Dancing Sober: Is it Possible?

Shakira-Sexiest-Music-Videos

I’ve never really been a confident dancer … not until I had that first drink. Then I could relax a little, and begin to unleash my inner Shakira.

Everyone has an inner Shakira. (Even men!) But how does one unleash even a restrained version of her joyous, uninhibited dancing without the mood-altering influence of alcohol?

Some people just decide it’s not worth the pain of trying. I was one of those, until I attended a weekend event on intuition led by Sonia Choquette. She required dancing during the class. And not restrained, robotic movements, but the wild kind — in full daylight, bopping along with everyone else in the class. I found it more awkward to try to sneak out the back than to dance, and so I did. Awkwardly.

But why did we have to dance? Sonia told us how dance is a kind of therapy, engaging the right brain and quieting the left. She had us measure our ‘vibes’ after just one wild romp to Lady Gaga’s Born this Way. We were amazingly invigorated! Our brains had been rewired! It turns out there are benefits to losing your decorum, your dignity, your uptight, buttoned-up version of yourself.

By the end of seminar, I felt like a kid again, singing along to the pounding music, jumping up and down … completely uninhibited.

It’s what we wanted the alcohol for … that sense of freedom, that wild release. It’s still inside you. Dance until you find it.

Drinking Steals Dreams

Puerto_del_Palo_1439318460

Drinking steals dreams.

Yesterday, I was a year and half sober, and I spent the morning dreaming. My latest? I’m dreaming of organizing a “pilgrimage.” I’m not sure where to yet, but I’m leaning towards the Camino de Santiago, across northern Spain. I’d never heard of it until yesterday, but that doesn’t matter. I have not the time, money, or friends to do this, but that doesn’t matter either, because it’s a dream. I’ll let the universe take care of the details.

This time ten years ago, well into my wine habit, I dreamed of not waking up. The sheer exhaustion of dealing with kids, a job, and a lack of funds made waking up a nightmare. New day, same problems. Same hangover.

The good news is that your dreams won’t die unless you do. Still alive? You qualify for dreams. What did you want to do when you were in the first grade? I wanted to write books. I’m doing that too.

What about you?

 

The Blessing of Addiction

11700798_10206608017786736_3563734740894309672_n

If all things can somehow be used for good, what good can come from an addiction?

It’s easy to see the downside of addiction: It can be mind-boggling to overcome because it’s cunning, baffling, and powerful. But what about the power that comes from releasing that addiction?

One answer is obvious: If you manage to extricate yourself from your own addiction, you can guide other people by sharing your story. (Actually, this is true if you escape or not. Some of the most compelling stories I’ve ever heard came from people who were still using their drug of choice.)

A great analogy for me is that of a heartbreaking relationship. What good can come from being deserted by the person you love most?

It happens every day and to everyone. Who hasn’t been rejected by a friend or lover who we idolized, whose good opinion meant everything to us, and who devastated us simply because they didn’t recognize in us the same thing we thought we saw in them?

What results is a perilous loss of self-esteem, as with addiction. Life loses its spark, and we ruminate on what we lacked that would have earned this person’s love.

And as with addiction, we blame ourselves.

For a brief time in my early twenties, I gave my power to someone I barely knew, really. But I bestowed upon him the keys to the kingdom. I decided that he was what I wanted, despite evidence suggesting that this was not a match made in heaven.

I’d been on the other side of relationships, and often wondered how someone could be so devastated after a break-up. Why was it such a huge deal?

I was taught why, as life tends to teach us what we need to learn.

The man who didn’t love me committed no crime except to realize that I was not the woman he was destined to spend the rest of his life with. He was right. But because I had made him the arbiter of all that was worthy, his rejection signaled to me my total lack of worth.

And even though the circumstances were largely beyond my control, I struggled to make sense of what had happened. The mind seeks reasons, which the ego is happy to supply.

To start with, I’d never lost the weight I’d been planning to lose for years. I didn’t have my shit together, and sometimes drank too much. But what really happened is that subconsciously I felt powerless in the relationship. And with this loss of power, I became someone else — someone over-emotional and easily hurt. I checked my confidence at the door, and never got it back.

By having my sense of self shaken, I was forced to confront how easy it is to feel unloved by the world. To give your good opinion of yourself to other people. To let the world tell you who you are.

What I know now is that this relationship was not a failure; it was an invitation. Through it, and other life experiences, I learned to forgive myself and love myself completely.

What took me years to discover — having later given my power to another lover, alcohol — is that my worth comes from a source that dispels all self-doubt. I am a child of God, and my strength comes from a universe blessed by my presence. Seeing this in myself makes it easier to love other people wholly, seeking to forgive their shortcomings as I do my own.

I know absolutely that I am completely worthy of love, and that knowledge has helped me create a world that reflects this love back to me.

And I know absolutely that you are as worthy of love as I am.

 

“ … I begin to remember the Love I chose to forget, but which has not forgotten me.”

A Course in Miracles, Lesson 60

Struggling with a “Higher Power”?

clouds

There is a consciousness and an awareness that exists always and everywhere—the name you give it is unimportant.   

— Bernie S. Siegel M.D.

So many people are stuck on the idea that if they don’t believe in a traditional version of “God” that they are somehow excluded from the benefits of meditation or prayer. This doctor offers an alternative view here:

Feeling Alone and Afraid?

The Wine Diet

red-wine-and-dark-chocolate-diet

Last night, I had an unusual dinner … Wendy’s french fries and a large chocolate frosty. I like the way the hot salty fries are cooled by the sweet bliss of the frosty.

I’m on a sugar detox diet, allegedly, but I fell off the wagon with a cookie here, a muffin there, and now I’m on the sugar overload diet.

Drinking wine used to take care of my sweet addiction, although wine itself contains very little sugar. Like diet drinks, it still seemed to satisfy my sweet tooth. Later on, sugary mixed drinks were my appetite suppressant, causing me to eat far less than I normally would for dinner. They even functioned as a meal replacement. And because the alcohol was nonnegotiable, I could bypass desserts with ease. I’ve found through experience, however, that I have to get rid of all sugar to be successful, just like with alcohol. I will never be a moderate sweet eater. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.

I approach this addiction a lot like I did with drinking: I binge on sugar because I’ve come up with a plan, which will start tomorrow. (My plans always start tomorrow, rarely today.) Tomorrow, I will start my sugar shut-out for let’s say … three weeks. (And by sugar, I mean pasta and bread and white rice too.)  I know I’m going to go through sugar withdrawal — I’ll be tired and edgy for a few days, craving sugar in all my waking hours. And just like with wine, I have to binge to really prepare for the purge. I usually begin on a Monday, but because it’s a holiday, I’ve allowed myself an extra day of sweet indulgence.

It just so happens that Hip Sobriety has some perfect advice for the occasion:

Sugar Addiction in Sobriety: Why it Happens + 13 Tips How to Break it.

In one hour, when the doors open, I will be back at Wendy’s, claiming my final Frosty.

Wish me luck!

The Eclipse and Sobriety

NGS Picture Id:1500684

Today, people all across the U.S. are making plans to watch a miracle of timing, when the moon and sun align to produce an astronomical phenomena that momentarily transforms the way we see the world.

I would say that your decision not to drink today is just as awe-inspiring, transformative, and mind-altering as the eclipse. Your decision to take back your power sends shock waves through the universe, leaving no one untouched by its wave of positive energy.

You are a force to be reckoned with. Unleash your power. 💕