Unteach Me

I titled my story Unteach Me because I’ve learned throughout the last two years, after finding God, that I’d always been looking at life wrong. Not only did I have a lot to learn, but I had a lot to unlearn.

The following was written before I started my blog, so I shared a piece a day after I decided to share my story. Just in case anyone would ever like to read the story in it’s entirety, I thought I would add this table of contents to make it easier to navigate.


  1. IN THE BEGINNING: Looking back, I can clearly see that this would have been the perfect time for me to find God. Instead, I found alcohol.
  2. REWRITING YOUR STORY: The very first drink I took fixed everything. I was no longer tongue-tied. I felt comfortable in my own skin. I was courageous!
  3. THE 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!
  4. SWEET SURRENDER: Nearly two 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.
  5. 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).
  6. A LIGHTER LOAD: 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).
  7. GIRL TALK-PART ONE: I hit my first DETOUR in June of last year. I was living in a studio, and had just started a part-time job that would keep me there.
  8. GIRL TALK-PART TWO: The world around me had groomed me in such a calculated way that I was fooled, and I was just beginning to see things in a new light.
  9. A SPRINKLE OF FAITH: I began with a blank piece of paper, and had absolutely no idea how it would all turn out, but I set my sights on a glorious future. The possibilities were boundless.
  10. THE COMEBACK KID: After getting back on my feet, both in sobriety and with the broken ankles finally healing, my journey got real. Stupid real.
  11. FIGHTING TO 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.
  12. THROUGH GOD’S EYES: Perhaps imagining how people look through God’s eyes was helping me grasp that things aren’t always black and white. I was learning to appreciate the bigger picture, where the two extremes merge together to create countless shades of gray.
  13. THE GREAT ESCAPE: I realized that my things were holding me hostage. I had created my own prison, trying to hold on to all of that stuff, and now the shackles were coming off.
  14. A STEP FORWARD: If they hadn’t challenged me, I might still be up on my diva-like pink throne… daydreaming about another fish to fry and buying time until my next fall.
  15. A CHILD OF GOD: 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.

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 in all of my self-sabotaging.

Learning to forgive
myself was HUGE.

I have to say that my walk with God started out extremely bumpy. I was expecting to display proof of some sort of immediate transformation, but I’ve discovered that it’s a lifelong journey. I had to dismantle that “fast-forward” button and stop trying to blast into the future. At the speed I was always traveling, I was never able to enjoy TODAY.

So this morning, like every morning, I woke up grateful. The past is gone, tomorrow isn’t here yet, and I am sober.

God is good!

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? – Matthew 6:27

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 this world.

I stamped the “reject” label on her myself, years ago, and she carried that stigma for decades. I was my own worst enemy! That’s probably when my recovery process really started to take hold. I visualized this younger me, and thought about what I could say to her…

You are loved, and you are worthy. You’re not different; you just see the world differently. That doesn’t make you less, it makes you unique. Be strong. Be courageous. Trust your Creator. He is with you wherever you go.

I embraced my inner child, and I told her these things. And then… I whispered to her the words that have never failed to see me through the darkest of days…..

You are a child of God.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! 1  John  3:1

 

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, it’s obvious that this was NOT accurate thinking.

Getting sober is indisputably something to celebrate and be joyous about, but there’s endless toil involved in staying, and living sober… and I continually refused to deal with it by hiding out in a cloud of denial.

Gil suggested, numerous times, that l focus my efforts on community—rather than romantic interests—to help combat my loneliness and cultivate a healthier lifestyle… but I kept sweeping that whole notion under the rug. Did I mention I’m stubborn?

Not surprising, lack of a sense of camaraderie was the underlying reason I felt so isolated. What I had failed to recognize was that being part of an assemblage was not just something to consider, it was NECESSARY.

My friends did me a HUGE favor by confronting me about my lackadaisical attitude. Their rigorous honesty turned out to be my saving grace. If they hadn’t challenged me, I might still be up on my diva-like pink throne… daydreaming about another fish to fry, and buying time until my next fall.

