All posts tagged: addiction

No News is Good News

The Journey Continues… It’s been awhile since I’ve updated my journal. On the one hand, it means that nothing exciting (or newsworthy) has been going on. On the other hand—and more importantly—the old idiom rings true: No news is good news. Today marks 1,229 days of sobriety… so that’s good news!

The Next Chapter

Just hours after I said that I don’t have much to share these days, all kinds of thoughts started churning around. I haven’t even slept well the past two nights because my mind’s been racing! It reminded me of all the times I proclaimed that I was going to do a new image series, and then the whole idea would just fizzle out. I can never seem to stick with a plan! This time it worked for my benefit though… sort of reverse psychology, I guess. I was going through my files yesterday, doing a little housecleaning, and I came across one of my old posts; back when I first started the blog. It was such a great reminder to me, and the timing was perfect! When my friend Gil first encouraged me to write, and to share my story with others, it was the first time in SO long that I felt my life had purpose. I not only had my sobriety, I had this HOPE that I could share with others. I think …

A Bit of Humility?

Awhile back I received a private message from someone about my blog. In the message, they mentioned something about my attachment to religion. Believe it or not, the very first thought I had was: “RELIGION!?! I’m not attached to religion! I have a relationship with God!” I didn’t reply to the message with that thought, but it’s exactly what came to mind. Where on earth does my blog say that I am attached to religion? If you were to review my posts all the way back to day one, I would bet a dollar that you would rarely- if ever– find the word religion. Not that I intentionally omit it, mind you, it’s just a word that I don’t use very often. Or even think of really. So… today is actually the perfect day for this post. It is the seven month anniversary of my baptism. Alright, so maybe THAT sounds religious. Anyway, my point is that today is a good day to share what I’ve been learning this past week- which will also explain more …

A Tale of Redemption

A few things happened today that really moved me, but I’m only going to talk about one for now. Tonight was the meeting that I co-secretary for, and it turned out to be a pretty emotional meeting. There’s something that I’ve been wanting to talk about, but I was never sure if the time was right, or if bringing it up was even the right thing to do. Tonight I got the answer (and permission). I’ve mentioned before that I have three grandsons. A photo of my oldest grandson (who is eight) is here in the blog, buried back in an old post. I have far fewer photos of him than I do of the other two, because I don’t see him that often. He lives with his mother and grandparents, and his father (my son) is now married and has the two younger boys. His mother is a recovering heroin/meth addict. I was in my four years sober without a program phase when I met her over eight years ago, and she had just gotten clean at the time. I …

Lovin’ the Leaf

Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a lot to love a leaf. It’s ordinary to love the beautiful, but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary The featured image is my grandson and his leaf. So cute! Anyway, I’ve had time to think about my rambling thoughts from last night, about my confinement, and I realized how wrong my thinking was. Staying away from the things that aren’t good for me is not confinement at all. It’s like—as they say in the program—knowing that the hot stove will burn you, but wanting to put your hand on it anyway. Feeling confined is almost like asking; How long do I have to wait before I touch that stove again?!? That’s silly! I’m glad I was able to look at things from a different perspective today. And as far as that burnout thing, I got my mojo back this morning and it’s all systems go. Peace & Love!

Confinement

So, don’t freak out… but tonight my mood is confined. I guess that’s a mood, no? Today was absolutely weird. This evening I felt kind of burned out on the photography. Second, I haven’t felt like writing because there is either too MUCH on my mind, or nothing at all! I did say I was going to relax, but my mind was like mush! And then tonight I got a call from a man friend. One that I wrote about in my first story… a man that I pursued. He was a part of the whole big mix of my loneliness- unhealthy relationships- drinking pattern. I felt trapped. Maybe I’m just afraid of what might happen when I step out of this safety net of singleness and get back out there. It’s funny because I was just thinking earlier that since the photography and writing are good replacements for my old BAD habits… if I lost the passion for those things then what would I do next? And then he called. A little bad timing I guess. So now that I’ve …

Confessions: Part Seven

We had an interesting topic come up during our meeting last night. The enemy. Cunning, baffling and powerful. I decided that this subject would be a great opener for the final chapter. Why DO we believe negative things about ourselves, and where DO those thoughts come from in the first place? Why do we self-sabotage and attempt to destroy ourselves, either in an instant… or through painfully slow methods… like our addictions? A revelation came to me after writing the following in Part Two: “You know… perception is funny. As I’m writing this, it makes me wonder. Where on earth did I get the idea that being cool meant doing those things, anyway? Is that a preconceived notion I had, or did someone tell me that?” Seriously! Where DID I get the idea that alcohol, drugs and failing school were cool? Which brings me to the final chapter… Life Goes Full Circle Exactly one year ago today, on January 6th of 2016, my eyes were finally opened to God’s existence, and His divine intervention in my …

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. 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.— 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!— 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 …

Confessions: Part Six

It still amazes me that the therapist at the church could say so little, yet so MUCH. In a short amount of time, with very few words, she was able to open my eyes to the fact that I’d been living my life entirely wrong. I just got butterflies when I wrote that! That trip to the church was no accident. I KNEW that Dead End sign was for me, and I just HAD to visit that church. That woman may not have been expecting me that day… but God was! It’s taken me this long to really see that. It’s not like I did a complete turnaround after that, but it did help me get unstuck. And you know what else? That woman has NO idea how her words affected me that day. I hear that’s how God works. Sometimes He uses you for good, and you don’t even know it. Anyway, her opinion was that… I wasn’t running my life; my life was running ME. She couldn’t have been more right. I was always …

Confessions: Part Five

I’ve been thinking about the gift of belief that I wrote about in part four. I’ve wanted to say, in as few words as possible, how it all came to be. But it’s a lifelong and never ending story. Basically, for me… belief was one of my biggest struggles. I’ve always said that I searched for and found God, but today the thought that came to me was that those words aren’t 100% accurate. I mean they are, but they aren’t. In reality, He was right there—all the time—but my mind was completely closed. I had locked it shut, and thrown out the key… for decades. So, my original attempts at seeking God are perhaps better described as: Prying my head open. Which is really odd, because when it came to people-pleasing (or following the crowd) my mind was WIDE open. Kind of like that joke you see… Don’t be too open-minded or your brains will fall out. Which brings me back to my story…. The Chaos Continues In my years working in the real …

Confessions: Part Two

If I had to sum up how or why I took the wrong road, I’d say it was because I had no faith or belief in God. To make matters worse, I had no direction, no plans, and no goals. I was a walking, breathing, empty vessel… easily tossed around and swayed by whatever (or whomever) was in my vicinity. I just existed. That’s how the chameleon came to be. It was never intentional. I was a shy and quiet girl, from a perfectly normal family, who JUST wanted to fit in and be liked. I started becoming someone that I was NOT in junior high, when I entered the world of cliques. I never fit perfectly into any one of the groups. To survive that excruciating experience, all I could do was pretend that I wasn’t petrified. I started acting cool. Coolness came with a price. It meant parties with drinking and recreational drugs. It also meant failing my classes, in spite of the fact that I was perfectly capable of passing with excellent grades. I …

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 …

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 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, …

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 …

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 …

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.

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 …