Are You Living the Life You Imagined!?

life-and-inspiration-10Sometimes there is a question during a coaching session that really resonates with me.  Powerful questions that leave you with a strange sense of discomfort, mulling over them for ages…looking into the deep recesses of your conscious and unconscious mind to find the answer!  My colleague, David Collins, asked just such a question last week and the affect on me was profound.  Even though the answer came to me almost immediately, it made me realise the depth of my growth and development recently and how much my work means to me.  Having spent years drifting along, feeling a little rudderless in the stormy sea of life, I was instantly aware of where I am right now, both personally and professionally.

As someone in long-term recovery I have spent many years on my personal growth and the development of recovery capital.  I have made a huge effort to teach myself tools and techniques for living a forward-focused and solutions-driven life, being part of my personal solution rather than part of my problem.  Because merely stopping the bad behaviour or removing the addictive substance may be part of recovery, it definitely only constitutes a small part thereof (in my humble opinion).  Recovery needs to be about rediscovering events, people, pursuits and interests that bring us purpose and fulfillment.  About moving forward with our lives and becoming the people we want to be!

It took me a long time to find the perfect combination for me, to honestly evaluate my personal resources, and develop a personal plan on how to proceed towards the life that I wanted to live.  It wasn’t about just stopping my desrtuctive substance abuse, but rather about retraining my brain to respond in “trigger” situations, rather than simply react and fall back into my what I knew how to do in challenging situations – namely drink, fight, avoid…nothing particularly positive or constructive.  And it took time and effort!  Learning healthy coping skills in my mid-thirties was no easy feat, but when I heard that powerful question, my response was immediate.  In a flash I was appreciative and grateful for how my work has paid off.  How making the effort to identify where my skills (personal, professional or other) might be lacking and then go out and explore options that are the start to decisive steps being taken to reach my goals, has helped me become the person I am today.  The person that I always felt I was supposed to be, a person who lives in their integrity.

So when the question “What would your twenty-year old self say to you if they met you in the street today?” was asked, my immediate response was “What took you so freaking long?”  The truth is it did take me a long time to become the person I envisioned being when I was starting out in my twenties.  A person who lived a life of purpose, being of service to others, living with passion, courage and self-love.  And even though I am proud and grateful of who I am today, it wasn’t until that very moment that I became clear on the distance I have traveled, the growth I have achieved and how until I got really, really clear on who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go, I was just dawdling along letting life happen to me, rather than being in charge of my own destiny.

So ask yourself the  question “What would my twenty-year old self say to me if he/she met me in the street today?”  And then practising the principles of honesty, willingness, openness and courage (to mention but a few), decide if you are going in the direction you want to be going, living the life that you want to be living as the person you aspire to be, or whether it is time for directed, planned change.

Til next time,

Sober Something

For more information about Recovery Coaching, pesonal development and goal setting please contact Leigh-Anne (082)-442-5710 | leighanne@recoverycoachingsa.com

Whatever we think about and thank about…

This week I had the immense privilege of attending a Dr. John Demartini talk in Johannesburg.  Over the years I have heard people mention him and never really been too curious about him, possibly because of all the hype that goes with being endorsed by countless household names.  For some reason that often puts me off something a little, and that’s something else that I was exposed t this week, but more on me and my “rebellious child” later.  When I saw him standing next to the stage I again wondered what all the fuss is about, as he is a seemingly unassuming man who you’d possibly walk past in the street.  But if I was ever caught of judging a book by its cover, I was well and truly at fault of it on Tuesday afternoon.

From the moment the man opened his mouth and started talking about how knowing our core values can determine our truth purpose in life, I was mesmerised.  And there are not that many people who truly take my breath away.  I’m often a little too quick to get irritated by the things that apparent experts advocate, but Dr Demartini blew me away with his authenticity,  knowledge and dare I say, pure genius.  The hour that he was on stage was over all too quickly and left me wanting more…a sensation that I am all too familiar with and I am sure you can relate to.  But this longing was a thirst for information and further insight into his ideas and processes.  It was an emotionally charged experience for me and I was conscious of the tears that flowed freely during certain parts of his talk when he shared how we do not need internal motivation when we are living our true purpose.  That when we are true to our core values we are inspired to undertake the work we have chosen and deeply engaged in what we are doing.  

I can only admire a man who has read close to 30,000 books, is passionate about the work he does and has made it his life’s mission to help people discover their unique purpose and personal magnificence.  I’m still debating trying to scrape the money together to attend his “Breakthrough Experience” later this year.  I’m also working through the book on my own, but this has always been something that is more challenging for me to do, especially when I come across something that I find difficult to relate to.  But I have definitely caved out some time in the next few days to do the work around determining my values.  I’ve always thought that my core value was integrity, but listening to him speak I came to realise that family, education, personal connections and knowledge are also values that I saw more as areas of importance.  I understood that values were more based along moral lines, traits that are central to who we consider ourselves to be.  But if I think more along the lines of how I can align my work with what is intrinsically important to me, it suddenly makes a lot more sense to me.  So I am excited about doing the work over the next couple of days and really pinpointing what it is that gives me purpose in life.  I have a fairly good idea, having done a lot of work over the last eighteen months around purpose and personal power.

Something else that I was introduced to in any detail this week was “Transactional Analysis“.  I’ve heard the term being tossed around, but never explored it any further and then attended a session on Friday afternoon about it, with the central idea being that we strive for a situation in relationships of “I’m okay!  You’re okay!”  It was an interesting hour and is another thing that I am going to spend more time looking into over the coming days and weeks.  It’s about what part of our self we approach relationships, interactions and conversations from and the ego state we are in when we do.  Are we approaching situations and people as a parent, an adult or a child.  The crux of the theory is that depending on what ego state we are in, will depend on how others react and relate to us.  And going back to my initial mention of “rebellious child” I see myself so often to wanting to accept the endorsement of people and ideas, because I don’t want to be another blind follower.  

But I have to admit that after the hour I was again left wanting more information around the topic and a healthy curiosity like that is always most welcome.  The more I surround myself with a balance of positive, healthy activities and relationships the more rich and rewarding my life becomes.  Things seem to flow into one another and each new avenue of interest seems to lead to situations that give me the room to develop on these ideas, thoughts and processes.  My journey never fails to inspire and challenge me, because there are still times when I question the path I have chosen.  But then something wonderfully serendipitous will happen to reinforce my choices and decisions and I am left in a state on wonder.  Learning to trust in recovery has been a central part of my ongoing wellness and the more I trust, both myself, others and the universe, the more I have reason to believe that we all have a very specific purpose to pursue and that we are all here for a reason.  And as Dr Demartini says, “Whatever we think about and thank about we bring about.

think about and thank about

‘Til next time

Sober Something

Don’t look back in anger…

It’s been eleven fabulous years of wild adventures, wonderful people and whimsical endeavours.  But nothing has even come close to the feelings I had when the plane landed last week at Johannesburg International Airport.  I was overcome with emotion, shedding more than a couple of tears as the customs official stamped my passport.  The preceding two weeks had been beyond stressful, with me digging deep to not completely lose my composure at every turn and read someone the riot act.    It’s what I wanted to do since my employers changed the terms of my contract in the final week of work, which came as a complete surprise and quite honestly meant that my final week in Saudi Arabia was nothing short of devastating.  To be honest I did not stay calm and centred at every encounter, with frustration levels off the charts.

It really wasn’t about the money, rather about the fact that I had worked the entire academic year under the premise that I was going topoison be remunerated in a certain way and that didn’t materialise.  Integrity is a core value for me and I felt like I’d been misled and exploited.  Be that as it may, I decided that when

I arrived home I would not dwell on the situation, because as Buddha says “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”!  There is really no point in letting the events in our past (near or far) taint the endless promise of a new day.  The truth is that if we choose to do this then there is no one else to blame for the malignancy of hate that grows within us than ourselves.  I answered a couple of questions about the situation, expressed that I was unhappy about the events and have let it go so that I can move into the next chapter of my life unhindered by the events of the past.