I started attending meetings and gained a sense of connectedness that I had never felt before. The loneliness that had tormented me was diminishing. I guess you could say that God blessed me with WAY more than a desire to quit drinking. He provided an entire rescue team. Like-minded people who want to stay sober, and help others do the same.

And my foot was in the door.

Next Up: A Child of God

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take a step. Naeem Callaway

 

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 go.

I cried for days!

But…I was miserable living there! My friend Sherry pointed that out to me, and she was right. I realized that my “things” were holding me hostage. I had created my own prison, trying to hold on to all of that stuff, and now the shackles were coming off. I gave away almost all of my furniture to family, friends, neighbors and the Goodwill.

The day that I watched my son’s truck drive off, full of my old belongings, the sun peeked through the clouds and lit up my face. It felt SO beautiful! I realized how long it had been since I had enjoyed the outdoors, and I felt a remotely familiar feeling. That feeling that I get when I’m on a road trip…

Like the morning that I woke up in Colorado, when it was so eerily quiet that I could hear a pin drop… and I realized that tiny snowflakes had silently covered the entire landscape overnight—with a beautiful white canopy. And that moment when I was sitting on the trailer porch in Arizona… and the night suddenly looked like day as thousands of lightning bolts lit up the sky at once. Or while driving through Utah, when my car was swallowed up by deep canyons, sheer cliffs and majestic rock formations.

That feeling that life is just as it should be. No tangible explanations, no concrete answers… just an awe-inspiring, indescribable understanding that everything outside of that moment is insignificant, and that God has everything under control.

So… with palms up, I looked to the sky and offered a silent prayer of gratitude.

I was ready to soar.

Next Up: A Step Forward

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

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 listened to me talk incessantly, and he encouraged me a lot. We shared stories about our hardships, past and present, and there were things he told me about himself that left me with a heavy heart, full of compassion.

I’m not an idiot. I knew something was amiss from the very beginning, but I chose to ignore it. I wasn’t ready to face reality, I guess. I was living in fantasy land and was perfectly happy there… for a while.

My point is… I read something once—I think it was in a Philip Yancey book—about the way we see people when we are falling in love. We put all of our focus on what’s good in them, and overlook the bad. He compares it to how God sees us. Everyone has flaws, and we all make bad decisions, but God looks right through our defects and deep into our hearts.

I set out on this journey hoping to make a difference in the world. Perhaps imagining how people look through God’s eyes was helping me grasp that things aren’t always black and white. I was learning to appreciate the bigger picture, where the two extremes merge together to create countless shades of gray.

Anyway, I wasn’t trying to throw Joe overboard, or under the bus for that matter. I stopped seeing him, of course, but I have no anger. He’s only human, and he has a story. Everyone has a story.

Maybe we all just need to be heard.

Next Up: The Great Escape

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you. Maya Angelou

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 sense, but it took MUCH longer to win the love of a man than it did for them to obtain their prize. Obviously, that was my own fault for handing out rewards far too quickly… but that’s another story.

What I discovered was that it was a sport for me as well, in a weird way. I went on long and treacherous fishing expeditions, with no REAL plans to keep what I caught. Once I’d thoroughly weighed and inspected him, I was ready to cast him back out to sea. Unless I just happened to harpoon a whopper someday, that is.

fishing

Either way, neither side was playing fair!

The bottom line was that if, or when, the love was finally reciprocated, the poor guy couldn’t possibly measure up. The thrill was soon over and I ended up having to plan my getaway. I was just chasing another high… looking to fill that void. The same void that I tried to fill with alcohol and anything else that I could get my hands on.

I never really knew WHAT I was looking for. In fact, it wasn’t until that void was finally filled that I understood that it was God that I had been searching for all of those years.

