How to Create A Vision For Your Future (With or Without Them)

How to Create A Vision For Your Future (With or Without Them)

This week may be a little harder for some of you. It’s all about you. About your future. It’s about your big dreams and desires, your vision board (or dream board)… I may have just lost some of you, but it’s important. In fact, it’s often overlooked when it comes to your own recovery. So we’re diving in today.

Before we go there, I want to say that I’m so glad you’re with me this week. I am proud of you that you have chosen to put yourself and your healing first. It takes real dedication and real courage to listen to this podcast.

If you have not already told yourself that you’re proud of yourself, and  congratulated yourself today, make sure you do that.

Because it’s important to recognize that you’re incredibly different.

Most people like to stay stuck, and like to keep their heads in the sand, and deny that they love someone suffering from addiction.

The fact that you are different means that you are going to get better. Means that the way that you feel today, if you have come here, and you’re listening to me, and you’re feeling sad, or your feeling hopeless, or you’re feeling angry or confused, all of that is normal. And all of that is temporary.

The people that will be still feeling that way in a year, or two years from now, are not the type of people that I attract into this community. They’re not the worker bees like you are. It is going to get better. I promise you. You might not feel better tonight, you might feel better and then feel bad again, and that is okay. It’s a roller coaster ride. 

You’re going to have ups, and you’re going to have downs.

There’s no consistency when loving somebody that suffers from addiction, and that’s okay. Part of removing the pressure and comparing your relationship to “normal” relationships, part of stopping that behavior and part of removing this pressure to make it alright and make it good all the time, that’s part of your healing.

You’re going to have good days. You’re going to have bad days. 

It’s part of the course, but there is an expiration date.

This is not going to be your life forever.

You just have to make sure that you’re doing your work, and you’re staying in your lane, and you’re remaining committed.

If you do those things, I promise you with every step that you take, you’re going to get stronger. You’re going to get a clear vision of what you want for your future, which is exactly what we are talking about today.

This is part of a series, and you can listen to (or read) the other episodes here and here. I’m giving you bite-sized chunks of steps that you can do when you love someone suffering from addiction. Because I know you’re going to say, “Michelle, you sound like a broken record.” And that’s okay. I’m going to keep saying it because you all need these loving reminders.

You are not powerless.

You’re in charge of your own happiness. It’s your responsibility to get better here. It’s your responsibility to learn the lessons that you are being called to learn. There’s a reason why this relationship came into your life, and there is a reason why you are being called to rise higher and step into a new woman. As long as you continue to learn and step in the right direction, you will get there.

Today, we are going to be talking about daring to dream. This is an entire module in the Love Over Addiction program. I’m going to make it pretty brief today. Basically, if you guys are familiar with that program, I have a whole story about my dream board. 

If you’re not familiar with dream boards, you can Google them, some people call them vision boards.

Vision boards are simple and I believe in them.

They sound incredibly hokey. They sound woo-woo, they sound a little like, “What?” But I stand by it. I have always in my life had at least one vision board.

I actually just took my kids to the bookstore recently, and took them to the magazine section and got them a whole bunch of magazines, let them pick them out. And we sat around the kitchen table, and I got poster boards. You can order a package deal, I think I got them for $15 on Amazon. We took the afternoon off and we created visions for our lives, visual visions.

This is what we want our lives to look like. I have gone through so many dream boards. If we were together, I would think you would say, “What do you mean you’ve gone through the dream boards? How do you go through one?” I will look you right in the eye and I would say, “Every single thing on that dream board has happened in my life, and so I had to create a new one.”

The stories are insane in the program. I’ll tell you one. I’ll just make it really quick … I’m trying to think of which one I should share with you. Okay. This is during my divorce, and you guys know, if you’re in our community, I went through a horrible divorce. I had to get a restraining order, I had to hide in hotels with my kids. Leaving somebody who does not want to be left is incredibly challenging.

It was also the most amazing time in my life.

I found myself. I rediscovered who I was. It was the most difficult, and most people will look from the outside and go, “How could you possibly be grateful?” But I was not only grateful for that time, I was grateful during that time. 

Incredibly grateful, because I had people show up in my life to help me who I never thought I could … It’s not that I thought I couldn’t count on them, it’s that I didn’t think I had anyone. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t share with my family what was really going on.

During this time in my life when I was going through my divorce, it occurred to me that every single year, and there were 10 of them, that I was with my loved one, I had always either envisioned a life together with him, or I had placed all of my dreams on hold just to focus on trying to help him get sober.

I forgot to ask myself the really important question…

…which is what do I want? What do I want? And I not only forgot to ask myself that question, I didn’t even know when I first asked myself that question… what I did want? I was so out of touch with myself. And I thought, “Okay. I am leaving, I am finally taking this courageous act to start a new life. What do I want this life to look like?

It became incredibly exciting, and liberating, and freeing to think about it. “Oh my gosh, I have three young kids, and I don’t have a job, and I don’t have much money, and how am I going to start this? But I know that I’m resourceful. I know that I’m ambitious. And I know that it is fun to dream.”

And truthfully, I had so much fun figuring out where I wanted to live, and what did I want my kids to be doing, and what values and morals did I want them to have, and what did I want to drive, and what did I want to do for work?

It took me a week to really go through magazines and books, and cut out my new life, to design my new life.

I made my very own vision board.

One of the homes that I had cut out was like this really beautiful, white house, with a tire swing in the front hanging from a tree. It just looked really quaint, it looked pretty small, but it was just perfect. And I thought, “Yeah. That looks like me and my new life.” It was nothing of what I had. It wasn’t similar to anywhere I’d ever lived before.

Fast forward, I think it was four years later, and I was married to Brian. Of course, I still had my vision boards. We were raising our kids together, there were eight of us in a three-bedroom home. It was a lot. Henry, our baby, was sleeping with us in the crib in our bedroom, and two of the girls were sleeping in the same room, and three of the boys were sleeping in the same room. So, it was time.

We were remodeling, we didn’t want to move because we loved our house so much and we lived on this beautiful street, great neighbors. I started interviewing architects to build onto our existing house. I’m sitting in the kitchen interviewing this man, who I didn’t know anyone else who had used him, but I loved his website. There was something about his website, the colors that he used, the branding, that just felt like it resonated with me.

I’m interviewing him in my kitchen…

And I’m asking all the questions. He hands me a binder and it’s his portfolio of homes that he’s worked on and he’s built, of his clients. I’m sifting through, and these houses are gorgeous. I get to one of the very last pages, and I look at the house and I think, “Gosh, that seems familiar to me. I’ve never been there, but I don’t know where I’ve seen this before. But I know that this house looks familiar.”

And then it dawns on me. I run back to my office and I grab my dream board that, you know, I carry it around with me from room to room sometimes, so it was kind of beat up, it was four years old. I show him and I say, “This is your house.” And it turns out I was interviewing the man who built the house that was on my dream board without knowing it.

I have three more stories just like that about that one particular vision board that are like, “you gotta be kidding me,” stories.

Here’s the deal, vision boards work.

I carried around that vision board with me everywhere. When I was doing the dishes, I imagined myself in those pictures, I imagined myself and my kids. One of the pictures was me and the children riding bikes together. I imagine that, and I really placed myself in those pictures and allowed myself to feel the feelings of joy, and gratitude, and happiness, and it worked.

It not only worked because it allowed me to kind of step outside this very, very chaotic, traumatic time in my life and allowed me to step into this pretend place of peacefulness. But it also allowed me to get very specific about what I want. I think for some of us we feel guilty identifying what we want. We think it should be about everybody else, but that is actually what got us into this sickness and this illness to begin with.

It’s time that you start asking yourself, “What do I want? What is going to make me happy?”

Create a vision board of your own.

Because here’s what I know for sure. You are a wonderful, wonderful woman. What you want is usually in the best interest of those that you love. What I wanted on my vision board also benefited my children. I’m not a selfish human being, so what I identified for them is something that they would probably really enjoy too.

Most of it had things to do with them, and some of it had things that were just for me, and that’s okay too. Because when I am filled up with love, and gratitude, and I am filled with joy, I am such a better mom than if I’m walking around on empty, and resentful, and have nothing left to give, because I haven’t given myself anything.

You guys know what I’m talking about. When you’ve come back from a good walk, or time with a friend, or maybe, for me it’s writing. I love to write, and I stop writing and I transition into motherhood. So I go from working to motherhood. I can serve my people so much better because I’ve just taken several hours to get in the flow of something that brings me joy.

If you have been like me, where you’ve been placing all of your eggs in the wrong baskets, if you have been the type of woman that has been putting all of her self-worth, all of her hope, all of her joy into other people and into other things, it’s time to stop that. It’s time to ask yourself, “What do I want?”

Dare to dream.

Even if it doesn’t seem possible. I had no idea, or no way to know how I could ever afford that house that I put on my dream board. But somehow, someway, I was connected to that house. Dare to dream. It’s scary, it might feel selfish, but you can do it. It’s really, really great when you are in your future and you are presented with the idea of making choices, you can go back to that vision board and say, “Does this align with what I want?” If it doesn’t, then it’s an easy choice and it’s no.

I hope you found that helpful and I’ll talk to you next week.

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used her experience to create powerful resources for women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.

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