The Recovery Writer

Championing Diversity Empowering Recovery And Inspiring change

Page 2 of 10

Freelance Writing – My First Published Story

 

First published storyIts been a while since I updated about my professional writing progress and as you can see by the title of this blog post, I have some rather fantastic news to share!

Firstly, let’s start with a catch up of what has been happening since I made the brave move to declare myself to be a writer, and took the first steps into a freelance writing career a few months ago.

Inspired by Jeff Goins’, “You are a writer, so start acting like one,” I set myself two commitments as my starting point. The first was to write every single day, whether that was a few sentences or a few pages. The second was to ‘practice in public,’ which meant getting my writing out there, to be read by others.

I am pleased to say I have stuck to these two commitments. I began a daily self-care series which made me commit to writing at least a  few sentences each day for that purpose (OK so I admit I’ve missed a day posting here and there and had to merge a few days or play catch up!). I have also regularly been sending out short stories and articles for consideration and applying for blogging positions.

I have had rejection after rejection, which I of course expected and knew would be part of the process, but it still took a lot of deep breaths and positive self-talk to remind myself of that.  Then, suddenly, an email arrived with the words,  ” We would be delighted to publish your piece!”

I cannot tell you the rush of emotions I went through when I received this email. I am not at all embarrassed to say I cried with pride!

The piece is a memoir style personal essay about my recovery and gender transition, and the publisher is Narratively magazine. For the past month, the editor and I have been going back and forth cutting and changing things. In being my first time working with a publisher in this way, I cannot say if this is a regular occurrence, I expect it is. I found this to be such a valuable experience, I am incredibly grateful for her patience and guidance, and I have learned so much in this process.

Last week we finished the final edit, and I then received an email to notify me of the date of publication, which is today! I am over the moon to share my very first published piece with you all. This has happened a such a significant and special time for me, as I complete the medical part of my gender transition and move into a new and exciting phase of my life.

If you enjoy the piece, please do share it along!

http://narrative.ly/i-didnt-know-i-was-trans-until-i-got-sober/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing Is Permenent- Day 99 of #365daysofselfcare 

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is remembering that no obstacle is permanent

PicsArt_08-06-09.01.30.pngThis week is a big one for me (no pun intended!) as I have a second attempt of my final stage of lower surgery.

The most significant act of self-care I can give myself right now is to forget everything that went wrong before and start with a new perspective.  Also,  that whatever happens, obstacles pass, things change, and all will be well eventually!

Love Is A Doing Word – Day 97 and 98 of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is choosing to give our hearts to people who show their love for us in action and not just in words.

IMG_20180805_131339_882.jpgLove is such a powerful emotion, it’s hard to stay mindful with such strong feelings but the stronger the emotion, the more aware you must be.
I have a history of poor relationship choices. I was in such a poor emotional and mental state that I  often left myself open to being hurt and mistreated. In recovery, I have learned to be more discerning about who I open my heart and give my love too.
Love can be such an easy word to say, but without action it is meaningless. As the saying goes, ‘Love is a doing word.’ In assessing my connections with people now, I listen less to what they say and focus more on what they do. It is in peoples actions that you find their true feelings and intentions.

Coping With New People – Day 95 and 96 of #365daysofselfcare 

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is reminding yourself that everyone in your social circle, was once a new person to you

Picture_20180803_150317523Social anxiety makes it difficult to socialize at the best of times and even more so with people you don’t know. My social anxiety, in general, is much improved. However, l do still get anxious about meeting new people.
This is especially the case when those new people are connected to someone l care deeply about. This week, I have had the new relationship friends and family tour and, have felt the extra pressure, from myself, for them to like me.
I had to step up my positive affirmations and remind myself of a few important things when it comes to meeting new folk. That you can only be yourself, that you cannot force anyone to like you, that other people are often just as anxious about wanting to be liked as you are, and, most importantly, that new people are only new once.

Taking Action – Day 93 to 94 of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge.

