The “I Choose” Project, which began in February 2013, will continue through National Prevention Week 2014! This project is an easy way to make a difference, be a positive example, and inspire others. By participating in the “I Choose” Project, you can help spread the word that our choices make a big difference in our lives, our health, and our future.Share on Facebook
I have come to be crazy enough to believe this to be a great idea! I don’t think the easy things are always the right ones, or the paths intended for us to take- in my experience, they certainly haven’t been the best options for my life.
So, don’t automatically dismiss and idea, or say no to an opportunity based on the fear factor.
Sometimes- the new-different and difficult….
Are exactly the terrifying and amazing things that God intends to use – for something awesome.Share on Facebook
I have a feeling that the type of feelings that I have been experiencing lately could be similar to those spoken of when people refer to ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’…
(Is that a real thing–an actual syndrome? )
Hmm. I might Google that later.
—However, if “selfie” has been officially added to our American dictionary, it’s safe to assume that the empty nest thing is something your insurance will cover.
I have been working pretty hard (after hours) to job search- and prepare my resume. I have a few state certification tests to take over the Spring/Summer months—-
I am almost done with my classes…….
and think I have finally, (finally) absorbed the crazy notion that both of my children (who I won’t publicly call ‘babies’)
will be in school next year and mommy is going to be working outside of our home again!
What is happening?!
Roughly 5 years ago, when my husband (Fiancee at the time– yep. I did it allll backwards. You’re not surprised.)
and I had our first discussion about me quitting my job and staying at home– it was scary, but it was what we really wanted…. and after feeling like I went through meat grinder psychologically, I think I really needed it too.
It was a huge change …..but ended up being perfect for our growing family….
and that is how my journey as a SAHM mom began.
Through this one, huge, life- altering decision, I learned so much about my husband’s character as a man- my partner, as a ‘daddy’ and as a human. I was met with an overwhelming, supremely supportive response to this change in dynamic -and it has grown over the years.
I have had the honor of loving on my kids-all day every day. I have been able to be here to take wayyyy too many pictures, and document everything. (I didn’t say organize, I said document )
I am here- I have taken it all in & I am happily sober -so I can remember it ALL.
(which is pretty nice)
I know that not all mommies can be home, and not all who are home want to be home.
As a former single working mommy- I did not have this option open to me, so I can empathize with those of you who truly (single or married or in between or uninterested) aren’t able to do what you want to be doing during the day.
That is just another reason why this experience was so amazing. I wanted to have the chance to be here at home, and that is what I got.
But, as with all things, this could not stay the same forever.
This is life, there are seasons that come and go and I am just in the midst of a passing season.
This experience has affected me as a woman in so many ways.
I learned things about my own capabilities, likes, passions, limits, strengths, weaknesses and talents that I may not have otherwise discovered.
I feel like I am like a 5- foot- tall Swiss army knife/ninja, multi-tasking wizard of sorts; completely flexible, not afraid to get dirty and feel confident entering in this workforce thing.
(Hmmm. To put that on my resume, or not? )
I really cannot describe how much this experience has changed my heart and how much it means to me.
So what is happening in my life right now?
God. God is happening.
That is what makes it such an odd & exciting life thing.
I have tried to teach myself to pick the good out from the uncomfortable.
To view change as opportunity and to use the unknown or the uncomfortable as a chance to learn to trust God —
and the to trust the process more and more each time life throws inevitable life transitions my way.
Things happen- we either adjust or we don’t.
Seasons in life come and go anyway, regardless of how ready or resistant we are- it’s happening.
So I am going to take this change.
Although initially, I was shocked, in disbelief and sad-
I am also rational.
There is nothing that I can do to halt the age progression of my children.
I have gone back to school for a reason and the only thing left for me to do at this point, is to remind myself that my #1 job is to bring glory to God-
and I can do that right now by trusting him through this life change.
My husband and my children will still remain my top priorities. My blog and ministry are still going to be a close 4th –and my new job title, whatever that ends up being –
will mesh into my priorities somehow.
It is going to be alright.
I am willing to bet (or not – I might have a touch of an issue with control, and betting is not my friend) but I can say with confidence that it is probable that
there is something brewing that I am not aware of yet.
Great things will happen this year, and I will be amazed (yet again) at how things work out when you trust God –
and trust that the progression of life and it’s process of change.
The transitions are perfectly normal, and healthy.
Someday, I will be able to look back and see the blessings poured out all over all of this change- the same ‘change’ that I am so excited and justifiably terrified about.
So I guess if you learn anything from this post- and my blabbering
it could be that life throws us things. We have to learn what to do with them – because it happens and it isn’t going to stop. Change happens. Transitions come upon us.
We have to make decisions. Remain grateful that you have life- that you have a daily source of strength, love and everything else through your relationship with the Lord- that will never run out….. and hold on for the ride.
It can either be miserable or exciting.
That part is up to you and your brain.
Courage is recognizing that we need help, and deciding to take a chance even though we are scared to death.
Courage is knowing something is going to be hard, and scary-
and doing it anyway.
We gain confidence in ourselves and begin to see that we really can start over. Each victory, each time we pray for the courage to take another step- we see more and more of exactly what we are capable of.Share on Facebook
Simply ‘being all there’ and taking each day-
one day at a time.
If you think about it, rushing doesn’t really ever produce anything of best possible quality anyway.
Breathe deep, and take it all in.Share on Facebook
“My name is Rob Kelly, I am an alcoholic and addict!
Today January 10th 2014 I celebrate 2 years clean and sober, this is the longest I have been clean and sober since I was 12 years old, & I am 51.”
For me the journey into darkness began after being physically and sexually abused.
I sought to fill the hole inside me with alcohol, drugs, sex, a successful career as a teacher, coach, and contractor, my marriage, as a parent, and an active Church member.
Gradually I lost them all and I put a hand gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger… the firing pin dropped and hit the primer… nothing happened…
I didn’t realize it but God had a plan for me.
The pain and darkness, the desperation, the self loathing spiraled out of control.
in total surrender I cried out to God!!!
Help me, I cant live like this anymore, I want whats real!
If you are real you have to show me!!!
