Keeping a clean house

Step 10 of my programme with AA requires me to take responsibility for my actions, keep an inventory and review it each day.

I love a list so the inventory part came pretty naturally for me! The taking responsibility part still is work in progress and will remain to be for life.

I’ve felt really frustrated and angry today! We arrived home after a month of travelling on Saturday. Normal holiday blues have kicked in on top of the endless chores! Never ending washing baskets, housework, food shop, meal prep etc… Cue the pity party for one!

I had made a good dent in everything yesterday until my husband arrived back from a couple of days down south with bags of “stuff”, boxes of protein and his suitcase. The arrival I can cope with… it’s the aftermath that began stirring up a bit of anxiety and resentment.

My husband is definitely not a tidy person to live with by his own admission. Something that we argue about regularly! After his arrival his “stuff” was spread across the house within minutes leaving me feeling like my nearly tidy house was back to square one.

I’ve been agitated all day about the state of the house and began to whinge to him early on today to put things in piles, at the least, so I can start to get it all in order. He has a knack of winding me up more in these situations… I asked if he could help distinguish what needed washing and what didn’t from the trail of clothing in my final attempt at encouragement, when I realised the whinging was failing about 10am this morning… to which he replied “yes I will do when I’m ready”… to which I replied “I’d feel less stressed about the housework being done before going back to work if you could give me some kind of time frame on that please?”…to which he replied “maybe at like 6pm tonight”… queue the heavy breathing, tightened chest and need to walk out of the room with a simple response of “ok” before I lost the plot.

At 5:30pm there was no movement on the sorting out front from his end and so I did what I knew I needed to do… a step 10 inventory.

I’ve reflected on my actions in this situation. Why does it matter if there’s a bit of extra washing laying around? Will the tubs of protein encompassing the kitchen worktop really get in the way tonight? What could I do to change the outcome of what’s happened already? Have I communicated effectively? Who can change it? Was I projecting? Controlling? Overreacting?

And so… The outcome… I’ve had a bath and some me time out to connect with my higher power. I feel far less concerned by the state of the house after a quick ten minute meditation! I need to appreciate, as much as I nag him to do the same, that I live with another human being who I do not and cannot control. If I want washing picked up off of the floor and the kitchen worktop to be spotless right at this very minute, the only person who can change that is me. I’ve decided to leave the washing as it is. It can wait. I will sort the protein tubs out to make room for dinner prep in the meantime… and I will acknowledge my wrongdoing in nagging when we sit down together later this evening.

How ironic that I’m keeping a clean house, on keeping my house clean!

Whilst having been in the bath there has been a small amount of progress… there are now only clothes spread across three rooms in the house instead of every single one. Yet to distinguish which are dirty though… as we say… progress not perfection!

The Airport and Anxiety

During this trip I’ve waited in 5 different airports to board a plane for a leg of my journey.

Airports were always what is often referred to as a trigger for me, I hate using the word ‘trigger’ as I could pretty much reference breathing to it during my years of chaos… but it helps you see where I’m going with this!

I have to appreciate that my husband still drinks, he, unlike me is able to have a heavy night of drinking without the dread, fear, guilt and shame that spiralled me into spells of depression following drinking! I respect my recovery whole heartedly; as do I respect my living amends to my husband. I had to face my recovery in the real world outside of my safety blanket of AA rooms in order to save my marriage along with saving myself. This means that I am often in situations where drink is freely available, as I always have been from day 1 of my recovery. The airport is no exception to this.

The airport has always been the beginning of our holidays. We are members of the airport lounge; for anyone unfamiliar with these – you arrive a few hours before your flight to an adults playground – a lounge full of cosy chairs, zero queues, endless food and alcohol!

Flying has always caused me stress and anxiety since being a little girl because I have a deep rooted fear of drunk people, sickness and plane toilets! It sounds so stupid to say I fear people who are drunk… talk about pot kettle and black! I spent 17 years drinking to blackout, so you’d be forgiven for querying said fear. However looking at my moral inventory, it clearly indicates that I’d had big issues with anything that I can’t control. Drunks are unpredictable, I taught myself that first hand. And so I had always been well on my merry little way before stepping foot on a plane to numb the continuous record player of what ifs that stem with being in an airport or confined to the cabin of a plane! I had to drink to board a flight, I had to drink to use the toilet, I had to drink incase someone was sick near me; I had to drink to escape reality, once again.

