My Truth

Awareness, Seeing Things In A New Way

The thing about continuing to work a recovery program is that you (or me in this case) get the opportunity to continue to have a deeper understanding of myself. A new level of awareness. Healing even deeper.

This is the most stressful time at work and between Thanksgiving and Christmas has been a very difficult time of year for me personally and emotionally for YEARS. So in the middle of chaos and heart ache, I decided to do this work.

Crazy right!

Well, it has forced me to make time for myself. It’s made me practice some self care when I’m exhausted after a long day at work. To set aside time to read. Process what I’ve learned. Write about it. And have a weekly meetings about it.

I’m doing some work on grieving. I’m reading a really good book that has pointed out some things that has gotten me looking a things in a different way. About things I had not thought about in a long time but now thinking about them in a different way.

We are just at the thick of it. It’s just like that part in working the 12 steps….step 4 and 5. During that part, many people walk away because it’s hard. Its scary because you are afraid of being judged or embarrassed or feel shame around what you did or didn’t do. It’s pulling the curtain back and being vulnerable.

To be open enough to say those things out loud that no one talks about. Those things that may cause fear or judgement or shame and saying it anyway. And you know what happened when I did my step 4 and 5 with my sponsor…..ready, because when you haven’t done it yet, you don’t know. But this is what happened……my sponsor, loved me anyway. And every time I give my testimony, my recovery community, loves me anyway.

Crazy right!

So I am not afraid of hard work. I am doing the work. And I’m doing it, because I know what happens when the hard work is completed.

Which reminds me of Psalms 30:5

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor, a lifetime. Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning.

So that painting….do you see a line of tress with the sun setting? Or do you see a guitar? Do you see both?

Don’t be afraid of working a program. Dig deep and see things in a different way.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect, I don’t work a perfect program. I make mistakes, I sin. I disappoint others and I disappoint myself. But God doesn’t need me to be perfect or to work a perfect program. Everyday making the decision to walk in the right direction. It’s called progress. Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is what matters.

It works if you work it and you are so worth it!!!

My journey to serenity continues…

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My Truth

It’s a season, not a sentence…

It’s been far too long since I have written. I have started many posts since my last one but are all unfinished thoughts. Not coming together easily. Which is how writing works for me.

I think I’ve posted about seasons before but I didn’t even go back and look. I write what’s put on my heart. Most often it’s what I need to hear in this moment. And the words just flow out of me. Sometimes so fast that I can’t type fast enough or catch that auto correct changed put to out (that one happens all the time)

So I love to refer to time periods as seasons. I’m in a season of waiting. Or I’m in a season of growth. Or I’m in a season of asking questions.

I love to refer to these times as seasons because it reminds me that these times are not permanent. They change. They bloom. And then they transform into something else. They are still. And then experience new growth. And they even are wonderful and warm and those seasons change too. But again not forever.

I have been in a season, maybe several the last few months. A season of contentment but still wanting more. A season of stillness but still wanting more. A season of what i thought was understanding and great communication but knowing something was wrong. A season of learning to ask for help and learning to accept it.

And now a season of exclusion and not understanding but trusting anyway. This is an opportunity to step back and let someone else work out their pain and hurts without my interference or influence.

And even with how hard this is and how much my heart is hurting,

I MUST remember this it’s a season, not a sentence.

I MUST remember that God is in control.

I MUST remember that while hurt people hurt people, healing people heal people. But it’s only when that hurting person seeks healing.

I MUST remember that what someone thinks or says about me, doesn’t make it true.

I MUST remember that recovery is about progress not perfection.

I MUST remember that 2 people can be in the same experience but see and feel things so differently.

I MUST remember to give grace when I love someone but disagree with them too.

My very first Bible study, 10 years ago now, was The Prodigal God. A 12 week study on the Prodigal Son. My brother teased me that it took 12 weeks to look at 21 Bible verses! But it was a deep dive on looking at everyone in the story. How was the Dad feeling? What was the other brother thinking when his brother returned. Anyway it was a cool study on relationships and feelings.

So I’ve been reflecting on how the Dad must of felt. Giving his son his inheritance and letting him leave. Not understanding or wanting this for his son. Not knowing where he was or what he was doing. Being concerned for his other son’s feelings. Did he watch every day for his son to return.

His must have known that it was for a season and not a sentence. And that seasons change.

My journey continues….

My Truth

Personal Boundaries…

According to Wikipedia ‘personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.’

Codependency and lack of boundaries are in my experience good friends.

I may have had some boundaries in the past but allowed others to catapult over them and did nothing about it. Or I would move the boundary because I was not able, often because of fear, to even have consequences and then have to stick to them.

But I have learned how boundaries keeps me safe and ‘in my lane’.

3 years go, I had to learn how to set strong boundaries while I was afraid.

The man I was dating was on an out of control drinking binge. He was living down the street in a house of other active addicts. No water. No power. The owner of the house was in jail. While I was trying to save the man I loved, I put myself in danger. I witnessed terrible things and I was afraid.

When I reached my tolerance level (finally), I asked him to leave me alone in person, by phone and by text. I yelled, I screamed. And then unknowingly, I set my first boundary by stopping my behavior. I didn’t go to the house, I didn’t answer his calls and I didn’t text him back. It was hard but necessary.

And then it escalated.

I received 100’s and 100’s of text messages from 3 phones he had access to. At all hours of the day and night. I called the police and asked for help. Sadly there was nothing they could do…..yet. And the yet is what scared me the most. I called my best friend and told her that this is what lifetime movies are made of and I was afraid.

He came to my house at 5 am drunk and pounded on my front door. I called the police and got paperwork for trespassing for next time he comes. Next time, great.

More texts and calls. And I didn’t answer any of them. But it was still escalating.

He entered my home while I was a work. My son was home and called me. I called the police and drove home. I arrived just minutes after the police did. Apparently he had fallen on the walk to my house and had blood all over his face and hands. (And my fence and back door) I went and was issued an emergency protective order. But they couldn’t find him.

So now I had to wait for the PO to be served to him. And he would leave me alone and this would all stop.

More texts and calls and then they stopped. He then texted me and I had him violated and he went to jail. Then he called me from jail. 32 times. Another violation. He spent 31 days in jail and I was issued a 2 year protective order. Then he stood by my mail box and street corner for weeks after. But that didn’t violate my order. It was terrifying. I remember thinking about how this makes women go crazy and I would end up hurting him from the mental games and end up in jail. Thankfully that didn’t happen and he finally went away.

All this to say, this was the start of me giving myself permission to put down the fear, shame and feeling responsible .and understand the importance of creating personal boundaries.

So let’s talk about boundaries for a minute.

We need boundaries in all aspects of our life. Family. Work. Hobbies. Money. Time. I have found that having them actually makes my life easier. Allowing me to say no to some things that are not healthy for me in turn it allows me to say yes to more things that fill me up.

Once I found support with my 12 step group and a counselor, I gained some self awareness of what I am willing to and not willing to put up with in my life. Looking at situations in my life and identify area’s that cause hurt or upset or even where I’m spending time that is not for my greater good. And how to better contain those things.

This is what some of my boundaries look like:

  • separating myself from a friend or group of friends
  • not commenting on a social media on a sensitive topic
  • choosing to end and walk away from an argument gracefully
  • telling someone that I will not discuss something with them
  • telling someone that I will not tolerate behaviors and if they choose to continue, I will ______
  • being careful what and who I share information or feelings with
  • being careful who I spend time with
  • spending time doing healthy activities

Having boundaries I gained value and do not compromise my opinions. I have started to be able to make and reach personal goals which has been difficult to even create a goal in the past. I have learned how to say no and to accept no from others. I have become a better communicator. And I know to get advise from healthy friends.

You can share with someone a boundary, but you don’t always have to. Simply changing your behavior to match the boundary is enough.

Starting small and giving yourself grace is super important. It all takes time to learn how to do this after a life time of not. You build on success. It takes support, courage and practice.

My journey continues…

My Truth

Learn to accept an apology…you are never going to get!

I am a self proclaimed nerd. I am one of those people who really enjoys court shows. I have watched Judge Judy basically since it started and before that I watched The People’s Court. And to be completely transparent, I used to even TiVo them when I had cable. And now I watch them on You Tube….I know there is a group for that. =]

I know they are not really ‘real’ and I know the show pays the verdict. But I am fascinated by human behavior and this for me is just some good ol’ people watching.

The case today on Judge Faith was a divorced couple with a 3 year old child. They have taken each other to court 22 times in the last 2 years. Now come on, there is a TON of hurts happening there that is resulting in resentments and prolonged pain.

Judge Faith said the most beautiful thing to them and it made me pause and be so grateful for recovery and the program that I work, everyday. Because I know firsthand what she was talking about.

She said ‘Revenge is for the weak. Do you understand that? Revenge is for the weak. It takes a strong person to forgive and I am telling you right now, your life will be a lot easier because you both feel like you have been wronged. Your life will be a lot easier, if you learn to accept the apology you are never going to get.’

Amen amen amen! Jumping up and down amen!

There is this amazing thing that happens in recovery. It starts with step 1 but then somewhere during the 4th and 5th steps it happens. Only those who are ready and strong to get real and do the work, benefit from this amazing gift.

Something written on your heart, written on your very soul is healed and you experience this sense of peace. You own your part and identify there’s. This incredible what almost feels like a super human ability to accept an apology that you are never going to get.

If you have done your 4th and 5th step, you know what I’m talking about and if you are not there yet, please know that there is hope to heal old hurts of the past. Something that changed you to your core, with the strength that can only be with God’s hand, once again is changed and healed.

Your life will be a lot easier, if you learn to accept the apology you are never going to get.

