Wednesday: Another F*cking Alcoholism Post Because Why TF Not (Part I)

I’m trying out my “edgy please come click me” titles so if it’s NOT working for you, please leave me a COMMENT down below chastising me for being inappropriate and WACK AF! If you’re already over it, then let’s hang out, chit chat about alcoholism and reflect a little bit on our culture. Why? Because we’re f*cking nerds, that’s why! Deal with it!

For some reference, here is my first post about alcoholism on this blog that actually made it through my five rounds of editing on this blog Intersectional Feminism: Addiction & Discrimination: https://www.westindiancritic.com/blog/marijuana-alcohol-how-we-focus-on-one-substance-while-ignoring-the-other

Here is my other post, 1 year later about alcoholism and substance abuse:

(2016) Alcohol Addiction: Our Silent Public Health Emergency

I’ve written a bit more informally, but none of these posts made “the cut”, so suffice it to say, these two posts summarized my thoughts up until that point about alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse in general.

Today, I’ve decided to make my daily post about alcoholism because of a recent event in Saint Lucia, “Live N Colour”, an end of summer party marking the end of Carnival season for young people in Saint Lucia. One of our country’s most prominent newspapers, The Voice, tackled the issue of teenage drunkenness at the party, an issue which rose to prominent attention due to a viral photo of five or so teenagers passed out drunk and covered in powder in disturbing positions that made the teenagers in question look dead. The image rightfully raised cause for concern, however due to the fact that those teenagers were likely minors, I will not be sharing the photo here. You can view an article about the subject on The Voice website here.

While the seemingly annual occurrences of fatal car crashes related to youth consumption of alcohol have promoted various anti-alcohol abuse pledges, these public displays against excess intoxication seem to have been muffled by the louder voices of ongoing cultural practices, family culture, and repeated instances of Heineken billboards and Chairman’s Reserve billboards plastered across our country’s highways. While I just pointed out the cultural component to alcoholism, this isn’t to say that the country I’m currently in (the United States) is actually any better. Alcohol addiction is present and highly visible to me in both countries, even if of course, we do things differently in Saint Lucia. So do not think this is a “compare and contrast” kind of blog post.

I wanted to cover five subtopics here somewhat informally since again, this is my daily blog post and doesn’t require the rigor of hours of research and citations that I would publish along with my long form blogposts. Here are the five subtopics and I’ll move quickly through them so that you don’t get bored and decide to flame me for coercing you to read something longer than a tweet.

  • Common myths about alcoholism that crop up during publicized alcohol related incidents (Part I)

  • What most people don’t realize about alcoholism that I learned during my Neuroscience degree program from Middlebury College (Part II)

  • Why I’m specifically interested in alcoholism (not just “YOUTH” alcohol consumption)

  • Challenges facing NON-alcoholics in understanding the illness

  • Solutions we can come up with that do not require governmental or medical intervention

OK, are we ready?!

Common myths about alcoholism that crop up during publicized alcohol related incidents

Myth #1: The blame and responsibility for alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction lie solely in the hands of the alcoholic. Alcoholism and abuse are personal failings that reflect poor character.

Truth #1: I understand why it can be hard for people who have never struggled with alcohol abuse to understand that it is not a personal failing. Personally, I have no trouble turning down a drink and I rarely drink despite keeping a fully stocked liquor cabinet in full view right in my home. If you’re like this, you might see someone binge drinking and think that they just need to control their behavior. The truth is, alcohol abuse and addiction are rooted in many factors, not just personal choice. There’s a large genetic component to alcoholism which predisposes different people to alcohol abuse. Even if something may seem easy for you or me, this doesn’t mean it’s the case for everyone else.

When searching in recovery circles, I found this graphic that accurately depicts some of the different root causes of addiction and where they may lead if someone doesn’t turn to alcoholism. It’s not just a matter of mimicking behavior, but how people are predisposed to respond to their environments. Some people grow up with alcoholics and become alcoholics while some grow up around alcoholics and never touch a drink in their lives. This doesn’t mean however that these people are immune to codependency, overeating, or abusing another drug.

 
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Myth #2: Alcoholism isn’t a problem as long as you’re “high functioning”.

Truth #2: This one can be the most frustrating as it enables many intelligent alcoholics with severe issues related to their alcohol abuse to deny that their alcohol consumption is an issue. Many “high functioning” alcoholics hold down jobs and keep their lights on, enabling them to live in denial for years. Most of these alcoholics would be unable to appear “normal” without the people they surround themselves with covering up their addiction for them. While their friends and family suffer, they are able to maintain the façade that their drinking falls within normal limits. This quote from The Recovery Village outlines the issues many high-functioning alcoholics are covering up. I urge you to focus your attention on the bold and underlined section of this quote:

They ask friends or family to cover up for them. A high-functioning alcoholic might ask her husband to call in sick to work for her when she’s struggling with a hangover, or borrow money from a friend to pay bills when she’s spent too much on alcohol. In reality, high-functioning alcoholism is usually made possible through the enabling behavior of loved ones.

They restrict their drinking to specific times, situations, or beverages. You might hear a high-functioning alcoholic say, “I never drink on weeknights,” “I only drink at bars,” or “I only drink beer.” These self-imposed limitations might help the alcoholic convince himself that he is in control of his drinking when in fact, he often breaks his own rules.

They isolate themselves in their private time. High-functioning alcoholics may act sociable and outgoing at the office or at company parties. But when they’re not at work, they often prefer to spend their personal time drinking alone or at bars. They may even discourage their family from inviting guests to the house because they don’t want their drinking habits to be exposed.

They break personal commitments because of their drinking. A functional alcoholic may receive awards at work for meeting high-performance standards, while forgetting an important anniversary or missing a family celebration because he or she was drunk or hungover.

They secretly struggle with mental illness. Many high-functioning alcoholics use their substance abuse to mask psychological disorders like depression, social phobia, or an eating disorder. They may suffer from anxiety about their competency or their material security. When they’re not under the influence, they may be moody, withdrawn, tearful, or irritable. They might even talk about suicide or attempt to harm themselves. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 25 percent of functional alcoholics struggle with depression.

Functional alcoholics are often intelligent, hardworking, and well-educated. Their professional status or personal success can make it hard to approach them about having a “problem” with alcohol. However, it is impossible to continue drinking heavily for a long period of time without suffering the physical and psychological consequences of alcoholism, such as liver disease, heart disease, neurological damage, cancer, or depression.

Click here to read the full article.

Here is some more troubling information about high-functioning alcoholics from another website Blueprints For Recovery

People who are in denial about the harm of being a “high functioning” alcoholic often:

Joke frequently about alcohol addiction

Keep employment but not earn raises or promotions

Get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI)

Binge drink to “relax”

Forget conversations and activities that occurred while drinking

The clear trouble with “high functioning” alcoholics is that their addiction may not catch up to them for many years, but the long term effects of binge-drinking are not up for debate; they’re verifiable scientific facts. High-functioning alcoholics are likely to underreport their drinking as well due to remaining in a high stage of denial. Since around 20% of alcoholics are “high functioning”, this allows many to hide their trouble with alcohol abuse for years.

Myth #3: Some alcohol consumption is actually healthy.

Truth #3: Oh sweet summer child… Sadly, the facts just do not back up this commonly held misconception. The negative effects of alcohol consumption especially on a regular basis vastly outweigh the benefits. Additionally, alcoholics are likely to drink far more than “moderately” and far more frequently. They underreport their drinking yet rely on studies to validate their addiction that rely on alcohol consumers taking in the smallest doses — which they themselves are unlikely to consume. This article digs deeper into the myth regarding a glass of wine a day and was written by a physician. This article discusses common “big alcohol” myths regarding alcohol consumption and debunks every single one.

Reuters recently summarized a large 2018 study with this quote which more accurately portrays the effects of regular alcohol consumption:

Blood pressure and stroke risk rise steadily the more alcohol people drink, and previous claims that one or two drinks a day might protect against stroke are not true, according to the results of a major genetic study.

