Month: October 2016

I Said YES

PAY ATTENTION! I hear those two words a lot. I have a very short attention span. I get lost in thought, so being “present” can be a challenge for me. There’s a little world inside my head, and I need to limit the amount of time I spend there. It’s my private little dwelling space, and that’s what I do there… I dwell. I think about the future, and I mull over the past. There’s a fine line to tip toe around in recovery. Don’t dwell in the past, but never forget where you came from. That’s a very fine line, indeed. Writing helps me with that. Write it down and move on! And I daydream! I used to do way too much daydreaming. I can conjure up some pretty wild “expectations” in my daydreams. There’s a lot to be said about the disappointments that we encounter in life, due to our own expectations. The bottom line is that most people can’t live up to them. Not even ourselves. I speak from experience here, TRUST …

A Pop of Color

I get sidetracked so easy. There I was—getting into my story—talking about how my life is being transformed, and BOOM! Now I’m going through all my old photographs. I took this photo in colorful Colorado and did an interesting black and white, but the fall colors there are so beautiful I couldn’t share without showing that one as well.

The Journey Continues

My life today looks nothing like it did a year ago. There’s definitely still a lot of construction in progress, but compared to my life was when I was drinking—it’s like heaven. I am happy, joyous and free! I’ve been doing some thinking though. How do I propel myself into the next phase of my life? I want to experience growth. I’ll be fifty-five soon. My life has slowed down, and my priorities are now in order (for the most part). Things are definitely different, but I need to expand. I’m feeling stagnant. So… I decided to take on a challenge. The journey continues! For my fifty-fifth year I want to do 55 things I’ve NEVER done before, including random acts of kindness. That’s a little over one per week. I’m super excited. This will be a year to celebrate (sober!), and see if I can give something back.

Moving Slow Today

I met my sponsor just a few days after my plunge from the puffy pink cloud. God’s timing was perfect. It only took a couple of conversations about my unsettling romantic charades for her to point out that my picker was broken. The more I thought about it, the more I had to laugh. Looking at the lack of conditions I had listed for the man of my dreams brought new meaning to that famous line in Jerry Maguire; You had me at Hello. Anyway, I’m on restriction now so there’s no dating for a while, and that’s a wonderful thing. I spent forty years trying to prove to the world that I was SOMEBODY, when the truth was- I never really knew who that somebody was. And I obviously didn’t care for her much, either. When I had to sit down and name the people that I had hostility toward, the main culprit seemed to be me. My negative opinion of myself during adolescence did some serious damage to my psyche, and played a role …

A Child of God

Asking God to help me see my life from His perspective is what truly helped me. I went back forty years, to when I was lost in that awkward limbo between childhood and adulthood, and serious issues consumed my thoughts. I was convinced that no one would EVER understand what was going on in my head. I was the odd man out, the outsider, and a teenage misfit. I just didn’t fit in anywhere, and it was too risky to try. I let fear win. How I saw things now was that a curious young girl stood before me—full of intriguing thoughts and questions about life—and I silenced her. I introduced her to alcohol to help ease her angst, and we hit the fast-forward button. We raced into the adult world- totally unprepared. What I came to realize was that, although my outward appearance had changed, that child had lived on. She carried-on in protest like a rebel without a cause—always reminding me that I was not like everyone else, and that I’d never measure up in …

A Step Forward

There’s a term pink cloud that refers to a state of mind in early sobriety, characterized by extreme happiness and grandiosity, in spite of problematic conditions. The newly sober person feels high on life because they’re experiencing emotions that were previously numbed by alcohol. Once I read up on the subject, I knew it was time to take a harder look at myself. Not to mention the fact that a couple of my longtime sober friends expressed their frustration with me, uttering cries that I “wasn’t getting it!” Needless to say, I was booted off of my big cushy cloud. Fortunately I didn’t plummet and hit the ground exploding, but I DID crash land. Rather uncomfortably, I might add. It appears I don’t handle criticism very well. After I picked myself up, I realized that I’d been holding onto an optimistic delusion about recovery. Every time I managed to “get” sober, I considered the crisis over, and deemed the problem solved. I’d frolic around—reveling in my sobriety—and never REALLY attempt to change. Given my previous track record, …

