Tag Archives: hope

500 Days of looking up!!! 

500 days of focusing on my needs. My program. My journey.

500 days of not looking back. 


500 days of understanding how my life was overtaken by chaos and having a plan in place to never allow that nonsense and foolishness to rule my world again. 

500 days of saying no to what no longer serves me but yes to things that do. 

500 days of trusting that I’m heading in the right direction. One step at a time. 
500 days of listening to my life tell an amazing story of understanding and letting go. 
500 days of steps forward and a few back, and sometimes standing still while feelings pass over me. But those steps back and standing still moments did not derail me, they did not stop my forward momentum. Instead those moments gave me rest to keep going. 

I am 500 days away from the addict/ codependent dance that I knew so well. 
I am 500 days closer to the person God wants me to be. 
I am 500 days closer to the life that I got off track from.
I still have work to do for sure but it’s amazing what can happen in just 500 days if you just let go and let God. 

500 days of looking up and thinking…I trust You. You hold the answers. I will praise You for all you have done in my life. 

My journey continues….one day at a time. 

I took this picture from my back yard and use font candy to add the text. 

12 Things I’ve Learned 12 Stepping 

I didn’t know anything about 12 step programs before 2015. Maybe a few jokes here and there. Maybe how it was depicted on a sitcom. 

I was a Seinfeld fan and there was an episode about Step 9. And how George was looking for an apology from someone who was in AA. So my concept of 12 step programs was from a sarcastic place and that all anyone talked about who was in a program was the program. 

Now look at me 16 months of working a 12 step program. And yeah I do talk about the program a lot. 

The thing is, my life has changed and I am continuing to grow closer to my Higher Power, HP or who I believe is Jesus Christ. I am continuing to understand and let go. I am continuing to be that much closer to my authentic self and who God wants me to be. 

So in no particular order, 12 things I have learned from my 12 step program.

1. Working a program is just that, work. You can’t just show up to meetings and do nothing else and things get better. So I….Got a sponsor. I have surround myself with  a sober community. I read recovery materials. Celebrate Recovery has a step study which are workbooks that ask some hard questions on each step that you answer and share with a small group, so I joined that group. I read the Bible. Putting all these things into action is working a program. Doing all of those things, you can’t help but change. 

2. What you struggle with does not define you. The 12 step program I attend is for anyone with  hurts, hang ups or habits that separates us from God and that you want to change. I love that when we introduce ourselves we say ‘I struggle with’ not I am. Mistakes of my past doesn’t mean that is who I am. 

3. Forgiveness is not for the other person but for yourself. I will never contact my ex boyfriend again but I have forgiven him. The freedom of owning my part and understanding his and forgiving him is life changing. I no longer carry the guilt and shame of my actions. 

4. Forgiving myself has been the hardest thing.  My actions hurt other people, I knew it and then I isolated, shut down and hind because of my shame and guilt. Forgiving myself took me the longest to do but then a friend in program reminded me that God had already forgiven me and I should too. 

5. Worry does not change ourcome. If fact worry is a form of not trusting God. God is in control and already knows what is going to happen and knows the mistakes I will make in the future. He has a plan in place to help me through these times too. So worry only takes energy from the now and prevents you from being present. 

6. Understanding codependency. I learned to cope with life by being codependent. When I thought I was helping, it actually caused damage. I made excuses, lied to cover up for and took care of things that were not my responsibility. And it turned out that I prevented the other person from growing from the experience of managing his own problems. 


7. I’ve learned about setting boundaries. Boundaries not only keeps me in a safe space, it also allows me to communicate in a healthy way what I need and what I am willing to do. I don’t always have to tell others my boundaries, me knowing in some cases is enough. This has not only helped me with my relationships but also with work. 

8. It’s hard to complain when you are grateful. Gratitude reminds me of the things in your life. Often addictive behaviors starts from lacking something and it’s a way to escape. It’s so hard to bitch about life when you start to become aware of all the little things to be grateful for everyday. I am grateful for all the little things, the good things and the trials too. 

9. Feelings are hard and that’s ok. No one likes to feel unappreciated or hurt or singled out or not heard. Addictive behaviors are often to avoid those feelings. Feeling of not being good enough. Feelings of not being enough. Feelings of being disappointed or disappointing someone else. But there are also feelings of love and acceptance and joy that by avoiding those negative feelings you also miss out on the good ones too. So sometimes you have to sit and feel those feelings that you don’t want to and then move on. 

