Tag Archives: addiction

I Can’t Do This! Yes You Can!

Sue Curr Speaker Empowerment Coach

I Can’t Do This! Yes You Can!

Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, some people make it happen – Michael Jordan

 

We have to believe that we will!

Against all the odds and despite all the obstacles that we may face, we have to believe that we are going to make it, otherwise what would be the point?

The choice to do so together with the inherent power we have which allows us to make it to wherever we need or want to be in life is ours alone

It could be that we want to make a lifestyle change or rise above historic emotional issues. It could be that we know deep down that we are stuck in a situation which has long since served to be of any positive use to us that we want to be free from

Whether the place we need to get to is physical, emotional, or that of a shift in mind set it is almost irrelevant because if we’ve reached the point where we are questioning ourselves as to whether or not we will make it then we know deep down that the time has come for a change and more importantly a change for the better

If we are determined enough we’ll get to where we need to be

Yet sadly the need to change means little unless we actively want to do something about it and therein lies the crux of the matter.

At times of crisis or indecision the paths of need and want are simultaneously intertwined and yet are also polar opposites. In simple terms when we need a glass of water it’s usually because we are thirsty and yet when we want a glass of water it’s also usually because we are thirsty!

Doesn’t that mean the same thing?

 

No! If we  need something it’s essential in the great scheme of things

But when we want something it’s an object of desire, something that would be nice to have but it wouldn’t matter if we didn’t get it

‘Making It’ is influenced by the power we have to choose what we want in life

It’s when we couple it with an actual need to do so that the chances of actually achieving it become much improved

How can I possibly ‘make it’ when I’m gripped by mental ill health?

Well the short answer is that anything is possible. When we not only want to do it but believe that we can (and that includes our mental health) then we can take the responsibility to choose to be proactive in the way we approach it, for instance…

On September 26th this year it will be five years since I was admitted as an emergency to hospital. It will be a day I not only thought, but was told I would never see and yet here I am!

I tell you this for no other reason than to define how powerful the combination of need and want are as we strive to ‘MAKE IT’ in life hopefully you’ll see what I mean;

For the majority of my adult life I’ve battled with varying forms of mental ill health but very late in the day (I was in my late 30’s at the time) it was confirmed that I had a pretty disastrous combination of anxiety based issues, Psychosis and Bi-Polar Disorder for starters but despite struggling to both cope and accept my lot (denial can be very persuasive) I finally began to not only address the situation but take responsibility for it as I commenced a long and lonely journey through the battlefield that is Mental Ill Health.

One which very nearly saw me lose my life!

The finer details for the under laying reasons (reasons as opposed to excuses) are for another time, but suffice to say that in the course of my denial I frequently refused the help, be it medical intervention, or otherwise that I so desperately needed. I started to self medicate with my drug of choice, that of alcohol and not unsurprisingly over time my problem drinking  morphed into alcoholism. It was the biggest open secret around except that the only person who didn’t know or rather refused to accept it was – ME!

Let me take you back in time!

Because frankly we can only ever connect the dots by looking backward!

So on September 26th, 2012 I’m in my Doctors office for the blood test results I’d been waiting for. At 52 I’m obese, bloated, jaundiced, have delirium tremors and am taking 17 different prescriptions daily which include 44 tablets for everything from depression to acid reflux and high cholesterol.

I WAS A MESS!

The Doctors face is grave but she cuts straight to the chase.

”Susan I’m calling an ambulance right now, your liver is failing”

I actually laughed (even at that point I was still in denial) and she proceeded to do just that.

The last thing I remember is being put into a hospital bed and my husband tearfully giving the medical team my details. I woke up 5 days later with absolutely no recollection of what had just happened to me!!!

In short, I had spent the previous 15 years subconsciously trying  to drink myself to death largely because I couldn’t accept or cope with either the under laying cause of my illness or my subsequent behaviour and being brutally honest neither had I wanted to because the thought of making it anywhere, let alone to the other side of my mental ill health issues or anything else for that matter just wasn’t on my radar.

That is until I came round and I was visited by my Consultant who told me point blank without ceremony that ‘I would be lucky to have 5 years left to live and although he hoped I’d walk out of there on my own two feet, he didn’t actually think I would be going home’!

The bottom fell out of my world that day!

But in the split second it took for me to register what had been said I instantly knew that it was the catalyst I needed to help me ‘MAKE IT’.

Being faced with my own mortality had in a split second forced me to accept the fact I had been denying for so long – I was an alcoholic – and that if I was going to make it; physically, emotionally and mentally I not only needed to, I had to want to more than anything else and that included being anywhere near the demon drink!

