Tag Archives: 12 steps

500 Days of looking up!!! 

500 days of focusing on my needs. My program. My journey.

500 days of not looking back. 


500 days of understanding how my life was overtaken by chaos and having a plan in place to never allow that nonsense and foolishness to rule my world again. 

500 days of saying no to what no longer serves me but yes to things that do. 

500 days of trusting that I’m heading in the right direction. One step at a time. 
500 days of listening to my life tell an amazing story of understanding and letting go. 
500 days of steps forward and a few back, and sometimes standing still while feelings pass over me. But those steps back and standing still moments did not derail me, they did not stop my forward momentum. Instead those moments gave me rest to keep going. 

I am 500 days away from the addict/ codependent dance that I knew so well. 
I am 500 days closer to the person God wants me to be. 
I am 500 days closer to the life that I got off track from.
I still have work to do for sure but it’s amazing what can happen in just 500 days if you just let go and let God. 

500 days of looking up and thinking…I trust You. You hold the answers. I will praise You for all you have done in my life. 

My journey continues….one day at a time. 

I took this picture from my back yard and use font candy to add the text. 

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…

Your past is meant to guide you……not define you! 

Awesome Celebrate Recovery meeting tonight. One couple celebrated 24 years of recovery today and they shared their testimony. 

It was a beautiful story of love and recovery and how God works in our lives. 

The husband ended their testimony with that events of the past do not define us. This got me thinking…

One part of my life that I am currently working hard on is the work life. 

If you are new to my story in 2015 I was in a relationship with a dry and then active alcoholic. My personal life was out of control and I let it effect my work life. I was demoted at work in July of that year and have been beating myself up ever since. 

I have let that demotion define me and have tried ever since to do whatever I needed to do to regain the trust from the management. Management has changed and I have had 4 positions since. They have moved me as there have been needs in different departments. 

I’m working a step 4 on my work life and working on forgiving myself. I’m working on seeing my value at work and understand that these things are taking me to the next place and it does not define me. 

My journey continues. 

This Girls Journey To Serenity 

PS I painted the picture used in this post. 

What Recovery Means to Me

I am a week away from my year anniversary from taking my Welcome Home chip from the Celebrate Recovery program.

I walked in my first meeting broken. Sad. Lonely. Heartbroken and confused on how this become my life. A week later I took my first chip and I have not looked back. 

In the last 12 months I have: 

  • I attended weekly meetings for 51 weeks. I missed one week because I had bronchitis. 
  • I listened and learned from others stories.
  • I started this blog.
  • I shared every meeting. It was 5 minutes that no one could tell me what to do or help me fix my problem. They just listened without judgement. 
  • I cried as I realized I was not alone and there was an answer to why I acted the way I was. Everything started to make sense.
  • I got a sponsor. 
  • I filled my time with reading and answering tough questions to dig deep into my entire life.
  • I made time for Bible reading, meditation and prayer.
  • I taught my first lesson at a meeting on relapse prevention and creating a ‘tool box’
  • I joined a step study. It’s an 11 month commitment to working the steps with an amazing group of healing Sisters in Christ. 
  • I have worked steps 1-5
  • I have written my testimony and will be giving it next month.
  • I am attending a leader training one day session for Celebrate Recovery this month.


And I am not stopping. 
My journey to serenity continues…

Today I Choose…

This post is inspired from a divotional we read during my step meeting a few days ago and it’s also inspired by the work I’ve done in step study.  

Today I choose to be present, no matter the season. To just take what today has to offer. 

 
Today I choose to admit I am powerless to control my addictions and unhealthy behaviors. 

Today I choose to feel and not hide or run from feelings but FEEL them. 

Today I choose to grow. To work on my recovery by reading the bible or Celebrate Recovery materials, by talking with others and sharing my story or by writing. To use my recovery tool box and to keep adding to it. 

Today I choose to embrace Gods grace love and light that he shines on the truth. 

Today I choose to be in relationships. Relationship with God and with others becomes I know that addiction and unhealthy behaviors keeps me isolated.

Today I choose to step out of the false protection of denial, pain, shame and guilt. 

