Author: Brittany

Constructive vs. Destructive

I am reading  Ed Young’s, The 10 Commandments of Marriage.

communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started it a few months ago. It could have been a short read, but my time management skills are obviously lacking. I have a house full of boys who I love, one of them being a seven-month-old who recently started teething. I will use him as my excuse as to why my daily plans aren’t really plans at all. 🙂

I do my best to get in a little bit of this book every day, but some days I only get one page in!

Honestly, taking it slow through this book has been beneficial.
It gives me time between fragments to really take it in, and time to apply it.
So I am digging it.

My marriage is a lot of fun. I have a an honest, caring, hilarious, hard-working, sweet, thoughtful, husband. He always remembers details. He never forgets an important date, he writes sweet things in my cards, opens doors for me, I get sweet texts more than twice a day, we have a rockin’ physical attraction, he still winks at me and kisses my forehead. He invests time into ‘us’ and is good about balancing his work, friendships, and being a daddy. Our sons love & respect him and he makes sure to take time out every day to read to them, ask about their day, and chill with them.
God has seriously given me a gift; this is the only man in the world that I want to do life with.

But even so, our marriage is still very hard work. It almost forces me to my personal max every day. When we have busy lives and polar opposite personalities, it sort of happens.

My personal Recovery has taught me a lot about the importance of continually self-improving.

One big part of my life is focused on evolving, learning, and growing; living in maintenance mode so I don’t risk getting stuck in a state of stagnation.

The other part is about remaining grateful for being alive to live this life, and never forgetting who I owe this second chance to.

Recovery has allowed me to uncover, face, and accept all of my many shortcomings, weaknesses, and character defaults. I know what I need to work on, and I try really hard to learn ways to keep improving. I also know that I am a chronic mistake-maker, and that’s alright too.

I don’t throw or break things when I am angry anymore.
I try not to allow myself to verbally attack, or say mean-spirited /smart-as* stuff that pops into my mind when we have a disagreement.
I rarely use my words as a spirit devouring machete.
I don’t utilize my skills in the silent treatment department, and I don’t abruptly leave as much.

Not perfect in these areas, but they are definitely far and few between.

The 10 Commandments of Marriage aligns directly with three key factors played a humongous role in my growth in Recovery: 

*You can’t fix a problem by saying it’s not there. (It will turn into resentment, anger, etc)
*You can’t fix other people. (Leave that to God)
*Communication is key. (To form lasting and thriving relationships)

I can apply the same principles directly to my marriage. 

I am not reading this book because my marriage is failing or on the verge of falling apart.
I am reading it because over the last ten years, we have gone through a lot.
We have become stronger and closer, but we are still human beings who make mistakes.
We still hit bumps and have arguments.
This past year one, of these bumps threw me right off of the road.
I felt like I was shot gunned right through my gut. (and no, it was not infidelity, or in that realm).

But it was time to choose.

I could have chosen to quit and derail the last ten years piece by piece. I could whine, complain, and allow sadness and anger to take over my life. I could begin to look at my husband as a giant mistake maker, who is unworthy of my forgiveness and who isn’t capable of truly being apologetic. I could could silence my anger by making him look as terrible as possible, by bashing him to any listening ear.

Or, I could learn how to handle this in a constructive way, rather than a destructive way.
I could learn to forgive him, just like he has forgiven me in the past. I could seek wise counsel from people that I trust, and from people who truly want to help us get through this trail.
(Read about that here) I could learn how to make this situation work for us, helping us grow even closer. I could offer him Grace, because I have been given so much of it in my lifetime.
I could try my damndest to love like Jesus. 

So if you are a husband basher, or a chronic complainer of all things marital…
before you begin to lace up your gloves for 12 rounds of very public husband bashing

Think about this.
It is an annoyance to people who are trying to learn and utilize constructive tools to repair a marriage. It does a disservice to other women who are susceptible to being sucked into that kind of talk.

As hard as it may be during your time of need – try focusing on the good. Try not speaking of your husband publicly or within a group of women, unless you are complimenting him or speaking of positive progress that the BOTH of you are making.

As friends we are called to help our fellow ladies and sitting back and supporting this kind of ranting, is not helping our friends who are very much in need of some real help and guidance.

7437901

The Husband Bashing Thing.

I'm_with_the_dummy

If you walked into a room you could actually feel the difference between:

Women using their gifts, talents, or experiences, to help empower, teach, or inspire another woman who needs help, direction, or advice when it comes to her husband or their marriage-

and a woman who is throwing herself a husband bash-sesh,
who is secretly hoping to suck everyone with a vagina into her husband-hating, soul- sucking, vortex.

These are two completely different environments.

One is positive
(not perfect) but gives off vibes that aren’t debilitating to others, but creates more of a supportive place…

and the other–

Is negative.
….the bashing, it creates a tense, awkward, toxic atmosphere.
that just feels wrong.

These particular sessions can often feel friendly or fun in the beginning,
but can quickly turn into women one-upping each other.

Listen. As a woman, I know that we need other women to encourage us, to relate to, to get advice from, and sometimes- we simply need them to listen to us and nothing more.

I just hate, (yes, hate)
I hate being in the room when a bashing festival is going on.

Bystanders are left feeling super awkward.
Everyone’s usually masking or feeling some level of discomfort.
People are left wondering what the right move actually is.
Others are secretly searching for a fire escape or making mental notes of what they need at the grocery store.

In the end, everyone usually ends up feeling pretty sucky and completely drained.
(Hence the difference between the two environments and approaches)

Having been the awkward bystander who has endured some of these toxic play dates…

Here are 5 Things that incessant husband bashing inadvertently tells me: 

*You are choosing to retreat.
You are in the middle of a battle, and you are running the wrong way.
Each negative, mean, hateful, spiteful, or chronic complaint is contributing to this rift that you so badly want bridged…yet every single shit*y thing that you say is only creating more distance between you, your husband, and your peace. Don’t alienate yourself from him.
Seek wise counsel + constructive feedback from people who love you and who desperately want to help you keep your marriage together.

*You aren’t at all interested in utilizing constructive solutions. 
There’s a HUGE difference between seeking wise counsel, or speaking with someone in confidence, and whining or incessantly complaining anytime you have the mic in a group of girl friends.
-Venting is more like expressing your feelings; sharing the status of those feelings with a person that you trust. There is definitely therapeutic value in allowing yourself to openly share, and in considering another person’s constructive feedback. There is also value in having a reliable support and encouragement when we just don’t feel motivated to keep pushing.
-Chronically complaining or ‘bashing’ on the other hand is simply you making your husband look like an as* in front of people who he probably knows and has to see. The motive here is not to seek any real support or encouragement. That isn’t what you are looking for.

*You just want generic confirmation that you are right and he is wrong.
This is a quick fix. Like an emotional band-aid.
You end up with a truck load of useless ‘that’s too bad’ or a sore shoulder from all of the pats on the back. You feel a little bit better when someone else begrudgingly chimes in to play this game with you. Hearing the collective ‘ooh’s and ahh’s’ ,occasional gasping, or seeing the eye rolling of the other wives in the room-all temporarily make the real problems seem a little bit less terrifying.

(None of which will actually help to mend your marriage.)
But then again, mending your marriage is not the primary goal of husband bashing.

*Maybe you don’t know what else to do. 
Your tool box is empty. Your reference point is off. Your fear is paralyzing your logic. Guilt from shaming him so much internally and socially is hindering your ability to do something useful.
You rely on that generic support. The character assassinations have become your norm.
You are legitimately hurting and are feeling angry. You aren’t handling whatever the situation is productively, but the bottom line is,
you just don’t know what else to do.

*You still care.
So the good news is, when you husband bash his brains all over the place, it shows listeners that you still care. If you didn’t, you would not be inappropriately seeking help for this laundry list of things that you feel that you can’t tolerate anymore. You would not risk embarrassing your husband. You wouldn’t put yourself through the agony of apologizing to everyone later for overstepping boundaries that you already knew you were crossing when you opened your mouth.

An apathetic stance seems to be the opposite of love, and if husband bashing tells me anything it’s that you still care deeply about this man, and your marriage.

So there’s that. I am writing this to help you to reconsider this technique of solving marital problems. I cannot express how odd it feels to be put in this situation. Asking or forcing a person to contribute or absorb this kind of negative stuff is a ridiculous position to put people in.
It’s pretty much a lose lose for everyone.

