The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Excuses Vs. Reasons

Jonathan Swift said, “An excuse is a lie guarded.” That is not far from the truth. We often delude ourselves as we delay work we need to do on ourselves, on our bad habits, on our addictions and on our silly excuses we don’t live our best lives. We all do it, you know. Me, too.

I know people who dwell on the wrongs done them as excuses why they don’t get something done, why they never found love, why after 50 years they didn’t do something differently. I’m serious. Some folks have excuses they blurt out like a litany in the Catholic Church services. It’s sad, but it’s also hilarious. Blame is placed on someone else. It becomes the excuse they use to stay frozen in place, where they think they’re safe. But they’re not. They’re unhappy, negative, and live a stagnant life.

Life wasn’t meant to be an existence that is static. As humans, we are created to experience growth and change. Our bodies are constantly changing, growing new cells, working to live, and craving more energy to keep alive. Our brains need new experiences, new challenges, new creations. Art, music, and reading feed our souls, minds, and beings.

Yes, it’s risky trying something we’ve never done before. But why not? It doesn’t hurt to try. Better yet, how about doing? Some folks have lied so much to themselves they believe their own excuses. I believe excuses are just that. Reasons, however, are valid. They are obstacles placed in your way; like I can’t do the 50 Mile Walk because I broke my ankle. That is a valid reason. An excuse is, “It might rain, (take an umbrella), I have to work, (you could take vacation).

Alcoholics and addicts have the best excuses ever. “Someone was driving at me the wrong way on the street.” Ha! You were the one that crossed the center line; it’s on you, not someone else.” “I lost track of time.” Sure, you were passed out somewhere and missed your surprise birthday party. When dealing with these folks, we have to keep track of their records.

Delusions may crop up in our minds about those negative, toxic relationships. They are no good for us. They are no good for the addicts or addicts either. The delusion continues when we let them back into our lives and they continue with their excuses without skipping a beat. “Maybe I was too hard on him.” No, you weren’t. An adult keeps their promises. An adult shows up. An adult doesn’t run scared. Another chance? Enter at your own risk. You may likely be the only one hurt. Don’t risk it again, unless you are certain the alcoholic quit drinking for good, the addict is clean. And they haven’t switched one bad habit/addiction for something else. You are worth more than that.

The more you practice making healthy decisions, the better off you will be. The only risks you may be taking are those on doing something you’ve always wanted to do. You. For yourself. We have a friend who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail. In between, he had a double knee replacement. This may be a bit extreme, but he loved it. Do something and conquer it. You’ll stretch your world. You’ll become bolder, brighter, and a whole lot happier. Dwelling on the past and your excuses is counter productive.

Using myself as an example, I’ve snacked needlessly the past week or so. I’m horrified at how easily my resolve to eat healthy has gone out the window. The Babe is done with eating healthy. He’ll do what he does. I’m not fond of it, but it’s his decision. I refuse to make our time together miserable because I want him to be healthier. Why become a nag, making our life together unbearable? Not how I want him to remember me. Not how I want to be, either. I could use the excuse, “He brought home cookies, donuts, ice cream, chips and popcorn.” It’s not the Babe’s fault I caved on my own resolve. I need to step up, be responsible, and not blame someone else.

I will lose the 5+ pounds I’ve gained being naughty. I will be happier with myself and feel less sluggish. Keto friends, stay tuned! I’m loving putting on an outfit and the Babe telling me, “It’s too big.” What?? I haven’t heard that for a long, long time, if ever. It’s nice. And my knees don’t hurt like they did. I was close to asking for a replacement. Yes, I have a lot of arthritis in them, they’re bone on bone. But, the squats I did all summer must have strengthened a part of the knees so they don’t hurt. I’m amazed at what a 45 pound weight loss can do. You can do it to.

Once I stopped accepting bad treatment by others, I gained respect, love, and realization what I deserved vs. what I received. I gained the Babe. I gained self respect. I gained a new view of life. I am amazed at the last twenty five years of my life. I’m also amazed that at the age of nearly 70, I’m living a great story. I’m starting to share my story. It’s a story that could help others. I believe I’m being called to do just that. Stories about kids for kids; as Grandma Kathy, and stories about women for women; as Kathy Raabe, Author. What I’m learning, what I’ve experienced, and the risks taken aren’t so scary now. Time for some more big risks. Yes! I can hardly wait.

Thanks for reading today. More minor decluttering today. Getting stuff done. And some novel writing, too. Have a wonderful Wednesday. See you tomorrow!

Really? Elvis Said THAT?

I picked up my copy of Silver Disobedience Playbook this morning and read an article titled, “Seek The Silver Lining.” Sure, I’d like to think I do. Some days are harder than others. Dian Griesel talks about learning from life when things don’t go as well as we’d like. “The bend in the road is not the end of the road.” Yes, I agree.

The next line blew my mind. As Elvis Presley said: “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” I immediately googled the comment, and several sources confirmed he did. The terribly bad ending his life had is so sad. Yes, he became addicted to prescription drugs. That was wrong. Too many of the innocent, talented people fell in with bad ones. His Memphis Mafia were not the best to have around him. Pills to make you wake. Pills to make you sleep. God only knows what else he partook in.