Self-care means knowing when to stop reflecting and start acting

IMG_20180801_191229_442Self-care is sometimes doing something self-soothing and protecting, and other times it’s pushing yourself to do something which, while scary, will benefit you in the end.
I have so many good news things happening in my life. With good things comes the risk of loss and the fear that brings up. My most significant and most scary new thing is my relationship. We have had some teething issues, which, while normal, are very new and frightening for me. I’m scared to get hurt, I’m afraid to risk giving my heart again.
My partner went back home for his birthday, and I decided it was best for us to have some time apart so we could have some space and  I could have some thinking time.
Soon after he left, I realized that while reflecting on the things that scare me is helpful, the only way to overcome that fear is by taking action and facing whatever it is.
On that note, l took a deep breath and jumped on a train to surprise him in his hometown. His face on seeing me told me all I needed to know.

Managing Conflict – Day 92 Of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is reminding ourselves that disagreements between people are healthy and normal

self care instaMy most recent self-care posts have mainly been within the theme of having the courage to voice our needs, despite the fear of upsetting others. I think this is coming up for me a lot at the moment, due to my being in a new relationship.

I have become much better practiced at asserting my needs over recent years. However, relationships are highly emotionally charged, especially for those of us in recovery. In these situations, especially new relationship beginnings, it’s not uncommon for old ‘defects of character’ to attempt to rear their ugly head.

Although I do not fall apart in the way I once did when these things come up, they are still very painful. Because my feelings are so strong for this new man in my life, there is, of course, the fear of losing him. This is why, when I practice what I’ve learned over my years in recovery and voice my needs and feelings honestly, I find my old thought patterns lurking in the sidelines. Fear tells me that the disagreement will mean the end of us, that now I’ve said how I feel things are ruined etc.

It is taking a lot of effort to not join in the dialogue with this inner voice, but whenever I refuse to engage it, it gets quieter. Sitting with the painful feelings is a healing process in itself, especially when I see the proof after having a disagreement, that not only are myself and my partner still OK but also that we are stronger for a mini disagreement.

 

Unconditional Love Holds No Expectations – Day 91 Of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is reminding yourself that love is not dependant on meeting others expectations

love has no expectations.jpgDuring my recovery from addiction and mental illness, I have learned that a large part of my anxiety is caused by guilt. I have historically struggled with a high need to please others, and when I perceive I have let others down, I can quickly spiral into guilt and high anxiety.

Overcoming this has mostly been in realizing my own worth and in knowing that those who genuinely love me, do so not on the condition of me meeting their expectations.

This does still surface for me on occasion, as it has this week. I have two people I love who each have the same birthday, my Mum and my boyfriend. Mum has dementia, and so I had come to terms with knowing that actually missing her birthday would be OK. I would see her afterward and instead travel with my boyfriend to his hometown to spend his birthday with his family and friends.

However, I have had a bit of an emotional crash this week, my new boyfriend and I are going through early relationship teething issues, I have surgery next week, and I just did not feel that going away was the right time, I thought I needed a few days to be with myself and rest.

It was a tough decision to miss his birthday, it shows a tremendous amount of self-growth on my part to risk the disapproval of someone I love. Even more important has been my boyfriend’s reaction to this. He went out of his way to drive over to hug me and tell me it was OK before he headed off and we’ve had numerous video chats over the last 24 hours which have been full of love and understanding.

This has been a beautiful confirmation of how, when we love and respect ourselves and know ourselves of worthy of love, we attract people that treat us as such. Someone that genuinely loves you unconditionally will never hold that love hostage to meeting their expectations.

 

 

Listening Patiently to Your Inner Self – Day 86 – 90 Of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #354daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is learning to let our inner-self speak in its own time, rather than forcing answers

the answers are inside you.jpgSince arriving home from Truck festival, I’ve had a bit of an emotional crash. This isn’t unusual, Festival comedown is a common phenomenon! Its so lovely to be out of the daily grind, lying in the sun, listening to music, laughing with friends. Who in their right mind wants to return to reality!

It’s more than that though. This week away, while being one of the best festival experiences I’ve had for a while, has also been very emotional and I can feel the tectonic plates of my inner self, rumbling and shifting.

Before I went away, my new partner and I found ourselves rubbing each other up the wrong way. It’s likely new relationship teething problems, but then, whilst I was away,  there was an obvious emotional distance in our messages. It brought me back to reality with a bit of a painful bump and I started to wonder if we were not going to last the distance after all.

