On the road again…

This is my first blog post, not ever, but under this name. I attempted to keep a blog the first time I sustained longish-term sobriety (last year from March-November), but in a fury I deleted all of the posts when I started drinking again. Since November I have had a few short-lived attempts (“surely I can teach myself moderation by abstaining every other month”), each time with the same gut-wrenching results: [including but not limited to] 48 hour long benders followed by crippling anxiety, flaking out on friends, and calling in sick to work. After a particularly exhausting drinking marathon, on July 1st, 2017, I decided to give up booze for good. On this blog I will write about my past experiences with drinking some, but also want to include stories about how absolutely improved my life is sober, as well as provide information and proper education on addiction and alcohol abuse. I’m also a personal trainer and health advocate following a plant-based lifestyle so those topics, among others, will surely creep in here from time to time.

I figure there’s no better time than now, I feel like writing about my experiences so I should. I hope that this can help me process my feelings while potentially helping others feel less alone in their sobriety.

This time feels different, I suppose we’ll see…there’s no telling what I will find down this road but the unknown sure feels liberating.

 

 

 

 

Featured post

Never underestimate the power of denial.

“If you desire healing, let yourself fall ill…” + Rumi

I made a mistake. Whatever I decide to call it in the end (a misstep, a relapse, a downfall, a misjudgment, a failure, a trip-up, a boo-boo… or, as the voice in my head tends to put it: a fuck up), it happened, I fell down, and now I have to get back up and move on.  & not just move on, but keep moving forward.

The morning after, plagued with anxiety, humiliated that I didn’t remember walking home from the restaurant with my mother, and terrified because we couldn’t find her [extraordinarily expensive] scarf I had been wearing, the thought that wouldn’t leave my head, that made my eyes well up with tears, and the pang in my stomach grow unbearable was: I have to start over. I have to tell the world I failed, and my dear 120 days are *poof!* gone. Last time I decided to drink again after a hiatus, I planned it. I talked to people about it, I justified it to no end, and I convinced myself it was OK. This time was different, this time I was blind-sided. This time, I lost control (Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice?…I️ sure hope so).

It truly is amazing how powerful denial can be.

A few days later, I drank again. And the next night I drank. Then a few days after that, I drank for a forth time. Two out of the four times I got hammered, the other two times I was “fine”. In the moment this actually makes it easy for me to convince myself I can handle alcohol because it’s not a consistent “take a sip and black out” or “drink and get arrested” type of thing. I was in France with my mom, and boy, let me tell you: It is easy as hell to tell yourself you’re fine when you’re 1) around another regular drinker 2) in another country 3) addicted to alcohol.

I could seriously write 10+ pages about the thoughts leading up to my decision, or the details of the nights that I drank, and get super stuck in a spiral of overanalyzing everything.

“The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results” + Einstein

This quote helped me finally decide to get sober, and now it is helping me again to acknowledge what happened, learn from it, and move forward.

What I have learned from this experience:<<
elapse is part of recovery.

+ I haven't said "I am in recovery" or "I am addicted to alcohol" or "my brain chemistry has been permanently changed by binge drinking for years" out loud enough.

+ I haven't been honest with myself or told the people I love the true depth of my addiction.

+Holly Whitaker, from Hip Sobriety, always says something along the lines of "there are just simply things in life you learn you cannot fuck with; alcohol is one of those things for me" — I'm finally ready to accept this for myself and see it simply for what it is. No need to complicate it.

+I have not lost my sober time.

+I will rebuild a stronger recovery because of this.

While we were visiting my French “host mom” in Uzer, staying in her magical 13th century castle turned hotel, she told me, in the midst of me explaining how confused I was: “Listen to the great Antoine Saint-Exupéry, and make your life a dream, and that dream a reality.” The truth is, I can’t live the life I want unless I stay sober from alcohol. Plain and simple. So, here I am, starting again, and here’s to making my life the reality I have dreamed about for so long.

