I just wish I understood…

Part of my story starts back to where I started…

I’m the youngest of 6. I hear all the time ‘wow you are from a big family, that must be so nice and you must be close’ but the truth is we are not. Well some of us are to accurate. It’s a bit clickish. 

One of my siblings was abusive to me. I remember a block of my clildhood that this happened many many times. I never told anyone. He was always mean to after that. 

When I started school, I struggled reading. And I went to summer school 1-8th grade. I had tutors and I was taken out of class for additional help. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t keep up with the other kids and found ways to look like I was not behind. I cheated when I could and never got caught. I had friends that helped me. And no one ever knew. I was teased by several kids my entire 1-8 grades. But that is story for another post. 

My parents were both alcoholics. They drank everyday. It’s got worse the older I got and at the end of my moms life it was pretty awful. 

My siblings are 5-11 years older than I am. So I was typically in the way or a pest or the baby. They were off doing big kid stuff and I was there but not doing big kid stuff. I spent all day on  Saturday’s on the ball field watching. 

My oldest sibling moved out when I was 7. I’m still very close to him. Always was. We talk several times a week. And I go to his house almost every weekend while he runs errands and has some time away from being the full time care taker to his wife. He never stays gone for long. 

My sister moved out when I was around 8 and I came an aunt when I was 11. We are not close at all. If fact I have not talked to her in many years. 

My other brothers moved out one by one and by the time I was 12/13, I was like an only child. Both my parents worked and they had more income with one kid at home. I went to catholic school for all 12 years. While some of my siblings went for part of their school years and the older ones did not at all.  I went out to dinner pretty often compared to my siblings and went on a few vacations too. Just the 3 of us. 

My siblings continued to grow their families and I saw them at holidays or other get togethers at my parents house during this time. 

My senior year of high school my one brother moved back in for a few months with his wife and baby daughter while they settled back in to the U.S. after being in be military for several years. I wrote him letters while he was overseas and we talked every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m still close to him. 

My sister moved back in with her 2 kids and stayed with my parents for 10 plus years. She was not happy about having come back home but really there was not many options after she left her exhusband. 

After high school, I moved out on my own in a basement apartment. It took more than one paycheck to pay the rent but I was on my own. I then moved in with roommates and in my early 20’s I moved in with my now exhusband. 

Because I was in such a different stage of life, distance grew between my siblings and I. 

Because of the time I had with my parents as ‘an only child’ I was very close with them. 

When I started having kids, my newphews and nieces were all hitting high school or close to it. So that generation of kids is not close to my kids either. One of my nephews (well his wife) and I had kids a week apart. 

Since both my parents have passed away. We no longer get together. Maybe for a wedding. No holidays. No birthdays. No just because. 

One brother really doesn’t even know me. And I don’t really know him either. I did not attend his wedding a few months ago because it just was not a safe place for me to be. At the last dinner after my mom died and then wedding, I was ganged up on my 2 of my siblings. And just could not bear the thought of being in that place again. So I didn’t go. 

I’ve since asked this brother and his new wife to get together for dinner and I have not gotten a reply. Which makes me sad.

I know my mom saw the distance and I know she would be upset to know that we don’t get together as a group anymore. Well I guess she does know. 

When my mom was sick, my oldest brother and I had power of attorney. I know that was upsetting to my sister being older than me but I was 20 minutes away and she was a plane ride. 

I was trying to do a step 4 on my siblings (except for the abusive one, I did a step 4 on him) but I just don’t understand. 

I have amazing kids. I have friends and I work hard. I am well liked. But 3 of my siblings don’t know me. 

I’m sure they have their own reality of growing up in an alcoholic home. I’m sure they would tell a different story. I know what they have said to me in the past. How much better my life was. Because I went to catholic school and went out to dinner and vacation and got a new bike and had braces. 

But was it? I also was the only one home when mom and dad drank to the point of passing out and not remembering conversations. This was on the daily. The smell of their drink of choice or hearing ice being stirred in a glass or someone slurring words make me want to throw up and cry. Mom didn’t tell them that she was thinking of divorcing dad when I was a freshman, she told me. 