The point behind all this is that whatever the circumstances causing you to feel as though you need to make it are – YOU HAVE TO WANT TO DO IT!

When our should becomes our must things finally begin to change!

My need to make it through to the other side of both my mental ill health issues and my alcoholism turned around in an instant because my desire to live became stronger than the need for that which I had taken solace in to mask my emotional and mental anguish!

We face many  battles to get to where we want or need to be in our lives, many of them the result of external influences but we also have to take responsibility for the part we play in things.

It’s so much easier to hide behind the facade of blaming someone or something for the situations we find ourselves in and that’s where, certainly in my case the downward spiral begins.

Be it the opinions and actions of others bringing pressure to bear whilst trying to mold us into something which we aren’t or the historical feelings of guilt, inadequacy and low self-esteem we experience borne on the back of things said or done. The point is they all lead us to feel as though we’re lacking in some way. Unworthy. Not good enough.

They are learned behaviour patterns which can and do impact massively on everything in our lives. Relationships. Careers. Mental as well as physical health and it is the struggle which we have with every single aspect of this which ultimately leads us to want to make it

What we lose sight of, if we ever had it to lose in the first place, is that with a little courage and determination on our part we have both the power and the choice to change things for the better. If we’re lucky – I truly was – we have the support of our loved ones along the way. The bottom line is it’s our responsibility to do what we have to do, in order that we can get where we want or need to be.

How do we do this?

Find a starting point, your catalyst, the thing which will finally galvanise you into action and then understand that you have to unlearn everything that has gone before.

We have to accept that we cannot change the past but in order for us to change we must forgive it. Let it go. Move on. This becomes so much easier when we consciously decide to act based on the combined need and desire to move forward.

When we sow the seeds of change within ourselves then the hard work can begin

Having forgiven our past we then have to do the same for ourselves. Forgive yourselves for the mistakes you made along the way. In doing so learn from  them and watch how you grow! As we start to grow we come to understand that as a person regardless of what others may think of us we are enough just the way we are, no excuses, no justifications and very definitely no apologies for being who we are.

When we accept ourselves it brings with it an increase in confidence and the self esteem to enable us to have the courage of our convictions. We no longer feel the need to be a people pleaser at the expense of our own self worth. We come to know that we can and should stand up for ourselves and we come to understand that we don’t have to succumb to abusive, manipulative or emotionally and mentally draining people ever again!

It’s not an easy journey and there’ll be days when we feel lost or hopeless and panic will set in as we fear a return to our previous negative, unhealthy or destructive ways but that’s OK we’re human. It’s not realistic to expect ourselves to be perfect. On occasion when this happens and it will, forgive yourself, draw a line under it and look to tomorrow because it is not only another day, it’s the first day of the rest of your life.

Your new life and if you’ve reached that point you really will have made it.

Is it worth it? Yes it is!

There are massive steps along the road to making it but they are so worth it, especially as we feel our resolve grow ever stronger.

The hard work, the trauma, the emotional and mental upset, all of it pales into insignificance when you suddenly understand, probably for the first time you’re living life to the full on your own terms, comfortable in your own skin and despite everything that has happened along the way you realise that not only are you grateful to be so, you no longer feel guilty because;

You MAY have wished for it, you MAY have wanted it but you MADE it happen 

YOU MADE IT!

 

Sober. Proud. Grateful…3 Years On!

3RD Anniversary Post

”No matter how many times we stumble or fall, the greatest lesson is loving yourself through it all” – Barbra Streisand

TODAY is the 3rd Anniversary of the first day of the rest of my life. It is the day when I was faced with the prospect of not seeing the next 24 hours let alone my children carve out their adult lives for themselves. I lived. I learned. I grew.

Welcome to my life. My new sober life!

It’s a day that I am fortunate to be seeing and there is not one day since the 26th September 2012, that I have not offered up thanks for the miracle that is my life as I live it these days. Now I don’t mean that to sound evangelical, nor do I say it to solicit sympathy or even pity. I say it simply because it’s true, a simple, honest fact. Due to my extremely poor lifestyle choices as a result of Mental Ill Health and having tried and failed (although that’s a word I dislike intensely) to sort myself out with the usual cocktail of prescribed meds and varying forms of therapy, I had slid almost unconsciously (the irony of that word isn’t lost on me as for the larger part of a period totalling about 15 years..that’s largely what I was unconscious) into the dangerous, un-policed area of self medication. Except my drug of choice came in a bottle or 3 a day rather than a blister pack of little white pills.