Love + Light.

What 2,160 hours looks like

3 months. 12 weeks. 90 days.  2,160 hours. However you want to put it, it seems like forever, yet at the same time, no time at all. I keep bouncing back and forth between “Man, I’ve come so far!” and “Man, I have so far to go!”. Today, I will try to just focus on being grateful that I made this decision and proud of myself for achieving 90 days of sobriety from alcohol.

The weirdest part for me is how my feelings on the subject shift every now and then. About a week or so ago, I wanted to drink nearly every day. Stressful day at work? “I want a glass of wine”, missed a work out? “A margarita sounds so good right now”, etc. etc. I knew it was a phase, because I have been here before, but that didn’t make it any easier. Unfortunately/fortunately, I used junk food as a vice to curb my alcohol cravings. On top of that, my boyfriend was on tour which made it easier for me to fall off the wagon, so to speak, with food. I ate a lot of fast food, slept a lot, and tried to accept this phase of my sobriety. I even smoked a few cigarettes after 40+ days away from them (yes, I’ve struggled with smoking for years, as healthy as I am otherwise) and told myself it was better than drinking. I know it’s true: eating junk food and even smoking a cigarette or two IS better than resorting to drinking, but when will I no longer need those vices to deal with sobriety? If you asked me how I felt today, I’d tell you with confidence that I am happy never having a drink again. If you had asked me a week ago, or likely a month from now, I’d hesitate, consider that perhaps I will be able to drink in the future, and be fighting off cravings as I answer your question.

This is the mystery for me…how to deal with cravings/uncertainties/the booze monster. I am chasing the feeling I have right now, the 100%, all-in attitude I have about never touching another alcoholic drink again. It’s wild to me that even after months or years it’s possible that we’d still even consider drinking again.

Something I failed to do last time I got sober was decide for sure that I’d never drink again.  I always kept it open as a possibility that I’d someday be able to be “normal”. This time, it’s easier to view alcohol as off-limits forever because I tried and failed at drinking again. I know the outcome. I know what it does to me, and never want to experience that again.

Hopefully as time goes on, these phases of craving and temptation will go away.  I guess accepting it when it happens is all I can do, and whatever I need to do to stay away from alcohol is fine. With experience, I’ll learn how to cope and stay healthier during those times. For now, I am just happy I made it through my first big phase of doubt, and am better and stronger for it today.

Two thousand, one hundred and sixty hours. It’s weird to think of life in terms of hours. Really makes you think about how much time we actually have and how much time we waste. I spent approximately, on average, 3-5 days of my life drunk or hungover for years. Like, a decade. I’m not even going to do the math of how many hours I’ve wasted because it would just depress me. Let’s just say that 2,160 hours of clarity, peace of mind about my actions, and good sleep looks and feels amazing. It is motivation to keep going, and to continue shaping the life I actually see myself living instead of constantly procrastinating and wondering why nothing cool is happening. If I had to choose how to describe it, 3 months of sobriety looks like ACTION, RESPONSIBILITY, & REALIGNMENT.

ACTION: I now take action on the things I want to achieve. I have started a blog, taken on personal training clients, and met with a business coach. I have also started researching nutrition certification programs, bought a plane ticket to Japan (after talking about it for  a year), and am actively saving money. I no longer tell myself, “once I do this…” or “I don’t get why nothing is happening!”. I identify what needs to be done to reach my goals, and thought I may waver occasionally, I generally take the action needed to succeed.

RESPONSIBILITY: This one is very important. I have started to take better responsibility for my actions. I used to make a lot of excuses, play the victim, and avoid conflict. I now welcome constructive criticism at home & work, talk openly about how I can improve, and listen much more actively to the needs, wants, and desires of others. I also know where to invest my energy, and what is and isn’t worth my attention.

REALIGNMENT: I’m still working on this, and it is likely the most challenging. I will probably be working on this for a very long time or even forever! Being absolutely sure of my own values and standing in my truth has always been challenging for me. I’m easily influenced by others and empathetic to a fault, so I have had to realign myself with my beliefs and learn to stand strong in those truths, since I have practiced the opposite for so long, it doesn’t come easily for me. Slowly figuring out what I actually believe in, and figuring out how to rid myself of toxic relationships and stop putting myself in situations I don’t want to be associated with, has felt confusing, sad, and empowering all at the same time. It has been painful at times, but facing these truths also makes me feel more confident in myself, and able to face adversities with the conviction necessary to persevere.

 

“Are you drunk?!”

I’m 80 days sober today. Hooray, of course, but it also doesn’t feel like much since I have been here before. When I pass the 200 mark, I’ll be soaring with pride. New territory is always more fun. Alas, I should still celebrate my victories, however familiar…so cheers to 80 days sober!

I work at a hip Chinese restaurant in Austin, TX. If you are assuming I’m surrounded by hungover coworkers nearly everyday (and we don’t have to be at work until 3:30pm, mind you), you can give yourself a pat on the back, because that stereotype exists for a reason, my friends! Especially in Austin. This city embraces drinking more than I ever thought possible (outside of Vegas), and more than half the working citizens are part of the Service Industry. So, naturally, my sobriety isn’t talked about much. It makes most Industry folk pretty uncomfortable, because it forces them to think about their own habits with alcohol and drugs. I occasionally get coworkers telling me something alcohol related and then catching themselves saying, “Oh yeah, sorry, you don’t drink”, but for the most part it’s just something we don’t talk about.

The other day I was especially energized (I naturally have a lot of energy. I used to be embarrassed by this and definitely [subconsciously] used alcohol to mellow me out, which actually backfired because it turned me into a tornado), dancing around and singing, or whatever I do when I’m in a silly mood, and one of my coworkers turned to me and said, “Are you drunk?!”. Maybe some people would have been offended by this. I, however, try to have the view that you choose when you are offended. Sure, people can say rude, mean, or even hateful things, but your reaction is your choice. I decided to play along, and before I knew it, he was about to tell my manager I was drunk. I couldn’t stop laughing. I thought it was the funniest thing. I was happy, genuinely energized, and being playful, yet my coworker couldn’t imagine this behavior happening unless I was inebriated.

This little story just outlines the things we, as sober people in a sea of drunks, have to face and deal with daily. I am confronted with my choice to be sober every day, I can either choose to be empowered, lucky, smart, sane, or any other positive word you’d like to describe the incredible feat of sobriety; or I can wallow in my shame and live my entire life wishing I could continue poisoning myself (go on, replace “alcohol” with “poison” and before you know it you’ll realize how crazy the whole thing is).

Thank greatness I figured this out. My life thanks me for it every. single. morning.

Love + Light,

Court

5 ways sobriety has changed my life

Each time I have made a whole-hearted attempt at sobriety my best friend always says the same thing: “Absolutely NOTHING bad can come from being sober. Anyone would benefit from giving up alcohol, not just addicts, and I assure you countless improvements in your life will happen naturally.” She drinks, in moderation, and abstains from time to time for health reasons. We partied a lot together in college, but as she matured, she lost interest in drinking on a regular basis. She also understands the threats, to her physical and mental health, and would rather not put herself at risk. Out of all of the books & articles I have read, all of the facts and opinions I’ve been told, and podcasts I have listened to, this resonates the most. Nothing bad happens by being sober. Well, nothing bad in the sense that it won’t benefit you in some way. Obviously bad things still happen, it’s life. But what she means is, nothing bad will come directly from the choice to be sober. In other words, I do not ever wake up thinking, “Man, I wish I had gotten wasted last night.”

Here is a list of the most impactful things that have changed naturally and somewhat effortlessly just by being sober. Some of them were easy to accept (and even celebrate), while others have been an emotional struggle (even though I know it is healthy for me in the long run). Nothing important is ever easy, but when we face our own adversities and challenge them, we build our character and strength in ways never imagined possible. It’s all about the small things, the day-to-day almost unnoticeable victories, that end up really changing your life.

