My Truth

Got coping tools? YES I DO

In this world of uncertainty that we have found ourselves in, I started feeling anxious and overwhelmed while at the grocery store tonight.

I walked down aisle after aisle and found empty shelves and choices were limited. I was hit in the face with how real this is. The restaurant in the same parking lot was empty and the coffee shop was dark.

I felt that I needed to remind myself of all the tools and new ways of coping with life when life happens that I have learned from WORKING a recovery program. Cause life is happening right now and while it’s a little unsettling, I know that this will not last forever and God is in control.

I used my tools right away, which was kinda cool that it came so naturally. I reached out to my sponsor and talked to her about how I was I was feeling and why I felt this way. And I found out, that she was feeling the same way. Having a sponsor, accountability partner or trusted friend to talk to is just so important. I know I am not alone in my feelings.

Got coping tools, YES I DO!

Here are some other things that are on top of my toolbox:

🔨 Eating well. Comfort food is called that for a reason. Often is not the best choice but sure makes me feel good. Adding healthy options like a salad or veggies is a plus. I also tend not to eat and go for long periods of time without eating. So I need to keep planning meals so it’s something I don’t have to think about. I have it written down and know what to do next without having to think about. Making smart food choices will keep me healthy.

🔧 Take meds. Always take your meds as prescribed. It might be a good idea to take a vitamin too.

🔩 Exercise. Now that gyms are closing to practice social distancing, there are still lots of options. Can be as simple as going out for a walk. Or going up and down the stairs at home. Or there are tons of online resources on YouTube for workouts at home. If you have a gym membership, they may even have resources on their website or Facebook group. Or how about putting on your favorite music and just dancing!

🔨 Read. Lots of options here too. From the serenity prayer to the 12 steps and 8 principles (Celebrate Recovery) Can all be found on the CR app or online. The Holy Bible app is another really good one to download. There are many suggestions on the home page of the one I use has references hope and anxiety or I can search programs. Or I have even googled ’what does the Bible say about —- ’ to find really good verses on that topic or feeling. Can always read other stuff too but there are my go.

🔧 Journal. Journaling can help you sort out your feelings. Ask yourself, have I felt this way before? When? Why am I feeling this way? How did I cope last time? Did that help? Why or why not. Tons of journaling books available if you need props too.

🔩 Get creative. I enjoy painting but I recently discovered diamond painting which is kinda mindless yet fun. Sometimes I struggle with ideas on what to paint so diamond painting takes the pressure off. Think about what you enjoyed doing as a kid. Did you like to color, crossword puzzles or draw? Give those a try again. You may find a new (old) hobby.

🔨 Write a thank you or thinking of you note. Send an email or text and check on someone else. Let them know you are thinking about them. Set up a call and share a cup of coffee by phone.

🔧 Do and act of kindness. I cleaned out a cabinet over the weekend and found a few board games that we hadn’t used in years. So I posted on my neighborhood Facebook group and set them outside. They were gone within an hour.

🔩 My 100 things list. One of the first things my sponsor had me do was write a list of 100 positive words that described myself. This took me a month and I asked my friends for help and I use the thesauruses. But when it gets in my head that I am not enough, I reread these words to remind myself who I really am.

If you need a place to start, here are some things God says about us from a Bible study I did:

  • I am blessed
  • I am chosen, forgiven, favored and accepted
  • I am made in Gods image
  • I am His child
  • I am victorious and strengthened by Him
  • I am healed, new, delivered, set free and redeemed
  • I am complete
  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made
  • I am His masterpiece
  • And I am loved

🔨 Listen to Music. Have a playlist on your phone or listen to on of your favorites on YouTube and that song will lead to the next and you just may find a new favorite one.

🔧 You can meditate – there’s an app for that too. I use the free version of ABIDE. It’s a prayer meditation style app which has a list of topics from anger, anxiety to fear or hope. These are short just 2-5 minutes meditations.

Using these 🔨 🔧 🔩 will keep me connected. Connected to God. Connected to myself and my program and connected to others.