My descent into a self-induced state of oblivion started off relatively slowly but as is the way with all addiction gathered pace quite spectacularly and as I’ve told you before I almost became a guest of the Grim Reaper when my liver and other vital organs started to shut down. Fortunately I lived to tell the tale and my life since that date  has gone from strength to strength. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally & very definitely physically. Quite simply on every level I am a different person.

Someone asked me recently if I was a better person because of it. Honestly? At the time I couldn’t answer her…largely because I didn’t feel that was my call to make. However having had chance to digest the question properly and if she asked me again today…particularly today, given that it’s 3 years hence my answer would have to be a great big, fat resounding...

Yes it is and not only that I am prouder than I ever imagined possible about the fact.

I’m happier, healthier and more whole than ever before and because of this I’m more confident, less paranoid, have an improving opinion of my self-image and I know I am more than enough just the way I am. All of the above have led me to be more relaxed, less anxious, most certainly less self-absorbed these days and as a result I am more emotionally and mentally available, as such I’m more in tune with and receptive to the needs of others in a way which quite honestly I was totally unable to be 3 years ago. So yes I think I can say with all honesty yes I’m a better person for the experience. As frightening and unpleasant as it was the lessons I learned because of it have made the person I am today…and do you know what? I actually for the first time like who I am. BONUS!

That said I very firmly still consider myself to be a work in progress..living, learning & growing every single day. My historic battle with Mental Ill Health & its resultant poor lifestyle choices saw me almost rob myself of seeing my family thrive & grow…the fact that I did leaves me full of a gratitude which is beyond measure.

If I’ve learned anything it’s that this isn’t a rehearsal..grab each day by the scruff of it’s neck…tell those you care for how much you love them and make every single second count leaving no room for regret. We’re all born, we all die..it’s what we do in between which becomes our legacy NOT what there is in the bank..the box we’re leaving in bar a few inches is gonna be the same size and we ain’t taking anything with us folks so make it count…while you still can.

I firmly believe the adage that in life there are no mistakes only lessons to be learned and trust me this particular one is very definitely one which will never have to be revisited let alone unlearned. I’m not naive enough to think that I will never be tempted to partake of the demon drink again..indeed in recent times of extreme stress the thought has in all honesty crossed my mind BUT I owe it to myself and those I cherish to love this life I live & live this life I love with every fibre of my heart and soul cleanly, openly & honestly thus absolving them of the need to worry about me.

Addiction makes a person very selfish and as that selfish incarnation of yourself you truly cannot think or process anything which threatens the false reality you’ve created for yourself as you hide from the cause of the pain which you have strived so hard to forget. In becoming so self-absorbed nothing else matters, not yourself or your health, not your loved ones or the pain they feel on your behalf and you certainly don’t even think about happiness, let alone actually being happy. In short you care about nothing only where your next drink, fix, high,,,whatever you’re chasing is coming from.

This more than anything else is something which even if I was tempted myself? I would never, ever put those I love through that pain again…and so going back to the previous question.

Has it made you a better person? Oh God I do hope so…YES! I’m done being selfish, I’m done being miserable, I’m done hiding. I fully intend to carry on doing exactly what I now implore you all to do which is to;

Do what makes YOU happy, be who or what YOU want to be and understand that we all of us have the power within to do just that…live life mindfully with gratitude and whatever you are KNOW that you are ENOUGH!

Trust me if I can do it….anyone can and I highly recommend it!!!

For those of you…and you know who you are…who have loved & supported me unconditionally along the way my eternal gratitude knows no bounds..I love you today, tomorrow & ALWAYS

LIVE! LAUGH! LOVE!

Sue – Clean. Sober & Happy for 1096 Days today!!

Be Grateful, For What?

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle

Gratitude? What the hell have I got to be grateful for?

Well I guess that would depend very much at how you look at life?

Gratitude is defined as being; the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

It is a woefully underused sentiment. In all honesty is there one person on the planet who has absolutely nothing to be grateful for? I’m fairly convinced that the overwhelming answer would be of ”course there is, there must be millions of people who have absolutely nothing in their lives.” If we were to take that sweeping statement at face value then most of us I’m sure would be inclined to agree.

The reality however is that we all of us have that one vital thing, which without it, we would none of us be able to be grateful for anything ever and that quite simply is the gift of life.

So whilst it’s fair to say that a millionaire stockbroker having lost his fortune due to bad choices would lament that all was lost, by the same token it would also be fair to say that the homeless guy sleeping in a shop doorway down the street would thank his lucky stars if someone bought him a bacon butty for breakfast. Everything is relative!

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker Coach Author

What the hell have I got to be grateful for

As for me? Well…

My life today is so different to what it very nearly turned out to be. In late 2012 and faced with declining health due to extremely poor lifestyle choices, I was told I would not be around long enough to bear witness to the lives my children & grandchildren  would come to carve out for themselves. More by good luck than judgement  it was a reality which didn’t come to pass and several weeks after being told to prepare myself  for the worst I walked out of the hospital on my own two feet to resume my life.

My new life! One which was to be built upon a rock solid foundation of GRATITUDE

New because the instant I was faced with my mortality and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that were I (regardless of the manner) given a second shot at life then I would grab it firmly and things from that point on would be very different. Some would say that  the feelings of desperation & panic associated with finding out that you were about to die would naturally result in promises being made that things would change if you didn’t, only for them to be swept away on the tide of euphoria following a sudden, unexpected upturn in your fortunes. For me I was instinctively aware that I could not allow that to happen for fear of descending into the behaviour patterns that had caused my situation in the first place.

I have to say that in the first weeks of being allowed home & looking  forward to being around for a while longer the first word I decided to incorporate into my new daily vocabulary rather than gratitude was that of responsibility. It was to become the cornerstone of the foundations upon which I slowly but surely came to rebuild my life. Once I made the step of assuming that which many struggle to do and took responsibility for my life, all of it my choices, my attitude, my thoughts & my outlook began to change, almost imperceptibly at first but things were different somehow. I was different. I knew without reservation that going forward my life would not only be different it would be all the better for it!

The realisation that by taking responsibility for and therefore by default ownership of my life its past, its present and its future I had opened myself up to  the possibility of choice.

My first choice going forward then from that point was the easiest one I have ever made it was & remains that of the choice of gratitude.

In order to underpin my newly made decision to actively practice gratitude I had to seriously contemplate how best to ensure it remained a major player in my new life and to the extent that it became as natural as breathing. I realised that to try to adopt what essentially would be a completely new way of thinking, I had to rid myself of each and every one of the self-limiting, self-destructive thought patterns I had learned along the way in the previous 50 something years. That thought alone absolutely terrified me. Those same thoughts and beliefs after all had been my faithful and constant companions for literally my whole life. Never mind that they, in cahoots with their bed mates Bi Polar Disorder, paranoia, OCD & a shed load of addictive traits just for the hell of it had, along  with my all too willing compliance, allowed them to ride rough shod over a mind which had relinquished ownership and had opted to exist as if being remotely controlled!!!

And so began the eviction of the squatters in my mind………. I forced myself to go back and think, really think about how & why I had made the life choices that I had, perhaps not unsurprisingly the first evictee was that of blame, blaming others for the choices I had made based on historical events as opposed to those of the here and now. So out went blame and in moved responsibility. Next it was the turn of self-pity, out went the ”why me” syndrome to be replaced by the much healthier alternative of ”why not me.” The list of the unwanted bats in my particular belfry grew smaller as the weeks went by and come Christmas 2012 just 3 short months since the news of my expected impending doom I was celebrating the festivities with my family & friends. It felt right somehow to be celebrating the gift of a second chance in life at just the time when millions of others were giving thanks for the birth of a baby boy who was to bring us the values of peace & goodwill to all men. The more I replaced the old negative self talk with positive affirmations the happier I felt. It became a surprisingly easy habit to form and with it the absolute certain knowledge that everything in life is a choice and that same choice can if we allow it provide us with the solid foundations to build not only a happy & positive life but one filled with gratitude and love.

The restoration of my hard wiring after I decided to reboot my mindset continued apace and I know will do so for as long as I’m in residence on this 3rd rock from the sun. So now moving forward and going back to my original question;

Gratitude? What the hell have I got to be grateful for?

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker Coach Author

I would simply say this; I now realise that everything that has ever happened to me is part of the reason I am who I am today. The good, the bad, the indifferent, all of it. So I am grateful for my less than perfect childhood, I am grateful for the poor lifestyle choices I have made along the way, grateful for the jobs I’ve had and lost, grateful for my family & friends, grateful that you’re reading this post of mine because by definition that means we’re both of us alive and for that my gratitude knows no bounds.

I can truly say that at this point in my life I am happier, healthier,  more whole than ever before and better still alive I am mindful that every new day brings with it the opportunity of choice and the right to choose to be happy and that my friend is a pretty damn good reason to be grateful.

 

I can honestly say that when we are grateful for the things we have, we suddenly become so very aware of just how much more there truly is to be grateful for.