Sobriety

Game-changers

You know that feeling when you first reunite with a good friend that you haven’t seen or spoken to in a very long time?  There is that pull of urgency in your belly, you feel a bit flustered and slightly overwhelmed because you aren’t sure where to possibly begin in order to fill them in on all that has happened since you last saw each other.

That, kind reader, is how I feel right now about writing this blog.

I take comfort in the fact that I have been in the above-mentioned “real life” scenario quite a few times in the past, and from what I can recall, things just worked themselves out.  The sense of urgency begins to gently subside, the explosion of words that you feel compelled to vomit somehow manages to fall out of you, and somehow, a vague sense of order emerges from its chaos.

I am taking this sense of urgency, overwhelm and flus-tration (new word!) as a good sign… a verrrrry good sign.  You see, it means that I WANT to re-connect with you (you = the outside world).  And this is the first time I have felt like this in a very long time… about three years (give or take).

The tricky thing here is that it is often (not always, but often) a one-sided conversation on the old blog.  You see, I have been blogging for seven years.  You might recall that this blogging adventure began with “MareBare Necessities: A Year of Living with Less”, which was a one-year project in which I gave up being a consumer of new goods.  It turned out to be an epic journey, and somehow, unintentionally, it became quite well read.  Like 50,000-readers-per-month well read!  (I know, it still shocks the hell out of me too!) 

After the “MareBare” project was over, I quit blogging for a bit, but then I was pushed,pulled and practically dragged back into it because of people like you: you see, my blog had started a CONVERSATION.  (I know now that this is no small feat – I have been trying every since to “continue the conversation” with my “on-line community”, only to discover that as I shifted, morphed and changed, so did they).  Today?  Not so much of a conversation.  Not so much of a community.  And so, I find myself once again in a very much one-sided, somewhat awkward, I’m-really-excited-but-overwhelmed-to-tell-you-stuff social situation.

(And after yesterday’s post… you can just guess how I feel about that… cue the sweat).

However: I’m doing it anyway.  You see, when I started MareBare Necessities, I couldn’t friggin’ WAIT to write my posts each day.  I was SO excited to connect with “my tribe” (which started off as one or two readers… one of whom was my mom).  And that is, once again, how I feel about connecting with you kind folks (there are about 8 of you all told)…

So, where shall we begin?  Ah yes.  The title of this post: GAME-CHANGERS.

Because of the overwhelm/excitement/flus-tration, it occurred to me that maybe I should just tell you what the biggest, most epic changes, challenges, self-discoveries/uncoveries have been over the past three years.  This post then, can kind of serve as the “index” for the rest of the blogs to come.

Here they are, in no particular order of timeline or importance (and please note, I shared the first two with you yesterday):

·Giving up alcohol (for 510 days and counting) and moving into “recovery” (I love this word – it means: to regain possession of something lost and return to a normal state of mind/health)

·Discovering that I am actually a very introverted/shy/socially anxious person

·Going through a divorce (duh). We have done this in the most conscious way possible and although it has been unbelievably painful, it has also been a phenomenal journey of self-discovery and growth.

·Working as an educational consultant (turns out that I really love this work and it continues to change and expand as well).

·Taking charge of my mental and physical health through a life-changing dietary program called Whole30 (look it up.  No seriously look.it.up.)

·Moving (several times) and finally settling into The House With The Red Door.  Lately we have been “Tidying up” our home (via the work of Marie Kondo) and so far this has involved disposing of 45 garbage bags of “stuff”, and we are only about ½ way done.

·Learning about co-dependency and moving into recovery from that sticky mess (this is also connected to learning how to set boundaries).

·Continuing to learn more and more about mental health and depression and continuing to navigate recovery (through WHOLEistic methods)  (I call this “taming the dark dragon”.) In other words, this has meant freeing myself of my behavioral addiction to and pattern of being “dark and twisty”.  This has meant taking FULL accountability for all areas of my life and letting go of my victim story (again and again and again).

·Facing ALL of my deepest, darkest fears, (most of which surrounded mortality and death) and emerging on the other side.

·Discovering a different way to be in an intimate partnership, and re-discovering the different forms/roles/shapes that can exist in a “family”

·Taking my medicine wheel training, travelling twice to Peru to study shamanism and beginning to practice and share my gifts as a shamanic practitioner.

·Changing my legal name back to my birth name.

·Claiming a medicine name (more on this later).

·Navigating intense survivor guilt (this is truly a one-day-at-a-time journey).

And there you have it: the list of “game-changers” and the likely future index of this blog.

Any questions?

Nahanni, DCW

Just... start.

 

After taking a muchly needed blogging/writing hiatus that has lasted most of the past three years (not fully and completely but mostly), lately I have had this deep craving to come back to writing… for others.

 

I have written a bunch of ramblings, journal entries, scribbles here and there, but mostly for myself.  Writing has always been one of the ways that I can make sense of the chaos inside of my head.  And it works… most of the time.