So, I guess you could say that while I was learning to embrace singleness, I discovered that God was embracing ME. The fight for recovery was suddenly easier, because I realized He had never intended for me to fight the battle alone.

Next Up: Through God’s Eyes

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’ Deuteronomy 33:27

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 on step TWO of twelve in the program, and just one tiptoe into my walk with God. And I had absolutely no idea what surrender really looked like.

In other words—I was in for a rude awakening.

After getting back on my feet, both in sobriety and with the broken ankles finally healing, my journey got real. Stupid real. Not only was I trying to recover from alcoholism, but I had just admitted that I had this weird love addiction. I seemed to know what was wrong with me, and kind of understood why, but I hadn’t quite figured out what to DO with all of this information.

Knowledge without wisdom is a load of books on the back of an ass. Japanese Proverb

My plan of action was to put a halt to any romantic relationships. Unfortunately, once I resolved that men were taboo, they launched an attack and began tactically infiltrating my boundaries. Seriously! Take a stab at “embracing singleness” and potential love interests will crawl out from under rocks. I kid you not.

The man that I had pursued came back in and out of my life after I thought he had vanished for good. My emotional ups and downs triggered more drinking and—let’s just say that I started recycling my “Welcome” chips. Somehow I managed to stay just above bottom for six months. I quit writing completely, and it’s probably safe to say that I wasn’t talking to God much, either.

In spite of my friends’ advice, and my own common sense, I kept the revolving door open. While that door was still spinning, a new man slipped in—right out from under that rock and through my front door. He was funny, smart and charming…and he transported alcoholic beverages to me (that’s how he got in the door), so I was quite smitten.

Refusing to listen to my gut’s constant warnings, we saw each other for about four months. Not too often, but often enough for an alcoholic love addict to start feeling all of those chemicals and hormones churning around. In mid-February he laid his confession on me. He lived with a woman. So, it’s became kind of apparent that men with serious commitment issues knew how to find me. No? Sometimes I speculate that they have a top-secret information bank somewhere, and I’m listed in it with the notation “Easy Target” next to my name.

Anyway, I hit the bottle hard and spent about two weeks poisoning myself. I was tired of opening up to men that I knew nothing about, fed up with myself for handing my heart out to strangers, and I was DEFINITELY sick of being told that I was too serious, melodramatic, or lovesick. Long story short: some friends from my church-recovery group intervened, and I was pulled out of the murky depths, once again.

The closer you get to God, the harder the enemy tries to knock you down.

A friend in recovery said that to me and I believe it with every fiber of my being. I experienced it firsthand. But, if there was one thing I HAD learned in my life, it was how to be a fighter. So I grabbed that seed sized faith I had, held onto it for dear life, and started putting on my armor.

THE ENEMY WAS GOING DOWN!

Next Up: Fighting to Win

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

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 a blank piece of paper and had absolutely no idea how it would all turn out, but I set my sights on a glorious future. The possibilities were boundless. All I could imagine was that something magnificent was waiting for me out there, and that all I really had to do to find it… was believe. That tiny glimmer of hope was all it took.

A sprinkle of faith.

After talking with Gil about my struggles and doubts, endless pursuits, and my unceasing inability to ever reach a point of complete fulfillment, I was finally beginning to understand what it meant to be born again—and to look toward eternity.

It meant coming to the table with a clean slate every morning and seeing things from new perspectives every day. It meant that there IS something glorious and magnificent out there. AND it meant that the Perfect Love that I had always been looking for really DID exist…

For eternity.

Next Up: The Comeback Kid

The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle. Matthew 17:20

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 just searching for something. Something PROFOUND. That heart wrenching, over the top, so deeply felt it hurts kind of love.

I was a love addict.  I’d never seen a shrink, and had no professional diagnosis, but I knew enough to realize that, putting alcoholism aside, I had some serious issues! I loved being in love, or just loved pursuing love, I’m not really sure which one applied. Maybe both.