The Great Escape

It may seem odd that I always look on the bright side of things, but that’s how I roll. I’m an optimist ninety-eight percent of the time. I don’t enjoy writing the other two percent of the time, when I’m feeling down and out. I don’t even like thinking about the times when I wanted to give up. The nights when I wondered why I was still breathing. It seemed like my life was meaningless, and I had nothing left to offer. That’s how I felt when I had to move. I had lost my job that paid my rent, and I had no other options. I don’t think I need to explain why I lost my job; it’s pretty self-explanatory. I hated the idea of moving. I had spent a year and a half decorating my place with second hand treasures, and I was SO proud. I LOVED my things! I never spent enough money on things to merit paying for storage though, so I knew I’d have to let so much of it …

Through God’s Eyes

There was something else on my mind when I first contacted my friend Gil. I was trapped in that little world that I call SELF and I knew that I needed to get out of there. I wanted to make a contribution to this world. I’m going to back up and talk about the man that I saw for four months, who finally admitted he lived with a woman. I actually mentioned to him that I’d written about him in my story. I had to assure him that he was anonymous just to bring some color back into his face (and later I learned why!). Anyway, he had hopes that I likened his character to Chuck Norris, but I’m going to call him your average “Joe”. It was never my intention to present a one-sided version of this particular saga. Obviously he was dead wrong to withhold that crucial piece of information from me, but in spite of THAT, there are some really nice things I could say about Joe. We had many laughs together, he …

Fighting to Win

Never be afraid to tell your story because there’s somebody who needs to hear it. I have to keep telling myself that. I get those little twangs inside, telling me to just stop—that I’ve already said enough. But, I’m not going to let fear win. When I mentioned taking down the enemy in my last post; I was talking about sobriety, and my own spiritual battle. I wasn’t declaring war on men. I just want to make that clarification in case it wasn’t clear. Anyway, after doing some careful self-examination I started to realize something about my man pursuits. Not to sound cliché, but it wasn’t them—it was me. After getting some male opinions, the general consensus was that—for them—it was like a hunt. Chase, conquer, pick up your trophy and go home. I’m not quoting them, but that’s what I took away from it. I mulled it over for a bit, and thought about how it compared to my own pursuits. It was startling to discover that I followed the same pattern, in a …

The Comeback Kid

I’m so glad I’m writing again and looking back on my journey. It’s really helping me grow. It’s not fun to recall my crazy blunders, but if I stay focused on the lessons learned, I seem to learn even more. Plus it’s refreshing to see how far I’ve actually come. Last night I started thinking about how I always refer to January 7 of last year as the day I got sober. But, I’ve had relapses since then. I couldn’t put my finger on why that particular day was the date that I always went back to. This morning it dawned on me. It was the day I came to believe in God. I knew that it was Him working in me that night when I had my moment of clarity, and He had finally become REAL to me. THAT’S when I knew that my life was going to be different. It wasn’t some overnight transformation, but it was the beginning of change. Now my mistakes look different to me. I see that I was only …

A Sprinkle of Faith

There were a few things that were weighing heavy on my mind when I first reached out to my friend Gil. He’s the one that I wrote about in Hearing God’s Whisper. I had reached a point in my life—and in my drinking—where I knew that I was not only ready, but I NEEDED to find God. The life I had been living was without faith, without belief, and—looking in the rear view mirror—seemed pointless. I had no purpose. One of the most significant things that changed my perspective entirely. Gil inspired me to write my story. It wasn’t so much that he encouraged me to write, it was that he proposed that I “write about how people can change at any age.” I think that’s when I had my first epiphany. I was ready to accept the challenge! I was going to write the story of how my life was transformed. This actually meant something HUGE. In order to fulfill the mission, I actually had to change! I HAD A PURPOSE! I started with …

More Girl Talk

They say that maturity is stunted when an alcoholic begins drinking heavily, or that when addiction starts, development stops.  For me, that basically meant that I had a lot of growing up to do. My recovery process has involved a lot of stopping to reflect on what is going on inside of me. More importantly, it’s involved communicating with God… about everything. One of the biggest, most heartfelt prayers that I prayed, with tears in my eyes, was… Lord, please show me how to live the right way! I don’t know what to do, because all I know… is what I know! I can’t even begin to describe how much He’s shown me. So… backing up a bit, I want to talk more about my little detour; my pursuit of the man. I used to be SO innocent. Naive is maybe a better word.  I dreamed about finding THE ONE. The love of my life. My soulmate. It wasn’t that I envisioned a future with someone, or even dreamed of living happily ever after. I was …