 

So much has changed in my life over the past three years that I don’t even know where to start.  I am letting go of the need to update you on all of the (gory) details kind reader, and instead I think I will just start with what is present. 

 

Yesterday I… (haha, see what I did there?) I jumped right back into the past.  Man old habits are hard to break!

 

TODAY I find myself in Nordegg, sitting on the deck of our family cabin, drinking tea and rambling on… words spilling onto the page, with a “loose” intention of actually sharing this post.

 

You see, it turns out that I am actually a really intense introvert.

 

I know.  News to me too.  Like EARTH-SHATTERING-REPEAT-IT-A-BILLION-TIMES-OVER-UNTIL-I-GET-IT-THROUGH-MY-TINY-SKULL news.

 

I didn’t discover this about myself until approximately 509 days ago (and 11 hours and 10 mins)… which just-so-happens to be the same date/time/hour that I chose to begin abstaining from drinking alcohol.  Yep.  I have been living in sobriety for the past 16 or so months.

 

Sobriety has been a LOOOOOOONG time coming for me.  Like more than ten years coming.

 

Funny thing, was that I had no idea that I had been working my way towards this lifestyle until I actually began the process of living sober.

 

And let me tell you, it has been an epic process.  One of such life-changing magnitude that no amount of capslocks could convey the epicness of it all… so I am even going to forego the capslocks… you are just going to have to take my word for it this time.

 

What I can tell you after more than a year living in sobriety is this: my life continues to get better every single day.

 

But sobriety is another topic for another day.  And I promise, pinky-swear promise, that you haven’t heard the last from me about it, but today I want to talk about being a newly-discovered-introvert.

 

Now, for anyone who has known me for any stretch of time, you might be as baffled as I am about this discovery.  To the outside world, I know that I have always seemed gregarious, loud even, bubbly, giddy and social butterfly-ey (I so know that is not a thing, but I just made it one).  What you most likely didn’t know (because I even denied it to myself for most of my life), is that social situations have always been hard for me.  Like, choose-your-wardrobe-carefully-because-of-the-epic-pitstains hard.  Oh the sweating. The ridiculous and inevitable sweating that virtually ANY and ALL social situations resulted in.

 

And, as far as I can tell, I have always been like that.  I was born like that.  As a child I can remember being the very happiest when I was playing by myself with my league of imaginary friends and making up my world as I went.  And I was GOOD at that.  Actually, I was brilliant at that (and still am).

 

Somewhere in elementary school I figured out that I was a bit different in this regard.  I got the strong message that I needed to make “friends” and play in a group rather than by myself in my own little world.  And it was hard for me.  Always and all ways.  Acutally, it was excruciating.  So, what I ended up doing was choosing a very few and small select group of people to let into my private little world, people who I trusted to fully see the real me (and this totally backfired on me a zillion times but again, another post for another day).  Outside of my very select group of peeps, I figured out that if I made myself big enough, puffy enough, LOUD enough, that they wouldn’t ever get to see my spongy, soft bits.  They wouldn’t see that I was dying of self-consciousness every moment of every day. 

 

Everything changed when I found alcohol.  I took my first drink at 11 years old and I knew that I had found a friend that would be by my side for a very long time.  Forever I thought.  You see, when you have the kind of social anxiety and intense introversion that I had, alcohol makes it all go away.  All of a sudden you actually ARE gregarious, funny, loud and comfortable being seen… on some level anyway.

Still a lot of sweating and careful shirt choosing, but you know that there is something out there to can (and will) relieve the intense feelings of…shame.  That’s what I was feeling: shame and self-loathing.

 

Now it’s a looooong story about how the intense amount of shame and self-loathing came to live all up in my grill, and maybe we’ll get to that someday.  But TODAY we are back to introversion, and sobriety.

 

Fast-forward 25 years (that is how long I was a drinker for, a quarter of a century) and I finally had done enough work on myself to kick the bottle.  To give up my crutch.  To walk alone.

 

And for the past year?  A whole lotta epic sweating has ensued.  Like throw-away-bags-of-ruined-clothes epic.  But you know what else has happened?  Some not-so-sweaty days.  Some really good boundary-setting.  Some unapologetic acts of self-love.  Some very candid conversations about this very topic within sacred spaces and circles.  And now?  Some serious honesty with you kind reader.

 

I share this now on the world-wide-internets because I deeply know from experience that there is someone out there who needs to read it.  Someone who might feel some of these same feelings but who feels completely alone and isolated.  Someone who thinks that no one else on the planet can possibly understand all of the anxiety, shame and sweating.

 

In the past, reading other people’s real and vulnerable accounts of their self-exploration and revelation has literally saved my life.  Literally.

 

And, I’m ready.  I’m simply ready to be seen again.  As this “new” version of myself.  As this deeper, truer version of myself.  As this er… sweatier version of myself.

 

And I am sweating.  I can be real about that.  As I push post, you can bet the sweat will be running.

 

And you know what?  I ‘m doing it anyway.

 

Yours in trust,

 

Nahanni

Dancing Coyote Woman