As I was moving through my own recovery, working with multiple therapists and coaches, I kept encountering a practice that I completely resisted: going back to where the memory started, to "undo" it or "recreate" it. It felt formulaic, and not unlike the part in Law & Order when they bring in the Asian psychologist and he gets the child to play with a Barbie and all of the sudden the child remembers her brother killed her auntie.
It would go down something like this. I'd tell coach/therapist/doctor of a block or a terror I had, they'd ask me to close my eyes and go back to the first time I felt this way, and my answer of "always" didn't satisfy them. So I'd fish in my mind and normally end up pulling a memory that would make them happy and stop asking me to go back in time. Sometimes I would lie just to get them to stop. Read More
A little less than a year ago, I got what I would describe as the WORST email someone in recovery from substance abuse could get.
"Dear Holly, You are fucked up. You will always be fucked up. And you can't yoga your way out of how fucked up you are. You may have fooled all your other friends and the people you work with and surround yourself with, but I know the truth." Read More
A few days before Christmas last year, I sat in my therapists office, sipping in the lavender flavored air and her warm sage advice. I was in a good place. My job wasn't killing me too much, I hadn't had a hangover in what seemed an eternity, I was in yoga teacher training and continually becoming a more dedicated and regular practitioner, I knew what self love meant (really!), and my apartment was clean (this is a really big benchmark for adulthood for me). I actually remember sitting there across from her feeling…together.
We were talking about my upcoming trip home for the holidays to my mother's house. I told her that while in the past these holiday gatherings had tended to undo me in the worst possible way, and that I was actually looking forward to this time home and this big holiday affair. I was severely optimistic because this time, I was a grown up. A spiritually progressed grown-up by Oprah standards.
This year would be different because I was different.
So three days later as I sat in my childhood home living room in a ball on the floor sobbing uncontrollable hate tears, a string of "fuck-you assholes" hanging thick in the air somewhere between my mother and sister and I as they continued on unaffected in their game of cribbage, their normal "there she goes" giggling eye roll routine only stoking the hate fire further - I couldn't help but wonder.
What. The. Fuck. Happened. Read More
I wanted to talk about this down the line. When it was neat and tidy. A story of where I used to be and how I made it through as opposed to a story of where I am and how I struggle. But the point here is to be real. The point is to encourage you to be able to talk about your dark parts so you can bring them to the light. The point is to encourage everyone to talk about our collective dark parts. So we stop putting on a fucking show. So we stop feeling alone and different and less and afraid. To tear down the picture-perfect-social media façade so we have an equal playing field and stop competing with each other with things none of us actually has anyway.
We have a tendency to talk about things once they are pretty or at least prettier. But for us to all heal, for us to address the things that are true to us, the things that make us human and unique and special, we need to be able to talk about them as they are. Not as we wished they were.
So here is a whole lot of shit about the thing that feels the least pretty in my life: my relationships with men. Read More
I had my last last drink on April 13, 2013.
There is no way to describe what has happened in those months since. As far as I'm concerned, my life can be cut up into two boxes. The life before I learned what it meant to not drink, and the life after. The former a slow progression through a tolerable life with a severe longing for something more and a clear sense of never having or being enough. The latter not just the escape from that…the latter truly the having of things that I had always assumed were just not for me.
What unfolded was something beyond my wildest dreams. What unfolded was what happens when you decide for you and only you, and when you clear the space to make YOU happen.
Whatever benefits alcohol seems to provide I assure you they are trite in comparison to the possibilities of the life that stands beyond. Saying goodbye to the junk was saying goodbye to the life I had accepted as good enough and hello to a life that continues to unfold in magical, reality defying ways.
If you are looking for a little inspiration of what is on the other side...read these 19 things I have done in 19 months.
It's funny the things that we are afraid to admit.
I have no problem telling people about my sex life (or lack thereof), my poop habits, my deepest insecurities. Let's talk about how much coffee and pastry I consume, how much I struggle with not ending every sentence with the word fuck, or how terrified I am every day I sit down to work on Hip Sobriety. I have this eye fungus from my mascara that won't go away. Sometimes I'm too lazy to brush my teeth. I still text ex-boyfriends and tell them I miss snuggling with them. I look at my ass in mirrors way too much. I don't have health insurance.
I shamelessly and unapologetically admit all. Weellll, mostly all. Okay fine. All except for how I really feel about addiction, sobriety, recovery, relapse, AA, stigmatization, 12 steps, that I fiercely reject the label addict...
So you know, all. All except the risky things. All except the reasons I started Hip Sobriety in the first place.
Tonight, I got my first piece of hate mail, of which I'm sure there will be so much more to follow since I haven't even begun to open my mouth about how I really feel about many things in the world of addiction - a space that is full of high emotional charge to begin with. It was from the leader of a buddhist meditation group about one of my meetups. "Hmmm. So you stopped drinking and doing drugs. Too bad you're an ageist smug bitch. Should be interesting to see how many 'like-minded' show up. It would make the meetings much more effective without you. Read More