Author Archives: Veronica Valli

About Veronica Valli

Mother, therapist, coach, writer, speaker, wife, recovered alcoholic

The beauty of failure in learning to succeed

Adobe stock

Adobe stock


by Rose Lockinger
Most of my life I was afraid of failure. I suffered from the belief that I had to be perfect at everything I did and anything less then perfection was unacceptable. This caused me to go around in my life with unrealistic expectations for the way things should go. I would weigh out every step I took in life with a seriousness that did nothing but hinder my progress and paralyze my ability to move forward and grow. I realized quickly in sobriety that part of learning to live life meant that I was bound to make bad decisions, however those decision did not determine my future rather they were experiments in learning.

The interesting thing about this is that living my life in this manner all but ensured that I would fail. By having to be perfect I would often times not try something because I was afraid that I couldn’t do it, or couldn’t be the best at it and by doing so I failed before I even started. I would put mental roadblocks in my way that I felt would keep me safe, but in reality they just kept me down and kept me living in fear.

This is something that I have heard discussed by many alcoholics and addicts in my time in sobriety— how their lives were a dichotomy of perfection and failure. How the fear that they would fail kept them from truly living and truly succeeding and how once they got sober they had to learn to deal with this.

When I first came into the rooms of recovery of I felt like a complete failure. For all of my attempts to control the outcomes of my life and live in a way that would result in my experiencing the least amount of resistance, I still felt like a total and utter failure.

My marriage had come to an end. I had used drugs and alcohol to the point where I now needed treatment, and my ability to be a mother to my children was painfully lacking. And so I entered into recovery thinking that my biggest fear, being a failure, had been realized.

To a certain extent I was afraid that this feeling was going to follow me for the rest of my life. That because I had “failed” I was bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over again and that there was no way that I could escape what I believed to be my own inadequacies as a human being.

This however, if you haven’t already been able to tell, was completely unfounded and it was nothing but my mind and my disease attempting to keep me down. Every day of my early recovery I struggled with this fear of failure. I struggled with feeling like a complete loser and I struggled with whether or not I was going to be able to overcome my problems. Part of me just wanted to give up, because at that point I didn’t think I was good enough and I didn’t think that I deserved a better life.

Luckily, though I didn’t give up. I pushed on and in doing so I learned one of the most important lessons I have discovered in my life: that failure is never the end of the story but is rather the beginning. That all of the messy feelings and pain that failure brings up for me allows me to learn life lessons about myself that I couldn’t have learned otherwise. In a sense, even though I had been afraid of failure my entire life, it became one of my greatest teachers and one of my greatest accomplishments.

That last part might sound be a bit strange, but it is true. If I wouldn’t have used drugs and alcohol to the point where I completely destroyed my life I don’t think that I would be sitting here typing this out at this very moment. I would not have been introduced to God in the manner that I was and I would not have taken to a life of sobriety in the way that I have. I probably would still be out there somewhere, totally lost and afraid to admit it to anyone. I would probably have just wandered through life unaware that there was a better way.

Getting sober wasn’t the only time that failure has been my teacher, or has been a new beginning for me though. I have noticed many times throughout my sobriety that what I deemed to be a failure was often times a blessing in disguise. That often times having failed, lead me to something entirely new, whether it be a greater understanding of how my mind works, or a deeper appreciation for the things I have, but each failure has been a lesson that I needed to learn, and truthfully I probably couldn’t have learned those lessons any other way.

I have also noticed that my failures have in many cases turned into my greatest assets. For instance I was never really able to be honest in the past. I seemed to have an almost pathological need to not tell the truth and as you can probably guess this caused a tremendous amount of trouble in my life. But as my lies piled up on top of each other and eventually led to my undoing, I learned a valuable lessons from this, and today, while I am not 100% honest, I am able to share honestly with other about what is going on with me and I do my best to tell the truth.

So while I am not completely free from my fear of failure and sometimes I still get paralyzed thinking that I am going to choose the wrong path or do the wrong thing and everything is going to come tumbling down, I at least understand that there is nothing in life that I can’t learn from, or can’t come back from. I sunk lower in my addiction than most normal people ever go and yet today I am not a broken woman. My addiction didn’t totally ruin me and since that is the case, I know that no failure is too large for me to overcome, and no lesson to large for me to learn.

