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Stay Strong

It’s Monday morning but I have nowhere to go. At some point I do need to drop my car off at the mechanic which feels like an exciting adventure. This is like an anchor in my day, a time when I might see the world, have a conversation (from 6 feet away), and most importantly get out of the house. 
I love my home and I live in a beautiful town, so full of nature and open spaces and organic options. It’s a good place to be at home.
I love my family and I am so happy to be newly married to my soul mate, a man who has shown up for this major change in all of our lives in such a profound way.

Years ago I would have preferred to be home alone and this would have given me a great reason to isolate and disconnect. I might have thrown myself into starting a new business during this time, seeing all the gaps to fill and problems to solve. Anything to distract myself from the feelings inside. I probably would have stayed sober but in a different way. 

Today my emotional sobriety has become just as important as not picking up a drink. Being around other people is a great way to gauge where we are at with that. It used to be much easier for me to be alone so I didn’t have to see how much work I still had to do. 

Tell me -
How are you managing today? 
Are you happily alone in your home or are you afraid and feeling lonely? 
Are online communities working for you to feel connected or are you left feeling more alone than ever with the excessive use of technology? 

It seems like the people I am talking to and seeing online are at ease. I’m surprised. I am grateful for the calm energy and at the same time am tempted to scream “What the f*&% is going on here people? Are you not freaking the sh%% out?”

And then I remember who I am talking to. People in recovery. We already experienced a pandemic. We are survivors. We dodged a lot of bullets when we were drinking and using and experiencing trauma. We have been at death’s doorstep already. That was worse because we were really sick and we were lonely and had lost almost everything that ever mattered to us. If we were not ready to kill ourselves, we were willing to let alcohol and drugs do that for us. We did not know how to live. Everything hurt our sensesAll we wanted was relief from the pain inside and so for a virus to take us out might have even been welcome back thenThat is how bad it was.

Survivors who have done the work to heal and grow, are amazingly resilient. It is like building muscles except I can’t take a day off from being sober like I might from going to the gym. I can’t decide “oh today’s a cheat day and I think I’m going to start yelling at my kids.” Behavior like that would lead to hurt and shame which could take me a step closer to a drink and a drink would kill me.

Maybe everyone is a survivor in some way. Humans are obviously programmed to survive and It looks like people are doing a pretty good job of that right now. The true test is, once you realize you are not going to die, can you stop running? Can you find ways to release the adrenaline and relax in today even if you don’t know what tomorrow will bring?

 Let’s be real. This is a long game. Life is not going to ‘go back’ to the way it was a month ago.

I see this is the ultimate time to set new intentions and to actually DO the things many of us ‘resolve’ to do on January 1 each year. My time in Rwanda, working with Genocide Survivors, always helps me to remember what is most important: this moment. 

Keep it up. Be kind. Remember that you have already overcome so much. Take care but relax. You got this!

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