  1. I stopped biting my nails. To some, this may seem silly. But to me, it is everything. It represents so many milestones for me. I’m 31 years old and have been biting my nails for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had so much shame surrounding this habit. My mother would always tell me it was the first thing she noticed when she interviewed someone; it would show her their level of emotional stability and self-discipline without having to exchange a single word.  I know she didn’t mean to be insensitive, but every time she voiced her opinions about nail biting, I’d immediately feel like a failure, like my emotional stability would always be doomed, and my anxiety was directly my fault. When I decided on sobriety, it started to naturally happen. A week or so in I noticed I hadn’t been biting my nails. I was so excited, and wanted to continue this change, so I wrote down exactly why I wanted to stop biting my nails: It’s gross. It makes me feel like a child. I love the way a freshly done manicure looks and feels. It represents conquering my fears & anxiety. I can open things (like cans) more easily. [My friend also mentioned one time that it was on par with licking a toilet seat, which may have shook me enough to make me stop, but I’d like to think it was also my will-power and new found freedom from alcohol induced anxiety]. I told myself I would stop for good, and I started keeping a nail file with me at all times and whenever I’d have the urge, or a nail would get a snag, I’d file them to keep them manicured. If I forgot my nail file, I’d ask coworkers or friends if they had one, and in the act of asking, I consciously avoided biting or picking at them. Even if I could not find a nail file, I deterred the urge long enough to continue on my path towards my goal. I did waver, a few times, but recovered quickly instead of wallowing in defeat.
  2. I’ve let go of unhealthy relationships. This was incredibly difficult, but also seemed to come naturally. I had been very verbal about wanting to distance myself from toxic relationships. Not for weeks or months, but for years! My best friend started to roll her eyes when I would bring it up, “I know, you’ve wanted to ditch that social group for years!”. For some reason unbeknownst to me (I’m sure I knew deep down…) I continually said yes to plans I didn’t want to make, invested my time and my energy into people that were not building me up but instead tearing me down, and surrounded myself with people still stuck in the cycle of addiction. Since getting sober, I have made many promises to myself, but the most important being that I would break these negative behaviors once and for all. I vowed to never do anything I didn’t want to do, stop investing in toxic relationships, and stay true to myself. So far, I have had to let a few friendships go which has been confusing at times and difficult, but it feels liberating, a weight has been lifted and my time is used wisely and rewardingly.  I have noticed a shift in my thinking, and I have a lot more energy for my friends who are supportive, like-minded, and healthy for my well-being.
  3. I’m still a little flakey, but I’m honest about it. For years (I mean, more than half of my time on this earth) my social life was my life. My friends meant everything to me (and still do, don’t get me wrong, but I matter more to myself than ever before, too). I was constantly hanging out with my friends, saying yes to every social event that came my way, and incessantly overextending myself. This led me to rely on my friendships for affirmation, and I also got totally lost in my social life. After years of making socializing my hobby, I realized I didn’t have any hobbies (I have and always will make art, but it was such a rare indulgence I wouldn’t even consider it a hobby during my worst drinking), nor did I know who the hell I actually was behind the shadow of all my friends and all the parties and all the time lost to Blackout Oblivion. Often, I’d flake out on my friends, more often than not because I was drunk, hungover. And even more likely, I would flake on people who matter: my judgement was clouded from the booze (i.e. I’d flake on a plans with someone I had a healthy relationship with in order to drink). Nowadays, I do decide sometimes after making a commitment that I, after all, simply do not want, or do not have the energy, to follow through with plans. The difference now is that I let the person know immediately and do not wait until the very last minute. I apologize, let them know my reason, reschedule if necessary, and move on. I don’t beat myself up for cancelling only to do it again a week later, or live in fear that they won’t like me anymore if I cancel, and I certainly don’t lie to get out of anything. I’m also not flaking out because I’m drunk or hungover, usually it is because I want to be productive.
  4. I’ve stopped making excuses. I could go on forever about this one. Long story short, for me, drinking=procrastinating. Not procrastinating just a project or an idea, but literally putting off my entire life. I would have these grandiose ideas of what I wanted my life to look like, but I never wanted to take any action toward my goals, much less get excited about them or believe I could achieve them. Drinking enabled me to live in a constant state of “once I do that thing’s” and “only if’s”. I am now finally taking responsibility for my own success and happiness: taking the risks necessary to start my own personal training business, doing the emotional and spiritual work to heal, and practicing a level of faith in myself I never knew possible. I also do the dishes (as discussed here) when they need to be done, take care of my teeth and follow a skin regimen nightly, meditate, keep appointments, and have managed to keep 10/12 (that’s an 83% success rate people!) houseplants alive. This new found level of not making excuses, and in turn getting shit done, is mind blowing.
  5. I believe in myself. ‘Nuf said.