I just wish they understood me and that I understood them. 

I guess this is my step 4. The start of it anyway. 

Thanks for reading my random thoughts on my family. I just wish I understood. 

I feel alone. That I don’t have 5 siblings, I have 2. And even we don’t get together as a small group. My oldest brother is not close to the other brother. And that brother is only close to me so it’s like he has one sibling. Most of my friends don’t even realize that I have a sister. 

Maybe I should just accept this for what it is. What some of my sibling have said to and about me does not define me. It’s not my truth. Broken people hurt broken people. 

I am growing in my recovery and learning tools to cope with life differently. And I am becoming the best version of me because of my recovery and because of the grace of God. I have an amazing relationship with Jesus Christ who strengthens me. This is my journey.

My journey to serenity continues…

hard days lead to the next good one…

I was reading the 12 steps over the weekend and the 8 principals from the Celebrate Recovery materials. 

I was stuck by certain words in each and this has truly become a way of life and thinking for me.  

I’ve been saying for days and days now (sometimes many times a day) God is in control when I’ve overwhelmed by work or when thoughts of what’s happening with my ex enters my head. 

I know like I know like I know that those thoughts are not from God. Those thoughts of doubt or worry or asking what if, are from darkness. 

I am trusting the system. Trusting that I am exactly where God wants me to be. And maybe just maybe it’s actually for someone else. Someone else needs me here to join them on their journey or maybe someone else is about to join mine. So maybe being here, being willing to work my program and step 4 is all I need to do right now and it’s just that simple. 

Doubt, worry and what ifs steals your joy from where you are and from being present. 

Today I am stronger than yesterday. There have been 201 yesterday’s since I committed to a program and every day I commit to being in recovery and making this way of thinking rule my day……one amazing day at a time. Good days and hard ones too. Hard days lead to the next good one and that is all I can ask for. 

My journey to serenity continues…..

I made the graphics in this post thanks to google images, font candy and work salad. You can email me at thisgirlsjourneytoserenity@gmail.com

New day. Fresh start. Make the next right choice.

I can only credit what I’ve learned in my recovery program to how I’ve recovered from  such an awful work week. 

I asked one of the managers if I could talk to him. I first apologized for having such an off week. What you don’t know is that I have recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. (I’ll share more about that when I’m ready) I’ve been in some medication for over a month that was giving me insomnia. It was building more and more and I was sleeping less and less. So I said that the insomnia got the best of me and I was making mistakes and not knowing it because my brain was foggy from lack of sleep. 

I then said, I think these things contributed to my department having such a difficult week because of this and this and here is how I think we can improve these things. 

Finally I said,  I’m struggling with ______ and do you have a better way of doing this than I have figured out. 

I still have a lot of work ahead of me but I feel so good that I handled this in the way I did. I just needed a little bit of time and some sleep to get back on track. 

Again I credit my program and the new skills I have learned that I was able to handle this in the way I did. I know the manager appreciated it and we have a really good working relationship. If I hadn’t hit my bottom in a codependent relationship, I wouldn’t have started my recovery and I would have continued to beat myself up and struggle in silence. 

My journey to serenity continues…

So glad last week is in the rear window…

I had a very awful week at work. I was moved to a new position. I’ve been with the company for 5 years and while I already knew the basics I didn’t know all of the steps to do it. 

I found myself being put on a treadmill at the speed of 10 and I just had to jump on and do it. Big leaning curve and no time to fully understand it, just do it. 

The first 3 weeks were ok, I kinda liked it even. But week 4 was awful. I worked a TON of hours and was getting me nowhere fast. I was exhausted and I made a bunch of mistakes because I missed a step that I either wasn’t told about or was but didn’t understand. 

I knew early in the week that I was in trouble and the treadmill was going faster than I was. 

