LOVING YOUR LIFE

Positive Life Quotes have a way of being easy to digest and tend to make one feel good about themselves, but so often they are hard to practice and act upon in real life.  But, you can find some of the most powerful wisdom in these quotes and if applied to your own life there  can be real transformation

Here’s one I find particularly hard to follow, but useful.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” — Mark Twain”   I have been working on this thought for years.  I  sometimes “think” I know why I’m here on Earth, but then change my mind.  I’m a work in progress.

We all have bad days and deal with tough situations: at home, on the job… or just have  to endure the collision that human relationships can often become.

Not only are our situations common among people living today, but as humans, we’ve been dealing with the same issues since the beginning of human history!  Think on that; it’s powerful.  People who lived thousands of years ago were cheated on by their “significant other,” (for lack of any other title),  had “money” (asset)  problems, wanted to ascend in life, and often felt stuck, lost, or frustrated in a current situation.  Hmmm.

The Difficulties of LIFE is an inescapable truth.  It is, and what always has been, what ties together people from all countries, creeds, and socio-economic groups. The remedy for what ails us all… is the same, too.  As best you can, we must learn to find the gems of wisdom buried beneath the trials of life.

Easier said than done though, right?

Ego is the Enemy

Whenever we frame our problems as things being done to us, we fall prey to the trap our ego has set for us.  Your ego tells you your life is supposed to be better than it is right now.  It tells you your spouse was wrong and that they should apologize.  It tells you your boss is a jerk and the world is conspiring to keep your salary and your sanity as low as possible.

Your ego doesn’t want you to love what happens to you because when you learn to love what happens to you it’s harder to rationalize your situation.  See, there’s always something you can learn from every situation.

 It’s not easy to do at the moment. When you’re sad, mad, holding a grudge, frustrated, vengeful, prideful, or any mix of the destructive emotions that tend to come with the everyday grind, it’s hard to realize that they could be playing a positive role in our life.

But our LIFE can be a teacher, even if you don’t want to learn the lessons it gives you in the moment. Even pain can be a signal.  It all depends on the way you see what happens to you.

The Most Powerful Tool We Can Use to Deal With Problems

Each time you face a problem you go through the same familiar cycle of feelings and behaviors.  You don’t want to accept what’s happening. You run through the alternative scenarios of what could’ve or should’ve happened.

How do some people rise above circumstances ranging from frustrating to dismal? Here’s what I see.  First, accept what’s happening  fully. You can’t rewrite what has already happened.  BUT, If you ground yourself in the present moment, then you can move to the next step in the process.

What are you going through right now?   Can you change the way you’re perceiving the situation?  Try shifting your thoughts to something is being done to me  to … I can do something positive about this.  Cool!

Opportunities in LIFE

The only mistakes that do real harm are the ones  where we  fail to learn from them and then repeat again.  It happens.

Instead:  What can I learn from this?

Let’s say your employer fires you — a truly down moment in your life. What can you learn from that experience?

Maybe you’ll learn the position didn’t suit you. It didn’t align with your strengths, which made your termination inevitable.  Maybe it was a blessing you got fired because now you can spend time figuring out where your talents lie instead of wasting years of your life doing something you weren’t supposed to do in the first place.

Or let’s say you’ve been in a particularly nasty fight with your significant other.  Maybe you’ll learn to express your feelings before you reach a boiling point.  Maybe you’ll learn to keep your eyes open, be present, and pay attention to your relationship.

I know these are only words.  That’s the point.  LIFE isn’t easy!

The Power Inside 

Learning to love your life starts with… learning to love yourself.  How do you love yourself? By displaying character in life’s most difficult moments.

If people mistreat you, you can find peace in being the bigger person.  If life throws you a curveball, you can rest in the knowledge that you don’t have to allow it to change your character.

Some of the world’s most inspiring people faced challenges greater than you and I will ever face. What inspires me most is the character they displayed during those circumstances.  If these great people can keep their values intact during the most trying of times, surely we can remain positive people with integrity during our own trials/challenges.

