How are things?

images
This is a less personal Recovery post and more of a……..
just personal post:

I turned 31 yesterday.
I got a beautiful necklace and ring from my husband and children, along with some useful home-made coupons from my boys….that I will definitely be utilizing before they expire.
I got a new, soft, much-needed pillow and some chocolates too. My family went above and beyond, making sure that I did not have to cook or wash a dish all day long.
It was pretty incredible.

Today marks my 10th official week of pregnancy.
We still haven’t made a formal public announcement (via Facebook)
My blog platform (and I have nice & kind readers…thank you!) is really the only place that I have mentioned it at this point. We have told our close immediate family, but for the next couple of weeks, we are keeping it to ourselves. My first appointment is August 12 and that will be an exciting day! I haven’t worried too much about things developmentally but I am ready to SEE that things are cooking well….and I am so ready to HEAR a heartbeat!
My morning sickness is really just waves of nausea on and off all throughout the day.
Some days are great and I feel like I must be in the clear, and then the next day, it’s back again. Fatigue is the same. It is definitely not as bad as it was in weeks 5, 6, 7, 8 but it is still creeping up on me here and there.
I haven’t gained any weight yet, but am pretty bloated!
I have also had vivid dreams, lots of them and mostly odd ones.
I will spare you the details of them but I am normally one of those people who cannot recall a dream the minute that I attempt to recall a dream….it just vaporizes. These- I can smell the smells, feel the feelings, and remember details. So, that’s been interesting ;-)
We also have names for both a boy, and a girl already….I’ll do some name droppin’ in about 10 weeks or so when we know if this little beautiful life is a he or a she…

It’s back to school time- and for us that means a lot of squashing of doctor check-ups, dental check-ups, closet cleaning and shopping  into a few short weeks. It is an exciting time at our house.

All and all guys I am blessed. I hate using that word- I really do.
(it is overused and sounds so cheesy in some instances)
so forgive me if it sounds cheesy.

:-) I reflect a lot. Part of my Recovery (the LIFE that I LIVE now) entails and requires a ton of reflecting and it doesn’t just happen on days like my birthday.

As I sat back on my birthday, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed; with love, and with thankfulness. No more celebrating by getting trashed and making the entire evening about me, me, me. No more chasing happiness.

Yesterday was just a simple & true celebration of a life that God has allowed me to create, with people who I love, who love me back- and who support me.

There aren’t any better gifts than that for me,  aside from having the opportunity to  experience true rest at the end of a day.

Share on Facebook

Girl at the End of the World.

So I am finished reading Girl at the End of the World. As I said before Elizabeth has guts, but I finished the last page thinking about Recovery.

Toward the end of the book, Elizabeth finally decided to see a therapist. They talked about typical issues one would expect to hear, when dealing with anxiety and childhood trauma.
(things like dissociation, triggers and learning to practice being present.)

Although I may not have been raised in a cult- or by parents who were virtually brainwashed, believing that they were in fact, guilting and beating their child for their own good- I understand dissociation.
I understand numbing my way through life. Children learn early on to recognize what is coming, and what they would prefer to not fully experience. I understand escaping through any means possible and as a small child, these coping skills work like magic.

I also empathize with the anxieties that Elizabeth shared with the world. Those same, magical coping skills that were a sweet, sweet refuge and a safe place as a child-
don’t exactly translate well into adulthood or day-to-day life experiences as they come.
It is difficult to shed those, to tear down the walls and allow yourself to feel safe without them.

I understand loving people who you don’t understand or agree with, I get having to learn how to create boundaries that are foreign and having to learn how to implement them as hard as that can be sometimes.

In Celebrate Recovery we learned that we are, a family.
We may not have the exact same hurts, habits or hang-ups….
but hurt, hurts the same and has the same effects on the mind, body and spirit of all of us just the same.

God’s love covers these non-specific things all the same too.

We experience healing in the same way and we want to share that hope with others who need to know that the pain can and does stop and there is healing for them and their specific hurts and deep-rooted  _______________. (fill in the blank.)

So.
It was a quick read, with relatively short to-the-point chapters, which is my kind of book….

I think that anyone who has experienced any type of trauma and has mustered up the courage to step into a life of navigating Recovery would really enjoy and appreciate what this book is about. She managed to escape, to forgive, and to hold onto her faith in the Lord through her experience.

Share on Facebook

Books. Books. Books.

I thought I’d share the books that I am reading right now and I might do little informal reviews for each one as I finish. Not that my opinion on reading material particularly  matters, ha! I just thought It would be fun to share.

First, you must know that I am pretty bad about starting more than one book and finishing them on what you could call a slow but steady pace (unless it is one that dominates and I just cannot put it down), but that is just how I do things.

I think it totally depends on my mood, and I am only able to read a little bit each night.
( and what that really means is, like so many other mommies or busy exhausted people who are only capable of keeping our heads up and eyes open for varying increments of time at the end of each night ;-) )

I am in the midst of reading the following:

The Resolution for Women  (Priscilla Shirer)
This was recommended and loaned to me by a friend, and I am only a couple of chapters in so far. I like what it’s about. The overall feel is that it is a challenge. A pledge to live on purpose; challenging women to embrace our current seasons of life and to be present right where we are, living in a way that champion’s God’s model of womanhood.
I think this will be interesting to get through. I like books that make me stop and think about my daily life, what I am dedicating my time to, how I am parenting, how I am loving my husband and showing love to others and really challenging myself to pay attention; to live in the now. I will definitely have to share how it goes.
ResoultionCovers_Womens10.indd

 
Girl at the End of the World (Elizabeth Esther)
This. Guys. I am only a few pages from being done with this one. It has definitely been my ‘go-to’ choice lately. Like I said, I don’t get to read often, or don’t have the will to keep my eyes open long enough to make real progress sometimes, but this one has kept me up a few nights. Obviously, it caught my interested because I love love love memoirs, non-fiction, true-crime and such-
This has definitely provoked the welling of tears, has got my blood pumping, stirred a tiny bit of frustration and has also been refreshing and encouraging. This is really about trauma- childhood trauma, first-hand and its’ after effects. Elizabeth gives an honest and eerie account of what her life was like growing up with fundamentalist parents and grandparents. She does a great job of tying it all together in the end with her raw testimony of her progression through Recovery. I love everything about this book. Elizabeth has guts.
514iqc7VMnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

 
A Farewell to Mars (Brian Zahnd)
I was a teensy bit weary of reading this. Here’s why.
I live in Mo., in what some call the conservative ‘Bible belt.’
I am a relatively new Christian of almost 8 years.
(New to branching outside of the suffocating conservative belt)
I wasn’t sure that I was ready for a read like this one, but I knew two things when I started reading it.
I knew (generally) what this book was about, and I knew that I could stand behind something like non-violence, love and peace.
I am just finishing chapter 7…. I cannot get enough. I enjoy reading content and information that makes me stop and think. I like having to put a book down for a moment to highlight an entire paragraph or to contemplate a concept that I had never considered.
I appreciate learning from a new and fresh perspective, from one that in my world—had been untouched.
I am looking at Jesus in a new way, that’s for sure.
Not the core truth of scripture, but Jesus as a man- and Jesus’ mission.
Applying what he stood for to our modern times, standards and way of living is what this book has really forced me to stop and do.
( I have highlighted about 25% of this book so far! Good thing it’s an eBook.)

51yvFfE+NPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Share on Facebook

Happy.

10514630_526118770848601_3353905360654312385_n

 

Growing up with an addict taught me all about the attitude and expectations of living a life at full speed. No working hard- no following through. Getting things now now now, even if that meant hopping out of the car, and stealing something from a parking lot or hiding for rent-a-center employees. Extorting and manipulating, rather than working and paying your own bills. Begging, borrowing, pleading, quick loans, trades etc.

So much of what I observed and picked up on, was all about the quickest and easiest way to do everything. Although a part of me knew this wasn’t the right way, I was affected. It did influence how I managed my own young adult life. It did skew my expectations of myself and my own abilities and those I set on the world and those around me.

By the time I became a full-blown drug addict, it felt like every time I tried to dig myself out, I fell back down deeper. I had made so many quick, ill-conceived decisions. It wasn’t hard work becoming a drug-addict.

Recovery not only taught me that hard work was the only way out of that hole that I had dug myself, it showed me that to live a life with integrity and character- it was going to require follow-through, hard-work, drive, and personal accountability.

God has created us with so much resilience and the ability to recover, bounce back and absolutely thrive even after tragedy, tough circumstances or places in life that we chose to take ourselves. He offers us strength to navigate and new LIFE. Through him- our past no longer defines or controls us, because He is greater.

We have all gone through different circumstances, but we have all made mistakes and have experienced setbacks. For some of us, these set backs weren’t environmental inheritances, for some of us they were, but were  then we succeeded by our own choices to continue that legacy of living in total and utter chaos.

God forgives us, and offers us new life.
Through him, our Recovery can flourish and grow.
We can follow-through and accomplish things we certainly never thought possible.

For me, this goal is just a tiny stepping-stone to other things. To me, it doesn’t matter that I may not have my bachelors degree until I am 45. All that matters is that I am a changed woman, with a new appreciation for life, a reverence for Christ, and a will and desire to help others.

Set some goals. Don’t compare them to the goals of others, don’t compare where you are to where other people have already been. All that you need to focus on is God’s will for your life, and act accordingly. Oh’ and have a little bit of fun, be nice to people and never allow your past to dismantle your newfound peace.

Share on Facebook

Change of plans.

m_1916442_3Tjgeh7GgExt

This photo should say -Brittany, your plans never work out- because God has better ones!

Guys. I am serious. I have been going to school, studying addiction and psychology. For the last year of classes, I had already begun to mentally prepare myself for a new beginning of sorts. I have had planned to go back to work this Fall, when both of my children will be in school.

Plan A: 
So. I begin my search. In my city and surrounding cities, the substance abuse counselor, the mental health technicians, case manager, and intake coordinator positions —won’t work for this mommy. As my searched widened and continues- it became clear that I cannot be the mommy that I want to be and have the career that I have been working toward.

Was I upset- not really.
Here’s why.
I have an online ministry. I get to talk with people all of the time. I email and send messages to many people each week. Though I am not getting paid, I am still using my brain, reading, thinking, writing, studying and using my education to help others.
This is exactly what I had set out to do in the first place.
And so, I just decided that when the time was right, I will begin my career, but not at this point in my life.
For me, and our family, my being here in the morning to cook breakfast, in the evening to cook dinner and greet smiling faces off of the bus, help with homework and be around in the summertime are priorities.
Do we sacrifice? Yes.
Absolutely.
We could live in a bigger house, or ______ or _________ etc.
But this just works for us. 

Plan B: 
So I changed gears. I decided that substitute teaching or being an assistant teacher (para) would be the smartest route for me to go. I will have the same hours as my children, and it would afford me the luxury of having the summer off with them as well.
I made an appointment at our local university to take the state paraprofessional test. I studied for it for a few weeks and took it. I passed with a great score and prepared my resume accordingly.
I spent the week requesting reference letters from my generous and awesome teacher friends, and began my job search.

I liked plan B.
I did.

The same week that I was applying for jobs in ours and surrounding school districts, I began feeling sick. I felt exhausted and sick. I am a mommy, and mommies know that when we get the flu, most of us chug some dayquil and keep on truckin’.
However, after about 4 weeks of this, I began to question the source of this sickness.
And yes, you guessed it. That week, we found out that we are expecting baby #3!
So here I am, with a new plan. Plan B.
Remember, I threw plan A out of the window or, set in on the back-burner.
I planned everything out for plan B. It was my new plan.

And now, God has blessed our family with a new life.
Plan B is now sitting on the back of the stove next to my perfect plan A.

This wasn’t really a planned thing, it was an idea. For the past FIVE YEARS we have not….not tried either way. We haven’t really been careful and we haven’t exactly been reckless. It was one of those…if it happens, well wonderful- it happens kind of ideas.

Well-played, God. Well-played.

Aside from us knowing that we can provide for a #3, I don’t have a Plan C. 
Like, at all.

At this point, I am focused on getting through first trimester sickness and exhaustion. We are at eight weeks two days now. I have some time to get a plan C in place, and am going to listen to where God is leading. He has made a pretty clear statement at this point. I am overjoyed, grateful, and excited- and anxiously awaiting that first appointment.
Working from home in some capacity is likely going to be what my plan C looks like.

Here’s where the ability to roll with waves, punches and change comes in quite handy. Yes, these are skills that I learned in Recovery. This life is beautiful and I really mean that.

That is what life is.

It is this series of winding changes and unexpected things. Sometimes good, sometimes not so great. We weren’t meant to always be happy, and certainly not to always be sad or disappointed. It is all a mixture of feelings, events and occasions.

And like my favorite quote says:
“The only thing we can really control is how you react to things out of your control.” 

We just have to learn how to cope and access what is and is not in our control. Change can be scary, but it is certainly not always bad.

Share on Facebook

Joy in different ways.

gods-works

I had the privilege and opportunity to lead and teach a class of first grade children.
I am going to brutally honest here, (surprise!)
and tell you this:
I did not want to do it initially.

Let me back up so this makes more sense.
Over the years since I have become a Christian, (when I was 22, and am now 30) I have taught teens, and have led women’s groups. I have enjoyed speaking to adult men and women and also sharing my testimony a dozen times or so over the years as well- but all of my interaction has been with teens and adults. This is what I prefer, this is what I am most comfortable with – and this is what I think I am best at. So obviously, this is what I know I need to be doing.
(Thank you very much)

Two years ago, I reluctantly agreed to volunteer for a Children’s program on Wednesday nights. There was a need for volunteers, and this was something that my husband was interested in helping with- and so I thought it would be a great opportunity to serve together; and so,  we signed up.

I have listened to dozens of Bible stories and lessons designed to articulate Biblical concepts, stories from God’s word, His promises, & core Christian principles – written and communicated in ways that 5-8 year olds can grasp and begin to understand.

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would be interested in helping in some capacity with Vacation Bible School. Of course! I would love to assist in an area, put me down I said.

I was then asked if I might consider being a lead teacher. My first thought was …ya, no.
Did you not hear the ‘assistant’ interest I conveyed through my Facebook message? 
After a few message exchanges- I agreed to fill a lead teacher role.
I had the same feeling that I normally do when I am being asked to do something that I don’t feel like I am great at or particularly interested in….is this the right decision and God, is this what I am supposed to be investing my time in?

(I want to state too, that I am not a ‘yes’ person. It is likely that I am much more stubborn and picky, rather than discerning and a good steward of my time. I might have a tiny bit of those skills, but for the most part, I just don’t say ‘yes’ in fear of a reaction. I say ‘yes’ when I can, if I can, if it doesn’t derail other priorities etc.
When I said ‘yes’ to VBS and Wednesday evenings, I never felt pressured or guilted into it. I felt reluctant and apathetic, but not bullied into it on any level.)

