What is the one thing you could do everyday that would make you feel accomplished and personally full-filled?
I was asked this question again last week and my heart sank a bit. Well, first it bulged and then it sank. It bulged because I got excited; I knew the answer. From the depths of my soul I knew what activity made me feel accomplished, centered, happy, and fulfilled. Believe it or not, it had nothing to do with fitness. “WRITING!” I wanted to shout out. But then it sank, because I have not done said activity in exactly six months. I know it’s been six months because my last post was near my 6-month sobriety date, and here I am sitting at 1 year.
Yesterday was exactly one year without alcohol. You would think that sentence would be followed by my usual hundred exclamation marks, but I feel really calm about it. I think day one the accomplishment was huge, and one week, one month, and even 3 months and 6 months, but as time went on it wasn’t as emotional or scary or challenging for me. I also wonder if being pregnant and adding another four months to this goal made the achievement not feel quite as rewarding, or if I have just become so accustomed to abstaining that without the struggle the achievement has less meaning. Either way, I think it’s good that I hit my year yesterday and just said okay, let’s keep going, but I also think it’s good to take some time and reflect on what the absence of alcohol has done for me and my life in the past year.
It’s almost baffling how much my life has changed in only a year. As I sit here with a 21-week baby growing in my stomach it almost feels surreal. To think that there is life growing in what I have always labeled the “Achilles heel” of my body is pretty unbelievable in itself. Last year the only thing growing in my stomach was yeast, candida and a leaky gut that left me feeling miserable.
After a lifetime of stomach and digestion issues, I was finally at my breaking point. I was on an intensive search to heal the root of the problem and stop medicating the symptoms. I had already taken out dairy, gluten, high intensity exercise, sugar, practiced daily meditation, daily stress relieving walks, focused on 8+ hours of sleep, stopped lifting weights, only practiced yoga 2-3x week after 6 months of doing nothing but walking, fasted for over a month in the summer with a hot bone broth only diet, and took every supplement, naturopathic and pharmaceutical grade medication I could for my digestion and hormone health.
For a while I felt better, but I still wasn’t fully digesting food, still had bouts of horrible IBS symptoms, frequent low energy, and unhealthy hormone levels. I was so inflamed I was fluffy and couldn’t help but be unhappy about it. I remember my doctor telling me I couldn’t get pregnant even if I wanted to and that stuck with me.
Insert: Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Then I got super crazy sick. Like two weeks of throwing up, in bed, couldn’t eat, inflamed, felt miserable, I think I’m going to die sick. And I looked up and said something has to change. I felt like I had done everything. Everything!! Minus one thing; taking out alcohol completely. So after being crumbled on the bathroom floor, I closed my eyes and prayed for the strength to be sober for a year. There is no better place for a big life altering decision than physically and mentally crumbled on your bathroom floor; finding resilience through your surrender.
As someone who has battled depression their entire life, partly due to the connection between an unhappy gut is an unhappy mind, and partly due to my desire to constantly want to be in a state of achievement and self-betterment with my type A, overly driven, constantly wanting more mentality, I have felt many downs and ups in my life. I have hit rock bottom and I have soared above the clouds. Rarely do I just coast through life. I’m sure when you think of me it is either annoyingly happy or annoyingly sad. I am sorry about that! But one of the things I love about my better half, Jarrod, is that he has always been my steady anchor. He is one of the most stable and consistent people I have ever known; yet at the same time, he is also extremely driven and passionate for life.
Hang around the people you would most like to become.
Jarrod is a rock of emotional stability. He is a problem solver. To my knowledge, he has never quit on anything. And thankfully, he is my biggest supporter. He sees everything so positively that honestly, it’s hard to find the negative in our life. When we find something negative, we change our words into something of gratitude. He taught me that. We still go to sleep counting our gratitude’s for the day. What a blessing that is. It’s a mindset shift. It’s a choice. I choose to see the good. I choose to be happy.
A year ago I found myself hungry for change not only in my health, but also in my life. MOVE was going great, real estate was going great, and everything from friends to family to my marriage was great and stable. I realize this is not a bad thing! Most people love stability. But I thrive on change. I love the hunger, the drive, the pain, the push, the working on all cylinders, and the growth that comes from it. I constantly want more from myself. I want to be more successful. Have more confidence. Love myself in a radiating, heart bursting way. I want to have energy. I want to be healthy. I want to make myself uncomfortable and challenge myself to be the best version of myself.
