Tag Archives: 12 step

12 Things I’ve Learned 12 Stepping 

I didn’t know anything about 12 step programs before 2015. Maybe a few jokes here and there. Maybe how it was depicted on a sitcom. 

I was a Seinfeld fan and there was an episode about Step 9. And how George was looking for an apology from someone who was in AA. So my concept of 12 step programs was from a sarcastic place and that all anyone talked about who was in a program was the program. 

Now look at me 16 months of working a 12 step program. And yeah I do talk about the program a lot. 

The thing is, my life has changed and I am continuing to grow closer to my Higher Power, HP or who I believe is Jesus Christ. I am continuing to understand and let go. I am continuing to be that much closer to my authentic self and who God wants me to be. 

So in no particular order, 12 things I have learned from my 12 step program.

1. Working a program is just that, work. You can’t just show up to meetings and do nothing else and things get better. So I….Got a sponsor. I have surround myself with  a sober community. I read recovery materials. Celebrate Recovery has a step study which are workbooks that ask some hard questions on each step that you answer and share with a small group, so I joined that group. I read the Bible. Putting all these things into action is working a program. Doing all of those things, you can’t help but change. 

2. What you struggle with does not define you. The 12 step program I attend is for anyone with  hurts, hang ups or habits that separates us from God and that you want to change. I love that when we introduce ourselves we say ‘I struggle with’ not I am. Mistakes of my past doesn’t mean that is who I am. 

3. Forgiveness is not for the other person but for yourself. I will never contact my ex boyfriend again but I have forgiven him. The freedom of owning my part and understanding his and forgiving him is life changing. I no longer carry the guilt and shame of my actions. 

4. Forgiving myself has been the hardest thing.  My actions hurt other people, I knew it and then I isolated, shut down and hind because of my shame and guilt. Forgiving myself took me the longest to do but then a friend in program reminded me that God had already forgiven me and I should too. 

5. Worry does not change ourcome. If fact worry is a form of not trusting God. God is in control and already knows what is going to happen and knows the mistakes I will make in the future. He has a plan in place to help me through these times too. So worry only takes energy from the now and prevents you from being present. 

6. Understanding codependency. I learned to cope with life by being codependent. When I thought I was helping, it actually caused damage. I made excuses, lied to cover up for and took care of things that were not my responsibility. And it turned out that I prevented the other person from growing from the experience of managing his own problems. 

7. I’ve learned about setting boundaries. Boundaries not only keeps me in a safe space, it also allows me to communicate in a healthy way what I need and what I am willing to do. I don’t always have to tell others my boundaries, me knowing in some cases is enough. This has not only helped me with my relationships but also with work. 

8. It’s hard to complain when you are grateful. Gratitude reminds me of the things in your life. Often addictive behaviors starts from lacking something and it’s a way to escape. It’s so hard to bitch about life when you start to become aware of all the little things to be grateful for everyday. I am grateful for all the little things, the good things and the trials too. 

9. Feelings are hard and that’s ok. No one likes to feel unappreciated or hurt or singled out or not heard. Addictive behaviors are often to avoid those feelings. Feeling of not being good enough. Feelings of not being enough. Feelings of being disappointed or disappointing someone else. But there are also feelings of love and acceptance and joy that by avoiding those negative feelings you also miss out on the good ones too. So sometimes you have to sit and feel those feelings that you don’t want to and then move on. 

10. You are exactly where God wants you to be. In number five, I said that God has a plan in place for my future mistakes but He also has a plan for the good times too. I am in the right place…..right now. Maybe there is a lesson that has yet to be learned. Maybe there is someone else that you will cross paths with for you but what if it was actually for them. Isn’t that a cool thought. Don’t worry about where you are right now, just be there and enjoy every second. And before you know it, you will be in another place with new challenges and new good times and then that is where you are supposed to be. 

11. Being in program taught me how to listen. Being in dysfunctional relationships, I often felt that I was not heard. During the share time, each person is given 5 minutes to share whatever they want. No one can interrupt them. No one can ask questions. No one tell you how to fix it. No one can tell you that you are wrong. It’s only 5 minutes but it’s the only 5 minutes that are like that in my week. I’ve learned to listen. And I don’t judge or think less of them because I know they don’t think less of me. It’s how this works. During the week I may check in with them or next time I see them, we’ll talk about how whatever went or ended up. 