I am not writing this to express to the world how perfect my marriage is either.
We have had our rough patches, believe me. I have chosen him to be my life partner. I am grateful for him and I am choosing to respect him. I am an imperfect, moody, mistake-maker too. I suck at things, I am great at other things, but at the end of the day, any time I run to someone else to complain about him, I am missing an opportunity to communicate with my husband.
We are on the same team.

I know some people will hate this post, and others will relate.
Either way, I appreciate you reading and welcome your feedback.
Feel free to connect with Discovering Beautiful on Facebook and let me know what you think.

Substance For You

QqPspEMW

Here is a post that I wrote for SubstanceForYou.com
This site has tons of resources for people in Recovery.
Be sure to check it out.

Here’s the link to my post:
http://substanceforyou.com/15-things-to-remember-when-having-the-talk/

 

What If.

183rd

 

When we feel accepted, embraced, and loved, regardless of our imperfections-
we feel more secure by default.
We feel welcome.

When we feel like we aren’t being judged, we tend to feel a little bit more comfortable too.
We learn that it’s okay to embrace and love the absolute  -ishh out of ourselves.

These are all just common side-effect for any human who feels like they truly belong somewhere.

…And shouldn’t all mom’s feel like they belong?

This is what making a #Mommitment is all about, really.
It is simply deciding that all moms belong.
*Not just some moms.
*Not we love certain like-minded moms, and tirelessly ostracize the others.
*Not we laugh with these moms we like, while we laugh at those moms together.
*Not we help everyone, except the moms who are doing the mom thing differently that we are.

Or maybe it’s deciding that there isn’t really a
 there to belong to in the first place.
We all just…. belong.

Maybe it’s us choosing to abandon this exclusive ‘only women who do things like I do are deserving of my love and respect’ mentality behind.

Momming is hard work.
We are all going day-to-day, one day at a time.
Our circumstances are all vastly different.
We live in different countries, climates, and cultures.

-What if we didn’t actually feel the stares, hear the gossip, or witness the judging snarly stuff?
-What if we simply decided that we weren’t partaking any more?
Not one dirty look.
Not one confused, judgy stare.
Not one piece of gossip repeated.

-What if we joined forces; smashing together all of the knowledge, love, warmth, humor, and awesomeness that a woman brings to the table- and we just supported one another?

-What if we were kind, and respectful of other lady humans?

-What if we all decided that enough is …enough?

-What if we all made a #Mommitment ?

A mommy revolution would happen friends.
Change would happen.

It has already begun. 🙂
Come and be a part of this!

Check out this petition.
Or you can follow #Mommitment on the Twitter, or on Facebook.

 

Small Bathroom Facelift -Quick and Easy DIY

Our whole house is going to go through small updates and changes here and there.
I thought I’d post our projects for other people who don’t have thousands in disposable income, or for others like us, who don’t have debt and want to keep it that way.
We just try to work simple and smart.

After living here for almost seven years, we were both definitely ready to get this update started.

I should note that we aren’t renovating anything, just updating cosmetic things.
I am always so excited and surprised when small changes, make such a huge difference.

We are starting in the basement. Our first DIY project was the bathroom.

Here’s the before pic.
Note the popcorn ceiling and the nice leafy wallpaper.

PhotoGrid_1441308617500

 

Popcorn removal:
Our first order of business was scraping the popcorn off.
We sprayed the ceiling with warm water from a cheapo water bottle
and used a 12 inch scraper like this one: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Wal-Board-Tools-12-in-Taping-Knife-20-042/100660210 to scrape the popcorn off.

Messy yes, but very easy.

Wallpaper removal:
Next we filled that same water bottle with equal parts white vinegar and hot water.
I saturated the wall paper border with this mixture, and let it sit.
I went around the room and gave it a good first coating and by the time I came back around it was ready to be scraped off.
I used a small putty knife to scrape. I tore off all that I could and the thin layer left came right off.

Next, I swept the bathroom.
I got all of the wallpaper and popcorn into a trash bag.
After the walls and ceiling were dry, I gently wiped down the walls with a dry cloth to get any remaining dust/popcorn.

Filling holes: 
I filled all of the nail holes and uneven places with drywall spackling. I know there are nail hole fillers out there and other things, but I prefer to use this stuff. We had some large holes to fill.
I let this dry for around 5 hours or so.
Then we sanded.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/DAP-1-qt-DryDex-Dry-Time-Indicator-Spackling-12327/100155689

After another round of wiping down the walls and one last good and thorough sweep and mop of the floor, it was time to remove the big commercial 80’s mirror, and paint. 

20150829_163651

Ceiling Paint:
We used a standard bright white flat ceiling paint. It comes in antique white, almond white etc. We liked the bright white for our small space.
I painted the perimeter of the ceiling first with a small brush. I cut in about 6 inches or so all the way around. I did two coats.
I rolled the rest of the ceiling and did about two coats, allowing it to dry for about an hour in between coats.

Wall paint:
Next I did the same thing to the walls. I painted the perimeter of the room, cutting in about 6 inches all the way around the entire room. Then, I rolled the rest. I did two coats.

Floors: 
We went with vinyl peel and stick tile. They are durable, can withstand water/moisture, and are very reasonably priced. They did the job.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMASTER-Ceramica-12-in-x-12-in-Alpine-Marble-Resilient-Vinyl-Tile-Flooring-30-sq-ft-case-40718C/202191238

Mirror:
I bought a mirror from Wal-Mart for 29 bucks. It was this coppery color, but I liked the price tag.
I taped it off and spray painted it black. I wanted a larger mirror without the increase in price. Mirrors are pricey. So, with a little bit of extra work, I got what I wanted.

20150905_190238
I posted our before and after pics to Facebook. A friend of mine who happens to be a pretty rad interior designer, suggested we paint the vanity black.
I had been going back and forth with the idea. I couldn’t decide between black or white.
I just decided she probably knew best, because i am not a trained designer. So we went with black.
I am so happy we did!

Vanity: 
I lightly sanded off the glossy finish first.
Then I took off the doors and took them outside.
I spray painted the hinges black (lazy, maybe but cheap and quick)
and taped off the vanity from the floors and walls.

I used this product to paint the vanity:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Painter-s-Touch-32-oz-Ultra-Cover-Gloss-Black-General-Purpose-Paint-1979502/100139731

I painted one coat and waited about two hours.
Then I did the second coat. That did it!

20150906_215154
The last thing that we did was put the rugs in, change the toilet seat, add new led fluorescent light bulbs, and clean the bathroom one final time.

Eventually, we will change out the toilet paper holder, the knobs, and the towel bar.
But for now, we are very happy with our results and are moving on to the bigger part of the basement. I will post those pics when we are finished.
The popcorn removal has already begun, and the carpet is g.o.ne. (YES!)

Feel free to ask questions if you have any. My email address can be found here:
http://discoveringbeautiful.com/category/contact-me/

I turned off comments a long time ago, because ..spam.

New Roads Behavioral Health

460709_t3m2JSAs

I was stoked to have the opportunity to be interviewed by New Roads.
These chances to recover out loud are priceless.

Here is a link to the interview:
http://newroadstreatment.com/brittany-shelton-recovery/

If you would like to learn more about New Roads Behavioral Health, click here:
http://newroadstreatment.com/treatment-philosophy/

Chipping Away at Bitchdom.

sorry-judging-friends-apology-ecard-someecards

So a few days ago we were at the park.

I looked over my shoulder when I heard a family approaching. One mama and five energetic kiddos.
The smallest girl, who couldn’t have been older than 7 years old, was dragging an infant around the park. Guessing baby was around 6 months old.

I watched as this petite little girl climbed up the slide, down the slide, up the stairs, then down the slide, I watched her run back and forth from the swings and back to the slide -with this baby in her arms.

One-handed baby holding…. like a boss.

So of course, holding my own baby at the time-

I am cringing hard with a case of well intentioned ‘what-ifs’.
I’m totally feeling sketchy and a tiny bit helicoptery (mixed with some nausea).

My reaction:
I needed (needed) to look for the mom.
I had to shoot her the ‘omg what is wrong with you’ look-
Really.
She needed to know that I was concerned.

