations.” 

Growing up, I for sure know, Indian (and mostly Eastern) parents teach their kids all about the importance of meditation, mantras, and affirmations. 

If you’ve been taught or know about this or believe in this topic, high five! 

The science behind positive affirmations. 

If you think affirmations is solely a spiritual thought or connotation, you’re wrong. The power of positive affirmations has been proved by science as well. 

A research summary in The Indian Journal of Psychiatry addresses the power of positive affirmations, noting specifically that neurotransmitters are affected by affirmations. The brain uses neurotransmitters to communicate information continuously, and affirmations seem to set positive pathways for these brain travelers. 

The research indicates that beliefs are not only thoughts we hold but are actual brain mechanisms mixed with emotions. The input our brain takes in from the environment goes through a filtering process as it all travels across one or more synapses. Eventually, information reaches an area of higher processing, such as the frontal lobes. This is what we think of as conscious awareness. However, the portion of our sensory information reaches these higher levels is to some degree determined by our beliefs. Essentially, we can create a more positive belief system by inputting more positive thoughts. 

A later study, published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, was able to capture the effect of affirmations using an MRI. Participants who gave positive self-affirmations showed increased activity in various parts of the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain. Moreover, participants with greater stimulation in those sections of the brain – which control processing and valuation – exhibited less sedentary behavior afterward than participants who did not provide positive self-affirmations. This research indicates that future behavior, as well as thoughts, can be improved by positive affirmations. 

It’s empowering to realize that even when we feel stuck in our emotions, there is a biochemical potential for positive change and growth. When we repeat a positive intention, we become open to pieces of sensory information that we’d previously been blocking with a negative belief. This becomes a self-reinforcing pattern of thought, belief, behavior. But with positive affirmations, science shows we can change those patterns. 

Dee:

“Loser!”  “You’re a worthless piece of sh*t that is just a waste of space on this planet!”  “You can’t even go one day without drinking!”  “What’s wrong with you?”  That is how I used to talk to myself.  Pretty pitiful, huh?

I, too, am a true believer in positive affirmations and how I have to respect my prefrontal cortex.  When I found myself in a 28-day alcohol recovery treatment center I never thought of positive affirmations nor any part of my brain.  All I knew was that I couldn’t stop drinking no matter how hard nor how many ways I tried.  I knew I wasn’t stupid.  I knew I wasn’t a victim.  I just couldn’t stop.

Today I know that I have the disease of alcoholism and when I put a drink into my body my brain, my prefrontal cortex, which is different than “normal” drinkers, called out for more.  And that’s all I could think about.  That’s all I lived for.  I couldn’t satisfy the craving; I could’t shut my head off.

What Are Positive Affirmations? 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the benefits of positive affirmations, I’d like to explain a little about them. 

An affirmations is really anything you say or think. A lot of what we normally say and think is quite negative and doesn’t create good experiences for us. We have to retrain our thinking and speaking into positive patterns if we want to change our lives. 

An affirmations opens the door. It’s a beginning point on the path to change. In essence, you’re saying to your subconscious mind: “I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change.” When I talk about doing affirmations, I mean consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life. 

Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmations. All of our self-talk, our internal dialogue, is a stream of affirmations. You’re using affirmations every moment whether you know it or not. You’re arming and creating your life experiences with every word and thought. 

Your beliefs are merely habitual thinking patterns that you learned as a child. Many of them work very well for you. Other beliefs may be limiting your ability to create the very things you say you want. What you want and what you believe you deserve may be very different. You need to pay attention to your thoughts so that you can begin to eliminate the ones creating experiences you do not want in your life. 

Please realize that every complaint is an affirmations of something you think you don’t want in your life. Every time you get angry, you’re arming that you want more anger in your life. Every time you feel like a victim, you’re arming that you want to continue to feel like a victim. If you feel that Life isn’t giving you what you want in your world, then it’s certain that you will never have the goodies that Life gives to others – that is, until you change the way you think and talk. 

You’re not a bad person for thinking the way you do. You’ve just never learned how to think and talk (about positive affirmations). People throughout the world are just now beginning to learn that our thoughts create our experiences. 

Each time you repeat this statement, you’re rearming the seeds you’ve planted in the atmosphere of your mind. That’s why you want it to be a happy atmosphere. Things grow more quickly in rich, fertile soil. 

When you change your thinking process, then everything in your life will also change. You’ll be amazed and delighted to see how people, places, things, and circumstances can change. Don’t waste time arguing for your limitations: poor relationships, problems, illness, poverty and so on. The more you talk about the problem, the more you anchor it in place. 

Learn to turn your negative affirmations into positive ones. For instance: “I never have enough money” becomes “Money flows into my life in an abundant way.” 

