Surrender

Meet Recovery Carrier Bill White

SAM_1169

Today’s post is the sixth in a series of interviews with folks across the nation (and the Universe!) who embody a life of recovery, from the physical to the psychic.  I hope you enjoy this conversation with Bill White, founder, writer and producer of Chipur, an online treasure trove of articles about topics like depression, bipolarity, anxiety and addiction. Bill is also a distance counselor and mentor.

William White defines recovery carriers as “people, usually in recovery, who make recovery infectious to those around them by their openness about their recovery experiences, their quality of life and character, and the compassion they exhibit for those still suffering.” (www.williamwhitepapers.com, 2012)

Why is your website called Chipur? What does Chipur mean?

Several years ago my son and I were working on a name for my new anxiety/mood ick blog. So I said, “How ‘bout Chipper, as in ‘feeling?’” We liked it, but we started the domain name purchase thing and it wasn’t available. We tried several spelling variations and finally hit pay-dirt with “Chipur.”

And that leads to asking about your work and why you do what you do? What’s your story, Bill?

First of all, in addition to producing and writing for Chipur, I provide distance coaching and mentoring services. It flows beautifully using video, phone, email, and text.

I can remember having what I now know to be dissociative episodes when I was nine-years-old. There was so much more, but let’s just say something was up very early-on.

Somehow I managed to navigate through my childhood and youth quite well. But then came my junior year of college and all hell broke loose. Dang – sloppy drinking, anxiety and panic attacks, derealization, depersonalization, E.R. visits, intrusive thoughts, mood issues – every characteristic of Hades imaginable. And it continued at an awful intensity for some 10 years. I, nor anyone else, had a clue as to what was going down.

I checked myself in to a treatment center for compulsive alcohol use in 1984, and haven’t had a drop since. Still, the anxiety and all that came with it continued. I did all I could to find answers, and in 1989 was referred to the Anxiety and Depression Clinic at the University of Chicago Hospitals. I caught my first psychiatric diagnoses and began a meds regimen, which had darned-near immediate positive impact. No benzos, by the way. I also began some pretty intense psychotherapy.

So I continued on my recovery journey, as I furthered a marketing career. Fact was, though, an intense passion had been conceived and was growing within. I began a master’s program in counseling in 2004 at just shy of 50, and snagged my first license some two years later.

Why do I do what I do? ‘Cause I know how it feels to be lost in the woods, having no idea how to get out. It sucks. So if I can help someone in the same state of “lostness,” I’m in. And between my journey and training, I bring quite a bit to the healing table.

(To read more of Bill’s interview, click Bill White 6-14)
 
Photo courtesy of dsanchezagudelo

3 Free Tips to Stay Sane When You’re Moving

file0001207444674

By now the Universe and unnamed distant cosmoses know that we’re moving.  This week is the week.

The word stressful is much too tame to describe the atmosphere around our house.  Packing boxes are everywhere; if we could easily hang them from the ceiling, we probably would, simply to make still living here a little less hazardous.

First tip: packing boxes

You can no longer go dumpster-diving behind grocery stores to get your packing boxes.  Now you need to make a formal request.  You call the night manager around 11 p.m. to reserve those valued produce boxes and then make sure you arrive at the store no later than 7 a.m. the next morning to retrieve them.

If you buy new boxes, Home Depot and Lowe’s offer the same prices on their small, medium and large boxes.  However, the Lowe’s boxes have handles.  Important when you pack and move three dozen or so boxes filled with books.

What can I say?  I love books and no, that does not make me a bookie!

Second tip: connect with Facebook garage sales

Everybody knows about Craigslist; you probably have your own stories of success or horror.  Personally, I’ve always had good luck selling stuff.  In fact, last week, we decided to sell our small-capacity washer and dryer on Craigslist and less than 48 hours after making the decision, it was out of here!

In addition to Craigslist, there are city- and area-wide Facebook garage sales that are super cool!  Folks sell everything from baby clothes to furniture and even cars.  You may even know the seller because you’re in much closer proximity that Craigslist.  Some say it’s safer to do the Facebook group thing but I’ll let you know after I buy something (not moving anything I don’t have to!).

You can do what’s called an ISO on the Facebook neighborhood garage sale too.  Stands for in search of.”

Third tip: make sure you eat Asian food while you’re packing

When you’re packing and cleaning to move, the last thing you want to do is think about cooking dinner.  We’ve been eating out a lot and about a week ago, dropped in to our favorite Asian chain eatery, Pei Wei.  Five fortune cookies later, I realized that the Keebler elves were packing those little pieces of paper into my cookies.