But instead I stopped.
I intentionally stopped my bitchdom before it got out of hand.
(Whoohoo)

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I made a personal commitment to be a person who doesn’t jump the gun, judging another mother for any reason.

I reminded myself that I am committed to be nice to other moms.

Moms who I don’t know, moms who I am different from, and moms who I can love on anyway, regardless.

I chose to confidently believe in that other mom and her choices.
-and move on.
Her baby, her choices…
and frankly, they are none of my business.

So I found mom’s eyes, and I made a point to make eye contact.
and then I smiled.

That’s it.

In case you are wondering, the baby lived through the ordeal.  😉

This process is going to be like all other life lessons that I have experienced.
It is going to take time to reteach myself.
It is going to be different, but to be perfectly honest, it just feels better.

It feels good to be less judgy and catty.
I don’t want to be a woman who makes another woman feel ashamed or less than. I just don’t.

So, this is just me trying to plug this mommitment thing into my daily life.
I like it.

Thank you mom-movement.

If you are interested in learning how you too, can become part of this awesome group of women who are #Mommitted – here are the links. It is free. Simple. Easy-peasy. (and worth it).

http://mommitment.org/
https://www.facebook.com/Mommitment?fref=ts

 

Dropping Keys

download
I shared a little bit about my ‘why’ here on Dropping Keys.
This site was a surprise to me. After looking around, I really liked its purpose.
It is a wonderful place to share stories of ALL kinds.

“Dropping Keys is a community built on the belief that we all have not just the capacity, but the responsibility to help others on their journey. Sharing our own stories represents a milestone in our road to recovery, wholeness, or on our spiritual journey. It signifies that we have made progress and hold wisdom that can help others. We share to inspire others and to reassure ourselves that we have, in fact, experienced personal growth.”

Here’s mine:

http://droppingkeys.net/breaking-cycles/

Learn More about this site:
http://droppingkeys.net/about-2/

4 Harsh Truths.

1318538210640_4141243

Let’s start with I love you. I am not angry at you. I forgive you, and one day, I hope that you embrace your own Recovery and begin living that life that you were made to live.
Moving on..

I am an ethical human and believe that ethics are standards by which ALL people who have a heartbeat absolutely deserve, and addicts are no exception. They (we) are 100% worthy of love, respect, health-care, and chances to choose Recovery as many times as we may need.

But as a wife, mother, blogger, friend, person in long-term recovery, person learning not to enable or be codependent:

Don’t call me, I’ll call you. 
When you call it disrupts my rainbowy, calm, peaceful, yet-imperfect life God has so graciously allowed me to build here. It makes me anxious and I end up worrying for the duration of any and all remaining daylight hours.
I ponder, I pace. I examine and re-examine your tones and linguistic patterns seeking signs of sobriety, and am always pissed when there aren’t any.
When you call past 10 pm central time here in the states, I know one of these things are happening. You need something. You need a ride, bail, money, food, somewhere warm to sleep, someone to blabber to, or someone to rage at. Oh’ wait. I forgot the one where you tell me stories that aren’t real. Completely made-up, fabricated, fictitious, stories. (On repeat.)
Not me. No no no.
I’ll call you.
Sorry. 

Just because you don’t remember it, doesn’t mean that it didn’t really happen. 
Because it did. I assure you, it did.
Yes you spit in my face. Yes you have tried to grab my wheel and run us off of the road. Yes you have damaged my things. Yes you have confused me with someone who you thought was a threat and physically attacked me.
It happened. It really, really did.
It’s called accountability. It is necessary for a person to begin stepping out of that box, and into one of personal growth. Believe me. I am an addict who has had to do it.
So again….
Sorry. 

You are still responsible for you, even when you aren’t fully aware/conscious. 
You are accountable for your actions even if some of them were not sober actions. I do not have to talk to you if I don’t feel emotionally and physically safe. I also invoke my right and privilege to protect my children from your not-so-sober behavior as well.
True story.
Sorry.

Lastly, I just can’t.
It’s just too much.
Sometimes I take a year or so to stay away because I just can’t anymore. I can’t hear it.
Falling into that fire, or getting hit by that car, or flipping the car on the highway, or falling off of that roof, or suffering heart problems, or the shakes, or throwing up blood, getting stabbed, tased, etc.
I can’t. I just can’t.
Sorry. 

If you’re a person who is reading this and I’ve struck a nerve..
Sorry.

I spent years my own self-created hell because of my addiction. I have my own stories and experiences that are eerily similar to these.
I am not a hateful, mean, person. I have simply had my fill of being used, abused, and spit on.
I am also always here when needed, (for emergency situations).
Like many other people who have tried to help a family member who is addicted, I have absolutely given rides, found jobs, searched for treatment, given money, bought food, worried, cried and the rest.
But those were the years when I believe to my core that these things were equivalent to love and help.

**For new readers, please remember that this is a personal share and is my own personal therapeutic way of venting and getting through watching someone who I love very, very, much- get sicker and sicker. It is pretty tough, and aggravating. And tough…

Ease Up.

2662083_fpx

When I committed to the non-judging of other moms, I meant it.
I just think I might have to cut myself a little bit of slack too. Definitely not conceptually new for me personally, but certainly something mommitment has me thinking about more regularly.

So I might be a perfectionist when it comes to the basis of how I judge my OWN momming skills.
Having an addict as a mother has had a huge impact on the kind of mom that I strive to be to my kids. I have spent the last 13 years as the type of mom who places a high level of importance on consistency. I have always equated being ‘better’ than, as having higher standards for myself and for my own kids. I know better, so I try to do better.

So this means that most of my internal dialogue could (possibly, maybe) sound like that of a perfectionist…

Which means the self-judging, self-critiquing, kind of inner-dialogue that I allow to go on (but actively combat), is pretty hardcore stuff.

This could be because…no one is perfect.
So, it’s like a battle I’ll never win, I know it, but I try anyway because I am resilient.
Or stubborn…or a slow learner… or all of that…

But the bottom line is..
I am truly my own. worst. critic.

I don’t need ya judgment, because I have my own, and it’s more than enough.

One slip up, and I guilt myself all the way to my self-created, fictitious, dog-house for awhile.

Yes it’s ridiculous. And I know it is.
(which is why I know I’m not actually crazy..)

So here’s one recent example the ridiculousnessness:

I was hustling around on a Sunday.
Church, cleaning, cooking, 5 month-old-babying, and trying to be an active part of whatever else was going on that day as far as family/fun/spending time together is concerned.
And then, there was the birthday party.
I gathered up boy #2’s swim stuff.
Trunks, floaties, goggles, flip flops, gift, card, and directions for daddy and him to drive to the party.
Fun times for 6-year-olds, indeed.

Ten minutes after they left, and were too close to the party, and too far away from home…
I remembered the Ninja Turtle Beach towel.

The one I forgot to send with them.
The one in the bathroom, in the stack with the other beach towels.
(insert silent panicking here)

The one that wasn’t with boy #2.
The one that was going to save said boy from dying of embarrassment when he showed up without a licensed character towel.
The one he had to have with him because everyone else would have theirs and he wouldn’t have his and he would feel left out, or different, or less than or….
Whatever would he do?

I proceeded to beat myself to a slow death before my brain actually imploded.

Next, I sent a sad emoji text to the husband and made sure I added in that I was a terrible mom.
How in the world could I have forgotten the towel when they were going to an indoor swim party?

and then, ten minutes later I allowed my logic to creep back into my emotionally charged, unraveling, head
and allowed myself to consider the very real possibility that boy #2 probably won’t care…at all.

Not one bit.

He won’t be mortified.
He will roll with it and move on.
He probably won’t even notice, and ultimately, he’ll have a blast with his besties -anyway.

The next text that I sent (around 15 minutes later) said –
“Meh, he’ll live. Have a good time!”

and guess what. I sent him.
He was on-time. He had a gift.
He was clean, fed, healthy, and happy.

I will just call it an overall momming win.

So why. Why is my first inclination to judge and bash myself over something so seemingly small and silly? Really? I picked myself apart over a towel.

No. I picked myself apart for making a mistake.

The truth is…
In no way does my forgetting a towel define or reflect what kind of mom I am as a whole.

It just doesn’t. Unless I believe it does, and I don’t.

So the next time you forget the Ninja Turtle towel,
remind yourself that you don’t always have to be perfect.

It’s great to be as consistent as you can be. It is wonderful to have high standards for yourself, and to have goals, to strive to be better, and to not make excuses.

On the other hand, it is great to remember that we aren’t perfect people.
We all fall short, we all make mistakes, we slip up, we forget.
We can’t allow our mistakes to define who we are, because they aren’t the who of what makes us who we are.

Unless you allow them to.
And you shouldn’t.

#Mommitment

Relapse Begins In Your Head.

Human-Mind-300
Recovery is a long-process because you are not simply learning how to stay away from drugs.

Of course, that’s of utmost importance.
It’s a given. It’s a start and a pre-requisite for life change.
It has to happen in order for you to move forward or to make any progress in Recovery,
but there is just so much more.

As I sit here and type, I am over 8 years in.
I have physically been in Recovery for 8 short years. 
However, I have fumbled around and messed up about 4,557,903 times
……….in my mind.

I learned a lot in school by learning about the psychology of Addiction.
It really helped me to understand my own journey with drugs, alcohol, and coming back from severe depression and negative body image.

My mind is what controls how I feel and what I do.
My perception is also relative, and is not allowed to dictate everything I experience either.
I know that internal conversation definitely has an impact my Recovery.

Here are two things that I have am mindful of on a daily basis:

*Where I let my mind wander.
The mind is a powerful thing. We can’t always dream of rainbows and butterflies and prance around with smiles on our faces…but people who are in Recovery from drug-addiction need not allow their minds to get on a negative setting.
I don’t know about you, but this spirals pretty quickly if it’s allowed. For me, it is usually guilt that leads to self-doubt and I certainly don’t need any help. I am an expert when it comes to reminding myself of what I was, or who I use to be.
I can be pretty convincing, and I know it, definitely my own worst (and meanest) critic.
That sneaky whisper of self-doubt tends to creep in and take over if I let it, and I have to be mindful to immediately combat it with the truth.
Lots of truth.

*What I listen to, who I listen to, and what advice I am going to take.
The radio, social media, tv, email. Messages everywhere. Everyone always has a message.
People often give advice and people love to hear themselves ‘justifiably’ talk about other people.
This one, like all else in our lives- we only have control over so much. We have to pick and choose very carefully if we want to stay true to ourselves.
Who I am is pretty important to how I function as a woman in Recovery, a person who loves Jesus, and as a wife, mommy, and friend. Staying true to who I am is important to me. I have lines, boundaries, clear places I will go and won’t go now.

If I lose sight of who I am, other things begin to fall as well.
I just make sure that I stay on track with who I am as an individual.

These are only two of a laundry list of things that are important in my everyday, real-life Recovery.
We all have different things we tend to focus more on as we progress on our individualized journey.

Does the way that you think impact your day-to-day Recovery? 

Adult Child of an Addict. My Top 3 Traits:

download

I said let’s do this thing, so here we go.

Here are the basics.
Children who live with people who are addicts or alcoholics typically experience various amounts of some, or all, of these types of dysfunction:

violence
inconsistencies (in all areas)
neglect
unclear boundaries/roles
physical/sexual/emotional abuse

These things change us.
As children, we see, feel, take-on, and cope with, situations that the majority of people don’t.

We grow into adults who seem to have common characteristics.
The original list of 13 characteristics was written by Janet Woititz, author of Adult Children Of Alcoholics.
(Find the full list here: http://addictioninfamily.com/alcohol/characteristics-of-acoa-by-janet-g-woititz/)

Of the 13 characteristics, I have at one point or another, identified with all of them.
With the exception of #’s  2, 3, 9, & 13,  I can say that I relate to a lot of these in my life now. This list has allowed me to do a lot of reflecting from different angles.

The 3 characteristics that I identify with most: 

1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.
Yes. It has affected every single area of my daily life and has been a large part of what I mean when I say ‘re-learning’ how to live life.
So this. A lot of this.

This has been an ongoing thing throughout my 8.5 years in Recovery.
From a very young age I recall feeling & knowing that the behavior that I witnessed was wrong.
I knew a certain someone in my life had lost her sh*t, and had checked-out in a huge way….
but I also wasn’t really sure what the right ways to do things were, either.
I just knew things at our house was not like things at my friends houses.

What was (unintentionally) modeled for me are no longer behaviors that are my goto’s.
There are still certain instances that I find myself in, where I simply don’t know what to replace the behavior with. In those cases, I have learned to just take my time and feel it out.

Over the years, I have also come to believe that ‘normal’ isn’t an absolute thing.
I have learned that for people to become our own we must decide on which truth we are choosing to build our foundations on …and go from there.
From that point, navigating life doesn’t have to be so much  ‘normal’  as it needs to be healthy.
I like healthy choices, not normal ones.

2. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships.
As a child I caught on quickly. I had no other choice but to be quick-witted and self-sufficient.
I pushed through alone. I couldn’t rely on the adults around me for anything. I couldn’t trust or rely on anyone. My feelings never mattered & weren’t validated. I felt abandoned by my parents and also by the other adults in my life who either overlooked, ignored, or weren’t aware of my living situation.
I grew accustomed to resentment, and  fending and fighting for myself and the things that I needed.

Until I found this list of common characteristics, I had always just assumed that my personal struggle with addiction was the culprit behind ruining my ability to feel.
I thought that my apathy toward the idea of growing close to others stemmed from tendency to isolate because of my addiction.
I have toyed with the idea of identifying as shy, or as in introvert. I am not shy, but I suppose I do fall into the introvert category.
I have also considered that maybe I am just anti-social or have social anxiety, but have learned that I am not and I don’t.

The idea that I am unable or uncomfortable with the concept of allowing myself to feel vulnerable or to trust in order to form long-lasting and intimate relationships totally made sense.

It is evidenced in my life by the friends who I am close to and the strong relationships that I do have. (All older women and my husband.)

Still a work in progress, but I am content with knowing this about myself, embracing it and learning how to allow myself the time to make progress as I feel more comfortable.

3. Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved. Please. Continue sucking the life out of me while I stumble all over myself trying to hurdle over all of the mistakes I have made to tirelessly cater to you. That’s how I like it.
This was true for me, but  I am no longer a slave to my own need to support people who don’t like even like me, let alone love me, and who are certainly not loyal to me in any capacity or interpretation of the word loyal.

Sadly, I am a reluctant quitter (imagine that) and has taken me a very long time to quit valuing empty loyalty.
I do believe that loyalty is something different from forgiveness or love.
I love people and have forgiven people who I am no longer loyal to.

Loyal to me means dedicated or faithful to.
Which really means time committed to- which is something I am not anymore.

This one is why I am so big on setting and committing to my own personal boundaries. I need them. I appreciate them. I am grateful to have them.
Left to its own devices my loyalty springs back up when I least expect it. I have to actively remind my (heart) that it’s not good for me. This is all part of being a codependent.
This kind of relational interaction is usually the only kind a child gets when they are living with an alcoholic or a drug addict.

The best part about all of these traits is that they are all things that we can observe within ourselves. They are things that we can see and change.

So there ya’ go.
Do you relate to or identify with any of the 13 characteristics of adult children of alcoholics?


 

 

ACA: Support Groups

So they’re a thing. I had no idea.

I found a this website called Adult Children of Alcoholics. It is another 12-step program and operates like every other group meeting-setup, but this one is specifically designed for men and women who grew up in dysfunctional homes.

“The ACA program was founded on the belief that family dysfunction is a disease that infected us as children and affects us as adults. Our membership also includes adults from homes where alcohol or drugs were not present; however, abuse, neglect or unhealthy behavior was.”

Read more about it here:
http://www.adultchildren.org/lit-ACAIs

I found a lot of useful and informative stuff there.
It is an interesting thing when you realize that there is an entire organization dedicated to something that you grew up thinking was an exclusive, unique to you-  kind of dysfunction….
I spent years drowning in shame because of the weight of secrecy.

I just thought it was something that I should share
in case any of you were interested in reading the information offered there.

Good stuff. 🙂

Peeling Back The Layers. #ACA

shreksonion

This is not about me taking off yet another mask or coming out of hiding.
This is all continuing to accept, embrace, and understand the raw and very real core of what makes certain parts of the real me…me.

The first  3 or 4 years of my Recovery were definitely an exclusive journey of self- discovery.
I spent most of this time searching for answers to questions that I think were necessary for my own personal development:

-Who was I, who did I use to be before all of this?
-Who did I allow myself to become?
-Who is God?
-Who did He create me to be, despite, or because of, all of this stuff?

Fast-forward to present day, a few more years later.
I find myself in a season of life where I am truthfully very comfortable in my own skin.
Being…..me.

With that being said, I am finding that even more adventure awaits on the self-discovery front.
It’s like it never ends. 😉

I have recently (like within the last year recently)
opened Pandora’s box of my own social psychology, and am more than intrigued.

I feel like the more I learn/compare/contrast/consider etc…
I find so many parallels…

So many parallels between myself and all of the theories behind the whole
“ACOA” label, and the traits of children who grew up in addicted/alcoholic environments that go along with it.
Apparently, growing up this way had a lot more psychological impact on ‘me’ than I had once thought.

So why now?
Why am I just now connecting these particular dots in my own life?

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of what I think has happened, in successive order: 
(and I think it was supposed to work out this way for me)

*I finally, (reluctantly, excitedly) chose Recovery.
* I spent the first year hating, raging, blaming, crying, making amends, purging, healing, forgiving, warming up to God, taking off masks, and being counseled ..hard-core.
* I began learning the importance of taking responsibility for my own life, actions, choices, and consequences.
* A total of 3 or 4 years were spent doing all of these things. I focused on the simple idea of functioning like a typical human and learning to appreciate & enjoy life, drama free.
* The next 3 years or so were much more calm, and were basically me, learning about myself.
God had been showing me who I was and that it was more than okay to be comfortable in my own skin. He was helping me learn how to live a calm, peaceful, life- with gratitude for my new chance at life. He was showing me how my ongoing story could bless other people in different places.

If I had caught wind of this ACOA thing-
I would have manipulated it in some way, to fit my liking of having to do less work…
because, admittedly, that is exactly the kind of thing that would have appealed to me. 

Knowing that certain parts of my personality/demeanor were solely shaped by the actions of someone else, or were a result of maladaptive coping on my part—-
would have made me very happy, but would never turn into a benefit for anyone (including myself) in the long-run for any important reasons.
Instant gratification never produces anything worth having.

So , the next few posts that I have written are about how I gained a deeper understanding of how I am wired and rooted in certain ways.

Let’s do this thing.

3 Things I want you to know:

black

Three things that I would want to tell you: 

1. You matter. 
Yes, YOU.
Even though you feel like you have messed up too many times, or have gone way too far to ever be a person that you like again, you still matter.
You are a valuable, respectable, loveable, human being.
(Colossians 2:13 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+2%3A13-14&version=NLT Read it.)

2. You are not alone.
You might prefer to be alone, but you hate to feel alone.
Sometimes our minds trick us into thinking that we are alone because no one loves or cares about us. Most of the time we are alone because we have pushed everyone away and have chosen isolation. There are people out there who don’t understand completely, but they care.
There are people out there living in Recovery who care.
So much caring going on, trust me.
(Joshua 1:9 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%201:9 Read it.) 

3. It gets better.
It does.
Right now it may feel like you are drowning and you will not ever be able be strong enough to lift your own head up for air.
You might feel like there is just too much mess and weight on your shoulders; that there is simply no way to fix all of it.
But there is.
It gets better little by little, one tiny change at a time.
I always like to remind people there are over 20 million people in the United States alone that are living healthy lives in Recovery from drugs & alcohol.
(Psalm 32. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+32&version=NLT
Read the whole thing.)

 

What Keeps You Sober?

Mexican_Pink_430090_i0

What keeps you sober? 

Your program? Reading Literature? Meditating on Daily Devotionals? Staying fit or healthy? Reading? Sports? Traveling? Church? Your sponsor or accountability partner?

Based off of what I have observed in the awesome people I have met in the Recovery community, it is usually a combination of several key things and there doesn’t seem to be one secret ingredient.

I have heard a few opinionated (but wrong) friends, family, and nosy onlookers over the years who love to hear themselves give this advice:

“You are just replacing one addiction with another.”  

Really now.
Are we?

I think we need to be very careful about how often we over-use and misinterpret the word addiction. If people understood what it actually meant to be, live, and experience a true addiction, I am not so sure they would use the word as an equivalent to describe a hobby, a passion, or an interest.

There are major differences.

Addiction sucks the life out of its host. It devours souls and leaves you physically and emotionally unrecognizable, exhausted, void, and out of control.

Passions or hobbies is something that you feel a deep emotion for. While maintaining balance is essential to any activity, passions can enhance healthy euphoric feelings and feed our souls and help us to build confidence. We can live out God’s purpose and plan for our lives.  These passions reflect our hearts and are an outward manifestation of what is going on inside of our minds. They fuel and empower us to keep going and to inspire others to do the same.

I recently read a quote in an article that sums it up perfectly:

“Addiction is centrifugal. It sucks the energy from you, creating a vacuum of inertia. A passion energizes you and enriches your relationships. It empowers you and gives strength to others. Passion creates, addiction consumes …”   -Dr. Gabor Mate

(From the article: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20266/i-struggled-with-addiction-for-15-years-heres-how-fitness-keeps-me-sober.html)

What keeps me sober?
Taking care of my family. Giving them the best version of ‘me’.
Blogging. Sharing what I know and what I have learned with others.
Strength training. I want to feel healthy and strong.
Embracing my new life and learning more about who I am every day. I want to live my life authentically.

I am very passionate about all of these things, and they fuel me. They aren’t simple ‘replacements’ for my old lifestyle for one good reason: My unhealthy habits weren’t all centered around my addiction.

I didn’t have one simple problem to beat. My complex problems centered around pain, hurt, resentment, unhealthy coping skills and unresolved emotional issues that stemmed from childhood trauma.

My passions and new interests are blessings to have uncovered. They have grown from the new foundation laid through my faith and because of my choice to get sober.

It was a long process of self-revolution to discover who I am and what I like and what sets my soul on fire.

Which is NOT the same thing as replacing one addiction for another.

 

Tell me.
How do you stay sober?
Do you have something that you are passionate about or new hobbies that you grateful to have discovered?

My Favorite Part of Sobriety,

1004458_679634832053584_514162571_n

I was recently asked if I had to choose my favorite part of sobriety, what would it be?

I went with my immediate & initial cognitive response. The one that automatically popped into my head.

Contentment. 

That was it.
If I were to have thought about it for much longer, I would have debated, went back and forth, and eventually it would have turned into a full-fledged mental deadlock.

Obviously, I think sobriety and recovery are pretty amazing.
There are too many perks and positives to be thankful for and not enough depth to the adjectives that we have to choose from in the English language to convey how much I appreciate God’s grace, and all of the awesome humans who have supported and encouraged me through my journey.

So….Why contentment, then? 

For me, out of all the feelings of sadness, anger, rage, dissociation, isolation, loneliness, envy, negativity, hopelessness, and pity….

The exhaustion from being continually discontent is the most prominent feeling that I remember hating and needing to rid my heart of before I chose Recovery.

I can recall feeling like I wasn’t good enough from a very young age.
I needed to be more, to be different, be even better, be prettier, dress nicer, be more liked, act more normal, look more happy.
As I got older I still felt inadequate in so many ways and I chased ….everything.
I still needed to have more, get more, earn more, be better, do more.

Addiction was not any different.
I had to have more, find the best, keep searching, continue making calls, re-search my own hiding spots, plan for the next day, worry and wonder about when my next fix would come, where would it be from, would I find it, were they home, where did they go, when will they be back, do I have the money, how much is my ring worth, will I get it back…

No rest for the weary and discontent.

I appreciate the aspect and benefit of Recovery of being able to feel content and I am grateful for the blessing to have a God that fills the voids that I wasn’t able or capable of reaching or filling to satisfy my own desires.

I know that I am enough, exactly the way that I am.
I can accept I will simply not be ‘good enough’ for some people, but that’s not my problem.
I can rest my head at night.
I can live each day and enjoy the ‘now’.
I am no longer seeking, searching, striving, and repeating, myself insane.

I really cannot think of anything better than that.

