#YesFast: "NO" is a Complete Sentence
BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
As I write this blog it is the eve of January 31st and tomorrow is the first day of our second month in 2017. Man how time flies. Just a few short moments ago I was dancing in the arms of a complete stranger, staring into a sea of possibilities on New Year’s Eve and now here we are – one month later. I have just completed a month long commitment to learn to say “NO” to people and things that I have sincerely struggled with being able to. I set out on a mission to hold myself accountable to others, and what better way than by social media? Along the way it gained momentum and as with all things in my life, it took its own direction. God did for me what I could not do for myself.
I am pleased to say that I actually stuck this one out. I completed 30 days of my #YesFast and came away from it with a better understanding of myself. I can honestly say I’m stronger as a person in my recovery because of this. A lot of people asked a long the way, as they cheered me on, what a #YesFast was. They asked how they could participate. They wanted all kinds of details. At first I didn’t have a whole lot, just that I was trying to accomplish something that to me seemed impossible.
My inspiration came from my Alanon sponsor who reverently said to me once, “Every time you say YES to something, you are saying NO to something else”. She quietly reminded me that maybe it was a good idea to look at the things that I was saying YES to and make sure that they were cohesive with my overall recovery and mental health.
For example: when I say YES to watching my grandkids right after I get home from work, I am saying NO to being able to wind down and get centered. I then need to weigh the importance of it and if it is worth giving up the valuable me time I need in order to be of maximum service to my higher power and others.
What if I say YES to the request to babysit and NO to decompressing? Well, that could mean that I may be resentful of my grandchildren or son and not be as good of a Mema that I want to be to them. I don’t treasure my time with them and put aside my needs for another. No one wins.
Now what if I say NO to the request initially and YES to my needs? Well, perhaps I can take a moment to get centered, change clothes, grab a bite to eat and maybe meditate or just relax for a bit. Then I am in a better position to be of maximum service to my grandchildren and my son. I am not so resentful because I made sure my needs and recovery were met first. Everyone comes out happier by far.
By me being able to evaluate the YES’s and NO’s in my life I can see where I have been off balance. I am not perfect at it, but this last month has given me tons of practice. I became more conscious of that I was saying YES to and saying NO to. That was a crucial part of this challenge.
You see, not only did I get to be more conscious of my choices and my motives for making them, I also got to learn what it was that I was needing to be fulfilled and happy. I love to give. I love to give so much that I forget that I need to give myself something as well. I deserve as much love and attention as I freely give to others. I have never quite figured out the balance. I don’t suppose I ever will. This will be something I will get plenty of practice with throughout the rest of my days. I don’t mind.
I also want to make sure to share the side effects of my #YesFast. I knew that this challenge was working when it met opposition. It is not for the faint of heart. I will forewarn you if you choose to do this on your own. I met with friends and family who got upset with me at various points of this journey. They actually got upset with my recovery and told me to “stop it”. It was incredible, the anxiety and stress it brought to others when I stood my ground. They weren’t certain about these new choices of mine. I stood strong and even though I may have lost some a long the way (they may be back someday) I didn’t lose my self-respect. Some are still upset, but that let’s me know I had set some pretty unhealthy boundaries prior. So I’m headed in the right direction and those that are suppose to be on this journey with me will love me all the more for this as they learn what this new concept looks like to them as well.
In the end, I get to be the loving mother to my children that they rather I was. I get to be the happy-go-lucky coworker I once was. I get to be a fun Mema to my grandkids. I get to be someone my friends (the ones that stuck around through this) like to hang out with. I also get to be of maximum service to others in recovery and most importantly I get to love the person I see in the mirror.
This year has now turned into an adventure of its own. For once in my life I want to be conscious of my life, not just conscious. I want to live and love. I want to share that with others and help others to find their balance between calamity and serenity.
Recovery isn’t all about the doom and gloom. For me, it is about learning to live now that I no longer drink. I still must maintain my recovery and I love being of service to others. I am also learning to be of service to me as well and recover from the disease of codependency with it. My AA sponsor once told me its like trying to find the middle of the road.
I will continue to use what I have learned this last month. I hope others find their own #YesFast as well. The year 2017 has a whole new meaning with each new day. I have made the decision this month to forge forward with a new challenge for myself to help me grow into the person God intended me to be all along. I know my higher power well enough, that if I get going in the wrong direction he’ll make sure I get on his path one way or another. I’ve learned that much for sure.
So, this next month is the month of #Love. I will find a way to show love to another or myself and share it with the world through social media. I will encourage others to do the same. This world needs so much healing right now that it’s the perfect time for it. Love heals all wounds. I believe this.
As this year progresses you will find that my writing will be probably headed in a much different direction. My recovery is growing as I have had so many growth opportunities this last year I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. My recovery may look different to some that have been used to me one way. Please know, I am still Tami. I am an alcoholic in recovery and an Alanon fighting for recovery. In getting honest through my program of recovery for my alcoholism I found that the disease that will surely kill me is the Alanon side of me. I just need to make sure I stay sober first so I can take care of the rest because my alcoholism will surely take my life too.
For now, I want to be considered a double-winner. I finally own it. I have found a place of acceptance for it. Who I am going forward will address both sides of the coin of recovery. It is who I am. I hope that you find yourself wanting to join the journey and you are welcome at any point in time to join in. I give great thanks to Drunkless.com (without it I would not have survived some very dark days this last year). I also give great thanks to the founder who is a great man full of hope and love for everyone. I also want to give thanks to all of you who have stood by me as I have transformed over this last year – I couldn’t have done it without you. Most importantly I give great love and proper respect to my higher power for making all things possible. Light and love to all of you this new month in 2017. Let’s rock it with #love like nobody’s business.
~ Tami Harper Winn ~
PS. The name #YesFast came from my brilliant daughter, who when I was trying to come up with a name for my challenge set me straight. I originally wanted to call it a “NoFast” which to her seemed incredibly unthinkable, actually ridiculous. If I was going to learn to say no then I needed to fast from the word YES, hence the #YesFast was born. She is so smart.
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