The similarities between the fortunes and my life as a packing and moving queen are eerie.  See what you think:

Don’t be surprised by the emergence of undiscovered talents! Well, duh!  I can pack a box and a car’s trunk with about 1/72nd of a square inch to spare.

Luck helps those who help themselves. Were we lucky that our application was “selected” over another couples?  I think not!  We helped ourselves by wowing them with an introductory package they couldn’t ignore.

Treasure what you have.  Yes indeed.  Pack those valuable possessions up nice and tight, especially anything that belonged to my mama.

Bide your time, for success is near.  We toured some icky homes before we found this one to love.  There were a few days when the prospects looked a little bleak, but we never gave up. (I do confess to an exhausted crying jag one night, but hey, I’m human.)

You will move to a wonderful new home within the year.  ‘Nuff said.  Glad we didn’t have to wait for much more of the year to pass.

I’ve never met anyone who actually enjoys moving.  It’s crazy and tedious and yes, stressful.  But if you can keep your attitude as light as possible, laugh often and don’t forget to breathe, you’ll be miles ahead in the moving game.

Have any wild and crazy moving stories to share?  Or other moving tips?  Please write in the comments section below.

Photo courtesy of click

Ya Gotta Have Faith and Let it Be

photo-5

If you responded to the post title by humming the tunes of George Michael and the Beatles, you’re in good company with my brain today.  Or maybe not-so-good company.

Either way, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the song titles out there–although not necessarily the song’s lyrics–that have to do with surrender, releasing, turning it over, all action steps for having faith.

Why, you might ask, am I hyper-focused on letting things be?  Because, as much as I love the idea of faith, love to talk about it and love to tell others, “ya gotta have faith,” I suck at it right now.

This is my brain state:  twin tracks of worry and anxiety.  Throw impatience and obsessive behavior onto those tracks and look out!  There’s about to be a big-ass train wreck.

Release me from the bondage of self

What’s the problem, you ask?  My sweetie and I are moving in three weeks but we don’t know where!  One contract on a house fell through (a very good thing) and the house we fell in love with over the weekend (stunning and perfect) already has a contract in the works with another couple.

Damn it, Jim!

So we’re packing like fiends (We’re also committed to a three-week house-sitting stint for friends that begins in 10 days!) but have no clue where the boxes and all our furniture will end up.

I am in contingency plan overload as we work every conceivable angle to try to win the house.  It truly is a perfect house for us in a booming area of the Dallas metroplex.  You know the feeling of wanting something so much that you can’t sleep, and every thought is about seeing yourself immersed in what you want?

Be honest.  Of course you do.  Even the most Joe-cool of you knows what I’m talking about.

So, what to do?  Well, I sat my butt down in my writing chair this morning and after (okay, it was during) writing my customary morning pages, I grabbed my phone and started scrolling through my tunes.  I got the picture quickly.

Hello?  Anybody heard about a little movie called Frozen?

The 40,000-foot view

People talk about the high-altitude picture of a situation, the “view from 40,000 feet.”  The ultra control freak in me thinks I would soooo love that view–think of all the answers I could get instantly.  I could, in effect, see into the future.

But is that what I really want?  Even if I had super-powers, would I be satisfied?  Probably not.

Seems like it might be a better choice to give the faith idea an extra look.  I wrote about faith this morning and here’s what I determined:

God is at work here, smack dab in the middle of our moving process.  My job is to have faith in right outcomes and to trust the process.

I sat with that for awhile, let the idea slowly rise in me until I was full up.

Then, I surrendered all.

The rest of today has been pack one box, tape it closed, pack another box, stack it on the first.  God is at work here.

P.S.  Do you get the meaning of the license plate in the photo?  It was mine when I lived in Missouri.  I used to tell people that I needed so many constant reminders to surrender that I put it on my car!

Lift Your Torch High and Live in This Moment

IMG_0973a

When I think of Memorial Day, I think of the stories of the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Who were they?  What did they believe?  Who did they love?  What was the flower that tickled their noses?  What was the cologne or perfume worn by their sweethearts?

Did they prefer to eat chicken or beef?  Sunrise or sunset?  Favorite season?  Mountains or beach?  Could they snow ski?  Were they afraid of heights?

When we’re asked to honor the memory of those who died for our country, how do we do that?

Imagine a conversation

So many questions to ask our brave soldiers, if I could.  The conversation would of course begin with a thank you for their dedicated service, by telling them that there aren’t enough thanks yous.

No price tag is large enough and no parade is long enough.

Then, as I reach through the velvet curtain that separates the living from the dead, I shake hands with the folks who have agreed to chat with me “from the other side.”

After they answer my basic questions with answers like carnations, Old Spice, definitely beef–oh how I miss a good steak and sunrises during PT, we get down to business:

How can we best commemorate your sacrifices during military service to the USA?

Here’s what I imagine some would say:

Remember one by remembering all.  It’s not so hard to do.  We’ll watch your picnics and potlucks from our heavenly perches and it would please us to see you pause, maybe bow your heads, and touch a moment of silence with your hearts.

We ask that you lay down the pettiness of political fighting, lay it down next to your beliefs about war and violence.  Just lay it all down.

Then, with nothing weighing heavy on you, let your heart fill with love and gratitude for living this moment, this day, in a country where freedom is still cherished, where soldiers are revered and remembered.

You would honor us by remembering to honor yourselves and by respecting others.  There is far too much fighting among you and that’s a war that can only be won with surrender.  

Allow others the right to be who they are, regardless of who they love, where they live or how many trinkets they own.  Keep your business your business.  You don’t need to pick up anybody else’s.

Be good to each other.  Be kind and considerate.  You wouldn’t believe the stuff we see!  

Just love each other!  Let that be your code of peace.  Wear love as a cloak of honor and live like there’s no tomorrow.  

Do everything you can to make each day you live as special as a birthday, because it is, you know.

Yes, those are the ways you can truly honor us.  

When we died, we left you with a torch of responsibility for the country we love. Keep the torch lit. @bheretoday (Click to Tweet!)

We’ll be watching for the light . . . 

Photo courtesy of Schick

Growing Up in Recovery

IMG_3433

I always think this is the most exciting part. The tearing down what’s outlived its time so you can begin to build up again. ~ J.D. Robb in Concealed in Death

There is an adage in recovery that emotional and social maturation stops when the disease of addiction takes over our lives. (If anyone has a source for scientific proof of this nugget, please send it to me!).

If that’s the case, when I entered recovery at 30, I had the emotional spark plugs of a 15-year-old since that’s when I experienced my first alcoholic blackout.

Trust me when I tell you that my plugs were definitely not firing on all cylinders.

That was then . . .

So now it’s 23 years later and I’m realizing that even the 15-year-old emotional mess that arrived at the doorstep of recovery needed tearing down.  The living practices I used before recovery had outlived their time.

I needed to grow up.

The thought was kind of depressing because it meant discarding several practices that served me well (or so I thought).

For instance, no more finger-pointing.

What?  Me?  I most certainly did not point fingers at others.

Oh really?  So your record is clean when it comes to blaming?  You’ve never uttered the words, “well, if she hadn’t done blah-blah, then I could have blah-blah” or something close?

You’ve never started an explanation with “you don’t understand” or “yeah, but” or even “but, wait a minute . . . “?

Those are all dead giveaways of finger-pointing and a sign of emotional immaturity.

God, I hate it when the voices in my head gang up on me.

But wait, there’s more!

What about the so-called justified anger, sulking, hurt pride, and the occasional temper tantrums?

Alright already!  I get it.  So I can be a big baby sometimes.

Wow.  Okay.  That’s quite an admission.  Congratulations.

This is now . . .

One of the gifts of long-term recovery is levity.  I’ve learned to laugh at the ways I show up for recovery some days.  Oh, I can’t see my itty-bitty babyness when I’m whining or complaining, but give me a few minutes to talk it out (in my head), or write it out, and I’m usually chuckling.

But one of the most major gifts is truly understanding that I am 100% responsible for my life.  That’s how I know I’m growing up.  That’s how I know I’m making progress.

I saw a Facebook post the other day (thanks to Tess Marshall of The Bold Life) that originated with Hope in 10271559_287211548120236_7608568247673275694_nRecovery Through Love, Light and Laughter.  It was this photo that reads:  “More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them.”

Isn’t that the truth?  As Tess reminded me, it is critical that my responsibility level for my life is 100%.  Not 72% or even 99%, but 100-all-in-percent.

Who’s with me on this?

Are you up for the challenge?

In the comments section, share with me how you know you’re growing up in recovery.  What old, childish behaviors have you torn down to make way for your new awesome self?

Post photo courtesy of stweedlie