This isn’t a sex addiction I’m talking about, either. I think I was brainwashed early in life, whether it was by a specific man, men in general, or just society as a whole, that sex was just what people do, and it’s perfectly normal. In my case, it wasn’t exactly normal. I was just starting to realize that I had subconsciously used it… in an attempt to receive love.

I hope that came across correctly! Handing out sex to get love was not something I went about doing all of the time; and that certainly isn’t the point I’m trying to make. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I was starting to discover that my entire life had been about pursuit; PERIOD.

From the moment I was young and my mind opened up to questions about the meaning of life, and death, I had a burning desire. I needed to find something! I would observe everyone around me, going about their daily routines, and think to myself; “Please tell me there is something MORE!”

I think from the very beginning, alcohol just helped me drown out that nagging voice in my head. It enabled me to stop worrying about finding the secret to life, and just go about my tedious day to day business like everyone else did. In looking to God for answers, I saw that my entire life had been the story of a girl who, since adolescence, was completely LOST. Swimming through a sea of alcohol and bouncing from relationship to relationship, in an attempt to fill a HUGE VOID, and find perfect love.

I was beginning to understand that none of those things; Alcohol, my business, or even the love of a man, would ever provide the complete satisfaction that I was looking for. Nothing here ever would. What I was seeking couldn’t even be bought. My mind was opening up and I was realizing that the things I thought mattered to me, never really did. It was a scam. The world around me had groomed me in such a calculated way that I was fooled, and I was just beginning to see things in a new light.

So, although I failed to “get the guy,” I got something much, much better. I gained valuable insight and learned something about myself, about life, and about God.

I’m thinking that the little detour I took….

…wasn’t really a detour after all.

Next Up: A Sprinkle of Faith

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

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 wasn’t any marker on the map of my new journey—but I couldn’t get him out of my head! Anyway, that’s about the time I tripped and broke my ankles.

In spite of the pain I was in, my girlfriend Sherry and I both got a chuckle out of it. I told her that I had been praying for God to give me strength, or any kind of help, to get me back on solid ground. I wasn’t thinking of something quite so drastic, though.

The sad thing is that it didn’t stop me! With cast on foot and boot on the other, I managed to see him again. And then, like a dying star, he vanished. I was handling my heartache, to a certain degree, but I had other things going on in my life that were also causing major stress. And then…

I REALLY slipped. I drank.

I went off the deep end for a week. It only took about three days for me to start feeling the sickness that had almost killed me before, and I knew I had a very small window of time to get it in check or I was a goner.

In the midst of the mini spiral I was on, I did the ultimate faux pas. I drunk texted the guy! I gained nothing but complete embarrassment, and I’m pretty sure that he personalized my text tone to MUTE after the whole charade. I can’t say that I blame him. Regardless, I knew from the beginning that it would end before it even started, so it all worked out for the best.

The GOOD news is that my quest for the man was over. I was back on track and I was sober… again.

Next Up: Girl Talk- Part Two


If you make a mistake, you can change it into something good! Never, ever, EVER give up!

My five year old grandson said that to me when we were coloring. Who ever said that children aren’t wise?!

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 it. And when I say built it, I’m talking from the ground up… which was from a laptop, sitting on a blowup bed in a room that I rented. Over time, it grew to pay my bills—and then some.

In all honesty, eventually I gave it up completely. I had a new sense of freedom and was discovering that my worth wasn’t found in that business. I was grasping something of REAL value. I was learning how to live.

I was coming to realize that surrender wasn’t defeat; it was simply passing the reins over to God, and trusting Him for the outcome. There was a LONG road ahead, but I was no longer weary and my load was light.

And I was sober.

Next Up: Girl Talk- Part One


Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

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. Writing is great, but surrender is supreme. Thanks to His nudging, my priorities are in order, and I’m moving forward. Writing… but holding fast to my healthy habits, and staying “connected.”