Rose Lockinger

Rose Lockinger


Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Caitlin Moran blocked me on Twitter and I’m kinda devastated.

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It’s true. She blocked me.

She was one of my ‘go to’ people when anything interesting happened, because she always writes so succinctly and is piercingly honest. Initially, I thought she was taking a Twitter break as I couldn’t see her tweets on Tweetdeck. Then to my horror, I realized she had actually blocked me. She had actually taken a nano-second out of her day to press the button that said ‘block user’.

I’m devastated that she imagines me to be some kind of troll who is sending her abusive messages (which as a kick ass feminist I imagine she gets a lot off). I’m heart broken that she thinks I’m one of them. And I’d like to apologize to her, as the last thing I wanted to do was cause offense.
It’s the first time social media has managed to dent my self-esteem. I assume it’s because she either read this, or saw one of my tweets, that I tweeted at her, imploring her to read this. I’m not a great writer and Moran does this for a living, but I tried really hard to balance how much I admired and respected her, with an attempt to initiate a conversation about how much binge drinking is normalized, and laughed about in our culture. I was suggesting she maybe mentioned this a bit too much, and could perhaps have a think about the impact of what she was saying. Obviously I came off as smug, patronizing and judgmental, and trust me, my 16 year old self is looking on in horror. How did I become this kind of grown up?

Because that isn’t what I set out to do. In truth, it is not binge drinking that I actually have a problem with. Adults need to make their own decisions, and many of us choose to do stuff that we know is bad for us, regardless. My issue has always been the rhetoric around binge drinking. The normalization of abnormal drinking. The jokey, jokey, references to hangovers and laughing about drinking quantities of alcohol that would kill a normal person.

It’s the subtext that says ‘alcohol is the solution to whatever problem you have.’

Stressed? I’ve got a bottle of gin here – that’ll sought it.
Bored housewife? Then it must be wine-o-clock, ‘wink, wink.’
Had a tough day? Nothing like a drink or two or three to sort that right out.
This is the language I’d like to challenge and I was hoping Ms. Moran would hear me on that.
But clearly I failed.

And I’m still not clear on how to address this. I do not want to be the fun police, I do not want to judge other people’s drinking, it’s really none of my business. I do not want to be a party pooper, or abstinence promoter (don’t believe in it).
What I do want to do is challenge how it’s represented in my culture. Because I believe our cultural representations of alcohol use are grossly incorrect, dangerous and actually camouflage’s our massive denial about the impact alcohol has. And it’s this collective denial that’s stopping people getting help.
We still culturally represent alcohol abuse as a bit of harmless fun. And it’s not harmless. It causes massive harm, to many people.
I’m not denying that drinking can be fun and can help with some unforgettable moments with friends. I’m also fully supportive of appropriate alcohol use. And even though I do have a problem with alcohol, not all my nights drinking were terrible, some were awesome.

If you have any suggestions how we can begin to change the conversation around drinking in a non-smug, non judgmental, non-twitter-blocking-by-celebrities-we-really-admire method. I would be very grateful to hear it. And if you happen to know Caitlin Moran, please tell her I’m sorry.

SHE RECOVERS – NYC

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I’m really excited to tell you about the She Recovers conference taking place in NYC on May 5-7.
I’m really honored to be taking part in this event as one of the official sober blogger team members. There will be a reception and meet on greet on the Friday night so if you are able to attend I will get to meet you in person.
The line up is killer:
*drumroll*
Gabrielle Bernstein
Elizabeth Vargas
Glennon Doyle Melton
and…..
Marianne Williamson

I know!!!!!!!!! Awesome, right!!!!!!

Tickets are selling out fast there are less than 80 left if you are interested you can purchase them here.

She Recovers is a community women who believe we are all in recovery for something and that we are stronger, together.

Dawn, me and Taryn

Dawn, me and Taryn


I met the co-founders Dawn Nickel and her daughter Taryn Strong for dinner last year, when they were out in New York planning the event. They are an awesome kick ass team and I love what they are doing for the recovering community. Dawn started She Recovers because she knew how important self care is to recovery.
She’s right. Self care is vital to recovery.
If you are free and you are able, we would love to see you at the event and meet you in person.