This is my final thought. 

From Philippians 4: 8-9

And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

And the God of peace will be with you….another word for peace is serenity. And the God of serenity will be with you.

Stay well. Stay positive. Take things one day at a time. Stay connected and go wash your hands.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Grateful

I recently did a questionnaire that puts in order 24 character strengths. I went into the questionnaire not knowing the names of the strengths.

I was not surprised by my top 5. They are: gratitude, appreciation of beauty and excellence, kindness and generosity, capacity to love and be loved and spiritually, sense of purpose and faith.

We often think and talk about our character defects and not character strengths. So doing this work gives me some great incite into who I am and how I am showing up in the world. The other cool thing is the other strengths can be worked on and improved and moved up the list.

Something I can only contribute to recovery, is having an attitude of gratitude. There have been times in my life that I have felt unworthy. Ungrateful. And not seeing the gifts there are from trials, hard days and even conflict. Over the last couple of years, I have developed a very strong sense of gratitude. So I was not surprised that this is my top strength.

According to The Positivity Project gratitude’s parent virtue is transcendence and this strength allow people to rise above their troubles and find meaning in the larger universe. Gratitude is sometimes resisted due to not wanting to experience a sense of indebtedness. However, gratitude is less about feeling indebted and more about being aware of the consideration, kindness and generosity of others.

I am approaching my 4 year of working a recovery program, Celebrate Recovery (CR) I’m giving my testimony at two different CR’s in the next few weeks. Tonight I am reflective of who I was walking in the doors of CR for the first time and who I am today AND JUST HOW FAR I HAVE COME.

And I find myself just so grateful.

Grateful for where I was. Grateful for those who came along side me. I am grateful for those who stuck with me and for those who walked away. I am grateful for the work I’ve done to find myself. I am grateful for friendships that are not like any other I have ever had. I am grateful for making my recovery a priority for the last 4 years.

I am grateful that I can admit that I am powerless. I do not have it all together. I do not have to try and control all of it. I am not responsible for all of it. I am not that powerful and it’s not my job.

I am grateful that my higher power loves me. That I matter to Him and that He wants to have a relationship with me. That He works all things together for my greater good.

I am grateful that I make the decision everyday to turn my life and my will over to the care of God.

I am grateful for fearless inventories. And identify my part and see character defects because I will grow from this information.

I am grateful for being able to admit to God, to myself and to someone I trust, my wrong doings.

I am grateful that I am a work in progress and am ready to have God remove my defects of character.

I am grateful that I can humbly ask Him to remove my shortcomings.

I am grateful for identifying those that I have harmed and become willing to make amends with them.

I am grateful for making direct amends when ever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

I am grateful for continuing to take personal inventory and promptly admit when I am wrong.

I am grateful for prayer and meditation. Praying for knowledge of His will for my life and the power to carry that out.

And I am grateful for getting to carry this message to others and practicing these principles in all of my affairs.

I am grateful for the 12 steps and learning how to apply them to me and my pain and hurts.

I am perfectly imperfect and grateful.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

I cried because I had no shoes…

I’m reading this amazing book about grief. I have learned quiet a bit. I have made some new connections and have a better understanding of my own grief.

A few years ago, I asked a client how she was doing (knowing she just lost her job and was putting one foot on front of the other to get by) but I really wanted to know because I enjoyed working with her. She said ‘I don’t complain because I was always told, ‘I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

This for sure gives an picture of empathy and to be grateful for what you have because someone always has it worse.

I hadn’t thought much about that quote after my conversation other than it was a good perspective. Until I read it in the book and it created a new point of view for me.

I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.

It implies that someone’s pain or hurt is more than another. That I shouldn’t cry because I have no shoes because someone else has it worse than I do. It also implies comparison of pain and hurt. That my pain is less than.

Hmm

Grieving the loss on someone (although it can be many other things besides a person) is personal.

The relationship I had with my mother, for example, was different than the relationship my mother had with my each of my siblings. The pain I feel, is the pain I feel and the level of pain they feel, is the pain they feel.

