Finish line

Well when it comes to recovery and working the steps, theres not really a finish line. I still have work to do but I am not far from being done with Steps 4/5.

I can see the finish line. I’m doing Step 4 on my Mom. It’s the hardest one of all because she’s my mom and was my best friend. She learned to cope with or avoid coping with life by drinking. I’ve had some really good conversations with my aunt and 2 brothers to help fill in the gaps of information I just didn’t know about her because we didn’t talk about it.  She had a hard up bringing. She watched an alcoholic  cope with life in an aggressive way. She was not aggreessive. She just in denial and if we didn’t talk about things, there was nothing wrong. 

I’m so close to being done, I can see the next step, I know what this step has done for me and my life. But at this stage of the process, I’m tired. 

I was thinking tonight about another time in my life when I felt this way and figured God reminded me of this for a reason and I should share it. 

I too have had times in my life that if I got so busy with ____, I didn’t have to deal with what was going on. I just never chose alcohol, I chose other things. Work, kids, food, other people’s needs. 

So after I separated from my husband in 2009, a coworker was diagnosed with breast cancer. So without much over thinking it, I decided to sign up for the a breast cancer walk. 2 days, 35 miles. Raise some money. Focus on someone else so I didn’t have to focus on me and my marriage falling apart. 

I was out of shape and had 6 months to train. I walked everyday at lunch. Lots of 3-5 mile walks. Many evenings and weekends I walked longer distances. 

If I remember right, I trained just over 200 miles. On the same pair of shoes. I was a newly single parent, money way tight and one pair of $100 shoes was all I could afford. (All the prep stuff tells you to have 2 pairs and switch them out) 2 weeks before the big weekend, my heals were killing me but I picked up some inserts and I was good to go again. 

I had also taken a personal development class around the same time and the speaker did a 5k or 10k I can’t remember now but shared about how her goal was not to get in the bus of shame and be driven to the end of the route. 

Bus of shame,  that’s a really bad thing. I don’t want to do that either. No bus of shame. 

So it’s now walking weekend. Feeling pretty good about my training. I hadn’t yet walked more than 18 miles or so but I got this. 

The first 8 miles were easy. Feeling good. Has lunch. Decent pace. The inserts in my shoes had slipped and they started rubbing my feet raw. By mile 13 I took the inserts out and threw them away. 

At mile 17, with tears in my eyes I told my friends I had to go get on the bus. The bus of shame of all things. I was feeling pretty awful that I had failed. I met a couple of pretty awesome ladies on the bus and we are still Facebook friends today. 

The bus was not shameful. I have no idea how many people were on it, but tons of conversations about why or who we were walking for. So much love and support on the bus. Songs and laughter. No shame. 

I was feeling better, stronger, rested when we got to mile 23. I got off the bus. And walked the remaining 3 1/2 miles to the day 1 finish line. 

  
So tonight I am reminding myself….it’s ok to rest a while. Get support from others. And then when I’m feeling stronger, get up and finish. There is NO SHAME for taking a break when you need one. 

It’s even in the Bible. And it’s become one of my favorite passages. 

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I have just worked for months on a life time of feelings and situations. Making connections that I had never made before. Listening to my heart, letting that little girl inside me be heard for the 1st time. Forgiving myself and others. Understanding God was always there even when my faith was quiet and I was shameful for decisions I had made. He was waiting for me. Letting go of what I can’t control. 

I needed time to process all that has happened in the past 7 months. All the progress I’ve made in be past 4 months. 

I’m not stalled out, I just need to rest for a little bit. But then, I will finish what I started. 

I love when God puts things on my heart and I listen. 

My journey to serenity continues…

God is not surprised…

God is not surprised by any of our decisions. He has known us since before we were born. He has a plan for us. He also gave us free will to make our own decisions. And while sometimes decisions are made that takes us away from him and his plan, He is not surprised. 

BUT 

He is there, waiting for us when we are ready to return to Him. (He knows about that too). he sends people in our path to redirect us to where we should be….and when we are ready, we get back on that path. 

God is always faithful. 

God will not let us down. 

God always provides us a way out. 

  

My journey to serenity continues…

Letting Go is POWERFUL

I am amazed in the power of letting go. 

Since I have been involved in 12 step programs I have heard over and over the you need to let go. 

Letting go sounds nice and also sound pretty easy. Like holding a pen, you can choose to just let the pen go. The pen hits the floor and magically it’s done.