Addictions are tricky. You can be addicted to drugs, alcohol, electronics, sex, and just about everything. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Pain killers are good for actual pain, under a doctor’s care, and can be abused. Alcohol is another crafty substance. It can sneak up on you. With my Apple ID being locked, I’ve realized how much time we all waste on our phones. Yet, the next twelve days will still find me wanting to catch up on Facebook, playing my Word Search games, and of course, Solitaire. Who doesn’t love a rousing game of Solitaire?

People handle their pain differently. Many choose to ignore it. Then it festers and gets ugly. However it rears it’s ugly head, chaos reigns. Chaos replaces order. We might not like the feelings of chaos in our lives, but we are powerless to rid ourselves of it. The time, money, and company we spend pushes us further from order. We repeat the cycle. There is always hope for folks who are addicted. They need to be on board. If someone is making them go to recovery, it won’t work. It’s pure and simple.

My heart has been broken by several people addicted to one thing or another. I’ve believed too many lies, defended people who didn’t deserve it, and felt I could fix their hurts. I was an enabler. I didn’t realize it. I have learned that painful lesson. I’ve made changes in my life. I’ve set boundaries. Not just for them. For myself. Late-bloomer that I am, I’ve learned to deflect character asassination and undeserved criticism. Their weapons no longer work on me. My armour is strong. My heart is strong. You’re never too old to learn.

I’ve taken the hairpin curves life throws at all us. I’ve endured a lot. So has the Babe. That is why it’s important for both of us to have as little conflict as possible between us. We’re seasoned in what’s important and what’s not. Peace and Quiet are important. Disruption and Noise are not.

I hope this weekend finds you in a good place. We are in one. Take a look at things. If something feels wrong, figure it out. Don’t ignore it. It’ll fester. And you won’t like the outcome. Take care out there. See you tomorrow.

Sunday Mornin’, Comin’ Down

If you’re of a certain age, or if you’re a Country Music fan, you know my title today is from a Kris Kristofferson song, released in 1970. Kristofferson has had a lengthy career, a successful one, not only in music, but he also starred in the 1970 version of “A Star is Born.” He was the Bradley Cooper to Lady Gaga’s character. In 1970, Barbra Streisand was the Lady Gaga character to Kristofferson. Got it? Good. It was a great movie, but I have to say, I thought the 2019 version was the best. Judge for yourselves.

The song describes a guy waking on Sunday morning, pretty bad hangover, can’t move without hurting. He makes the genius move of having beer for breakfast, and another for dessert. The smell of frying chicken triggered a memory of what he’d lost, his bad behavior caused a lot of losses. This is very common with people deep into addictions with alcohol or drugs. And it’s very sad to see.

There was a special on some obscure Direct TV channel last night about drug addiction in New York City. A man they interviewed described his heroin addiction. He detailed how it felt as it worked it’s way from the needle in his arm, down to his feet and up to his brain. He said it’s what he lived for. It’s all he had left. How he never thought it would be so addictive. How sad.

The one addiction our society overlooked for so long was that of alcohol. It used to be socially accepted as a “boys will be boys” activity, but not any more, thank goodness. I never drank in high school, and did rarely until I was 30. Yes, I’ve overdone it at times, but not anymore. It’s something I can do without, so why? I’ve never understood an addictive personality, and there are many, many people who have one, some in my immediate family of origin. I find no shame in that. Admitting is the first step towards education, assistance, and healing.

There are so many who think, if a little is good, then more is better. Doesn’t matter what it is since the human spirit can be addicted to many things. Phones, gambling, alcohol, drugs, sex, television, and many, many more things. Some of us become co-dependent and it wrecks our lives until it’s treated, admitted, and handled. I didn’t realize I was co-dependent, I thought I was responsible for a lot of things. I always wanted to make things better. By doing that, you enable bad behavior.

I’ve learned to say “No.” I’ve pulled back from people who are toxic to me. The ones I loved don’t exist anymore, as long as they are practicing their dysfunction. They are totally foreign to me. Their addictions have made their values, patterns, and what they love different than my memory and image of them. And just to answer the questions ahead of time, no it was not my current husband. He is my rock. We are blesssed to go through this life with each other.

And it’s ok. It’s better for me, and for them. I know in order to protect my mental health, I need to use my caring in other ways. It’s one reason I’m happy to be involved with helping Veterans. They are working to get better, and so am I. Everybody wins that way. Everybody does right things and feels good doing them. It’s how love is supposed to work.

I reveal these things not so you feel bad for me, I’m good. Why I reveal it is there is help for everyone on both sides of addiction to get help. You both need it, believe me. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and tell someone, “No” if it doesn’t serve either of you well. Don’t sacrifice yourself for someone who wouldn’t do the same for you. It’s taken me a long time to learn, and I’m so glad I did. You can do it, too.

If you are a survivor of any type of intergenerational trauma, this is a book from which you will learn a lot of things. It’s “From Generation to Generation. Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Storytelling,” by Emily Wanderer Cohen. It certainly hasn’t been a “light read” for the weekend, but in between rests and naps these last two days, it’s opened my eyes to a lot of things I can now understand. Life is a continual lesson. Take the things it teaches you, and improve everything around you, starting from your soul outward. It will make a huge difference.

We have cleaned up the house to be ready for the next week. It feels good to have a fresh start for a brand new, shiny week ahead of us. Who knows what it will bring to each of us? Each day will be as good as you make it. Choose happy, grateful, productive. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. See you tomorrow! It’s virus-y out there. Be Safe. Mask Up. Be Careful

Amen.