Busting the, ‘when you’re drunk, you tell the truth’ myth.

Paul Gascoigne (ex-British soccer player) has been hospitalized again. He was drunk and got into a fight after racially abusing some other guests. This is awful on many levels and racial abuse should never be tolerated but it’s important to point out that Paul Gascoigne is a really, really sick man.
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It’s also important to not jump to the conclusion that Paul Gascoigne is a racist and he spoke the truth because he was drunk. I’ve heard the phrase ‘when you are drunk, you speak the truth’ repeated many times and feel the need to point out that it is a total myth.
You don’t speak the truth when you are drunk. What you do is speak a lot of old bollocks.
Alcohol doesn’t give us the courage to open our inner most thoughts and feelings to others. What it does do however, is open our inner life for everyone to see. And if your inner world is full of self-loathing, hatred, loneliness and desperation, then alcohol will manifest exactly that in your words and deeds. Far from revealing himself as a racist, Gascoigne was instead, revealing his own self-loathing. Racists remarks are so deplorable that they cause a very immediate and visceral reaction. This is probably the reaction Gascoigne’s own sub conscious was looking for. As it confirmed his view of himself: ‘I am so disgusting and un-lovable, who could bear to be near me?’ Let me do something really disgusting, so I can indeed, confirm my own disgusting-ness to myself?’

Make sense?

John Galliano and anti-Semitism
I wrote about this a few years ago when John Galliano similarly made some abhorrent anti-Semitic remarks that were made public. I argued then, that rather than see Galliano as an anti-Semite, it was actually the most disgusting thing, his sub-conscious could come up with, that would manifest how he felt about himself. His sub-conscious knew it would bring an immediate reaction that would push everyone away. That is exactly what alcoholism wants. It wants you alone, without friends and without hope. Because then all you have to turn to, is the drink.

I would never apologize for racists or anti-Semitism and full apologies and amends should always be made, regardless of when, or how these remarks were made. No exceptions. John Galliano went to rehab and then went to considerable lengths to atone and make amends for what he said. Gascoigne needs to do the same.
But I also believe Gascoigne needs our compassion. His downward spiral is continuing and his friends and family must be extremely worried about him.
Gascoigne and Galliano are both intelligent people, both of them in their stone-cold sober minds would know exactly what kind of reaction those comments would have. That’s exactly why their drunk selves said them.

What are we really communicating?
So when you hear someone who is drunk (and unhappy) say something out of character, or harmful, or hurtful. Look a bit closer. What is it they are actually trying to communicate? Communication isn’t always about the words we use. Many of us have feelings we are at a loss to express or process. If left this way then they will be manifested in our behavior. When we are disgusted with ourselves, it will come out in what we do. What we do, often speaks louder than what we say. And what we say, is often a cry for help from a dark and troubled soul.
Hear that.

Benefits of being alcohol free

Vector Alcohol Free stamp
Taking the step to be alcohol-free is a difficult process for many. Millions of dollars are spent each year in the U.S. just to reduce our dependence on it. However, there are so many positive life experiences that come from putting the bottle down for the last time. It may be hard to see this when a significant portion of events in your life are based around a social scene that partakes of alcohol, but it’s important to recognize that the good things that you experience are not due to alcohol, and can continue to be there when you stop drinking. Here are some of the benefits of being alcohol-free…

More energy every day

Nothing quite puts a damper on your day like waking up with a hangover. Hangovers have a knack of taking over your entire morning, and then making the entire day seem like it blew by without any productivity. For most people, these days happen on the weekend, when they have the luxury of not working the next day. Think about what this means, though: the only days that you don’t work are wasted away feeling the awful ramifications of the night before? This is no way to go through life (for more information about hangovers, check out this blog series). Giving up the alcohol means that you will have more energy every day, and will be able to finally start to use your time to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do, but always seem to slip away.

Friendships on firmer foundations

One of the biggest obstacles to giving up alcohol, many people find, is that so much of a person’s social circle can depend on a scene that frequently partakes in alcohol. Because of this, there is a false assumption that giving up alcohol will mean giving up their friends. However, this is certainly not true! Your friends are more than the nights out drinking. Setting aside alcohol, even for a while, means that you will get to explore more of the things that you are both passionate about together.

