ATTACHMENT THEORY EXPLAINED WHY I SUCK AT RELATIONSHIPS

Learning attachment theory helped me understand why my relationships weren’t working. Turns out, we’re all pretty predictable (based on our attachment style).

I have a dirty dating secret: I’ve been single for 2.5 years, and for some reason, I’ve been the one to walk away in nearly every single dating interaction I’ve had in that time span. I felt like I was always the one sending the text saying “it’s been nice, but I can’t/don’t want to do this.”

In every serious relationship I’ve been in, I’ve been the one to drive it into the ground at the end (with a healthy dose of self-sabotage) then call it quits.

I would be fine being single for a while, but then the craving for connection and touch would come back. The shit thing is, once I got it I immediately wanted to run. I always had intense fear when things started getting even slightly more serious, even though nothing had seemingly changed.  One minute I’d be happy cuddling with someone and telling them my secrets, then they’d walk out of my apartment and I’d start spiraling and thinking I was better off alone. I was giving myself romantic whiplash.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8VMJidnWzx/

Why was I like this?

I always wanted to be in a successful relationship, but I couldn’t break the pattern no matter how awesome the person was and how much potential was there. I felt ashamed I was like this. Even after I quit drinking nothing changed.

No advice seemed to help and no self-improvement work I did seemed to change the oucomes. I couldn’t chalk it up to not meeting the right people because even when I met someone and started to get to know them I didn’t know how to manage my feelings or express my needs. It got easy to put it on other people, but after I stopped drinking I knew deep down that I had some real work to do.

I had just finished telling my therapist about the guy I had ended things with who had the AUDACITY to call me “hot and cold,” when my therapist gave me some homework. She knows I love a good self-help book, so she tasked me with reading Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller.

Since she’s smart, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say she suggested the book because I seemed ready for a healthy dose of humility and self-awareness around how I am in relationships. At that time, I had recently become aware codependency was an issue for me, but I didn’t know I was about to find out that I am also part of 1% of people that fall into the most troubled attachment style.

Turns out, my whole ‘come here, go away’ act makes a lot of sense based on my attachment type.

Basically, there are four attachment types: secure, anxious, avoidant and disorganized/dismissive.

Here’s a really basic breakdown of all four that I pulled from this website (if you want more info). 

Secure: Low on avoidance, low on anxiety. Comfortable with intimacy; not worried about rejection or preoccupied with the relationship. “It is easy for me to get close to others, and I am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don’t worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me.” 

Avoidant: High on avoidance, low on anxiety. Uncomfortable with closeness and primarily values independence and freedom; not worried about partner’s availability. “I am uncomfortable being close to others. I find it difficult to trust and depend on others and prefer that others do not depend on me. It is very important that I feel independent and self-sufficient. My partner wants me to be more intimate than I am comfortable being.”

Anxious: Low on avoidance, high on anxiety. Crave closeness and intimacy, very insecure about the relationship. “I want to be extremely emotionally close (merge) with others, but others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn’t love or value me and will abandon me. My inordinate need for closeness scares people away.”

Anxious and Avoidant: High on avoidance, high on anxiety. Uncomfortable with intimacy, and worried about partner’s commitment and love. “I am uncomfortable getting close to others, and find it difficult to trust and depend on them. I worry I will be hurt if I get close to my partner.”

About 56 per cent of people in the world are secure. Around 20 per cent are anxious. Twenty-three per cent are avoidant, and the remaining 1 per cent are a combination of anxious and avoidant (according to this article by Elite Daily).

I don’t know about you, but I always wished I had a rare blood type so I could feel special. Turns out since I’m fearfully/avoidantly attached, also referred to as disorganized or anxious-avoidant, so I can still feel statistically special based on the fact that I absolutely run my relationships into the ground as soon as they seem like they’re going somewhere. Or as Mark Manson puts it, this attachment style is “the worst of both worlds.”

Thanks, Mark. You know how to humble us one percenters.

Excuse my french, but this revelation sacré blew my fucking mind. First of all, I wasn’t the only one who was like me. Second, it made me feel less alone to know that a little less than half the population is gonna ride the struggle bus when it comes to relationships because of something they learned in infancy.

Last: I was relieved to have a label and explanation.

A fearful-avoidant type both desires close relationships and finds it difficult to be truly open to intimacy with others out of fear of rejection and loss, since that is what he or she have received from their caregivers. Instead of the dismissive’s defense mechanism of going it alone and covering up feelings of need for others by developing high self-esteem, the fearful-avoidant subconsciously believe there is something unacceptable about them that makes anyone who knows them deeply more likely to reject or betray them, so they will find reasons to relieve this fear by distancing anyone who gets too close. As with the dismissive, the fearful-avoidant will have difficulty understanding the emotional lives of others, and empathy, while present, is not very strong—thus there will be poor communication of feelings with his partner.

I always had thought I was just a mess romantically because….well just because I had baggage and trauma. But then why was I still single after I stopped hating myself?

To add to the slap in the face attachment theory served it, apparently, if you put certain attachment styles together it’s more or less destined to be a hot garbage fire. Like for example, avoidant people and anxious people are like magnets to each other romantically but it makes for a problematic partnership. It’s shit, because it’s really not the fault of either people, but more a perfect storm based on their desire for intimacy and tolerance for closeness in relationships.

Since I’ve found out what attachment style I am, it’s helped me come to peace with my patterns and start challenging them with clear communication and different thought processes. It’s also helped me pick people who are better for me (*cough* where all the securely attached men at? *cough cough*). I’m shedding the shame when it comes to my dating dirty secret because I now see my behavior when it comes to men as a totally subconscious protection mechanism. I learned it before I even knew I learned it, and I can also unlearn it. I finally have some hope that romantically, I’m not going to keep reliving groundhog day of the same dating scenarios. I have a shot at being secure.

Like with everything else related to self-improvement, awareness is the first step.

As one writer for Elite Daily puts it: “none of these attachment styles are labeled ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy.’ They’re simply descriptions of the way you act in romantic relationships. They’re not forms of judgment.”

Unless you’re Mark Manson, then you can be a judgmental asshole, apparently.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 12.44.18 PM


If you’re looking for a more detailed crash course in attachment theory that includes more actionable steps to take to becoming secure, your best bet is to read this book or this book. Yes, reading a self-help book to fix your love life is probably going to feel like a move pulled directly out of a rom com, but once you get over yourself it’s really not that bad. For more basic info, you can also watch this video or pay a little bit of coin to take a quiz to see what category you fall into. 

HERE’S WHAT MY FIRST YEAR WITHOUT ALCOHOL WAS ACTUALLY LIKE

Grey’s Anatomy. Being a hermit. Crying. Being horizontal and listen to sad playlists. Therapy. It’s all part of the sober glow up.

Today I celebrate one year living alcohol-free.

You won’t find a single mention of AA in this blog post because I never went (not knocking the program, just didn’t apply to someone like me). I also won’t throw around the word ‘willpower,’ or even try to sell you on the idea that you should explore your relationship with alcohol. You’ll know, in your gut, if you need to. Trust me.

However, you will find a whole lot of honesty about what it took to get to where I am now. Please keep in mind that everyone experiences sobriety and recovery differently, and this is just my account. If you are unsure of the difference between sobriety and recovery, I like how this article on PsychologyToday.com explains it.

With sobriety being a popular ‘trend’ right now, I always clarify that there’s a big difference between choosing sobriety and needing sobriety. I decided to stop drinking when things were going well for me and I know that is a privilege. Addiction exists on a spectrum – it’s not as black and white as we’d like to think it is (hence terms like grey area drinking).

I say all of this with the magic of hindsight.

MONTHS ONE TO THREE

I felt like I was on top of the fucking world. This wasn’t my first rodeo though, I’d been sober for two months straight before in 2018. Funny enough, at the start I thought I was only going to do 30 days dry, then as the first month went on, I read Sober Curious, and decided to *see* if I could stop altogether. Guess I proved myself right!

I was in a phase where I was feeling empowered to shape my life and make it look the way I wanted it to, so I figured “why not now?”

Even though my drinking had been a lot more mindful before I decided to halt things, it felt totally different this time compared to when I knew I’d only be boozeless for a set period of time. It felt like I had closed the book on a significant phase in my life and everything felt new and full of potential.

Cue montage of me reading all the self-help books, listening to motivational podcasts, decluttering my apartment, cooking, starting to watch Grey’s Anatomy, getting up early on the weekends and working out A TON. My on-again-off-again insomnia disappeared and I had orgasmic sleeps. I tried going on my first date since I quit drinking and it was nice, but I was awkward (it was way too early). I didn’t know how much to talk about it.

I kept myself really really really occupied. Grey’s Anatomy has 15 seasons guys.

I wondered a lot why everyone didn’t just stop drinking.

The hope and excitement of this new phase helped me navigate the cravings when they did hit me.

This was all likely possible thanks to my own little pink cloud.

MONTHS FOUR TO SEVEN

This was where my quest to stay sober changed into long-term sustainable change for me.

When the pink cloud drifted away I realized why people don’t quit drinking: because if you really want to glow up you’re forced to confront your own bullshit and address the reasons why you drank in the first place. Guess what? It’s a goddam shit storm.

It felt like I had been hit by a train, but the train was my own emotions. I knew I would never let myself back down from this challenge, but my performance during this time was definitely white-knuckling at its finest.

My insomnia also came back with an evil vengeance and I started masturbating a lot. I literally was on a quest for any serotonin I could….muster? Yeah that’s a good word choice.

I was depressed and wallowing in a lot of self-pity, but also wouldn’t admit I was struggling with my new lifestyle. I felt like the people in my life didn’t understand what I was going through because none of them had done what I was doing. I obsessed over alcohol and drinking when I did go out, and often felt overly self-conscious for no good reason. I started to feel like a burden to the people in my life.

I isolated myself, and when I did see my friends I was generally a bummer to be around. Cue montage of me crying two or three times a week, eating anything that came near me with sugar in it, bingeing Grey’s Anatomy, making a playlist full of sad songs (see below), spending a lot of time horizontal staring at things listening to aforementioned playlist and spending a lot of Saturday nights with my parents.

I had a lot of undirected rage inside me about the fact that I had to go through this while other people bopped along numbing problematically without thinking about it much at all. I was struggling, and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight or a quick and easy solution, so I just held on and plowed forward.

I told some acquaintances – not just the ones in my circle but also people I would grab coffee with and coworkers – with mixed reactions. I tried to date and it didn’t work out because I didn’t know how to make it work (gee, I wonder why).

I finally admitted I wasn’t going to get over this blockade on my own so I broke down, spent the money and went to counselling.

MONTHS EIGHT TO 11

I didn’t vibe with my first counsellor but I didn’t give up. I got another one. I saw her as much as I could. I did the homework she gave me. I realized a lot of the stuff I had to deal with I couldn’t blame on alcohol or other people, and instead had to stop acting like a victim all the time – a classic codependent trait as I learned. I focused a lot of time, practically all of my free time and energy, on healing.

I avoided dating and men as much as humanly possible because I didn’t feel like I could trust myself dating just yet.

I read books written by women about sobriety. I added people to my Twitter and Instagram timelines who don’t drink. I met more and more people like me and realized I wasn’t alone and this journey comes with its own set of unique challenges. I put myself to the test and started applying some of the healthy coping strategies I’d learned. Sometimes I failed, but when I succeeded it felt so so good.

I generally leaned into the idea that it was about time to lighten up. I also finished Grey’s Anatomy.

MONTH 12

I always knew I’d get here, but I was never sure what it would look or feel like. Are the urges gone completely? Nope. They still blindside me sometimes. But I can feel my way through them and understand them a lot better now.

For me, it looks like setting realistic goals for 2020. It looks like getting excited again about writing, giving back and practicing what I preach on Instagram. It looks like knowing what I’m worth in relationships and getting better at setting boundaries.

I feel like I have so much more growing to do, but I’m actually in the part where I feel like I can actually chill the f out and enjoy the journey.

I will tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this decision has changed my life trajectory completely.

Unsure if you are a social drinker, problem drinker or on a path to alcoholism? Read this.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 12.44.18 PM

I ACCOMPLISHED ZERO OF MY 2019 GOALS AND I DON’T CARE

There was something I was being called up and out to do, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

I still remember how I felt when I made a list of goals for 2019 on the last page of my journal in December 2018: pleased with myself for reaching for the ~*starz*~, but like there was something missing.

I made a list of things that would feel good to accomplish and show the world I’m moving forward. This included finishing a draft of my book, hitting 3000 Instagram followers or running the SeaWheeze half marathon to name a few. But there was something out there that I was being called up and out to do, not on my list, and I could feel it.

I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

So I didn’t.

s-o-c-i-a-l-c-u-t-6iYb1BWWbV0-unsplash.jpg

It wasn’t until midway through Jan. 2019 when I was painting the trim of a house in New Orleans, volunteering with an organization called lowernine.org, that it occurred to me.

I needed to search for clarity and genuine connection.

During my volunteer work and that entire vacation, I felt calm and happy. It wasn’t a feeling that had resided in my body in a long time, and I wondered why I couldn’t feel it all the time. Why did I only feel clear on vacation? I didn’t sign up to live a life where I only felt good when I wasn’t at home!!!!

Maybe it struck me then because I needed the vacation and volunteer work to remember what it felt like to feel that good, and maybe because my head was basically in a bucket of wine in December when I wrote the list and I was still somewhat newly single.

I know now that list of goals that I could brag about on social media once completed hadn’t gotten me very far so far, as far as actual healing was concerned.

Deep down I knew chasing clarity and connection would be harder, require more of me and take longer, than everything on that list put together. This was the year I was being called to the challenge.

On the plane back, I was left wondering what I could do that would get me one step closer to where I wanted to be. The little voice in the back of my head finally let me admit to myself that maybe drinking was holding me back and I wouldn’t know how much until I stopped. The holidays had been rough, and alcohol didn’t make them easier even though that’s what we’re told.

So instead of chasing all the other goals, I came back home from that trip and haven’t touched alcohol since. I quit drinking because it intuitively felt like the first thing I could eliminate that would get me closer to clarity and connection. I didn’t choose to ignore my original list, but it naturally fell to the wayside.

As I’ve said before, drinking took away the gauzy veneer that had been allowing me to ignore my complete lack of healing. Talk about clarity – there’s nothing more f*cking terrifying than realizing that YOU’RE the one robbing yourself of inner peace because you refuse to do the work and haul the rotting issues out from under your soul porch.

I ended up doing the craziest things I’ve ever done in my life in 2019, and none of them were on that list. I am inching toward clarity and genuine connection as I continue to excavate my way through my own bullshit.

2019 taught me that the vision of my life I wouldn’t dare put into words is the very thing I needed to vow to do for myself. I didn’t have an entire roadmap, I just took a brave little baby step in a direction that my intuition guided me towards and had to have blind hope the rest would come.

Especially in the low moments, because trust me THERE WERE MANY, the hope got me through. You’ve gotta crack a few eggs if you wanna make an omelet.

Easier said than done, I know.

I don’t feel bad for giving up on my original goals. Write a list or don’t. Think on it. Pledge to do the thing you don’t want to admit to yourself you need most. Do the thing that gives you the most hope for future you.

Sometimes it’s not something that can be broken down into a to-do list.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 12.44.18 PM

“WHAT AM I DOING?” AND OTHER QUESTIONS I’VE ASKED MYSELF IN MY EARLY 20’S

I’m turning 26 next month. Here are a few things I pondered over while trying to survive college, start my career and dodge dudes that didn’t like me.

This doesn’t require much of a preamble other than saying I’m turning 26 next month and saying goodbye to the first half of my twenties so I obviously have every right to write this.

I’M MATURE NOW MOTHERTRUCKERS. BEEP BEEP.

Here’s some of the questions I’ve pondered over, and what I’ve managed to sort out in terms of answering them.

“What am I doing with my life?”

There’s no wrong answer because it’s whatever is happening in the present. It’s an… ongoing answer? Kinda underwhelming, I know, but it’s a half-decent reason to rely on your intuition because you won’t know what you were doing in the grand scheme of things until the end. Not trying to be morbid!!!!! IT’S INSPIRING OK? Go see what you can get away with.

https://www.instagram.com/p/ByYVNQwFdQC/

“What do I value?”

I feel like this is hard to know the answer unless you’ve actually thought about it. Once I made a point of answering this question with a pen and paper, I found it a lot easier to actually live out my values. I highly suggest it. Also can be interesting to look back on later because your values can change over time based on life experiences.

I know now that the number one thing I value is integrity.

“How will I know if I had an orgasm?”

I legit Googled this once. I’ll put it this way – you’ll know if you DIDN’T have one. How’s that for an answer?

“Are they into me?”

If you are truly unsure, I’m gonna go with no. See advice below. 

“How does XYZ person afford [insert whatever thing here]????!!?”

Ok, so to be clear, this is a rhetorical question because it’s nobodies’ business how you afford shit. Next, there are a few realistic answers:

  1. Debt. Maybe credit card debt.
  2. Support of some kind that relieves financial burdens and frees up income (perhaps from a sugar daddy who propositioned them in their Instagram DMs?).
  3. Responsible saving. Nobody wants to post about buying two-ply toilet paper on Instagram back to back with their photos from Fiji, but that’s the reality in some cases.

“What happened last night?”

I blacked out from drinking more than I have fingers and toes and teeth in my early 20s so I asked this a lot. Typically, I did something slutty. Or I came home at 3am and destroyed the kitchen making something to eat. Or both!

“Should I say something?”

Usually, yes. This applies to a whole bunch of situations. Have the damn conversation.

As a people pleaser and someone who has always struggled with this, I can safely say it hurts everybody involved more in the big picture when you withhold what you really want to say. Sometimes it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be, and sometimes it’s exactly as bad as you think it’s going to be. You can’t protect people from their own emotions, and you can’t control how people choose to react. All you can do is speak your truth when the time isn’t right (but don’t wait too long) and tell them whatever it is you need to say.

“Should I be saving for retirement?”

Yes, if it’s financially feasible, but also…no?

Anytime a question has a ‘should’ at the beginning I ask myself if I actually care about the answer, or if I feel like I’m *supposed* to care about the answer.

Doing certain things doesn’t make you more or less of an adult, and having an RRSP doesn’t automatically mean you have your life together.

“What should I do with my hair?”

I recently did something out of character and asked my new stylist this and he talked me out of doing something really dumb and expensive during our consultation.

Much like when a therapist tells you something is a bad idea, you LISTEN THE FRIG UP.

Sometimes in the heat of the moment we forget that bangs take approximately 9 months to grow out. Whatever you want is the answer, but it never hurts to consult an expert.

“Where do I go from here?”

This is basically another variation of “what comes next?” which is what this entire blog navigates through…arguably. In order to actually answer this question, I had to stop running away from it out of fear and accept that it was up to me to decide.

Sounds easy, but when you don’t trust yourself it kinda feels like hurling yourself off a cliff with a running start. How else are you gonna build self-trust though?????

Anyway, the answer is that I’m going to Australia. G’day mate.


Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 12.44.18 PM

OK I KNOW I NEED TO LIGHTEN UP – BUT HOW?

I thought I had to word vomit, exercise, or numb out all the darkness out in order to lighten up. I’ve learned that the best thing I can do is accept it, and light a match.

I know the moment I truly started on my self-improvement journey. I Googled ‘How to stop hating yourself’ in 2016, which led me to a book called Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself  that changed my life. You probably know the rest if you’ve read the post.

Recently, after a difficult but loving conversation with a dear friend about how our relationship was feeling heavy, I Googled ‘how to lighten up’ and found nothing useful. Not one single article or listicle I could relate to.

What the shit!!! It had worked once when I needed a solution. But this time I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be the same.

If you’ve ever read my Instagram captions or my blog – it’s not a stretch to say I’m a heavy person. I’m introspective and tend to get myself elbow deep into the piles of shit most people want to avoid at all costs. It’s the reason this blog exists after all…but it also means I can also come off as intense and a little dark at times.

We all have dominant traits that make us who we are, but when they get out of control they can mess things up in all areas of our lives. We all find ways to manage the internal see-saw. 

View this post on Instagram

The part of me that hates myself screams “who the do you think you are trying to write a book? Trying to become boxing instructor? Who gives a shit. And moreover, what do you know about any of this?” The part of me that hates myself believes that my urges to numb out every emotion with a grocery list of unhelpful techniques will never change for good. The part of me that hates myself tells me that I am a burden to my friends and family. That I have too many thoughts and feelings. The part of me that hates myself uses shame and fear to motivate me. The part of me that hates myself uses “why even bother” as an excuse to avoid vulnerability. This isn’t about proving other people wrong. It’s never been about proving other people wrong. Besides, I learned a long time ago people’s conclusions about you are less about you, and more about them. I’m trying to prove that part of myself wrong. I am, in fact, becoming the person I also hoped, dreamed and fought to be. Sometimes that part of me just needs a little proof and a lot of love. Sometimes I need to force that part of me to stop yelling and start listening. This isn’t some Bell Let’s Talk shit that exists only one day a year. As much as I can write this caption, I can’t write a clean beginning middle and end to this. This is just what goes on in my head and my work is fighting back against it. Sometimes I have the strength to win that fight, and sometimes I don’t have it in me. And that’s when I reach out for help. 💭🤝 #wholeheartedliving

A post shared by Raegan aka Reggie ⚡️ (@raegjules) on

I used alcohol to manage as an adult. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I wasn’t an alcoholic before I stopped drinking almost 8 months ago. However, I showed signs of being a problem or grey area drinker. I would deal with negative feelings by drinking or eating them down so I could continue being the life of the party. I was still bitter and aggressive but at least after booze it was in a softened, silly half-cut kind of way. With alcohol, I could take myself from being in a mood where I wanted to cry from stress, to slurring sassy comments and texting people I shouldn’t be texting to generate some fun in the moment.