As someone in long-term recovery I have learned that it’s essential to not harbour grudges, to let go of misfortune and look unencumbered by heartbreak towards the horizon.  I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that there is a lesson in every disappointment that befalls us, but I do believe that these occurrences make us stronger and more determined, even if it feels like we are gargling scorpions at the time.  After this “little incident” I am more determined than ever to work for myself and make a success of my own business, so that I am not beholden to anyone for my professional setbacks.  I’d rather be independently accountable for my successes and failures than relying on someone else to determine where my work takes me.  It’s liberating to think that my gains and losses will be relative to the amount of effort and heart I put into my enterprise and that when success does come it will be due to what I have done.

So as I sit here with the Highveld sun warming my winter fingers, enveloped by sound and colour, I am drawn back to Eckhart Tolle’s teachings that everything that we have done in our past has brought us to this exact point in life.  This particular one is like the soft glow of a slow-burning fire and for that I am extremely grateful.  However, I’m enough of a realist to appreciate that there will be times in the coming months that I may not feel quite so nurtured by The Universe, but I will continue to practice the “Habit of Gratitude”, strive to remain present-focused and remember that I was given this life because I am strong enough to live it.

‘Til next time

Sober Something

Easy come…easy go…

The longer I am in recovery, the more control I want to have over my life and this includes my financial future.  I’ve always been abominable with money!  There have been times in my life when I was living on the bones of my ass and there have been times when I would have considered myself fairly flush, but it’s always been “easy come, easy go” when it come to money and me.  No matter how much I made, I’d always be broke at the end of the month and as a woman in her early 40s I have virtually nothing to show for my years and years of hard work.  And I’ve always been somewhat flippant about my lack of investments, any sort of retirement plan and the non-existence of any real assets.  I have a couple of things here and there, but if push came to shove, I’d be in a world of economic pain.  I did recently buy a car in preparation for my return to South Africa next month and although I wouldn’t wanted to have admitted it in my carefree, unencumbered addict days, it felt really grown up and satisfying to use my hard-earned money to buy something real.

I’ve worked extremely hard over the past 13 months in a place I abhor, separated from my loved ones, so that I could save some money to jump start my future back home.  It’s been really tough and there have been days when I wanted to throw in the proverbial towel and jump on the next available plane, but I’ve stuck it out and only have another five weeks to go.  It’s been a real test on my patience, and sometimes sanity, but us recovering addicts are tough!  And I’ve managed to put a good amount of money away this year so that I can really start to build my dreams, and believe me they do come at an emotional, mental and financial price.  In fact, yesterday was the first time in over four weeks that I shared so much as a cup of coffee with someone.  My position in the university where I work leaves me in something of a personal limbo, so I spend a good deal of my time away from work alone.  However, the upside is that I have saved my money and learned an incredible personal lesson along the way.

The truth is that we take so much in our lives for granted.  Whether it’s sharing a meal with friends and family, taking a walk along the beach with a loved one or attending an event like a wedding or graduation.  Being so isolated over this time has made me appreciate how priceless time with our loved ones is.  I’ve always known that, but talking to those back home home who say things like, “Oh, I just went up the road to have tea,” or “I’m really not doing anything this weekend.  All I have on is a dinner with friends,” makes me see that we need to be more appreciative of those moments that we do get to share.  But I digress…

So one of the steps I am taking towards my financial freedom is learning to trade.  It’s a little daunting, but it’s exciting to learn something new that is stretching me intellectually.  And sometimes when I look at the charts I am studying it reminds me of the path of recovery.  Highs and lows, sometimes sideways’ moves, but never unchanging.  It’s the nature of things to be dynamic and inconsistent, and it is in that we find life’s exhilaration.  It’s exciting to feel inspired and motivated to take ever-increasing control of all the elements of my life, rather than being a passive participant in the unfolding adventure.  And the more of the story that’s written, they more motivated I am to continue along this road of recovery that is lined with promise, potential and beauty in all myriad of forms.