12. Recovery doesn’t end, it’s a lifestyle. I hate to be the one to tell you, but working a program is not a one and done thing. You have to work and embrace the steps everyday, every single day. And when you do, you change, you become aware. You feel things that you don’t want to but you cope with it in a new way. You learn to recognize and own your part and you set better boundaries for next time. And you share your experience, strength and hope with others. And why do we do that? We share our story for His glory and to show others what God has done in our lives.
I want to add a 13th thing I’ve learned because people joke about the 13th step. The 13th step is that someone in program hits one newer member of the group. 

But this is my experience of other people in the group…..

13.  Sponsors, accountability partners and friendships born from recovery are amazing. People in the program are full of wisdom and grace. And this combination is incredible. They have worked the program. Your sponsor will push you in a loving way. You accountability partner will ask you questions that will make you think and maybe give you reason to pause. And the fellowship you share with other members of the group is like no other friendships you can ever have. I have learned how to give grace because others have given grace to me. 

Stay on this journey with me, the best is yet to be.

My journey to serenity continues…

Recurring themes…

I keep running into these words: Resilience and Living Authentically. 

Resilience is defind as the ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.

And Living Authentically is defined as acting in ways that are congruent with our values, preferences, and abilities being true to the core self in one’s daily life. 

Before working a recovery program I thought I was living both of those but now I have a completely different point of view. 

Working a recovery program, being resilient and living authenticity means that you are reflective. Understanding what is your part and what is not. 

Working a recovery program, being resilient and living authenticity means you are not judgemental. When being reflective you understand that people make mistakes and the greatest lessons are from the darkest nights and understand that others make mistakes too. And bounce back when you are hurt or disappointed. 

Working a recovery program, being resilient and living authenticity means you live in the present. You no longer dwell on the past or what if’s or if only’s. You are trusting God and enjoying one moment at a time.

Working a recovery program, being resilient and living authenticity means you have identified your character defects and are entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character and humbly ask him to remove our shortcomings. 

Working a recovery program, being resilient and living authenticity means that you listen. You understand that there are times when someone just wants to be heard and knowing this you learn how to be a good listener. 

Working a recovery program, being resilient and living authenticity means you are consistent. Living the steps, having a sponsor keeps you on track and consistent. 

Working a recovery program, being resilient and living authenticity means others notice and ask you about how you life your life this way. Because by living this way, you give others hope. 

I am humble and grateful for my program. 

My journey to serenity continues….

The Best Part of Recovery……I Am Never Alone

The best part of recovery is that I am never alone. We are not built to be alone. But when you are in the middle of your addiction, you pull away from others because of shame and guilt. 

Now when I feel overwhelmed or upset, I can reach out to several people and they talk to me about what’s going on, how I’m feeling and why. 

My recovery family glows in number and in depth. Spending time with likeminded, God lovin’, people in recovery makes me a better human. 

I’m giving my testimony in 3 days. I have thought about this day for 6 months. What I have written is perfect. It’s me and my story.  I know that sharing my story will give glory to God and share courage, strength and hope. 

My journey continues…

This girls journey to serenity

PS this is my picture that I took and I created this graphic for this post =] 

Where Truth Meets Grace

I’m in a little mini season of reflection. I’ve written my testimony and have been reading it over and over and over again. I even recorded it and listen to it when I’m driving. I know there is this thing called being overly prepared but it helps me to just keep doing it. I still get chocked up at the same parts, and that’s ok. 

It’s real.  

It’s truth. 

It’s my story.

 It’s where I’ve been, how I got there, how I got out and where I’m heading.

I’ve settled into a new normal. I can see changes in how I interact with  my ex husband or with my kids. 

I had dinner with my oldest son on Sunday night. It’s our thing, we go (out just the two of us) and have dinner together and catch up. I gave him an example of how I interacted differently now and he commented that he sees it too and give me an example of what he noticed. 

This new normal….it’s Where Truth Meets Grace. 

The Grace that God has been extended to me. The gift of Grace that I extend to myself. The  Grace that is extended to others. 

Right after I wrote my testimony, I had some doubt and fear roaming around unattended in my head. But then I was reminded, what I wrote was truth and light. 