From that earnest plea, that small act of faith, God did respond in a way that changed my life.
Today I have a peace and serenity in my life that comes by the grace of God, Jesus His only Son is my Lord and Savior and I have been redeemed through the salvation he supplies.
There is hope in him, please know this.
This is a very abbreviated version of my story.
If I can share my story anywhere or help you or a loved one struggling in darkness please let me know.
Remember my God always responds to faith. I am given a daily reprieve based solely on the maintenance of my relationship with the God that created the universe and breathes stars into being!!!!
Thank you for letting me share.
(If you would like to contact Rob, feel free to comment below or request his email address. You can do so anonymously)
I use to run and hide.
I felt like if I hid long enough, things would just go away.
When I resurfaced and saw that they hadn’t, that was my cue to reinsert myself into my induced functioning coma.
Before drugs were my necessity, my ‘best friend’ and my only priority-they were a refuge.
Before they transitioned to nothing but chemicals that were killing me and taking over my entire life- they protected me. They were my safe place.
(hence the deceit that people speak of when referencing addiction)
So presently, when dealing with a loss that feels like getting hit by a semi,
I really am thankful to be able to feel and know how important allowing yourself to feel- is to the process.
It is so important to learn how to face hard things, and to process them in a healthy way.
Some have told me that I can be too intellectually minded or analytic when it comes to dealing with tough circumstances.
and of course, I believe that we all take our own time to do things like grieving, and no two people will grieve in the same way or time frame.
I do tend to intellectualize issues. (All issues).
Even tough ones like loss;
not because I am a cold person or because I don’t allow myself to feel….
but because I believe that for me—- there has to be a balance there.
I have a brain, that has the capability to feel and to think.
I just assume both are pretty important.
I believe that God has her wrapped in his love and the presence of all of her loved ones.
This, to me, is a truth that I can count on.
I have learned the value in taking something, anything that I don’t understand, don’t know what to do with, where to put it, or how any good come from it– and siphon something good from it.
So it becomes a balance of logic-
(and remember this is just the way I tend to do things)
I know that this is life.
We are born, and we don’t stay forever.
It is a natural thing and it is inevitable…the circle of life.
Understanding that we cannot go back- no changing things. Things are left the way that they are left, and at this point- you either cherish the great times and hide those memories in your heart, and you don’t allow yourself to form regret or come down with a case of the ‘I really should have’s'……
allowing yourself to cry and let it all out. Releasing the hurt and trying to lessen the blow in any way possible. (for me that looks like —praying and music therapy)
Knowing that it is unhealthy to not cry and it is unhealthy to cry permanently.
Our family and community lost a person who made a mark- and it hurts to know that we won’t have that anymore. Here, we are left with a gaping hole-and right now, no one is sure what to do with it.
If left to pure emotion, I would remain a hot mess.
For one, no one in my family seems to deal with death well. I know that no one does, but I mean people in my family tend to get down. Really, really down for long periods of time. I learned and mimicked this behavior for a long time. (I think as individuals, we are all getting better at this and are all watching ourselves closely during this time.)
but that is probably another reason that I make sure to balance all of the waves of emotion, with a healthy dose of reality and logic.
For me, living solely with my heart or emotion guiding me- is no guide at all.
So today, I am much better than yesterday.
Tears are coming less harshly and I am starting to believe that it is real.
Plans are being made by the loving and caring people who have taken on the task of creating the perfect going away celebration for her and for everyone who knew and loved her to attend.
I know some of you reading this have lost loved ones as well.
Try to remember that we are left here with the gaping holes and pain.
I believe that they, they are somewhere- their spirit is alive and healthy.
They are not hurting or sick anymore and they want us to remember them and live a life that honors their memory.
I am going to try to do just that.
I am going to laugh, and allow myself to laugh.
She would have been okay with that.
I will do my best to take away what I can from all that I witnessed and was a part of for so many years; all of the lessons, memories and examples. The laughter, the fun and the love of life—
Thank you for all of the kind messages, readers! I love you guys.
Enjoy your week this week and do something new! Get out there and be bold!
Live your life and remember….
we are only here for a short time- take this life and make it awesome.
Take what you can from the hard things, and use them to do something good for someone else!
My grandmother passed away in her sleep on January 8, 2014 – at around 3 a.m.
I know you are probably picturing a sweet little old lady, with cats or something….
or maybe a woman who made us cookies, wore aprons, or who went and got her hair rolled once a week like clockwork–as the majority of grandmother’s do.
But my grandma, my grandma was like no other grandmother out there.
She certainly wasn’t what anyone who knew her would call ‘typical.’
I am going to attempt to encompass her personality by transforming its massive quality into simple text, but I already know
that it is not going to come close to frame her spirit or match is vigor.
She was a lover of any soul that the world would try to tell you wasn’t ‘worth’ anything.
Right off the top of my head, the major causes that she stood behind:
*Special needs children inclusion and right to everything everyone else has, does and is.
* Helping people who suffered or struggled from some form of mental illness (her daughter- and she considered this an illness or disease, not a defect.)
*Supporting, loving, accepting and defending Gay rights —their freedom to choose to live life the way that they wanted felt suited them personally, because after all, they are people too……
She had a genius I.Q.
She was upfront, honest and outspoken.
She wasn’t afraid -of anything.
Being told ‘she would be able’ to do something rekindled the fire inside of her…
She wrote. She wrote plays, grants, comedy skits & newspaper columns.
She believed that people all deserved a shot. All people.
She was a witty, analytic thinker.
She wanted us to know how big this world is, as it is much bigger than what we can see.
She taught us that people, regardless of how they looked, how slow or fast they thought or comprehended, who they chose to love, what religion they followed– they were all worthy of love and respect.
She taught me that I should only partake in activities that I would be comfortable having printed on the front page of a newspaper…
She was an advocate for being ‘you’ before it was cool.
She was at every emergency room visit—through every stitch.
When I didn’t have the courage to take a first step in any endeavor, she was there pushing me and encouraging me.
She taught me how to line dance, play black-jack, and how to be comfortable in the only skin that I have.
She taught me the value of knowing how to read a map and the importance of turning the radio off during a road trip.