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

It’s not ____’s problem, until it becomes _____’s problem, before then there is…

It’s not ____’s problem, until it becomes ____’s problem, before then there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO!

Have you ever loved an addict? Or even have addictive behaviors yourself?

Many things come to mind that I have said out loud:

• Where is your bottom?

• When is enough?

• Will you stop for me?

• If he loves me, he will stop

• I can soften his fall and he will stop

• I’ll just pretend it’s not happening

But the hard truth is, until the person gets to the point that they have had enough and they want to try something different and only until that happens there is nothing you can do. And trying to do something will only hurt you and them.

Addiction is selfish. It’s all consuming. It is deceptive. Addiction lies.

Addiction may temporarily pause feelings. It may temporarily makes you feel better (but does it). Addiction might even give you comfort. But it lies.

Addiction hurts people. Addiction hurts families. Addiction changes the addict. Addiction ends lives. Addiction lies.

As someone who has loved an addict (several in fact), I hurt myself and the addict when I tried to help when they couldn’t answer yes to the following questions:

• Have you had enough?

• Are you willing to try a new way of living?

So until they can answer those questions YES, there is nothing you can do. Except, to create boundaries around that person to protect yourself and them.

Boundaries are hard but necessary.

I’ll write about boundaries next time, tonight I just wanted to give a voice to the part of me (and maybe you too) that it’s not your fault and you can’t fix someone else’s addiction no matter how much you want to. But there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO for them.

My journey continues…

My Truth

The Greatest Showman…

I know it’s been a while since I have written. Life sometimes gets in the way and while there has been things I’ve wanted to write about, my tank has just been empty.

This post my opinion and observations from the movie The Greatest Showman. And while I love a good musical, my thought is they could have easily pulled this off not being a musical. But the soundtrack is great and I adore the song This is Me.

If you have not seen it, I’d highly recommend that you do. This post will likely have some spoilers so you can choose if you keep reading or not. #spoileralert

I go to a Christian based 12 step group. It’s for anyone with hurts, hang ups or habits that they want to change. And how The Greatest Showman told PT Barnum’s story is a perfect example of someone with hurts who could benefit from this 12 step program, like the one I attend. I love seeing recovery in unexpected places!

PT Barnum was born the son of a tailor. Poor. And treated that way from the wealthy clients his father worked for. Seems he was around 14 when his father died and from what the movie shows PT survived by selling newspapers and stealing food from time to time. (This would have been around 1826)

As PT has several types of jobs as a young man. And in 1834 he embarked in an entertainment career.

Now in the beginning it was difficult to get people to buy into his ‘freak show’ but he was a showman and played on people’s natural curiosity.

Hiring ‘freaks’ was very strange at that time. Some would say cruel to make money off them. As said in the movie, when PT was talking to a little person, they will laugh at me. PT replied kid they are laughing anyway so you may as well get paid for it.

It was interesting to be reminded that PT gave the people in his show a purpose. Which then became a home. And a community. A family. And as one of the characters said, you love us and many of us grew up with even our mothers not loving us.

Now I said that PT is a perfect example of someone having a hurt that recovery can help heal and this is what I meant by that. PT was treated badly by people of wealth. He carried this need to be liked by the wealthy from his childhood. And as his show grew in popularity, he wanted to draw the wealthy to his shows as well but they were not interested in him or his show.

So he’s focus changed and he hired a theatre producer to join him with the purpose of showing him how to get the wealthy to his shows.

He was able to get an invitation to England and perform for Queen Victoria. This opened doors to other royalty and an European tour. Where he met Jenny Lind, a Swedish Nightingale, at the height of her popularity.

He hired her to tour in the US and she gave 93 concerts. Now the movie tells one story of why they stopped working together and I could not confirm that story so will just leave it that they made each other a lot of money and went their separate ways.

The movie depicts that while the Jenny Lind success was happening and PT was finally feeling liked by the wealthy, things back home were falling apart a bit. As his attention was really focused on the wrong things.

PT wife asks his why it’s so important to him to be loved by the wealthy? To what end? Don’t you see the people here, close to you love you and that’s what matters?

Things fall apart, his wife leaves him, the museum is burned down and Jenny Lind quits. He has nothing. It’s his rock bottom.

He ends up returning to his roots and starts over. And rebuilds the life he has with those who loved him most.

I just can’t help but see how this need from childhood, carried through to adulthood, impacted how PT behaved in trying to fill that need. It’s exactly like any addiction or poor behavior.

Had helped me look at myself again and understand just a little bit more about my own codependent behaviors.

In what ways have I used a need that I have and filling it either all the wrong things or tried so hard to fill it and then realized it wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Have there been times that I used relationships in an unhealthy way? Have I used food to fill a need that didn’t require food? Have I ever used alcohol to fill a need even if it was temporary? Have I used helping others, as a way to avoid my own issues? You betcha I have. But not so much anymore, and that feels amazing!

Thanks for reading….my journey to serenity continues….