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

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

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

A fork in the road

I taught the lesson on Grace last night at my Celebrate Recovery meeting. I heard this story on a podcast for the same lesson and adapted it for the group. And I’d like to share it with you. 

There is this girl that went on a journey. She goes walking on a path, trying her best to be a good person. Life was hard sometimes but over all life is good.

And then she comes to a fork in the road. And she had to make a choice.

One way is clear and easily passable.


The other road seems to be less traveled and on the surface looks hard. She has to decide which way to go.

There is a sign that says This Way to Please God and the other sign says This Way to Trust God. Hmmm, she thinks, well I want to make God happy so I’m going to continue on the path to please God.
 

 She starts walking down that road, and she comes a house with a sign on the door that says ‘striving to be all that God wants me to be’ YES!, I made it. That sounds pretty good. So she goes inside. And all the people there were happy and welcome her and say ‘it’s go good to see you’. And then they go off to do other things. ‘Hmmm, I’m not sure how this works so I’ll just watch what they are doing.’

After the first how are you doing, they are not really engaging with her. Some disappeared for a little while and then came back. She notices the happy exterior, smiling when looked at but when no one is looking, they were not smiling. She looks a little closer and then she notices that everyone has masks on. What she is seeing isn’t really who they are but the idea that they have to do to please God.

So many times I have followed that thinking and I strive to be everything that God wants me to be.

I have gotten caught up because my basic belief system is that I am not loveable and that I am not enough. So I must perform for people to love me and I must perform for God to love me. And so I do. I try to please people and make people like me. And I try to please God.

We live in space where everything has rules and checking off boxes. I try to live by the do’s and don’ts. But I find myself falling short.

I had rules at home growing up. Like, you have to be home when the Church bells ring. Or Did anyone else have Hewho for dinner? Well Hewho in my house was he who is hungry fixes it themselves and cleans up after. And there unspoken rules too. Like not talking about certain things. 

Rules at school. As someone who had learning disabilities, I learned to keep up by cheating. And I was good at it because I never got caught. But I was falling short.

Rules at work. I have always worked in places that I help create processes and create rules on how to handle situations. But I make mistakes and I fall short.

Rules with friendships. Helping to fix problems. Trying to meet everyone’s needs and pleasing them. I have fallen short there too by getting overly involved.

And then there is God’s rules, of going to church and following the 10 commandments. Maybe if I prayed enough, God would be pleased. Maybe if I checking off boxes of His law, God will be pleased. But all of these things come down to me performing well enough, how good I could be as a person. Me striving to be all that God wants me to be.

I check off the boxes and following the rules. I try to live by the do’s and don’ts in all parts of my life. But I find myself falling short.

No matter how well I preformed, I was standing in a room of good intentions. I was standing in a room that I would always let God down. I would let others down and I would let myself down. Because I cannot live up to perfection. I’m tired of failing and I just can’t keep this mask on.

Hmmmmm, what did the sign say back at the fork in the road? Oh yeah, This Way to Trust God. So I’m going back to the fork in the road and take that road. I’m don’t really know what this means but I am going to go down this path of trusting God.

I start going down this new path. It’s less traveled and there are roots to trip on and overgrown brush in the way but i continue. And I start to feel like I don’t have to white knuckle life anymore because I am just trusting God and trusting His word that all things work together for my greater good.

I travel down the road and come to clearing and I find a new house. The sign on the door that reads “Living out who God says I am.” WOW. So I go in that house. And I am again greeted with people. They are not hiding. Some are smiling and some aren’t. But you can see there is genuine joy in their heart. Even in their sorrow, or pain or current trial, their heart is full of love and joy.

And then she realizes she is in the room of GRACE. They didn’t care if I followed the rule or checked off all the boxes. They cared that I just trusted God on my journey. It didn’t matter how good or bad I was.

This journey takes humility. The humility of taking off that mask. To show the world who we really are. 

That is what it takes to get into this room of grace. We have already 

  • stepped out of denial
  • realizing we have a mask on
  • we have surrendered
  •  made a fearless inventory 
  • we confess that inventory 
  • we made a list of persons we harmed 
  • we made a list of those to forgiven who have harmed us.

And now we are in the room of grace.

Now let’s look at the word GRACE.

G is for God’s Gift. Grace is Gods freely given gift. You can’t buy it, and you don’t get it by check off boxes.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9

We do this every time we introduce ourselves. Hi I’m Mary grateful believer in Jesus Christ and I struggle with codependency. I gladly now boast about my weaknesses.

In the past I preformed for God to love me and today I have a relationship with Him. He gave me strength to make amends and offer forgiveness.

The R in grace is for Received by faith.

No matter how hard we work, we cannot earn our way into heaven. Only by professing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can we experience His grace and have eternal life.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not for yourselves, it is a gift of God not by works so that no one can boast.

Romans 5:2 Through whom we have gained access by faith into the grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope for the glory of God.

 I kinda love that word boast. So the bible is pretty clear on those couple of passages. Don’t boast about what you are doing but rather boast about our weakness and hope.

The A in grace is for: We are Accepted by God’s love. God loved you and me while we were still sinning.

Romans 5:8 God demonstrates his own love for us in this. While we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:5 reminds us that though we are spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.

I don’t know about you but I know that there have been times that I didn’t feel that  I deserve God’s love But here is the good news, HE accepts me in spite of myself. He sees all my failures and loves me anyway. And the same is for you as well.

The C in grace is Christ paid the price.

Jesus died on the cross so that all our sins are forgiven. He paid the price. Over 2000 year ago, He died for me. For sins that had not even made yet but He knew I would. He sacrificed Himself for us so that we may be with Him forever. Jesus paid the price and separated us from our sins as far as the east is from the west.

When we accept Jesus dying on the cross we are made a new creation. We can rely on Gods strength and power to enable us to forgive those who have hurt us. We can set aside our selfishness and speak the truth in love. We focus only on our part in making aments or offering our forgiveness.

Ephesians 1:7 In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace.

The final letter in grace is E. God’s grace is an Everlasting gift.

Once you accept that Jesus Christ is your lord and savior, God’s grace is forever.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father encourage you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and through his grace he gave us a good hope and encouragement that continues forever.

 I’d like to close with some final thoughts. That no matter what step you are on. No matter where you are tonight. Know that God loves you. Choose the path of Trusting God that leads you to “Living out who God says you are” and know that you are standing in the room of grace. That you do not have to check off boxes or perform for his love. Just trust him. Know that in your weakness, He is strong.

Thank you for letting me share. 

My journey to serenity continues…