Things like hiking, book clubs, movie nights, competitive unicycling, and musical theater are all things that you might like to do with your friends, and you’ll find that you’ll get to explore them a lot more if your friendship is not based on alcohol. At events, you can also find fun beverages to enjoy that don’t require alcohol. Check out this nifty list of fun beverages you and your friends can make for a holiday dinner. On the chance that your friends stop wanting to be around you when you stop drinking, then it’s time to realize that they are not very good friends to have, anyways.

Lose the liquid calories

Alcoholic beverages may be tasty, they may help you relax, and they may have fun and exciting names. However, the one thing that they certainly are not is healthy. Even a light beer is usually going to cost you over 100 calories! After a few of those, you’ve practically had a meal. Alcohol can be a major obstacle for people who are trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. For many people who drink, regularly, they will be cutting down thousands of calories a week by simply cutting alcohol out of their diet. On top of that, most people do not make wise eating decisions when they are drunk. An entire pizza to yourself at 2 A.M. almost never sounds like a good idea. However, if you are drunk, then it seems to makes perfect sense! Having less of these instances in your life will make it easier to live a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Better sleep habits

Alcohol is a particularly unique substance in the sense that it is both a stimulant and a depressant; an upper and a downer. During a night out, however, the stimulant side of alcohol is in full effect. Alcohol can keep an individual partying through the night, and even well-past sunrise. When a person at this level of drunkenness gets home, it is likely they are going to sleep well past the roosters crowing, and still wake up with that hangover we talked about, earlier. Getting up at 3 P.M. means that you are probably going to stay up past a reasonable bedtime on the following evening, as well, and so the cycle continues. Putting your alcohol use to rest will help you create a healthier sleep schedule, and lead to a better lifestyle, in general

2016 and the celebrity death curse

George Becker

George Becker

Two legends of music and film passed away this week, you may have heard of them; Carrie Fisher and George Michael. Both died before their time and both had a long history of addiction and mental health problems. Not too much is known at this point, but stories are emerging that they were both using again before their deaths. George Michael’s death was reported as ‘heart failure’ and Carrie Fisher’s death seems related to a heart attack she had days earlier.
So of course, on hearing of this terrible news about people I don’t know, I made it all about me.
They both used cocaine; they both died of heart issues; they both died before their time. Could that also happen to me?

I used a lot of cocaine in my 20’s. And because cocaine, like all illegal drugs, is unregulated I have no idea what I was putting in my body. Of course the thought horrifies me now. But back in the day when I was young, foolish and addicted I really didn’t care. I knew cocaine was cut with some bad s**t and I knew it could cause heart problems, but I couldn’t equate that information to my own need to use it on a nightly basis.
When I heard about George Michael’s death a chill ran through me. I am now of the age, that 53 really doesn’t seem all that old and certainly seems too young to die. My first thought (‘cause it’s always, all about me) was, ‘what if that happened to me too? What if my heart gives up in a decade or so. What if I hardened my arteries and I don’t know it and I’m living with a time bomb? What if I haven’t really escaped the consequences of addiction?’
Am I being irrational?

The irony now, of course, is that I really, really want to live. Even though I was often suicidal in my early 20’s I didn’t really want to die, I just never knew how to live and now I’ve figured that out, I’m scared the consequences of my drug use may still, one day, creep up on me. Those were my first thoughts whenever a celebrity, who had a history of addiction, died this year. Addiction casts a long shadow.

Image by Salvatore courtesy of freeddigitalphotos.net

Image by Salvatore courtesy of freeddigitalphotos.net


Carrie Fisher and George Michael were both artists who produced incredible work despite their addictions. They still had so much life to live. There is a view on the internet that 2016 is killing all our childhood icons before their time, that for some reason 2016 is out to get us. This may be some kind of defense mechanism so we can avoid talking about the real issues, let’s blame it on 2016 being a bad year rather than talking about how addiction and mental health problems have real and preventable consequences. I would prefer us to be talking about how we still need more, much, much more resources to help those who are still struggling. That mental health and addiction services are still underfunded and *sigh* addiction is still seen as some kind of moral failing rather than a brain disease. Because so many of these deaths are unnecessary and trust me when I say, we’re not done yet.