So I wanted to take off to New York City to find that person I so longed to be. And I wanted to do it alone. By the way, amazing Jarrod said okay. Go. Take three months and follow your dream, and if it’s still your dream and you get up there and you love it, we can sell our condo, sell the gym and I’ll move up there with you. Like I said, my biggest supporter. I think he knew leaving was the easy way out, but he didn’t say a word. He didn’t want to stop me from growing and experiencing and learning and changing for myself. Why is it so much scarier to remake yourself exactly where you are? Why do we need to hop on a plane to find our true north?
I realized the biggest place for growth was right where I was. Sure, I can move to NYC, surround myself with like-minded people who are at the top of their game, driven, hustling, making it or breaking it, super healthy, super fit, super successful, super passionate. That’s easy. That’s not growth. That’s changing your environment so that it will change you. No, what’s hard is changing who you are right in the middle of where you have always been. It’s changing your habits one by one. It’s adding people and experiences that motivate you and change you and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. It’s taking away the people and things and habits that are bringing you down.
I see so many people in their 20’s and 30’s unhappy and anxious and stressed. And I can probably see it more because I can relate to it, I have empathy for them. What is my purpose? Who am I? What am I supposed to do with this life? I love asking those questions. And I don’t think we ever stop asking them. But I see people answer them in two different ways. Positively. Or Negatively. It’s okay to search. In fact, searching and growing is how you better yourself. But chasing happiness and fleeing from difficult situations is only a short-term fix for problems you are just taking with you. What was the root cause and soul radiating need for me to want to move to NYC and become a spin instructor? What lit a fire so hot in my belly that I was honestly willing to leave everything that was already great and stable in order to obtain?
I had to ask myself these questions and I had to be authentically patient with my answers. No judgment. Just my truth. What did I truly desire? I wanted to look and feel healthy, no more stomach issues. I wanted to inspire people on a very deep level. I wanted to prove I could make it on my own, financially and mentally. I wanted to have confidence and love myself so much that people saw it radiating off of me and wanted to feel the same way. I didn’t want to care what people thought of me. I wanted to live a passionate life I looked forward to. I wanted to wake up with energy and go to sleep with contentment. I wanted to share my love and passion with the world without a doubt in my mind that I could’ve given more.
This past year I can honestly say I have started achieving the root of my deepest desires and have felt more at peace than I ever have in my life. Taking away alcohol doesn’t just solve your problems, but for me, it was the final self-medication that I had to stop in order to see my life more clearly, to own up to my choices, and to create space for my deepest desires. It enabled me to be healthy enough that I could create more strength mentally and physically to achieve the things I have always wanted. And I was able to do it right here in my hometown. Surrounded by family and friends who love me no matter what. Who also want to see me live passionately, chase my dreams, show up and live authentically to the beat of my own drum.
I remember the two questions I asked my friend after he took alcohol away for a year. #1 Was it worth it? And #2 Are you going to stay sober? It’s crazy that was over a year ago! But I’ll go ahead and give my take…
Was it worth it?
A million times yes. I feel balanced, I feel calm, I feel accomplished, I feel in control. I had the highest production year I have ever had in real estate and have developed the most special relationship with my mother and business partner. I became a residential broker which means one day I can take over our company of West Austin Properties and continue the third generation family owned legacy. I have helped friends find their first home and have helped facilitate important life transitions for complete strangers who have become some of my closest friends. I am living my dream of being a world class spin instructor, with the most amazing community of riders/lovahs, leading sold out classes that bring me more joy than anything I have ever done. NYC aint got nothin’ on Love Cycling Studio!! I have been able to be a supportive wife as Jarrod maxed out our membership at the gym and has exceeded every goal we have ever had for MOVE. We just bought our first house together! And the personal biggest accomplishment of all that started this whole journey, I was able to take control of my health!! My digestion, hormones, and energy levels are stable. I haven’t had any stomach issues, and I was able to get pregnant! What a difference a year makes.
For the next four months…definitely. Alcohol has lost its luster in my life, which is such a blessing because it makes saying no so easy now. I love being in more control of my mind and my words and my health. There were definitely four times this past year where I wish I could’ve had a celebratory drink. Moving forward, I don’t think I’ll be as rigid about my sobriety, but I will choose my drinking moments carefully. Health is the greatest wealth, and as long as I feel good I am hesitant to change my new routine. But just when you think you’ve got everything under control, God sticks a beautiful baby boy in your life, right in your gut, to mix things up. Yet, I’m not afraid. In fact, I’m beyond excited for the next chapter. I am so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I am resilient. I am confident. I am capable. I am love.