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

My New Normal

I think I’ve stumbled on my new normal. Lots going on and some changes too but I’m finding that I’m using tools I’ve learned and been applying to my life.

My day starts and ends in prayer. Been doing that faithfully since the start of the year. Every morning I call a friend and we pray together. I’ve never done that before. It’s pretty cool. It’s a wonderful way to start the day.

I’ve ended the day in prayer off and on for a while but now doing this constantly. Gratitude for the day and whatever specifically happened that day and doing a daily inventory occupy that time.

My new normal is full of tools that I’ve been developing for the last 4 years. They are starting to be a natural response and easier to tell someone what I need or to set a boundary.

I have an awesome support system in place. I turn to them when I need to process or support. Just to check in or just to say hello.

I am choosing to let go of a few things in my life that keep me busy and while it fills my tank there are parts that I don’t enjoy and it drains me. I did a lesson at CR a week or so ago on powerlessness. In the lesson, it says when our pain is greater than our fear, that we when we make a change. And while there is not pain in this situation, it takes my energy. So as I figured out that the drain on my life was at a faster rate then what it filled. It was time to make a change.

This is already making room for me to say yes to other things that fill me up. And be around more people with similar interests and that want to do stuff together.

I’m just going to enjoy this new normal and see what God has planned for me in this next chapter.

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

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Not as I would have it

The serenity prayer has hit my heart again tonight but this time it’s……Taking as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have.

This sentence hits home all the time for me. Reminding me that I am not in control and I cannot control what others do/say/feel/respond. It reminds me that even Jesus couldn’t control this sinful world.

I had a conversation with one of my sons tonight about how his feeling were hurt. I reminded him that he is allowed to feel hurt. Then we talked about the situation from the other persons point of view and maybe they thought they were doing the right thing too and didn’t realize how he would feel.

I have many examples of this but I’ll illustrate this with this example…. Several years ago, I was invited to dinner with a small group. My brother and his wife would have typically been invited as well but this time they were not. My sister in law was very sick and in a wheelchair. It seemed better to not invite them given the circumstances.

My brother was hurt when he saw the pics posted on social media. From my point of view it seemed like it would be very difficult for them to come and from his point of view, he wanted the choice of saying it was too difficult.

You see there was a lot of things that my brother couldn’t control at the time and by me not giving him the choice to say yes or no, it hurt him.

I learned a valuable lesson from this experience.

I learned about not making decisions for others based on how I wanted something to go or how I would have it. Not that I didn’t want him there, that’s not it at all. I thought it was easier to not invited them because it was easier on them to not have to say no.

But in a world of not being in control, choices are really important. And taking someone’s choice away, well it’s just not right.

I’ve been a lot of thinking about this lately. Looking at things from the other persons point of view. It’s a really good perspective. Helps keep me grounded. That sometime someone’s insensitivity isn’t done intentionally but rather done from a place of caring or not realizing the impact it would have on us.

Taking as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have.

Accepting things as what it is, not as I would have it.

And then the serenity prayer goes on to say…TRUSTING that YOU will make all things right if I surrender to YOUR will.

Oh surrender….that’s a topic for another day.

My journey continues….

My Truth

COURAGE to change the things I CAN

I love the Serenity Prayer. So much wisdom and simple truth. I’ve written about this powerful prayer before but I wanted to focus on one part…courage to change the things I can.

Change takes courage. We sometimes get stuck in the familiar. While something is not ideal, it’s comfortable in some ways. Sometimes it’s the ‘devil that we know’. We don’t change because of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the what if’s. Fear of uncertainty. Fear to fail. Fear to succeed. Fear of judgement. Fear of disappointing others. The list goes on and on.

Fear is healthy. Its purpose is to give you pause. It’s a gut check. Is this safe to move forward? But when fear keeps you stuck, it becomes unhealthy.

Change takes courage.

There has been many times in my life I have been afraid to make to change. Stuck in places of my life that I was not happy about. But I have made changes and it’s better than I can imagine. And there’s even been a some times that the change wasn’t great and became a stepping stone to the next change. I guess it’s not always a one step process. I guess most things actually aren’t a one step process. After all life is not a success only Journey.

So there’s something not working in my life that I can change and now I have a choice to make. I need to make a change.

Courage to change the things I can.

Decisions on making a change does not have to be done alone.

  • Pray, ask for wisdom, courage and God’s will
  • Seek wise counsel
  • Talk to a professional
  • Ask for support from healthy and trusted friends and family

I am not alone even when there are times I feel like I am. I’m working on those 4 bullet points. Trying to find the courage to change the things I can.

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

Staying out of the extremes…

Staying out of the extreme emotions or situations for me is now called boundaries. Extreme feelings can be dangerous territory. 

So I have a plan in place for when those extremes enter my world. 

Today I have struggled a bit. Lots on my mind. Lots on my plate. 

Looking at what’s on my mind and place and deciding what is in my control and what is not. Lifting up those things that are not in my control to God to manange. Looking at what’s left.  

I am familiar with these feelings of being overwhelmed or sad and when those feelings are extreme that is when it becomes a slippery slope towards depression. 

So I have things in place to help me put on the breaks. These boundaries keep me safe and keep me from getting into a a dark head place. After all, walking around my head unattended is never a good thing. 

So here are a few things that keep me out of the extremes:

  • Reach out to my sponsor 👭
  • Reach out to other friends in recovery 👭👭👭
  • Pause and meditate about what is going on
  • Use the essential oil diffuser (I’m loving the orange 🍊 and clove I have on tonight)
  • Do something for someone else
  • Do something for yourself 🙋
  • Go for a walk 🚶🏻‍♀️
  • Take pictures of flowers 🌺 or something else that makes you happy 
  • Have a cup of tea or coffee ☕️ 
  • Sit outside and just listen to nature 🌳
  • Make something yummy to eat🍝
  • Read the Bible
  • Listen to music 🎼
  • Paint 🎨 
  • Design my next tattoo 
  • Take a bath 🛀🏻 
  • Take a nap 😴 
  • Go for a drive 🚗
  • ——— fill in the blank and do something that makes you happy 😊 

These things help me get to the next good day! Hope some of these things help you get to the next good day too. 

My journey to serenity continues….