‘Til next time

Sober Something

build your dream

 

Today I want to thank…my addict.

i-have-seen-the-sea-when-it-is-stormy-and-wild-when-it-is-quiet-and-serene-when-it-is-dark-and-moody-and-in-all-its-moods-i-see-myselfSometimes I wonder whether I’ll ever find the balance I so strive for in my life!?  The balance that I believe will bring me personal calm and emotional tranquility…  There are some days when I feel like a tiny dingy being tossed around on a stormy sea, secured only by a fraying rope to its yacht, slowly breaking up as the waves pound onto it.  Then there are days like today, when I feel like the sleek, beautifully crafted boat that I was tethered to the day before.  Gliding effortlessly through the azure waters of some light-kissed sea.  Yet what I strive for most is to be the rope that is holding the two together.  I am still tending to extremes, either motivated and inspired, or avoiding anything that resembles real life.  There are some days when I feel the strength of the rope, reassuring and flexible, as the two sides of me move across the metaphorical ocean, but it’s never for the length of time that I want it to be…

I had a power session with a wonderful coach on Thursday evening and one of the things I wanted to address was my erratic motivation.  I have so much going on at the moment and I feel that rather than breaking it down into bite-size manageable chunks (as the 7-step formula for guaranteed success which is stuck to my study mirror recommends) I am looking at it all as one great, big daunting task and really not getting anywhere!  So my coach and I looked at all the things I have to do and my need to be able to measure my progress, so that I can see what I have achieved, rather than trying to measure it internally.  It was nothing new, it was nothing revolutionary, but suddenly as a said that I needed a movable, vision system that I could use to literally mark off my progress on, things started to become clearer.

A cork board with pinned items, became a chessboard with movable tasks and goals and then a menu choice struck the perfect cord!  A set of water vessels, each representing a project and to be filled with coloured water as actions were taken towards completion.  Suddenly I was feeling incredibly inspired because instead of a jumble of projects, tasks and ideas within my head, I was thinking about something that I could use to gauge my achievements and mark off my steps!  It was visual, flexible and incredibly simple…  All I had to do was decide on the most important projects that I want to complete over the next eight weeks and get to work on my “Power Tower”.  I pondered, imagined, rushed out and bought the ingredients to get started and then woke up yesterday morning in a funk!  I hate the fact that there is no consistency in my moods…

Sometimes I can go for weeks without feeling down, but then something throws me off course and I am in that dingy again!  Well, yesterday was spent weathering the most atrocious emotional tempest.  I know that I am supposed to be mastering the tools I’ve studied over the past months and have been successfully using to empower the clients I work with, but sometimes I feel those addict behaviours wrap themselves around my psyche in an iron-clad grip.   It’s a terrible feeling of helplessness and vulnerability, being trapped in a very negative state of mind for no particular reason.  It takes me back to the weekend mornings when I would wake up on after a night of binge drinking, feeling morose and miserable.  Those mornings when I’d wrack my brain to try and remember if there was anything I’d done that I needed to feel remorseful about…  That lurking feeling of unease that something horrible had happened, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

The thing is that my life now is actually so incredible!  I am moving back to my home country in less than two months, I have a wonderful man in my life, and the most incredible friends and family.  There are exciting professional prospects ahead and I have made some very promising connections to move closer to my dreams.  Yet I can feel the addict in me looking for something negative and destructive to grab onto!!  And on those days I do feel powerless in the face of my addiction.  I don’t believe that my alcoholism was only about substance abuse, but also personal abuse, where I allowed my behaviour to be governed by destructive thought patterns and negative interactions.  It wasn’t only about the misuse of alcohol, but also the misuse of self.  And sometimes even after more than six years of recovery, that is the part of the addiction that I find the hardest to keep at bay!  It’s not the drinking, but the freedom that drinking allowed me to be less than myself.