These trips were different. I sat and observed people’s behaviour this time around, contrary to my prior belief, not everyone was there to get smashed, just as I had been in the past, they were there for a number of reasons. Some on business, some with family, some FaceTiming a loved one who’d they be arriving to see in just a matter of hours, there were couples laughing and joking, people arguing with tensions rising as travel can be testing when you have someone else to consider! The thing I saw least was in fact drunk people.

I got over my fear of the plane toilet by following my husband in. As soon as he’d come out I asked how clean the toilet was and made a dash for it before anyone else had the opportunity to go in straight after him. The feeling of elation at such a simple, necessity was out of this world. I sat with a smug grin on my face whilst watching my film of choice, Ferdinand.

As for the sickness, I put my earphones in as soon as possible after take off and left background noise on the whole flight, just in case. I’m not even sure travel sickness is still common nowadays. My fear of this I’m sure dates back to journeys with my younger sister, she wasn’t able to reach the end of our road without throwing up everywhere! This will be a battle to face on a rainy day but until then, I can use the little tools and techniques I’ve mentioned to help keep me from noticing too much!

I would rate my stress and anxiety level a 5/10 on this trip! As we say… progress, not perfection.

Let me know your tips for travelling safely.

Active, Beautiful, Clean in Singapore

During one of the tours I’ve taken in Singapore our tour guide spoke about a local programme that helps the Singapore community to truly thrive, the ABC programme. It’s designed to bring people together, locals and tourists alike. To continue to promote the beauty of the diverse, but tiny island, to continue to attract people. It’s designed to keep the island clean, environmentally and safety wise. It’s government backed but also supported by an outreach charity.

The traffic in the city remains low; people chose to walk or ride the MRT as it helps keep them young and active. I’ve seen groups of Singaporeans meditating in the park, getting together to do a night run and all the while encouraging tourists to do the same. The city feels alive with people being outside and active!

The people are very friendly, they are happy to share their experience of this beautiful country whether it be the history of how they got to living the life they love today, or whether it is something less significant like a restaurant recommendation. The commonality which shines through is the pride that they have in their culture and community.

The city and parks are stunning! The greenery and architecture is outstanding! There is something for everyone to enjoy here. The food has been great; again something for everyone to enjoy. I particularly enjoyed the hainanese chicken rice, so fragrant and fresh! Chilli crab would be another recommendation!

We got talking to our taxi driver last night and he was telling the importance of national service to teach self-discipline to the youth. He was proud to have served his country and spoke of the learning he had taken from neighbour militaries who help train the Singaporean servicemen. He was happy to share his opinion on why the crime rates remain so low; his belief is that punishment remains harsh, dealt penalty exists, as a result people continue to respect their authority. There is a 300$ fine for littering for example, and so you see zero rubbish lying around on pavements, the gardens or the beaches. I must say it’s been a long time since I’ve walked through my own city and felt as safe as I did walking around Singapore.

It got me thinking about my time in recovery and that I could identify with so much of what our guide spoke of.

My take on active…

I remain active because it teaches me the self-discipline of working towards a goal. Whether it’s aiming for one more rep when weight training, a faster km during intervals or a mile further in my distance runs: the common goal is I have to remain active and consistent to be in with a chance of achieving.

Being active for me in early recovery involved nothing more than walking the dog or a simple stretching routine. It was all I could face, the limit of my attention span was hit virtually minutes after any beginning. This remains a staple part of my daily routine today, though I’ve added weight training, running and yoga in addition… all of which test me, make me vulnerable at times and require me to make a commitment.

Any form of activity forces me outside of my head, I have to focus on what’s in hand rather than listening to my racing thoughts and negative mindset. I struggled with this to begin with but today I have got far better at embracing it!

Being active encourages me to connect with other people, there’s no sense of community spirit like a run to get you pouring your heart out to a complete stranger; I’ve laughed and cried my way around races over the last year, in the company of people I’m likely to never meet again. I once read that everyone who tackles a run is running to shed something and today I firmly believe in the connection between running and mental health. I encourage anyone to try it! In the gym I have to get vulnerable; I ask for help to check my form or ask for a spot towards the end of a heavy set. Asking for help never came naturally to me but as I’ve learnt, progress is key. To make progress, I have to practice this at every opportunity I can to help me learn!

My take on beautiful:

I think coco Chanel once quoted “beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself” and how true that is!

Beauty for me was always external until I got clean and sober. I fixated on changing the way I looked, material things and other people’s perceptions of me. It was a shock for me to work out that 2 of my biggest ‘defects of character’ were in fact ego and pride! I never thought of myself as someone who had a big ego, but today I am aware that because of such low self esteem I relied on ego boosts for a false sense of worth! I have to practice building self esteem to avoid the ever so familiar ways of boasting and appearing full of myself from the outside.

Recovery has helped me improve leaps and bounds when it comes to self esteem. Writing my daily inventory keeps me honest and true to my core principles, some still under discovery today. I reflect to look at what I have accomplished or what I have handled well at the end of each day; the realisation of the positives throughout my day, strength I have shown and self-care certainly helps my mindset! Analysing the lessons for tomorrow helps me see negatives as an opportunity to learn from rather than things to beat myself up over for days upon end. And then there is gratitude… I write a daily list of everything I’m grateful for, no matter how big or significant. This really helps transform my way of thinking!

I’m more able now then ever before, to remain present in a moment or in my day. I can put projection at bay and take in my surroundings. Nature and the great outdoors has so much to offer; scenery for me gives me serenity. I find nothing more calming than being outside in nature, taking in the beauty of the backdrops in front of me, the sounds around me or the smells filling the air.

I am able to sit and have a conversation with other people; this is incredible for so many reasons. I believe I have something to offer in conversations with friends and family today. I am, after all, learning to give myself some compassion and kindness. I am able to listen; prior to my recovery I would be present in body but not in mind because I’d be obsessing over a solution (more than likely alcohol or drug related) to the ever-growing fear inside of me! What if I say the wrong thing, what if they think I’m stupid, what if I get this wrong? All the what-ifs are now silenced as quickly as they arise in my head thanks to my programme of recovery.

Beauty for me now exists in my heart and experiences. I can take positives from virtually everyone and everything! And after 13 months of practicing being thankful; I truly am grateful to be alive today in this world filled with so much beauty.

My take on clean:

No longer is my body being pumped with poison. It’s been 13.5 months since I last used or drank. For me being clean this long is a miracle. I drank and used my way through 17 years of avoiding feelings. I drank to oblivion every time to escape reality. I couldn’t cope with living my life without the best friends that had become, alcohol and cocaine.

Today being clean means more than just remaining abstinent.

Today I strive to live an honest, open and willing life. Honestly and openness were long gone in my chaotic using days. I’d tell lie after lie to cover up my appalling behaviour. I’d cheat and steal my way through life, whether it be work, family or friendship situations. I got so used to living on a rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows, I’d create unnecessary drama to feel some type of normality, worth or to simply justify my existence.

Writing and sharing my moral inventory cemented my realisation that I had to change. I had become willing to do things a different way, I had recognised for quite some time that my way of living would only ever result in death before too long.

It’s been painful, raw and at times unbearable but what matters is… I’ve got through it one day at a time.

I am now at the point where I am honest, open and willing enough to begin sharing my experience with others. I want others to get a taste of the life I have rebuilt, so they can see the strength and hope that being in recovery gives to a person.

Of course in life I encounter people who infuriate me, upset me and hurt me. It would be unrealistic of me to say that everyday of my life is now perfect. It’s not. However I now have the toolkit to act instead of react to situations, feelings and actions.

I am learning to be more tolerable, patient and kind to those in my life. New and old. By no means am I a saint, I still have days where I slip up. Just the other day I upset my mum and husband in a matter of 20 seconds by reacting to something that I had chosen to misunderstand rather than communicate how it had made me feel, listen to their take and learn. And so, it got written down in my daily inventory, I made my amends and I hope to act differently should I similar situation occur in the future.

Being clean to me today means keeping my side of the street clean.

My conclusion…

I find it utterly astonishing that I am able to think, learn and take on other people’s ways of living today so naturally.

Visiting Singapore has been a breath of fresh air! The people, the culture, the country are a perfect example of their programme: active, beautiful and clean.

Travel, exploring and adventure in recovery

A week today I fly away for a month long trip to Singapore followed by various stops in New Zealand and Australia.

I am lucky enough to be planning sightseeing and adventure in 10 different places, I get to travel with 3 different airlines, get onboard a 16 night cruise and get to experience the summer down under!

I am excited to be doing all of this sober. This is my second long haul trip since putting down the drink and drugs… and I can honestly say that the first trip taught me that every single second away allows me to make special memories that I will treasure for a lifetime.

Holidays until sobriety were always about chasing the party. I have been to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world but have never really taken in the backdrop of scenery, tasted the wonderful flavours and cuisine available, nor gone out of my way to learn about the way the people live.

If I’m completely honest; holidays consisted of round the clock drinking: from champagne at breakfast, to cocktails in the sun, to beers on the move, to wine with dinner and of course ending the evening with my good old fashioned favourite, my after dinner choice of Whiskey! During the chaos of 24 hour binges I would always insist that we looked for cocaine to combat the risk of giving into the booze too early, I had no concept of drinking too much, so invariably without drugs, I’d drink to the point I passed out! No matter where I was or whose company I was in.

I have a travel journal to take with me this time, to capture the little details that I would have missed previously. I can note down everything I have learned or discovered to look into more when I get home. I can take down recommendations for family and friends to experience the same beauty should they ever be visiting the destinations I have chosen. And I can record memories that I can share with people in years to come.

I have 4 days to explore Singapore; I am told this should be enough to get around everything I want to do. The majority of my to do list consists of walking tours – my favourite mode of transport to allow me to take in the humidity and air whilst being able to capture moments on camera! I have plans to visit the botanical gardens, the beach, temples, a run round the marina bay route, endless venues jotted down to call into for food and drink and of course raffles – I am told this is a must for a first timer.

In New Zealand I get to experience a number of different locations; Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Picton and Wellington. Each has something slightly different to offer! I plan to walk mountain trails, visit natural springs, swim in open water, whitewater raft and again eat and drink to soak up the different flavours and styles of food available! I am less prepared for New Zealand but feel ok about that, I know it’s a picturesque perfect place to be visiting and I am happy to wait to see what other adventure I can find upon arrival.

In Australia I get to visit Sydney, Adelaide and Perth with a stop in Tasmania on the way. I plan to cycle, run, walk my way round the coastal destinations and then maybe look into the bus tours for the inner city routes! I want to immerse myself in the joy of it being summer and being outside certainly is the best way to allow this! Animals have always been a passion of mine, so I will make sure I encounter as many of them as possible; including the supersized and scary.

This adventure means I can make plans because there is no risk of any having to be cancelled due to drunk and disorderly behaviour. I have been able to listen to people’s recommendations for the first time ever, normally I’m too fixated on the party to care much for someone else’s opinion of what I should or shouldn’t miss out on seeing! Long gone are the days I google the closest bottomless brunch or where I’m most likely to be able to pick up drugs.

There is something extremely liberating about turning up and exploring adventures I’ve read about and researched, I get to relive stories people have shared with me from their own trips, I can rely upon myself to commit to making sure I make the most of every second away. I feel somewhat relaxed and in holiday mode already; I can trust myself this trip to enjoy each moment and be present for the entire holiday!

I googled the word relax not long into sobriety and the definition is to ‘make or become less tense or anxious’, the sentence used as the example of how to use the word is “he relaxed and smiled confidently” which I thought beautifully summarised this thing I’d been chasing for years during my drinking career. I was constantly searching for something but could never quite put my finger on what. It seems so obvious now that I needed to be able to relax with myself, I wanted to feel confident, I wanted to smile. And today I choose to do exactly that.

Feeling ill but mostly grateful!

I’m on day 8 of feeling ill; I have an ear infection and tonsillitis that is taking a while to shift, even with the help of antibiotics and spray! I’m feeling sorry for myself! I had to cancel my plans to go away for the weekend to a health and nutrition conference around positivity and motivation in the industry – something I’m passionate about and a common interest I have with my other half, who has gone solo.

I’ve slept the majority of today! When I woke I felt irritable and angry, a burning resentment inside me has begun changing my thinking and behaviour pretty much instantly… because it’s engrained in my brain to automatically act on the negative. When I feel like this I have to reflect on the why and how I got here! So first things first – confession time! The 3 biggest mistakes I’ve made since being ill that delivered me to this feeling of unease…

1) I’ve not connected with anyone in the fellowship since being ill. The simplest of actions to rectify! I’ll phone my sponsor and text a friend, in actual fact I paused right at this moment and did just that – I already feel better for having arranged to meet my sponsor Wednesday evening! Just hearing someone else tell me it’s quite normal to need time to get well, helps me! As silly as that probably sounds.

2) I’ve not fuelled my body with nourishment! I’ve succumbed to the cravings to choose ice cream and not for the right reasons! I’m not saying I don’t ever allow myself a treat – because I do daily! However a tub of Ben and Jerry’s is not in the guidance section of my doctor note as a magical cure to heal my tonsillitis… that’s my thinking taking over, I’m letting myself run the show! Generally I eat well, my diet is clean, colourful and consistent day to day. I stick within a healthy macronutrient range, my body knows how to process what I fuel it with and I am guilty of feeling instantly cranky as soon as I hit the sugar highs and lows!

3) I’ve binged watched crap tv! Instead of keeping my mind challenged with something educational or maybe meditation.. I’ve chosen to watch film after film full of unrealistic expectations, fairytales, happy endings, fiction! I’ve picked up a book and lit a candle so after my dinner I plan to dedicate 30 mins to getting some reading done! Once I start no doubt the time will be extended!

The final thing I know instantly relieves myself from my own poor thinking is my gratitude list. So I’m writing a list of everything I’m grateful for today, even days when I am feeling low I know I have so much to be thankful for.

1) rest – my body is telling me that right now, I need to give it time. And I have chosen to do just that today

2) friends and family – I’ve had calls and texts offering support and little things like groceries being picked up ❤️ my sponsor answered instantly and my family have been in touch

3) dogs – I always have my 2 ginger side kicks with me, especially days where I am curled up on the sofa and it’s pouring with rain outside

4 ) husband – I am so proud that he has gone to the conference on his own, I know it’s important to him and hearing the excitement in his voice when he called to update me fills me with joy

5) warm, cosy house – I’ve had the fire on the majority of the day and have clean sheets on my bed to jump into after a warm bath later on

6) online grocery shopping – thank goodness for Tesco home delivery! I can shop from the comfort of my sofa wrapped in a blanket. There is no excuses for me to opt for a takeaway instead of good nutrition!

7) skincare – I spend at least one day a week make up free to give my skin the opportunity to breathe! Today I’ve used 2 different facemasks and my skin feels as soft as a babies bum right now! Illness or no illness, my skincare routine will remain!

8) sobriety – none of the before would be possible without my sobriety! If I was still in the chaos of drinking and using, I’d be out tonight regardless of being ill or on antibiotics – I would have seen it as an opportunity for a cheap night out! Sobriety has given me a life back, it’s taught me who I really am! Even when I’m feeling low, I’m grateful to have a programme to keep me on the straight and narrow. I’m grateful to have friends and family in my life who love me, I feel worthy of that today. I’m able to admit I feel low but I can process those feelings, clean, sober and using words today!

Friday feeling.

Whilst writing my gratitude list today something occurred to me; I felt at ease and it’s Friday! Some people may think I’m insane (quite rightly) for finding this so astounding so here’s a little explanation…

Back in the chaotic days I would be ferociously making plans by Tuesday for my escape from reality Thursday through to Monday morning. I needed something to fixate on, an excuse to make it “acceptable” to go on a bender!

I believed that having a full social calendar equalled happiness, popularity and success! If you didn’t think I was insane before… you are probably certain of it now.

I remember chatting with family or work colleagues about their weekend plans and genuinely feeling sorry for them if they declared that their Saturday consisted of nothing more than a walk round the park and a take away in front of the TV.

I would put pressure on ‘friends’ to commit to coming out with me, promising the usual highlights of another night ‘out out’ with me. If they declined due to having already made plans, I’d insist we’d have more fun or perhaps invite myself along if there was half a chance that a bar would be in close proximity! If they declined due to being skint… a common excuse I found but so simple to resolve – I’d offer to fund their whole night out! Insanity I hear myself say now! I think the most genuine decline would be that they didn’t want the night to end in chaos.. to which I’d reply with every trick from the big book as to why this time I could control my drinking and thus behaviour!

I can’t put an exact date or time on how long it took me to manage my anxiety linked to socialising or being able to run away from the grown up reality of owning a home, having 2 dogs and having to pretend I was an adult in the real world but I have begun to master it.

It’s not all sitting in solitude, silence or seamless serenity… that would be a lie to say I don’t still get the old urge or itch to create chaos for myself… what has changed is simply that I no longer choose to scratch said itch, well certainly not with alcohol or drugs… progress not perfection!