LOVE YOUR LIFE, just as it has been given; grow and learn with each new challenge and test.  It is ours.

LIKE THIS IDEA? IT’S YOURS!

IMPACT THE WORLD… MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
   Look around you and you’ll see three kinds of people. There are those who hate their life and work, and complain bitterly, those who just tolerate their life and work and see it as their “lot in life,” and finally, those who love their life and work, and relish it. That’s because it’s their “life’s-work.”  The third category is a small subset of all professionals world-wide, but this group stands out because these are often the people who change the world for the better. They never stop trying to improve the lives of others… no matter how small the change.
   In my work as a writer, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people who’ve made a true and measurable impact in the world. Each and every time I have met and written about them, it has been an honor. However, among this group of what I shall call “influencers” there are also many everyday people who have found a special niche in which they’ve contributed at the highest level. It’s critical to note that people who’ve made a real difference aren’t all privileged, advantaged or “special” by any stretch. Many come from disadvantaged families, crushing circumstances, and initially limited capabilities, but have found ways to pick themselves up and rise above their circumstances (and often their genes) to transform their own lives and those around them. I have become aware that there are often similar key behaviors that set them apart from others. They dedicate themselves to what gives their own life meaning and purpose.
   Many people don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to pursue in their own life. While others believe in a life purpose, but won’t take the risk to identify or honor it. Those with positive influence feel otherwise. They have found that there is a purpose to their life and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “gifts” into a message or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others. People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and light up a room. They are unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this particular time. This sense of meaning and purpose gives them inexhaustible drive and offers guideposts to follow along the path. They commit to continually bettering themselves.
  People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn’t “complete.” There are always going to be gaps, biases, limitations, and prejudices. But… they keep at it anyway; they are inexhaustible!
People who positively shape the world come from a “beginner’s mind” and a loving, compassionate heart — with an openness to see, learn, and experience new things on the way to being a better “servant” to others. They engage with people in open and honest ways.
Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly. They’re not afraid to get “out there” connecting with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic and often contrary viewpoints and opinions. They know that positive, supportive, and authentic relationships are the necessary building blocks to anything and everything they want to achieve. They invest time and energy not in what is “wrong,” but rather in what “can be.”
The people I’ve interviewed who’ve made a positive impact on Society, don’t settle for conformity. When they see something that agitates and disturbs them, they strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors, and arrive at new solutions. They observe gaps and mistakes in common thinking and behavior and trust themselves in their belief that it’s time to push the boundaries of what’s accepted. They want to affect change because they believe change will bring a better way to live. They spread what they know.
We’ve all met “experts” who keep their knowledge secret, close to the vest. They’re afraid to let it out for fear someone will steal it or make money on their ideas. This is the opposite of the positive influencer’s mindset. Those who make a true positive difference can’t help but share and teach what they’ve learned. They don’t see their knowledge as just some commodity to sell… they see it as information that has to be shared with the world for its betterment. They live the universal principle: “The more you give, the more you get.” They use their power and influence well.
Sadly, it’s a common occurrence in the world… and Politics of late… to witness power and influence being wielded as a weapon. It hurts and destroys. Positive influencers use their power well and wisely. Those who impact the world for the better are careful and wise with their words, actions, and behaviors. They operate with open heart and care deeply about their leadership, communication, and the influence they have on others. They take it seriously, as a special honor and responsibility not to be flaunted or misused. They understand their special role, and accept it with grace, compassion, and care.
Here’s to all of us changing the world for the better. No task is too small.

KEEPING A DIARY… OF THANKS!

I found this exercise in a book on Zen living; it’s one of my favorites.  Just take a notebook and start writing down the things you’re grateful for.  Start with the obvious and work from there.  Easy, huh?

Be grateful for having food, water, and a roof above your head.  Simple, right?  If you woke up at 5 A.M. and can’t go back to sleep, be grateful for getting to see the sunrise.  If you’re facing a challenge, be grateful for the opportunity to learn from it.  I can’t help but learn something new all the time.  Sometimes the lesson is painful. but it is a lesson none the less.

You don’t have to write every day, but make sure you open your journal at least once a week.  It can be very easy to indulge in self-pity, blame, and anger, but appreciating what you have will help you stay positive.

Things Get Better

When you’re struggling,  grieving, or suffering from heartache… the pain can feel unbearable.  Even in everyday life, the weight of a little things can be heavy indeed.

But always remember the Proverb: “This too shall pass.”  Your negative feelings won’t last forever. I have learned from experience that there really is a light at the end of every tunnel.  It might not happen today or tomorrow, but you’ll feel better eventually.

When you understand and accept the tumultuous nature of life,  it’s a lot easier to stay calm and relaxed – even in the hardest of times.

Mental List of Awesomeness

Having healthy self-esteem keeps anxiety at bay, improves personal relationships, and encourages optimism.  If you don’t appreciate yourself enough – or are feeling down – try making a mental list of “awesome” stuff you’ve done recently.

Example: Went for a jog/ walk… instead of watching TV, helped a friend, made an excellent presentation at work. etc. etc.  Make a written list if you want and don’t be modest!

You’ll find that, as you go over your good/healthy actions (which also are A-W-E-S-O-M-E) and choices, you start to feel great about yourself.  It’s hard not to when you remind yourself how amazing you are!  Hey, if we’re not going to cheer ourselves on… then who?

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

It’s easy to become worried over the little things: the human mind can blow things way, way out of proportion. I personally am guilty of that. To stop that from happening, always ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen?

Chances are, “The worst” isn’t that bad.  You’ll still be fine if you don’t ace tomorrow’s presentation/ test.  You may get into an argument with your significant other, but usually there’s a meeting of the minds and things actually improve in the relationship. You get the idea.

Sure, it would be better if things went according to plan, but sometimes they don’t. When you’re no longer afraid of any outcome, you can focus on having fun and getting things done.  Don’t wind yourself up for no reason!

Reach Out and Help Someone

We live in a culture that encourages self-centeredness.  Even our buzzwords:  self-help, self-promotion, self-esteem – reflect our obsession with this. But if you want to feel great… then try “giving” to someone else!

Donate a few dollars to charity; it can change someone’s life.  Pick up trash on your walk at home or on the beach; it’s respect for Nature and fellow Man… and everyone wins. Call a long spoken to friend/ relative, if even for a few minutes, it will make his/her week. Buy food for a local Food Bank.  The list is lengthy.

Simple, simple things mean so much.

It takes very little to help someone out. When you make a big difference with just a few minutes – or dollars – you’ll always remember how important and amazing you are. And with an attitude like that, it’s hard to be anything but positive!

LIFE LESSONS… WE JUST KEEP LEARNING!

     Over the weekend, I was thinking that there are so many great lessons from life. I actually have started to refer to it as LIFE … with all caps; it’s just that important and special.  So, I made a list  of the most important ones for me so far.  These “lessons”  have had a great impact in my LIFE and hopefully in yours too!

1. We get treated in life the way we “teach” others… to treat us.

You have no idea how true this is. It was us who allowed “them” at some point, to start treating us the way they do.  Perhaps, little by little, we got into the mess we are right now, having to live with the consequences.

 Respect and love yourself and others will do the same.

2. There are no mistakes but, lessons we need to master.

The idea is for us to learn from everything and everyone, of course, if you want to!  If you don’t…  your LIFE will look at 40 the same way it did when you were 20… and at 60 the way it looked when you were 40, and so on.

3.  Forgiveness is a gift… you can give to yourself and it’s free.

 A lot of people think that the moment they decide to forgive somebody, who once hurt/wronged  them, the person who receives the forgiveness is the only one who will benefit from this kind gesture, but that’s not the case.

I can tell you with no uncertainty, that the person who will benefit the most is the person who does the forgiving.  Holding onto anger and resentment can do you no good; it’s a negative in LIFE.

4.  What you resist persists; what you focus on… expands.

We’re resisting change, we’re resisting our problems,  we’re resisting the weather, we’re resisting our friends and family,  we’re resisting our responsibilities, our job, our boss… our lives.  Whew!  It’s exhausting.  There are so many things we are resisting, not realizing that resistance will only make things worse.

5.  LIFE is all about the journey and less about the destination. (We have all heard this.) But …

 A lot of times we get so caught up in what we want to achieve, that perfect picture, the end result, and we actually forget to live and to really enjoy this journey called LIFE   I am guilty of this.  So… you may want to take a deep  breath and allow yourself to be present in everything you do.  Allow yourself to enjoy each second of your life in order to observe the world around you.  Pretty darn great!

6.  If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.

Don’t expect others to see gold where you can only see dust. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t believe that you are a capable and worthy human being,  then chances are that nobody will. You will act on that belief and people will treat you based on what you think about yourself!  Also, it will be based on how you treat yourself and based on how you act and behave in the world.  Choose well.

7.  Our attitude towards LIFE will determine LIFE’s attitude towards us.

If you think LIFE  is unfair, that bad things always happen to you, chances are that LIFE will “seem” to treat you unfairly and you will always have many reasons to complain. On the other hand, if you think LIFE is a gift, a gift for you to enjoy, that wonderful things can happen to you, that wonderful people are being drawn to you, then LIFE will give you all of those things and even more.  I know this first hand.

8. The world has plenty of information, but not enough inspiration.

If you think about it, with the technological revolution, we get access to so much information.  We have more information than ever… but, when it comes to inspiration (in- spirit) I would say that we have a deficit. We focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. We can’t seem to understand that it all starts from within. If the inside is a mess, the outside will also be a mess. Listen to your heart, listen to your soul!

9. The world won’t change if you don’t change.

You hear people so often complaining about how crazy the world is and how they want it to change, but if you tell them to make the first step … “What? Me? ” 

I believe the outside world is a reflection of who we all are on the inside.  All this madness is a result of our collective consciousness and unfortunately it’s a very polluted consciousness.   If we want the world to change, we have to start with ourselves, and easy to admit or not…  there is something wrong with all of us.

10. The more we express our gratitude, the more things we will have to be grateful for.

The law of attraction works in all that is good and also in all that is bad. It is only up to each of us whether we choose to focus our attention on the negative in our lives or on the positive.  When you focus your attention on the many great things you have and you are grateful for…  you will see that the more you do…  the more reasons you will have to express your gratitude.  Love this!

We all intuitively know these things, but it just might take someone to string it all together. I’m that someone.  Please visit me at: http://www.suebrownauthor.net

 

ELIMINATING NEGATIVITY IN LIFE!

If we stop trying to control, move past, go beyond, cast out, go above, or run from the possibilities of “negative’ experiences” … then there is no reason for them to control us anymore.  It’s usually the negative experiences that we dwell on the most.

In other words, the instant we realize and accept that everything in our life is equal, then we recognize that we cannot go beyond or move past negative situations. They are part of our life!        I have to work really hard at this. The negative situations are equal to us, since we are infinitely everything.  However, if we let it, that’s an empowering thought.

Hence, we need to become accepting to just let go, (OR, “Let Go; Let God),  as many believe and allow the idea that the possibility of a “negative’ situation” has the potential to happen at anytime! You can become perfectly content with that idea, since you soon realize that every “negative”  situation is created, even sometimes by ourselves, and allows us to grow! Now, that idea I really like.

Magicians often use mirrors to perform their illusions because mirrors reflect a clear image of life making the illusion seem very real; you are unaware of the mirror that the magician is using. When you are the “magician” in real life situations… then there are no illusions…  you see the mirror and you use the mirror as a tool. I like to think it’s the mirror to our soul.

Think of reality as a mirror, then we must change ourselves in order to see the change in the mirror.  For example, if you desire for your hair to change color or style… then you must dye, comb or brush the hair on your head in order to see the change in the mirror. More times than not, people will try to change what they see by changing the mirrored reflection. A famous quote says, “Be the change you want to see in the world” this is exactly what that quote means. When you take responsibility for all of your reality, then you give yourself the power to change anything within your reality. Cool, huh?