It’s incredible how much a glorified poison can limit your potential, I am so grateful to finally be on the other side.

“Your Two-Month-Old Baby’s Development, week by week.” a.k.a. Two Months Sober

This may seem like a hilarious comparison, but hear me out. As I sat down to write a blog post reflecting on these past 60 days of my sobriety, I thought to myself, “How do I accurately explain all of the ways that I have come alive in the last two months?…all the things that I have started doing (or not doing) to better myself? How on earth do I begin to describe the absolute ground zero on which I started to reconstruct my whole “self” as I knew it? So, naturally, I Googled (because we live in the future) “Two Month Development”. Et voilà: it turns out that my experience mirrors, surprisingly well, the week-by-week development of a two-month-old baby.

The series starts its narrative at week #2, which I find fitting, since the first week of sobriety (and of life) is nothing more than stumbling around, drooling, in a state of awe (everyone’s awe is different; for me, perhaps because I have experienced long-ish term sobriety before, my awe was full of feelings and thoughts such as “Holy shitballs I love not being hungover at work, I’m so much better at my job!”, “How/why/what the fuck was I thinking when I started drinking again?!” and “Whoa the Texas sky is so beautiful! Look at that sunset! (as tears well up in my eyes)”). Below are the titles of each week’s description of a newborn’s development from an article on http://www.babycenter.com, (the article is found here, and excerpts will be italicized in quotations below, and are directly from the site that I have cited unless indicated otherwise) then translated into my own two month development (sobriety). I’m only including the weeks that really resonated with me, as eight full explanations seemed a little overzealous.

Week #2: It’s a scary world. Your womb was a warm and cozy environment, and it’ll take time for your baby to adjust to the various sights, sounds, and sensations of life outside your body. You may not be able to detect much of a personality just yet, as your baby spends his time moving in and out of several different states of sleepiness, quiet alertness, and active alertness. […] The only way your baby knows to communicate is by crying.”

You bet your sweet ass this world we live in is scary! And booze provided a warm and fuzzy blanket of denial over my entire life: social situations persisted that I was not happy with, my insecurities were covered up (until I would black out and unleash every last one of them, oops), any long-term success goals I had were ignored, and I was always hungover, so the world around me was dimmed and blurred. The second week of sobriety felt confusing; as the sights, sounds, and sensations of processing life through clear lenses was overwhelming at times. My personality certainly couldn’t be detected fully, since I was not comfortable with my true self shining through (because I actually wasn’t even confident I knew myself much at all!). I slept A LOT. And well, the crying thing, I’ll talk more about this in another post.

Week #5 (two choices from this time period): The first real smiles. “Smiling happens at about the same time in all cultures, so get ready for your baby to reward all your loving care with a beaming, toothless, just-for-you smile. This will probably make your heart melt, even if you’ve just had your worst night yet.”

A little over a month in, I started to notice how genuinely and unthinkingly I felt emotions. Everyday, all the time. I felt all of them more vibrantly (sadness included), but for me, feeling grateful and happy was especially surprising (since, after all, I was depressed and muted and sad constantly while drinking). I noticed I was smiling more naturally, like I did when I was younger (like, much younger, since I started drinking at the ripe old age of 16). Which brought me deep relief and joy. I remember thinking, “so this is what it feels like to experience real joy, it’s been such a long time! There’s really no need to drink to fascilitate laughter”. Trust me, the real feeling is much, much better.

Sound asleep.  “Your baby may start sleeping longer at night (maybe four to six hours).”

Many people claim alcohol helps them get to sleep. I was never one of those people. In fact, my brain must release an incredible amount of chemical stimulants to counteract the depressing effect of alcohol (after learning this actually happens, my drunken hyper-state and behavior started to make so much more sense, yay science!), because I’d always stay up all night drinking, no matter how much or how little I imbibed. The following day would be spent in and out of an anxiety-ridden 20-hour-long nap (literally my hell). Needless to say, not drinking has made me a Sleep Goddess. I sleep like a baby, nearly every single night.

 

Week 6:  Music appreciation. “Now that your baby’s awake for longer periods during the day, you can use these times to support his sensory development. Try singing your favorite lullabies or playing music. […] Your baby might also enjoy the sound of wind chimes or a ticking clock. The more varied the offerings, the richer the impact. Inevitably, you’ll notice that your baby responds to and favors some selections more than others as he begins to develop preferences.” 

This is particularly noteworthy for me. Likely, many of you reading this experience a deep connection to music. It has a way of showing us a deeper understanding of a world of emotions that seem to make no sense. I have always especially loved live music, and have been going to festivals since long before they were cool.  I’d rarely say no to a show or concert. Guaranteed, if a band I like is in town, I’d be going to see them. I’ve also had drink (or drugs) in my system at nearly all of these events; limiting my ability to realize if the fun time I was having was actually fun, or just a ruse.  I now experience live music on a totally different plane; I have grown much more picky about the music I deem as worthwhile, and I know exactly when I am ready to go home.

I also find myself listening to nature and other sounds more intently. I’ll focus my ears on the wind passing through trees in my backyard, the wind chimes (I actually had no idea these were there before) on my porch, or people laughing as they walk past me in the street (cheesy AF, I know, but that’s what happens when you’re sober, life becomes cheesier and cheesier).

Each week’s descriptions would end with a disclaimer of sorts: “Remember, your baby is an individual. All babies are unique and meet milestones at their own pace. Developmental guidelines simply show what your baby has the potential to accomplish – if not right now, then soon.”

This disclaimer fits nicely, though funny, as a reminder, in my development with sobriety; sometimes I get stuck comparing myself to others’ progress, or being too hard on myself for not being perfect. It is so important to remember that no one experience is the same, and each person’s sobriety story is unique. Growth happens one little milestone at a time, and it’s only after it has occurred that we can really look back and revel in awe at what we have accomplished.

 

Money’s not the monster

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve never been very good with money. The only times in my life I’ve felt in control (in retrospect) have been when I’ve taken breaks from drinking (strange, huh?). The first time in my life that I can remember having a strong hold on my finances was my sophomore year of college; I stopped drinking for about 6 months because my boyfriend at the time and I fought incessantly while intoxicated. The next time was last year during sobriety, and finally, right now (sober again!). It’s pretty interesting to think about…in the moment I really had no idea how much booze was wreaking havoc on my relationship with money (even when I racked up 15k in credit card debt, made payments late, or borrowed money from my mom/boyfriend/friends).

Two days ago, my boyfriend and I bought our tickets to visit his dad in Okinawa, Japan, in November. My boyfriend and I split my ticket because his dad paid for him, so it’s not an amazing amount of money or anything, but to be honest, it blows my mind. I started saving on August 1st; the fact that I was able to save so much money in less than a month is nothing less than a miracle.

Realizing that money isn’t the enemy, and that it can be my friend is a huge step for me. I’m slowly working on my relationship with money and trying to nurture, respect, and care for it; making such a big purchase (in cash, and for such a monumental adventure) absolutely motivates me to continue this work. I feel grateful to be seeing results, however small, in each passing day. Recognizing my progress and achieving my goals (step by step), whether it be waking up earlier, saving money, not beating myself up, or remembering the night before, is so important to my growth.

Now that our trip to Japan (that we’ve been talking about for a year) is a reality, I feel energized and excited to continue saving money, for the trip and beyond. Success (in any light) is not achieved overnight. I’ve always had a tendency to want instant results, which has lead me to countless disappointments. Drinking fed this unrealistic view because it enabled me to procrastinate and live in denial about my goals. Accepting and embracing that success takes perseverance, discipline, and time is a tremendous improvement for me.

I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to, and I truly believe I wouldn’t be able to make these changes if alcohol was still running my finances (and life!).

Love + Light,

Courtney

 

the [used-to-be] daunting task of dishes

This morning I woke up before my boyfriend, which isn’t unusual since he stays up much later than I do. Sometimes I’ll read in bed, go have coffee with a friend, or go on a run before he gets up. Today, I woke up craving pancakes like whoa. I don’t usually like pancakes but once or twice a year I yearn for them. The nice, fluffy, cloud-esque kind my mom used to make out of Bisquick buttermilk batter with a huge slab of butter and real maple syrup. I’m mostly plant-based these days (side rant:  we, “we” being my boyfriend and I, eat eggs whenever we can get them from my dear friend who has chickens, and I work at a Chinese restaurant that’s hard to pass up (especially when it’s free!), so I’m not perfect. I don’t like labels, either, as I’ll get into more when I talk about my alcohol addiction [termed by society as alcoholism], but having to constantly justify my dietary choices due to the label “vegan” isn’t really my jam; diet is sacred and personal and I can eat whatever I want, thankyouverymuch!), so I looked up “fluffy vegan protein powder pancakes”. I found a  recipe, substituted cashew milk for the water it called for, added  salt, and added sliced bananas and berries to the mix. They turned out amazing! I was kind of shocked, I’ve tried making eggless pancakes before and they were never this fluffy. Sure, they tasted fine, but they didn’t mimic the light, airy texture dreams are made of. Here is the recipe, and a photo of them, just in case you’re wanting proof 😉

vegan protein pow[d]er pancakes:

1 c. flour of your choice (I used organic unbleached baking flour)

1/4 c. protein powder of your choice (I used Trader Joe’s original pea protein)

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tbsp. Himalayan sea salt

2 tbsps. REAL maple syrup  ( or your choice: honey, agave, etc. would all work fine)

1 1/2 c. cashew milk (+/- if consistency is off, I used about 1.5 cups but it could be more or less so add slowly!

Optional: berries, sliced bananas, etc.

instructions: Mix first six (listed above) ingredients together in a bowl until consistency is slightly runny. Place 1 tbsp. of coconut oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat, once oil is hot, pour 1/4 c. batter and top with sliced fruit or berries (other ideas: cacoa nibs, granola, hemp seeds, shredded coconut).Cook until little holes start to cover the entire pancake (approx. 1-2 minutes depending on the size of your flapjack). Once the holes are evenly distributed, it’s time to flip! Wait an equal amount of time for this other side to cook, and they will be done. I like mine a little crispy around the edges so I press them down with a spatula and leave them cooking  a little longer than called for. I topped them with coconut oil and real maple syrup. Yummy!!

4-Ingredient Protein Pancakes
Screenshot from my Instagram story since I forgot to save it on my phone 😛

I’m a messy cook. Especially when I do anything that requires measuring. This morning, I decided to eat my pancakes while they were hot before cleaning up my war zone. I sat down, turned on some music (my new obsession is Leigh Jones, you can find her on iTunes), drank my coffee slowly, and enjoyed my pancakes more than I would have ever imagined possible (small pleasures, amIright?!). Then, when I was done, without even hesitating I started doing the dishes. I did the dishes that my roommates had left in the sink from earlier in the morning, all of my own dishes, plus wiped down all the counters and swept the floor (my roommates and I are usually pretty good about keeping the kitchen clean, so don’t judge this instance of my “doing everything” too hard), and what’s more: I wasn’t even annoyed or phased. I didn’t even think about it until I was done: a few months ago I would have likely been hungover, and left my dishes soaking in the sink to be done later. Who are we kidding, I probably wouldn’t have even made pancakes, and if I had, I wouldn’t have enjoyed them because I would’ve had a headache, been panged by anxiety, and wanting to crawl back into bed. These moments happen almost every day now, where mid-act I realize: how did I used to do this hungover/tired/drunk/miserable? All these seemingly normal and tiny tasks used to be so daunting and difficult. Now, I save the challenges for things that actually deserve to be challenging.

It’s mighty satisfying realizing that life is physically and emotionally easier sober. When things are hard, they are rightfully hard. Now I know how to push through the difficult moments by being present and acknowledging them and deciphering a plan to get through them instead of hiding behind booze and escaping confrontation altogether. And for the small tasks like doing the dishes, they are no longer daunting, but serve as a tiny reminder that I am alive, awake, and grateful for each passing moment.

Love + Light,

Courtney

solar eclipse crisis averted

This morning I woke up remembering that I hadn’t bought any special viewing glasses for 2017’s biggest natural event: The Total Solar Eclipse. Being from Oregon, all of my friends and family have been freaking out about it for months, most taking the day off of work to not miss the entire experience, many of them traveling to remote locations for ideal viewing conditions. They all bought their glasses weeks (months?!) ago. I am in Texas (have been for six years), and until basically yesterday I didn’t even realize we’d be able to see it here, nor did I hear a single peep about it. Out of sight, out of mind. I hadn’t forgotten, but it certainly didn’t feel like a priority. I woke up in a slight panic because I knew the eclipse was a pretty big deal, yet I had failed to plan for it. I felt ashamed, like I was a fake Oregonian, as I googled where to find viewing glasses in Austin, and printed out a pinhole projector template. 

I also had to take my friend to the airport. He was flying to Peru from Austin this morning and was on edge about every last detail. I absolutely could not be late. I set out to run my solar eclipse errands before scooping him. Not only did I have extra time to check three stores for the elusive glasses (no luck!), I also got coffee, bought my friend some last minute travel necessities he had forgotten + a gift, and found out my best friend here in Austin had solar viewing glasses from an event during SXSW she attended last year. I was even early and able to help him with last minute packing, and we got to the airport 5 minutes before he wanted to be there. I then had time to pick up my boyfriend, meet our friends who had the magic glasses, and enjoy the entirety of our Texan solar eclipse (we could only see 65% of it) from the comfort of a reclining chair poolside.

The point of this little story, I guess, is that everything goes so much more smoothly sober. I do seem to always procrastinate to a degree (just something I have to accept!), but all morning I was calm and collected, and didn’t worry too much about what would happen. And most of all, I wasn’t beating myself up that I hadn’t gotten glasses earlier, or telling myself I was a failure because I got drunk instead of buying the silly things. Or worse, showing up late to pick up my friend because I had slept in or was hungover. 

Each day in sobriety, I am pretty amazed by how much easier day to day things are, and how much more I appreciate the small stuff. I sat in the sun surrounded by some of my absolute favorite people, gazing at the sun and laughing, talking about how incredible the cosmos actually are and how amazing it is to be alive. 

And I can say with confidence, that not only am I alive, but I am awake and present for every moment of it now. That is a pretty damn good feeling. 

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