And the pain that woman feels who lost their daughter that same day. That woman’s pain doesn’t make my pain any less.

And while it’s easy to look at both situations and say that mother who lost her daughter pain is worse than me the daughter who lost my mother. But is it? And really who cares, why are we comparing??? Both of these women are hurting and that’s the point. Both women lost someone they love, let’s meet them where they are and love them.

Let’s stop comparing pain. Let’s stop trying to fix each other by saying things like time heals because the truth is time doesn’t heal. It’s a big fat lie. Time only means it’s been longer that I’ve been in pain. Longer that I’ve missed my mom.

Not remembering until I saw it the other day and I was actually stunned to read it but I wrote on my mom’s memorial online…mom, I don’t know how to be here without you. This was just days after she died. And you know what I wrote last March on the 9th anniversary of her passing….mom, I don’t know how to be here without you. So time has not healed the pain I feel.

So yeah, I cried because I had no shoes. And I will cry for my friend who has no feet too.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

When someone shows you who they are, believe them!

A while back I worked for a bank and worked in the business loan department. I remember people asking why we pull personal credit reports for a business loan. Well the answer is simple, how someone handles their personal finances is also how they handle their business finances. People don’t change their core habits based on business or personal. And if they do, it’s short lived.

I share that because I was watching a You Tube video last night and heard someone say ‘when someone shows you who they are, believe them’. It’s kinda like the credit report thing.

Gosh I wish I applied this with a few people in my past.

Have you ever made excuses for someone’s bad behavior? I sure have. Have you had someone do something many times and you made excuses over and over. Yep, done that too.

If I had paused with the second or even third time or how about the 10th time and I made a different decision rather than making an excuse, I wonder how things would have been different. But….

Please don’t get me wrong, people can change. I’ve seen it first hand. People at their bottom. Life was a hot mess. And they are now a completely different person because they have done the work that comes with recovery.

But stay with me.

That is who they were at that time. And that is who I was at that time too.

He continued to drink, when he told me he wouldn’t. And I continued to make excuses, in hopes that this was the time. And if I walked away too soon, I would 1. Cause him to drink because I didn’t believe in him enough and 2. I would miss his recovery back to who he used to be.

Really now, did I have that type of control? Sounds ridiculous just saying it out loud. Heck no, I didn’t have any control. But my codependent thinking made me think I did.

So I stayed a little too long because I thought that was loving hm. As things spun more out of control And my heart got hurt. So did my wallet. And my other relationships.

But had I not been there, I wouldn’t be here.

Last week, I heard from an old friend. Someone I thought I could have been in a relationship with one day. And with just a few test messages, he showed me who he is. And you know what I did? I believed him. And I asked him not to contact me again. (Now I wish I could say that I was that nice or graceful about it but I’m not sure I was.)

The point is, that I did it. I didn’t make an excuse. He showed me who he is……and I believed him. And I walked away.

Recovery in action! Love small victories!

Feeling grateful tonight for all I have learned in the past few years and most of all, Grateful to God for leading me to Celebrate Recovery so that I can develop a relationship with Him and gain the understanding of why my life was in a ditch and help me get out of it.

My journey to serenity continues….

My Truth

It’s not ____’s problem, until it becomes _____’s problem, before then there is…

It’s not ____’s problem, until it becomes ____’s problem, before then there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO!

Have you ever loved an addict? Or even have addictive behaviors yourself?

Many things come to mind that I have said out loud:

• Where is your bottom?

• When is enough?

• Will you stop for me?

• If he loves me, he will stop

• I can soften his fall and he will stop

• I’ll just pretend it’s not happening

But the hard truth is, until the person gets to the point that they have had enough and they want to try something different and only until that happens there is nothing you can do. And trying to do something will only hurt you and them.

Addiction is selfish. It’s all consuming. It is deceptive. Addiction lies.

Addiction may temporarily pause feelings. It may temporarily makes you feel better (but does it). Addiction might even give you comfort. But it lies.

Addiction hurts people. Addiction hurts families. Addiction changes the addict. Addiction ends lives. Addiction lies.

As someone who has loved an addict (several in fact), I hurt myself and the addict when I tried to help when they couldn’t answer yes to the following questions:

• Have you had enough?

• Are you willing to try a new way of living?

So until they can answer those questions YES, there is nothing you can do. Except, to create boundaries around that person to protect yourself and them.

Boundaries are hard but necessary.

I’ll write about boundaries next time, tonight I just wanted to give a voice to the part of me (and maybe you too) that it’s not your fault and you can’t fix someone else’s addiction no matter how much you want to. But there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO for them.

My journey continues…

My Truth

You know you are codependent when….

You know you are codependent when….

  • You fix other people’s problems without being asked
  • Saying no, has 10 reasons attached to it and in the end, you say yes
  • You have 4 solutions for someone else’s problems before they are finished telling you what’s wrong
  • When you are more involved in someone else’s life than they are
  • You recognize unhealthy behavior but give them a pass because they need you
  • You put their needs above your own
  • You are not addicted to a substance but rather addicted to a person who is addicted to a substance
  • You feel more responsible for others then they do
  • You have a hard time making decisions and rely on others to make decisions for you
  • You feel guilty in doing any kind of self care
  • You feel guilty for others bad behavior
  • You say I’m sorry, when you don’t need to
  • When your life flashes in front of your eyes, you realize it’s everyone else’s

As someone who struggles with codependency, I have done everyone one of the above. And I did all those things from a loving place. It was how i thought I was supposed to love someone. But it got completely out of control.

In all of my prior relationships, I felt and acted the same way but maybe in more of a watered down version. My relationship with xxxxxxxxx was the perfect storm because his addiction got so out of control so quicky.

I am grateful for my understanding now of not only my struggle but also understanding addiction and addicts. And while I have a greater level of empathy for anyone who struggles I will never allow myself to get into another similar relationship.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Meetings…

I have been to over 150 meetings over the past 19 months. Between my core group meetings,  my step group meetings and a few other group meeting to find the right program for me.

Going to meetings is a BIG commitment. Commitment of time and of working your program. Committing to yourself. 

The format for my core meeting is we have dinner. This allows time to fellowship and meet with your sponsor or accountability partner. And for those who don’t have time to run home to eat, it’s perfect.  30 minutes of worship music is next. Followed by 30 minutes of either a lesson or a testimony. And then gender based share groups and that can be an hour. 

It’s amazing to me that no matter what is heavy on my mind and heart, I always hear the right thing, I always have the right conversation, I always learn something. 

There have been times I have missed a meeting, not very many but I have missed a meeting for good reasons like my sons birthday or school program but there have also been a few nights that I just didn’t want to go. And on some of those nights I’ve gone anyway and am so glad I did. And there was one or two nights that I didn’t go and I wish I had. I know that if I don’t want to go, that’s the night that I need to go. 

When you feel bad, you need a meeting! 

And there have been lots of nights, I can’t wait to go and hang out with my recovery family. A couple of weeks ago, we had a few new comers and had scheduled a video testimony. I approached the program coordinator and asked if I could speak. And of course she said yes. That I felt it was important to have a person and not a video for the new comers. I felt called to volunteer. I was feeling really good that night. And I am grateful that I did volunteer. 

When you feel good, the meeting needs you!!! 

It’s really important for those who have recovery to keep coming to meetings. It’s important because…..

  • It gives hope to others who are just starting on the road of recovery to see your success in the program. 
  • It keeps you working your program because……If you are not working your program, you are working on your relapse. 
  • The person who stops coming to meeting doesn’t get to hear about the person that stopped coming to meeting. 

It’s the PEOPLE that are attending meetings, volunteering to help set up, to make coffee, to speak, to clean up, those who listen and sharing with others is why programs like mine Celebrate Recovery are successful. 

Recovery people don’t just show up, THEY SHOW UP and live out step 12. 

So proud to be part of a recovery family. 

My journey continues….

I took the picture used in this post and used Font Candy to add the text.