Through these two different experiences, God has used them in a few very special ways in my life. (Even though I began with a crappy attitude and not much excitement.  I cannot believe how much he loves us, even when we are adults throwing toddler behavior at him)

*He has shown me brand new ways of experiencing Joy. 
-Joy can come in all shapes, places and sizes. Not just where we expect- but in ways we never would have dreamed. Hearing a mother tell me that her daughter has prayed and asked Jesus into her heart, and will soon be in talks of baptism- (made me cry!) but really jolts things right back into proper perspective. God works through people. People who think they suck at what they are doing. Sometimes, all you have to do is set your own expectations aside and simply decide to be willing to look stupid at times, sweat from nervousness and trudge along all week long praying you are saying the right things.
-Seeing the tiny hands lifted singing praises to Jesus is enough to make your heart burst, and is another perk of being willing.
-Hearing these tiny voices repeat what they had learned and absorbed throughout the week was definitely a highlight of the week.
-And lastly, the joy of being so ridiculously exhausted. It felt wonderful for all of the right reasons.

*God is filling in my blank spots
I remember a few times visiting Sunday school with a friend on occasion, but I never once regularly learned about Jesus, heard of him at home, thought of him as anything more than a fictional heroic character in extravagant stories in a monstrous, heavy book- and didn’t really know Him until my early twenties.
I LEARN so much when I help with these tiny people. I am filling in gaps, details and expanding on concepts that I am already familiar with every single time I prepare to teach a lesson to elementary students. God knew this when I was first presented with the opportunity to help with these ministries. He knew what I needed, what was best for me and what would benefit my faith, and what would inadvertently affect my ministry- that would in-turn, bring Him glory.
Interesting. All along I thought I was wasting time that I could be using to put into my work with adults. He was and will continue to lead me to tasks and roles that do JUST THAT!

*Legacies. 
Obviously, because of my experiences and because I am a mommy, the legacy that we leave behind is something that I think about often. It is something that I try to be intentional about. By reaching out and doing something as simple as dedicating one night a week  per school year, and five days per summer – I am contributing a tiny bit of truth to a child’s heart. That is the special and most important thing about a legacy. You won’t see the results. You don’t get to see it all play out and you don’t get to reap benefits. The point is , you are leaving something lasting for someone else to do something with. It could be something tiny or something huge. It can be a life-long investment (our children) or a temporary commitment like vacation Bible school.

I may not have thought that I was cut out to do certain things, but God has different ideas sometimes. Sometimes we have to do things that we don’t think we are good at. Other times, we don’t understand the point or agree.
But anytime we focus on complaining or allowing negative thinking to guide our thoughts- we will undoubtedly miss out on the blessings and the truths that can come out of certain situations, opportunities, and experiences.

There are indeed times that we shouldn’t do things, or times where other people may be better for the ‘job’. But discernment is important because we can miss big things if we are simply afraid, doubting ourselves, avoiding, seeking answers first, or not trusting God’s lead.

and P.S.
It is not always about us, ways we can benefit, what it will do for us, or our ministry.
In my experience, if we make the choice to take that guided leap-we always come out the other side changed; with new perspective, wisdom and ways of experiencing Joy.

Share on Facebook

Rattle your own cage on a regular basis.

4439c2eb9415c1587ce6d7b2c579e5f8

Recovery offers me a chance to live a life that is intentional. This means that I am so grateful and excited to lead a new fresh life, and I try to be careful with it.

My choices mean something and I have a ‘why’ behind listening to reason,  examining the logistics and trusting God’s direction(s).

My time is spent with people who I (have somehow) formed these solid relationships with, are built on solid ground, and thankfully, are made of substantial material.

My new memories are cherished and my time- wel, I understand that I don’t get it back and some of us- we feel like we are living on borrowed time…….

I am just not interested in wasting any more time on this planet, because frankly, I have already done a lot of that.
It gets old and things mean something different now.
__________________________________________

The paradox of being free, yet living a carefully thought about, intentional life- is real.

We are so grateful to be free, that we don’t really want to risk wasting time- we strive to do the opposite: spending time on people, places and things that are going to spread the message of hope, that are healthy, positive and worthwhile- all while praying that you are walking the path that has been set aside for you, and you alone.

There is value that feels like it is ingrained deeply into our bone marrow, our soul- it tells us that we know exactly what we came out of- and we don’t really ever want to go back.

We glance back every once in awhile to ensure that we still understand the power of those heavy, weighted chains from a realistic standpoint…

but ultimately, we know in our hearts to whom we belong- and also understand the divine power of God, his love and His plan for the direction of our new life.

To me- my beliefs are simple enough.
I am here, I shouldn’t be and that leaves me with an understanding.
There has to be a reason. What do I do from here? What am I doing with this second go round? Am I enjoying my life? Laughing? Soaking up my children? Giving back? Showing compassion?

My recovery from drug-addiction and other chemical substances forces me to examine, re-examine and fearlessly search my own character, almost compulsively. Not obsessively, but regularly….

I know that the possibility of digression is real, and for me that is detrimental to my mental health, and my well-being as a woman in Recovery.

As a woman who  follows the radical ideas of a man named Jesus, this calls me to regularly examine the ‘who’ of who I am as well, with vigorous honesty- raw and uncut. Just me…and truth.

It is very important – whether you are in Recovery or you are just a person who, like the rest of the humans in the world are simply trying to be better than you were yesterday….
to follow the path that God has for your life; go that way.
Purge. Weed your own gardens, rattle your own cage a bit, hold yourself to standards contrasting to your own personal past records of living and doing;  cut out the negative, thoughtfully commit to tasks, ‘extras’ and other activities, learn healthy boundaries, don’t be led around by fear. Live boldly enough to make these tough choices.

God’s love tends to make my goals pretty clear. Sometimes, tending to my own garden and cutting out crap isn’t pretty, and is not always easy.
Other times, it is mindless and quite obvious and…. simple.

Ultimately, we can bank of the fact that God obviously wants what is best for us in our lives, and for those of us in Recovery, what is best for our new journey. 

Let’s learn to spend time, spending our time well. 
That seems simple enough.
Recklessly abandon the stuff that you don’t really need in the name of recklessness abandoning our lives, for Christ and for living lives healthy, in recovery. 

Never underestimate the power in abandoning crap. 

Share on Facebook

Recovery = A balancing act.

download (2)

 

*****in·tent

1.something that is intended, on purpose; design;
2. the act or fact of intending as to do something:

3. the state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object.

4. meaning or significance.

*****free·dom

1.the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint:

2.exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.

3. political or national independence.

4.personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.
(or as a person who follows Jesus, who has been freely offered freedom as a gift, not earned by us, but given by GRACE) 

 

 

 

 

Share on Facebook

Living in Freedom, with intent.

Freedom should never EVER be synonymous with lack of work, or lack of intentional maneuvering though life. 

I am free.
Freedom for me, came when I came to believe that a power greater than myself, could restore my life and sanity. I was introduced to Jesus at a 12-step meeting, at a Christ centered program. From that point, in 2007, He has not only released my sin and wiped my slate clean, but has also provided healing; healing for all facets of my life and all areas of my being.

My mind is not constricted anymore or tightly wound around self-perpetuating lies, endless shame or reminders of trauma or other negative memories.

My heart is no longer chained down, heavily saturated in hate, guilt and anger.

My body is free, no longer bearing the grunt of abuse and torture, though scarred- actively healing every day, moving and nursing itself back to a positive state of being.

My spirit has a home. I am connected with God and do my best
(though colossally failing regularly) to follow him on the daily.
My spirit is not lost, or controlled by this need to roam;
repetitively seeking, trying, filling, refilling.
My spirit is resting, in this freedom.

My soul. It is free. I am free to be me, live a life embracing this journey here on earth. I am able to face myself in the mirror without shame, with a smile that surfaces from thankfulness and humility. I know where I will go when I die, I am going to live on, because He lives.
That, enables my soul to feel a sense of rest and peace, allowing me to embrace this life full throttle, head on and with .………intention. 

Yes. Living in freedom feels good.
(Damn good, like song worthy, scream at the top of your lungs with grateful and enthusiastic, deep down, stomach wrenching Joy worthy kind of good.)

This freedom.
For me, my life has been reconstructed; not just revamped, but systematically demolished by my own doing -and rebuilt by His grace.

I have to remind myself that to live in Freedom does not necessarily mean that I live without intent or direction.
I enjoy this freedom and am humbled that I have been provided an opportunity to live this life in a new way.

My snapped chains are in the trash. 

But if we don’t live in Freedom with intention, is it all for not?

There must be some structure to live a life that gives something back for other people. 
and I’ll tell ya right now, Recovery from anything will not continue, grow, progress or flourish………………………… by accident. 

Just like a beautifully constructed but later abandoned building:
without maintenance, upkeep, attention, and insightful, in-depth overseeing and intent——
It withers, rots, crumbles, loses its structural integrity and eventually it
is unable to stand any longer.
As strong, sturdy or beautiful as it may have been at some point, and regardless of what it could have been—--it succumbs to neglect and it falls to the ground. 

Ribbet collage
Think of the famous Titanic scene.
Jack and Rose at the bow of the large and grand ship.
In love, feeling good and are embracing a fleeting moment.
They feel FREE.
Rose, arms outstretched. Both deeply breathing in the fresh sea air, so in love with the newness of this wicked and exciting attraction. It feels so good.
Rose literally feels like ‘she’s flying’.
Rose, darling, you have no idea what is going to happen next!! (because your…….)
………………..EYES ARE CLOSED.

That is freedom, but careless freedom. It feels nice, but you can’t see anything coming.
You enjoy the newness and the feeling of not being bound by societal standard or expectations, but you end up looking like an ass, hurting people, making careless mistakes and in the end, someone freezes to death. ;-)

Freedom in Recovery and freedom in Christ is more like…….. skydiving.

You are gettin’ crazy! Letting loose, and trying something new! Whoohoo!
But….you prepare.
You take classes and find instructors who know more than you do to help you navigate this new journey you are about to embark on.
You trust them and feel comfortable with their knowledge level and intent.
You suit up – with the right gear.
Then, you jump. You scream and yell, and enjoy literally leaping out into the abyss -without knowing what is coming next. You heard a lot about what it would be like, you’ve heard the good and the bad, you have made a decision- the one that is right for you. You prepared for this wild journey and can’t wait to see what it looks like as you experience it for yourself.

My point is this:

For most of us in Recovery, what got us in trouble in the first place is lack of intent.
I can tell you for sure that I had no intention on becoming a drug-addict or dropping out of school. I did not plan on getting kicked out of my house, moving into my boyfriends basement or having a baby as a teen. I did not plan to steal, go to jail or lose my license. I did not plan on, dream of or intend to do or become any of these things.
They happened because I made choices and decisions that felt good.
They felt good at the time, and required no plan, no thinking and no logic.
I did not have a set standard of living and truly craved feeling like I was free. No worries, no restrictions.

Recovery requires thought, logic, preparation and planning.
We have to be aware of surroundings, medications, and environment.
We have goals and expectations for ourselves, and we strive to progress.
This happens because we are taught to have and maintain clear intentions and expectations for ourselves in Recovery.

At the same time, we are experiencing that freedom that we so craved while using. Our lack of intent may have gotten us into our initial trouble, but when dependency reared its ugly face and took over, there went that beautiful feeling of freedom and we then became prisoners. 

Prisoners of our yearning to feel free from ________.
(insert pain, trauma, self-hate, etc. here)

So I am just saying, living in the freedom that Recovery offers, and that a relationship with Jesus offers to our being….

Requires some intent. requires action and planning- but this doesn’t change the most beautiful part about it – it is free , and available to EVERYONE seeking freedom.

This freedom remains and can be felt regardless of the need to have a tentative plan at the very least.

There is a freedom that comes with Recovery,
but with freedom, comes responsibility. 

LIVE IN FREEDOM, WITH INTENT.

 

Share on Facebook

Dr. Maya Angelou.

I am not really sure that any blog post of mine would ever express the impact that this one woman has had on so many people; well, not in a way that would even begin to do her justice or accurately illustrate the depth or influence that her work and life has had…..

Today is a very sad day……the world lost a woman who has changed things. She has touched hearts, opened eyes, restored hope and inspired countless individuals.

But…we are all going to have our day.
We don’t know when, how or why- but what we can be certain of, is that it will come.
We are going to leave this earth.
The people that we leave behind will have stories, photos and memories. They will have whatever it is that we have left behind, that has the capability of being passed on- to keep that legacy alive.

Maya Angelou’s website describes her this way:

Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou’s unique power to help readers of every orientation span the lines of race. Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.

 

This woman…..she LIVED.
She is going to continue to live on for generations.
Her legacy is history and though she is not here physically this woman will live on for years to come.

It really makes you think about things.

For me, I think about how many great people have come before us- people who have stepped out of their comfort zones, who have conquered fears, beat odds and exceeded any limits that the world may have put on them.

I think about people who pave the way for more people to follow and make an impact.
I think about leaders creating leaders, and the importance of legacies.

We can all learn from lives lead with integrity and passion, and leaders who LIVED every minute of their lives here on earth, until the last day they were here.

maya-angelou

Share on Facebook

Addiction affects so many.

I have a grandparent who lost her daughter due to inhalants. A mother, gone too soon, leaving a son behind, along with a grieving family ……

A new friend, experiencing anxiety about a loved one who is young- abusing prescription medication and is now going through a rough patch emotionally. Family is now living in a state of fear…..so much stress and uncertainty.

A parent in my family…worrying about one of our family members; homeless again-
not able to cut it in the real world. We are helpless. (but not hopeless).
The anxiety is back. Uncertainty and worry, sleepless nights…are back for some.
But everyone affected in some way, in varying degrees. 

An internet friend is commemorating the 10 year anniversary of losing his son from an overdose…today.
So sad, and still affecting so many-including strangers. The only thing left to do is to speak publicly and to spread awareness in his memory. 

Addiction seems to affect so many families.
Almost everyone you know is affected in some way.
On many levels, it is a silent killer.
Many families suffer in silence, and don’t want to reach out for fear of being categorized, thought of differently, judged or marginalized by the stigma that has surrounded this disease for so many years.

What I have found are two things- things that seem to be static; unchanging. 

1. When an individual or family reaches out for support, they get it.
Whether it be the addict, or the loved ones of an addict.
For the loved ones the fear and the scariest part of considering reaching out…are the possible outcomes of coming out of the
“I love or raised an addict” closet…………..
but typically, reaching out doesn’t result in the scenario that fear told us it would.
For many, people are met with support and a new idea of what addiction is. Learning about it and connecting with others who are in your position can help lessen the impact a little bit.
People find that there ARE support systems in place.
There ARE other people who know exactly what we are going through.
We are NOT the only ones, and that, in and of itself- is a comfort.
We can learn to manage - and we can learn how to be loving without enabling. Utilizing all of the available support out there can help relieve some of the guilt, stress, pain and anxiety that most of us have no idea what to do with.

