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

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

I cried because I had no shoes…

I’m reading this amazing book about grief. I have learned quiet a bit. I have made some new connections and have a better understanding of my own grief.

A few years ago, I asked a client how she was doing (knowing she just lost her job and was putting one foot on front of the other to get by) but I really wanted to know because I enjoyed working with her. She said ‘I don’t complain because I was always told, ‘I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

This for sure gives an picture of empathy and to be grateful for what you have because someone always has it worse.

I hadn’t thought much about that quote after my conversation other than it was a good perspective. Until I read it in the book and it created a new point of view for me.

I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.

It implies that someone’s pain or hurt is more than another. That I shouldn’t cry because I have no shoes because someone else has it worse than I do. It also implies comparison of pain and hurt. That my pain is less than.

Hmm

Grieving the loss on someone (although it can be many other things besides a person) is personal.

The relationship I had with my mother, for example, was different than the relationship my mother had with my each of my siblings. The pain I feel, is the pain I feel and the level of pain they feel, is the pain they feel.

And the pain that woman feels who lost their daughter that same day. That woman’s pain doesn’t make my pain any less.

And while it’s easy to look at both situations and say that mother who lost her daughter pain is worse than me the daughter who lost my mother. But is it? And really who cares, why are we comparing??? Both of these women are hurting and that’s the point. Both women lost someone they love, let’s meet them where they are and love them.

Let’s stop comparing pain. Let’s stop trying to fix each other by saying things like time heals because the truth is time doesn’t heal. It’s a big fat lie. Time only means it’s been longer that I’ve been in pain. Longer that I’ve missed my mom.

Not remembering until I saw it the other day and I was actually stunned to read it but I wrote on my mom’s memorial online…mom, I don’t know how to be here without you. This was just days after she died. And you know what I wrote last March on the 9th anniversary of her passing….mom, I don’t know how to be here without you. So time has not healed the pain I feel.

So yeah, I cried because I had no shoes. And I will cry for my friend who has no feet too.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Worry Does Not Change Outcome…

I took this picture outside my office window after a late afternoon storm. I love how the light changes from one area to another. Some darker than others and some with such bright light as sun peeks out from behind the clouds.

Rainbows represent God’s promise. His promise to be with us when we are afraid during a storm and that storms end.

I seem to have been overcome by worry here lately. Which reminded me that I struggle with codependency and that codependency is about control.

Trying to:

  • Control a situation.
  • Control what others know and think about a situation.
  • Control the outcome of a situation.
  • Control my pain.
  • Control others pain.
  • Control being out of control.
  • Control of owning all of situation, when it’s not all mine.
  • Control wanting to make amends when I’m I don’t even know what I’m sorry for doing or not doing.

It wasn’t until yesterday when a friend was facing a health crisis, that I said things to her that I needed to hear for myself.

I sent to her, remember:

  • God is in control.
  • God goes before and with you.
  • God knows the outcome.
  • Breathe.
  • You are so loved.
  • Worry does not change outcome.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God. I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes I uphold you with my saving right hand.

So here I am at 2 am, ready to lift this situation I have found myself in with someone I love very much. God is in control, God is making a way, Thy will not my will, I just need to breathe and remember that I am loved even with this current struggle. And worry does not change outcome…..if I’m worried about or not, what’s going to happen is going to happen without my intervention.

I’ll have to look up the verse but someplace in the Bible it says….in my weakness, He is strong.

After all, am I really that powerful…..no no I’m not but He is.

My journey 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…