I use the learnings from my sobriety and the toolkit from my programme to think before I act impulsively. I consider whether it’s my crazy head willing me on to a decision that could lead to destruction or whether it’s genuinely something that’s meaningful or necessary for me to be involved in. I weigh up the options and deliberate whether I am being of help, use or willing to others; I have to ensure that for my safety there is purpose.

If all else fails I have a support system around me today, I have learned to pick up the phone and talk through my thought process with another human! I tend to pick my sponsor or a close friend from the fellowship as I can rely on them to be honest with me. Friends and family can have a somewhat tainted view at times, it would be a slippery slope for me to pick someone outside of the rooms, before I did so to my advantage and began to manipulate said situation!

I am sat on my sofa at 6:20pm having already had a bubble bath and have enjoyed a few chapters of a book! The dogs are both curled up next to me and we have the fire on to get rid of the slight chill in the air. I am already planning what I can cook from scratch for my dinner, something heavy in carbs to prepare me for my long run planned for 8am tomorrow! It’s such a great feeling to be able to make plans on a Saturday morning these days, I no longer fear still being out nor being too hungover to be reliable! I am thinking pasta will be a good choice, I am also going to treat myself to a hot chocolate before I get into my warm cosy bed later on! I feel content and at ease with being at home, with myself!

Fear setting me free.

When I first learnt about the 12 steps I was absolutely petrified of writing my moral inventory, sharing it with someone, looking at the harm I had caused, to whom and then eventually having to make amends to said people.

I can remember hearing shares in the rooms about how freeing and enlightening people had found the whole experience and I genuinely thought to myself that they must be bullshitting for effect! Powerful share, I heard people say!

When my sponsor asked me to go away and begin writing my inventory I put it off for days. I found it tough to face some of my past behaviours, experiences and reasons behind my resentments and so I did everything I could to avoid revisiting any of it. As someone who drank to oblivion for the entirety of my 17 year drinking career – you could say I had become somewhat of a professional escape artist! I knew how to manipulate myself and others to ensure I avoided what I perceived as pain, at all cost! No matter what the consequences. How ironic that my perception of pain was so very warped!

Eventually like everything, I sat down and rushed through my inventory about 1hour before meeting my sponsor one Wednesday evening – not the best impression to set. I did accept my wrongdoings quickly after arriving and confessed all; I asked for help and more time! Again facing a fear that was deep rooted within me… to me asking for help equated to failure! So for the second time in my life I admitted defeat that evening… the first the day I found the rooms and admitted I needed someone to support me to get well.

The second attempt at my inventory was brutal. It took me days to scribble down my list, line after line. I broke down numerous times, I stirred feelings I couldn’t even identify and I saw anger like I hadn’t experienced in years; but I got through it by sharing it with my sponsor! I began to identify where my behaviours or actions had been at fault and before long I had a list of ‘character defects’ to enable me to get to work on becoming an adult in today’s society! Isolation and oblivion were no longer options; they’d been removed the day I accepted that I had a problem with addiction and embarked on my 12 step programme.

Sharing my inventory with my sponsor taught me to trust another human and furthermore accept help. At no point did she judge me or tell me I was wrong, she simply probed me for details until I worked out for myself that maybe I was the one who created the resentment through my own doing or thinking! I can remember sitting in her armchair in the living room, she offered me a drink to which I declined because I wanted to get it over and done with before I ran away! My palms were sweaty, my hands quivering with fear… but she put me at ease instantly by sharing some of her own experience with being sat in the same hot seat many years back.

It took me three visits to see her to get through my inventory, each time I left feeling a little lighter, a little less insane and a little richer in knowledge about who I had become and why.

By the time I got to my list of people harmed; I was ready! I was willing to make amends with each person, unless it was seen to cause them more harm. The first person I spoke to was my mum, she accepted my apology gracefully and simply replied, ‘of course I love and forgive you, I’m your mum’. The words I’d been longing to hear and be able to accept for so many years without even realising. My irrational thinking had me believe that my mum would never be able to move on from some of the horrendous things I’d put her through and as a result I couldn’t let go either!

I have recently begun making small steps in tackling some of the tougher people on my amends list. Whilst it’s not easy, the fear and knowing I have to see it through regardless has taught me tenacity and allowed me to keep growing! Facing my fears has truly begun to set me free!