Progress Not Perfection

 Progress Not Perfection 

By: Jenn Donovan

 My name is Jenn, I am twenty-four years old and I am an Alcoholic.

Now lets just soak that into everyone’s brain for a second. I have a disease called alcoholism which is defined as the following: a chronic and often progressive disease that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease of stop drinking. If you have alcoholism, you can’t consistently predict how much you’ll drink, how long you’ll drink, or what consequences will occur from your drinking. 

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Everyone has this preconception that an alcoholic is someone who needs to drink everyday, every hour and every second of the day. Wrong. And I was never like that. I rarely ever drank. Mostly on the weekends.. some nights during the week (especially during college, but that’s what we believe is the norm). The problem was when I drink it starts this sensation of craving. What this means is that I just cannot have one drink. I cannot just have two drinks…. there is no stopping me once I start drinking. And that’s where my problems start…. I have no filter, no off switch. I drink to complete oblivion. I black out every single time that I drink. I have given myself alcohol poisoning more than once.. and more than twice. And after those wonderful binges I would get the bright idea to switch what I was drinking, or change the order of how I drank or try to stop after a couple of drinks and I just can’t. No crazy method or philosophy worked. It never does. No matter how sick I got from the previous time and how many times I swore I wouldn’t drink anymore I still did it.. And the same things still happened. Growing up for me was interesting to say the least. My parents divorced when I was seven years old. My mother worked long hours to care for my brother and I and she raised us all on her own (thanks Mom you are a wonderful woman and I don’t tell you that enough). My father was a truck driver and he was always gone. He had us every other weekend and tried to be the best dad he could be. At the age of twelve I stopped seeing my father on a regular basis. He had married this “delightful” woman who tended to make my life hell and she in turn made my father’s life hell also… Aka my father was an alcoholic. Most of my memories growing up my dad was a very happy man, always smiling, funny. I was totally and completely a Daddy’s girl… but alcohol got in the way of our relationship. During the next few years I saw him on and off but it was only for quick visits when he had time. [Side note: I just want to make it clear that just because my Father was an alcoholic doesn’t mean that it was his fault, or the way I was raised or anything to contribute to why I am an alcoholic myself.] The first drink that I ever had was the night of my grade eight graduation. I had some coolers and some peach schnapps that my friends mom had bought me and I was ready to go to the after party with my friends. Since the moment that tasty sugary drink touched my lips I was hooked. I drank all my coolers and half of the mickey of schnapps and I don’t remember much after that. I was hooked. Progress Not Perfection 

Then came high school, which consisted of beer tours, bush parties and weekends at the cottage. And I loved a good beer tour! Country living was good to me and beer was awesome! High school I always had a hard time fitting in completely with everyone. I played sports and people were nice to me and I could get along with anyone. But I was the girl who was the art kid, wore a lot of black, dark makeup, listened to heavy metal, had crazy amounts of piercings (and eventually tattoos), and I always didn’t seem that approachable. I wouldn’t always go to parties and such but when I did I don’t remember a lot of the nights and I don’t really remember getting home. This happened to me frequently throughout my drinking career. After high school came college (took a year of Art)… aka a lot more beer! I drank on weekends and sometimes during the week depending on what was going on with my friends. I was never felt super comfortable just being me. I was always worried that people wouldn’t like me or that I wasn’t doing well enough, or pleasing the right people. As soon as I got a drink or two into my system I felt so confident, and I could get a long with anyone. And everyone thought I was awesome!

My second year of college I switched to Interior Design. Right before that semester started.. August 31, 2010 to be exact I was at home and was woken up by the police at 3AM at my mother’s house. My father had died. He took his own life. After that my life went on a downward spiral… I was dealing with a lot of grief, unanswered questions, resentments etc. I drank a lot over the next year (same binge drinking as usual). I was also in a relationship at a time and I really let myself go… I was overweight and really miserable and the relationship wasn’t the best either because I felt like I wasn’t getting the emotional support that I needed. My brother also went out of control because of the loss of our father and our relationship hasn’t been the same since.