My #Mommitment Changed Everything.

PhotoGrid_1434676422511

I took a pledge. I made a commitment.
I am a part of a movement.
A mom-movement dedicated to kindness and non-judging of other moms..
 known online as #Mommitment. 

Since discovering the original article on Twitter a few months ago
(you can read that here: http://www.nextlifenokids.com/2015/01/tired-of-mom-wars-why-im-making.html) and making my own personal pledge, I have found that nothing and everything has changed.

The nothing is that my day-to-day life is exactly the same.
The everything is that I am much more aware and intentional about two things: 

1. The judging or squashing of mommies into my pre-conceived ready-made boxes. 
I have thrown those boxes out.
I have been doing my best to give other moms the same kind of love and acceptance that I desire.

This can be as simple as a smile in the grocery store directed at a mom whose 3-year old is flailing around on the aisle floor, instead of shaking my head in disappointment over her obvious lack of control over her strong-willed child…….

Or maybe the more complicated and annoying situations like I found myself in on Sunday. Stuck on a plane sitting directly in front of the one obnoxious, tired, toddler on board.
Lucky me.
The high-pitched, banshee boy (who was also adorable btw)
kicked and poked the back of my seat for two plus hours.
He managed to whine and complain about his particular seat location, and needed to potty every time the seat-belt sign lit up.

I could hear his mom trying every trick and parenting technique (re-directing, singing songs, coloring, games, bribery, jokes, etc.) in the book. I heard the grinding of dad’s teeth through his disciplinary attempts.. (on Father’s Day).
As a mom, I could empathize with mom, and knew there was a strong possibility that she was feeling a little bit embarrassed and frustrated.

Instead of commenting under my breath, or complaining about how terrible he was or how much better his mother could have handled the situation(s) I played hide and seek with the kid. My goal was to distract. It worked for a few minutes.
Eventually, something else set him off all over again, but hopefully this mom could feel that at least one person on the plane that morning wasn’t judging her.

Sometimes that helps more than we realize.

2.  I refuse to allow myself to shrink internally when it is obvious that I am being judged. 
The moments that I can actually feel the stares of the eyes of those who are begrudgingly trying to do the math to figure out how old I must have been to have a 13 year old,

or those strangers who snarl when they see I am dragging around three young people with (gasp)
………no wedding ring on!?!?
(I have been having allergic reactions to my wedding ring)….

Or when I whip out my Enfamil in public to feed my hungry infant….
(I tried my best to breastfeed a starving boy with a lip tie for three long months)

There are always going to be those select few who seem to enjoy letting it be known that their disapproval is VERY important. We should absorb their negativity and allow it to saturate our beings.
(not.)

I have realized that as with anything in my life, I have to be intentional if I want to get things done and keep that peace that I value so much in my world.

My relationship with the Lord has to be intentionally kept and taken care of in order to grow, my relationship with my husband and the quality of our marriage depends on intentionality, my reactions and interactions with my children, and especially my personal recovery. Its growth depends on me being mindful and intentional.

Same thing with this.

Yes it would certainly be like an added bonus to catch a smile instead of a floor to ceiling glare down..but I personally don’t have anything to prove to anyone.
It is not their job to know the ‘real’ story behind the surface.
This is about my personal peace. It is MINE.
and it is my job to keep it.

This #Mommitment thing has really helped me.

Not only have I been able to connect with a large group of diverse and equally loving mommies, I have learned to respect differences more.
I want other moms to feel confident in who they are and to feel like they have people in their corner who are different, but who understand.

I am committed to continuing being intentional in my interactions with other moms, and in brushing off the judgment of others.

If you want to learn more about this, check out this page:
All you have to do is ‘like’ it and you can be a part of this awesomeness.
(Quiet and discreetly if you choose!)
https://www.facebook.com/Mommitment?fref=ts

 

 

Just Hoping To Help Another Person.

helping-others

The husband blog series.

I am truly blown away by the amount of positive feedback I have received from this these posts. Originally the idea came when after seeing so many couples struggling and hearing about spouses at their wit’s end who were completely ready to give up on their loved one.

I am not an advice giver, but more of an experience share-er.

We always hear about codependency and enabling but we don’t always hear directly from the enabler or the codependent. Their voice is not always heard.

Their voice is important too.

In my case, my husband was a victim who unknowingly stumbled upon a hot mess of a young woman who hid her demons behind masks pretty well for a while. He ended up falling in love with the glimpses of the ‘real’ me in between my using. (Personally, I think he’s crazy for sticking around, but most of all, compassionate for helping me up so many times.)

I thought that by sharing our experiences with others it could help them to feel a little bit less alone in it all. It can feel like it will never get better, and progress is never going to pick up speed. I wanted people to hear a real-life story, from two regular people who aren’t any more special than the next person. Just two humans trying to figure this thing out.

In my opinion, there really aren’t a set of ‘right’ answers to how you are ‘suppose to’ handle the conflict that addiction brings into a relationship. There are healthy, positive things that have been proven helpful to many.

So just remember, if you find yourself in this situation- the best thing that you can do is reach out for support, learn and educate yourself and make sure that you take care of you through this whole process.

The addict has to do their own work while you do yours.

The work that is required that you do together HAS to be between two people who are working and learning as individuals.

No one plans for dealing with addiction. Most are blindsided and are left to navigate the deep, treacherous waters on their own.

I am just trying to help where I might be able to.

And the best part about coming out the other side is knowing that there is nothing that will be strong enough to tear you apart. You have made it through one of the toughest scenarios that a couple will ever face, together.

Keep pushing through, and don’t give up on each other!

(If you haven’t read the husband series and would like to, click this link: http://t.co/mTD7EYiJf4)

 

Don’t Remember That Either, Honey.

going-on-a-guilt-tripI scroll through my Twitter feed and I cannot even tell you how much I love seeing families reunited, mother’s and father’s regaining visitation or custody rights, or parents reconnecting and celebrating with their children after a period of being estranged.

It is such a joyful thing to see. That is huge people! Huge!
Nothing feels quite as good as setting a good example for your children.

Many times when a pat on the back or congratulations are due in these situations, the compliments are brushed off. Guilt and shame won’t allow these incredible survivors to accept the words and simply enjoy the new things that are happening as they happen, for what they are.

My oldest is almost 13 now.
Out of my three boys, he is the only one who remembers me as ‘old’ mommy.

Obviously I had already known that I had missed a large chunk (3 years)
of kid #1’s life.

Admittedly so.

I had accepted that years ago. By the time he started Kindergarten, I was in Recovery.
I thanked God that I had started getting my shi* together in time for him to start school.

It wasn’t really until we had our second son that I had to face some crappy truths, face to face with my oldest child.

I have always confronted issues like sex, drug use or abuse, or bullying head on with him.
In our home it is no holds barred, we talk it out like champs. It is just our way. I really don’t want any of our boys to be afraid to come to us about any ’embarrassing’ or controversial issue. Us first, before friends is how I prefer it to be. Think for yourself, but ask questions and educate your growing and impressionable brain. I give them the truth or facts that support whatever he may be inquiring about.

But when it comes to my oldest and him asking questions like:

Don’t you remember my gold-fish?
(Wait a second…there was a gold-fish?)
Did I come into your room too when there was a thunderstorm?
(I wouldn’t know I was probably on the bathroom floor..)
Did I potty train easily too mom?
(I don’t know. I basically left you with your aunt that year.)
What was I for my second Halloween, did I like trick-or-treating?
(I don’t remember. I got you dressed, took you to grandma’s and went to a party.)
Did I like my cake on my first birthday?
(I was probably outside smoking something during that particular portion of the party, because I cannot recall a cake being present.)

I clam up. I feel physically ill sometimes. I white lie the crap out of these types of questions. Judge me if you want, but I don’t think he is quite ready to distinguish my fault vs. his. (and none of it was his).

The truth is, I don’t recall any of it and I am not emotionally connected to any of it.
I can recall bits and pieces of it because of the photos that I have, but really- not like I would now.
I get years mixed and jumbled, or remember some of those times but still couldn’t piece together the when of any of it.

Currently I have been sober 8.2 of his 12.9 years on the planet.

Yes I have moments that my mom-guilt could consume me and swallow me whole, but I quickly shake that off.  I have to.

