Tag Archives: my_sunnyside

My Sunny Side: You’re Doing Great!

sunny_side_up_on_recoverywise

In the thesaurus the antonym of criticism is compliment:

Compliment:

noun
1. an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration:
A sincere compliment boosts one’s morale.
2.
a formal act or expression of civility, respect, or regard
3.
compliments, a courteous greeting; good wishes; regards:

As you can see, paying a compliment does wonders for the recipient. Not to mention it does wonders for the giver. And that is my point today: why don’t we all give more compliments, or more importantly, encouragement?compliment1

Lately, I have noticed compliments becoming a part of my normal day. And something amazing has been happening: I feel happier and the people around me feel happier.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when the Director of the program pulled me in his office. He then spent 10 minutes complimenting me! He said everyone here was amazed at how well I was doing.

That they recognized all the hard work I have been doing in recovery. Of course, I left the office feeling damn good! He made me feel that I was important. We all need recognition, and his recognition gave me more momentum to keep doing what I am doing.

Similarly, I have noticed that I have been offering up compliments without any thought at all! This is completely different than my old “inward thinking” that I used to do. I used to be focused on three people: me, myself, and I. Giving out a genuine compliment makes other people feel good. I feel good just seeing their face light up. Dare I say, lately I have been, well, happy!compliment3

People have been responding to me in a different way! I’m not suggesting all of a sudden you have to start spitting out compliments like your a machine gun kiss ass. ’m suggesting to incorporate maybe one or two a day. I smile a lot more. A lot more. This is completely off the charts for me. I was never one to overly criticize people, but I certainly wasn’t tossing around compliments either.

It’s easy to criticize, but it’s much more difficult to step out of our selves and offer up “an expression of praise.” So, dear readers, I challenge you: can you find the time today, and everyday, to tell someone you love how much you appreciate them? Not “I love you,” but a genuine compliment? Can you give the guy or gal who serves your coffee a genuine compliment? Can you take two minutes and pat an employee on the back?

I promise you this: start giving “a formal act or expression of civility, respect, or regard,” daily for 30 days, and see if your life isn’t transformed. Who would like to take a 30 day challenge for March, and see if you can compliment someone the entire month? I’m going to start today! Less disdain and criticism, more compliments and love!

compliment2

My Sunny Side: Molly

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Today I celebrate my therapist, Molly.  Each week I travel by shuttle 35 minutes, wait 2 hours for my appointment, then travel back just to be able to work with her.

I started working with Molly sometime in the beginning of November.  Since then we have built a trust between each other that I have rarely felt in the many years I have endured therapy.

I need Molly each week.  I really have no one to talk to.  As you all know, making friends for me is very difficult, and I maybe have one friend I can actually talk to.  My family is extremely small (an aunt and a father, lol)Each week my 1 hour appointment, with travel time and waiting, takes me about 5 hours.  It’s well worth it!  I think I am making progress dealing with my Bipolar and my Borderline Personality Disorder, a diagnosis she made in mid-December.

Group therapy is rapidly declining into utter boredom for me.  I have endured it these past 3 1/2 months and I think I have absorbed everything I need to absorb.  Now comes the application of these lessons in my day to day life.

therapy2 on justruminating men's blogNot so with my therapy with Molly.  She is constantly challenging my impressions of myself.  She is helping me put the pieces of my puzzle together.  She challenges me to examine the think that is sometimes poisonous.  She gives me room to discover on my own the answers that have eluded me for so long.

I have been going to counseling off and on since I was 12 years old.  Other than the therapist I had in college, Molly is as good as it gets.  I can’t wait to talk to her today and put another hour of time in with her.  I count my blessings today that my Higher Power put her in my path.

My Sunny Side: The Donut Man

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Every Saturday morning, without fail, he comes.

It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, he comes.  It was snowing like a sonofabitch two weeks ago.  It didn’t matter.  He came.

I finally spoke to him this morning.  I’m kind of kicking myself for not asking his name, but it was 6am.

I thanked him for always bringing us donuts.  I wanted to express my gratitude to him.  I am sure many others have, but it was my turn.

He was a resident here back in 1999.  Since he graduated 17 years ago he has been bringing donuts here every Saturday!  He said “So I always remember where I came from.  Always.”

What a testament to selfless service!  What an inspiration!  While I was living out 17 years of insanity and chaos, every Saturday this man was bringing donuts to the guys battling through recovery.

Today, I am grateful not only to the Donut Man, but also to the idea he represents:  Service To Others.  And I got to thinking:  what can I do today to be of service to someone other than myself?  I need to get out of my head and do something for someone else.

My Sunny Side: 8 Months Sobriety

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I love nature! I grew up in New Hampshire, a mostly rural state with plenty of majestic woods, ponds, lakes, and the White Mountains.

