My Truth

Got coping tools? YES I DO

In this world of uncertainty that we have found ourselves in, I started feeling anxious and overwhelmed while at the grocery store tonight.

I walked down aisle after aisle and found empty shelves and choices were limited. I was hit in the face with how real this is. The restaurant in the same parking lot was empty and the coffee shop was dark.

I felt that I needed to remind myself of all the tools and new ways of coping with life when life happens that I have learned from WORKING a recovery program. Cause life is happening right now and while it’s a little unsettling, I know that this will not last forever and God is in control.

I used my tools right away, which was kinda cool that it came so naturally. I reached out to my sponsor and talked to her about how I was I was feeling and why I felt this way. And I found out, that she was feeling the same way. Having a sponsor, accountability partner or trusted friend to talk to is just so important. I know I am not alone in my feelings.

Got coping tools, YES I DO!

Here are some other things that are on top of my toolbox:

🔨 Eating well. Comfort food is called that for a reason. Often is not the best choice but sure makes me feel good. Adding healthy options like a salad or veggies is a plus. I also tend not to eat and go for long periods of time without eating. So I need to keep planning meals so it’s something I don’t have to think about. I have it written down and know what to do next without having to think about. Making smart food choices will keep me healthy.

🔧 Take meds. Always take your meds as prescribed. It might be a good idea to take a vitamin too.

🔩 Exercise. Now that gyms are closing to practice social distancing, there are still lots of options. Can be as simple as going out for a walk. Or going up and down the stairs at home. Or there are tons of online resources on YouTube for workouts at home. If you have a gym membership, they may even have resources on their website or Facebook group. Or how about putting on your favorite music and just dancing!

🔨 Read. Lots of options here too. From the serenity prayer to the 12 steps and 8 principles (Celebrate Recovery) Can all be found on the CR app or online. The Holy Bible app is another really good one to download. There are many suggestions on the home page of the one I use has references hope and anxiety or I can search programs. Or I have even googled ’what does the Bible say about —- ’ to find really good verses on that topic or feeling. Can always read other stuff too but there are my go.

🔧 Journal. Journaling can help you sort out your feelings. Ask yourself, have I felt this way before? When? Why am I feeling this way? How did I cope last time? Did that help? Why or why not. Tons of journaling books available if you need props too.

🔩 Get creative. I enjoy painting but I recently discovered diamond painting which is kinda mindless yet fun. Sometimes I struggle with ideas on what to paint so diamond painting takes the pressure off. Think about what you enjoyed doing as a kid. Did you like to color, crossword puzzles or draw? Give those a try again. You may find a new (old) hobby.

🔨 Write a thank you or thinking of you note. Send an email or text and check on someone else. Let them know you are thinking about them. Set up a call and share a cup of coffee by phone.

🔧 Do and act of kindness. I cleaned out a cabinet over the weekend and found a few board games that we hadn’t used in years. So I posted on my neighborhood Facebook group and set them outside. They were gone within an hour.

🔩 My 100 things list. One of the first things my sponsor had me do was write a list of 100 positive words that described myself. This took me a month and I asked my friends for help and I use the thesauruses. But when it gets in my head that I am not enough, I reread these words to remind myself who I really am.

If you need a place to start, here are some things God says about us from a Bible study I did:

  • I am blessed
  • I am chosen, forgiven, favored and accepted
  • I am made in Gods image
  • I am His child
  • I am victorious and strengthened by Him
  • I am healed, new, delivered, set free and redeemed
  • I am complete
  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made
  • I am His masterpiece
  • And I am loved

🔨 Listen to Music. Have a playlist on your phone or listen to on of your favorites on YouTube and that song will lead to the next and you just may find a new favorite one.

🔧 You can meditate – there’s an app for that too. I use the free version of ABIDE. It’s a prayer meditation style app which has a list of topics from anger, anxiety to fear or hope. These are short just 2-5 minutes meditations.

Using these 🔨 🔧 🔩 will keep me connected. Connected to God. Connected to myself and my program and connected to others.

This is my final thought. 

From Philippians 4: 8-9

And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

And the God of peace will be with you….another word for peace is serenity. And the God of serenity will be with you.

Stay well. Stay positive. Take things one day at a time. Stay connected and go wash your hands.

My journey to serenity continues…

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

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

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

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

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

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…

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….