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

What Alcoholic Behaviors Looks Like

If you have read any of my other posts, you know that alcoholism is not my issue. But I have been around it my entire life.

This post is from my point of view. The person loving the person who struggles with alcoholism and what their behaviors look like.

One thing I didn’t realize is it’s not the same for everyone. Which seems funny to say because it just isn’t. But I really didn’t realize how different the behaviors could be until I experienced it with different people in my life.

Growing up in the home of an alcoholic, I witnessed a high functioning alcoholic. One who was successful professionally. Maintained a home and provided for the family. And most people would have never known looking in from the outside.

My mom died from cirrhosis. It was the most terrible thing I have ever witnessed. Fluid backed up and had to be drained. Her skin cracked on her legs and fluid dripped out. It was terrible. She was shutting down from the inside out.

The man I married, drank nightly just like I experienced growing up. But he also used his words carelessly and was mean and thoughtless after drinking. There were times he was embarrassing to be around while he thought he was the funniest person in the room.

A turning point for me when I realized that this was a bigger problem, was when he was drinking at inappropriate times. Using a big gulp cup to cover that he was drinking something much harder than a soda. And telling the kids that it was ‘daddy’s drink’. Or having a flask at the pumpkin patch became normal for him.

A few years after my divorce, I got into a relationship with an alcoholic. He was a white knuckling alcoholic. Sober by forcing it but that didn’t last long.

He was a binge drinker. Black out drunk daily. Unable to keep a job. Hiding alcohol. Planning his next trip to the liquor store. Buying a small bottle cause ‘it’s the last one, I promise’. But then going back a few hours later for the next last one. Withdrawing. Needing to drink to stop the withdrawal. Hospitalized. Arrested. I became afraid of his unpredictable behaviors and was issued a protective order.

And my friend. Lying about where she was. Or how much she had to drink. Kinda wanting to stop but was just not ready to give it up.

As you see there is a wide range of behaviors and what alcoholism looks like in each person I have known who struggles with alcoholism.

The basic definition of Alcoholism is the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol.

What all these people have in common is they each used alcohol to cope with life. That alcohol numbs feelings. And covers up deep hurts of the past.

Alcoholism stole my mom away from me.

Alcohol changed who people I loved were.

Alcohol lied to the people in my life that with alcohol, life is better.

But

I have also seen what it looks like to break the chains of alcoholism. And they are the most amazing people I know.

Lyrics from Chain Breaker by Zach Williams

I know that all of us do the best we can with what we know at the time. And when we know a different way, we do better. I have seen it, I have lived it with my own struggles of depression, codependency and body image.

There’s a better life.

If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving. He’s a prison shaking savior. If you got chains. He’s a chain breaker.

So who is He? He is Jesus Christ. And He wants to be in relationship with us. Not only that but He wants us to live our best life. To heal the pain of the past and live and love in today.

It takes a lot of work and action to break the chains of any past hurt. But I know personally and witness everyday that all things are possible with Jesus.

I do have to acknowledge that not everyone breaks the chains. My mom, she found freedom in heaven. At least that is what I believe. I wish that was different but it wasn’t what happened.

I find comfort in knowing she is free now. Rereading those song lyrics….He’s a pain taker….she’s no longer in pain. He took the pain away in a different way than I’ve thought about before.

Thank you for letting me share.

My journey continues…

PS I drew the picture in this post

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

Being on the other side…

My Facebook status 9.29.2015

Witnessing someone self-destruct is one of the worst things in life.
#AllICanDoIsPray
#FeelingSad

My Facebook status 9.29.2016

A year ago today I posted about how awful it is to see someone self destruct and be completely helpless.
I’m sure it was equally hard for my friends to see me during that time.
So glad I’m in this place now and not there anymore.
But I can also say that I am grateful for that awful time because I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have some AMAZING people in my life. No need to name names, if you read this….you are one of them.

Being on the other side of this situation, I’d like to share my thoughts today 9.28.19.

Looking Back…9.29.2015

4 years ago, I was a mess. A hot broken mess. The man I ‘loved’ was completely out of control and deep in his alcohol addiction. You know the term functional alcoholic well this was the total opposite. He was not able to function at all. Drinking from the second he woke up until he passed again. All day and night. For MONTHS. And I was putting myself smack in the middle of his chaos and making it my own. I was drowning in his addiction.

img_8015

Here’s the ugly truth about that day….he was living in an abandoned house blocks from my house with 3 than, 2 than 1 one other homeless alcoholics. No power. No water. Buckets and pots and tubs in the backyard, collecting rain water to flush the toilet. Roaches and other bugs everywhere. I never bought him alcohol, not once but I enabled him in so many other ways. This was just another day.

He called me and sent me text messages all hours of the day and night. Starting out with I love you, please don’t leave me. I’m going to stop today. And as the day went on, it ended with leave me alone, fuck you. Rinse and Repeat. Day after day after day. Pulling me in, pushing me away. This dance. This terrible harmful dance.

I could not do this anymore. I’m about to hit my bottom. I was slowly going ghost. Slowly trying to disengage. But still wanting to be there. And as I was pulling away, the situation was escalating.  I was terrified. Terrified of him. Terrified on being alone. Terrified that this would be the time he got sober and I walked away. I was watching him self destruct and I was powerless. I was failing. Failing him. Failing myself. This is snap shot of a day in the life of codependent loving an out of control alcoholic. And this was my crazy thought process.

Fast Forward 1 year later…9.29.2016

After a little more to this dysfunction central ‘relationship’ which included a protective order, it being violated, court and jail time (for him). Silence. Then I was lonely and missed the good things and I reached out when I shouldn’t have. The dance was restarting.  And then I walked into a Celebrate Recovery meeting and everything changed for my greater good.

I then found a Christ Centered recovery group. Got a sponsor. Faithfully going to meetings. Working the steps. Healing had started. Connections were made as how I became codependent. It was a way of coping. Not coping well or in a healthy way but coping all the same. Things were making sense as my head cleared.

I already had figured out that had I not been that mess I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to heal so many things. And likely I would have looked for the next guy to fix. The next dysfunction.

Had I not been there I wouldn’t be here. And here had just begun.

Fast forward 3 more years…today 9.29.2019

It’s now 4 years later since that time of total chaos. I think back and do not recognize who I was and wonder how I thought it was ok to put myself in that position. I drive by that house everyday and most days I don’t think much about it but every now and then I remember those days with much sadness. If I could only go back and take myself by the hand and say trust me. But I wouldn’t have listened.

Today I am an active member of Celebrate Recovery. I am part of the leadership team. I am available to listen to others and their story, their journey. I still have a sponsor. And I am a sponsor. I am in a step study, my second one. I am surrounded by amazing people who are my biggest cheer leaders. I continue to learn how to have healthy relationships. I now understand that boundaries not only keep me safe but keep unsafe people out of my day to day to life.

I am so grateful for the chaos of 2015. My life is much more complete.  The fact that I now have a relationship with Jesus Christ. That I lean on God’s word. That I trust His plan. That I ask for wisdom and strength.  And that I am doing life with others in recovery has been the greatest gift to come from this time.

Not perfect, but living in grace and truth.

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

My journey continues…

 

My Truth

Wishes….

Someone near and dear to my heart was recently in an inpatient treatment program for anxiety and depression. 

I could only visit for an hour each day from x – y.  

I arrived early and sat in my car with windows down waiting to go in.  And a nice warm breeze went by my car with hundreds of seeds with a white fluffy end to carry them away. 


As I sat there thinking about the people in the treatment program, especially the one I love. I couldn’t help but think about all the wishes and hopes not yet wished on those seeds. 

A few seeds even landed in the car. 

So I closed my eyes and made these wishes…

My wish for each of you is that you will always know your worth. That you will always find joy in all seasons of your life. That you will always have what you need and enough left over for what you want. 

Remember that God puts the right people in your life to help you along the way…..for a season, for a lifetime but always for a reason! 
You are awesome and amazing so keep up the good work of just being you! 
I know you are hurting but today you have 100’s of wishes not made yet. 

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks watching these people grow. I’ve watched them find confidence again and find their smiles again. 

Some people may see a weed, but all I see are wishes yet to be made. 

My journey to serenity continues…

I took the pictures used in this post

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

An Open Letter to P, D and J

Dear P. D and J –

You are my work family. 

P, my work mom. D, my work sister in Christ and J, my work husband. How would I ever get to the end of each work day without you? 

You guys support me like no one else. You each encourage me when I need it. You each help me everyday with work stuff and you each keep me sane. 

We have seen many people come and go at work. We have each had to pick up a the pieces of a work project and helped each other figure out where is was left off and how to finish it. 

You have walked along side me on some very dark days. In the eye of the storm, you were there just to listen.  And loved me along the way. 

P – you are always positive and help me see the benefit from growth in trials. D – you pray with me to put the darkness under our feet and remind me that God is in control. J – you lift my spirit and make my heart smile. 

You cried with me when my personal life was out of control and I was deep in a codependent unhealthy relationship but you gently restored me and allowed me to figure it out with love and support. 

You stood next to me when I was demoted because my personal life got in the way of work and never made me feel less than about what happened. 

You supported me when I took on my new position and was struggling to figure it out. You asked me how you could help and let me vent when I needed to. You celebrate with me as things got easier. 

You each have helped me shine because of your support. 

  
I love you guys so much. At work and outside of the office. We have each done things together outside the office. Dinner, painting, theatre, rides when my car is not working. If I need something, I know I can turn to you. 

I am so grateful to have each of you and am blessed to have this deep of a relationships with each of you. 

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron  so one person sharpens another.

Thank you for sharpening me! 

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

Love Always XXOO

M

This girls journey to serenity….

I took the photo in this post. 

My Truth

Open Letter to My BFF

My BFF and I have know each other for just over 16 years now. 

Our kids went to the same school and we were on the PTA together. We quickly got each other. We were both stay at home moms. We really didn’t fit the mold of plays groups and mommy and me this or that. 

We would talk everyday on the phone about everything and about nothing. 

We went to jazzersize together. And took an American Sign Language class together at the community center. And we worked together 2 summers I think it was at a kids summer day camp. 

She was with me through many days of deciding to leave my ex husband. And I was with her when her daughter was acting out. 

We have shared many laughs and many tears. 

I was with her when waiting for what could be scary test results and she was with me when my mom passed away. 

She was with me when I thought is was a great idea to give my now ex boyfriend a chance when no one else would. And she was with me when I finally figured out that it was the worst idea ever and I was afraid.

I was with her when her mother moved in……and moved out. 

We’ve made some good decisions and supported each other and some not so good decisions and supported each other. 

She’s that friend that would hold your hair while you were throwing up. And wipe your tears and say you are looked beautiful. 

 All these years, she has loved me anyway. She knows just about all my crap and loves me anyway. 

I got to teach her recovery lingo. And share with her what I’ve learned and helped her understand some of her own feelings and that is was totally normal. 

I’ve told her for years that she is better than family and is my sister my choice because we both have difficult sisters and we no longer talk to.  

I don’t know where I’d be without her and I am so very grateful to have her in my life. Always a phone call or text message away. 

Everyone needs a friend like her! 

you + me = BFF’s 4ever

XXOO

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

This girls journey to serenity continues…