My dog is in the hospital. I took her to the vet yesterday because I thought she had a sticky weed stuck in her throat. Turns her red blood count is dangerously low – half of what it should be. What that’s got to do with her waking us up in the middle of the night hacking, we haven’t a clue.

Anyway, she’s now in the hospital. They gave her a transfusion overnight. Today they’ll be running tests to find out what’s wrong, including a bone marrow biopsy. Poor dog. I’m bummed. But then, I’m sure she’s not too happy about it either.

If you’ve been on this planet long enough, you eventually come to realize that nothing is ever easy. Life is messy. Relationships go south. Great connections move on. Your best employee finds a better job. You get fired. Good fortunes turn bad. And of course, we all end up in the same place, sooner or later.

Everyone’s sort of doing the positive thinking thing these days. That’s all well and good as long as you stay grounded in reality. One thing I learned the hard way: making believe everything is fine when it’s not is not such a good idea. You’ve really got to face this stuff when it happens. If you don’t, it catches up with you.

I just interviewed a guy who was CEO of a $1 billion company, got ousted in a board coup, and had his stock and bank accounts essentially frozen (he was also going through an apparently nasty and prolonged divorce at the time). Talk about having a bad year.

When that sort of thing happens, you have three choices: 1) play the blame game and be a victim, 2) hide in denial, or 3) face your new reality and give it all you’ve got. He chose the latter and eventually came out on top (the story appears on later this week; stay tuned).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not into euphemisms, pep talks, or any of that nonsense. When life decides to turn your world upside down, words don’t do a whole lot of good. Here’s what I do:

1. Drink heavily

2. Sober up

3. Face reality

4. Make good decisions

5. Take action

That’s what works for me. Your experience may differ. God speed.

Image Sue Johnson