T total- Have you ever tried to stop drinking?

#getwellbrighton

So, it has been 18 days since I have had an alcohol drink. I haven’t had a beer with friends in the sun on the beach, no white wine spritzers if you know me so well, no extra dirty martini when I am feeling cheeky, no tequila chasers with lime, or red wine to warm my bones when it’s rainy and I am sitting all alone under the Habitat blanket watching The Bachelorette on ITV.

What has brought me to this conscious decision? I have been reflecting a lot on where I am going on this journey called life. I have created a wonderful life for myself and my children here in the UK. I don’t get to see my family, I have no support here and I do most of the parenting and raising my children on my own both emotionally and financially. At times in my life I have tried to escape this reality. I would numb the feelings of homesickness and failure with my favourite Beaujolais. I would be having such a great time with friends and going on adventures in ‘the city’ that I would never want to sleep.  When reflecting upon my past and how I have made most of my friends I would say that other than the friends I made in school and childhood, I had an extensive range of friends worldly that I have met out socially drinking while travelling. I am still friends with the motley crue after all, my journey and who I have crossed paths with have shaped me into the person that I am today.

Many of my friends do not have children and can live spontaneous and hedonistically as and when they please. I was able to be just like those friends before I had children. However, I was always someone who wanted to be different. I wanted to be the kind of parent that was married, had a consistent job, travelled and had family all around me. Unfortunately, I jumped head first and moved to the UK where life has taken me on a magic carpet ride.

At the darkest times I I always felt if I can’t beat them- join them. After all, #YOLO! People who drink surround themselves with people who drink. People who party surround themselves with people who party. Well, I used to be that party girl. I guess I still am that party girl at heart. But now, I am someone who has become very mindful of how drinking alcohol isn’t serving me. Having one glass of wine, leads to two and then the bottle is empty. A friend brings a bottle of Prosecco over and we have run out and need to get more. This lifestyle has been quite a bore; same routine, nothing exciting or new. I have also noticed that the aftermath of drinking makes me feel tired and lazy. I have recently learned that this 20 year old habit has been the ‘thing’ that has been holding me back in my life. The book I want to start writing- I didn’t get in till 4am- holding me back. The art class I want to show up to- I am feeling anxious- booze holding me back. Music that I need to finish writing- I can’t concentrate; too many brain cells frazzled- drinking too much has held me back. I always thought I was the one holding myself back. I thought it was some sort of emotional trigger from my childhood that was holding me back from doing the things I want to do and holding me back from my highest, most true potential self. It wasn’t me that was holding me back per say- it was the drinking and the behavioral patterns that I was establishing in my life that was holding me back.

I know all of these things about myself. And, I continue to search and learn more about myself. But, one thing that has really come to my attention are the friends that I keep, or should I say the people that I keep or have kept along my ‘party time’ journey. I have noticed a behavioural pattern in my life where most people I call family or friends are not anywhere close. And, this is no fault of their own. I thought that the people who I drink with and go out dancing with are my friends. They are not. They are ‘good time’ friends who only call when they want to go out. All my life I never released this. I don’t know why. I think when I first reflected existentially upon this idea my friends questioned me. They said that it wasn’t true.

However, if you tell someone how you feel, that they are not a friend who is there when you need them, and they walk away or turn it around back to you- your prediction is true. There are so many toxic people out there that disguise themselves as friends. And, sometimes these people come as party time shiftmakers. This has become one of the sole reasons I decided to stop drinking. I want to put out in the Universe the things I would like to attract. I want to attract more. I want to attract better. I want to attract ambition such as a reflection to my own. I want to attract a zest for life, love, art, music, travel and good food. I want to attract a higher vibration that I deserve. I was not attracting this higher vibration while sleeping with my eye mask past brunch. I want to wake up early and cease the day. I feel fantastic and have never felt so much energy. I have naturally shifted and have eaten better. Sure, I have replaced old habits with new such as the odd candy bar and coca cola. But, this too will be phased out when the timing is right. And, after all… sometimes life is all about timing.

I hope to share with you more about my journey and experiences as perhaps you might relate. I have lived a very interesting and fulfilling life and now is the time to share it with you. I am no longer wanting to Galvanize. I am so ready to Self-Actualize.

When telling people my intention of not drinking, I had such wonderful feedback. The true friendships oozed out of the cracks to introduce to me what true friendship looks and feels like. I had so many lovely people support me. So, thank you for those that have my back. I am lucky that you are in my life and I cannot wait to share my future adventures with you.

My journey is just beginning…

 

Escaping from family trauma: is it difficult to let it go?

Can one ever escape from past family trauma? Parents divorcing? Abuse? Loss of a loved one? Moving? Blended families? Whatever consists of trauma within the individual? I believe that they can. It’s all about what you want as an individual. Do you want to move on from family trauma? What are you doing about it? Are you seeking a healer? a psychologist? someone to support you? I think anything is possible. For me, writing my own narrative is one way to let go of the past and move forward. And, so here my story goes. 

This song makes me think of my siblings; mostly my sister. When we were younger we used to go on many crazy adventures. My sister had this friend. She had this green Jeep. It had tan leather interior and we used to ride with the windows down with the wind blowing in our hair. My sister’s friend was called Julie. I am unsure where they met, but I used to tag along. We used to drive, smoke and go from Canton, Ohio to Columbus chasing parties. We used to play this game called Radish, Radish. That game always made me laugh. Tears would pour out of my eyes with utter content. My sister was younger than me. But she was always more advanced than me in everything. She was always partying before me. She knew the best parties, the best festivals and the knew where to get the coolest clothes.

