What to Say: When Someone Tells You to Leave the Addicts in Your Life.

How many people have heard this before? Life hits us like a ton of bricks sometimes and dealing with the judgments of others makes it that much more difficult. Here is a little insight into how to face those people in your life that just say ..give up. I hope this serves you! XO

Leave a comment below and let's talk about what this conversation has looked like for you and what you have done to handle it!

Why You Are Stuck in the Negatives of Your Relationship

Why You Are Stuck in the Negatives of Your Relationship

Why You Are Stuck in the Negatives of Your Relationship

 

    Healthy relationships take work. We all know that. But they offer so many rewards that it makes the work totally worth the effort. If it didn’t, why would we bother? It’s way easier to act out or listen to old mindsets than it is to work toward actual change and personal growth.

 

    We found that there is inner peace to be found through soul searching. Facing inner turmoil and angst provided much needed relief from the pressures that had built up inside us - pressures that had pushed us toward addictive and codependent behaviors in the first place. But it’s not easy to change habits that we have built over years.

 

    Here are the three big reasons you are having a hard time changing how you conduct yourself with your loved one.

    

  1. It’s familiar. As we said, you are following habitual patterns that you spent years putting in place. Who can blame you for continuing to do so? But the old saying goes “familiarity breeds contempt”. It also breeds boredom. Neither of these are feelings you want to associate with you relationship with your loved one.

  2. Your partner is doing the same. He/she may not even realize they have fallen into old habits or that they are even prone to following bad habits at all. But if they are, it is very easy to do the same, whether consciously or unconsciously. Have the two of you ever taken the time to - lovingly - look at your relationship to see where stumbling blocks in communication occur regularly?

  3. It’s easy. Perhaps you have been with your partner long enough that you basically put your input on auto-pilot, which requires little or no work and little or no thought. This behavior is understandable after a hard day at work or one filled with challenges, but it does nothing to create a healthy relationship. You need to put forth effort - not every moment of every day - but on a regular and consistent basis.  

 

    So how do we reconnect when distance and complacency has become so ingrained in us? As with everything else, the awareness is a huge component. But then it takes the effort of both partners to change, to shift, to mix things up in order to move towards the positive aspects of the relationship. This can be fun and exciting and we can move away from the blame games and into mysterious reconnection with one another.

     Use what you know about the person you love. Connect with them in respects to the things they love, even if you don’t. When this goes both ways there is a very solid balance that occurs. This balance keeps us from learning too much to the negative, but like we said before, let’s be real, the boat needs to rock to keep us on our toes, to keep us growing and flourishing. Just keep your eyes open!

     If you want to keep up to date with tips and guidance from us and haven’t already make sure to join our list HERE where you get weekly emails that will lead to a more happy healthy relationship in recovery and LOVE!

 

The Puppeteer

There was the time before no awareness. When I knew only what laid in front of me, when I could only see as far as my ego would let me. I can’t even say when it happened but I slowly became aware that there was something more. 

I know I was catapulted by a relapse my husband had, where I felt my world crumble like a muffin in the hands of a two year old. And it was just as quick and painful and an ultimate demolition of everything I thought I could hold on to. 

Before these moments of awakening I was a puppeteer, attaching strings to everyone and everything in my life. I wanted ultimate control over everything and I used my strings of emotion to make this happen. I would wiggle a string this way by saying something I knew would spark the ripple effect of reaction and have my husband right where I wanted him, guilt ridden, shamed, and just below me as he should be. After all, I was never addicted to a substance like him, so I was the better one. This would go on for years, my manipulation skills became better than his, but fortune for him, he had an outlet, an escape, a refuge from the shitty crap I dumped on him for being a terrible person for using alcohol to escape. I knew subconsciously that I had the ability to hold him down, building him up never even crossed my mind - in an authentic way of course - there was always an alternative motive, to have things controlled and to be my way. Notice here I make myself sound like a monster, like the one who caused the turbulence that kept our hearts in the shadows of despair, as far from hope as possible. And I was this monster, ignorant and unknowing, it never actually crossed my mind that I could be contributing to the loathing self hatred that already stirred in his soul. 

Again, I cannot pinpoint a moment when I made this realization, and maybe it makes this story less than thrilling but it happened and it was like coming out of a damn coma when I woke up and saw that I was the bully. 