Girl Talk: A Dating Detour

I hit my first detour after five months of sobriety. I was living in a studio, and had just started a part-time job that would keep me there. Things were really moving along! Then, on a holiday weekend… I slipped, or should I say tripped, and I broke both of my ankles. I spent seven weeks in a wheelchair. The truth is—I was getting off track. I was sober, but my relationship with God had started to falter. My human nature (and rebellious self) drove me to my self-serving ways. My focus took a U-turn, and I headed down a slippery slope. I decided to pursue a man. I knew it was wrong. I knew it wasn’t what God wanted for me, and the fact of the matter is that the man I was pursuing didn’t really want me to have him either! I can’t speak for all women, but I can say that, for me…when a man shows little interest I’m immediately pulled in his direction.  I knew it wasn’t healthy, and it certainly …

A Lighter Load

Some people won’t look up to God until He puts them on their back. That point really hit home for me. Agony, sickness and feelings of despair definitely put me on my back. I was truly humbled, and it forced me to look up to God. Whenever I quit drinking before, it was merely that. I quit picking up the glass. I would continue on—just as I had—but with a clear head. I strove harder, forging ahead faster, stronger, and more diligently than ever. I had something to prove. The failure to see results would eventually discourage me. Exhaustion would eventually set in, and I would inevitably turn to the one thing that gave me comfort. The bottle. This time I just KNEW that my life was going to change. Once I had that moment of clarity, and realized that getting sober (and staying alive) meant more to me than my business (or anything else, for that matter), my priorities shifted. My business wasn’t much, but it was MINE. I built it, and I owned …

Danger: Isolation Ahead

Our pastor is always saying… “Surrender is THIS way…” as he points ahead, “and everything else is that way,”as he points behind his back. Move towards recovery and spiritual growth, or keep going back to what you’re accustomed to; the things that aren’t healthy. In the fourteen months that I spent going up and down, and in and out of recovery, I began to grasp the concept. I realized that there were two major factors that kept causing me to fall, and they actually went hand in hand; loneliness and unhealthy relationships. The loneliness was brought on by my tendency to isolate. As I started “week one” of this blog, I felt that pull. I was sensing the desire to withdraw from all of the things that have gotten me this far, hunker down in isolation, and write. It was a swift reminder of the pastor’s lesson: “Keep moving forward… not back to where you came from!” The more I nurture my relationship with God, the more I feel His layer of protection around me. …

Reality Check

I’m going to get REAL right now and tell you that I started this blog to share my new faith in God, the ups and downs of my journey through recovery, and the wonderful discoveries I’ve made along the way. It really IS a good story. My first “reality check” took place when I received my first LIKE. I was immediately flattered and excited! What struck me to my core, though, was a sense of humility. I thought… Oh dear God… someone is actually reading this?!?! I know. Don’t say it, I already know what you’re thinking. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that while I hope my blog goes on for years to come, and will eventually be filled with pages and pages of my journey, the short of it is that I finally discovered that the emptiness inside of me, that drove me to a life of pure insanity… was actually a “God shaped vacuum,” as Blaise Pascal so eloquently stated. And now… praise God, that vacuum is full.

Hearing God’s Whisper

Whenever I talk about finding God, I always wonder how people perceive that. You know… like… I wonder if they think I saw a vision (or thought that I did). How else DO you acknowledge that you’ve found something that can’t be seen or touched? Sometimes people come into your life, and whether they stay long or just pass through briefly, they leave you with something. They have an impact on you. To me, that’s God. When I was younger, the handful of times I attended church had discouraged me. I showed up. I tried to understand. Sadly, I was like a fish out of water. I felt nothing. It was like walking into a theater… in the middle of a movie. The entire time you’re watching it you’re trying to catch up, but it’s not making any sense! Everyone there knows something that you don’t. They know the WHOLE story. I spent months on end corresponding with a dear friend of mine (the one who inspired me to share my story) when I was drinking …