Alcohol was the easy lever I could pull anytime I needed to lighten up. 

When I first got sober, I lightened up immediately. I felt like I had found the ultimate life hack. All of the ease with none of booze-adjacent struggles. I was saving money! I was making better decisions! I didn’t have the booze blues anymore!!!

Then, inevitably, I dug into the work of recovery and shit got REAL. Sobriety and recovery are not the same, which is a fun fact that hit me like a brick to the face about three months in.

Believe me, I know I was a bummer to be around. I was groping around in the dark in an attempt to figure out how everyone else dealt with bad days on top of having, what felt like, a complete shit show of an existential crisis. I was doing my best, but I truly felt like I couldn’t lighten up.

So I tried all the normal stuff: yoga, meditation, therapy (the counsellor I had when I was in early recovery wasn’t a good fit for me unfortunately), journaling, and mostly texting and talking to my friends when I was feeling shitty. Which was a lot. I also revisited eating and Netflix as coping mechanisms.

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, writing, reflecting and questioning lately. I guess when I think about it, the other three all feed into my writing. I’ve changed a lot and done a lot since finishing my degree and getting an “adult” job. My opinions are different, my hair is different, my mindset is different. I am older. I am more educated on the ways of the world. I now need special cream for my face (goddam eczema). But there is one thing that steadfastly has not changed, and I hope never will: I love writing. It is a warm blanket after being out in the cold for too long. It is a way of making sense of the world. It is a way of bearing witness. It is a messy mud puddle that you can’t wait to jump in. It is an unruly teenager that sneaks out in the middle of the night but makes you proud at the end of the day. It is trying to herd a bunch of hyenas on acid. Here’s a pic of my writing happy place with a new backdrop. I definitely wrote this while feeling a writer’s running high. Let’s be realistic: It’s not always sunshine and rainbows and sometimes I gotta rip the words right out of me, but it’s meant to be. It’s still love even when it’s hard. #instarealtalk #truth #vulnerabilityisstrength #mentalhealth #bravingthewilderness #writersofinstagram #selfcare #selfacceptance #calledtocreate #winnipeg #everydaygratitude #liveoutloud #parentsupport #findyourself #shameless #gratitude #desksetup #deskdecor

A post shared by Raegan aka Reggie ⚡️ (@raegjules) on

Nothing seemed to help. I felt like a black cloud all the time, which was one of my biggest fears about giving up alcohol: I wouldn’t be fun anymore. And as it turned out, it sort of came true, but it taught me something really important.

I got into the toxic habit of treating a lot of close people in my life like my personal therapists. It’s healthy to ask for support and to talk things out, but there’s limits and boundaries to how much your loved ones can really help. Besides, now that I have a good therapist I’m trying to see regularly I can safely say that those are much more productive conversations and it means I don’t have to put the people in my life through unpaid emotional labour. Which isn’t cool.

Fortunately, my friends and family were willing to talk to me about what they were feeling instead of just running in the other direction.

So after my failed Google search, I started thinking about a new way forward in my recovery.

I thought I had to word vomit, exercise, or numb out all the darkness out in order to lighten up.

I’ve learned that the best thing I can do is accept the darkness and all that comes with it, and light a match.

I couldn’t find lightness in numbing because it obliterates everything — both good and bad. Denying negative or heavy emotions also isn’t realistic because it denies a part of you that exists for a very good reason. So now, I’m trying to stop grappling around for a lever or light switch and meet my internal struggles with unconditional acceptance instead of intolerance. I want to be empowered to make my own light.

Part of the journey has been figuring out the people, activities, and places that create light in my life. Especially my newly sober life.

So far, I’ve figured out that reliving ridiculous moments is a great way to light that match. My go-to memory involves a public park bathroom in New Orleans with a broken lock and yeast infection medication. Nothing reminds me how absurd life is quite like that moment.

Also on the list of things that seem to light a metaphorical match in the darkness: Being outside. Riding a good spin class. Looking at old vacation pictures. Writing. Laughing.

I’m looking to add to the list, but I’m still figuring it out. If all else fails, I just lay on the floor and listen to Magic by Coldplay. Can’t lose with Coldplay.


I recognize that seeking professional help isn’t always accessible or financially feasible. Here’s an article about different types of therapy options for different price points.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 12.44.18 PM