Being a recovering codependent my first response was to try and figure it out myself. But I quickly raised my hard and asked for help. Help was offered but in the end, no real help happened. 
I cried everyday last week. I went to the managers everyday last week crying that I just didn’t know what I am doing. 

I don’t know if this change was a good idea or not. I need more training and time but neither of those things seem like they are happening. 

I am frustrated with the job itself, the managers and myself. Several people before me, gave up and ended up walking out. I completely understand why they walked out, because if I could I would. 

Praying that next week is better. I’m afraid that the managers are looking to replace me. I told them not to give up on me. Feeling terrible. 

just start rowing…

I went to a different meeting over the weekend, not my home meeting. Differnt focus, same steps. i introduced myself and said it was my first meeting. that i’ve been going to another group for 6 months and am working on Step 4. and that there is a lot of emotional stuff going on and i wanted to try this meeting for additional support.

Was very welcomed and heard things that i could totally relate to and needed to hear. 

One person shared with me this image about recovery groups, so i wanted to share it with you.

Picture this…

everyone in the meeting is sitting in a body of water, rowing. 

You look at them like they are crazy, rowing just sitting in the water. 

They invite you to join in. 

And you are not sure but go ahead and sit with the rest in the water. 

You look around and think its just weird to be sitting in the water rowing. 

But you decide that you will give it a try and start rowing. 

And that is when the boat appears. 

So the point is, to just do what everyone else is doing. Listen, share, get a sponsor, read and work the steps. Even if it feels weird. Even if you are afraid. Do it anyway. The boat will come! 

Addiction no matter the type, keeps us isolated and often full of shame. While the fellowship you will find in recovery groups is like no other kind of fellowship. 

And before you know it, you will be encouraging someone else to just take a chance and get in the water and just start rowing because they see your recovery and because you give them hope that the boat will come! 

My journey to serenity continues…

Love languages…

I did more step 4 work today. 

Was writing about how my last relationship made me feel. And from those feeling when in the past I felt that way or didn’t feel that way and that’s why those feeling became so important to me.  I started to dig deep on writing about a time when everything was chaos, I was trying so hard to get back to where we were. 

What came to mind to me was the 5 Love Languages. If you have not heard of this before, here is a quick rundown. 

Gary Chapman had written several books about love languages. Be sure to google him for complete information. This is just my understanding of his theory. 

There are 5 basic love languages. This is how someone feels love. Everyone has a primary and secondary language. They are: words of affirmation, acts of service, recieving gifts, quality time and physical touch. If you understand someone else’s love language and you focus on interactions in that way, they will feel loved and it will improve your relationship. Any type of relationship. Parents, kids, friends, spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend. 

The point is to understand how they receive love, do that and your relationship will improve because they feel loved. 

Once I read about this, my relationship with my ex husband and ex mother in law all made sense. You see my ex mother in laws Love Language is Quality Time. And when we went to her house it was a day long event. I felt like I could never stop over for an hour, like we could with my mom. When we left, it was always a guilt trip that we were leaving already. 

For me, my primary Love Language is Act of Service. And while my ex husband told me he loved me, I never felt loved. In fact, I felt that I wasn’t important, an after thought because in my head, if he loved me he would do the dishes before I got home from working 2 jobs. He would do (fill in the blank) because he saw it needed to get done and not just wait for me to do it. 

And today while I was journaling about my relationship with XXXXXX, I was reminded about Love Languages. That XXXXXX and I talked about it. He knew what I needed to feel loved and he was really good at focusing on that when he was sober. And when his addiction took over his life, I wanted to badly to get back what we had because I never had that level of love before. 

It was a really good journaling sessions today for me. This was my view… 
 I was present. I listened to my heart. I sat with my feelings. and I am so grateful for giving myself this gift of time and understanding. 
Recovery from codependency is a gift. A gift to understand and heal. An opportunity to become a better me. For me and for those who love me today and who will love me in the future. 

And this understanding is only because of His Grace and For His Glory. I would not here if I was not there and I am living proof that  God can do great things for someone who just trusts Him! 

My journey to serenity continues….