My Truth

Personal Boundaries…

According to Wikipedia ‘personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.’

Codependency and lack of boundaries are in my experience good friends.

I may have had some boundaries in the past but allowed others to catapult over them and did nothing about it. Or I would move the boundary because I was not able, often because of fear, to even have consequences and then have to stick to them.

But I have learned how boundaries keeps me safe and ‘in my lane’.

3 years go, I had to learn how to set strong boundaries while I was afraid.

The man I was dating was on an out of control drinking binge. He was living down the street in a house of other active addicts. No water. No power. The owner of the house was in jail. While I was trying to save the man I loved, I put myself in danger. I witnessed terrible things and I was afraid.

When I reached my tolerance level (finally), I asked him to leave me alone in person, by phone and by text. I yelled, I screamed. And then unknowingly, I set my first boundary by stopping my behavior. I didn’t go to the house, I didn’t answer his calls and I didn’t text him back. It was hard but necessary.

And then it escalated.

I received 100’s and 100’s of text messages from 3 phones he had access to. At all hours of the day and night. I called the police and asked for help. Sadly there was nothing they could do…..yet. And the yet is what scared me the most. I called my best friend and told her that this is what lifetime movies are made of and I was afraid.

He came to my house at 5 am drunk and pounded on my front door. I called the police and got paperwork for trespassing for next time he comes. Next time, great.

More texts and calls. And I didn’t answer any of them. But it was still escalating.

He entered my home while I was a work. My son was home and called me. I called the police and drove home. I arrived just minutes after the police did. Apparently he had fallen on the walk to my house and had blood all over his face and hands. (And my fence and back door) I went and was issued an emergency protective order. But they couldn’t find him.

So now I had to wait for the PO to be served to him. And he would leave me alone and this would all stop.

More texts and calls and then they stopped. He then texted me and I had him violated and he went to jail. Then he called me from jail. 32 times. Another violation. He spent 31 days in jail and I was issued a 2 year protective order. Then he stood by my mail box and street corner for weeks after. But that didn’t violate my order. It was terrifying. I remember thinking about how this makes women go crazy and I would end up hurting him from the mental games and end up in jail. Thankfully that didn’t happen and he finally went away.

All this to say, this was the start of me giving myself permission to put down the fear, shame and feeling responsible .and understand the importance of creating personal boundaries.

So let’s talk about boundaries for a minute.

We need boundaries in all aspects of our life. Family. Work. Hobbies. Money. Time. I have found that having them actually makes my life easier. Allowing me to say no to some things that are not healthy for me in turn it allows me to say yes to more things that fill me up.

Once I found support with my 12 step group and a counselor, I gained some self awareness of what I am willing to and not willing to put up with in my life. Looking at situations in my life and identify area’s that cause hurt or upset or even where I’m spending time that is not for my greater good. And how to better contain those things.

This is what some of my boundaries look like:

  • separating myself from a friend or group of friends
  • not commenting on a social media on a sensitive topic
  • choosing to end and walk away from an argument gracefully
  • telling someone that I will not discuss something with them
  • telling someone that I will not tolerate behaviors and if they choose to continue, I will ______
  • being careful what and who I share information or feelings with
  • being careful who I spend time with
  • spending time doing healthy activities

Having boundaries I gained value and do not compromise my opinions. I have started to be able to make and reach personal goals which has been difficult to even create a goal in the past. I have learned how to say no and to accept no from others. I have become a better communicator. And I know to get advise from healthy friends.

You can share with someone a boundary, but you don’t always have to. Simply changing your behavior to match the boundary is enough.

Starting small and giving yourself grace is super important. It all takes time to learn how to do this after a life time of not. You build on success. It takes support, courage and practice.

My journey continues…

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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

What someone else thinks of me, is none of my business….

I heard this saying very early in my recovery walk. What someone else thinks of me, is none of my business. Clearly it stuck with me. And bubbled back up to the surface recently.

In the beginning, this saying was comforting because I felt judged. I felt like people looked at me and said I can’t believe what she put her family through. But that wasn’t really true in most cases.

Most of the time it was me, making it up. Knowing all I’ve done and the shame it burdened me with. I felt that shame and figured people could see it. Like it was written across my forehead.

But it wasn’t, it was written across the slate of my soul.

But what I found in recovery rooms was grace not judgment. And what I found each time a shared a little bit more of myself was genuine care not disgust. And what I discovered with my sponsor was after knowing all I shared with her, she loved me anyway.

Now I won’t lie, there was that other end of most….which is just a few. They were judgmental. They knew parts of the story and said I was a terrible person. And one even wrote me a letter which included, wouldn’t your parents be disappointed. That right there is guilt and shame. And no one is going guilt and shame me into being someone who I am not. This type of reaction is unwanted, unnecessary, unkind and unhealthy.

I’ve been reminded this week that what someone else thinks of me is none of my business. And all I need to do is keep my focus on God and my deeper understanding of codependency and continue to grow into the person God made me to be.

I am exactly where I was meant to be. Today, in this moment. Mistakes and all. Flaws and all.

So here’s a little something about me. I march to my own drum, always have. Don’t mind marching alone but prefer with a drum line! I think snap chat is fun and silly. And you never know what color my hair might be next time I see you. So here is a few of my favorite snap chat pics

Because Of the work Ive done and continue to do, in the 12 steps God has been rewriting what’s on my soul.,

I’m just going to keep being me.

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

Keep your spoon in your own bowl! 

I heard ‘keep your spoon in your own bowl’ a while ago a podcast about codependency. I just love that visual. 

It’s about not getting involved in others problems. Or help them fix them. To not give your opinion about what’s going on. Or solve it for them. Often times we just need others to listen and allow us to figure it out ourselves. 

There is a thing happening in our world today that for some reason everyone thinks they have to share their opinion even when it wasn’t asked for. And especially if it’s an opposing opinion. Everyone has a solution for every problem because they think they know the answer. 

But it occurred to me today that there is another side to this that I learned about through recovery. 


That is, to be careful who you invite to put their spoon in your bowl. 

Inviting unhealthy people into my problems, it’s actually a terrible idea. Inviting highly opinionated people into my bowl just may change what’s in my bowl. And suddenly I am not trusting my program or even trusting God but seeking others approval or wanting to just rehash the same story over and over and over with no solutions. 

That reminds me when I was a kid, I’d stir and stir and stir my icecream and my dad would say ‘can you please eat the icecream otherwise you are making icecream soup.’

Stirring and stirring and stirring problems just makes problem soup. Stirring problems with the wrong person ends up with just a big mess with spills and arguments and spoons getting in the way. 

I get to choose who and what I share. It’s called boundaries. I know which friends I can share with, and thinking about that they are my recovery friends. Because they get the sharing without offering solutions until I ask for them. 

And they get that often I just need to process what’s going on and they allow me time. 

And they get the thing about trusting God and really We don’t need every detail, all we need to know is that we are heading in the right direction and all we need to do is trust God. And things fall into place. 

And finally, they know to keep their spoon in their own bowl. 

My journey to serenity continues…
And I took the picture of that spoon after I had some icecream =] 

My Truth

Staying out of the extremes…

Staying out of the extreme emotions or situations for me is now called boundaries. Extreme feelings can be dangerous territory. 

So I have a plan in place for when those extremes enter my world. 

Today I have struggled a bit. Lots on my mind. Lots on my plate. 

Looking at what’s on my mind and place and deciding what is in my control and what is not. Lifting up those things that are not in my control to God to manange. Looking at what’s left.  

I am familiar with these feelings of being overwhelmed or sad and when those feelings are extreme that is when it becomes a slippery slope towards depression. 

So I have things in place to help me put on the breaks. These boundaries keep me safe and keep me from getting into a a dark head place. After all, walking around my head unattended is never a good thing. 

So here are a few things that keep me out of the extremes:

  • Reach out to my sponsor 👭
  • Reach out to other friends in recovery 👭👭👭
  • Pause and meditate about what is going on
  • Use the essential oil diffuser (I’m loving the orange 🍊 and clove I have on tonight)
  • Do something for someone else
  • Do something for yourself 🙋
  • Go for a walk 🚶🏻‍♀️
  • Take pictures of flowers 🌺 or something else that makes you happy 
  • Have a cup of tea or coffee ☕️ 
  • Sit outside and just listen to nature 🌳
  • Make something yummy to eat🍝
  • Read the Bible
  • Listen to music 🎼
  • Paint 🎨 
  • Design my next tattoo 
  • Take a bath 🛀🏻 
  • Take a nap 😴 
  • Go for a drive 🚗
  • ——— fill in the blank and do something that makes you happy 😊 

These things help me get to the next good day! Hope some of these things help you get to the next good day too. 

My journey to serenity continues….

My Truth

That space we all need to vent…

That space to just vent. Not wanting feedback or someone to fix my problem. Just space to vent. 

This is something I have learned first hand how important it is for each of us to have but so often we don’t have. 

During the share part of the meetings I attend, we each have 5 minutes to talk about whatever  we would like to talk about. We actually use a timer to make sure each person has the chance to share and to make sure one person doesn’t use up all the time. 

This time for many of us….well I can only speak for me, is the only time I have sometimes to share about what’s going on. No one can say I’m wrong, or my feeling are not valid. I don’t have to justify or explain myself. No one can ask questions. It’s 5 minutes to just just vent about something amazing or something I am struggling with and sometimes that is one in the same. 

I also see the importance of giving others this space in other parts of my life. Like Facebook for example. Over the weekend my brother posted about some frustrating and upsetting to him. He just wanted a space to vent. That became clear to me when I read the comments and his replies. Everyone was trying to fix it for him and give him suggestions on what to do. I commented ‘that really sucks, I’m so sorry that you have to deal with that’ and then I called him and we chatting about it more. 

It’s sparked a really good conversation between my brother and I. 

I guess in some ways it’s just human nature to want to fix it and help the other person from not hurting so much. But there is a time and place and people really just need a little space to vent without comments. 

My journey to serenity continues….