You can choose to believe that addiction (to anything) is a disease, or not, but what I came to see in the sad eyes of my husband everytime he relapsed was that he did NOT want to be doing this. He did not want a substance to have a death grip on his heart, let alone his marriage. His self torture became stronger each time, and each time I threatened to take more away from him, like telling a child they can’t have candy because they said a naughty word one too many times. My anger may not have subsided in the moment, however I realized now my rage was not because he was being a dick who drank and drove, it was because he was killing, slowly killing, that person inside of him, the true Andy who came to this earth to teach something special, as we all do. And that person was withering away to an unrecognizable case of a human, containing a dwindling light that had the potential to be blown out by the softest breeze. 

As I saw this through new and compassionate eyes, I could see the potential that when he was sober was just going to soar. And not only that, but my own potential, that I deserved so much more than being the one with the strings demanding the puppets go up or down or twirl around. I was now in the center of myself, somewhere I hadn’t been since I was a child, somewhere I didn’t remember yet was so damn familiar because it felt comfortable. I now have the ability to see the beauty in everyone, from the heroine addict on the street to the tortured CEO living someone else’s life, both of whom consequently, had the vision of being firemen before someone told them no. 

I stand in this place now being imperfect, judgemental and unloving at times but knowing I can make the choice to come back to my heart at any time and see the truth of love that is everywhere, ever present, and always surrounding us. 

Why I am Grateful My Husband is in Jail: A Lesson in Confidence

I haven't written here in awhile. Lately doing video blogs have been quicker and easier for me but there is something about writing that I really connect with and find soothing and healing. 

And it is funny because this is all part of my journey. Previously I didn't feel super confident being in front of the camera. Not only that, I didn't feel confident about many other things as well. Having this new temporary freedom, or gift from the Universal Spirits as I like to refer to it, I have been forced to do things I never thought I would. 

One of the biggest things I am realizing is that I am UNCOMFORTABLE. For example, in everyday life without my husband here, in my soul, in my skin somedays, in my thoughts sometimes. As I write this I realize that my state of being is quite "off" to put it simply. I have felt like I am floating around on a cloud under the surface of the earth. Buried but free, it is a very odd feeling as you can imagine. So let me put it like this for any of the introverts out there. You know that feeling when you walk into a party with a bunch of people you don't know and feel super out of place. Like the thought of every little thing you wear, say or do runs through your head. Well that is the discomfort I am talking about that I experience in myself many days.. Yet, I have become okay with these feelings. Not comfortable with them quite yet but certainly become able to accept them. And as a result I have less anxiety, I have more joy and I live in the moment more often. 

I am pretty all over the place these days and although I judge myself sometimes for not being an ideal super mom that doesn't exist, I sustain the mantra "you are doing awesome." This helps so much even though sometimes it makes me cry because I am in awe of how far I have come, how much I have grown in the last 3 months. The part that is challenging right now is thinking that I may have another three months to go. I feel my energy lacking and time losing meaning as I continue on this path. But as I feel a loss of daily love from my husband and energy in my life, I feel a rejuvenated, self-induced passion that is completely dependent on me and only me. Talk about a confidence booster.

That is HUGE for someone with the disease of codependency. I used to seek my confidence and happiness in my husband. If he wasn't happy I wasn't happy so my goal was to make him happy so that I could be happy. I will tell you how effective that is....it's NOT. With the space I have been given I am now able to catch myself when I get stuck in these patterns, having thoughts about how to make him happy in prison, what can I tell him to do, say, read, write in order to uplift him. Then I realize the profoundness of his distance, I can do nothing to control his happiness. I can add accents of happiness to his life but I cannot be his source of happiness just as he cannot be mine. 


I used to take on all the responsibility for fear that he would not be able to handle it or it was too much for him. In hindsight I now see that I was robbing him of the ability to try to stand on his own two feet and face his life head on. That immediately took down his confidence to approach real life. I was trying to protect him but I was hurting him by not letting him be responsible for his own life. This is a HUGE realization. If you have experienced this in your life, take a look at who you may be trying to protect. 

We need confidence to live to breath to take steps forward to grow. If we are preventing people from feeling the ups and downs they will never get anywhere in life. 

This is the time for me to let my husband fall or fly and for me to do the same. And guess what it's going to make us stronger individually and able to thrive as a couple. 

What makes you feel more confident in your life? Do you get that feeling from yourself or others? Let me know in the comments below!

My Husband is NOT on a Business Trip

Talk about the full truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God... 

It is all said here, just watch the video and it will fill in the blanks....