Today I celebrate 8 months of sobriety!  It has been an interesting ride so far.  I became sober on May 12, the day I was put in jail.

Some would say that I am not undergoing the real “test” until I resume my “normal” life.  I would say that, although that may be somewhat true, I still choose everyday not to pick up.soberiety on justruminating men's blog

I have had certain events occur this week that have sorely challenged my sobriety.  And yet, I choose not to pick up.  As a matter of fact, I have hardly given these situations the energy that I might have normally when I was drinking; that’s tremendous progress!

Although there will always be forces in life testing my resolve, I am coming to understand the true nature of life and my mantras are acceptance and gratitude.  When I accept what life is dishing out, when I accept that I have to deal with life on life’s terms, I maintain control of my emotions.

recovery on justruminating men's blog

Similarly, when I go through my day mindful of all that I have to be grateful for, life’s problems shrink and become so much more manageable.  There will always be people, places, and things that will challenge me.  I used to think that life owed me happiness.  I used to think life owed me inordinate measures of peace and tranquility.

Alas, not so any more.  I now realize–yes, it’s taken me nearly 53 years–that the times of peace and tranquility are but fleeting and should be relished.  The rest of the time life is going to be life, people will be people.  I can’t change people.  I can’t change situations.  I can’t change life.

What I can change, however, is how I respond to them.  I can change how I think about them.  I can choose to relinquish my power or I can choose to not let them tap my inner resources.  I choose acceptance and gratitude.

Today, I am grateful for 8 months of recovery!  And nothing, and NOBODY, will ever take that away from me.  It’s not available.  It’s not an option.

recovered on justruminating men's blog

My Sunny Side: Woods

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I love nature!  I grew up in New Hampshire, a mostly rural state with plenty of majestic woods, ponds, lakes, and the White Mountains.

Many of my very few happy childhood memories of our small family spending the day at the lake.  We were very poor, so we did that a lot.  I took to water like a frog!  I love swimming to this day.

I would get pissed when I would have to wait after lunch to get back into the water!  I would stay in so long my skin would get all pruny.  And I loved hunting for frogs and turtles.  I was worlds away from all my troubles.

Crystal Lake From My Childhood

Crystal Lake From My Childhood

When I was a little older, say 10-13, I would leave on early summer mornings and explore all day by myself.  Even in the winter I would escape my family misery to go sledding or to build snow forts.  I often wouldn’t return until the lights came on; my signal I had to get my ass in the house.

Exploring the woods provided me an outlet for my angst and pain.  I felt connected to everything.  I always found the woods to be so serene, so worthy of all kinds of adventures.

When I got older, part of my juvenile delinquency program, we would go on hiking and camping trips for days.  I discovered the Man On The Mountain! (alas, his face broke off the mountain a few years back 🙁 ).

Old Man Of The Mountain

Old Man Of The Mountain

I loved those times!  It was the first time in my life that I was challenged on arduous hikes, and then rewarded with the most majestic views from atop mountains in the White Mountains.

My college, Plymouth State College in Plymouth New Hampshire, was just minutes from Tenney Mountain.  I learned how to ski there and learned to love it!  I never progressed past the beginner slopes, but my love for nature was even more solidified.

Plymouth State College

Plymouth State College

When my children were old enough, and I mean I am talking Nick was 5 and Matt 3, I would take them into the woods for long hikes and snacks.

As a matter of fact, for the majority of the time I had them–until my ex and her parents brainwashed them into hating me, and so I haven’t seen them in 10 years–we spent almost all of our visitation time in nature.

I am proud of the fact that I instilled in my boys a true passion, appreciation, and respect for nature.  I taught them to fish, hike, build fires, hunt frogs.  When they were only 7 and 5 I took them on a very challenging hike in the White Mountains; they did incredibly well.  I hope that they still have that profound love of nature that I do.

White Mountain Range N.H.

White Mountain Range N.H.

Even in my worst days of alcoholism, I always took walks in the woods.  I did a lot of fishing.  For me, spending time in nature, is like spending time with my inner self.

Every time I explore the woods, go swimming, go fishing, I feel like I am truly home.  I can’t get enough of the sights, the smells, the sounds.

We are going on a skiing trip on January 28th, I can’t wait!  Next time you are feeling blue, get out into nature!  I don’t mean a park.  I mean, if you have the access, deep into the woods!  Leave your phone at home.  Go find yourself.  You’ll be waiting there, I guarantee it.

(just a side note:  I do not condone hunting unless it is a controlled hunt for thinning a herd, or for true survival.  I shot a squirrel with my BB Gun at age 12 and felt so bad about it, I gave it a formal funeral and never killed another creature again.  Well, I might have skinned a few frogs…anyway.)
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