Here’s what I quickly remind myself of when my mom-guilt tries to creep in: 

*God wiped my slate clean and allowed me a second chance at this life living thing.
I cannot squander it all away wallowing in my own guilt and shame. That is selfish.
I can only hope that one day son #1 will be able to recognize the sincerity in my eyes and in my voice when I tell him the truth. Not the watered truth.

*We can’t change the past, we can only build the future. Each day that we focus on is one more day further away from those days that make me feel so guilty. Each new memory is one more stacked on top of the old ones. Pushing out the old, adding in the new.

*I can only pray that he see’s how hard I have worked to give him a balanced, healthy, happy, fun, memorable childhood- focused on God and loving him to smithereens. I hope that he can see that I apologize to him every time I mess up, and that I have worked hard alongside daddy to help to guide him into an honest, Jesus loving, confident young man that he has become.

*Lastly, as an adult child of an addict I can tell you this.
My child has almost 9 years with me out of his 12.
I am 31 and have yet to meet my mother sober. I know with certainty that ANY clean time is better than NO clean time.

To me, this is just a classic case of when you know better- do better.

We can only learn for ourselves and do better than what we were taught, what we once knew as truth, and what our own parents were able to do with what they knew at the time.

My parents did the best that they could with what they knew at the time and what they had.

Using this logic, I would have to say that I am doing my very best to break the cycle.

I will choose not to give my addiction power over an area of my life. I am not willing to share any longer, ever again, for any amount of time.
We can all choose how we respond to guilt.

So if you are a parent in Recovery- don’t beat yourself up for the time lost. 
Focus on today and start right where you are right now.
It is NEVER too late to mend your relationship with your child (ren) . 
Never. 

The Perfect Man.

20150529_095515I have been with my husband for nine years and married for six of them.

So I am no expert. Although we are closer than ever, weare still learning, growing, and navigating the waters of marriage.

Last year I wrote a few posts about how my addiction affected my relationship with my husband and how he dealt with some of the circumstances that I created and issues that I brought into our relationship. (If you are interested, you can read them here: http://discoveringbeautiful.com/husband-thoughts-part-1-the-realization/ )

By the time we got engaged and were married, I had been in Recovery for a while.

My moods were finally evening out, I started sleeping at night a lot more, and we finally had time to really focus on one another as a whole couple, and not as one person desperately trying to tolerate, babysit, and save the other.

In other words, we had a pretty solid, healthy relationship.

The photo above was taken in my kitchen. My two oldest boys were hanging out in the kitchen having play-doh wars with little people that they created. I heard my six-year-old holler at me from the kitchen:

                                                    “Look mommy, I made a perfect man!” 

My husband and I have not been arguing or going through anything recently.
However, this past year I have been tested on what it really means to forgive, heal, and move on.

I have certain days where out of the blue, I have to fight off feelings of anger that creeps in from out of no where.

I have to remind myself that forgiveness is a choice and It is beneficial for both of us.

It is not something that is earned or begged for, it is offered as a gift because of love.

It is a proclamation of peace made by you and is a declaration of your personal acceptance that the situation happened.

You proclaim that you are not a victim, you are not in the dark, you are not fighting anymore.

You are accepting what is for what it is, and you are declaring that you are allowing the healing process to do its thing.

No more going over it repeatedly.
No more rehashing.
No more of me giving in to temptation by drowning him in my witty, sarcastic, or funny references that directly tie into the situation that has been shelved.

So that afternoon when the play-doh playing was happening, maybe I just needed to see the cookie cutter.
Maybe I just needed to hear that little voice tell me that he had in fact, created the ‘perfect man’.

The one that we all know doesn’t exist.
Because that day it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don’t want a perfect, cookie-cutter man.
If they did exist, I wouldn’t want one.

I like the one that God has placed in my life, for me.
I am not perfect, but in his eyes I am perfect for him.
He is not perfect but in my heart I feel that he is most definitely perfect for me.

That is what counts.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Ribbet collageMother’s Day.

It seems like no matter who you talk to, everyone is either happily & thankfully celebrating,
silently grieving, or a little bit of both.

For me, it may be a little bit of both, but mostly I focus on thankfully celebrating the gift of motherhood.

Of course on one hand,
I grieve for my mother.
She has missed so much of mine and my brother’s life.
She grieves one of her children every Mother’s Day.
She has missed out on the lives of her grandchildren.
I certainly empathize and quietly grieve for her, but not so much for myself, or my loss of her.

On the other hand I know that Mother’s Day isn’t really about me.
For me, it is about our three boys.
It is about reflecting on the gifts I have been given.
God has supplied any need that I ever thought that I had, and has filled all of my voids.
He has placed some pretty brilliant women in my path that have graciously helped me in all of the areas that I fall short in.
For that, I am very thankful.

Many of you are seriously struggling with infertility or are trying to conceive.
Some of you grieve children on Mother’s Day.
I have a few friends who are celebrating adoptions.
So many of you are deeply missing your own mother’s who have passed away.
Many of you are spending the day feeling appreciated and pampered by your loved ones.

This is one holiday that is often met with mixed and heightened emotions.

*Try to remind yourself that it is really a day to show the people who have impacted your life exactly how much you care.

*It is a day to honor the memory of the mom’s and the children who aren’t able to be here with us physically.

*Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate having the opportunity to influence the next generation, in some way, for good.

*It is a day to show your appreciation to those who have taken the time to invest in your life.

*A holiday that we can use to give thanks to God, for allowing us to have the responsibility of influencing and molding little lives.

The best way that we can do that by continuing to invest in people,
by sharing that unique legacy that they left behind with others.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

Psalm 145:4 –
Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.

Psalm 102:18-
Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the LORD.

 

Recovery Misconceptions

myths

Many come into Recovery looking for a break. 

Let’s face it.
If we have sought help and are considering a major life change, chances are, we are tired.

We can’t kid ourselves, though.
There aren’t any Recovery programs out there that I know of that are readily handing out free passes to new miracle lifestyles or quick-fixes for your addiction.
(aside from Passages Malibu, they have a cure…)

It doesn’t matter if you go to a resort style Rehab that offers an in-house gym, acupuncture, yoga, and tanning- or if you go through the shock treatment provided in your local prison…there is much work and renovation to be done in your emotional and spiritual world.

There really is no break.

What there is, is Hope.
What there is, is a sense of relief.

The miracle is that because of God’s Grace, we have the OPPORTUNITY to choose Recovery.
After we decide that we are ready to accept this gift, this is when the hard works begins.

We are now choosing to put our effort into learning to live well.
We have to understand that it is going to be the toughest thing we have ever attempted to conquer.
The relief comes from believing that it gets better.
As each day passes and with the more that we learn, it gets easier.

It does get better and If I can do it, you certainly can too!

A Mommy Confession #Mommitment

00073420000363_full

Mommy confession for today:

I made my son oatmeal for breakfast this morning.

I purposefully made his oatmeal in an empty sour cream container that had previously been washed and used as a small container/bowl etc.

This gave me the option of throwing it away when he was finished eating, instead of washing it.

I am not ashamed. Some mornings, it is just how I feel.

And that’s okay.

It’s the small things.

😉

Love- Hating Yourself.

download

Recovery means different things to different people,
but I would bet that we could all agree that it generally speaking-
It means us, learning to live healthy, productive, peaceful, lives. 

Regardless of which program we choose to follow, partake in, or interact with-
Regardless of what our drug of choice is/was-
Regardless of how much clean and sober time you have under your belt…

It is highly likely that amidst the long list of your to-do’s..
you are working on these two things. 

Self-Love 
Self-Destruction

*We work to enhance our ability to invest in ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This means that we learn to recognize our true needs and we find healthy ways to meet those needs.

*At the same time, we are working to recognize our own self-destructive habits.
As we procure new habits, we are cancelling out the old, volatile ones.

Self-Love defined simply:
The stuff that you do for yourself, to make yourself -your best self.

What are those things?
Do you know?

Self-Destructive Habits easily defined:
Things that you do, whether you know it or not, that keep you from being your best self.

What are those things?
Do you recognize them?

Closet Bloggers: 3 Reasons to Click ‘Publish’

images

In 2011, I began by blogging for therapy. Over time, after I did some growing and healing,
I thought that it might be cool if God could use me in any way possible to help just ONE person.
Just ONE I told myself.
Then.. I would feel like I had done some good.