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I had bought a new car, I was working two jobs and things were going okay. But then I didn’t have my priorities straight, I wouldn’t ask for help and I definitely wouldn’t listen to anyone who thought that they could give me advice. Within a few years I was in a lot of debt, falling behind on my payments and just struggling to be happy. My relationship with my boyfriend at the time ended and by the fall I had given up my car and moved back to they city to live with my Uncle (who I am so grateful for them taking me in when I really needed it.. otherwise I would have nowhere to go). In October of 2013 something happened. I was waiting at a bus stop to go to work and a man got off the bus on the other side of the street. He crossed the street and walked into this gym behind me. He then approached me with a business card and offered me some personal training. A free session to start and then see if I was into it and go from there. I was supposed to meet him at the gym the next morning. So I did. We ended up talking about my goals and what I wanted from life etc (I have and still want to get into the military but I was not in any shape to do it well). Then we ended up talking about life and why I seemed so angry all the time and I ended up spilling my guts to this complete stranger. He then hands me this little booklet from AA and gets me to go through this checklist basically in order to see if you can prove yourself to be alcoholic. I was eight things on this list… more than three you are considered to be an alcoholic. This man Progress Not Perfection 

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brought me to my first meeting that following Friday. I walked into the room not knowing what to expect. It was a birthday meeting, which means that they were celebrating someone’s sobriety for an increment of years that they were sober. The man who spoke at this meeting was only a few years older than I but he had been sober for five years. I don’t remember much about the meeting but I just remembered bawling my eyes out, relating so much to what he said and how he felt, and just feeling like he understood… that everyone understood what happens to me when I drink.

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Since then I was going to two meetings a week.. I met a lot of younger people in the program too. I got a sponsor and I started doing the steps and praying every morning and every night (this is not a religious program.. a lot of people believe in a God of their understanding.. just to clarify). Once I started working the steps, and starting working on myself I started to feel better about myself… I became more humble, more understanding, patient and kind. I do not get angry or frustrated as easily and I really try just to be nice to people and make sure that I am not harming others. Around the time that I got into AA I also started hitting the gym hard. I always made excuses before about not working out or being too tired, it’s too hard to eat well etc. And you know what.. that was all BULLSHIT. There are 24 hours in a day and you can find time to go to the gym. I currently work two jobs, I go to the gym 5-6 times a week, I attend meetings, get together with my sponsor, I am upgrading courses so I can apply to University in the fall and I eat really well 98% of the time. This is ultimately why I chose to write this excerpt for Justin. But first you needed to know my journey and how I got to be where I am now.

image[2]When I first started out I started posting a status whenever I was at the gym, whenever I made a really healthy meal, or I was just posting a gym meme about something gym related. And then stuff starting happening. People started to notice. I am not saying this to be naive or vein… but my friends noticed that I was living this positive, healthy lifestyle. I had people saying to me that I inspired them to go back to the gym, to get healthy, and I motivated them to push harder. How fucking cool is that?!?!?! And even cooler than me motivating someone else they have motivated others too! It’s like this crazy chain reaction that I thought I was just doing all these posts for myself and it’s just Facebook nobody really cares about that shit anyways but, I was totally wrong! So many people guys and gals have thanked me for being such a positive and great inspiration and role model. And you know what… That now keeps ME going! How could I just stop now when I have motivated so many people to live a better life!? To not practice what I have consistently preached for the last 6 months?! And yes… I have only been doing this for six months.. that’s as long as I have been sober and hitting the gym. And honestly I have never been happier! I surround myself with positive people, I look for the good in others and I just try to give out more than I receive. And you know what it works! Me being so positive and happy reflects on other people (unless they are just downright miserable but that’s their business). People react to me Progress Not Perfection 

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differently now and they engage me in conversation and they want to talk to me and they like talking to me. Whatever it is, positivity is totally my key to happiness. Working out and being sober, eating well and just being happy with who I am is the key to my positive outlook on life. Everyday isn’t perfect and I certainly am not one to say that I am perfect either. Just waking up every morning and being proud of who I see in the mirror is enough for me to love my life. One year in a birthday card my father actually wrote me a handwritten note in regards to not being around all the time and wishing he had more time with me. At the end of that note he wrote these very words: “Wake up every morning and be proud of who you see in the mirror”. And for a long time I wasn’t proud and I wasn’t happy. But I can happily say that since I have changed my life for the better, I am 100% happy with living my life one day at a time, seizing the moment and remembering that in life there is progress, not perfection.