Just a Little Tidbit

I wasn’t completely satisfied with my previous post when I hit “Publish” yesterday. It didn’t seem complete. I wasn’t feeling it. That’s another defect of mine that I discovered in my months of reflection; not listening to my gut. Needless to say, much of my life was spent doing damage control. Anyway, I realized today that I need to fast-forward through so MUCH of my journey. Writing is extremely healing, especially in recovery, and I would recommend it to anyone. But in all honesty, reviewing my life “on paper” has given me a pit in my stomach and a tremendous headache. It’s like I want to stand up, violently shake the woman who wrote it, and shout… “GET OVER YOURSELF!” So that’s where I’m being led today. I’m going to go with my gut and tell you that today my life has meaning. Somewhere along the road of recovery I learned that the world does NOT revolve around me, and I am forever grateful for that. While so much of my progress was made while writing my story, …

Sweet Surrender

I’m always doing things backwards. Act first, think later. Of course my first thought after doing something is always “Now WHY did I do THAT?” And then there’s the other side of me that refuses to take a micro-step until I know (and understand) everything there is to know about something. And I mean EVERYTHING. That might explain my lack of interest in all things spiritual for the better part of my life. If anyone asked me what I believed in, the most accurate answer I could give would be “nothing”. The only thing that I knew to exist was my own little reality, and it wasn’t pretty. Still I prayed at times, mostly when the chips were down—and I mean REALLY down. Even then, I wasn’t sure “to whom” I was actually praying. Several years ago, in the throes of a downward spiral, I fought to hold myself and my business together—by a thread. The harder I held onto that thread the more everything seemed to unravel. My mental state was deteriorating, I was …

The Author of My Life

The first thing I want to throw out here today is that I’m new to blogging. Maybe that’s already obvious, but I’m adding a disclaimer to be safe. Doing a little C.Y.A. (as we used to say at the office). I just dropped my anchor here and jumped in. I’ve got a habit of diving into the water before getting my toes wet. I’m notorious for it. What matters is that I’m doing it. Typing my heart out, and bopping away to the beat of my own drum. I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum. Maybe it stems from feeling like such an outsider in my early years. At a pretty young age I started exploring self-help books and read whatever I could about becoming the magnificent Author of my Life. I was always STRIVING. I strove to be ultra-independent, to make money, and to be totally self-reliant. Then I strove to be stress-free so that I could somehow be happy and content! The only thing that ever stood between me and the …

Rewriting Your Story

I love road trips. When I hit the open road I feel a sense of freedom that I just can’t experience anywhere else. It’s so exciting to map out the route, book the lodging, and search ahead for landmarks to see and places to eat. In other words, my travels are pretty well thought out before take-off. It’s not quite as easy to plan a spiritual journey. Mine started off with a wholehearted search for God, and months of reflection. I was determined to understand how (or why) I fell in love with alcohol. In the awkward years of adolescence, my childhood innocence vanished and was replaced with the dreadful practice of measuring my “worth” by my appearance and popularity. Quite frankly, I wished I would disappear. It seemed to work, actually. Many grammar schools had melded into the seventh grade, and somewhere in that transition, I became invisible. I did NOT fit in. It’s almost surreal. Four decades (and a lot of haze) later, I still remember those days clearly, and can visualize myself observing the others. …

In the Beginning

Adolescence. Such an awkward time in life. My personal experience with it was life changing. Mainly, I remember mounting depression. I left grammar school anticipating fall, when I would be entering Junior High with my fresh suntan that I’d spent all summer working on. I was brimming with excitement and I had so much to look forward to! Much to my chagrin, life had other plans. I was confronted with unforeseen changes. I was also suddenly more aware. I began to question everything. Who am I? What is the meaning of life? Why do we have to die? Death grew to be an obsession with me. It was ugly and unspeakable. My lifeless body would someday be six feet under, disintegrating… for eternity. Life would continue on without me, and eventually one day I would be completely forgotten by all. I had such a difficult time fathoming all of this. Why are we here anyway? We’re all just headed in the same direction. To the grave! It made absolutely no sense. No sense at all. …