Sober Living

Recovery is like…

an onion.

There’s layers of hurts, habits and hang-ups to work out and once you heal and pull away one layer there is something new revealed.

But I think this is an incomplete picture of what my (and I’m sure many others) recovery looks like.

Yesterday I went to Sunflower Farm with a group of recovery friends. Sunflowers at sunset. It was delightful. I’ve been there several times but no one else had and to watch them enjoy the farm, filled my heart.

I was looking at my pictures and found a different and I think a better way to describe my recovery other than an onion.

Recovery is like a sunflower.

Have you ever seen a sunflower bloom? Well, I took these pics and will explain my recovery journey.

Starting off, I felt closed in. Lonely and not focusing on anything else but my own pain.

I started opening up. Trusting the people in recovery with my hurts. Being willing to be open. To heal what hurt and change my behaviors.

And as I worked the 12 Steps and the 8 Principles of Celebrate Recovery to the best of my ability, I opened up more and more. Revealing who I am. My true self.

Seeing for myself, who I was becoming. Understanding the gifts that God gave me and putting these gifts into practice.

Seeing those around me, for who they are, who they are becoming and watching with delight, watching them bloom.

But here’s the thing about recovery. Well mine anyway. I’m not done yet. i don’t think I will ever be done. I may have healed what initially got me into recovery, blooming, using my gifts and I’m walking along side others but life happens.

I will get stung. I will get hurt. But I also know that first I have healed before and second, I have a recovery community, a forever family to stand with me. I am never alone. And I am loved.

And look what a gorgeous pattern in the center of sunflower. God is amazing. Just like he knows every hair on my head, He made these beautiful flowers with nothing overlooked. No detail too small.

FINDING FREEDOM IN RECOVERY

I have found freedom from my past hurts and decisions. And I will continue to work my program to the best of my ability so that I can continue to bloom.

My journey continues…

My Truth

Pain Is Pain…

Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a Christ centered 12 Step program for ANY hurt, habit or hang-up.

It’s unique in the fact that it’s not issue specific. I actually love the fact that the program is set up this way.

Because we may have each learned a different way of coping with life, substance or behavior. We all heal the same way. When we take the substance or behavior away, we can see and feel the pain underneath. We can all learn from each other’s pain.

You see, pain is pain. No matter where the hurt originated.

At CR we learn to work through our pain. We get tired of running from it, ignoring it, pretending not to be in pain. And we realize that what we’ve been doing is just not working because the pain is still there and it still hurts. We work the 12 steps and learn to lean on God and not ourselves. (To follow are the 12 Steps but shortened)

We admit we are powerless.

We come to believe God can restore us to sanity.

We make a decision to turn our lives and will over to God.

We make a searching inventory of ourselves.

We admit our wrongs to God, ourselves and someone else.

We become ready to have God to remove our defects of character.

We ask Him to remove all our shortcomings.

We make a list and are willing to make amends.

We make amends.

We continue to evaluate.

We seek God.

We can’t stop talking about what God has done in our lives.

And it’s after we admit, come to believe, decide, search, confess, ready, ask, become willing, make amends, continue, seek….only then we are able to share with others what God has done. And our pain is healed.

And here’s the thing, NO ONE, says my pain is greater than yours. Or my pain is not enough. Pain is pain. And we rally around each other until.

Whatever until looks like.

Did you ever notice the 12 Steps starts with We and not I? That’s because we are not made to do this alone.

Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that, Iron sharpens iron. This is our sponsor, our accountability partners, our recovery community. They know pain.

Being in community gives us the opportunity to be around people at different stages of recovery and walk alongside each other. What an amazingly beautiful gift.

Bob Dylan is credited with saying ‘Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.’

My journey continues…

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

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

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

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.

My Truth

No Need to Compare. My Race My Pace. 

Another amazing thing about people in recovery…. there is no need to compare. My race, my pace!!! And everyone in the room is there to cheer me on. Lifting me up when I need it. Giving support when I need to rest. 

I’m just another clown on the bus. No better. No worse. Just busy running my race at my pace.  And cheering on my friends who are busy running their race……at their pace. Lifting them up when they need it. Giving them support when they need to rest. 

My goal is to continue to grow and be better than yesterday. 

About a year and a half ago, someone I know pretty well started to go to a 12 step group for a couple of weeks. Knowing that I was attending a group as well. A few weeks after he started, he stopped going and said to me, I am not as bad as the other people in the room. I said that’s too bad, maybe you should try a different time and you may find people you connect better with. No he said, I’m fine. I don’t have a problem like they do. 

Yeah you don’t have their problem, you have you own. I don’t say that, it’s not my place. He will figure it out, in his timing or he won’t. His race, his pace. Needless to say, we are not really friends any more. And that’s ok.  


We are all just clowns on the bus. Once we figure out that we are no better or no worse and that we are all running our own races, even if some are running the wrong way or not running at all…. it makes life better because we stop comparing ourselves to others.  We don’t think we are better or worse. We just are who we are. 

Keep running your race and I’ll be there cheering you on. No matter the pace. 

Work your program. BUT never work it alone. Have a sponsor, go to meetings, work the steps. Be around others in recovery. 

Working side by side others in recovery is magical and powerful.  Cheering them on. Lifting them up and being of support to them, makes me a better me and allows me to work a better program. 

My journey to serenity continues…

Thanks Google Images for the pic of the clowns and the bus 🤡🚌💕

My Truth

no shame in my game…

I did an interview for another codependency blogger and will be featured in a few days. Pretty excited for that. One question that jumped out was…..Do you find being a codependent an embarrassing label? 

My answer may surprise some. I answered not at all and I’d like to explain more. 

I had never even heard the term codependency until late 2015. But I have been codependent for most of my life. It’s how I learned to cope, it’s what I thought Love looked like and for some time it served me well. That’s is until it didn’t and my life got completely out of control. 

Now that I have an understanding of codependency and where is came from for me, I have no shame around this term. 

The more people I met that struggle with this, the more I know that I am in good company. Men, women from all walks of life. Codependency for me has always come from a good place. A place of love and trying to protect someone. I know now this form of love is hurtful and doesn’t allow the other person involved to grow from the experience. 

Back 6 months ago or more, I want to a training event for Celebrate Recovery (CR). We were welcomed by a motorcycle group with CR Patches on their leather jackets with a big logo on the back that said ‘my chains are broken’. These men and women who on the surface not approachable but if you talk to them you know very quickly that they love the Lord and made the attendees feel welcomed and excited to be there. Was another example of not judging others. 

Just like during my regular meeting, I heard many of them introduce themselves just like I do…hi my name is —-, I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and I struggle with codependency, YES! I’m in such good company. 

I am not ashamed of this label or being part of a recovery group. 

I carry my recovery tokens on my key chain. Recently, because of my tokens, I had the opportunity to talk to complete strangers about what they meant. And both times the person who asked took the time to share with me where they were in life and what they wanted to change. What a blessing to them and to me! 

No shame in my game!!! 

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Get Plugged In 

I attended a great Celebrate Recovery (CR) meeting last night. 

If you don’t know CR it’s a Christian Based blended issue 12 step program. I’ve been attending every week for just over a year now. It’s amazing. 

The format includes one week is a testimony and the next week is a teaching. This week was a teaching on Sanity which is Step 2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 

There was a great illustration that I want to share. 

A light bulb by itself is fragile. It’s easily broken and doesn’t really function very well or at all alone. 

But when you plug in a light bulb, suddenly it’s hard to break, it has purpose, it lights the way and with its power (higher power) it functions very well. 


How do I get and stay plugged in….

  • Attending CR meetings, keeps me plugged in.  
  • Being part of a step study, keeps me plugged in. 
  • Going to leadership training, keeps me plugged in. 
  • Reaching out to my recovery sisters, keeps me plugged in.
  •  Working the steps, keeps me plugged in. 
  • Sharing my story, keeps me plugged in. 
  • Engaging others before and after a meeting to fellowship, keeps me plugged in. 

I love being plugged in. I love knowing Jesus Christ loves me. That I matter to Him. And that He has the power to restore my life to sanity. How do I know this is true…..look what’s happened in my life this past year as I’ve let go and let God. 

My journey continues…

this girls journey to serenity 

The picture used in this post, is my hallway. I love the lights hanging from the ceiling. I’ve had them there for a couple of years now. And you can see some of my artwork is on the wall =] 

My Truth

 YOUR FAULT VS YOUR PART

I went to my Celebrate Recovery meeting last night. Over the past almost 100 days the people who attend have become such an amazing source of support, love, understanding and wisdom. There is so much to be said about being around people that are where you are headed. 

I learn so much in every meeting. I learn so much before and after the meeting during time of fellowship. 

I had a conversation with 2 others about codependency and then we talked about sometimes when you are talking to someone not in recovery about what’s going on in our life they want to help fix it. And sometimes you just want to have someone listen and not help. Just listen. 

I said that’s the best part about coming to a meeting and sharing. During the sharing time, it’s an opportunity for someone to share about whatever is going on in their life. Good, struggle, a praise or a concern. No one can interrupt you. No one can ‘help’ you fix it. No one can say what you are feeling is stupid. And sometimes all someone needs is to say out loud what they are feeling. Sometimes giving a feeling a voice is all you need. Sometimes all you need it to think something out loud and work it out yourself. 

During the core meeting the teaching was about taking your inventory and the parts of doing an fearless inventory. One section is ‘my part’. So during the conversation after the meeting, we talked about the difference between Your Fault and Your Part. Fault is an acknowledgement of guilt. 

  

While Your Part is how your actions contributed to it. Being in an addict/codependent relationship, it’s a dance of action and reaction between the two people. 

I was happy to hear and understand this distinction because it gives me permission to stop feeling so guilty and shameful about last year. Yes I played a part, my reactions were clearly unhealthy and codependent, but it was not my fault. 

My journey to serenity continues….