We can adopt this perspective into reality, by first looking around at everything we see and hear in our reality right now. Next, close your eyes. When you close your eyes in the moment, you are telling your mind to refresh your viewpoint. Now, open your eyes and look around you again, except this time see everything as if we are looking into a mirror. Everything you are now seeing or hearing is a reflection of the mirror within you.

Everything starts from within and is reflected outwardly. If we don’t like what we see… in any aspect of our life… the reality and negative situation is ours to alter. I’m a believer!     

http://www.suebrownauthor.net

ELIMINATING NEGATIVITY IN LIFE, FAMILY, AND THE WORKPLACE

If we stop trying to control, move past, go beyond, cast out, go above, or run from the possibilities of “negative’ experiences” … then there is no reason for them to control us anymore.  It’s usually the negative experiences that we dwell on the most.

In other words, the instant we realize and accept that everything in our life is equal, then we recognize that we cannot go beyond or move past negative situations. They are part of our life!        I have to work really hard at this. The negative situations are equal to us, since we are infinitely everything.  However, if we let it, that’s an empowering thought.

Hence, we need to become accepting to just let go, (OR, “Let Go; Let God),  as many believe and allow the idea that the possibility of a “negative’ situation” has the potential to happen at anytime! You can become perfectly content with that idea, since you soon realize that every “negative”  situation is created, even sometimes by ourselves, and allows us to grow! Now, that idea I really like.

Magicians often use mirrors to perform their illusions because mirrors reflect a clear image of life making the illusion seem very real; you are unaware of the mirror that the magician is using. When you are the “magician” in real life situations… then there are no illusions…  you see the mirror and you use the mirror as a tool. I like to think it’s the mirror to our soul.

Think of reality as a mirror, then we must change ourselves in order to see the change in the mirror.  For example, if you desire for your hair to change color or style… then you must dye, comb or brush the hair on your head in order to see the change in the mirror. More times than not, people will try to change what they see by changing the mirrored reflection. A famous quote says, “Be the change you want to see in the world” this is exactly what that quote means. When you take responsibility for all of your reality, then you give yourself the power to change anything within your reality. Cool, huh?

We can adopt this perspective into reality, by first looking around at everything we see and hear in our reality right now. Next, close your eyes. When you close your eyes in the moment, you are telling your mind to refresh your viewpoint. Now, open your eyes and look around you again, except this time see everything as if we are looking into a mirror. Everything you are now seeing or hearing is a reflection of the mirror within you.

Everything starts from within and is reflected outwardly. If we don’t like what we see… in any aspect of our life… the reality and negative situation is ours to alter. I’m a believer!     

http://www.suebrownauthor.net

OLYMPIC FAILURES are LIFE LESSONS!

  Limitations
I watched the Olympics the past few weeks and saw a theme repeat itself several times over; it was hard to ignore. The predicted “favorite” fell short of expectations in several events and an athlete that was unexpected to “place” in the medals (Bronze Silver, or Gold) went on to score victory. I felt sad for the athletes who had trained so hard and so long who because of their own human error, Fate, or Divine Intervention went on to defeat. THEN, I got it!
It’s like that for all of us. We are only defeated if we believe ourselves to be defeated. It’s more about the place in our heads, hearts, and bodies from where we started our individual “race” and where we ultimately finish the “race” that really matters.
Did we come the distance and give it our full efforts in the process? Some of them did it with great dignity, and I fully admired that and others ended with despair… and I felt “sorry” for them.
Our individual sporting event is LIFE! And similar to the athletes in the Olympic Games we often are disappointed, dicouraged, and defeated. However, the outcome of each race and LIFE can be handled with dignity…or despair.
We can be either admired or pitied. It’s pretty clear which is the better choice.
 
I love that as Humans we always get to choose. There’s no training required!

WHY CAN’T U.S. POLITICS BE LIKE A TEAM SPORT? IT CAN!