Today I choose to get out of my own way and allow Gods plan to play out. 

Today I choose not to fall back on old ‘easy’ coping skills but choose to pick up a new one instead. 

Today I choose to handle pain and disappointment differently. 

Today I choose to be humble and grateful. 

Today I choose to not buy into the what if’s and if onlys that stir up.  

Today I choose not to allow resentment to grow and steal my joy but rather dig deep to understand the root of those feelings and talk about it. 

Today I choose to remember I am never alone. 

Today I choose to fill myself up with what I love and what brings me joy. 

Today I choose to be close to God. To keep seeking Him.

Today I choose to continue to examine my life and admit what areas are unmanageable. 

Today I choose to believe that God can restore me to sanity. 

Today I choose hope. 

Today I choose to be willing and open to change. 

Today I choose not to quit. 

Today I choose to keep walking in the right direction. 

 Today I choose to be strong. 

Today I choose to have realistic expectations of others and of myself. 

Today I choose a new way of life. 

Today I choose to trust. To trust God, to trust others and to trust myself. 

Today I choose to let go of what doesn’t serve me.

Today I choose to ask for help. Ask God. Ask my sponsor. Ask a trusted friend. 

Today I choose to enjoy the freedom that recovery offers to me. 

Today I choose the road less traveled and make the harder choice of the high road. 

Today I choose to keep putting one foot in front of the other. One day at a time. 

Today I choose to remember my past does not define me. 

Today I choose to remember that I am enough. 

Today I choose to look at the person in the mirror with love. 

Today I choose to ask for what I need. 

Today I choose to dance in the rain. 

Today I choose love. And love me first. 

My Joureny to Serenity continues…

I painted the picture used in this post. 

The Story of Rachel and Leah

I went to Catholic school for 12 years and when we studied many parts of the bible, my eyes glazed over and my brain shut off when it was about this person has these sons here and these sons there and married this person and had these sons too. Names I couldn’t pronounce and places that I had no concept on where they were.  But…..

I recently listened a pod cast and heard the story of Rachel and Leah and Jacob in Genesis. I love this story. Wow who knew there was such scandals in the bible! 

Genesis Chapter 29:16 ish 

So here is my version of recapping this story and a couple of ah-ha moments from their stories. I looked a few things up to better understand this section. So I hope I do it justice. 

Leah is the older sister and was described as having weak eyes. While the younger sister, Rachel is described as having a lovely figure. So is weak eyes the bibles way of saying ‘she has a great personality’ or a nice way of saying she’s unattractive? Well I did find that it means Leah was tender and tearstained. She cried about her fear of being forced to marry Esau. But who knows. 

So Jacob is totally in love with Rachel. Like crazy in love. Jacob makes a deal with the girls father to work for him for 7 years and then Jacob can marry Rachel. 

And he does. The Bible says 29:20 ‘So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her’. So sweet. 

Jacob had been thinking about her for seven years and when the time is completed he says 29:21′ Give me my wife. My time is completed and I want to make love to her’ 

Calm down Jacob. Take it easy buddy. 

They have a big party and its the wedding night but dad sends Leah and not Rachel to Jacob and Jacob doesn’t notice until the morning…..yikes. Can you say awkward. 

Jacob is pretty ticked off but agrees to stay with Leah and then work another seven years to get Rachel. 

Poor Leah. God saw she was not loved and He enabled her to conceive but Rachel remained childless. Leah had a son and said ‘it is because the Lord has seen my misery. surely my husband will love me now’ Leah had another son and thought ‘Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too’. And another son. And Leah said ‘Now my husband will become attached to me because I have borne him three sons’. Leah has one more son and then stops. 

Oh Leah, sadly I know these feelings. I have 3 sons. And had hoped it would have saved my marriage too. But kids don’t fix marriages and besides Jacob loves Rachel. 

Speaking of Rachel, she’s now all jealous of her sister because she is having trouble getting pregnant. So what does she do? Yep, she tells Jacob to sleep with her servant who shocker gets pregnant. Not once but twice. 

And now poor Leah is jealous and tells Jacob to sleep with her servant too and she has 2 sons too. 

So to recap we have one man, four women and eight sons so far. 

Leah and Rachel have a little argument about mandrakes. Mandrakes is a plant that has a plum type fruit that is an aphrodisiac and promotes fertility.

Leah trades mandrakes with a night with Jacob. And you guessed it, Leah has son number five. She has son six and a daughter. 

Rachel finally conceives and has a son! YAY

Now we are going to skip ahead to Chapter 35. There is some crazy stuff that happens in those chapters between but I wanted to focus on Rachel and Leah.

They are now traveling back to Bethel. Jacob talks to God and God changes his names from Jacob to Isreal. 

Rachel is pregnant again! On the way she goes into labor and is having a difficult time. 35:18 ‘As she breathed her last – for she was dying – she named him Ben-Oni.’ Which means son of my pain. But Jacob calls him Benjamin, which means son of my right hand. 

35:19. ‘Rachel died and was buried on the way to Bethlehem. Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.’ 20 ‘Isreal moved on again.’

Did you catch it? Jacob buried his beloved wife and Isreal moved on! 

WOW

Jacob loved Rachel and when she died, JACOB buried her and set up a pillar and ISREAL moved on. He was changed. Oh and changing Ben-Oni name from son of my pain. Not labeling him and have him carry that burden. WOW OH WOW. 

Ok so what I learned about myself from the story of Rachel, Leah and Jacob…..

1. I am Leah. Weak eyes and all. And I’m totally ok with that!

2. I was married to a man who really didn’t love me. Well he likely did on some level but not in the way I needed or understood. I’m sure Jacob loved Leah on some level. 

3. Kids don’t fix marriages. Don’t give them that job! 

4. You are changed after a major heart break. 

5. You are not defined by things that happened in your life! Even if it’s at the beginning of your life.

I love finding and understanding recovery stuff from unexpected places. 

And all His people said……AMEN 

My journey to serenity continues….

One Final Gift

One Final Gift. This is a story of true love and one final gift.

It was this time 14 years ago. A kind hearted, generous, strong and faith filled man suffered a stroke.
You may not know this but it sometimes takes a few days for the body to settle down after a stroke and you will know your starting point.
This strong mans body deteriorated over a couple of days.
When the dust settled, this man who was smart, loving and a wonderful provider for his family was unable to move his right side or speak. But this is his starting point and a plan was being put together for his recovery.
He could not talk or read but he could understand what was said to him and he could answer yes and no questions.
As he lay recovering in the hospital, he was visited by the people who mattered most to him. One of his favorite people in this world is his sister. She is also kind hearted, generous and faith filled. She spent countless hours talking and praying with him.

One day it was clear that he wanted to tell her something. After a series of questions, she was able to figure out that he wanted someone to know about a gift he had gotten for his wife and hidden it was under the guest room bed.

Sadly, just 10 short days after this journey started, it ended. He passed away with his family around him on the evening of December 23rd 2002.
Now on the way home, the sister is thinking about the gift that is hidden but did not know what it was or when is the right time to tell her.
Shortly after getting home the sister tells the wife about the gift. The wife opens the gift in tears. It’s a beautiful 3 diamond necklace. One diamond large than the next. Which represents the past, the present and the future.
  
I can only imagine that when this necklace was purchased, THIS was not the future he imagined with his wife.
What an amazing thing he did by telling someone about it when he had no words to speak. Otherwise, who knows how long it would have remained hidden. She had one final gift from him.
How do I know this story you may be wondering. Is it something I read online or just made up?

I know this story because it’s the story of my parents and my aunt. And It’s the story of true love and one final gift.

No one knows what the future may hold and how our story will unfold. All to often we end up in a very different place than we thought we were going.
Remember that communication is always important even when you have no words. My lesson learned from my Dad during this time is to keep asking questions. Even yes and no ones.
I love and miss you Mom and Dad! I am blessed to have been a witness to your love story. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you both. Thank you loving each other and for loving me…..even from heaven.

Much Love

Your loving daughter- always. 

My journey to serenity continues…