My light is not for me but rather to glorify God and shine light on someone else’s darkness. That’s why we share our story. To give hope to others. It’s just that simple. Darkness thrives on the fear of the unknown, feelings and  fear of speaking authenticity. When you stand on the truth, you find grace. 

The corner of Truth and Grace…..my new benchmark. 

My journey to serenity continues…

An Open Letter to the Committee in My Head! 

Dear Committee in My Head- 

I’m sure there are more than 6 of you but I’d like to address you. 

HaPpY – I drew you in pink because it my favorite color and I imagine you would be in all pink. I love having you around more lately.

Grateful – You remind me to full my heart of all the small things that matter.  Little things add up to big feelings. Coming from a grateful place keeps me grounded in what I have.    

Envy – I don’t like when you show up. Like yesterday when a friend told me she was dating someone new, you had to pipe up and get in my head. You come from comparing my life to others and really I’m just focused on being me and embracing who I am not need to compare. 

Angry – I don’t feel you that often. But you sure make a statement when I do. You have a time and place and I’m grateful that I’ve gotten better at expressing you in a more healthy way.

Oh Lonely and Sad, how I do love you. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last few years. You’ve been with me on some long dark days. I wish You guys weren’t around so much. I think it’s getting better as HaPpY and Grateful are around more. 

All of you have a time and place. Please know I need all of you to be human but when one stays too long, it’s not healthy for any of us. 

Thanks for making me, me. 

Grow with me, the best is yet to be. 


This girls journey to serenity

I drew the feelings in this post. =] 

Open letter to Worry….

Dear Worry – 

You have served your purpose and kept me safe and busy for long enough. And I thank you for time but it’s over. 

It’s not you, it’s me…..ok well it’s kinda you but please don’t take it personal. I’ve just learned that life is a lot easier when I don’t have you in my life because I know God is in control. 

Through my attendance and work in Celebrate Recovey, there are was a section in Step 1 about Powerless. It says ‘Worry – worrying is a form of not trusting God enough’.



I never thought of you in this way. It was a game charger for me. 


The other thing I learned about you is that no matter how long I spend with you, it doesn’t change outcome. In the past, I have spent a lot of time with you and your friends What If and If Only and again it’s time for me to move on. 

Please tell them to lose my number. 

Worry, What If and If Only, I’m done. I’m trusting God. You will not have me spend one more minute on what could have been or second guessing decisions that were already made. 

Thank you again for doing your best to keep me safe. You did a great job with what you knew. I will miss you…..maybe, ok likely not. 

Much love and light! All the best.

this girls journey to serenity…

I painted the pictures used in the post and used Font Candy to add the text. 

Open letter to little Mar

Dear Younger Me…AKA little Mar….

Oh Little Mar, I am so sorry for the things that happened to you. The things you were told were unkind and just not true. These things changed how you thought about yourself and how you thought everyone else thought about you. The things that happened were unspeakable and wrong in so many ways. But all not your fault. 

Hurt people hurt people and you were an easy target because you were younger and looked up to him.

We may never know why these things happened but they did. And not giving him a pass but he was also a kid, what happened to him that he thought this was ok? 

I see you like watching a movie, this little girl that just wants to fade into the background and be unnoticed. This little girl that is struggling to focus in school because of what is going on at home. Feeling shame and that she has done something wrong. And is to afraid to tell.

 It’s ok that that you didn’t tell. Really it is. No one is mad at you for not telling. 

Then as you hit your teens, it’s how you showed boys that you liked them. Got myself into situations that I couldn’t get out of. Young men took advantage of that for their own self. And again never told. it’s ok that you didn’t tell.  Keeping secrets was just part of life. 

But it’s not always going to be like that. Because of recovery, we are healing those broken little parts. I got you and we are going to be better than anyone ever imagined. God has a plan for our life. Our pain is not wasted. We are going to stand up and tell our story. And we are going to help someone else in the process. 

The thing you love to do as a kid, you still love to do today. Drawing and being creative. Take classes and learn something new. It fills you up and takes stress away and replaces it with pride of creating something. Accomplished.  Excited. Happy. And it came naturally. School was so hard. And this was something that I could be shown and then I could do it. 

No more secrets. Secrets keep you sick. We are just going to keep doing….Mar…..because she is pretty awesome in spite or maybe even because of it all. 

My journey to serenity continues…