I wanted to publish a personal update. It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked in, and let you guys know where I am on my journey.
The last time I wrote about my situation, I was in a pretty bad place. I was under a great amount of pressure from work and from having to deal with my brothers. If anyone remembers, the president of our company died and it threw my brothers and I into the role of running the company–three entirely different people, none of us on the same page, only one person taking on nearly all the responsibility (guess who!). It was a recipe for disaster. But, I am happy to say that, for the moment, all that suffering has come to an end and I am no longer forced to deal with the overwhelming stress of that situation. We hired a new president and he’s young, and focused and amazing (and keeping my brothers and I from killing each other!).
It has been a great relief on the one hand to not have to work, yet it has created a lot of excess space and time in my life that I really haven’t known what to do with. Not having to work, seems like an amazing thing, but, for a clueless procrastinator like myself it’s actually been somewhat of a burden. Anyway, my first thought was, look for a new career. So…I signed up to tutor English as a Second Language, I got re-certified to be a fitness instructor, I went to Spain to look for property to buy, refurbish and sell, I looked in Philadelphia to buy, refurbish and rent, I donated to charities, I took up Spanish, I read a lot, I joined a gym, I adopted a rescue dog named Mae…and, best of all, I became a grandmother!
And yet, nothing seemed to give me the satisfaction of “career” or producing something. Nothing drew me in and made me feel like I was doing something of great importance.
And then it hit me.
I am a writer. Why on earth was I filling my time with all these “distractions” when my dream has always and forever been to write? Heck, I could be working on my Lovely Addict book. On my novel. On my memoir. I gave all that up when I was forced into dealing with my family business. Now, I had all the time in the world to go back to it and yet, there I was, AVOIDING it.
Advanced recovery proved to be sly and tricky. Congratulations to me! It’s been NINE YEARS that I have lived a clean and sober life, married to a man whom I am still so passionate about (and who is equally passionate about me). I have lived NINE YEARS without drama, addiction, suffering, feelings of neglect or unrequited love. I have cried no tears from longing or pain or frustration over a toxic relationship. I even arrogantly proclaim from time to time that I am cured of my addiction. Yet, not so fast. There’s no resting on your laurels in recovery. Here I was, operating nine years later in reverse! My coping strategies no longer manifested as love addiction. Instead, they came out in their purest state: avoidance. I avoided and avoided and avoided… I can’t write today, there’s a contractor coming. I can’t write today, I don’t feel well. I can’t write today, I have nothing to say. I can’t write today I have to babysit, I can’t write today, no one cares what I have to say…
Days, weeks, and months passed until finally a light bulb went off. In early recovery, when I was at my lowest point, I reached out to a sponsor, and to the wonderful LAA community. This time, I reached out to an editor. Because I wasn’t able to figure out how to organize a book, I stopped moving forward. I stopped writing. I couldn’t get over the hump. And I thought, well, if I can’t do this on my own, then, it can’t be done. A false belief I told myself to remain SAFE and continue avoiding. But, when I interviewed and ultimately hired an editor she said something that opened my eyes. “You’re a writer, not an editor! It’s no wonder you were stuck.”
That was the first and most powerful step I took to block my natural inclination to avoid. And while the first editor didn’t exactly work out, I am on to a second one. Committed to this project of putting together a book, at last! I definitely needed help though. I have an editor holding me accountable, I can’t just sneak back into self-avoidance mode. I will have to step up to the plate. I will have to face my fears. And sometimes that’s all it takes. Help. We cannot do everything on our own.
The second step I took was that I made a promise to myself to write every day and to start to see myself as a writer even if I wasn’t making any money from it. This has been a challenge for me. I believe that earning money is the truest indicator of success. Someone told me once (and I believed it), only money determines whether you can call yourself a writer or not. But, this is false! And it’s a belief I no longer want to hold on to, lest it hold me back.
So, no more. I am a writer! Take that, Fear and False Beliefs! And yet, to be completely honesty, I fail at this from time to time. It’s incredibly hard to write every day. I’ve used writing as an escape for years, to avoid other responsibilities. And now that I am making it my main focus, I catch myself finding other stuff that helps me avoid writing (I now actually ask my son, Need a babysitter today? because let’s be honest, my grand baby is the sweetest distraction!). Progress not perfection.
Lastly, I have surrounded myself with others who are writing and producing art. And I am immersing myself in inspiring books on creativity. Hopefully, this will do the trick. This will encourage me and push me to be my best and stay true to my dreams.
So…I am worlds away from the insecure, struggling love addict I was ten years ago. And worlds away from the confident published writer I aspire to be. Stuck between these two worlds, but working hard to move
forward. Oops! Almost forgot: pub date today is mine and D’s 4-year wedding anniversary! Woot!
I hope everyone is making peace with where they are on their journey. And I thank you all for supporting me and The Lovely Addict all these years!