I know why we tell stories about our lives and how much there is to absorb from the experiences of another human.
If you have an idea, work for it. Apply yourself and make it happen. You are the way from point a- to point b. There is nothing stopping you, except for your idea that you cannot do something.
I could go on and on, and who knows.
This is probably just a part-1.
My parents struggled hardcore with drug addiction/alcoholism when I was a child, so I spent a significant amount of time with her for many, many years. I am just not sure that I realized the impact that she had on my life.
I have watched as she led her life with arms outstretched to other special needs families in need for so many years and as she loved on children that were overlooked by society as a whole. I observed her living out her love and her passions manifest and as she left a little bit of her personality, everywhere that she went.
I have never met anyone as fearless and strong-
or as funny and intelligent, or as cut throat or badass.
She really was a force to be reckoned with, because when she believe in something or set a new goal-
there wasn’t anything that was going to deter her.
I know her spirit is watching over all of us.
We all know she’s dancing in the sky and singing with damn you (family dog), Grandpa John, Grandma Mickey, Tiny Phil, Grandpa Phil, Matthew and all of the other loved ones who were waiting for her arrival.
She can breathe. She can walk, run, jump, dance and laugh as long and loud as she can.
Everything is different…
but not – gone.
My heart is so heavy and I literally feel physically sick.
We experienced our fair share of ups and downs, but at the end of the day she knew, as did I that we had a special bond and a connection like nothing else I have ever experienced.
All that I keep thinking is the only thing that we can do now, is honor her by allowing her life and legacy to live on — through our outstretched hands.
This speaks to my aching heart and soul right now.
I know she’s dancing – I know it.
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The new year does provide us with a sense of newness, and a point in time that we tend to take an inventory of our lives.
What is important, what’s not, what do we want to fix, how much do we need to lose or how can we improve yadda yadda.
It can actually be a great time of year to do some reflecting and can be very useful.
Each year that I have made it through, in Recovery- is certainly awesome.
I do use it as a time for reflection.
I feel like it is a good idea to consider how far that I have come, and to allow myself to feel grateful that I feel to have made it through another year without back tracking or becoming stagnant.
So as long as I have grown in the positive and have not gone backwards, that’s pretty much what I call a productive year.
That is basically how I gauge my own personal progress, lol; Not exactly setting my bar high, am I?
Well I look at it like this.
I did not die from my addiction. I tried to. I could have. I almost did a few times.
But, I didn’t. By the Grace of God- I’m alive.
So that’s always a point in the positive side.
Did I spend my year trying my best to be better?
Better than I was last year?
I have tried to write what I feel God has laid on my heart.
I have tried my very best to sharpen my discernment skills, think before I speak, pray before I make decisions, look on others with love first- rather than what my flesh so desperately wants to see- I have tried hard.
I have failed and fallen short, but tried nonetheless.
My desire to change and move forward, to grow and become something more than I was last year is pretty simple.
I want to be the mother that God wants me to be- who loves her babies so much with an un-conditional love and who teaches them about who God is and how they can know him too
to be a that friend who provides what God needs them to have form me
to be the kind of counselor that God needs to help pull more people to him
to be that annoying blogger who only posts what God has laid upon her heart
& to be the person the woman who God created me to be.
If I were giving advice, I would say- don’t compare your goals for a new year to anyone else’s.
Set your bar where your bar needs to be.
God works in His time, and I don’t think he intended our bars to be moved at the same speeds, at the same levels, or through the same channels.
Look at your new year as a new opportunity to continue this journey that God has you on.
Look for new ways to grow, meet new people and try a little bit harder to focus on Him. The more you focus on Him, the more clear everything else becomes.
Use the start of 2014 to become an even better version of —YOU.
For me, I don’t think I am going to create new goals for the sake of making new goals in 2014.
I will continue working hard toward my goals–
even though they are so ‘last year’…..
and I will do my best to keep moving toward my aspirations and to complete projects in the works. I will just work even harder than last year.
So change something this new year. Growth is change. Set new goals. Re-commit to working toward the old ones.
Just do it for the right reasons and don’t let the excitement of a new year beginning, take away from all that you are right now.Share on Facebook
Addiction will kill us if we keep going back.
We can’t go back.
The enemy wants us to go back.
We don’t want to go back.
We don’t feel strong enough to stay away.
This is the struggle.
My addiction isn’t really where I began to fall away. It may have been the darkest, saddest,loneliest & scariest time of my existence, but I lost myself years before.
I think pain does that to people.
For some of us, we create masks and safe places to hide when things become unbearable or we simply don’t know what to do.
I started hiding when I was a little girl. I imagined myself being in different places. I hid from the drugs, violence and craziness and I don’t think I ever really came back out of hiding.
It wasn’t what I expected.
In my last post, I compiled a short list of things to expect in early recovery..
things that I didn’t know–that I wish I would have.
(If you haven’t read that one, read it here: http://discoveringbeautiful.com/is-this-recovery/ )
But there was more. Much more that I was not expecting.
Recovery is not impossible like I had once believed.
I was strong enough to get through it. I had the will to fight and the endurance to win the daily battle, to not give into the urges and to resist the cravings—-with GOD.
Recovery with God doesn’t mean I did not have to do any work that is typical of addiction Recovery. What did happen was that I got sober, committed to Recovery and got much more than I could have ever dreamed.
I was able to make some real peace with my past.
All of my bad choices and regrets. I finally understood that I could not take them back, or get the time back. I came to understand that I was forgiven and it was alright to move forward. I was given a sense of peace about it and felt ready to make new choices and new memories.
The hope that God gave me helped with the daily mood swings and bouts of depression. My thoughts became less powerful as I dug into his word and I felt compelled to learn more about him. The more I learned about him- the more I knew about myself…and the more that I knew about myself through Christ- the more I felt okay being who I was in my own skin.
My relationship with God allowed me to value my past and how to use it for something good. I can see it as beautiful because at my lowest, I didn’t give up. There was a reason that I didn’t give in and let it completely consume me. I had a new chance to do something with my life. I was alive for a reason. Letting God use my past for his good took away all of the negative power that I had given it before. It was completely powerless in bringing me back down.