For an addict, the same is true. There are support systems in place and there are many options for the insured and the uninsured-when they are ready or willing.

2. People can change and it’s okay to remain hopeful as long as they’re still living.
Through all of the support systems and other helping support services that I have mentioned, I have also learned this:
People can and do change.
Yes, some people may not. There are some people who just never seem to dig themselves out for one reason or another.
However, many (thousands, millions!) of people CAN and DO change.
For the people who love the addict, the trick is— to rely on God for strength and patience. Believe that his timing is best and until then- take advantage of support groups, tools, resources, books, friends, *prayer, memories and other positive things to keep yourself healthy. You deteriorating and breaking down is not going to help them get clean, sober or healthy any faster.

It is so difficult to hear all of the stories that I hear and to see all of the families, besides my own, being destroyed by addiction.

It kills the addict and can destroy the loved ones watching in the process-

I just want people out there to know that it is okay and really recommend that you reach out for outside help, and —to hold onto hope. People can and do change.

Just as I have learned in Recovery- our lives are reflected by the quality of our thoughts, beliefs and attitude– and so is managing life as a bystander of addiction.
We have choices. It is not always easy, but we have choices. They are the only things that we have control over.

Stay strong!

Share on Facebook

Tips: How to help kill your addict and lose your sanity

download

 

 

How-to: Help kill your addict, and lose your sanity: 

1. Every time you talk to them, be sure to remind them of how they are wasting their life away by making stupid & idiotic decisions that make no logical sense. Remind them that if they were not stupid, they would be able to see that.

2. Be sure to base how much they love you solely on how often they lie, drink, use or relapse.

3. It’s always a good idea to take them at their word.
After all, they do love you and most people don’t lie to people who they actually love, if they really love them.

4. Always take it personal when they don’t tell the truth.

5. If they wreck a car, be sure to buy them a new one.
You don’t want them to have to walk anywhere or endure the extra stress of having to pre-plan, figure things out or have to rely on themselves to get to work, meetings or the grocery store. Haven’t they been through enough?

6. If anyone…..and I mean anyone… tries to help you by giving you pointers or advice when it comes to dealing with your loved one- you should cut them off quickly. Shut it down.
YOU know your addict best- there is not any way that anyone else could possibly understand them the way that you do, or be able to help them or handle them quite like you can. No.one.

7. Don’t ever educate yourself about addiction or alcoholism.
What literature, study, science, or any other type of research is going to dictate how you handle your life with your sick loved one?
I mean, this is real life and it is absolutely preposterous to think that learning could help you in any way.
Your situation is unique.

8. Always pay them in cash.
If they do an odd job or help out to earn some extra money for ‘living expenses’ never pay them with a check or tangible items. They don’t have a way to cash a check and they don’t always know exactly what they will need – paying in cash just ensures that they have funds available that are most convenient for whatever might come up this week. Why would you want to make their lives so difficult?

9. Always blame yourself.
If you were good enough, smart enough, strong enough and more in control – this would not have happened.

10. Buy them more drugs.
It might really be the last time they use. If you don’t buy them, they might commit a crime to get them or degrade themselves to obtain them.
Plus, they are just so uncomfortable when they don’t get to use and it is totally ridiculous to allow them to flounder and get angry without their drug of choice.

11. Always avoid boundaries.
If you have to check receipts, pat down pockets, go through drawers, take off work, stay up all night, call hospitals and county jails, put the taxi hat on and completely dismantle your existence, personal goals, hopes, dreams, emotional stability, mental health and sanity—to make them temporarily happy….by God- do it! It is just a small sacrifice for true love, and you’re committed.

12. Always place blame and direct your hatred & rage toward the other people in the addicts life, who have broken away and set boundaries.
They do not care enough about them and it is clear that they never did.
If they cared, they would stick around and sit next to you in the front row of the ‘I am killing myself show’- right there with you. But where are they? They aren’t there. They say they’re tired and exhausted and cannot do any more for them. Ha, right. But you’ll show them. You are going to stick around much longer than anyone else has. Because, well….that’s true love.

Disclaimer:
I feel like I can write a list like this, because I know that it is all in good fun.
As an addiction counselor, I understand my role as being a primary guide in a therapeutic environment. As a professional, I take my role in the lives of hurt people very seriously.

As a regular “Sally”, I have coped with many interesting and traumatic life experiences by using my trustworthy go-to defense mechanisms: Sarcasm & humor.

This list is clearly not formulated for public use or serious guidance.

It is a parody of  *some (only a few!) of the colossal mistakes that i have made loving family members to death. (or quite close)

As a former co-dependent of a 25 year crack-addict/mentally ill parent and a younger brother (who I would love to love to death),

These traits, thoughts, habits and beliefs (and many more) are some that I have experienced first hand.

Share on Facebook

10 Tips: For friends & family of a Drug-Addict or an Alcoholic

I understand how frustrating and anxiety ridden dealing with a loved one who struggles with addiction can be. It is not an easy thing to handle. 

Here are 10 randomly concocted tips that I have come up with: 

1. Express empathy for them, directly to them. 

2. Avoid arguments with them whether they are sober or not. (this creates a high-emotion situation and doesn’t do anything besides creating an urgency to use for the addict)

3. Be honest and direct -in a loving way.
(Don’t use their past mistakes to berate them and beat them to death emotionally. They’re already bankrupt in this area, and you cannot kill em’ twice.
Instead, use truth- encouraging and positive statements about how valuable and worthy they are of so much more.)

4. If you set a rules or boundaries, clearly state them during a sober time, and stick to them.

5. Help them create relapse trigger lists, (environments, people, places, etc) and help them understand how it connects.

6. Make them a list of meetings in your area. Have them choose at least one to attend regularly. Go with them if you can. (Show support)

7. Treat them like they are human beings. They may be making poor decisions and may not be trusted, but still deserve to have thorough explanations for rules, demands and expectations and respect.

8. Help them make the connection between their goals for changing their lives, and what they are doing to make that happen. (going to meetings is a good step in the right direction toward a goal, completing book work or step work is another example, changing their phone number, avoiding triggers etc.)

9. Sporadically hug them. (:-) ) They might hate it, but they will love it at the same time.

10. If you are more interested in their recovery than they are, something needs to change. If you are working harder and are more dedicated to what should be their work- reevaluate your approach. (Never ever give up on them. Offer support and kindness. Hugs, tear wiping, etc….but you are not to do work FOR them.)

Share on Facebook

Your Journey.

download
This is a book that I just finished.  I really enjoyed it.
Below I am sharing a few excerpts that I personally benefited from reading, but there are many many more that I have highlighted and tucked away.

I read this book not because I was unsure about my direction in life, or am questioning my personal beliefs….
I simply have an odd need to know more about things that I don’t know about.
I can’t explain my fascination or explain how much I contemplate certain things-my husband says I think …a lot. (Can’t.help. it.)

I like and want to know why I believe what I believe.
I like to have answers to questions from inquisitive minds or unexpected challenges.
I like to challenge myself and am curious about  the diversity and foundations of other world religions and cultures.
I love to learn about history and philosophy. Obviously, I know- in many realms I am considered boring, but this kind of reading gets me going! I am excited to share these things with you.

We are on our own journey. I would encourage others to take some time and evaluate these life questions related to personal belief and commitment. I mean, you don’t have to sit for hours and read boring text, or compare and contrast world-philosophy/religion, but do take some time to make your faith and your beliefs….your personal treasures.

