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

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

Misfit Toys Welcome Here

I always loved the stop motion animation of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. I could relate to the misfit toys.

Poor Rudolph was different with his red nose and tried to hide it. And Hermey the Elf who just wanted to be a dentist because he was passionate about that over making toys. Off they go because they didn’t fit in. They couldn’t just be themselves. And trying to be something else just didn’t work our either.

And then they run into other misfits. Which I want to pause the story for a moment and define misfit. According to the Oxford dictionary, misfit is a noun meaning a person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortable conspicuous way. Synonyms include outsider, weirdo, oddball and exception.

Ok now that we know who misfits are let’s go back to the story.

Charlie tells them that the lion collects unloved toys and brings them to the island.

Here are a few of the Misfit Toys:

  • King Moonracer – the winged lion
  • Charlie in the box
  • Spotted Elephant
  • Train with square wheels
  • Water gun that shoots jelly
  • A bird that swims
  • A cowboy that rides an ostrich
  • Boat that can’t stay afloat
  • A plane that can’t fly
  • A doll named Sue

So these toys may be different, they may not be who others think they should be, they may think differently or even work differently. Maybe they don’t fit in to the norms.

This got me thinking about recovery and recovery groups. It’s made up of a bunch of people who maybe didn’t fit in. Maybe didn’t live up to what or who others thought they should. Maybe they think differently. Maybe felt unloveable.

You know who I have found in my 12 step group? These misfits? Outsiders? Weirdos? Oddballs? And the exceptions? They are strong and brave and caring and loving and are great listeners and are thoughtful and hardworking and are honest and are humble and non judgmental and are grateful and kind and offer hope. They are inclusive. And they are exceptional.

These misfits that others might have overlooked and dismissed and sometimes even written off. These misfits are my friends and they would stand in line to protect me. They would stop what they are doing and fold my hands and pray with me. They make time to listen and study together.

That misfit attitude that set them apart is an attitude of gratitude. The attitude that all things are working together for my greater good. That attitude of knowing that God does not waste pain. Misfit behavior that we welcome the new comer and walk along side.

So as far as I am concerned, misfits are amazing and they are all welcome here!

My journey continues…

My Truth

It’s a season, not a sentence…

It’s been far too long since I have written. I have started many posts since my last one but are all unfinished thoughts. Not coming together easily. Which is how writing works for me.

I think I’ve posted about seasons before but I didn’t even go back and look. I write what’s put on my heart. Most often it’s what I need to hear in this moment. And the words just flow out of me. Sometimes so fast that I can’t type fast enough or catch that auto correct changed put to out (that one happens all the time)

So I love to refer to time periods as seasons. I’m in a season of waiting. Or I’m in a season of growth. Or I’m in a season of asking questions.

I love to refer to these times as seasons because it reminds me that these times are not permanent. They change. They bloom. And then they transform into something else. They are still. And then experience new growth. And they even are wonderful and warm and those seasons change too. But again not forever.

I have been in a season, maybe several the last few months. A season of contentment but still wanting more. A season of stillness but still wanting more. A season of what i thought was understanding and great communication but knowing something was wrong. A season of learning to ask for help and learning to accept it.

And now a season of exclusion and not understanding but trusting anyway. This is an opportunity to step back and let someone else work out their pain and hurts without my interference or influence.

And even with how hard this is and how much my heart is hurting,

I MUST remember this it’s a season, not a sentence.

I MUST remember that God is in control.

I MUST remember that while hurt people hurt people, healing people heal people. But it’s only when that hurting person seeks healing.

I MUST remember that what someone thinks or says about me, doesn’t make it true.

I MUST remember that recovery is about progress not perfection.

I MUST remember that 2 people can be in the same experience but see and feel things so differently.

I MUST remember to give grace when I love someone but disagree with them too.

My very first Bible study, 10 years ago now, was The Prodigal God. A 12 week study on the Prodigal Son. My brother teased me that it took 12 weeks to look at 21 Bible verses! But it was a deep dive on looking at everyone in the story. How was the Dad feeling? What was the other brother thinking when his brother returned. Anyway it was a cool study on relationships and feelings.

So I’ve been reflecting on how the Dad must of felt. Giving his son his inheritance and letting him leave. Not understanding or wanting this for his son. Not knowing where he was or what he was doing. Being concerned for his other son’s feelings. Did he watch every day for his son to return.

His must have known that it was for a season and not a sentence. And that seasons change.

My journey continues….

My Truth

Learn to accept an apology…you are never going to get!

I am a self proclaimed nerd. I am one of those people who really enjoys court shows. I have watched Judge Judy basically since it started and before that I watched The People’s Court. And to be completely transparent, I used to even TiVo them when I had cable. And now I watch them on You Tube….I know there is a group for that. =]

I know they are not really ‘real’ and I know the show pays the verdict. But I am fascinated by human behavior and this for me is just some good ol’ people watching.

The case today on Judge Faith was a divorced couple with a 3 year old child. They have taken each other to court 22 times in the last 2 years. Now come on, there is a TON of hurts happening there that is resulting in resentments and prolonged pain.

Judge Faith said the most beautiful thing to them and it made me pause and be so grateful for recovery and the program that I work, everyday. Because I know firsthand what she was talking about.

She said ‘Revenge is for the weak. Do you understand that? Revenge is for the weak. It takes a strong person to forgive and I am telling you right now, your life will be a lot easier because you both feel like you have been wronged. Your life will be a lot easier, if you learn to accept the apology you are never going to get.’

Amen amen amen! Jumping up and down amen!

There is this amazing thing that happens in recovery. It starts with step 1 but then somewhere during the 4th and 5th steps it happens. Only those who are ready and strong to get real and do the work, benefit from this amazing gift.

Something written on your heart, written on your very soul is healed and you experience this sense of peace. You own your part and identify there’s. This incredible what almost feels like a super human ability to accept an apology that you are never going to get.

If you have done your 4th and 5th step, you know what I’m talking about and if you are not there yet, please know that there is hope to heal old hurts of the past. Something that changed you to your core, with the strength that can only be with God’s hand, once again is changed and healed.

Your life will be a lot easier, if you learn to accept the apology you are never going to get.

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…