Affirmations are solutions that will replace whatever problem you might have. Whenever you have a problem, repeat over and over: 

“All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come. I am safe.” 

This simple affirmation will work miracles in your life! 

Dee:

One thing we did every morning in rehab was repeat an affirmation of our choice, everyday, out loud to the group.  Being I’m an alcoholic and more is better, I chose two affirmations, “I am a good person,” and “I am a whole person.”

It seemed like forever since I had felt good or whole (if I ever even did or thought about it), but repeating those two affirmations for 28 days straight started to sink into not only my brain, but the very core of my being.  And to this day I repeat those affirmations daily.  It works! because today I AM a good person and I AM a whole person.  

It just took one day at a time to quit the negative self-talk, work the 12 Steps of AA with a trusted sponsor, do the footwork that was suggested by the fellowship and eventually I learned to love myself for who and what I am.  Simple affirmations will work miracles in your life!  I am living proof!

How to Repeat Affirmations? Choose Affirmations that are not too long. 

Repeat them every time your mind is not engaged in something important, such as while traveling in a bus or a train, waiting in line, walking, etc., but do not arm while driving or crossing a street. You may also repeat them in special sessions of 5-10 minutes each, several times a day. 

Be as relaxed as you can. 

Pay full attention to the words you are repeating. 

Stronger faith in what you are saying, and more desire and feelings bring faster results. 

Preferably, choose positive words with no negative connotations. If you want to lose weight, don’t use words such as, “I am not fat”, or “I am losing weight.” These are negative statements, bringing into the mind mental images of what you do not want. Repeat instead, “I am getting slim”, or “I have my ideal weight”. Such words build positive images in your mind. 

Arm, using the present tense, not the future tense. Saying, “I will be rich”, means that you intend to be rich one day, in the indefinite future, but not now. It is more effective to say, and also feel, “I am rich now”, and the subconscious mind will work at overtime to make this happen now, in the present. 

By stating what you want to be true in your life, you mentally and emotionally see and feel it as true, irrespective of your current circumstances, and thereby attract it into your life. 

However, saying affirmations is only part of the process. What you do the rest of the day and night is even more important. The secret to having your affirmations work quickly and consistently is to prepare an atmosphere for them to grow in. Affirmations are like seeds planted in soil. Poor soil, poor growth. Rich soil, abundant growth. The more you choose to think thoughts that make you feel good, the quicker the affirmations work. 

So think happy thoughts, it’s that simple. And it is doable. The way you choose to think, right now, is just that-a choice. You may not realize it because you’ve thought this way for so long, but it really is a choice. Now . . . today . . . this moment . . . you can choose to change your thinking. Your life won’t turn around overnight, but if you’re consistent and make the choice on a daily basis to think thoughts that make you feel good, you’ll definitely make positive changes in every area of your life. 

Here Is A List Of Positive Affirmations (maybe it’ll help you or get you started)

 – I am healthy and happy.
– Wealth is pouring into my life.
– I am sailing on the river of health.                                                                                                 – I am getting happier each day.
– My body is healthy and functioning in a very good way.
– I have a lot of energy.
– I study and comprehend fast.
– My mind is calm.
– I am calm and relaxed in every situation.
– My thoughts are under my control.
– I radiate love and happiness.
– I am surrounded by love.
– I have the perfect job for me.
– I have good and loving relations with my wife/husband/(or any person/people close to you)     – I have a wonderful and satisfying business/job.
– I have the means to travel abroad, whenever I want to.
– I am successful in whatever I do.
– Everything is getting better every day. (this one is my personal favorite) 

Dee:

Not only have I learned to let go of negative self-talk, I have learned to trust that everything that happens in my life (no matter how negative I “think” it is), is happening for a positive reason, in a perfect way, to help me to learn and be a better and stronger human being.  If I can stay positive and optimistic I attract more positive and optimistic occurrences into my life.  If I think negatively, that is what I shall attract.  I choose positive today.

What has helped me in this process is having been given the opportunity to make up a Higher Power of My Own Understanding over which I can turn my will and my life.  So with my ego being out of the picture I can now go with the flow and trust that everything in my life, including myself, is being nurtured and protected. 

This peeling away of the onion skin didn’t happen overnight.  But one day at a time, with clarity, I started to think less and feel more.  I was experiencing wonderful things happening in my life which didn’t come from me.  I felt lighter and freer and happier and content.

So slowly rid yourself of the negative self-talk and all other negativity in your life.  Learn to love yourself for the unique gift that you are; there’s no one else on this planet like you.  Share your gifts.  Use affirmations.  They work!

Thank you for being here.  With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in affirmations, I have created many inspirational quotes and affirmations on mosaics that can help you through any trying day or time in your life.  Please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

by ECLIPSED WORDS BY AISHWARYA SHAH, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE TM