I believe that feeling a certain amount of significance/importance in your own life is healthy.  It’s good for the human experience. There is a healthy satisfaction that comes from contributing to the world around you. It’s important to both your physical and mental health. It can even make you live longer. However, there is a problem.

Simply saying, “You need to live a life of purpose,” doesn’t really help anyone. It’s too abstract. Sure, I want to live a life of purpose and fulfillment and significance … but how do I actually translate that into action?  So, here’s one thing that has helped me recently: I’ve been thinking about my own life as a team sport. Viewing my life in this context has helped me develop a clear plan and design real action steps for living a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.  Here’s how I’m thinking about my life as a team sport and how you might find it useful as well.

Mission  (of the United States)

Every team has a mission that it strives to accomplish. A good team measures itself by something: wins, loses, championships. There is no Superbowl of Life, but I like thinking about my life in the same way.How do you want your life to be measured? What do you want to be counted? What is a win? What is a loss?

Additionally, just as a team needs the effort of every teammate to fulfill its mission, you need the help of those around you to fulfill your mission. How will the people on your “team” help you get to where you want to go? What role do your family, your friends, and your peers play in helping you achieve these goals? What about your teachers, your boss, and your mentors?

So often we think about big questions like, “What do I want to do with my life?” without considering everyone else that we live with. Thinking about your life as a team sport forces you to realize an important lesson: your life is dramatically impacted by the people around you.

Life is a shared experience. And for this reason, the people around you need to be part of the plan. A good mission in life is always about more than just you.

 

Coaches  (Congress: both Republican and Democrats)

Great teams have guidance and direction. They have a coach that keeps them on task, challenges them to become better, and looks for areas of improvement.

But most importantly, great teams have a coach who aligns with their mission. Teams go to great lengths to find a coach who is not only skilled, but also is a good character fit for the program. It’s important to have the right type of person to leading the team.

Just like in sports, there are coaches — or mentors — in our lives. In one way or another, you are an apprentice of your parents, your professors, your boss, and so on. They coach you towards certain habits, they teach you how to approach problems in life, and they impact what you believe about the world. Much of what you believe and how you act is determined by these people.

But unlike a sports team, we rarely take the time to actively determine if these people are a good fit with our mission in life. Imagine how much easier it would be to achieve your goals if you connected with one or two mentors who could teach you how to develop expertise just like them and their expertise aligned directly with your mission in life.

The people around us guide our behaviors in one way or another. How much easier would success be if the right people were guiding you?

For most of us, I think mentorship is the most underutilized resource we have for accelerating our success. It’s basically impossible to build a great team without a great coach. It’s very likely that your life could be the same way.

 

Captain  (President Trump)

Good teams always have a captain. They need someone who can carry the banner and set the tone for the rest of the group. This happens in two ways.

Great leaders are also great teammates. They lead with their heart instead of their ego. They put the mission of the team before their needs as an individual. And they realize that it’s more important to be there for their teammates than to be revered by their teammates. Sports teams often select their best players to be captains. And there is a reason why: leaders need to be able to execute.

If you’re going to treat your life like a team sport, then you need to be the captain. (It is your life after all.) When it comes to our team, I’m still trying to become the leader I want to be. There are a couple ways that I try to be a good teammate: by writing articles that are (hopefully) beneficial, by answering emails, tweets, and questions, and by doing my best to help you achieve your goals.

 

Teammates  (Americans at large… no matter what Party affiliation)

Great teams have players who want greatness. This is true not only about their skills, but also about their priorities. They buy into the mission. They believe in the cause. Great teams are filled with people want the same things. And because of that shared dedication and mutual connection, they believe in each other.

In life, there are people who also want the same things as you do. What’s strange is that so often we waste our time trying to convince the people around us that they should believe the same things that we do. Why bother trying to fix people when you can just rally the people who don’t need to be fixed?

There are people around you who will also believe in your mission, whatever that might be. These people are your teammates. They connect with your values and share your priorities. That’s not to say that they believe in your mission as strongly as you do (after all, they have their own mission to chase after), but they play a role on your team. And they are happy to play that role because they also believe in your mission.