I am not afraid to prompt others to do so, partly because the truth always wins and shines through regardless of any information that you absorb …….
and partly because no one ever passionately and enthusiastically set out to spread good news, good vibes or truth by force; but through and as a result of a powerful personal experience.

And ultimately, I love and follow Jesus- he’s a radical God and in my heart, the only one that provides ultimate and objective truth and who provides this crazy, undeniable, unchanging and all encompassing type of agape love that I cannot deny.

So there’s that…. and I wanted to share these as well:

20140527_123008

20140527_115505

20140527_122608

 

“In The Journey, you can investigate answers from three major perspectives—modern secularism, Eastern philosophy, and Christian faith—and form your own conclusions. If you or someone you know is engaged in a quest for faith and meaning, The Journey can help you find answers worthy of your time and commitment.”

If you are interested in buying this rather old, but still completely relevant book from 2001-
it is on Amazon for decent prices brand new and for —change (like change you can find in your car, change) for used copies.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Journey-Meaning-Trinity-Series/dp/1576831604

 

Share on Facebook

Filling Voids

The heart will always look to rejoice in something beyond itself, so rather than trying to squash desire, we should instead look to satisfy it- in God.  Andrew Wilson, Joy

Share on Facebook

#Hope

PaperStone-Plum-Kitchen-and-Bathroom-Countertop-Color

This is truly how I feel and is my primary motivation for all that I do – blog related.
There is hope and there is opportunity to change, for anyone who chooses to work for it.

For daily inspiration, info, humor and more check out Discovering Beautiful on Facebook:
www.Facebook.com/DiscoveringBeautiful

Share on Facebook

MBTI- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.
These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung and first published in his 1921 book 
Psychological Types.

I had to take this test for a class. I had never really explored this realm of psychology before, but I had taken amateur tests over the years- internet quizzes or magazine quizzes that always seemed to miss the mark in one area or another. So, I was not excited about having to answer all of these questions and loathed the idea of having to write an essay about my results.

I answered question after question and finally got through the MBTI.
My result popped up and I read what this test indicated of the ‘who’ I am.

I have to say each paragraph described my personality to a ‘t’.
I was surprised at its’ accuracy and intricate detail.
It is really hard to explain to people that I truly love people, and care for humanity.I am a true introvert, I am not shy. I care about many core issues that I feel are vital and I have serious passion. I am not a bitch, I am just quiet and think a lot. I do get loud and obnoxious with people who I am close to, and have had the same best friend for over 15 years. I care about you though I may not always express it verbally. So many odd contradictions in my personality, and most don’t exactly translate well to acquaintances!

Anyway, I suggest to anyone reading this- to take a half hour and take this test! It is free. It was an assignment for me, but I really enjoyed it in the end.

This is my profile: (INFJ) 
Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists — INFJs gravitate toward such a role — are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power…………

continued here ->   http://typelogic.com/infj.html

HERE is the link to take the test yourself: 
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Share on Facebook

Sharing an excerpt…

Quote

An excerpt from a book entitled The Journey, Our Quest for Faith and Meaning, written by Karen Lee-Thorp:

Belief in something doesn’t make it true; only truth makes a belief true. But without truth, a belief may only be a sincere speculation. True beliefs then, are beliefs that correspond with reality. When the Christian faith claims to be objectively true, that declaration directly opposes those that are typically modern. 

Thus, Christian faith is not a form of relativism- true only “for us”.
Being objectively true, it is true in a way that is independent of majority decisions and cultural perspectives. 

Nor is Christian faith subjectivism- true only because “we feel it.”
Feelings come and go, and thus are unreliable ground for faith; truth is needed to ground feelings. 
Nor is Christian faith pragmatism-true simply “because it works.”
Rather, it works because it is true.

In sum, the Christian claim to objective truth means that truth is true even if nobody believes it; falsehood is false even if everybody believes it. 

Share on Facebook

Perspective from Paul

I have always felt particularly drawn to the Apostle Paul’s writing.
That dude practiced what he preached.
He told us to rejoice in suffering; not writing from a comfortable vacation waterfront beach house or while addressing a mega church….

but while he was sitting in prison.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

Real Talk

Share on Facebook

Makes you think..

images

Share on Facebook

Encourage others to encourage!

I wanted to follow-up that post by countering -
that there are also so many accepting, loving and kind people out there.

I have a feeling there are more than we know, but they, for some reason, aren’t as vocal.

However, the numbers are growing- there are people who are just as fed up as I am with stigma, hate and people bashing. I will not be categorized for loving Jesus, and I cannot tolerate hate, and I don’t condone fighting hate, with more hate. It is ridiculous.

There are so many big hearts out there-
who are willing to reach out to others- and serve others.

So many supporters, advocates, brave souls and enthusiastic people who are so pumped to break barriers……

Keep fighting, keep speaking up, keep encouraging and supporting others!!!

For every person that feels the need to bring someone else down or marginalize them for whatever self-proclaimed reason—-

there are even more of us out there who are ready to say………….No more.
That’s not working!

I know who ultimately wins in the end, and I am confident in the Hope that I have. 

In the meantime, I also believe that
Hope always drowns out fear, and Love always trumps hate——–always.

 

Share on Facebook

Step away from your brain Rolodex.

I don’t know how many times a day I read Christian bashing & blanket statement posts about religion. There are now tv shows dedicated to perpetuating the stigma associated with mental illness, and everyone knows there is an overall consensus on what a drug addict is and what we should do with them……….

If you are someone who experiences any level of frustration
related to being squished into stereotypical, old- school, unjust, judgmental, completely wrong- automatic labeling systems -held by the majority—
-I can empathize with you.

I see it a lot from people who aren’t Christians, who assume that all Christian people behave, believe and think a certain way. This is my least favorite stereotype. I cannot stand it.

I love God, and identify as a Christian.
I don’t picket funerals, force my beliefs on anyone, or isolate myself or my children from people who are…….
(oh’my!)–non-Christian. Atheist. Buddhist. Agnostic. or just… different.

Interestingly, I seem to get along with people of all ages, race, ethnicity, sexual preference and religious preference.
I have friends who are divorced and some who are contemplating it and some who have sworn off being in a relationship at all.

I also happen to have the ability to be objective….
Oh’ and I even have the capability of having fun!
Get this- I love people who don’t think exactly the way that I do!

…….and surprise! I have probably made more bad choices than most people I know combined, so count me out of the holier -than- thou group too.

My other least favorite stereotype: The people who post all of the time about just throwing people in jail or killing them off in masses because of course, drug addicts are hopeless human beings. When in fact, addiction knows no bounds-no race, age or tax bracket.

Some also know that I use to be a drug addict.
This is just another box that I like to destroy on a regular basis.
I haven’t ever lived under a bridge, although, I have slept outside a few times.
(Thankfully, I don’t recall those experiences)
I also won’t steal from you -
or rub off my addict cooties onto you or your children.

Oh’ and then we have this one. I too, once misunderstood brain diseases. Having a mother who suffers with mental illness allowed me to experience so much bizarre behavior. I hated her, I hated it and I had no intention of accepting these crazy people and I certainly was not going to give her a free pass.
(However, funny things happen when you shut your egotistical, all-knowing – pride up for a second and you get some reading material; you research and learn.)

Mental- illness runs in my family, crazy deep.
But…..It won’t rub off either. I did escape the generational black plague, but just for your contentment-
I can assure you that I won’t just ‘turn crazy‘ one day during conversation.