We believe a lot of horse shit about alcohol whether or not we are big drinkers. While education in and of itself will not necessarily stop an alcoholic from having their fifth pint of beer and calling it their second, it will certainly help those of us who want to learn more about alcoholism and alcohol consumption to contextualize their behavior and will help us to understand our deadly culture surrounding drinking.

Stay tuned for Part II of this post tomorrow! When I’m done with the series, they’ll all be linked and combined into one post.

Wednesday: 6 Real AF Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Are Not Better Than Employees

I was scrolling through Pinterest this morning when I came across this image. This picture summarizes every reason why a lot of the ‘get money’ and ‘rise and grind’ entrepreneur types seriously get on my nerves. I’ve been a successful entrepreneur for four years — aka I put a roof over my head, I’ve grown my business each year, and I’ve been in the black the entire time all while doing all these other responsible things adults need to do like get health insurance, therapy, retirement accounts, investing, etc. Yet when I see pictures like this, I bristle with revulsion.

Let’s break down every annoying bit of these “people with jobs are idiots somehow” meme…

 
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1) The Title: Stay ahead of the competition

I have news for you baby entrepreneurs or internet people who’ve sold a t-shirt and now have delusions of grandeur. Your competition is not people working a 9-5 job who have never been entrepreneurs. Those are your freaking CUSTOMERS and posting crap like this will alienate them because guess what? Most businesses fail. And most people have jobs! To start from the basis of seeing other individuals who are not even in your specific niche as competition reflects a level of narcissism that’s honestly confusing more than anything else.

2) Watch webinars while they watch Netflix

This one makes me chuckle probably because my fiancé is one of the world’s most sought after webinar consultants in digital marketing. I’ve seen a lot of webinars. I’ve read a lot of webinars. I can assure you that there are some Netflix shows that are WAY more valuable than a webinar depending on your niche. For example, I write sci-fi romance. Would a sci-fi fiction show that allows me to study the beats in sci-fi fiction serve me better than watching John Doe explain the principles of business I should have learned years ago? Yes, it would.

Down time is critically important for entrepreneurs and creatives since we suffer from burnout more than many other professions. Maybe the guy watching Netflix to avoid burn out is doing better than the person who spends every waking moment thinking about their business (but not actually doing anything since watching a webinar is still consuming content and most webinars are designed to sell you something.)

3) Go to seminars while they go to concerts

I don’t get it. Do seminars happen every single day and only when concerts are in town? It’s unclear to me why you can’t do both and it’s also unclear to me why one is superior to the other. Many seminars especially in the self-help/business niche are again, designed to be elaborate sales pitches. Concerts on the other hand can be relaxing, fun, and for many influencers a time to create good content. One of my fun side-hustles involves designing and selling t-shirts. If I spend my time at a concert, I can covertly observe what clothing is popular, what t-shirts I see and get ideas for my business. Any experience is what you make of it.

My down time point still stands here too. Not to mention that many concerts would be way less expensive than seminars. I’m not saying don’t go to seminars or networking events. I’m saying that a $400 ticket to see Beyoncé is going to cost you way less than the $2,000 required to go across the country for a major networking event. Most concerts aren’t even in the $400 range! How is spending $40 to see Beres Hammond cheating you of business growth?! It isn’t.

While only one is tax deductible (maybe, I’m not a tax expert and this isn’t financial advice), one may be more valuable to you than another depending on your niche, your strategy, and your specific needs as a business owner. And again, there’s no reason on God’s green earth why you can’t do both and attending concerts has never been directly linked to failure and stagnation as either a professional or an entrepreneur.

4) Go to the gym while they go to bars

Is it normal and healthy to go to the gym in the middle of the night? Sometimes, I guess, but I really wonder what the purpose of this is. I typically work out first thing in the morning, leaving plenty of time to socialize in the evening. I’m not really a bar person, nor do I think that going to the bar is better than going to the gym, but again, I don’t see why someone can’t do both. The people with 9-5s who some entrepreneurs think they’re better than somehow have the time to go to both the gym and the bar on a daily basis.

The point here is that there is no “either or”. I exercise every day and even if I choose not to go to the bar daily, I certainly have the time to do both.