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In life there is progress, not perfection

7 days in…. And I’m feeling it.

A good friend of mine Liz is fasting to raise money to visit and aid children in Haiti. This isn’t her first trip or fast she’s done and I’m sure it’s not going to be her last. She’s powering through 4 weeks of fasting and plans on keeping everyone up to date. Here’s one of her posts.

My Blog

Today is day 7 of my Fasting to Feed. Initially, despite the hunger, being ‘hangry’ (hungry + cranky), and tired I was still feeling pretty good. I still had energy, and was able to continue with my day as if I was eating normally.

Lately however, I am not feeling that way. Since Wednesday I have been tired, not having the energy to go about my day regularly. One night I slept for 12 hours and still didn’t feel like it was enough. The headaches began on Tuesday and have continued. Mix that with the dizziness and it is not a good feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining whatsoever. It is SO exciting knowing that I have made it though a week of fasting, and only have 3 weeks to go. It also is a wonderful reminder of how blessed we truly are in Canada. If I…

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Shakra + Meditation

Guest Post

>>Your Inner Core<<

You are not a human being having a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being having a human experience. Each and every one of us homosepians have 7 energy centers called the Chakras. These chakras are like spirals of energy, each one relating to the others. Using the seven colours of the spectrum, Colour Therapy aims to balance and enhance our body’s energy centres/chakras and also to help stimulate our body’s own healing process.

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First you have a crown chakra bringing personal identification and oneness with peace & wisdom. Second, you have a third-eye chakra clearing the subconscious to channel intuition, and brings devotion and balance. Third you have a throat chakra, bringing you the ability to verbalize. Letting you express truth through the power of spoken words. Next, you have your heart chakra letting you express love in action and releasing emotionally repressed trauma. Then, comes the solar plexus bringing you positive use of personal power, assimilation experience, manifesting goals, and digestion. Sacral Chakra is next giving you utilization of creative forces into all aspects of being and bringing you direct self-toward devotion. Last, is the root chakra letting you gain ability to work lovingly on this psychical plane.

Now everyone finds comfort and peace in their music they dig, right? It makes complete sense how music stimulates these chakras through frequency and vibration. These healing centers are one of the beyond beautiful things that we are gifted with.

>>Meditation<<

There are many different ways of meditation and it can also mean different things to different people on each sides of the spectrum. Meditation is part of a normal day practice and ritual for a mass amount of people, whether religious or not. Whatever the practice means to you can be enormously helpful as a way of calming the mind, finding your inner peace and has beautiful long-term effects on the body, mind, and soul. This place of inner peace is where we can open up to our higher self, without the ‘interference’ of the ego, where we can find our higher intelligence and knowing. Meditation can be achieved by focusing the mind on a particular object, for example a flower, or a simple shape, a sound, a visualization, or even the process of you painting a picture is a form of meditation.

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The most helpful meditation of all is closed eye transcendental meditation. This is the simple act of closing your eyes and staring into your crown chakra. (your lower middle forehead) As simple as this sounds, a mass majority of people cannot even seem to find their minds be still and from wandering off into the realm of infinite thoughts. But with practice, it is beyond achievable in a beautiful manner. Meditation is not only good for all cores of your being, but can help psychically, and very much so mentally. Either removing stress, clearing energy blockages, often some people even find themselves with great ideas after their practice. Meditation should be practiced at least 20 minutes a day, twice a day for each individual. There are many helpful tapes, CD’S, videos around to help with meditation, as they will take the listener through stages of relaxation, or to help build a ‘picture’ in the mind’s eye of tranquility.

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With practice, shortly you will find it much easier to meditate, find yourself less stressed, much more stability, both relaxed and having more vitality in a balanced manner, more happiness and making it much easier to be able to ‘switch off’ any time, anywhere, when you are feeling the need for peace that is very much so deserved between all beings. If you can’t find peace in your outer core, know it is in your inner. Along with happiness, no one or thing can bring your happiness (only temporary) except yourself. You cannot depend of anyone or thing to make you happy, because that thing can be taken away from you. Once you realize this and live off of this method, you will find yourself becoming truly happy.

Breathing is very important as well as maintaining a healthy, stable mind-set and body. As obvious as stating ‘breathing is very important’ it is surprising how few of us actually do breathe ‘properly.’ Breathing is something we all take for granted, leading us to be inclined to forget about. Lack of proper breathing can often be a symptom of stress. Since approximately 90% of our energy is created by oxygen and nearly all of our body’s actions are regulated by it, is it important to have a healthy breathing technique in general, or at least to practice every week.

>>Ability<<

Finding activities to allow your self to create are beautiful ones. Whether it is taking photographs of scenery or painting a picture to express your current mood, writing a poem, song, etc. Creating things made from scratch is amazing when you find yourself coming up with awesome ideas. There is no other feeling that does justice to making your ideas happen in psychical form. This can make you realize how capable of things you are. Every one is an artist in some shape, way or form. Even if you do not believe you are an artist, what you enjoy to do most likely is an art technique. You are more than an artist. You are more than a human. You are powerful, divine, and certainly no one can compare.

Submitted by: Christina Teller

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“We are busy beings but without introspection how can you truly see?”

Up & Up

It’s been over a month since my last post and I do apologize, as I usually tell people ‘Life happens‘. I’ve been really busy getting my business up and running, working a lot, and visiting family in Ontario.

Before my trip news; I purchased some really good skates for cheap and have been skating a bit here and there… it’s nice exercise and fun 🙂 .999914_10153703720535022_1710676587_n

My adventure to Ontario started when my first flight was cancelled due to Toronto’s outrageous  -40 weather… everything was pretty much shut down. I scrambled on the phone so that I could get another flight and push my time I had off for work. I decided just to fly into Toronto and then take the Robert Q (really comfy bus) to Windsor, which is usually a 4 hour drive or so. I managed to get a flight the following day (overnight)  and off I went. My travels went pretty well without a hitch. I landed in Ontario took the bus to see family in Windsor. I have to say that the sights really are strange to me now not having been able to see mountains around me.

Windsor is a really strange and interesting place, I was speaking to a friend about it and what we came up with was: Looking into a city/ culture from the outside; I guess I had lived my entire life within this place and never really saw how everyone there lived culturally. I almost had anxiety going out into public… not that I was afraid but more so I felt uncomfortable at the fact that everyone was in such a hurry and so impatient, along with just seeming to only want to help themselves. Living in Windsor I always seen that people were in a hurry and that you almost do have to take care of only yourself. Having travelled and experienced many different environments in the past few years has really opened me to see how important it is to be there for yourself but without being selfish; seeing the majority people in Windsor blasting around and just observing others in public really opened me to see how selfish we can be. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying all people in Ontario/ Windsor are grumpy and miserable, it was just a very common recurrence.

I did manage to see one of my favourite people and long time friend Natalie, we met through wrestling in high school and since both of our schools were french it wasn’t odd our teams saw each other as “team mates”. There was something spunky about this beautiful lady and we’ve been friends since, she’s one of those friends that you can always confide regardless the subject. It’s been a wild ride helping each other over the last few years. The one night I visited her family as we’ve all become rather close over the years, they always keep me on my toes with my french which I enjoy. Little Mich, Nat’s sister I could have sworn was 16 yesterday but is now 20… it’s wild how time fly’s. Since the St John’s have a hot tub naturally we took advantage, it was one of the most enjoyable nights in town sitting with her family talking jokes and catching up.

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One of the nights I teamed up with Em’s mom to surprise her… pay back for her surprising me at my fundraiser. It was a bit of a challenge because I wanted to post about my travels online but also didn’t want Emily to realise what was going on… eventually she kept asking questions so I just told her I was flying to New Brunswick to see the country. I think it worked because I walked in the door and Em was wide-eyed and we shared a haven’t seen you in ages hug. It was a fun night drinking wine and reminiscing on past stories and where we want to be in the future. I ended up spending the night since I had a few too many glasses of wine but it all worked out as I got to see a nice sun rise on my way home.

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I did get to see a few other friends and had a good time, but it was nice to see my family over dinner, and it was really great that my nephew enjoyed playing with me seeing as I’m rarely around for him to get used to me. He’s one smart little dude already talking about hexagons, octagons when I could barely do that when I was 6! As per usual my mom and I went for a nice meal at this little place called Ashton’s in my home town LaSalle, it’s a really nice spot :).

Jules and I have had our differences in the past, we’ve gone from best friends to probably not even wanting to see a picture of each other ever again. I know I’ve done a lot of growing and regardless of what happened I think we both made mistakes and grew past them. Recently we began talking again and even hung out while I was in town… I have to say I miss joking around with Julia, she’s a great person and even better soul. I always like seeing what she will come up with next, all of her creations… I find brilliant. For one one her most recent shows she was doing 90’s paintings/ sketches on “retired” cupboard doors. I’m excited to continue our friendship good and bad!

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Jules makin’ her magic

Coming back from Windsor was a rather great treat, I made it to Toronto from Windsor then from Toronto to Calgary but that’s where the ease disappeared. I was all the way on the plane buckled in and we heard news that the last four flights were re-routed to Vancouver due to fog… so we all disembarked and waited forever in line to be re-scheduled… I was at the back of the plane meaning I was the last one in line, so I just went and sat in a chair till the line died anyway.

I was put up in a rather nice hotel “Acclaim”, there was a sky deck with hot tub… which was occupied by a couple which I decided to leave alone. My room was stunning with a king sized bed tv in the bathroom with a ceiling shower head! I enjoyed it and the hotel restaurant was very nice as well, they are known for their wine and bread. I can’t remember the name of the wine a tried but it was yummy; half a glass had me feeling good. The rest of the night I watched movies from my king sized bed. The breakfast was great and because I was put up for the night I was given food vouchers, so yay free food.

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The next day I get my ticket and find out I’m on a waiting list; off to Tim Hortons for more free food… I had to spend one of the $10 vouchers all at once so I splurged on bagel’s, yogurt, and some hot chocolate with chai tea. They started making announcement asking for people willing to give up their spots, I realised I wasn’t getting on this flight and went and got my next flight booked and compensated handsomely I might add. The lady at the counter said I was smart to come up then. I was put up in another hotel which was… okay, the Sandman was not nearly as nice as the Acclaim but I did still get a King sized room. The restaurant attached to this hotel was Moxies, I had all three meals of the day on vouchers. Since I wasn’t going to be there for lunch and was going to have breakfast at the airport I combined them for supper… that means $32 for some yummy food! Moxies unfortunately didn’t have much of a vegetarian selection but I made do.

My lonesome bag

My lonesome bag

One thing I saw a lot of was “global news” and to be honest it was a little sickening to see what they were reporting on, some things were kind of serious and others were outrageously dumb. I like to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world but the news I saw on TV seems so narrow and hides a lot. I pride myself on multi sighting pages that I read to get accurate information. One thing I learned in the past little while, it’s find the facts and become aware of what’s happening in your World. War, climate change, industrialising, humanitarian issues… none of that stuff realistically has borders, we breathe the same air look at the same sky. The only thing I would pass on to everyone this blog is to be aware. I read a question online recently: ‘If you could get rid of one thing in the world what would it be?‘ I read a lot of good answers most of which were “money” and I happily agreed, but I came across one answer that I think we should be agreeing with and it’s Ignorance. I think our biggest down fall is our ignorance… our lack of knowledge. Don’t let yourself be a fool, learn and investigate.

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When I left BC I didn’t get to see the mountains flying out since it was night-time but I did get to see them coming back and it was amazing! These huge peaks become nothing but little hills that go on as far as the eye can see… I was in awe most of the time and could do nothing but appreciate it. I actually spent most of the flight just watching them go by.

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Departure day had finally arrived without a hitch I made it back to Kelowna thankfully it wasn’t super foggy again. I had called Brent to pick me up and when I saw him I was in a bit of shock as he had shaved his long beard… now I know what kind of shock I put everyone through 😛 .

So far not much has gone on since I’ve returned home, just getting back into the swing of working and building my business. I will have a guest blog coming up in the next few days so keep your head up for a new post.

If you’re interested in posting your own little blurb feel free to click the Guest Post tab on the left menu bar.

**Oh yeah… I have yet to set off a scanner at the airport, I don’t see why people always run into issues. Tip just take the extra 30 seconds to check your pockets and take everything off and put it in the bin!

“No biggy;  Life Happens”