Nobody really expects too much of someone who is battling in the midst of addiction, and no more so than the addict themselves.  I didn’t feel the need to achieve, to develop, to succeed.  After all wasn’t I dealing with enough trying to get over my substance abuse and live through the physical and mental anguish.  And now my life is good, really good, and all those expectations I ignored are here, right in front of me and the only way I can avoid them is to tend towards my addict thinking.  I have to say that as I type this it’s coming out like a personal epiphany!  It’s not really what I was going to blog about today, but as I write these words I realise exactly what has been going on the last couple of months.  The truth is that the weaker the addict within me is getting, the more fiercely it is fighting to stay alive…  It is frantically engaging in guerrilla tactics to ensure it’s survival and not be banished.  It’s amazing how I’ve suddenly realised this in the last few minutes…

And as I sit here, I want to honour the addict in me…thank it for everything it has brought to my life…express the utmost gratitude for the lessons it has taught me…and give it the respect that any element of ourselves deserves.  I also want my addict to understand that I am not trying to cast it out, as it is very much a part of who I am, but rather give it the space to exist within me emotionally & spiritually, as part, but not all, of who I am.  Rather than trying to omit the addict from my life completely I need to acknowledge the good things that it brings to my life and how I can use these elements to develop, prosper and succeed.  I totally understand the obstacle work I have done in my coaching studies and sessions as of this moment, as though a switch has been flicked and as I sit here, there is a strange sense of peace and acceptance moving through my body, because everything is easier with an clear head and an honest heart.

‘Til next time

Sober Something

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

when was the last timeI’ve been wanting to sit down and write for over a week, but life in the desert has been manic, hectic and non-stop for weeks!  I completed the theory assessment for my coaching certification, have been practising for my final coaching exam, planning the visit of a Recovery Coach to South Africa for a training seminar and working towards building the brand for my Recovery Coaching practice, and of course there’s been my 50-hour-plus job at the university.  Needless to say there has not been too much time for anything else.  But I am feeling invigorated and excited about life at the moment, especially because in 11 days I am flying home to South Africa for my “baby” brother’s wedding!  And of course that is a wonderful reason to cross continents.

 

It’s my first wedding in South Africa for over a decade.  Living and working abroad may have its rewards, but these often come at the expense of other things.  And for me the big one has always been the weddings I have missed.  Of course there have been other events like the births of my best friends’ children, but for me nothing quite compares to a wedding.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of woman who has been planning her wedding since she heard her first bedtime account of Cinderella, but I am a complete sucker for romance and well, a wedding day is about as romantic as it gets in my book.  And needless to say, I cry at weddings, no matter how well I know the couple, and I do so unashamedly.  The celebration of a couples’ love in front of their friends and families is a wonderfully joyous occasion, even the ones where the best man’s speech makes everyone want to crawl under the nearest table and the photographer starts to become annoying arranging everyone for hours into poses for group photos.

But the truth be told this will be the first wedding I have attended since I entered long-term recovery.  Many years ago during one of my failed attempts I went to a dear friend’s wedding and spent the evening refusing offers of drinks from people I didn’t know.  I don’t remember the evening being too difficult and at that stage I was in very early recovery, which sadly did not last.  I always said when I stopped drinking that one of the things that I would miss the most would be champagne at a wedding!  So the weekend after next will be my first wedding in this six-year recovery period of sobriety.  It’s also going to be my first weekend away with the amazing man that I am dating, and the first time he’ll meet my family…and I mean almost the entire family.  To be fair it’s not a very big family, but what we lack in numbers we make up for in rather loud, demonstrative behaviour.  Most of the family talk loudly, drink heavily and don’t sugar coat much of anything.  Luckily for him he does enjoy a good red, so I’m sure that’ll “ease the pain”.  It’s also the first time in seventeen years I’ve introduced anyone to my family which is something of a recovery milestone for me too and although I am feeling a little nervous about how everything could go (mainly because my family can be a little unplayable at times) I am very incredibly excited about the weekend.