10. You are exactly where God wants you to be. In number five, I said that God has a plan in place for my future mistakes but He also has a plan for the good times too. I am in the right place…..right now. Maybe there is a lesson that has yet to be learned. Maybe there is someone else that you will cross paths with for you but what if it was actually for them. Isn’t that a cool thought. Don’t worry about where you are right now, just be there and enjoy every second. And before you know it, you will be in another place with new challenges and new good times and then that is where you are supposed to be. 

11. Being in program taught me how to listen. Being in dysfunctional relationships, I often felt that I was not heard. During the share time, each person is given 5 minutes to share whatever they want. No one can interrupt them. No one can ask questions. No one tell you how to fix it. No one can tell you that you are wrong. It’s only 5 minutes but it’s the only 5 minutes that are like that in my week. I’ve learned to listen. And I don’t judge or think less of them because I know they don’t think less of me. It’s how this works. During the week I may check in with them or next time I see them, we’ll talk about how whatever went or ended up. 

12. Recovery doesn’t end, it’s a lifestyle. I hate to be the one to tell you, but working a program is not a one and done thing. You have to work and embrace the steps everyday, every single day. And when you do, you change, you become aware. You feel things that you don’t want to but you cope with it in a new way. You learn to recognize and own your part and you set better boundaries for next time. And you share your experience, strength and hope with others. And why do we do that? We share our story for His glory and to show others what God has done in our lives.
I want to add a 13th thing I’ve learned because people joke about the 13th step. The 13th step is that someone in program hits one newer member of the group. 

But this is my experience of other people in the group…..

13.  Sponsors, accountability partners and friendships born from recovery are amazing. People in the program are full of wisdom and grace. And this combination is incredible. They have worked the program. Your sponsor will push you in a loving way. You accountability partner will ask you questions that will make you think and maybe give you reason to pause. And the fellowship you share with other members of the group is like no other friendships you can ever have. I have learned how to give grace because others have given grace to me. 

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

My journey to serenity continues…

Where Truth Meets Grace

I’m in a little mini season of reflection. I’ve written my testimony and have been reading it over and over and over again. I even recorded it and listen to it when I’m driving. I know there is this thing called being overly prepared but it helps me to just keep doing it. I still get chocked up at the same parts, and that’s ok. 

It’s real.  

It’s truth. 

It’s my story.

 It’s where I’ve been, how I got there, how I got out and where I’m heading.

I’ve settled into a new normal. I can see changes in how I interact with  my ex husband or with my kids. 

I had dinner with my oldest son on Sunday night. It’s our thing, we go (out just the two of us) and have dinner together and catch up. I gave him an example of how I interacted differently now and he commented that he sees it too and give me an example of what he noticed. 

This new normal….it’s Where Truth Meets Grace. 

The Grace that God has been extended to me. The gift of Grace that I extend to myself. The  Grace that is extended to others. 

Right after I wrote my testimony, I had some doubt and fear roaming around unattended in my head. But then I was reminded, what I wrote was truth and light. 

My light is not for me but rather to glorify God and shine light on someone else’s darkness. That’s why we share our story. To give hope to others. It’s just that simple. Darkness thrives on the fear of the unknown, feelings and  fear of speaking authenticity. When you stand on the truth, you find grace. 

The corner of Truth and Grace…..my new benchmark. 

My journey to serenity continues…

What I’ve learned This Year

2016 has been just an amazing year of understanding, digging deep and letting go. 

The start of 2016,  I felt so broken. I felt lost and  alone. I felt that no one understood why I got myself into the mess that was 2015 and why I stayed so long. No one understood including me. I was afraid. Afraid of where I was, afraid of where I was going. I was frozen, afraid to look forward or back. 

I had stated to go to Al-Anon but was struggling to be completely be onboard with the program. I met with a women from my Church who shared her story at 2 events I attended and I knew she would help point me in the right direction. She told me to find a Celebrate Recovery and that program has a way of drilling down and they will help guide me on my journey. And I am so grateful that I listened. 

And now just days before the end of 2016….I feel like a completely different person. 

This is some things I’ve learned in 2016. 

  
I have learned to be STRONG, when all I wanted to do is cry. Crying is my default reaction when I feel overwhelmed. 

I have learned to be CALM, after my life was taken over chaos. 

I have learned to TALK about hard things. With my sponser, with my recovery family, with myself and with God.

I have learned to REST, when I need time to digest what I’m working on. It’s not a race. 

I have learned to BE POSITIVE when my mind is wanting to see only the negative. 

I have learned to SEE the joy that happens after a trial. 

I have learned to be HONEST with my sponsor, my recovery family, myself and with God. 

I have learned what HUMBLE means and what it feels like after I did my first teaching. 

I have learned to be GRATEFUL for all the things that I have and not focus on what I don’t have. 

I have learned to COPE with feelings. To allow myself to feel and move past those feelings. For so long I felt nothing.

I have learned to TRUST. Trust Gods plan for me and trust my recovery community with sharing my life with them. Trust myself to make healthy decisions.

I have learned to LISTEN because sometimes someone just wants to be heard and they don’t someone to fix something they just need someone to listen. 

I have learned to FORGIVE. And most of all forgive myself. After all God forgives me so who am I not to do the same. 

I have learned to have HOPE. Hope in recovey, hope in change. Hope for the future. 

I have learned to CELEBRATE small victories like boundries or reacting to a similar situation in a healthy way.

I have learned how to feel HAPPY again. 

I have learned how to FILL my own tank by doing things I love and I don’t have to rely on others to fill me up. 

I have learned about the FREEDOM that working the steps and the Celebrate Recovery program holds when you work it because I am worth it. 

What an amazing year of grace and love!!! 

My journey to serenity continues…

I painted to pic used in this post. 

an aha moment…

I am teaching for the first time at my Celebrate Recovery (CR) meeting on Tuesday. The bulk of it was written weeks ago, I’ve reading it and rereading it ever since. I’ve practiced it out loud in the car during lunch. I’ve practiced on my sofa. I’ve practiced with my sponsor. And with another friend last night. I think I’m pretty prepared. 

This lesson is one I brought to the leaders and asked if I can teach because it meant so much to me when I heard a CR Podcast about it. 

I earn a living by talking to complete strangers about payroll over the phone and explain something fairly complicated in easy to understand terms. I’m used to that. I am not used to standing up infront of people and reading something to them. 

I was just about to practice one more time tonight and I had an aha moment. 

First I have to rewind my story a little…..

In late 2014, I reconnected with a guy I went to high school with. He was looking for a fresh start and I quickly fell for him as he told me everything I needed to hear. He moved in my home and crashed on my sofa. Things were simple and easy. He had a job. And then life happened and his hours got cut. And all hell broke loose. 

He started drinking for days…. weeks and then …..months. I kicked him out after days but chased after him and tried to save him from himself. And that started my crazy spiral of chaos from being in a codependent / addict relationship. 

During the months and months, he tried to stop drinking  for a few days here and there. We talked about Gods plan for us and we talked about one day we would be on a stage together sharing our recovery story. 

  
And now fast forward to today. A short year later, I will be on the stage sharing part of my story and teaching about avoiding relapse and putting together a plan. 

It just hit me that this was our plan together and that I’m about do it myself. This was part of Gods plan for me all along. My story is important. My story is one of hope and grace and finding joy in trails. My story is about connecting the dots of my life and putting the pieces together. It’s about trusting God and letting go. 

This girls journey to serenity…

New tattoo

I’ve been wanting a new tattoo for a while. I’ve had different ideas. All of them had the same basic meaning. Some with words, like a crossword some not. I’ve also wanted to get a semicolon to so I was looking for ideas and put this together. 

       Faith, Hope, Love, I choose to continue…

 

A semicolon is a popular tattoo the last couple of years. Do you know the meaning? A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to.

You see, I’m the author and the sentence is my life.

In my lifetime, I have battled denial, abuse, anxiety, depression, codependency and contemplated suicide. I want to remind myself and others the fact that because of faith, hope, love and wanting to continue I am growing and wanting to be a better person for God, for me and for my kids. 

My journey to serenity continues…

Finding Hope in Healing…

I looked up the definition of HOPE. Hope is to trust in…..wait for……look for…..or desire for …..something or someone ……..beneficial in the future.

There was a time not long ago that I had hope in  my own ability to get a situation were I wanted it. The more I tried, the further from hope I got. 

If you are new to my blog, first welcome and thank you for reading and second what you should know is I struggle with codependency. I was in a relationship with an alcoholic. 

We struggled for months and months with our addictions and our lives were completely out of control. With his encouragement, I kept waiting for him to hit his bottom and at each thing that turned out not to be his bottom, I was pulled further into a life that was not my own. 

It ended in the worst of ways. He went to jail and I went to the courthouse and got a protective order. Heartbroken and confused about how this all happened. 

  
I started attending a 12 step program about 6 months ago. I really felt hopeless when I first started. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I was so broken inside. 

With the grace of God, I kept attending meetings, tried different nights, started talking to people and found out about the program I now attend and just adore. 

I know that God goes before me and put people in my life to help me with my understanding of codependency and recovery. 

God had restored my hope and my hope rests in him. 

What does the Bible say about hope?

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you. declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Hebrews 11:1
Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. 

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

My journey to serenity continues…