Overall, finding my real identity in Christ- put everything in proper perspective.
I felt worthy.
Its pretty amazing how your choices will reflect your beliefs.
I believed that I was of value, and I was loved.
I was a strong person, and I had a purpose.
I had a whole life to live and many, many people that I could try to reach out to.
I want everyone who is hurting or struggling to know the truth. They are loved too, and God–the one true God- believes that they are important.
God’s love is that powerful, and life became that much more beautiful when I realized that I could feel again. I could live again. I could enjoy laughing and resting, baking and reading, singing, watching movies- bowling, road trips and even family get together’s –sober.
The simple things became the big things. Each day being a gift that we are given with our children, or people who we love. I wouldn’t dream of missing a thing now that I have had a taste of true —living.
Recovery with God also taught me that we should not spend too much time feeling sorry for ourselves. The hands that are were dealt don’t have to be permanent. The poor choices that we might have made along the way don’t have to define us.
We can choose at any time to accept the Lord into our lives- and begin to live happy and free being who we were meant to be in the first place.
This is why I think Recovery is so beautiful.
It allows you to come exactly as you are.
No masks, no makeup, no hiding.
Free and vulnerable, but comfortable.
Enjoying life’s pleasures and taking each day for what it is.
We know that we are blessed to be alive and life is not ordinary, life is not always what we expect but we enjoy living now. We are alive.
The struggle is real, but so is our GOD and so is life after addiction.
God will absolutely restore every single thing that was taken from you and everything that you gave away to your addiction. That, and much, much more.
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Recovery is the opposite of what we have come to know, and what we are use to….
and Early Recovery was not what I expected.
*Withdrawal- Depending on your drug- it can take anywhere from days to get through withdrawal, to several months for the intense feelings to subside. Headaches, mood-swings, nausea, sleeplessness, depression, weight gain. (all different for different drugs) It is likely that all drug detox causes irritability and poor sleeping habits.
It is not fun. If you are reading this, and you have made it through withdrawal, successfully without using or dying—I am so so proud of you. You should be proud of yourself too.
*It’s only just begun after detox/withdrawal.
*Expect to struggle- Recovery is not instantaneous.
It is a long process that will not always make sense, it is not fun and it requires a commitment.
We are so use to drugs making us feel better. Right this very second, even if only for an hour—things felt better in an instant.
*Thoughts are powerful. What we think about is going to dictate how we feel.
How we feel, drives what we do. We have to be careful because we are not yet strong enough to resist doing what we are use to. So if we are feeling crappy- we use. If we are feeling great- we drink to celebrate. Only put yourself around people who are going to lift you up and take your thoughts seriously.
*Reach out and be honest. If you are having an off day, or are just feeling super down- tell someone who you know cares about you and your recovery. Don’t keep it to yourself. Hiding and concealing is no longer an option. I learned early on that my addiction was very tricky and deceitful. It won every single time that I tried to secretly battle it alone.
*One Day At a Time is smart. Drugs made me feel good. I did not have to feel anything, or care about anything. I didn’t have to think about anything and I did not have to work toward anything.
All of that is gone in recovery. Sobriety is worth it, but it is hard work. There is a lot of waiting. You have to work through each and every day. Things don’t just happen anymore. You have to learn to be patient and believe that if you take one day at a time, you will get through today.
*Our minds will play tricks. Sometimes you will feel alone, when you’re not. You might think that no one cares, when they do. Remember to share these thoughts with someone too. I experienced a lot of irrational thinking. Our bodies are trying to get things back in order. Chemicals in our brains are changing. Our moods are trying to get back to something that feels regular. It is likely that our thoughts will be inaccurate or off. Just because we think it doesn’t mean it’s true. My brain felt like it was going to explode too. I had no idea what to feel, or what I was feeling or if I wanted to feel anything. I felt crazy. It is going to be alright.
*Recovery is a process. I thought that once I made the decision to quit and change, that was it. It has almost been 8 years and I am still learning new things. This process has just changed. Each day sober, is another day that I am grateful to be alive, but I am always learning something new.
*Not everyone will be happy for you. I guess I expected people to be really happy for me. I want others to know that there are so many people out there who will have your back and cheer you on. They may not be the people who you expected, or the ones that you wanted to be there for you- but their out there. I have lost a lot of ‘friends’ and many of my relationships are gone, over or have changed. At the end of the day, you recover for yourself. So that you can have a quality life and can function —and really experience freedom. Not everyone will be on board.
*Quit it all. I am not an alcoholic. My body doesn’t crave alcohol, and I was never dependent. Alcohol was something that I consumed if I didn’t have what I really wanted, or I couldn’t find what I wanted immediately, but I didn’t ‘crave’ it.
When I quit doing my drug of choice, It was very important to keep away from ALL chemical/brain altering substances. I would definitely recommend that others do so as well. I would have liked to have known WHY when I began my recovery. It is because we need to give our body a break. We need to let things go back to as close to natural as we can. We need to get healthy and really focus on recovery. We have to learn not to crave feeling ‘f*cked up’ – and learn to crave feeling alive—sober. It is a bad idea to begin using the excuse that you can use this, and not this.
*Brace yourself, Forgiveness is a key part of recovery. We need to learn how to think in a different way, how to learn new habits, what our triggers are, where to go, where not to go, who to reach out to, how to be brutally honest——yes. But we have to learn how to sit with ourselves sober.
I didn’t expect forgiveness to play such a huge part to my own recovery.
I couldn’t look in the mirror – I hated ‘me’. I hated the mother that I was, and the things that I had missed and done. I had to learn how to forgive myself.
I hated what I had done to people who I loved, very much. Things that I could not take back. I hated thinking about it. But I had to learn how to ask for their forgiveness, and to forgive myself.
I hated the things that had been done to me, and I had to learn how to shut them off once and for all. I couldn’t keep thinking about it, or the people who I had lost or other painful things. I had to forgive and make peace, and move on.
Without forgiveness, nothing can be laid to rest once and for all. We cannot move forward. We cannot go to the next phase of learning to love ourselves again, and learning how to give love to others.
*Relapse is preventable and you can see it coming.