I think it is completely safe to say that every single people group- is marginalized on some level. 

Typically it is a route taken by people who have been hurt by a specific people group.
Other times, by those who simply don’t understand certain aspects of these people and their ways.

(We also can’t forget or ignore that It is so much easier to remain ignorant, silent and hateful. It is easier to bash, hate, make-fun and spread clever jokes.)

So I guess, we can come away from this comprehensive, well- thought- out rant with a few thoughts……………….

Maybe, we could ALL benefit from taking a step back.
Maybe take some time to examine what we ask or expect from other people.

What do we want from others?
What do we expect?

A chance?
A little bit of understanding?
Just to be accepted for exactly who we are, right at this very moment?

Maybe, we can try to give this to the world, and we would receive as such back.
Maybe I just believe in this radical theory:
We get what we give.

Try being nice to people.
Try learning about things that you don’t understand.

So, please. Step away from the brain Rolodex, stop filing humans away like they are paperwork.

We are all human beings, equally important and unique.
We are all just navigating this life, trying to do better today- than we did yesterday.
It is possible to extend love- instead of judging and hating.
We can figure this out.

 

Share on Facebook

National Prescription Drug Take-back day

unnamed

 

*National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday–April 26*

“The public has embraced the opportunity these Take-Back Day events provide to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs.”

—>Last October Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) 
of prescription drugs!

–> Since DEA’s first event in September 2010, 
the public has surrendered over 3.4 million pounds of pills.

-This simple act can save lives!
http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml

Share on Facebook

Warning: This is personal

My husband and I watch Investigation Discovery together in the evenings.
We really love to watch true crime, and I love to read true crime non-fiction. It is fascinating to me.

Last night we watched a show. It was about solving the mystery surrounding the murder of a young, expectant mother. Commentary from law enforcement narrates the show. At one point an investigator stated something like this:

                            “A fetus is counted as an individual in our state, according to our                              criminal law. The murder of a fetus is punishable and we will seek                                                   justice through our judicial system.”

Anyway when I heard the detective make this statement, I almost lost my mind. Literally.
Okay, maybe I didn’t have a psychological break, but I am certain that my heart rate was through the roof. I paused the show to rant to my (poor) husband, and there is a strong possibility that I may have been yelling…..

A fetus is actually a person?
Well, only in criminal court- they call it Feticide.
Of the states that have unborn child homicide laws, some of them still uphold some form of legal abortion-
(My belief is the obvious; there is money to be made and it doesn’t matter if the laws directly contradict each other.)

                              “These laws do not apply to legal induced abortions. Federal and                                 state courts have consistently held that these laws do not                                                  contradict the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion…”

I have read about it, and there are different laws, requirements and recommendations for each state regarding abortion laws.
I know there are also so many litigating factors considered in each state, concerning the unborn and homicide.

Look, I respect that everyone has a chosen side. Everyone has a different stance, and reasons that motivate them.

My pro-life motivation-

*God tells us that babies are precious, priceless, and pre-meditated:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

*Science tells us that cells are living things;
that a fetus develops from a cell and 26 days days after fertilization, the tiny heart begins to beat.
http://www.baby2see.com/development/first_trimester.html

*Also, someone asked me what I was ‘going to do’ about my first son when I found out that I was pregnant at 19. I had a moment of silence before my response, and my guy reaction “I am NOT killing it, if that’s what you are asking.”
I have always had a connection to this issue for some reason and this has always been my stance, looooooooong before I met Jesus.

I myself feel stuck sometimes, as I believe in the power and capability of a woman.
The beautiful privilege of being one and the responsibility that comes along with being a woman. I simply don’t believe that there is any reason quite good enough, to kill a fetus.
I also can’t make myself believe that my personal goals, gender preferences, health preferences are ever more important than a human life. That, is just my opinion.

Being pro-life is not something that makes sense to everyone.
and someone who is pro-choice doesn’t make logical or realistic sense to me.

 

Share on Facebook

My thoughts today.

The therapeutic process is a journey.
It is a process of self-discovery.
Individual and group therapy sessions help us to come to our own personal realizations.
It is therapeutic, self-actualization. We participate in this process and little by little- we begin to get to know ourselves. We grow. We reveal things to ourselves as we talk. As we listen we gain knowledge and different perspective. Through this process we build confidence, by forming relationships that are new and healthy, and based on truth.
We gain momentum by holding ourselves accountable and reaching short-term goals.
Over time, we learn more and more about ourselves and eventually – we become strong enough to guide others through the beginning of their new journey.
This process is never-ending, as we will always seek to continually evolve and learn, and give back to others.
It is a beautiful thing when it all starts falling into place and making more clear sense.
There is a lot of everyday life and applicable value in the process of self-discovery.

-Brittany

Share on Facebook

My Addiction is CURED!

b8843ad8c3da4eb0f2ef733ff86dff1a

Gotcha!

When I saw this picture, I literally laughed out loud- hard.
I so identify with this and it is hilarious to me.

I have spent a long time learning. I am a new person and I have changed my habits, thoughts, and environment.  I have goals and have new standards, morals and ethical values.

No matter how many years that pass.
No matter how many days I am sober.
No matter how much I dive into my new identity.
No matter how how far I am from that old me.
No matter how focused my thoughts and life are on Jesus and His will for my life.
No matter how hard I could try to describe to you, how much my heart and life has changed-
No matter how much time I spend loving my family, my friends or my passions-

It is there. 
and it is still waiting. 

That is just the truth.

For example:
(Two of many possible examples that I have experienced over the last 7 years)

I had a Cesarean section 5 years ago, 2 years into my Recovery.
I had my nurses scratching their heads and collaborating with one another. How in the hell do they sedate & numb me?
After almost ten minutes into this emergency situation, they were asking me how in the world I can still feel the needle point? (as they lightly poked me repeatedly)
I don’t know I said.
I am not a doctor, and certainly no scientist for Gosh sakes, just give me more.

Or this. (given I don’t have anything non-drowsy readily available)
To date, I will take 1 or 2 Benadryl on a high pollen count afternoon-in much needed situations, and will spend the remainder of that day- fighting my own brain away from the hall closet.
It is the damndest thing.
The same goes for any sleep medication, NyQuill, Pm anything.

What would you call that?

*Is that  ‘moral failure’ on my part?
*I bet you think I have just not given it ALL to God.
*Maybe you think that deep down I have not really sorted through all of my addiction and so, it must be lingering.
*I just haven’t worked hard enough….
*Or wait! I could just be trying to push the responsibility away from myself so I don’t have to be accountable…
*No no. It is because I am choosing to think that way, and so- have inadvertently created this scenario.

Or maybe.

*Maybe- there is an underlying scientific/cognitive/psychological  reason.
*Maybe, I am not just some loser human who cannot get it right.
*Maybe, I have worked really, really hard and this —thing- isn’t going away.

*Maybe, I will always have an active Recovery.
*Maybe I will always reach out and give back to keep busy and try to encourage and help others.
*Maybe there is more to it than some people are willing to accept.
*Maybe I will always have to stay on my toes.
*Maybe, all that I am sure of, is what I have personally experienced and that is why I advocate for the disease, and biopsychosocial model.

I am not a scientist or an expert in the field (yet!)
I am just sharing my truth, from my perspective and pairing it with the information that I have sought, studied and learned.

I don’t know why some people are seemingly ‘cured’.
Some never get through detox. Some never make it to treatment.
Some struggle through recovery going back and forth.
I don’t have definitive answers, only loose theories.