I have always believed that people who thank God only for delivering them from what happened are just scraping the surface of praise. The real praise comes when you start thanking Him for what could have happened but didn’t because of His swift grace! T.D. Jakes

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 and in despair. One of the greatest things he proffered me, aside from his graciousness, was an unwavering conviction that, not only was I going to make it out alive, but that GREAT things were in store for me.

He taught me that there’s a significant difference between religion and relationship. He had an undeniable relationship with God, and I wanted what he had!

I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for his friendship, support and guidance. Since our first conversation, several years ago, he has been there. Listening, praying and encouraging me, every step of the way.

If that’s not God whispering to me, I don’t know what is.

Next Up: A Lighter Load


Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18

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, the hope that I have today isn’t found in those pages.

My Hope is in God.

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 sure that I was dying, and in my heart of hearts I knew what I needed.

I NEEDED GOD!

That’s when I started seeking Him. I was searching really, REALLY hard. I prayed day after day, and night after night. I talked to people who knew God, and THEY prayed.

The first answer came unexpectedly. An amazing friend called and offered me a place to stay for a week so that I could detox, and I agreed. I would be in a safe, alcohol-free, and comfortable environment, with her companionship and support.

On the eve of my departure my mind was racing. I was plagued with doubt, and was mentally preparing to call off the trip. It had taken me eight years to build my business and, although it had already started to crumble, I couldn’t bear to see it crash. I knew that if I left, abandoning what remained, I would be sure to lose it all.

That’s when I first felt the hands of God reaching down. I had a moment of clarity. A total thought shift. My business didn’t matter. Nothing but sobriety mattered. I HAD to go. I was never so sure of anything in my life. My worries melted away, I felt a wonderful sense of calm, and I slept peacefully. For the very first time in my life…

I surrendered.

Next Up: Hearing God’s Whisper

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 accomplishment of these goals were HUGE obstacles

Over time, the art of “picking up the pieces and starting over” became second nature to me. I was a pretty solid warrior. Until my last few bouts with alcohol nearly consumed me, that is.

While my kids were fairly young, I managed to quit drinking and lived nearly ten years sober. I worked harder, made more money, and bought our first home. Life was good! Unfortunately, I had no relationship with God, nothing that even resembled a recovery program, and an inflated ego.

I toyed with the notion that things were different—that I didn’t really have a problem—and that I could maintain control if I ONLY allowed myself to indulge in wine, and for celebratory reasons. This proved to be a bad idea. Very bad. That particular celebration lasted for years, and so the cycle continued.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that being the head honcho, the magnificent author of my life, didn’t really work out for me. Now… praise God… I’m in a real recovery program. I’ve surrendered pen and paper to the REAL Author of my Life. A power MUCH greater than me is in charge…

And I am finally free.

Next Up: Sweet Surrender

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. Always on the outside, looking in. It was like being the star of a screenplay, with no script, and no director. With the spotlight on and cameras rolling, there I was… lost, cheeks blushing with embarrassment. It was my time to shine, and I had stage fright!

The very first drink I took fixed everything. I was no longer tongue-tied. I felt comfortable in my own skin. I was courageous! I was standing in the center of the stage now, and I began writing my OWN lines.


When you journal in REAL TIME, it becomes apparent quite quickly that there are always new twists, the plot is constantly changing, mistakes happen, and (as we all know) setbacks occur.

While preparing this post, I went through the pages of my past and had to do the old cut and paste trick, editing my story as needed. I turned an outdated piece of my past into something more applicable for TODAY. As I thought about this, it occurred to me what a wonderful message could be conveyed…

It’s never too late to rewrite your story!

Next Up: Author of My Life

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. The more I contemplated, the more the whole world seemed like complete nonsense to me. I was a wreck by the time I arrived at school the first day. My shiny happy world had turned dark.

Looking back, I can clearly see that this would have been the perfect time for me to find God.

Instead, I found alcohol.

Next up: Rewriting Your Story