5) Work on your side hustle while they go to bed early

I run two successful Amazon bestselling pen names including countless social media accounts and email lists associated with them, sell audiobooks, run ads on a YouTube channel, and sell t-shirts on a major online platform, plus I write this blog. On average I go to bed at 8:30 p.m. It’s not terribly difficult to work on your side-hustle AND go to bed early. Again, there’s nothing wrong with not working on a side-hustle. Or not going to bed early.

You have to question the superiority complex in someone who needs a side-hustle looking down on someone who might not. For example, I don’t need the money from my t-shirts. I enjoy making them and designing t-shirts and learning about print-on-demand in the eCommerce space. If I decide not to work on it for five to six months, I’m not missing out on anything. If you’re making a good income and you don’t need or want a side-hustle, why should you work on it? Go to bed early instead of burning out. You’ll be better off in the long run.

6) Do what you love and travel the world while they slave away at their 9-5

This really cinches this pyroclastic flow of contradictions and nonsensical logic. Be a workaholic who works dead in to the night, never doing anything fun, and focus exclusively on gains physical and financial, but somehow also travel the world while other people are working. So will you be working, or nah?

People who “slave away” at their 9-5 jobs often travel the world. In fact, some of the best traveled people I know work 9-5s that pay them enough money to travel to Caribbean carnival celebrations all over the world, or interesting locations across the United States. I’m doing what I love as a writer. Someone else might be doing what they love as a software engineer, a bartender, a café manager, a teacher, a swim coach, a banker, a lawyer, or a freaking farmer. The presumption that “the hustle” is the only thing pleasurable gives off the distinct impression that a fulfilling life wasn’t part of the equation when this graphic was created.

To conclude

This whole post reeks as if it appeals to the type of wanna-be entrepreneur lacking in grit and filled to capacity with get-rich-quick schemes and appealing to people who only want to sit around and look down on others. Of course all these contradictions will appeal to you if you aren’t actually walking the walk, but if you’re filled with propagandized notions of entrepreneurship.

Well, I’m a small business owner, and so is my fiancé and we both say this is complete nonsense. Looking down on 9-5s is totally inappropriate and isn’t justified by any negative things about entrepreneurship a person might have heard in the past. We aren’t competitors anyway, we’re comrades. But that’s another story. 😉

Wednesday: What To Do On Mediocre Days With No Motivation

I’m here with little motivation to write, partly because I lost the blog post that I slaved over yesterday for half an hour, and I am still a little wounded to put much effort in today, silly as that might seem to you. I’ve finished my writing for the morning, done some meditation, and made a pumpkin soup for lunch at home. Overall, for a “mediocre” day with no motivation, I’m doing alright. This morning, I got some sad news (which I will write about later) and I’ve been dragging myself along ever since. Unfortunately, sad news doesn’t stop time. We still have to go on and get things done. “Adulting”, am I right?

‘Here are my three simple tricks I use to keep me going when I feel like curling up in bed, re-reading King Lear, and shutting the world out:

(1) Mindfulness Meditation

I wouldn’t keep recommending meditation if it didn’t really work for me. I’m not the only one who agrees. Scientists know that mindfulness meditation has real effects on reducing anxiety, and the spiritual practices centered around mindfulness meditation do so for a reason! This morning before work, I added 5 minutes of quiet meditation to my day so that I could get my mind a little quieter and focus on what absolutely needed to get done.

(2) Socialize

As an introverted writer, sometimes I forget that my “social battery” does actually require some depletion in order for me to recharge on my own. I’m quiet, and I enjoy spending time alone, but on tough days, it’s actually better to reach out and remember that you’re connected to a wider world. This doesn’t have to be time consuming. Today, I texted my sister, my family members, and spent some extra time with my fiancé, which has been lovely and reminded me that there are reasons for me to pull myself out of bed.

(3) Draw or Color

“Adult coloring books” are all the rage now because we are beginning to recognize that creative activity, no matter how small, can play a huge role in making us happier. People are inherently creative and when our creative spirit is fed, we feel really good. Coloring and drawing can also have a meditative aspect to them that make both activities very relaxing. The final thing I’ve done today is spent 30 minutes or so with a pencil and paper, just having fun and drawing something new.