But hurt feelings, brokenness, anger, fear, worry, grieving, shame and disappointment are not so easy to let go. My story holds all those feelings, just like everyone else’s story does. 

Working the steps, one step builds on the next. They are designed to be done in order. It’s by design that you don’t skip steps. You have to start on Step 1.

I’ve been working the steps with my sponsor for many months. I’m getting ready to take part in a women’s step study group. Which I think is awesome. I’ve just about done with step 4 and 5 and I think this is the perfect time to put some work in with a group. It will give me the opportunity to start over the steps and ensure that I am on solid footing before moving through steps 6-12. 

Because I’m new at this, I may have missed something or forgotten something. It’s not s race. It’s actually investing in my heathy self and my future. 

The freedom I have experienced from steps 1-5 are just amazing. Hard to put into words. 

  
I have let go of the hurt that I have carried with me for a long time. Even the hurt that had from a lack of understanding. 

I have let go of brokenness that I have felt from things that were not my fault and that often involved another broken person. Broken people hurt broken people. 

I have let go of anger that kept me stuck in unforgiveness. And have learned to have compassion and empathy. 

I have let go of fear. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the what if. 

I have let go of worry. Worry does not change outcome. And means I am not trusting God when I over worry.

I have let go of grieving all the loses in my life. I have lost people I love dearly. I have lost things and I have lost hopes and dreams. Everyone experiences loss in many different ways. Grieving happens but I don’t have to stay there. 

I have let go of shame. This is huge for me. I carried shame for things that happened, for decisions I made, for protecting others and shame for not being truthful. 

I have let go of disappointments. Disappointments of what wasn’t or broken promises. For not being able at the time to say what I needed and that what was going on was just not cool. For expectations not expressed. 

All of these feelings are like a prison. Making me feel trapped and stuck. 

Letting go of all these things and trusting God is just so powerful. It means I am strong when I have conversations with my ex husband. It means I am strong as I guide my sons and watch them thriving in their lives. It means I am strong when my ex boyfriend got out of jail this week and I honestly can say, I wish him all that life has to offer him. 

There’s no more hook, there is no more excuses for someone’s bad behavior or trying to save someone from consiquences or hurt feelings and putting myself in harms way. 

Will I feel those feeling again? Of course I will but now I have tools to cope in a different way now.

Letting go is POWERFUL 

My journey to serenity continues….

letter to my alcoholic ex boyfriend part 2

I wanted to revisit this letter to XXXX. 
The first letter I wrote him in a blog post gets hits almost every day. And is in my top 2 of viewed posts. https://thisgirlsjourneytoserenity.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/letter-to-my-alcoholic-ex-boyfriend/ 

I have read it many many times and I am surprised by my understanding even back then about what was my part and what was his. I guess I really was ready to live life differently now and admit my life was unmanageable. 

Because it gets so many hits I often wonder who is reading it? Is it someone like me struggling on the merry go round? Is it someone like XXXX, looking for understanding of the dance we once were pros in? I guess I’ll never know who it is or they are but I hope my words are helping them to understand themselves or help them understand where they have been or are and know they are not alone. Not alone in the insanity. Not alone in feeling broken. Not alone in the feelings of this is just how it’s going to be. Not alone in wanting it to stop and not alone in recovery! 

I have done my step 4 on XXXX and I shared it with my sponsor. I feel differently about that time last year. I understand so much more about where I was. And where he was in his addiction. 

If you have read my blog for a little while now, you know I have a protective order against him. 

XXXX is now out of jail. And how I feel today about if different than how I felt even 2 weeks ago when he was moved from one to another that was just a few miles away. I know it’s because of Step 4. 

Isn’t that amazing. Gods perfect timing for me to be so much stronger now. 

So if I were to write him a letter today, this is what I’d write.   

September 13, 2016

Dear XXXX-

Thank you for time you loved me like no other. The time in the beginning where we enjoyed the simple daily things that life had to offer. For the time that you allowed me to love you and for reminding me that I am lovable. Time was simple and it was pretty easy to take care of and love each other. 

Then your addiction was in control of you, you were not. Your addiction controlled your mind long before it controlled your actions. I tried to make your falling a softer landing because I thought that is what I was supposed to do. 

I wanted to get back to where we were before alcohol took over, that I didn’t see how I was harming both of us in the process of trying to fix everything. I’m sorry that I didn’t know a different way. 