A Look at Denmark’s Harm Reduction Measures

I’ve been thinking a lot about the drug policy now that we have a new President in the USA. Will his administration bring about a new and radical changes? Or will we continue with the pointless war on drugs and just poor more money into enforcement? Gradually things are changing in other countries, I am particularly interested in what’s happening in Portugal and Denmark.
The following is a guest post by: Alek S. Let me know what you think is the way forward?
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One of the greatest challenges that must be faced by modern society is the growth of addiction, and finding the best ways to fight it. Across the world, harmful wars on drugs have done little to stop the spread of addiction, and have only left more victims in their wake. These sorts of damaging and alienating policies are starting to vanish, thankfully, in many parts of the world. One particular country that is spearheading the paradigm shift of how we look at addiction recovery is Denmark, which has devoted itself to reforms of harm reduction, rather than rampant criminalization. Here’s how some of these measures have been working…

Usage of fix rooms

In 2012, the Danish government legalized the use of rooms for individuals to take harder drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, while under the medical supervision of a nurse. These are called fix rooms, while other countries have experimented with the use of fix rooms, such as Germany and Switzerland, none have done so to the extent the Denmark is trying to do so. The purpose of fix rooms is to bring addicts out of the fringes of society and get them in touch with medical professionals who can help them begin a path towards recovery. They also greatly reduce the number of overdoses experienced by addicts, as the environment where they are using is generally much safer than other options they had before.

Decriminalization

The key philosophy behind harm reduction is rooted in the belief that criminalization of illicit substances has proven to be futile. Although substances like heroin are still illegal, police officers have been ordered not to hassle addicts who are using fix rooms, and instead will focus their efforts towards shutting down drug distribution. Drug abuse is something that is not viewed as an issue for police officers in Denmark, and is more of a healthcare and social problem. Their focus will instead be on the actual market of drugs, itself.

Users unions

There is a tremendous amount of civil involvement in these harm reduction measures, as well. The biggest example of this is in users unions, such as the Danish Users Union, which was created with the purpose of changing how drug users are viewed in everyday society. When addicts feel they have nowhere to go, they often become alienated from the communities that can help them; frightened away by social stigmas. However, the Danish Users Union has made great progress towards showing how active users can still contribute to society, and offers a range of programs such as support groups, educational seminars, and hosts its own fix rooms.
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Challenges

These points are not to say that Denmark has become a utopia of drug policy. Plenty of research needs to be done to see how these policies will play out, and whether these measures will actually manifest into addicts achieving recovery. Many of the systems in Denmark are notedly confusing, and users have stated that they often don’t know their rights or how the fix rooms work. The system has been set up, but the kinks have not yet been ironed out.

Comparison to the United States

All of these policies stand in a very stark contrast with the United States, where criminalization, at the Federal level, is still very much the norm for dealing with drug addiction. The policies in the United States have served to dissociate addicts from the rest of society, which has created a divide that is hard to repair. Not only does this prevent people from getting help, but it has also played into the development of other crime through drug use (a phenomenon that is explored in this blog series here). The good news, however, is the trend is moving away from the failed War on Drugs, and is instead being regeared to focus on addiction recovery, and actually addressing the root of the problem.

Give Yourself The Best Gift You Can This Year: Try Sobriety

Guest post by Rose Lockinger

mage courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

mage courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


With the holidays right around the corner, millions of American’s will soon be going out and buying presents for their loved ones. They’ll be waiting in long lines during Black Friday and they will be scrambling to make sure that Amazon Prime delivers on time, as they make last minute buys to create the perfect holiday season.

Yet there is a gift that millions of American’s won’t receive this year and that gift is sobriety. It is currently estimated that 10% of the population suffers from an addiction of some sort, which is roughly 30 million people. Luckily there are an estimated 23 million people in this country already in recovery, but that still leaves around 7 million people who will be suffering through the holidays with their addictions. The reality is that most will continue to suffer through the hell of what it is to live in active addiction or worse they will not make it through to see another year.