 

Life as a Team Sport  (emphasis is on TEAM)

I love sports, so maybe it’s natural that I like thinking about life as a team sport. I played several team sports in high school and continued to do so during college. Now, my sports are biking and walking, but getting “out there” each day is so important. When you get knocked down, no matter whether literally or figuratively… get back up!

I also love this analogy because it works. I’m working hard to make life for myself and others …something worth being part of. It’s not there yet, but it’s getting there. As the year rolls on we can make more and more scores for not only ourselves, but others too.

 

GO US  (that would be United States)… we CAN do this!

ANSWERING TO ALCOHOL

Alcohol has played a major role in my life. I personally do not suffer from alcohol abuse, but people I love and care for do.  So many of us have a family member, friend, or colleague who currently is suffering from an addiction to a controlled substance.  It affects everyone with whom they come in contact.  I grew up in a household where alcohol was abused on a daily basis. Seemingly, it clouded the judgement of the people who were supposed to be loving and nurturing me.  The actions of physical and verbal abuse were easier to accomplish when the responsible parties were intoxicated.  “I didn’t know what was going on!”  “I don’t remember; I was drunk.”  Whatever.  It happened a long time ago and the “why” is just not important now.  In reality, I’ve never been angry, but rather sad for those involved.  It could have been so much different for them.

For many years, I have believed that a person “chooses” to be an alcoholic. I certainly have had that gene present in me and it would have been easier each and every time that my own life’s tests and personal challenges got too overbearing or too difficult to succumb to the numbing affect of alcohol.  After all, I would have an excuse; “It’s how I grew up,” and everyone would shake their head and say what a shame it was.  However, because that’s all I knew and I saw each “parent” screw up his/her life for different reasons, I chose not to drink to become numb to reality. I chose not to abuse myself .  That’s how I’ve come to view dependency on drugs and alcohol… personal abuse.

Now, after many years, I am still wondering if it is a choice… or is it an illness?Certainly, there are enough articles and studies to say that it might be an illness. However, it is undeniably odd that it just seems to make “sick” those who are prone to not taking responsibility for their own actions in  life.  Harsh, but true.

I will assume for arguments sake, that it is an “illness.”  Well, if one had a cold, broke a leg, or had Cancer… they would seek professional treatment, right?  I do not see this happening with most alcoholics.  My family knew what they had to do to “heal” but chose not to stop. Ever!  Actually, they would boast about their drinking.  My mother died at 59 from liver cancer that spread to her brain… from being an alcoholic.  She was angry and unhappy until her last breath.  So much for the alcohol.  Did she drink to forget or forget when she drank?  I was afraid to ask.

Again, in my own life, I am experiencing someone who choses to drink rather than face up to the challenges and setbacks they are dealt. (There are so many of us who have friends or relatives with some extent of addictions to drugs or alcohol.)  The term gut-wrenching comes to mind; it’s how it feels inside of me as I watch them destroy their  life.  It appears to be what they are actually  choosing for themselves or why don’t they stop?

When a person drinks their entire personality changes.  Everyone’s!   Under the influence or high one says and does things that they might ordinarily not do. Everyone!  They become empowered… or so they think.  Their actions are destructive, disrespectful, and deeply hurtful to anyone and everyone they come in contact with during this “high.”  The apologies afterward, although sincerely given, are soon forgotten.  Forgotten by them, but still painful to the receiver who undoubtedly will remember forever.

My constant Mantra is that life is not easy, it’s not supposed to be. For all those selfishly reeking havoc on families and loved ones because of excessive drinking or drug abuse…we love you and are worried about you. Actually, you are slowly but surely taking your own life. Seek  medical attention, just like you would  if you had any other illness. You can do it if you believe that you can.  It’s hard, it’s not a quick fix, and it can’t be done on your own.  Again, I’ve been there and seen it fail. The first test or challenge the “crutch” resurfaces for support and the abuser is right back where they started.

On the other side of the substance abuse– the world is waiting.  Your  gift is life. Right now, it’s just existing not living.