Things that happened  were awful. Awful for both of us but just awful in different ways. Many things you don’t remember. Many things are clouded by an alcohol fog. 

We both have lived out consiquences for our actions and reactions. And it’s time to turn the page with grace, love and forgiveness. 

I now understand how I got in that place. I’ve connected the dots and it all makes sense now. 

I wanted to wish you all the best. That we both always remember that God is in control and that we accept the things that we can not change. That we have the courage to change the things that we can and we have the wisdom to know the difference. That we always life one day at a time. Enjoying one moment at a time. That we remember that hardships are pathways to peace. That we take as Jesus did, this sinful world for as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He makes all thing right, if we surrender to His will. That we may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy forever with you in the next.

Grow in grace and wisdom

This girls journey to serenity 

Pain not wasted…

I’ve moving along in my step 4 and last night I was feeling hurt by what happened last year with my relationship with XXXX. 

I starting writing and went from zero to 100 on feeling hurt by just writing his name down. 

I know I will feel so much better when I’m done but I wanted to pause and just sit with feeling this way for a moment. 

I am hurt in fact I was pretty pissed off about all that happened when I started writing last night. 

As I continue to write tonight, I realized that God does not waste our pain and I have learned so much about myself in this process. 

  

I know I was in that place for a reason. Decisions I made. Consequences for the decisions that I made. God was not surprised at my decisions. 

God nudged me along the way. I hid and lied to others the truth of what was going on. I hid and lied and justified to myself, what was really going on. But God was waiting for me, when I was ready. 

I kept thinking, maybe THIS was the time that it would work. But it wasn’t. No sooner did those thoughts enter my mind, they were crushed by another binge. 

My x was sick in his addiction and not capable of more at that time. He taught me that was able to be loved when he was sober. He taught me I was able to give love on a very deep level when he was sober. And I am forever grateful for that understanding now. I wanted nothing more than to get back to that place with XXXX  but that was not part of Gods plan for me or him. 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

If I was not in that terrible place, I would not have the understanding and healing that I have today. 

God was not surprised that I ended up there and that now I am here. 

I blog and share my story for His glory. The people that he sent to walk along side me. The people that I have been sent to, to walk along side them…..its a beautiful thing that we are connected and in fellowship to lift  each other up. 

My journey to serenity continues…

Just for today…

Just for today, one day at a time…..things you hear in recovery programs. 

If you’ve read any of me other blog posts you know I go to Celebrate Recovery. It’s my home. These are my people! God has placed amazing people in my life who are in recovery. And have joined me on my journey to serenity. 

My core struggle is with codependency. The dictionary defines it as….excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.

I’ve been digging deep to find and heal those parts of me that got me to this place. It’s been a hard but well worth the journey. 

I wrote a week or so ago that I went to a different meeting and at that meeting someone suggested that you just start rowing, you just do what everyone else is doing even if it doesn’t make sense, just do it and the boat will come. 

So I’ve been rowing. 

This new to me program is Overeaters Anonymous. And when it was first suggested to me, I was like that not me. I’m not doing this or that so that group is not for me. But I went anyway. And I found that I do belong there. I may not do this or that but sure do the other thing and that over there too. I’ve only gone to 3 meeting. 2 locations/times. 

So last Sunday I reached out to someone I felt comfortable with and she became my accountability partner. I text her everyday my food plan for that day. I can put anything I want in it, it’s my plan. I just needed to start rowing. I can clean it up and define it more as I better but right now it’s the fact that I started. 

I’ve never been much of a planner when it comes to food or meals. So this is completely different for me. 

  

This notion of just for today has been amazing for me all week long. Every day I make a food plan. I also listed a couple of goals like drink 32 oz of water at work or don’t eat out of the candy jar. 

And what’s totally cool and amazing…..I’ve stuck to my commitment everyday since I’ve started. Even times what I could have take candy from the basket at work because I’m the only there but I haven’t. Or like tonight I left early for work and I totally forgot to put stuff in the crock pot and then I worked late and didn’t walk in the door till 8. So other nights I would have just picked something up or eaten nothing. 

I’m not saying I will never eat candy from the basket. That seems impossible. I’m just say for today I won’t. Just for today. I can do it for one day. 

Ain’t that some shit. 

I have a new appreciation for ‘just for today’ or ‘one day at a time’ 

Feeling so good about where this recovery thing is taking me! 

My journey to serenity continues…