SO MUCH Light & Love,
Julie Bel & Andy

Being Married to an Addict (PART 3)

My third video has A LOT of information in it. Let it sink in, anyone who has an addict in their lives knows these struggles. 

My goal is to offer gentle suggestions and solutions that will lead to a more peaceful and serene life. It is possible and like I said before, there is SO much hope. 

Please reach out if you need anything, I am here to support you. 

Like I say at the end of the video I will be back with an update about my husband and he will also be doing his own videos in conjunction with mine. Because this is a family illness we try to encourage each other and work together to help others. 

This is an individual journey, take what you like and leave the rest. No judgements here, ONLY LOVE.

God, Grant Me The Serenity To Accept The Things I Cannot Change, The Courage To Change The Things I Can And The Wisdom To Know The Difference. 

Light & Love ~
Julie Bel

Being Married to Addict (PART 2)

I never thought I would be this open and honest, but I feel it is important to step away from my shame. To come out of the closet and share my story in hopes of reaching others just like me.

If there is one person out there I can help then this is my purpose.

Being a mother and learning to handle to stress of motherhood and being in my own recovery from the family illness of addiction are my two greatest messages.

Watch here to hear about a few of the things I did to start to change my life for the better, one day at a time.

Please comment below and share your experience, strength and hope!


Light & Love!
Julie Bel

Being Married to Addict (PART 1)

I have never come out like this before. 


I have never told my whole truth. 


I always kept my anonymity for fear of being shamed or judged, but I am here to say screw that because people need to hear this message. 


There are millions of addicts in and out of recovery in this world and that means that there are millions of family members of addicts struggling as well. I share this message with an open heart to all of those who are watching a loved one travel down the road of addiction. 


There is no shame to be had. We are all human. All I can do is share my experience and my journey and hope that it touches someone's life who needs it. 


Love & Light!
Julie Bel

 

What is Means to Have Courage as a Mom

 Recently I have found myself connecting to a prayer. I used to never pray and I am still not sure what I believe in. But like I have talked about before, I do believe in something greater than myself it is just not defined in my mind, heart and soul (yet). But this prayer speaks to me daily, 
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. " 
This is referred to as the serenity prayer, I also like to call it the peace prayer because it gave me piece of mind and peace in my heart during difficult times. What I failed to see in this prayer for a very long time was the word COURAGE. After some time it became easier for me to accept the things I could not change in my life, especially people in my life and their actions. However, I never gave much attention to the COURAGE to change the things I can. I have come to realize that really the ONLY thing I can change in my life is MYSELF. As a mother I contemplate what this means. And I recognize many places it applies but mostly it is with my behaviors towards my children. It takes courage to not yell, to let things slide, to put your foot down calmly....all these things take way more courage to conquer a fear than we think.

     I spoke to someone the other day who was talking to me about courage and she told me that the word comes from a Latin word meaning "whole-hearted" and when I heard this I couldn't have been more struck by the truth behind that definition, it made this word even more powerful to me. It caused me to stop in my tracks and think about what that it really meant to have courage. Courage = Whole-Hearted. Which to me means an incredible amount on strength to step out of a comfort zone that is SO comfortable! 

       We get very complacent in our lives without even knowing it especially for me when it comes to parenting. When we have a desire of wanting to do something new and different our instincts tell us to back off and that it is dangerous territory. And it totally is dangerous territory to our psyche because it is unchartered, scary territory. Remember like I talked about the other week how fear can truly hold us down and keep us from taking steps forward. So when we have the strength to even LOOK for the courage within ourselves to step into that unknown place that is frightening it is really an amazing accomplishment, even if it is just a tiny step. It without a doubt takes a WHOLE-HEART to muster up that courage to take a new step in an uncomfortable direction. For me when I want to try a new thing with my children or STOP a behavior that is not benefiting myself or my children I always meet much resistance in my head and my heart.

       So what the heck is a whole heart? Yea, most of us physically have a whole heart but when we refer to it in a non-physical form it is so much different. To me it means putting your all, your everything, your fears and loves and desires out in the open, to share, to give, to be aware of others feelings. To be aware of your own feelings and to listen to those feelings and to honor others'. To feel that you deserve everything you want in life and to go after it. To believe that you have gifts that the world needs to experience and to take steps to share them. All of these things, to me, are part of a whole heart and a courageous mind.

     I am writing about courage and a whole-heart because we all have it within us and most of us use it daily, especially mothers - without even knowing it. We have to be resourceful and prepared and aware of what comes at us on a daily basis. I think that even when we do a very small thing that makes us nervous we are taking a courageous action. Many times you don't even notice that you are doing it. It could be trying a new sleep routine with your child or experimenting with a new food, or reaching out to a friend that you need a little help. These are all little steps of courage we take. I find that when I notice them and give them attention they grow into bigger and more courageous actions. As mothers we constantly surprise ourselves with what we can handle on a day to day basis. It's pretty awesome.

       I invite you to take a look at the things you do on a daily basis that cause you discomfort and find some peace in the fact that that discomfort means that you had to find COURAGE within yourself to do that thing. Take pride in that and be happy with yourself that you took a step towards growing as a person. Not only does that improve your life and make you feel good inside but you are naturally showing your children what it means to be brave and have courage. It doesn't mean conquering a mountain it means using your whole-heart to move forward and become a better you. 


Love & Light!
Julie Bel

What the Heck is Spirituality?

    I grew up with a Jewish mother and a Christian father (who would probably call himself an Atheist now).  God to me was a man with a white beard in the sky that was a figment of people's imaginations. The idea of God and religion to me was fleeting, undefined and frankly stupid when I was growing up. I just didn't get it. 
     I attended all of my cousins Bar and Bar Mitzvahs. I went to church a few times with my friends on random Sundays or special holidays. I went to the local synagogue with my mother for the high holidays. In all of this I never had any idea what any of it meant or what it meant to other people. 
       Since this time and as I have grown older I have been through some difficult situations in my life. When my brother suddenly passed away I asked my husband desperately to say the "Lord's Prayer" to me because I found some kind of comfort in hearing it. This was completely out of character and a bizarre request for him to hear. I would talk to my therapist at the time and say, I think people who are religious have it easier because they know where their loved ones go and they believe in God. I don't have that. I felt at the time like I was above those people who believed in these things and like I knew someone they didn't, turns out it was the other way around in some respects.  
      Obviously because I am writing this post things have shifted in my life. Where did this shift occur, why and what the heck is spirituality?? 
Here are the things I have learned on my journey about spirituality:

1.) Spirituality is NOT religion. There is no one thing or person that is being worshiped or put up on a pedestal. Spirituality simply refers to the fact that we believe there is something else out there that we can connect to. It means that we do not have to control the world on our own, and in fact we cannot, we truly only have control over ourselves. For many people their spiritual journey begins when they are stuck in a bad place. Many people start by finding a power greater to be a group of people that will be in a certain place at a certain time without fail. It is something that gives us comfort when all else seems to fail us. Often, as it was for me, the search for something bigger than us happens when tragedy strikes or rock bottoms knocks us on our butts. But it is not religious in the sense that we need to go to a church or synagogue to feel the presence, it is something that is all around us all the time like a warm bubble of light. 

2.) Spirituality is that weird thing that happens when you are thinking about a friend and they call or text you. It is unexplainable events that make total and complete sense. It makes you feel safe and like you belong. To me, it makes me feel like I have a purpose in this universe when I can connect to something greater than myself. When things in my life feel like they are in line and are supposed to happen this is when I see signs or hear that song on the radio that reminds me of my brother. Spirituality is about paying attention to the fact that there is a bigger picture, that we are connected to others and that we are part of a whole in this life. 

3.) Spirituality connects us strongly to nature and the beauty that surrounds us. You can think about the science of nature logically for an eternity but it will still never explain the magnificence of the oceans and the creatures that live in it or the beauty of a sunset. These places and things in nature bring a sense of peace and calm. This is why many people spend so much time in nature, because it is where they feel something like no other, even if they aren't sure what it is. Spirituality and connection cannot always be explained, it just is and when we can accept that beauty that surrounds us, we are connected. For many people I know nature IS their spirituality, plain and simple. 

4.) Spirituality is different for every single human being on this planet...and other planets for that matter. There is no cookie cutter one size fits all version. It is an individual process for each person, it is truly not a noun, it is an adjective. There is no one way to look at it and it is ever changing. Think about how as a child you may have had an idea of what a certain word meant but as you grew up you discovered its true meaning. This is how I see spirituality. As we make new connections and discoveries in our lives we see things differently and we find peace with them in a new way. 


Spirituality is for everyone if they choose to see the grand scale of the beauty of the world.  It is not something or someone to follow it is to listen to your heart and trust that you are headed in the right direction, now and always, in any way shape or form.


Love & Light,


Julie Bel