The irony of it all… she probably thought the same about me. She probably looked at me and thought, ‘Jessica had it all’ or ‘has it all’. It’s funny how people’s perspective vary. It’s that whole the grass is greener syndrome. For me, I always felt I could never keep up. I don’t mean keep up with my sister, but just people in general. It was easier to be different, to be odd, to cut my hair shorter than everyone before it was the ‘in thing’ to do and to slide on those leather pants knowing people probably judged me and at that time in my life didn’t give a rats ass who judged. I naturally escaped from the whole conformity of society. I think nowadays there would be words for me: bohemian, hedonist, neurodiverse. But, do labels help? What do you think? In the past, I didn’t care what people thought of me. But, I guess as one matures, gets married, has children, gets divorced, raises kids… one starts to develop a different view on things in life. For me, I don’t really care what people think of me. It’s just sort of like I don’t want any ill will or bad vibes in my life or on my journey. But as you get older you realise that this is all part of growing up and maturing, unfortunately.

SEEING THINGS IN A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE always matter!

My youngest just asked me about the moon. She said ‘how does the moon stay up in the sky?’ I said ‘due to gravitational force’. She said, so I could be upside down right now? as she puts her hands upside down along side of her hands to display exactly what she is verbalizing. I responded, yes. She stood still. Posed while hanging upside down, her hair falling loose. She said as a matter of factly, I feel better upside down. And, I replied- so do I sometimes! We giggled. Funny how when you are a child your view on life is so clear. And, sometimes we as adults tend to mess everything up.

When I was younger, my sister and I were very close. We used to stay up late and giggle. We used to see the world upside down.

When I hear Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, nostalgia dances to me like a wave that has just hit me unexpectedly. It always makes me think of my sister and myself escaping the world together. It makes me think about just me being part of her world and being so excited about it all. It was high school. It was a long time ago. But, that is when I felt most close to her; the times when we would stay up late in bed and talk and laugh. Exactly like my very own children do now.

That doesn’t mean I leave my brother out of the equation. He and I were the dynamic duo when we used to work together. People came to see us behind the bar. We had charisma, we had something that many people didn’t have working behind the bar. We just didn’t care. We laughed, we drank, we created some of the best parties when we worked together. Those were the days.

But things evolve. We get older, get married, have children, develop something that is called ‘responsibility’ and there the story goes.

We grow, we change, we love. But one thing remains constant. The love and affection I have for my siblings. It is a continuum.

 

A letter of Goodbye

I am sorry for leaving
I am sorry for not leading
I am sorry for escaping
I am sorry for not mothering
I am sorry I had my own issues
I am sorry for being selfish
I am sorry for leaving you behind
I am sorry for not protecting you
Mostly
My travels are coming to end
I am now in my 40’s
And, that is when you learn
You learn when you have your own kids
You learn when you fail
I am the oldest
I should have known better
I should have been there when she wasn’t
When he wasn’t
I should have been there
I am sorry for failing you
I am sorry for letting you down
I am sorry for misleading you

 

www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk
www.onlinetherapyhelps.com

from Memoires across the Pond

Where do addictions come from and how do they manifest?

What is it about addictions? Where do they come from and how to they manifest?

Many psychologists think that it all stems down to attachment and The Attachment Theory. This is somewhat true I believe. However, there must be some greater reason why people have unhealthy addictions. There are many types of addictions: sex, drugs, exercise, food, gambling, unhealthy relationships and the list goes on. What if addictions are the result of not being able to express how we feel? What if addictions are the result of not being able to express how we feel growing up as children?

To grow up in an era where emotions and feelings were never discussed were quite troublesome for me. As a young person I always wanted to discuss how I felt, what was going on in my head and/or what I was confused about in life in general. That platform was never open for me. It was always like ‘oh, Jessica wants to talk about her feelings…’ and I was ridiculed and made fun of.

I could remember sitting at the dinner table as a child trying to teach my family that ‘why do we have to sit down at the kitchen table if we aren’t going to talk about how we feel?’ My eldest brother would make fun of me and then everyone would laugh. I learned how to suppress my feelings and not ever talk about my needs or my feelings.

As a grown up this has somewhat disabled me. It has disabled me in a way where, now, when I want to tell someone how I feel it can make me nervous, uneasy and somewhat anxious; almost ashamed of me feeling the way that I do.

As a therapist and all through out my training I have learned how to help people with these same issues. However, what about me? How can I help someone if I can’t help myself first? This is a common thing that many psychology students will face when they are starting school and deciding to major in psychology.

Psychologists are not to go into the field of psychology to learn about themselves I have been told. And, being the literal person that I am have taken that on board as it is not a selfless way of supporting and/or helping others.

But, how can we/I find the balance? And, how does this relate to addictions and to unwanted habitual behavior … whatever it is?

What if the theory is this…. people who have difficulty with addictions in their life have never been taught to deal with their emotions properly. People with addictions have never been able to cope with their emotions and therefore use drugs, alcohol. sex, gambling to escape these difficult feelings that must be digested.

No one wants to feel sad or feel sad. Although it is enlightening to be the rabbit hole for a short while I am not sure anyone wants to get stuck in the rabbit hole. But, how can we get out? How can we stop self-sabotaging ourselves? When we feel great and feel confident and alive someone may say something that brings us right back down into that hole. How can we shield ourselves from this or is it the impossible?

What are you thoughts? Why do you think people have addictions? Why do people get stuck in certain ways that can be harmful to others and harmful to oneself?

After all, if we are not growing as individuals… what are we actually doing in life? We are not meant to meander… or are we? I am not happy meandering….