Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Color Me Beautiful, Baby.

Oh, how easy it is to get down on yourself! Sometimes it honestly shocks me how comforting it is to slip into the easy chair of sorrow. Just a few weeks ago I decided to cut alcohol and refined sugars out of my life for 50 days. I just wanted to feel somewhat healthy for awhile.. Waking up with the stale taste of a long night in my mouth was just getting old. So I embarked on this little journey with as much determination as I could sweep up and prepared myself for change. The first week was hard. Seriously, hard. The sugar didn't really bother me, I'm a spicy/salty girl myself, it was the drinking.

You always hear that people who have substance abuse problems never think they have a problem. And those people are so silly because it's so obvious that they have problems, right? Maybe that line between okay and not is a little more blurred than I imagined. No, I'm not saying my life should be put on hold for rehab but I am okay with admitting if hadn't stopped when I did I was only a few bottles of Kettle One away from my personal invitation.

So, how did I recognize that I missed the booze a little too much? It was facing my daily emotions sober that really knocked me on my arse. I mean, who really cries sober? In my former opinion that was simply for the weak at heart. But there I was on day 4 without my most beloved friend Mr. Merlot and sure enough there were tears falling slowly and then furiously. This was the last thing I expected to happen as a result of cutting a few vices from my diet. If anything I thought I was going to lose a couple lbs in the process and be on my marry way to a congratulatory shopping spree. But there I was balling like a baby in sunset cast traffic. Awesome idea Charlotte.

But it was in fact an awesome idea. Because once you have a chance to mourn the all the shit that is going wrong in your life you are faced with another choice: pick that bottle up and drink that frown upside down or actually do something about it. I surprised myself and continued my non alcoholic (and sometimes painfully boring) journey. I layed out a plan for myself. I was going to face some serious fears. And I did! I was slowly flicking each stone that weighed down my chest and began to feel the heavy wheeze become a gasp for this increasing fresh air.

And then I failed. On day 24 I gave in to a very convincing red sangria. And you would think it was because I had had such a terrible day but no this was not the case at all. It was a gorgeous day and everyone around me couldn't help but notice that I was much lighter in a mental and physical sense. And this is when I assumed I was in control more quickly than I had expected. My reasoning? I had made it 24 days! I deserved just ONE drink, right? Ha. Silly me. One drink ended up only being four and I did have a great time. I was finally completely in control of me. I thought I had finally figured it all out. This was the Charlotte I loved and wanted to be and share with everyone around me. It was the next day when one turned into 10 that I knew I had thrown in the towel too soon.

That was two days ago and I cannot express to you how intense the emotional boxing match within has been. I became so angry with myself. And there is only one way to turn when the shame hits and that's to put a drink in my hand... but something stopped me today, a quote actually:

The next time you think about something wonderful, please don't forget yourself.
It was a much needed smack in the face. So I hit a big bump in my road and I could label it and add it to my list of failures or I could start a new list and entitle it Lessons. And I am doing just that. Lesson learned. Not one I'm proud of but it's not going to stop me from continuing to better myself. I have 24 hard earned clear thinking days under my belt and I'm not discounting them because of 2 kinda shitty ones. I was so afraid it would affect people's perceptions of what I was attempting; make them less proud of me. But you know what? I'm proud of me. I am damned proud of me and that is more than good enough for me. I have the control to pick out the colors and thoughts that will fill my days and today, and hopefully for many more to come, I choose the color beautiful.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Love, Rants & Raves

1. Invest in a really comfy pillow. Seriously, splurge on a luxurious ball of fluff to lay your head on when you hit the hay. Sleep is so precious and no good night should be spent on a scratchy pillowcase.

2. Go through your old photos. And I don't mean just a couple years back to your high school days so you can compare your younger body to the older version you now inhabit. I mean pull down those dusty boxes of your family and baby photos. Find pictures of your parents when the love was young and unsure, your mother cradling you for the first time and the arrival of younger siblings. Find your grandmother as a teenager, agile and sharp with a beaming smile of curiosity that your eyes will never have the pleasure of witnessing in person. Watch how their journeys have slowly paved the stepping stones to your own. After, life's heavy load may seem that much more bearable.

3. Cleanse your body. I know it's fun to be reckless but it's the only body you've got and it deserves some serious maintenance sometimes. So eat your veggies, drink some water and get some deep shut eye. Maybe get crazy and talk a walk after dinner. You can always return to your debaucherous ways.

4. Read a book. Do I really even need to justify that one?

5. Have a game board party. Seriously. Get your childhood favorites.. Whip out Connects Four, Candy Land, Guess who, Clue, Mouse Trap or a good old game of War... Whatever you loved playing when you were a wee one. You'd be surprised how fun it still is to partake in a fight to the death of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

6. Be kind to strangers. I know its sometimes hard to understand why some people are even allowed out of their homes but you don't know their story. So even if it is through gritting teeth, smile and wish them a good day. Help an old lady or overwhelmed mother with her groceries or give a kid a dollar to play the claw machine.Or offer a loved one to take their kids for a night so the parents can have a proper night on the town. I imagine there is nothing more refreshing for their love than to get drunk and make out in the backseat of their truck like they were the kids again. Just do your deed for the day. It's consistently rewarding.

7. Write someone a letter. Not an email or a text. A letter handwritten with scribbles and all. It will be less of a message and more of an extension of yourself. Even if it's just placed in your own mailbox for your spouse to find it will be a sweet relief tucked between the mean faced bills.

8. Love deeply, use everything in you to make it honest and, of course, love often.