I do know that I am going to have to keep my wits about me though and remain together and level headed as the weekend rijks-480-gen1progresses towards the wedding on the Saturday afternoon.  There’s a kind of rehearsal dinner on the Friday evening, and since the celebrations are taking place in the heart of South Africa’s Winelands and the family and friends are all rather partial to a bottle or two of good wine, I just need to remind myself that I need to stay vigilant about my anxiety and try and try and stay relaxed and calm.  In fact I think I’m going to be using every present moment trick and deep breathing technique I know…  I know it’ll be an emotional weekend with lots of old friends coming together to see my brother and his fiancee tie the knot, on what I imagine is going to be a very special day.  So the weekend is going to be full of recovery firsts for me, which is something to look forward to in its own right.  Not only will I be celebrating with my loved ones, but I will also be having a quiet moment or two to celebrate with myself and how far I have come over the last six years.  It’ll be wonderful to be there with a partner next to me, rather than the wild child who would inevitably end up leading many poor friends and relatives astray with my tequila drinking.

Being able to be there and remember this special time in all its detail is something that fills me with happiness and knowing that at the end of the evening my beautiful dress, bought specially for the evening, will not be stained or torn is also a very grown up thought.  So I’m literally counting the days until I get on that plane and head home for what is going to be a weekend of wonderful firsts, including having a lovely, new sister, being asked to read a poem at someone’s wedding and not being the one to dance on a table!

Til next time

Sober Something

The Habit Of Gratitude…

Denali National Park in autumn, Alaska, USA, North AmericaPractising gratitude is something that many people advocate and over the last few months I’ve made a concerted effort to include it in my daily routine. Normally there is something that happens during my day that I am truly grateful for. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental… Perhaps it’s a message that I receive or a little event during the day that reminds me how truly blessed my life is. And there are days when I have to think about it more deeply. Yet there is always something. And the more aware I’ve become aware of expressing my gratitude, the more I have had to be grateful for.

I’m not saying that every day is a blissful experience for me because of this, but I am saying that even on the bad days (and we all have them) I can find something to be thankful for. By opening myself up to possibilities by doing this daily, countless opportunities are beginning to unfold for me. Over the last few weeks I have experienced a deepening of a personal relationship, exciting professional developments and an ever-increasing sense of inner peace. Along with being grateful, I’ve also spent months really working on my personal development which has brought me greater empowerment along with a far better understanding of self. This hasn’t always been easy and I’ve dug deep to find the answers within to keep me growing as a person.

I’ve recently completed my course to become a life coach (I just need to complete my assessments) and over the next few months will begin specialising in Recovery Coaching. I’m in the process of planning a business, developing a website and communicating with people in the area of further training. The days don’t feel long enough at the moment with all the planning, research and study I am doing towards my aspirations to becoming a recovery coach. For the first time I finally know where my true purpose lies and the work that it’s going to take to get me there is invigorating rather than being daunting. I’m constantly thinking about ideas, writing notes and setting up systems that I am going to use to bring creative awareness to the recovery of those who chose to make the journey, as well as my sustained sobriety. One thing leads to another and I am discovering that I have a unique skill set that will allow me the privilege of aiding in the recovery of others. The thought of being able to pay this wonderful experience forward fills me with energy and focus. I read a wonderful blog post this morning by William L. Smith about how recovery is contagious and I loved the idea of this.

All the personal development I have endeavoured to do has started to come to fruition and make sense as I spend more time in the presence of the present. Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” which I am reading at the moment is also reinforcing that having embraced my vulnerability and opened myself up to opportunities and possibilities in all areas of my life, no matter how scary they may feel, has also had an enormous impact on my personal development. There are moments when I still question and worry, allow the anxiety to take root, but these are becoming shorter and more infrequent. And the beauty of the work I am doing is that I recognise these fearful moments now, look for the lesson they are trying to bring me and rather than fighting the feelings for long periods of time, I acknowledge them and they seem to disappear. I was dubious when I was first introduced to this idea, but I sit here after a few months of embracing this notion and have to admit that it works.

