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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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

Staying in gratitude…

Today I am thankful for…

  • Waking up with love in my heart
  • Walking with others in recovery
  • Children who love and are so kind to Each other and others 
  • Dogs who love unconditionally 
  • A roof over my head 
  • A warm place to sleep
  • Food in my cabinet 
  • Coffee and quiet mornings
  • Naps when you need one on a chilly afternoon 

Everyday I have gratitude for these thing and much more. 

Coming from a place of gratitude leaves no room for complaining. Staying focused on all the positive wonderful things and people that are in my life. Big things and many many many little things that bring me joy. 

This keeps my eyes focused on God and reminds me that He is in control. That while sometimes I wish I could control the world around me, it’s not my place or job. Just as the serenity prayer states, to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. 

Wisdom, grace, love….all freely giving to those who ask Him for it. 

The enemy does not like gratitude. Because that brings us closer to God. The enemy remains under my feet which is where it belongs. 

My journey to serenity continues….