Many will go into December making resolutions for the new year that they will get clean and sober and some will follow through on this, while others won’t. But I say to that, why wait until January when you can get sober today? Think of it like this, if a new game came out and you could afford to give yourself that gift right now, would you put it off for two months or would you go out and get it right now? More than likely you said you’d go out and get it now, and so the same thing should go for sobriety. Why would you put it off for some later date when it is available to you right now?

I don’t mean to sound chintzy, but after almost 2 1/2 years on this journey of sobriety I still get excited about what it has done for my life and I still want everyone out there suffering to get the gifts that I have received.

For so many years drugs and alcohol ruled my life. I was ruled by my emotions and most days I just really wanted to be dead. There was nothing on this earth that could truly cheer me up. Even my children were often times not enough to make me feel better, even though I loved them with all of my heart.

Each day I would wake up knowing that I was going to get high or drunk and knowing that no matter how much I didn’t want to, I couldn’t stop it. I had ruined pretty much all of the relationships in my life and by the time that I finally got sober I felt a shell of a woman, completely void of anything decent.

Then I got the gift of sobriety and my entire life changed. I was transformed from a hopeless addict and drunk into a respectable woman and productive member of society. I was able to be the mother that I always want to be and I found a job that I truly love.

The gifts that sobriety gave me are more than this, though because it allowed me to finally respect myself and gave me the opportunity to create a relationship with a higher power. But not just this it allowed me to explore and nurture a spiritual relationship something that intuitively I had craved yet never followed. With teachers like Gabby Bernstein and Marianne Williamson I began to learn that true healing comes from within. It stems from the ability to learn to love yourself. I also found that with the completion of the steps I finally found a relationship with a higher power that I love.

I have been given the ability to experience peace in my life, not always, but a majority of the time, and I have been given tools to handle anything that life throws at me.

For as long as I can remember I never felt equipped to handle existence. It always just felt too difficult to me and I could never understand how other people just seemed to go through life unimpeded by the difficulties I had. Once I got sober I found out the answer to this and I also learned how to successfully navigate life and rejoin the world of the living.

Most importantly sobriety gave me a fellowship— a fellowship where I feel like I belong and with it, friends that I can truly count on. I don’t know about you but most of my life I felt like the outsider. I felt like people didn’t understand me and that I thought differently than everyone, but once I got sober I found my people and I no longer felt alone in my thoughts.

While sobriety isn’t always easy, especially in the beginning, it is truly the best gift you can ever give yourself and the best thing about it is, it doesn’t cost any money. If you live near a major city then there are literally thousands of meetings that you can attend throughout the week and if you have a dollar for the basket great, but if you don’t you’re still welcome.

The hardest part about getting this gift is making the decision that you are worth the effort. Many times addicts and alcoholics either don’t believe they can actually get sober, or they don’t believe they are worthy of sobriety, but I am here to tell you that you are worth it and you can do it. I know this because I felt the same way and yet I am here today a sober woman.

So if you are thinking about possibly getting sober at some point in the future, stop delaying and go to a meeting tonight. Your life is worth it and I guarantee you that you will not regret your decision to put down the drugs and alcohol and pick up a life of plenty. I hope that you find the gift that I have received and I wish you all a happy holidays and a happy sobriety!

Rose Lockinger

Rose Lockinger


Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

It is connection we seek

unsplash.com

unsplash.com


It is connection we seek.
Not a drink, or a drug or a casual f**k. It is the moment of understanding that occurs between human souls. This is what we crave.
Our dilemma is how to get it. Because we were not taught, you see? Everything got so busy, checking boxes, getting stuff. That in the midst of all this doing and getting we forgot to be who we really were. We craved, but misunderstood what we craved for. So we started filling, and stuffing, and drinking, and getting but it was never enough and we were always empty. Empty and alone.

The bar promised us connection, as did the club and the party too. It enticed me with it’s lure of camaraderie, ‘this is where you belong,’ it said. I went along hoping to know people and for them to know me. But then the words that came out of my mouth belonged to someone else, I didn’t mean them, I didn’t mean what I said, but I said them all the same. So the ‘me’ that you got to know was never the real ‘me’ anyhow. And then my limbs misbehaved as if they belonged to someone else. And here we all are, together, but not together, just strangers standing in the same room drinking to connect but missing every time.