Somehow, sharing my innermost thoughts and my colossal screw-ups, could help someone else. Right?
Over the past 5 years, I have shared THE most embarrassing, mortifying, shameful, details of my life with complete strangers on the internet.

Surprisingly, I have received a lot of positive feedback.

I have never really felt pressure on what to share, what not to share, if I am wrong, offensive, too safe or not, politically correct, or correct at all.

I simply share my thoughts, my feelings, my heart, sometimes my accomplishments, but mostly random things that I am feeling led to share.
Sometimes it isn’t that deep, sometimes I just need to vent.

Either way, this type of creative freedom feels great.

It’s actually freeing.

Lately, I have read posts written by people who are apprehensive to post their thoughts on their blog.
They have a desire to write, they write, but they never post it.

They want to. They debate about it. But…

for one reason or another, clicking that publish button creates internal conflict and anxiety for some of these nice, talented, passionate people.

I cannot imagine what this must feel like.

Torture, really. Torture.

Think about it.
Not doing something because of the fear that comes over you.
Not doing it because of what other people may think.

Creatively, this is the worst kind of constrictive box that we put ourselves in.

(Apparently, I have spent the last 5 years off in my own little blogging bubble, throwing my intimate thoughts to the wolves without a second thought.)

It really could sort of drive you mad thinking about what the thousands of other people out there who blog are thinking about your posts, especially those who are experts or experienced in your particular niche…

IF you thought about it. (or over-thought about it)

If critics were going to stop me from sharing, I would have deleted this domain years ago.

….I am sure it would be different if I blogged to competitively (does that even exist?) or for money,
or maybe if it was a source of income for my family.

….Maybe if I had an official job title at some huge corporation. Maybe if living in a self-made psychological prison sounded good to me…but it doesn’t.

This is my bubble. My domain. My ‘safe’ place.
I share what I share, and that is the beauty of the internet.

You can click that red X in the right hand corner if you don’t like, enjoy, or gain anything from what you are looking at.

I have found that if you post genuine, original, honest content— people will find their way.
People will come back.

If I can do it, then so can you.

Here are a 3 things to remind yourself of if you are one of the talented, passionate, but apprehensive closet bloggers: 

1. No two blogs are the same. 
We have the freedom to share what we want, how we want- and we can rest assure that no one else will have the same exact opinion, approach, or delivery.
This is the very thing that makes our blog ‘ours’.

2. Not everyone needs to like your blog posts. (and that’s okay!) 
So being nervous or apprehensive is understandable, but certainly shouldn’t hold you back!
If we didn’t have something different or controversial (to some) contribute to this massive online melting pot, then what would be the point at all?
You will have a ton of people who love your writing style, your opinions, and your voice.
You will have the people who don’t necessarily agree with everything that you say, but who respect you as a fellow blogger.
Then of course, there will be others who tend to actually enjoy putting you down. You are probably not the only one.

3. It’s really a you thing, not a them thing. 
Blog for you. Blog to share your heart, your creative flow, share what you think is cool.
Writing can most definitely deflate a stressed filled week, but publishing freely is empowering. It will help you build confidence in yourself. You have a unique voice. You have something to say. You never know if your particular view is going to help someone else!
If you have a passion to share your thoughts, do it. Own it people!

SO if you are reading this….

If you are one of those people who are terrified for one reason or another to post your thoughts publicly, online…

I encourage you to give yourself permission to value your own passion!
If you truly feel the urge and need to share your thoughts, share them!
Jump in.
Take the plunge.

The internet just might surprise you. 🙂 

Stumbling Blocks:

There are things that can hold us back in our Recovery.
We can count on these things keeping us from moving forward or making any significant progress.

There are certain things that will most definitely stop you dead in your tracks.
Without learning how to accept and process these them, you will have a really tough time and your recovery cannot progress.

Here they are:
1. Having the ‘if-only’s’ 
2. Blaming people, places, or things for what happened in our lives.

*Say Goodbye to your ‘if-only’s’.
If we had only done_____. If we had only said_______.
We have all said it.
We just cannot seem to accept ‘what is’. (or what we have created)
Here’s what we know. We can’t go back.
So much time in addiction is spent feeling regret or shame.
We replay certain things repeatedly.
We tirelessly attempt to hide from our own thoughts and feelings of shame and regret.

This is part of the insanity that is addiction.

When we are finally clean and sober, we don’t know what to do with these thoughts.
We are no longer muting these feelings. We can now hear them loud and clear.

The most important thing is what we do next.
It is important to look at what is.
As hard as it may be, we have to allow ourselves to look at things as they are.
Swallow that truth and learn to understand that from that point is what matters.

Each choice that we make right now, is a choice farther away from the ‘if-only’s’.
and that is all that we can do.

*No longer will we blame people, places, or things for what happened in our life.
The truth is, blaming another person for our choices or the situations that we find ourselves in helps us to evade any kind of responsibility for our actions. This makes addiction work well for us.
I think most people who think this way, truly believe that they would have made completely different choices if it weren’t for this person or that person.
Ultimately, a person cannot change if they don’t see their actions for what they were. If we refuse to admit that we are the source of our own detriment, we will never see our need for major change.

Just like letting go of our ‘if-only’s’ – we have to accept our blame shifting for what it is.
Another way to evade our truth.

We have to look at our current situation and allow ourselves to see how we got to that place.
In some cases we may very well have been brainwashed, manipulated, pressured, ignorant, fooled, pushed, or strung-along.  But we are still the decision makers in our own lives.

The bottom line is that our actions, regardless if they were influenced in some way by someone else….are still ours.

We have a choice.
We always have a choice.

We have to choose to take responsibility for our own actions.

When we choose to say- I am going to look my truth in the face and own it,
we gain crucial ground in recovery.
There is power in owning our choices and our real, raw, current truth. We are empowering ourselves to propel forward.

As hard as these two things might be to accept, they are such powerful tools that we can use for our future.

It is really all about how we choose to cope with ‘what is’ from now on. C
Continue reminding yourself that you are in control of your choices.

Choose to use your ‘if-only’s’ as a reminder of the lessons that you can take from your past.

Take the blame that you placed on other’s for your choices and use that to remind you that no one can push your life in a direction that you don’t want it to go in.

You can start right now. 

#Mommitment

Next Life NO Kids I made a #MOMMITMENT to end mom wars 300

A few months back I was having a tough week with the judgy stuff; feeling it laid on pretty thick at the time. Ironically, I also had Facebook friends who were posting about feeling it as well. We were simply feeling ostracized for one reason or another.
I felt compelled to write a post about it that week.
You can read it here if you’d like:
http://discoveringbeautiful.com/youre-a-great-mom/

Like most mom’s, I have experienced my fair share of  pressure and judging eyes of other mommies.
I especially felt this as a young mom of my first boy, and still feel occasional snarkiness now as a 31-year-old mom of three.
(I am not sure it has subsided or lessened as much as I have just learned better ways to disregard the judgy tendencies of other women..)

But in the spirit of staying true to my personality, I will be brutally honest here.

I am absolutely guilty of being that mommy. The one who smiles politely at you while simultaneously picking apart your mommy choices in my head, examining the deets of your child’s finger nail length or crusty lunch face….

Here’s the thing.
As I have gotten older I have noticed something.
Whether we home-birth, have c-sections, use cloth diapers, or disposable. bottle feed or breast feed, wear our babies or push them… we are all unique, powerful, beautiful women who are doing the best that we can.

The truth is, we all leave the house with mismatched socks or dirty faces sometimes.
Sometimes the super-hero costume (my son does this) that is 3 sizes too small…
Is the perrrrfect outfit to go out to run errands in.

Today I am officially pledging to make a #Mommitment.
Not just agreeing with the idea. Not just getting momentarily excited.
I am seriously committing.

I vow to be more empathetic.
I am making a conscious effort to be more appreciative of our differences instead of seeking out fault like there is some reward for it.

I am simply going to be dedicated to playing a part
in the movement to end mom wars. 

It’s time. 

If you want to take a step toward ending mom wars,
you can click the link below, sign the petition, and make your own personal mommitment too:

https://www.change.org/p/moms-make-a-mommitment

>
%d bloggers like this: