My Truth

I was drowning in his addiction

I was drowning in his addiction. It was all consuming. It impacted every part of my life. I didn’t know how to stop the merry-go-round of addict and enabler.

I knew it wasn’t right but I kept going back. Kept waiting for him to hit his bottom. I knew I was hurting myself but I ignoring that part and only focused on him. Seeing myself from the outside, screaming don’t go see him….cut him off….walk away. But I couldn’t hear it.

I would have those thoughts and then think, this is the time. This is when he hits his bottom and we would bounce up from there. That I would walk away and this time he would get sober and stay sober. I’d think back to the good days and want those days back. That if I walked away, I’d miss it and not being part of it.

There’s not only the fact that I prevented him from growing and learning from his actions and the consequences from those actions. But I was also putting myself in harms way. My poor decisions were impacting the world around me and I couldn’t stop it.

Until.

Until I hit my bottom. I walked away and have never looked back. I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Kept making the next right choice for me. I was craving more for me and for my life.

As I worked through this I had to ask myself some hard questions. How did THIS become my life. How WAS it ok with me to not only put myself in this relationship but why did it stay ok? That this is a good as it gets and what I deserved? Was I so lonely that THAT life became ok? Why did I NEED to be needed and being needed meant love. Why did that feel like love? HOW and WHY did my worth become based on fixing someone else. So many hard questions that key to the answers were threaded back in my entire life.

I was drowning in his addiction.

But I’m not drowning anymore. I have bounced up from my bottom. I have found myself. I found it wasn’t ok. I found that that was far from as good as it gets. I found I deserved so much more. I found that it wasn’t that I was lonely, it was that was the path I was on. If it wasn’t him it would have the next guy who was an alcoholic.

I found I don’t need to be needed. I found that love doesn’t have to look like that. I found that my value is not in fixing someone else but in who I am and who I am to God. I found that had I not been there, I wouldn’t be here. I would take my worst day now over my best day there.

And being here, I am finally living into who I was always meant to be. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I serve in ways that use my God given gifts and talents. I walk along side others with healthy boundaries. I ‘do life’ with an awesome support system. And I am grateful.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

that I matter to Him

If you have followed my blog for a while you would know that I attend Celebrate Recovery (CR) and have for four years now.

Along with the 12 steps and the biblical comparisons, CR also has 8 principles. These principles are based on the beatitudes. While all the steps and the principles are amazing on their own and how they work together, principle 2 sticks with me.

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2)
“Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

The first part is easy for me. Earnestly believe that God exists. I know that God exists and that He is working in my life every day. I trust His plan for my life and know that all things work together for my greater good.

The next part is my favorite part of this principle, that I matter to Him. There have been many times in my life that I didn’t feel like I mattered. That I was not heard. That I wasn’t enough. That my opinion didn’t matter.

That I matter to God….is a little overwhelming to even think. That God sent His son to die for my sins. That God works all things for my greater good. That God wants a relationship with me. That God has prepared a place for me. That I matter to Him. God has never turned away from me, I was the one who turned away. He was right there all along. Waiting for me to turn back. He met me where I was because He was there waiting for me because I matter to Him.

The last part of this principle is and that He has the power to help me recover. In principles 1, 2 and 3 and steps 1, 2 and 3, is all about I can’t, He can and I need to let Him.

I am powerless. I have control over very little. Really I only have control over my own actions and reactions. There have been times that I didn’t make good decisions. Not based on my greater good.

God has the power to help me recover and I need to let Him.

That I matter to Him. He hears me. He knows I am enough. My opinion matters to Him.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

My New Normal

I think I’ve stumbled on my new normal. Lots going on and some changes too but I’m finding that I’m using tools I’ve learned and been applying to my life.

My day starts and ends in prayer. Been doing that faithfully since the start of the year. Every morning I call a friend and we pray together. I’ve never done that before. It’s pretty cool. It’s a wonderful way to start the day.

I’ve ended the day in prayer off and on for a while but now doing this constantly. Gratitude for the day and whatever specifically happened that day and doing a daily inventory occupy that time.

My new normal is full of tools that I’ve been developing for the last 4 years. They are starting to be a natural response and easier to tell someone what I need or to set a boundary.

I have an awesome support system in place. I turn to them when I need to process or support. Just to check in or just to say hello.

I am choosing to let go of a few things in my life that keep me busy and while it fills my tank there are parts that I don’t enjoy and it drains me. I did a lesson at CR a week or so ago on powerlessness. In the lesson, it says when our pain is greater than our fear, that we when we make a change. And while there is not pain in this situation, it takes my energy. So as I figured out that the drain on my life was at a faster rate then what it filled. It was time to make a change.

This is already making room for me to say yes to other things that fill me up. And be around more people with similar interests and that want to do stuff together.

I’m just going to enjoy this new normal and see what God has planned for me in this next chapter.

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

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Let Your Light Shine

I’m not a big believer in New Years resolutions mainly because I have not been successful in past years. At first it’s motivating but it soon fades.

But I am a believer in words and how powerful they are for me. So rather than say, I’m going to join a gym and workout everyday, I’d rather say my focus is on self care this year and see how that plays out. Maybe that’s an easy way out but it works for me.

In 2015 I wrote ‘living life with drive and purpose, faith and integrity, grace and joy, consistency and always with kindness.’ Those words are how I would describe my Dad. This was a hard year and I’m not sure how successful I was in all those words that year but then I got to start over with a new book with 365 blank pages.

So for 2016 I simply said ‘Trust His Plan’ and didn’t I ever.

I used words from my High School crest for 2017, ‘Grow in grace and wisdom’ There was a lot of steady growth that year. Lots of understanding and healing.

For 2018 I wrote simply ‘I Love’. Which covered rediscovering and enjoying things I love and being open to finding new things to love.

My words for 2019 were

  • Different
  • Better 
  • More 

This was about doing even more of what I love. Being around people I love. And stepping into new things coming my way with confidence.

I just looked through the photos on my phone for 2019 and I did a pretty good job with different, better and more.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about my words for 2020.

I kept getting messages about ‘light’. So I looked up in the Bible verses about light then more specifically people being light or people shining their light.

Here are 2 of my favorites: 

Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16

So that is exactly what I am going to do. I will continue to:

living life with drive and purpose, faith and integrity, grace and joy, consistency and always with kindness.

And I will always remember to Trust God’s Plan.

I will grow in grace and wisdom.

I will love.

I will keep searching for different, better and more.

But this new year, in fact new decade. These new roaring 20’s I will focus on:

Letting my light shine

Shining my light for someone else’s darkness.

And surrounding myself with like-minded HOPEDEALERS!

Cheers to 2020!

My journey to serenity continues.

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

I created the graphics used in this post by using Font Candy.

My Truth

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

If nothing changes, nothing changes. BUT if something changes and you stick with it….EVERYTHING changes!

I know first hand how that works. In many parts of my life.

If I continued to relate to someone with codependency, that relationship will stay dysfunctional.

If I continued to not have boundaries with someone, I will continue to be run over and feel unheard.

If I continued to be in denial about my health, I would continue to on the path to put myself of a health risk.

I recently read ….Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. By Tony Robbins. It’s so true.

Change can be scary. What’s going to happen to me when I get healthy….less dependent….more assertive….speak the truth in love…..forgive them…..take off my mask….forgive myself…..will people like me….will I even like me?

Well let me say when I stepped out of denial with my health because my pain of staying the same was greater than my pain of change. And I made real changes. And stuck to them for the last 5 months, EVERYTHING had changed. I have now lost 47 pounds. My blood sugar and pressure are back in normal ranges. I have more energy. I am no longer in physical pain daily. I am happier. I am more confident.

As far as if others will like me…..I don’t care. It no longer matters to me if others like me or not. I don’t need to know. It’s actually none of my business. The right people will not only like me, they will love me.

And to answer the do I like me question….I love who I am becoming. I finally feel like I am becoming who I was always meant to be. I love serving others in a ministry that walks along side others who are in pain from life. And they have reached that tipping point of staying the same is more painful than pain of change.

Together we work the 12 steps. They are designed to take actions to achieve the goals of recovery – reconciliation with God, with yourself, with others and then serving and giving back….that’s how it works.

And then together we learn the Celebrate Recovery principals to develop new attitudes – attitudes of humility, vulnerability, honesty and gratitude….that’s why it works.

I love being perfectly imperfect. I make mistakes. And then I can correct them. It’s not a success only Journey. And when I fail, I can get back up. Failing just means I’m trying and not standing still.

If nothing changes, nothing changes but if something changes and you stick with it, everything changes!

My journey to serenity continues…

Ps parts of this post is inspired by a Celebrate Recovery lesson. You will find the most amazing people there. To find a meeting near you, go the Celebrate Recovery website.

My Truth

Doing A Daily Inventory…

I’m working on giving a Celebrate Recovery lesson next week on Step 10.
I really enjoy preparing for lessons. I add myself to it with my life examples. I read things outside the prepared lesson for inspiration or deeper understanding or connection to the lesson. I get a lot out of

doing this for my own recovery process.

I had a trainer who always said at the start of a class, ‘You get what you give’. That always stuck with me. So the more I give to this process, the more I get. And then the more I can give away to others.

I really like the Step 10 Prayer from AA Big Book. page 84-85

God remove the Selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear that has cropped up in my life right now. Help me to discuss this with someone immediately and make amends quickly if I have harmed anyone. Help me to cease fight anything and anyone. Show me where I may be helpful to someone else. Help me react sanely; not cocky or afraid. How can I best serve You – Your will, not mine

Amen

Truth is, I really like the AA Big Book step prayers in general.

I added this section to the lesson.

Do you track things you do daily? Like workouts or track food, track tasks or track taking medication, track recovery time or even likely the most common, track your weight?
Why do we do this?
Here are a few reasons that I came up with on why we track these things:
• If we don’t track, we will forget
• Find your baseline
• Reminds us how far we have come
• See improvements
• The psychological factor – creating a new habit
• Own your goals
• Celebrate Milestones
• Use the data to identify problems
• Keeps you accountable
• Tracking can push you to do more
• Keeping track, keeps you on track

One way to keep track of your good and bad behavior is to journal. A journal is a tool for you to review and write down the good and the bad things you did today.
I created a journaling page, that works for me because I never could find the right one. Some people prefer blank journals but that is too open for me, I need more structure. Some people like journals that ask questions and others may even rather use an app. There’s an app for that for sure! This tool has been a great help to my program no matter what type of journaling format used.
I have discovered behavior patterns that not otherwise been so obvious. Issues that I keep writing down again and again are something that needs to be addressed. Maybe with my sponsor or a counselor if needed. Then I am able to set up an action plan, with God’s help, to overcome them.

Here are screen shots of my Daily Inventory sheets. Take what you need and leave the rest! (The lines are wonky in these pics but you get the idea!)

If you are not journaling as a part of your journey, give it a go and tell me how it works for you.

My journey to serenity continues…

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…