I am sitting tonight in front of the computer with a plethora of assignments to complete before Friday. I’ve attempted to do an outdoor flash assignment twice and it was a failure both times. I walked away today, from my second try, a tad frustrated. I told myself that there are three more days and about 24 hours of daylight. Even if I have to take a photo of myself, I’ll get it done. I’ll get it done because that’s what I do. I work well under pressure. I accomplish things. It’s what I do. That, and overthink.

I have done a ton of reading the past few weeks. Perhaps that’s been a distraction, but well worth it. Actually, they are Audible audiobooks, but same thing. I listen well. The book “Whole Again”, written by Jackson MacKenzie was phenomenal. I highly recommend if you feel those physical feelings of being stuck. The book basically helps you move forward from your protective self after betrayal. The betrayal doesn’t necessarily have to be infidelity related, but it does have to be a person who you loved that hurt you in some way. The book actually assists you in finding your old self again rather than recreating a new version of you without a shadow of who you were. It also focuses on feelings rather than what happened in the past. It talks about forgiveness, letting go and personal accountability of making the best of your future. It was probably the best self-help book I’ve read and it’s encouraged me to be more accountable about me and letting my protective self go. It’s not magic. This could take many months/years of hard work. The tools are there.

You’re essentially sitting with years or decades of ignored emotions. All you need to do is listen and respond only with kindness. You do not need to judge or analyze what’s going on. Instead, simply welcome these feelings. Let them in.

Jackson Mackenzie, Whole Again

That said, after completing this book, I decided to visit a friend. He is such a quiet and lovely guy. Someone that people go to for emotional support because he listens. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s how we connected after several years of knowing one another.

I don’t know how the conversation started but we really got into the topic of loving ourselves. I proclaimed that I am almost there. I have good days. I have bad days. For the most part, I still have sleepless nights lamenting over my past and future once the lights are turned off. This slows me down during the day, I stress myself out, and the vicious cycle happens until I have a drink that will knock me out. That said, I’m also knocked out the next day too. Even though I drink, I pay a HUGE price the next day. It’s not smart, but that’s not the point at this part of my story. It was a really heartfelt and honest conversation that I was having.

As the conversation continued well into the wee hours of the next day, I asked him if he did drugs too. He said, yes. I looked down. I looked up. I said, “that’s not good and that you can’t love yourself (and live your best life) if you do drugs or drink a copious amount. How are you going to solve your problem? Only you can do it you know?”

Then, I went to bed. I think it was the first night of drinking where I lamented. I pictured my old garage. I pictured what all happened down there without my knowledge. Sure, they were all smoking pot. I stayed upstairs like the clueless (but aware) housewife. Ya, someone once said that I lived in a bubble. They aren’t wrong. The funny part is addicts will create that bubble and make you think that you created it. I didn’t partake in pot smoking, but was it wrong of me to be oblivious that nothing else was happening?

“When we stay with shame, we are learning how to tolerate pain. The more we can do this, the more our bodies will reveal their truth to us. Instead of instinctually avoiding pain, we can meet it with kindness and curiosity. We can ask it questions and learn about it, without being consumed by it.” 

Jackson Mackenzie, Whole Again

As I drove home the next day, I really had a hard time getting past the thoughts. I think I was fooled once again. Was it innocently? Probably not. My therapist often explained to me that drug addicts will often throw you off the trail because it’s the drugs that they love more than anything else.

But why have I attracting addicts all of my life? Why have I succumb to so much drinking? I’ve been blaming COVID, but I’m sure it’s something deeper than that. It’s almost like “Meh, if I can’t beat em, I may as well join them.” Addicts seem to gravitate to me like white on rice. I have to figure this out to change my life because, in some sick way, I stick to them too.

Then a fire lit up inside of me. I want to be the best that I can be. I want to provide myself the life that I deserve. I want to love like there is no other option. This will never happen with an addict as they only truly love one thing.

I’ve got to change my lifestyle completely in order to achieve this. Settling or living within my protective self is no longer an option.

First, I have to clean myself up, and dare to socialize with non-drinkers and non-drug users, work with creative people who aspire the same things I do, and breaking out of my current living situation so I can dive into my path of being alone. This is pretty difficult with COVID, but what can I do to make my life different? I don’t know….this is why I’m writing. I need to map out the steps to change. OMG, that is scary. As we know, fear is often the cause of why we live in the same vicious circle we’re in.

“As you develop the unconditional love, what you’re essentially looking for is where your body or mind resists this love. One of the most persistent and difficult “resisters” is toxic shame. We finally stop running.” 

Jackson Mackenzie, Whole Again

This is all going to take time and effort to achieve. It’s not going to happen overnight as I’ve dug a pretty deep hole for myself. Living with my parents was a decision to allow myself a degree. A degree I’ve wanted for years. It was my decision.

I do not drink a copious amount, but it’s far more than I want to, and less than before. I’m not there yet and I won’t punish myself. I’ll grow from this.

All of my experiences, because I listen and think intently, is an Ah-Ha Moment.

The goal is to open my heart, leave my protective self, and meet new people, within different social groups, even though it’ll be awkward and uncomfortable. Right now, I tend to surround myself around the drinkers and drug users.

“Something really important to understand about the protective self is that you didn’t ask for it. Repeat that in your mind a few times: You didn’t ask for the protective self to take over. This was a physiological response from your own body, tensing or blocking or numbing to protect you. You didn’t go through a trauma and say, “Okay, body, numb me out now!” Decisions were made without your approval or awareness.” 

Jackson Mackenzie, Whole Again

So this said, I could meet a manager of a huge company, buy into their words (cause I’m naive), and find out that they are a cocaine user. My life experience has shown me that alcohol and drug addictions has no social class. People surprise me each and everyday and I’m no better than the next person. I’m just trying to find my people. My people who will push me to be a better person, love life again, and truly learn to love and trust people again.

I just want to feel Whole Again. That girl who was so happy in that bubble of ignorance and lies. I liked her. A lot! This time I want everything in my life to be a real experience, with no bubbles or bullshit from others who I invite in my life. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I realize it, and I’ve come this far, so I can go father!

“Core Wound: Like most protective selves, the avoidant wound seems to be largely based around a wound of rejection—specifically, any kind of humiliation or ridicule. These are shame-based experiences that can leave long-lasting imprints. While you may long for meaningful human contact deep down, the protective self is too afraid to experience genuine emotions. It worries that expressing emotions (especially negative ones) will cause you to seem crazy and be judged by others, pushing them away.” 

Jackson Mackenzie, Whole Again

I’d also recommend listening to Alanis Morisette’s Book “Words + Music” on Audible. You’ll learn that she’s not that angry lady everyone thought she was. Much like me…….we live, we learn.

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