It is a process. You know when your thoughts are getting negative. You are feeling way down. You are starting to think of how you can use, or even just once. Maybe you can sneak out and come back etc. You can spot those thoughts and tell someone about them. If you feel yourself slipping back, TELL SOMEONE. It is not a shameful thing or relapsing –simply having the thoughts. It is a smart thing to recognize and to know yourself in such a way, that you can see certain patterns. Don’t be ashamed, be excited that you are beginning to see how addiction works.
My next blog post:
Early Recovery is not what I had expected it to be.
It sucked much more than I wanted it to and it was harder than I could have ever imagined, but it was more rewarding and beautiful than I could have ever dreamed.
Hope is a real thing and it makes all of the work of early recovery- worth every single second. I couldn’t have anticipated what God had in store for my life- after drugs.
It will all be worth it.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
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Two whole parts, that came together as one.
Many many many people have asked me why we waited to get married. Why this, why that. I wanted to be a healthy, whole person that he was taking as his wife.
I wanted him to have a partner in life- and to feel like he had a person on his side that could be strong when he couldn’t and that could encourage him when times got rough.
He deserved to marry someone who was clear-minded and level headed.
I wanted him to have what I had.
I knew he was ‘it’ for me- (and he still is, even more so now)
So..I will end this little mini series by saying this:
It is possible to make it through active addiction- early recovery and all that goes with that.
It is not easy, some days suck really bad and you won’t always see clearly or have clear answers as to what you need to do. You won’t always understand each other and some things don’t make sense right away.
Also, remember that the difference between controlling someone, being co-dependent, enabling and LOVING someone is really about motive. What are you trying to accomplish? What is your definition of love?
Love is not giving a sick person everything they whine for when they are stressed or tempted.
Love is not buckling from guilt or bending boundaries to make someone temporarily happy.
Love is a journey- it is a self-less thing-
When you love someone with an addiction sometimes they need your sensitivity and other times they need set- firm expectations.
It takes a lot of patience and determination to figure out which one to draw from and what to do.
The most important thing is — not ‘loving’ that person to death. Or loving that person so much that you begin to kill yourself. If either of those things begin to happen, something somewhere- needs to change.
I hope that some of our ‘real’ experience helps someone else in some way.
And Mr. Zachariah- I am so grateful to have such a strong man-
I love our love and man- we have some crazy love.
Thank you for supporting me in all that I have done, and hope to do-
God has done some incredible work in our lives and I really can’t wait to see what else is in store. You are my bestie and we are strong people individually, and together–that much better.
My husband has been a trooper.
He picked me up so many times after I had fallen-yet again.
My ‘falling’ doesn’t necessarily mean that I relapsed.
I lapsed a few times, he helped pick me up (he was mad, but he picked me up)
I have gone through sicknesses related to this disease, memory issues that continue, lots of fog, early on mood changes and lots and lots of discovering, properly handling and learning to regulate emotion.
He has always been behind me-
making sure that I was honest and holding me accountable for working my recovery.
He didn’t let me slack and he pushed when I didn’t have the drive to push.
he wouldn’t let me back down or quit, and didn’t ever feel sorry for me when I was feeling sorry for myself.
So..recovery –is it forever?
I believe it is.
My husband understands that Recovery is not unlike any other process that we have to keep healthy. It needs to be an area where I stay on top of my game and continue putting effort in and learning about.
I know that no matter what, he will always be my cheerleader- except now, he knows that I am alert, aware, willing and in a healthy place and can be there for him now as well.
He showed me what for better or worse, actually means in real –day to day life.
At this point guys- we have gone from dating, to him realizing that I had a serious problem, us having massive fights and emotionally driven issues that led to my eventual decision to try to get sober and learn about Recovery.
At the point where I began going to meetings- I was figuring out who I was and why I used so much and how incredible life could be sober.
I also felt like this photo! Yes it’s funny, but as I changed I really went through a time where
I didn’t feel like myself anymore
- and among many other things–
I worried that my Zach would not
like the ‘new’ me.
***On Celebrate Recovery meetings:
So after being sober for awhile she started going to meetings every week.
Every Thursday night.
I felt like they weren’t going to do much for her, but I also had no issue with her going to them. I did start noticing small changes here and there.
She started reading a lot more.
Other things changed too.
I feel like her Recovery came in waves. It started hard- so hard that we didn’t know if SHE was going to live or die.
After a certain point, she was alive and trying but we didn’t know if our relationship was going to make it through all of the mood swings and anger- depression and sadness.
After the meetings- more changes came. She told me she was getting to know who she was again and that it had been a long time since she really knew who that was.
***Did the meetings help?
Yes. They gave her a place to learn more about her addiction and a place to learn how to regulate her emotions and vocalize some of how she was feeling and what she was going through with people who she did not feel so defensive with. It was great for me!
***How did you support her going to the weekly meetings and other recovery activities?
Always asked how they went. I always wanted to know how she felt when she got home and how things went. I also made it a point to ask what is coming up or what homework she had to do that week. I had no idea what most of it meant, and honestly- just wanted her to know that I was proud of her for going at all.
***Do you think that meetings are a good idea for anyone in Recovery + relationship?
Yes because we were not in a place where we could afford counseling and it provided education and a lot of other therapeutic stuff.
***What would you say to others who are trying to act as ‘supporters’ during this process?
Stay patient. This all sounds wonderful and easy on screen, but the reality is—
it was a difficult period of time for us. I had to keep reminding myself that she had a lot of self-discovery to work through and she just needed my love and support. She needed to have that positive in her life- she knew that I was not going anywhere-no matter what.
This took more time too than I had imagined. It takes a long time to uncover a person’s deepest hurts and for that person to learn how to live life sober.
Stay patient and enjoy all of the victories along the way.Share on Facebook
Relationships are ideally suppose to be two whole people, coming together to be like a badass couple. I felt like I was one person, babysitting this broken person.
To be honest, It was very very hard. I needed things too. I wanted love and affection. I needed attention. These are things that you usually expect when you are in a long-term, healthy relationship.
She just didn’t have anything to give at a certain point.
So yes. It was hard. I had to learn not to be selfish and that if I EVER wanted to have a whole person as my future wife, I needed to keep you alive first.
We had our good days and our bad days, but I stuck to the plan.
I did not bend any of the set agreements that we had and I was pretty hard on you.
I came off as over-bearing but I just knew that you would walk all over me if I budged at all..
I know it drove you crazy.
I also know now, that you were so annoyed and touchy for a long time but it was more you detoxing. A lot of your aggression and anger was not even because of me or my ‘crazy’ expectations. You were coming off of drugs and learning how to live in a sober world.
***What would you tell someone who is frustrated, dealing with the mood swings and anger issues that commonly come with detoxing and trying to stay sober?
Don’t take it personally. Most of the time, she would lash out at me or blame me for something, or just want to fight for no apparent reason.
I learned that there are so many different things that she was going through and none of it had much to do with me —
so learn to be patient and just take it. (assuming it was non-violent/abusive etc.)
At the time I did not understand and I did fight back more than once. It took me awhile to learn that she was going through emotional things and psychological things that I could not help with.
I will say that I did not allow her to use that as an excuse to fight. I am just saying that I understand why some things happened the way that they did early on.Share on Facebook
***On hitting his own breaking point:
After the time that you took too many pills on a random weekday afternoon, you collapsed in the post office. I got a call and came up to the hospital. This was about the time that we had a big blowout fight and I asked you to leave.
This was my bottom- I think. I had been through a lot myself that year and I just didn’t think I could do it anymore. I told you to get help or gtfo.
I remember that day, you talked to my mom and we all told you that we would have your back and would help you get through whatever happened next if you would just agree to get help.
And you did.
***Changes taking place in the relationship:
At this point we are well over a year into our relationship.
At home- things were different because I had to choose between making you happy and doing what was best for you as a person.
***How did things change?
Well listen. I loved you and knew that I could not allow you to use at all. I would ask you for specifics. When were you coming home? Exactly what time?
I wanted to see your eyes a lot, in the light. Lol. I also looked through our phone bill each month and kept an eye on things more than I normally did.
This annoyed you——that would be an understatement.
This pissed you off so much sometimes.
I think you were frustrated that I was being so ‘nosey’ or ‘father-like’ and I thought I was being caring and watching out for you.
I felt bad sometimes but it was more important to me that you were safe, not going to drug houses and not spending money on things that you didn’t need.
I knew that someday it would pay off- even if sometimes, you wanted to gouge my eyeballs out. I felt like I could see the greater picture and I understood that your annoyance was only temporary. I wasn’t controlling you but I was definitely not going to enable you in ANY WAY.
I never gave you cash. You did not have access to the bank account. I knew where the money was coming from and where it was going. It drove you crazy for a long time.
But I did not trust you.
It took me a long time for me to even consider that……
No matter how angry, annoyed or defensive that you got, I just tried to ignore it.
I never responded or did my best not to take it personally. It hurt sometimes, but I knew that you needed someone to help you and stay strong.
We had our tough moments, but I never quit on you……Share on Facebook
My husband’s journey through my addiction and recovery.
It breaks my heart to go back and think about all that I put him through, but living this life in the now, we can both see just how much this experience bonded us and our hearts together in such a spectacular way, that if we can get through what we have already- life might throw us curves but we are in this game for the long haul.
So it begins.
We went through a long list of questions and had long discussions about specific feelings and times in our lives. This series of posts will encompass these conversations, and various others that we have had over the years.
***On recognizing the ‘problem’:
After a few months of dating, it became pretty apparent that your drinking and pill use was not normal. The way that you acted was not like a typical young 20 something just ‘having a good time’. It was much more than that.
You slammed your finger in your car door and barely noticed, there were times that you would fall asleep while we were talking and there were other signs that I noticed.
There was a time where you fell asleep on the side of the highway because you couldn’t stay awake, and you went to jail (the first of many times)
Another time multiple people had called in about your reckless driving and you were apprehended until someone came and picked you up.
On a different occasion, I was at your apartment and bail bondsman came over and started pounding on your door, and you went to jail then too.
This was all while we were dating. I was like what the fuck have I got myself into?
This girl is crazy and also, irresponsible. lol.
***Why did you not run for the freaking hills?
I already knew I loved you. The times that we had eating together, and just hanging out- when you were still sober or not as bad- I enjoyed being with you. You were a fun girl. So thoughtful and funny. When you were using, it is like you were a different person.
There was just something about you, and something in me telling me not to give up on this person just yet.
Later on after we moved in together, I began seeing even more of the addiction’s seriousness.
Living with you opened my eyes up to your world.
There was a lot of lying- not coming home when you said, not getting off of work and coming home for hours. You were evasive and defensive when I asked you where you were or what you had been doing.
There were so many other things that happened, but it all accumulated and I started to understand that this was a serious problem.
***How did that make you feel?
I was confused. I come from a family that has never really experienced true ‘addiction’.
We drink and have fun, but no one is dependent or addicted.
I did not know anything about addiction, that it was a real thing and a disease.
I thought people like that made the choice to ruin their lives and act like idiots.
So, I was close-minded for a long time.
Willpower and the sheer motivation to change was what I thought was the only necessary ingredients to change or stop.
I was ready to love this woman, and quickly learned that she did not know what that looked like or felt like. Not adult, mature —love you for you kind of love.
I loved her and was ready to fight.
I had no idea what I was up against…….Share on Facebook
Let’s say you are a couple.
You love each other and value one another.
One of you ends up with an addiction and becomes dependent on a substance.
It tears them apart and dismantles who they once were.
That person that you fell in love with is gone.
All you are left with is an empty relationship, basically completely deteriorated;
looking nothing like it use to and there is not a lot of hope in your heart when it comes to the prospect of finding him or her once again.
*You are sad, and feel lost. What can you do to get this person back?
*Is it a fruitless effort?
*Are you hurting or helping? Where should you turn?
*Who is this person that you use to know?
*Should you take it personally?
*Can you be of any help?
*Is this person who you love going to be this manipulative shell of deceit and self-absorption permanently?
These are the types of questions that ran through my husband’s head and made his heart ache leading up to the days where I smashed into my rock bottom face first, and throughout my first two years of Recovery.
This is the type of confusion that he dealt with and had to learn how to navigate through.
My addiction did have a profound affect on him, and although I was far too busy focusing on my recovery to empathize or inquire at the time–
in the succeeding years post active addiction— he has revealed so much to me about HIS journey riding on the crazy coattails of my recovery.
While I was abstaining, detoxing, hurting, learning, growing, and changing-
He was going through his own change and was navigating a new path himself.
I am going to share that with you guys now.
As a side-note or a disclaimer of sorts:
As a professional I would never support or recommend that a person in Recovery start/begin/consider a new romantic relationship.
It is not a healthy choice to make.
In the event of entering recovery as a married person or as a person who is already committed to a long-term relationship, I would definitely set certain boundaries and limits with both parties on a case-by-case basis. Everyone involved would be learning and would need to be counseled on some level.
Every life, recovery and circumstance is completely different. What worked for us, may not be something that will work for another couple who is struggling with getting through Addiction-TOGETHER.
What does inspire HOPE is knowing that there are other people who have made it through some of the most exhausting and trying times, and have come out the other end—
strong and CRAZY in love with the new people that we have transformed into throughout our journey together and individually.
So take what you can from it and leave the rest.
Thank you for reading and I hope that we can inspire you to keep working and loving.
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C.S Lewis describes lust, as he does every other topic, in such a way that the description is not only beautiful- it is complete, intricate, complex and yet—simple.
I have no idea how his heart and mind were so able to mesh concepts in such a way -but he was so gifted and insightful.
He talks about desires of the flesh and states that as humans when dealing with any ‘pleasure’ that we healthily or unhealthily indulge in- if we have yet to fill our hearts with Jesus- we will eventually find ourselves in this predicament:
“With an ever-increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure.”
This formula absolutely describes my personal experience with addiction, but also in many other areas of my life. Was I searching my entire life to find pleasure, peace, fun, happiness, searching searching all of the time to fill whatever that was that I thought I needed at the time? Who I thought I needed to be? What I needed to be happy?
Is it just our human nature to ADHD all over the place for years and years bouncing around from lover to lover, or speed boat to lake house, or new car to Botox, to cocaine to heroin, back to the very place that we began?
So maybe, some of us searched in the bottle for whatever ‘that’ is.
Others, looked in needles, pill bottles, bars, relationships, shopping, gambling, or living some uppity facade of perfect… simply,
trying desperately to fill that void with whatever we could get our hands on that temporarily made us feel better and gave us the illusion or delusion of ‘happy’. (?)
But as C.S. Lewis said,
each time that ‘thing’ is sought, our pleasure siphoning abilities decrease; it doesn’t exactly get the job done like the time before, and we are searching once again.
That high. That euphoric feeling.
The adrenaline. A false peace (you don’t have to keep up with or chase true peace)
I just find it so interesting to read another man’s thoughts from a different perspective.
Here we have a man, a reluctant believer, converted Atheist-
supremely gifted, and was never much but a humble observer with a brilliant mind who was willing to share his experiences with others.
He believed in the importance of reason and good Theology. His honesty is what draws me to his writings but this man was never addicted to anything, and he hits the nail on the head. There are so many underlying and hidden things going on inside of a man, especially a man isolated, in pain or lost.
We are all really on this journey and it seems we are all eventually on a mission to find that resting place.
That place where we can truly feel freedom, peace, comfort and a true sense of self.
Maybe we are all just finding our own ways to that fully alive in the here and now existence.
What would happen if we simply asked God to fill our empty spaces because we were exhausted & we really just can’t search anymore?
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
These thoughts will more than likely
to be continued…
I know that this time of year is so difficult for a lot of people who are in Recovery.
This is a time where emotions are running high and sobriety hinges on the edge of crazies and drama….if you are from a dysfunctional mess.
Sometimes it is simply a stressful time having to sort out and deal with feeling the pressure to be social.
Sometimes we have to make decisions about attending work gatherings or attending other social events.
Other times it is answering hard or awkward questions from family members,
saying ‘no thank-you’ to eggnog 2,000 times,
or simply being around your familiar dynamic—-
In recovery- the holidays bring about almost every trigger imaginable, in one season all wrapped up with opportunity, and many tempting offers—-
Which ones do you go to? When do you say no? How do you say no?
Is it okay to say no? Do you skip work parties? Do you go to make others happy?
My holiday advice for anyone in Recovery—
anyone who is an addict or an alcoholic who does not want to compromise their progress or personal health, in any way is this:
1. Do what is best for your recovery. Period. Keep it simple.
2. Don’t let pressure or guilt change your mind if you make the decision to not attend an event or gathering.
3. If you do attend any holiday related festivities, make sure that you are ready to leave if you need to leave. Talk yourself through a few hypothetical “I will leave if’s” and commit.
4. Do have an escape plan. Make a real life, I am leaving right now plan. It doesn’t have to be dramatic with spidey web or anything, quietly gtfo.
5. Do have a list of phone numbers with you in your wallet, in your pocket or stuffed in your clutch. These are people that you can slip into back room, and call if you need some right now, sound, direct, helpful advice. (A sponsor, a caring best friend, a group leader, a counselor, social worker, case worker, someone who cares about your recovery)
6. If you are feeling yourself break down emotionally, physically or any other way—-acknowledge those ques. You are trying to tell yourself something. Don’t brush it off or ignore it. You will get really anxious that way and will have less time to try 4 or 5.
7. Do interact, but Be honest. If someone asks how you are tell them —great. Glad to be there etc. etc. But If they ask specifically how your recovery is going, tell them the truth. It is great practice in building healthy, honest relationships with people.
8. Do try to go to a meeting before and after the gathering if you decide to attend one.
9. If you choose to opt out of festivities this season, don’t sit around and think alone by yourself. Go to a meeting every day, call someone, go to an online meeting, write me an email.
10. Don’t sit around and guilt yourself about not going. If you can’t handle it you can’t handle it and that’s okay. Don’t allow yourself to believe that you are missing some once in a lifetime turkey or ham dinner. It will happen again next year and it will be even better if you are alive.
11. Do leave early. Don’t stay too late, that’s when things get crazy and we tend to drown ourselves in sorrows or memories. Go home, take a shower and watch Netflix.
How to say no?
Say, No thanks, I can’t make it this year.
Leave it at that.
Addiction kills. I am glad to be alive. I look at it like this.
You are alive and making progress in your Recovery even by making the choice to attempt it..
If it is a choice between missing a Christmas party, not eating a dinner with a group, missing out on an annual get together somewhere—-and your sobriety…..
I would say choose Recovery.
People who love you, empathize with your situation and are truly trying to understand addiction and support your recovery will UNDERSTAND.
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I don’t place too much emphasis on what ‘isn’t’ –
and I try to enjoy each day for exactly what it is and what it brings.
I have also learned not to place a whole lot of emphasis on who I am not–
and I try to embrace who I am right now.
To me- this life -
the one that we live every
day reflects one thing.
It is really all about why you think you are here. But you can only truly figure out the why after you are comfy with and accepting of the who.
For me, I have definitely eliminated a long list of things I am NOT here to do.
(lol) because I spent so much time meandering about aimlessly, figuring out the who part.
So I quickly found that I am not a people pleaser because that’s just not the who that I am.
I spent a significant amount of time trying to do what I thought others wanted. What they thought was right. Who I needed to be, who I should be, being good enough, being this or that, to be a part of the herd, to fit in, to squish, squeeze, morph, change or insert myself in many different realms.
I dipped into just about everything on my ‘search for self’ finding the ‘who’ of me…
Interestingly, in doing so
………………I managed to do the opposite.
I drifted even farther away from my true self using other people’s compasses as my guide.
(Don’t peek at or borrow another’s compass)
It is alright to be you.
Exactly who you are with no embarrassment, or hiding aspects of you- involved.
(Not laying it ALL out on the table for the world –no no.)
I am talking no changing who you are -depending on who you are talking to or hanging around, speaking in front of, impressing upon—– be an unapologetic (respectful and polite of course) but—you.
I have actually learned that people appreciate that.
I personally find it refreshing to meet people who radiate —-themselves.
and at this point in my life, there is no amount of pressure or pooppile of ‘societal norm’ that has the power to make me feel like there is something ‘wrong’ with me just because my ‘who’ doesn’t look like theirs.
It is too easy to peek next to you and do a little comparison or sizing up.
But that is not fair.
First of all that is too easy and you are selling yourself short on YOUR own journey.
Second, that is certainly not going to be anything close to an accurate assessment of the “who” of who you are…
to gage your value or brilliance (that you do indeed posses uniquely within your pretty little being) based off of the progress, attributes, skills or accomplishments of someone else? Nahhhh.
Don’t work your recovery for other people.
Work at your own pace.
Work for you.
So that you can embrace life and face all of the ups and downs head on.
So that you can live life fully. So that you can feel things and experience your own personal freedom.
Don’t say ‘yes’ all of the time if your body, heart or mind is screaming ‘nooooo’.
Don’t hang your head in shame if you see someone finds out that you have struggled with drugs, alcohol, depression or some other ‘taboo’ subject that is chronically swept under some overpriced rug.
Dammit- you are strong. You are brave and you are courageous to make a life change.
You have overcome so much. That is something to be commended you can be proud of yourself with or without the ‘approval’ from others.
You see, we are all humans.
We all have problems.
Life is this massive and complex thing —personal to each individual
and yet -
we all somehow interact & work together in this entangled & intricate mess of interpersonal relationship.
It is nice to have variety!
Keep pushing through and learn to love you —for you.
It isn’t about who you aren’t or who society urges you to be, feel, think, dress, eat or try.
Not feeling too obligated to please, but serving from a place of gratitude and admiration for this thing called life.
It is about knowing who you are- figuring that out, getting to know it and feeling comfortable in your own skin and being who God made you to be
—————> and being that for him.
I have happily (and willingly) exposed my past in it’s entirety—> holding nothing back.
Most of my up’s and down’s of present day are chronicled in my amateur writings and ramblings, and I speak openly about my failures, and my faith on a regular basis.
I do have a few things that I keep close and consider- ’off limits’
for the most part.
That would be, my husband and our children.
I have mentioned them vaguely here and there over the years, but rarely do I brag or spill my guts about how they have truly captivated my being as a woman and bring me more joy & purpose than I could ever, ever try to describe.
Of course, this is yet another area of my life that had never felt so rich, meaningful and real…
-than before I met Jesus.
This was also the first time that I had been sober for a significant period of time, and was able to feel raw emotion for the first time (that I can recall).
When I experienced God’s love and was strengthened by him to go through the long, grueling process of getting sober and learning how to essentially be a whole different human altogether,
I knew –
when I saw my child’s face and saw something different—
God had entered into my heart.
Not only did I see my own reflection in a new way, and feel differently about all of the circumstances that I had inherited and created for myself–-I SAW my baby.
That my dear readers is one of the ways that I knew something had happened to me.
I began soaking up every smile, victory, coloring page, belly laugh, accomplishment, fall, or tear like nobody’s business.
It all finally made sense.
I can do something different. Right now.
None of that other stuff matters, because it is washed away and forgiven.
This is all new, and I can start right now. Today. From here.
I am a stay-at-home mom by choice. I LOVE serving my family.
These tiny little souls are
why I do what I do each day with my blog and other social media accounts.
Not so that I can ‘create’ a name for myself—
but so that other mommy’s and daddy’s, or son’s and daughters or even grandparents can see that
there is LIFE after a serious life struggle.
There is life after addiction to alcohol or drugs.
There is life after denying God or scoffing at the idea of Jesus being real.
There is life after molestation or other humiliation.
There is life when we believe that we don’t deserve life.
I simply want other people to experience the love that God has for them too.
I just felt compelled to share this today.
I am so thankful to have felt that authentic love and am so thankful that I am able to share my experiences, strength and hope in a public domain.
Everyone needs to know that they have access to such things
—-> from the one and only God
who will help them,
who hears their cries and who is a redeemer.
He is a reviver.
He, is LOVE.
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