I just wish that more people would be willing to arm themselves with factual information.
I wish more people could at least try to gain insight into certain things that they might not understand
before bashing them, categorizing them, damning them to hell, questioning their faith or closeness with God, assuming that they must be morally corrupt on some level, squishing them into some AA, NA or 12-step box or dehumanizing their existence based on personal opinion and perception.

So, no.
My addition is not cured. I am only LIVING in Recovery and working my butt off to break the stigma.

Be nice to people.

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

Share on Facebook

Christianity and Science.

There haven’t been any supernatural phenomenons curing me of this sleeping monster.

Jesus saved my life.
Gave me life. Forgave me.
Having faith in Jesus has allotted me power and strength to
break free from my strongholds and keep away from substances..
to build a new life..
to find a new identity…
to have a new hope…
to hunger to learn more and more…
and to feel joy & true contentment

But I am not cured.

I want Christians (and I say that lovingly, I am a Jesus follower too)
and other people who lack knowledge or who simply refuse to attempt to understand what happens when a dependency develops to understand something:

There is such a thing as science and you cannot argue with that.
(if you do, you get to be the delusional one)

It does exist and like it or not, our brains are scientific things.
There are chemicals, and tiny scientific complex operations that happen inside of our heads.
It is possible to screw things up in there, and it is possible to be freed in Jesus, liberated and saved by the hope that we find in Him, through our faith and His grace….

and he still may not choose to push the reset button on our brains.

*Does this mean that my mind is not renewed? No. I have a different perspective and the most positive outlook that I have ever had on life.
*Does this mean that I am not a new creation, old gone- new here? No.
I am not who I was, I am new. Things have changed. Old Brittany gone. New Brittany, here.
*Can he  perform miracles? Yes.
*Does he have the power to? Absolutely.
*Does he? I bet he has, does, and continues to.
*Just because you are saved or have turned your life and will over to him, does that mean that he automatically reverses & restores any and all brain or chemical change or damage? No.
*Did he fix my brain chemical malfunctions? Nope.
* Am I mad? Nope.
*Do I resent that or blame him? Of course not.
*Am I still a Jesus follower? Yes.
*Did he give me the tools and resources that I have needed along the way to learn how to manage my new life, and my addiction? Yes.

*Do I believe in the science of addiction? Yes I do..

shirt_image7

Share on Facebook

Why some become addicted and some don’t…

Screenshot_2014-04-08-12-12-00

Share on Facebook

Stay in Touch with Discovering Beautiful Blog:

522

Read the blog here.

Tweet @B_SHELTON_

Facebook.com/DiscoveringBeautiful

Pinterest.com/DiscoveringB

YouTube.com/DiscoveringBeautiful

Share on Facebook

A not-so-scientific, social experiment.

This week I made an intentional decision to check-out.
My Discovering Beautiful posts were scheduled a week out and posted automatically.

(A feature that I had never really taken advantage of until now, and I am loving it!
What?! Where have I been?)

Aside from a few seconds a day, I have not been online reading or scrolling social media platforms.

Okay. I have been focusing a lot lately on the power of positive thinking and the destruction of negative & toxic thinking and interacting.

(Not because it has taken precedence over my faith or God’s power in my life, or my belief that He supplies all of my needs… but because I feel that having a healthy mind contributes to our quality of life and our ability to function in or daily lives at our best. My faith is in no way compromised or ‘less’ important because of my firm belief in the power of psychology. My human mind is also affected by human things, including – human behavior. My faith is what keeps me going everyday. God’s love is why I am alive, why I do what I do, and why I can say with certainty I believe we should spend time with others who are dedicated to loving others and building others up.)

*I already believe that the ‘you are who we run with’ or ‘you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with’  theories are right. In the context of drug use and abuse and especially in recovery. It is important to change your environment and who you are around for obvious reasons. Boundaries are necessary for progress and success.

*I also believe that in certain families, it is best to make relational boundaries for a number of reasons. In my case, it is what is best for my recovery and for the personal safety of myself and my family. So, those boundaries are necessary.

But- interestingly, it has recently occurred to me:

Although I place a high value of the importance of boundaries and have them in place in certain areas of my life, I have never really paid much attention to the power that a negative attitude, a negative mindset, and a negative interaction can have on me.

(Not the majority of people who have problems, and everyday issues. Not people, like myself who have crappy days every once in awhile. I am talking about an overall, general negative attitude and outlook and approach on life.)

I am not saying that I am not aware of the potential effects that a negativity can have on a person.
I understand and have learned a great deal about this, and believe the validity of the research behind negative influence and it’s ability to negate any type of growth.

What I am saying is that I have never really taken an intentional look at how my mood, reactions, and attitude are effected when/if I  interact  with such people on a daily basis.

I have had a sneaking suspicion (and if this was a real experiment, I would call this a hypothesis) that certain interactions were in fact, stealing  ‘good vibes’ and not replacing them with anything positive….

So. I wanted to know. 

Do I interact with Individuals who are inherently toxic- who never seeing the glass half-full, who are unforgiving, who gossip, or who never lift anyone up?

Does this matter? Does reading this stuff on Facebook,  scrolling past it on Twitter, or listening to it over the phone have any affect on me?

If I do, what happens?

The only way that I would find out is to take a break from social medial and to pay closer attention to who I was talking to and how I felt after talking to them.
I monitored my interactions and what I was absorbing with my eyes, ears and heart.
I took note of my thoughts, feelings and reactions.
Basically, I lived my life as usual, I just paid more attention to a few things.

All week long- I had great interactions.

I read a little in a good book, I laughed hard- with my kids, I didn’t have any arguments with anyone, I enjoyed my husband; we had fun talking with him via skype while he was out of town, I read positive quotes, and read in my Bible throughout the week with the kids. Every person that I talked to ended up being an interaction that I could consider ‘positive.’

Except for one.

What I noticed was interesting. Obviously, not surprising- but I paid close attention.
What kinds of feelings did I feel afterward?  How did it effect my thoughts? Could this have been avoided?

Because I was intentionally seeking and observing this week, it did not have a lasting impact on my mood, my day and certainly not my overall attitude. It did not have the power to ruin my day.

It simply felt different, and not a good different. (I am all about fun and change, challenges and calculated risk) but this is not the change that I felt. Just an overall uneasy feeling- and a stark contrast to the other experiences of this week. It did (try) to bring my happiness meter down a few notches, that’s for sure.

As far as the social media aspect- that too, was a definite eye-opener.

Not seeing anything negative, or reading any posts with complaints about general, everyday, life stresses  really did make a difference.
I know that my ‘experiment’ -(using that word loosely) was by far, amateur, and not a well-controlled or well-documented one……
But it did provide results and left  me with enough information to come to a pretty clear ‘conclusion.’

There is room and need for immediate improvement in my Facebook feed.
‘Friends’ and ‘Pages’.
I am confident about my twitter feed for the most part.
As for my relational sociological interactions, that too will be tweaked.

We will never have control over everything that happens in our lives, stress is to be expected, things happen, we experience trials, bad days and hard times.
What we do have control over – is our attitude and our reactions to these things.
Obviously, I am all about loving other people, that is not the question.
Just don’t allow the negativity of another person, to effect your person.

We have one life, and I believe that it should be lived. LIVED happily, and intentionally.
Seek out good, do good, promote good and love even better.

So.
In keeping with my approach, and the natural procedural systematic observations and methods….

my ‘conclusion’ can be summed up nicely by saying:

34720481

Share on Facebook