2 Months Sober and Counting…

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It’s been two months since I’ve smoked the reefer which as Ive mentioned in previous blog posts is the longest time I have gone without in over five years. I so far have experienced no side effects, however, I did notice just recently within the past week I sometimes feel depressed in the morning and on two occasions it overwhelmed me to the point of staying in bed til late afternoon. I think this has more to do with my fear of the day because I honestly don’t know what to do with myself.

Before when I was smoking dope I did not care that I was jobless or lacked goal-directed behavior. I only really ever thought about my next high and where it was going to be coming from. Now, I am sober and painfully aware of the goals I had been neglecting like to get my full license and return to school. Unfortunately due to erroneous amounts of debt I owe I would need a steady job to even consider these goals. So I decided to get off my ass and meet with an employment counsellor and have started applying to jobs which I have not done in about two years! Being sober has really cleared my mind and made me able to see and plan a road map to achieve my goals. Getting a job is a first really good start to achieving these goals and is a goal in itself – to be employed.

I am proud of myself for even thinking of returning to the workforce because as a person with a really inhibiting disability it is honestly no easy feat. I am now more aware of my limitations after having worked in customer service for over 8 years (for example I could never be a waitress again….just can’t do it!). I have real bad anxiety when working, constantly paranoid that I’ll be fired to the point I just end up quitting before I believe they’re gonna let me go (I know this is my bipolar spiralling). I will be looking for these anxious red flags and doing some CBT to work through them. I need to look at things objectively and not be so harsh on myself which is easier said than done, I know!

Another thing I would like to work on and am painfully aware of now that I am sober is my finances. I would like to start writing a budget and challenge myself to actually stick with it each month. But unfortunately new expenses each month keep popping up like the new medication and eyedrops I need for my allergies. I’ve never had allergies in my life and then I get them so bad to the point no over the counter or  covered allergy medication works so I am stuck paying out of pocket each month for that. I realize I am making excuses with my spending habits and justifying spending money on senseless shit. I will admit I am a bit of a brand whore and am a little materialistic. But I am going to start documenting everything and everywhere I spend my money to at least be more hyper aware of what I am wasting my money on and what I think is so much more important than saving for driver’s ed.

The point of this post is to discuss what two months sobriety feels like and I’ll be honest it feels a little like hitting a wall. You’ve sobered up enough to realize what you should be doing but you’ve been high so long avoiding doing anything that actually getting going again feels impossible. I am taking very small steps to get where I need/want to be and getting sober which actually the biggest step I took to achieving my goals because now I am in the right headspace to work towards and build up goals. Being Sober is Scary cause you’re painfully aware of what is lacking and you don’t have a substance to fill up that space so you have no choice but to confront…confront your life and start conquering it.

All My Love, Your Sober Buddy and Confidante,

BiPolarMania

Girl, Stop Apologizing – The Ultimate Book For The Ultimate Goal Setter

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If any of you reading this blog post follow my blog, you’ll know that I have a thing for books on self improvement. The latest treasure to be added to my reading list is Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Stop Apologizing. The tagline sums up what it’s all about which is “A shame-free plan for embracing and achieving your goals.” Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviours to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth.

The number one excuse I could relate to and I think most of you reading this can too is “I’m Not Enough To Succeed.” Hollis says that “when we set out to pursue something, we’re often dealing with our fear of what we lack multiplied by a factor of nine million” (Hollis 29).  How often do we decide to give up on pursuing a goal because we think we have no business pursuing that goal and that we are not enough to achieve it? I’ll admit for me personally, more times than I care to admit. She points out the irony in this and how the thing you’re attempting to take on might be the exact thing that proves your misconceptions about yourself wrong.

For example, I have been reluctant to return to school because I think I am not smart enough to succeed at it so rather than prove myself wrong by trying and possibly very well succeeding, I reaffirm the notion that I am not smart enough by not returning to school and getting the education that I need. Hollis says “It’s a catch-22, because your feelings of not enough keep you from proving to yourself that you are. You haven’t yet achieved the things you hope for, and so you decide that you’re unable to” (Hollis 30). If you don’t try basically you’ll never know whether you are truly good enough and the idea of failure is too terrifying to sometimes overcome but it is also a beautiful part of the process of achieving something – falling down and getting back up.

Hollis breaks down the beginning of Girl, Stop Apologizing into nine excuses to let go of when setting goals and attempting to achieve them. These range from excuses like “I Don’t Have Time” to “What Will They Think” to “I’m Terrified of Failure.” The excuse that “I’m Terrified of Failure” really relates to me as I am a terrible perfectionist and want to do everything perfectly. Hollis breaks down why this is unreasonable and how you’re going to suck at first when doing something you’ve never done before. The following is a quote from her book that really struck a chord with me and left me with that “Aha!” moment: “This isn’t a question of whether you can do something well, because nearly anything can be learned; this is a question of whether you’re humble enough to suck for as long as it takes you to become better” (Hollis 61).

It’s so simple and yet I had never thought of it before or had it broken down like this for me. To achieve a new goal you need to be prepared for a new challenge because it is something you have not tried before and so your experience and comfort with it is limited or non existent. This does not mean you cannot succeed but like most things in life it may take some time but never give up! I have decided, for example, that I want a car by next year however I do not even have a G2 license and will inevitably have to go to driver’s school since nobody in my family is willing to teach me. I am terrified I am going to fail at driver’s ed but Hollis has reassured me that with practice, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. So yes, at first I will probably suck at driving but if I keep showing up to my lessons and committing myself to learning, I will eventually become good at it.

Another quote from Girl, Stop Apologizing that struck me was the following: “There’s a great Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.” You can keep talking yourself out of the thing you’re hoping for, or you can decide that your dream is more powerful than your excuse” (Hollis 60-61). Now This is powerful because I am sure like me you are beating yourself up for not chasing some goals sooner or are focused on how you did not do them in the past. But have no fear the best time is now. Do not dwell on what could have been but what may be and you may be able to achieve that dream if you start working towards it now in the form of goals. In a previous blog post I broke down Hollis’ 10:10:1 ratio (ten years, ten dreams, one goal). I have a dream of owning and driving a luxury car so where can I start today in achieving that dream? Probably by getting my fucking license first, then owning my first beater, then owning yet another beater, then save save, hustle hustle til maybe one day I’ll own that luxury car I have my eyes on. I could easily get caught up in the fact I could have had my license like ten years ago and started this process but you know what the second best time to start is now.

Dream Big, Dream Often but don’t forget to turn those dreams into reality by setting very real and tangible goals that stretch like a stepladder to your end destination. It literally and figuratively takes one step at a time to make a dream a reality. Hollis outlines how to set real and meaningful goals in order to achieve your dreams in Girl, Stop Apologizing that I argue every girl can’t miss. She is your coach, your mentor, your inspiration and more than anything she is rooting for you because she’s been there and has failed as many times as she has succeeded. Hollis taps into your dream spirit, the one that was always there but you were scared to let lose.

Girl, Stop Apologizing for having dreams and go fucking chase them!

10, 10, 1 – Ten Years, Ten Dreams, One Goal

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Rachel Hollis is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company so when she sets out to write about how to set goals and crush them, you listen. In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Hollis asks that women stop talking themselves out of their dreams and start chasing them. She identifies the excuses to let go of , the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth. I am going to go into detail on one chapter of her book in which she breaks down her invented concept of “10, 10, 1.” This numerical equation of sorts defines a process she created called ten years, ten dreams, one goal.

Hollis asks “Who do you want to be in ten years? What are the ten dreams that would make that a reality for you? Which one of those dreams are you going to turn into a goal and focus on next?” (Hollis 98). Hollis encourages you to write down as fast as you can on a piece of paper what this future version of yourself may look like. What kind of car does she drive? What does she do for work? Is she a runner?

When I did this exercise the following came spewing out onto my page: My future self has a career and degree in the arts. I own and drive an Audi. I wake up every day feeling energized and ready to take on the world. I start with a morning coffee and work on my latest novel for an hour or two. Then I go into work at my dream job of arts journalist or arts professor. I come home and make dinner for my husband (because in this fantasy I am a really good cook). I then head out to run around my neighborhood (because yes, in this scenario, I am a homeowner as well) to train for the marathon I am running in a couple of months.

Hollis then says to take your vision and break it down into ten dreams over the span of ten years. She says to choose ten dreams that, if they were to come true, would make your future self real. My ten dreams are as follows: Marathon Runner, Writer and Blogger, Career in the Arts, Driver and owner of a luxury car, Home or Condo owner, live in a big city, have a degree in the arts, married, visual artist or photographer, Instagram influencer.

“Now here’s the key: write down those ten dreams in a notebook every single day. And write them as if they’ve already happened” explains Hollis it’s about repetition and maintaining a focus on those goals. You want to remind yourself of who you should be.

Now that you have come up with ten dreams in ten years, it’s time to focus on the one goal you could be working on currently to make your future self  a reality. I have decided that this year my main goal is to go to driver’s school and get the next class of my license. This will bring me closer to my future self who as I discussed earlier drives and owns a luxury car.

That sums up my brief introduction into Hollis’ 10,10, 1 process and whether it works or motivates me will be determined. I will be sure to write a blog on my progress with my one goal for this year in about six months. But until then stay tuned! And remember to write down those dreams as a reminder of who you want to be and what each day you are striving to achieve. Hopefully it’ll light a fire under your ass and push you to work for more.

Girl, Stop Apologizing and Start To Hustle!