What are your tips for mediocre days when you have little motivation? What is your “bare minimum” self care routine? Comment with ideas down below.

Wednesday: Why You're In Toxic Relationships... 9 Essential Skills For Cultivating Healthy Long-Term Relationships

Every relationship changes or evolves. Over time, we grow closer or further apart from various people in our lives and through each “season” of our lives, we find ourselves surrounded by some of the last people we may have imagined. During certain points of your life, the seeds that you plant eventually flourish and individuals are left to reap what they sow.

Relationships that last don’t do so because of fate, God’s grace, or through wishing them to last. We cultivate skills and values during our lives and what we’re left with is a series of relationships — either good quality or bad. We’re either “surrounded by toxic people” and dissatisfied, or contented and stable.

These 7 skills weave the fabric of relationships that last, and most relationships in your life need these ingredients or they will unravel quicker than a cashmere sweater. Most of these skills play off of each other — you often can’t have one without the other and together, they make your relationships an impenetrable force against hard times.

1) Respect For Boundaries

No relationship truly exists without boundaries. A respect for boundaries doesn’t only refer to setting boundaries but respecting others boundaries as well. If you believe that only your boundaries are worthy of respect and you routinely trample over others, disrespect their space or react negatively when confronted, you’re experiencing a breakdown in the most fundamental part of forming relationships. A healthy set of boundaries also influences the pacing of different relationships which enables you to have both friendships and romantic relationships that last longer.

 
“The only people upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefitted from you having none.”

“The only people upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefitted from you having none.”

 

2) Support

Boundaries create the foundation of all healthy long-term relationships, but support is the blood that keeps a relationship alive. Supporting other human beings in a social context is one of our biggest drives as social creatures. It’s in our nature to aid those around us and provide support to people within our communities (Kropotkin). Mutual support is what’s critical. If relationships are one-sided, this leads to problems later on and resentments. Of course, different people support each other in different ways and show their love in different ways. What matters is that we find people we are compatible with who understand how to give and receive support the way we need them to.

“Support” doesn’t mean uncritical, blind agreement with every decision another person makes. Sometimes support refers to the way you challenge people and help them grow. In unhealthy relationships, one person does not give genuine support or is unable to receive unpleasant feedback. This ties into having healthy boundaries because if you have healthy boundaries surrounding what actions you will and won’t accept, you will learn to seek supportive relationships that reflect the way you wish to be treated.

 
A relationship is where two people make a deal that they will help the other person become the best version of themselves.

A relationship is where two people make a deal that they will help the other person become the best version of themselves.

 

3) Consideration


Many people want a partner or friend who can “anticipate their needs”. Unfortunately, this way of viewing things is codependent in nature, as it expects an element of mind-reading that most people aren’t capable of. (Hello, Miss Cleo? You there?) Perhaps instead of seeking mind-readers, we need a little more nuance. Consideration covers this general principle and makes far more sense. You don’t need someone to guess what you want to eat for dinner (ladies, we really don’t) but you might want a friend who offers to grab you coffee when you’ve forgotten your wallet at home, or someone who takes your feelings into account when making decisions that affect your life.

Cohabiting with my fiancé forced me to acknowledge how important consideration is. This is one of the actions that adds up slowly over time but if there’s no consideration for another person’s feelings, the results are catastrophic. A lack of consideration is one of the hardest relationship problems to bounce back from because this behavior usually leads to many small frustrations piling up over time until issues and resentments are insurmountable. Consideration can be a form of support and also an expression of healthy boundaries. For example, if you’re armed with good boundaries, you are more likely to consider someone’s feelings and behave in an appropriate manner because you understand and respect that values of another person. People behaving in an inconsiderate manner are less likely to have an appropriate response to boundaries being set and are rarely available to offer support at a time when it isn’t convenient to them.

 
Be mindful of others and their feelings. Loyal, easy going people have their limits too. You never want to push people to a point where they no longer care.

Be mindful of others and their feelings. Loyal, easy going people have their limits too. You never want to push people to a point where they no longer care.

 

4) Coöperation

Coöperation and support are similar, complementary traits, but cooperation requires a little more depth than support. Coöperation refers to hands-on problem solving in a given moment. You may need support from your friends when you’re going into a job interview, but when it’s time to clean up your apartment after a huge rager, you don’t only need support, but coöperation.

In all relationships, problems arise. Shutting down or behaving in an unproductive manner is uncooperative behavior that eventually degrades relationships over time. Problem solving in relationships requires both parties to have a vested interest in building up healthy boundaries, solving issues that arise, and maintaining peace and harmony. A toxic person will refuse to cooperate to find a solution that works for everyone and maintains a “my way or the highway” kind of attitude. This goes beyond stubbornness and refers to someone whose overall attitude towards relationships means they would rather lose a relationship than cooperate to find a productive solution that works for everyone.

Cooperation is the antithesis to “compromise” and far more important to healthy relationships than compromise as cooperation implies both parties get their needs met without one person sacrificing.

 
Cooperation is the thorough conviction that no one else can get there unless everyone gets there. — Virginia Burden

Cooperation is the thorough conviction that no one else can get there unless everyone gets there. — Virginia Burden

 

5) Assertiveness

Assertiveness empowers individuals to bring up problems as they occur and involves direct and honest communication. So many people rely on passive aggressive communication to get their needs met in interpersonal relationships. Tactics such as the silent treatment, avoiding confrontation at all costs, allowing too much time to pass before addressing conflicts, and avoiding honesty, are all examples of common passive communication that’s completely ineffective at maintaining long term healthy relationships.

Assertiveness is not the same as rudeness and I’ve written on this blog a bit about how you can cultivate assertiveness in your life. Assertive communication at its core is honest. Without honest communication, it’s nearly impossible to have a relationship at all, much less a good one. If you avoid assertive communication, this will definitely create problems. Assertiveness can be cultivated through practice, and is the only way you can truly get your needs met in any relationship, friendship or otherwise. We need assertiveness to set boundaries and to ensure we are co-operating rather than compromising. Assertiveness can also encompass offering support as sometimes offering support means bringing up honest and unpleasant truths. Assertiveness never violates the rights and needs of others, one of the many ways its distinguished from being “mean” or “harsh”.

 
Assertive people communicate honestly and directly; they express feelings needs and ideas and stand up for their rights, but do so in ways that don't violate the rights and needs of others.  -- LINDA ADAMS

Assertive people communicate honestly and directly; they express feelings needs and ideas and stand up for their rights, but do so in ways that don't violate the rights and needs of others.

-- LINDA ADAMS

 

6) Integrity

Integrity is ultimately the glue holding any individual together and a person without integrity is liable for relationships around them to fail and they will make no changes to their behavior, doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again — likely to blame everyone around them for it too. This Brené Brown quote on integrity summarizes this value perfectly, “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

This quote encompasses all the facets of integrity but most important is the aspect of practicing our values. We can’t wake up one day and exist as perfect people. When you have integrity, you acknowledge this. You acknowledge that anyone is capable of screwing up, even if you think you’re a good person and try to do the right thing. Someone with integrity doesn’t fear getting called out or critiqued for their behavior. Someone with integrity practices what they preach when it comes to their values and practices in the traditional sense too — getting better with each iteration over time.

 
Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them  -- Brené Brown

Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them

-- Brené Brown

 

7) Accountability

Accountability and integrity can’t exist without each other. Accountability is a bit more specific because it refers to not just maintaining our values, but taking responsibility for your actions. Accountability doesn’t mean taking the blame for everything and it’s dangerous to see accountability as the equivalent to blame. Accountability allows us to humble ourselves when we’ve done wrong and take action to make amends to people we’ve hurt. Accountability reminds us that there are others outside of ourselves and that our actions affect them.

Accountability is more meaningful than a simple verbal apology because it is connected to taking responsibility for the way our actions impact others. A lack of accountability in relationships can be extremely damaging because it involves one person either not taking responsibility for their actions, or the inverse, assuming that their actions and emotions are caused by someone else’s behavior. If someone never takes responsibility for their behavior and always blames other people, this person will not be able to co-operate.

Without accountability, you cannot have integrity because choosing to be accountable to someone else is not always easy or fun. Someone may avoid this “inconvenience” and destroy relationships along the way. Accountability can take you far in problem solving and lends itself to healthy assertive communication in a way that blame does not.

 
Accountability feels like an attack when you aren’t ready to acknowledge the way your behavior harms others.

Accountability feels like an attack when you aren’t ready to acknowledge the way your behavior harms others.

 

8) Interdependence instead of codependence

I grappled with not putting this on, but avoiding codependent behavior is so important that I added it despite the similarity to earlier points of cooperation and assertiveness. This point isn’t simply about cooperating or asserting yourself and your boundaries when occasions arise for you to do so. Interdependence refers to the entire culture of an interpersonal relationship. Is this a relationship where it is acceptable to address problems? Is this a relationship where individuals can maintain their real identities? Can you have different thoughts and different beliefs from the other person? Are there appropriate boundaries within this relationship in the first place?

A relationship built on a foundation of codependency will have poor boundaries, poor respect for boundaries, and the underpinning belief that enmeshment is equivalent to intimacy and closeness. Codependent people often cannot see the difference between codependence and interdependence, which is why it is so important to establish these boundaries early on. It’s easier to create good habits than to break bad ones.

 
A good relationship has "interdependence" not "codependence" where two independent individuals have mutually agreed upon standards of behavior and hold themselves and each other accountable for that behavior.

A good relationship has "interdependence" not "codependence" where two independent individuals have mutually agreed upon standards of behavior and hold themselves and each other accountable for that behavior.

 

9) Self-reliance

Interdependent relationships require two individuals with a healthy set of separate identities from each other. Self-reliance made it to my list because it’s so essential to bringing a fully formed person into a relationship. When you’re self-reliant, this doesn’t mean that you do everything on your own or you do not allow friends, family, or other people to help you. Self-reliance means taking responsibility for your life choices, your actions, and ultimately your happiness.

Self-reliance is a philosophy defined by not needing another person’s behavior to change in order for you to be happy. Self-reliant people don’t think that they need a man or woman in their lives to find happiness. Self-reliant people recognize that their choices have consequences and they are responsible enough to face these consequences. Like many traits, self-reliance can have a shadow side where some people intentionally misinterpret this to mean that they should neither help others or receive help. This is fundamentally against other principles that make relationships healthy like cooperation and support.

 
self reliance.png
 

These skills are not innate and fixed. Neither are these skills independent of each other. You cannot be self-reliant, yet never cooperate with others and consider yourself a healthy person. Well, you can, but you might still have some work to do. When we participate in toxic relationships, and continue to wonder why we are not happy, or why we always seem to find ourselves repeating the same mistakes, often times we could refer to some of these skills and improve our ability to have healthy relationships.

Which of these skills is the hardest for you to maintain? I tend to struggle with assertiveness and also fear some types of boundary setting due to my fear of being considered “a bitch”. I have also been less than self-reliant at various points in my life. If we are honest with ourselves and face these unpleasant truths, we’ll have a chance in hell of improving our relationships and sucking toxicity from our lives.

This isn’t simply about accusing others of being “toxic”, but identifying our own troubling behavior, and having the bravery to hold ourselves accountable for the outcome of our lives.

If you like any of these quotes, I invite you to pin them to your favorite board for motivation and relationship advice!

Wednesday: Quick Daily Report

I know when you start blogging for “real” it helps to make what you post relevant, interesting and helpful to complete strangers, but I want to document a little bit of what’s happening in my life for the sake of keeping it all together.

  • This weekend I didn’t work on my long-form blog post the way I planned because I decided to read the last 300 pages of War And Peace and actually finish the book. I liked the book, although if you’re looking for the excitement and tone of a John Grisham, you won’t find it here.

  • I started reading Rebel Without A Crew, the story of director Robert Rodriguez who created the films El Mariachi as well as Once Upon A Time In Mexico. His grit, drive and mindset are setting me right this week.

  • I did some work over the weekend, which I hate doing typically, but I just started on my next science fiction release for work.

  • I started watching Doctor Who season 1 again starting Chris Eccleston and Billie Piper. I’ve yet to meet an artist with the name Billie who I don’t love.

  • I’m starting to worry about my ability to keep up with the production schedule for this blog. It’s not so much that this is the most important thing going on for me right now. It’s just that I have high hopes for the future of this blog and the idea that I can miss a day and not write what I’ve been meaning to write makes me feel guilty.

  • I’m nervous about “oversharing” and posting to social media. I feel it’s okay to acknowledge these anxieties. I don’t love sharing personal information, and I’m quite closed off. Writing is my vehicle for freeing my overactive mind and sharing that process in any respect can be terrifying.

I know this quick daily report focused a bit on my fears and struggles, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that if you’re reading this, you can relate too. Comment down below if you’re nervous about a creative project of yours or if you have been in the past! 👇🏼 I’m sure that I’m not alone in this one…

Wednesday: My Remote Work Routine - 5 Tips For Digital Nomad Productivity

I travel back and forth between the United States and St. Lucia a few times a year and in the past two years I’ve been to Martinique and Barbados during times when I’ve also had to work. Since I’m a full-time writer and I run my business from home, I’m a kind of “digital nomad” so my office comes with me wherever I go.

I have five tips for remote work that I always incorporate into my remote work routine when my office is on the road…

1) Noise-cancelling headphones

These are a must for traveling and working since you can turn any environment into a workspace and really get into the zone. I also use noise-cancelling headphones to wear on airplanes, and for help falling asleep. Currently, I’m using this brand of PLT headphones which work really nicely and can transition from wired to wireless so even if you lose your charge, you can still use them. The only thing I don’t love about them is the fact that I need an adapter for my iPhone but it’s a minor issue. I’ve tried a lot of Bluetooth headphones in the past and these have the greatest range by far out of any cheaper options I’ve tried.

2) Schedule work that doesn’t require an internet connection

This tip I don’t use within the United States as much, but when I work on flights or when I go to countries with notoriously bad internet connections (like Martinique!) I plan ahead this way too. Since as a full-time writer I balance writing 3-5k words a day with marketing and social media tasks that require an internet connection, I use this to my advantage. Before I travel, I schedule all my social media posts and emails so I can focus on writing the old school way — just a word processor, no internet connection.

3) Book a place with dedicated workspace

I have had some great workspaces in my recent trips, including a Capitol Hill studio in Washington DC as well as a my brief one night stay in the Crystal City Hilton. I require a table for focused work and I make it a priority to book a place that’s business friendly. Traveling is usually business related, and I rarely stop working when I am traveling, so it’s a priority to have a dedicated space. Working from couches or from bed really throws me off so I avoid that if possible.

4) Pick optimal work hours for the situation

I prefer working a typical work day, but on the road I have to be discerning about when I get my work done. If fitting 6-7 hours of creative work is impossible, I hit at least 4. If I’m visiting night owls, I schedule my hours in the morning as usual so I can go out at night. If I’m on a family related trip, or traveling with my fiancé, I schedule later hours to accomplish daytime activities. Just because I’m working during the trip doesn’t mean I have to miss out on enjoying the blessings and opportunities traveling has to offer. Making adjustments to my schedule sets me up for success.

5) Plan activities outside of work to look forward to

I always plan something to look forward to whether I’m traveling to Upstate NY or Martinique. I can’t focus on work 100% of the time and balance is so important to me. I always plan specific activities I can get excited about and “work for” during my trips. I like doing this because it keeps me focused and working on a tight schedule with greater efficiency.

The great thing about my remote work routine is that none of it is rocket science. Simple changes make a big difference and these easy adjustments allow me to enjoy both work and travel when I am working and traveling.

Do you ever work when you travel? Let me know in the comments. Pin the image below to save these remote work tips to your favorite board for travel and entrepreneurship. 👇🏼

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