On returning home, my partner and I have sat and talked, and both of us want this to continue, but we do need to do things differently. Namely, having more time apart.

I’ve spent this week feeling quite lost and confused. I feel like something is happening under the surface at the moment, which started by revisiting Truck festival (see my last post) but I am not quite sure what it is.

I think I have a lot of things accumulating at the same moment. Realising my sexual attraction to men is not just a fantasy, 10000000000% enjoying sex for the first time in my entire life, giving up part of my independence to enter into a committed relationship and preparing for what will hopefully be my final lower surgery in my gender transition.

I am really feeling the difference between my actual age and my developmental age at the moment, and I have a feeling that this is something I need to somehow work through. There is likely a bit of grieving and acceptance to do alongside these new beautiful changes. I’ve found this has happened a few times in my transition. To be honest, I think everyone goes through this as life changes, but for us trans folks, it’s often more complicated and pronounced.

I’ve learned that not knowing what is going on is OK, if I just sit with it, it will all make sense and when it does it will be another one of those incredible leaps forward in self-growth and self-awareness.

Overwriting Bad Memories – Day 85 of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is healing from bad memories by making new positive ones

make new memoriesI’m sad to be heading home from Truck festival today. I never like leaving but this one has been particularly special and particularly hard to leave.

It never ceases to amaze me how life presents you with just what you need at just the right time, even when you didn’t realize what you needed! I almost didn’t attend this festival, having surgery canceled meant I could attend after all and it turns out I really needed this time here. I’ve been reminded of something I learned early on in recovery from a friend in the AA fellowship. That is to rewrite your bad times by revisiting old places and making new positive memories.

I had forgotten how healing doing this is. I thought I had done all the healing I needed from my previous relationship, which ended over two years ago now. However, being here has shown me that I still had some things to let go of. Truck festival has always been special to me, I’ve attended it since its 10th year, and it was also the first festival I returned to sober and clean. To come back, to spend time with friends here, to laugh, to dance, has allowed me to reclaim this space as mine.

When we can return to a place from the past and imprint new, positive memories, it is such a powerful catalyst for healing and forward growth.

 

Take Time To Unplug From Life – Day 81 to 84 Of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is taking time out from life and getting back to basics

Break from the grind.jpgIt can be so easy to get stuck in life’s routines and forget about the simple stuff. For me, festivals are a great way to escape daily life and just get back to my roots for a while. I realise I am unusual, in being a sober festival goer, but for me, they are like a spiritual retreat. I love not worrying about what time or what day it is, sleeping under canvas, dressing in ridiculous outfits (optional of course!), listening to music, dancing like nobody is watching, laughing with old friends and connecting with new ones.

It’s so important to take time out, to unplug from the world and get back to basics in whatever way nurtures your soul.

20180723_103449.jpg

Learn To Cherish Your Own Company – Day 80 of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is learning to enjoy quality time with yourself

LOVE YOUR OWN COMPANYI have had a lovely day today, mooching about, buying random flamingo sunglasses and various blow-up toys ( get your mind out of the gutter its festival stuff), buying myself lunch and then having a pampering bath evening.
I absolutely love my own company, which is something l once could never have imagined myself saying! I actually miss it now when l go too long without me time.

Being in a new and exciting relationship, it can be all too easy to neglect to spend time with yourself. I’m guilty of this lately and l need to get a better balance because l actually miss myself!

The Truth Shall Set You Free – Day 76 – 79 Of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is remembering that telling lies to other people , is the same as lying to ourselves

Picture_20180717_110647853.jpgBefore recovery, l was pretty much incapable of being honest. I lied to others and to myself about my drinking and using. I also avoided telling truths to people, for fear of u losing them.

In recovery, l learned the phrase “To thine own self be true”. Applying this to my life allowed me to be honest with myself about all my defects of character which in turn helped me to become, and stay, clean and sober.

Where l still have difficulty applying honesty, is when doing so risks upsetting others. I have to always remind myself that staying true to myself means also being honest with others. If l am not, then l am effectively lying to myself.

Page 2 of 10

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

%d bloggers like this: