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I don’t pick a word. I tried to do that a few years ago when I was going through my divorce, but I couldn’t be open and access that channel during that time, for a multitude of reasons. As I’ve been reading friends yearly New Year’s blog’s, I’ve seen the words they’ve chosen and I keep asking myself, “Should I choose a word this year?” My hesitation is that I won’t remember this every day – but then I ask myself do I need to?

It’s 5.30 am and I’m wide awake. I’ve been so tired the last few days from the Holidays and New Year’s, I stayed up until 1 am – which I haven’t done in years! Another sober New Years and another reflective journey of the past year. A lot of growth, healing, love, loss, challenges, triumphs, being of service, saying No, (and not feeling guilty), practicing self-love and self-care, making new friends while cherishing the ones I have and being open to more. More of anything that may serve me.

Last year started off with a broken foot, no exciting story there, just a slip on the stairs. And asking for help during those 3 months was tough, but so many were there. Really there for me. Friends took Bailey for almost a month, another friend did my laundry and drove me to Doctor’s appointments, another friend took me into her home to recuperate from my surgery. She colored my hair for me, drove me to the store anytime I needed, and she called almost daily with “What do you need today?”. That was my bestie, so of course she did more. More is such a great word – maybe that should be my word for the year?

In Spring I went back East for a family reunion which consisted of my siblings and their significant others, and most of my cousins from my mother’s side. I also added a side trip to NYC in there and it didn’t disappoint. The older I get the more important family is to me. We’ve all lost our parents (except one of my cousins) at this point and being able to show up for a reunion meant a lot to me and I feel it meant a lot to all who were there. It wasn’t just the cousins/spouses, some even had their children in tow, all of whom are now young adults – and it was a much-needed connection that I didn’t even know I was missing.

I also started a new career with a highly successful and recognized Biotech company, where the learning curve was a lot more challenging than I had expected, but with great training, a supportive team of colleagues, some perseverance and good note taking – I came to enjoy my new role and felt a sense of belonging, while knowing that nothing happens overnight and I need to be patient with myself as I had to learn new things along the way. I’m so grateful I didn’t say No and just kept asking for help. I was able to receive more, and I welcomed it all with an open head and heart.

Summer didn’t disappoint and living in my cozy beach town added such joy to my daily life, as well as Bailey’s. I was able to practice gratitude each and every day. Our morning beach runs were the highlight of my day, where I could meditate on the moment of just being there with Bailey and recognizing that I am one of the lucky ones that gets to have this life of more. I attended a few concerts over the summer and fall months, and of course this included my fave, Dead & Company, which took me to LA and Boulder (first time there) where I could dance, sing and rejoice in my favorite music being surrounded by fellow deadheads. Albeit, this summer is their last and final tour, and I will definitely be in attendance for a couple shows where I can, again, experience bliss in the music, atmosphere and the love of it all.

Traveling this past year took me all over the US and even a day in Mexico! I love traveling and being with like-minded folks, so whether it’s in Miami at a She Recovers conference, or in NYC with family, or Scottsdale to visit an old friend, or going to LA and Palm Desert a bunch, or even my first-time trips to Pismo Beach, Boulder, Diamondhead, Mississippi, and Bend, Oregon – all of them filled me up with such excitement of being somewhere new or visiting someplace I know to see others. One of those trips was bittersweet as it was a funeral for a close family friend that I’d known since I was in 5th grade – but being with her family and being a part of that and showing up for them – it meant so much to more. I’m truly blessed to have so many amazing and loving people in my life, near and far, and they all give me that one “thing” we all so desperately want – LOVE. Should that be my word this year?

I celebrated 18 years of sobriety in May of last year (almost to 19), and all I can say about that is, Thank You Universe. That is not all me. That is me showing up for myself, others, and the universe in a way that I never knew was imaginable. When I first got sober, I didn’t know how or what my life would look like. All I knew is that I wanted something more. Something better than what I had – which at the time was nothing more than a life of alcohol and cocaine that consumed me for over 20 years, Rinse and Repeat. I was able to self-publish my Memoir, Last Call, a Memoir, in 2015 via Amazon. The story on how and why I wrote it is a different story all together, but the main reason was to help others. Young women especially. I wanted it to be a cautionary tale of how not to live your life, so you didn’t end up where I did at 37 years old. Drunk in a cop car with my second DUI knowing I had a problem, and my life was fucked up. Help – I needed help. Walking into a 12-step meeting changed the course of my life to give me so much more than I thought was possible. I know my book is helping others as it’s been on the Kindle best seller list for Teen and Young Adult Non-fiction on Substance Abuse for a while now. I continue to get emails from others saying it helps them. I’m grateful my story can help – even for that one person.

Now about Love. I went through a couple break ups this past year, and at the time they really sucked – however the learning, healing, and growth I had from those experiences only prepared me for what may lie ahead. I did the extra work in therapy, while also journaling and doing daily prayer and meditation. I read the blogs and IG posts on gas-lighting, love bombing and the like and I was able to weather through them with grace and dignity and not show up as a psycho ex-girlfriend. And now I’m dating again. It feels different, comfortable, sweet, and healthy – and with one day at a time it always comes back to love.

And the best part of it all is The Everyday. The mornings with Bailey. The meetings. Being able to ask for help. Helping other women, which in turn helps me. The friends. The prayers. The career. Paying my bills on time. Traveling. The Phillies, and now the Eagles, (I love my Philly teams!). and at the end of the everyday are the sunsets – in god’s divine glory – the gorgeousness (is that a word?) of the beauty that I get to see each day, if I choose, is just the icing on the end of my day.

In finishing this post, I realize it does all come back to Love. All the Love that is all around me. For the first time in a long time, I feel more love and I exude more love and I offer more love than I ever have. I’m ok with who I am and how I show up for others. That wasn’t always the case. It takes time to learn who you are and not be ashamed of your past or what you didn’t achieve or who you hurt or what you didn’t get. All of that for me is called self-love where I keep getting to show up for myself, and others. I think I have my word for 2023, and I don’t think I’ll forget this one.