Waiting for the ‘click.’ When it all came into focus and everything worked out the way I wanted it to. But the ‘click’ always remained tantalizingly out of touch. But my god did I chase it.
Chased it for so long that I forgot what I was actually chasing. It really wasn’t another party but connection with you. I wanted someone, anyone, to know me. I was curling up and dying for lack of being seen.

Connection is like oxygen for human beings, we can’t survive without it, the artificial connection we create is like poisonous gas – it kills us slowly. Our real dilemma is that we have forgotten what it is we are seeking.
For the meaningful connection we desire, we have to risk being vulnerable, real, quiet and congruent. We have to try it sober. So there is nothing for us to hide behind.
Stop searching, stop tearing up the place looking for something that will ‘fix’ you. You were ‘designed’ to be connected to the human race you have just forgotten how.
Remember now.

How to be grateful for adversity – guest post

By Christine Hill

Fotolia

Fotolia


Gratitude has a powerful effect on our lives. It can enable us to live more wholeheartedly, make us be more proactive, and lift our mood every day. However, there are times in life when it’s particularly hard to feel grateful. I’m talking about those days when you feel like you’ve just been sent through the wringer, when you can barely face getting out of bed, when you’re battered and beaten.

Trials and adversity are hard to be grateful for. However, they’re an essential part of our lives, and only when we embrace trials can we turn them into opportunities for growth. Holocaust survivor and Austrian humanist Victor Frankl said, “If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death.”

Embracing Trials Enables Us to Act

I think that in our society, we’ve become so risk-adverse that we shy away from our true ambitions because we’re scared of the attached trials. It makes us afraid to commit to a relationship, work for a promotion, have kids, or even pick a major. Suffering can kill happiness, but avoiding suffering at all costs is a surefire way to avoid happiness, too.

Think of it like shopping; if your entire wardrobe is only made up of things that only cost a couple dollars, how good is it? What if instead of being concerned about the cost, you were willing to sacrifice a little, to invest something into something because it was high quality? What if you were willing to go through a little hardship in order to achieve great joy?

When We’re Grateful for Trials, We Benefit from Them

It’s true that no one likes pain. However, you have a choice whenever you’re confronted with a difficult situation. You can stew in it and let it cripple you, or you can learn from it.

Kelly McGonigal makes a vivid illustration of how we deal with trials in her talk “How to Make Stress Your Friend.” Her research shows that although stress can increase likelihood of disease and death, it only works that way with people who believe that stress is bad for them. Those who believed that stress could be a tool to help them achieve and motivate them to change were actually healthier, no matter how stressed they were.

Trials work much the same way. We can either decide that they’re there to break us down, and shudder under the weight of the burdens placed on us, or we can have faith in our own ability to handle them and learn to turn them into strengths.

How Can We Learn to Become Grateful for Adversity?

Write down the hardest times in your life in the past, how they’ve changed you and what you’ve learned from them. This will help you to see the benefit that trials have had in the past, and help you face future trials with hope and confidence.
Make a list of the people you admire the most and brainstorm the things that shaped them. No one becomes an admirable person without battling their way through a crucible of adversity.
Tell yourself you’re strong enough for what comes. Don’t try to tell yourself it’s easy, tell yourself you’re enough. Discounting the challenge doesn’t make anyone feel better. However, trusting in your own inner strength will help you develop the attributes you need in order to overcome the adversity.
Embrace change as an essential attribute of everyone’s life.
Ask yourself, if you were a book, what would you want to happen next? Every single story follows a simple format: character receives trials, character overcomes them. There’s no development without adversity. So how good of a story would your life make?
Avoid asking “why is this happening to me?” Instead, ask yourself, “what can I learn from this?”
Serve others. Sometimes, that’s the only good that we can find from our trials. But it’s amazing when you find that your experience can enable you to help others who are struggling with something similar. It’s like becoming a sponsor in an addiction recovery program, or becoming a grief counselor after experiencing it yourself. Serving others helps us make sense of our own challenges.

Did you know that there are certain sweetness receptors in your tongue that are only activated when there’s also salt present? That’s right, there are some levels of sweetness that you can only taste when there’s also bitter.