So today I am truly grateful for everything I have experienced and learned over the last six months of my recovery and coaching journey. And as I continue to practice the Habit Of Gratitude, I know that as the months and years unfold there will be more precious people, experiences and events that will fill my life. So before you go onto the next thing today, just take a few minutes to be thankful for something, just one thing, that you have today, because tomorrow there will be more.

‘Til next time
Sober Something

Do your dreams scare you?

The last 13 weeks of my life have been incredibly grueling and to be honest there are days where I have not coped very well.  There have been times when I wanted to pack my suitcases and run screaming for the airport, which is only ten minutes down the road.  But I’ve endured and through doing so have learned more than one lesson.  One of the biggest might be that by persevering when times are incredibly tough and digging really deep, we find a source of additional strength that we didn’t know we had.  I make no excuses for the copious tears I’ve shed over the last three months.  I embraced homesickness and separation and wallowed in it on certain days.  I’ve honoured the fact that I was feeling miserable at times and took to my bed for a couple of weekends.  But the one thing I didn’t do was give up!

And the beauty of it all is that it has taught me that I can endure.  Some days I feel that I use all my strength and tenacity to stay sober, but these last nine months in this country of sand has shown me that there is more determination in me than I realised.  There were moments that it took every ounce of my willpower not to hurl verbal abuse at someone because my frustration and stress levels were off the charts.  However, I’ve held my tongue, kept my integrity intact and can leave for a short break from this incredibly soulless country with my head held high.  I’ve also crossed the half-way mark of my contract and on return from eight days’ back home, I will have a mere four and a half months before I return permanently to home.  When I look back on my ten years away from South Africa I marvel at the things I’ve accomplished, the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had.  It might not always have been the most stable existence, but it was in the midst of this  tenuous existence that I got sober.

I left in August 2003 (probably incredibly hungover) and will be returning in June 2014 a very very different person.  I believe that my time away has brought me more than a stack of photos, a collection of memories and a wealth of friends.  It has also given me a new life.  Somewhere on an island in Asia, where I spent years not understanding everything that was going on around me I found complete clarity.  When I wasn’t able to properly communicate I found my own voice and my personal truth.

And I’ll be returning with far more than the luggage I carry, because over the last six years I believe that I’ve found my true purpose.  The more I move towards my goals, the bigger they get.  The more I build on my dreams and aspirations, the more exciting and inspiring they become.  At times they feel downright scary and even a little unattainable as I keep taking them to new levels.  Before I got sober I could hardly pull myself out of bed in the mornings, now the majority my days are packed with forward-focused actions.  I aspire towards the greatness that I used to only glimpse on a very good day, but now feels like it is constantly bubbling within me.  As I visualise, verbalise and record my plans I can see no reasons that I cannot become the person I’ve always had an inkling I could be.  In sobriety I know that there is nothing that can stop me except me!

if your dreams..Drinking robbed me of my motivation, my ambition and my determination but now I am going to achieve all those things that I didn’t have time for when I was drinking.  Now I am going to go out there and accomplish the things that I know I can.  It’s invigorating and exhilarating to think that even though I might have wasted a few years, that doesn’t mean that I can’t still go out there and make the difference in the world that I’ve always felt I was destined to make.  So believe in yourself and create the life you might only have imagined could be possible when you were trapped in the hell of addiction.  And if you have some bad days (or weeks) along the way be gentle and kind with yourself, because it’s all part of the process.  I’ve come through the bad times stronger, smarter and more focused than I was before and I know that there’ll be tough times in the future, but I am prepared to keep moving forward with an clear head and an honest heart.

‘Til next time

Sober Something