Author: Brittany

Healthy & Happy.

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18 weeks today! We’re almost halfway there. I just have to say that I am so grateful for this journey!!! God is so so good people.

Choosing to go public.

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When I first had the idea to blog, I simply needed to vent. I needed to get things off my chest and needed an outlet that offered my complete freedom to do so. I loved the freedom that the internet world offered to me. A platform to speak my mind and share my truest, most raw feelings in an honest and uncut way.

It did help and I was so surprised at how much healing took place in my heart simply by being truthful and brutally honest about ‘what is’ , ‘what will be’ and what I can and cannot change.

After that first year, I felt like I was in a good & healthy enough place to reach out and extend a hand to others who have had similar struggles.

I had done so in group settings for many years, but I wanted to share my story on the internet.
….And not the sob story of a traumatic childhood sprinkled with a few happy times, lots of neglect, mental illness, alcoholism, drug-use and feeling supremely misguided…
but MY story.

The story I now saw for what it was, accepted, took responsibility for, struggled through and now owned as all mine. 

This story was one that stemmed from me not knowing how to deal with the aftermath of my childhood. I made a long, long list of poor & unhealthy choices as a young adult and I created my own story-totally separate from the one I was given at birth and it was all my own doing. My story isn’t drastically different or more important than anyone else’s, but the more people realize that they aren’t alone, the more Hope people have.

**It felt a little crazy at first, to even consider telling this story to anyone else—out loud.
I had shared my story privately with people who I trusted in group settings…
but CHOOSING to shout it all out to the world in a very public way–was scary, foreign and definitely a leap into the unknown.

**When I decided it was time to start my blog over in a new direction, shining a light in a broad area that specifically focused on healing, growth, Recovery and embracing your individual journey,
I did so knowing that all of my ‘dirty laundry’ per say, would be hung out for ALL to see.
I knew that most of my posts would be derivative of my personal experiences. By any typical standard…pretty risky clicking that ‘publish’ button.
So -why?

I know and understand that publicly sharing personal stories of addiction isn’t for everyone. I know many people who prefer to keep it quiet and move on with their lives, serving in other areas. I am all for people doing what is best for them, using the strong points that they have. Sharing publicly isn’t for everyone, and shouldn’t be.
But I was never really on the fence about it.

For me my mission quickly became ALL about the bigger picture and less about what people might think. 

I come to a place in my life where I was completely comfortable in my own skin.
There was just something about going through hell and back, owning my mistakes and getting through to the other side that helped me to grow stronger, and feel more confident about the woman that God had created me to be from the mess that I was.

(Plus, I had always been that girl with her middle finger up not really caring what people thought anyway, so let’s just say- I took that attitude and decided to use it for something good. Something that I feel matters and something that definitely requires an attitude that says- I don’t really care what you think of me, I am committed and that’s that…but without all of the hostility or false confidence. 😉 )

So in other words, the opinions of others definitely weren’t going to hold me back. 
Societal stigma was nothing compared to the importance of the bigger picture that kept telling me that there are thousands of people out there struggling to be heard. People who were ashamed, embarrassed, and struggling to find their own voice.  

You see, the only way that the public opinion will change, is if the majority is one day able to see that there really are humans out there living in the world, who have been down to the depths of society, and have actually lived the lives of the ‘throw away people’ (as society generally categorizes addicts) and have come back from that place!

So I decided that with God on my side, all of the stigma and hatred (or fear)
was not going to stop me or hinder my persistence in reaching out to people or telling very real stories about the very real statistics. People do recover.

So ya. There are times when I wonder if someone’s opinion of me will change or be tainted if they see my blog url on the bottom of an email. It may not be in my benefit all of the time, but that’s okay.

My story is my story and is my reality. I believe it is the gift that God has gifted to me, uniquely to reach out to a people group – and I don’t intend to stop doing what I can to help others any time soon.

I believe in people helping people and God urging us to use what we have to do-
in various ways.

So – that is why I choose to share my story.

And really, I should THANK YOU GUYS. I receive positive and encouraging feedback from my readers and my facebook community. I hear that sometimes I utter things that encourage you and that friends is what makes it ALL worth it. 

Well hello familiar stranger.

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When my grandmother’s house burned down, the photo albums were MIA for a long while. It took awhile to dig through the remnants of her belongings that were salvageable to gather them all up. Many made it through, but a lot were damaged by smoke or water, and all of them smell like mold and mildew.

I (thankfully) was able to pick them up and look through all of the albums. I am excited that I get to make copies before sending them off to their rightful owners.
I use to sit for hours with my grandma, going through every single photo, every detail and every person and place that each photo was taken.

It was nice and familiar to be able to sit and look through all of the pictures.
So many memories.

I came across a few of me that I didn’t realize existed, and definitely don’t recall taking at all.
One of which is the one I added to this post.
I felt tears well up in my eyes when I first saw this.
When I look at it, of course, I know it is me…and I can remember this time frame in my life –but that person is long gone.

I am sharing this today because the back of the picture tells me it was taken in 2005 when I was 22—
and that was my worst year.
I was the most sick I had ever been, and  the most desperate.
I was the most alone that I had ever felt and had never experienced hopelessness, self-hate or fear like I did that year.

It was the year that I realized that I was no longer in control and my life certainly reflected that fact. Thus began the long battle and my road toward Recovery.

So this #TBT is for anyone still struggling. SO much can change in a short period of time. It has been about eight years or so since this photo was taken, but as they say, it took me many years to get there, and it has taken just as many to put the pieces back together. Lifestyle change and healing takes time!

God pulled me out of a self-created and perpetuated hell that I had no idea how to get out of or away from.
My eyes aren’t empty, my heart feels again and my bones have meat on them. I can rest at night, I eat, I have relationships with humans and I have been given the opportunity to start over.

No matter how many years that go by, I am not sure that the strong emotions will ever subside when I think about where I could have easily been, where I came from, where God has brought me to and who he has helped me believe that I am.

I just want other people who might be struggling hard right now to know that things do get better.
Don’t be afraid to reach out; it promotes the process of the beginning of healing and learning how to live in a new way.
There is always hurt before healing and the fear that stems from the shame that we have been living with for so long desperately tries to keep us right where we are.

The courage that you have to find is that to break away from what you are use to and what you believe about yourself, and to try to trust someone who tells you that you CAN change and that you ARE worth it-
even if YOU don’t believe that yet- there are people out there who do. 

Keep going!

Brittany

The 12 -steps & Recovery.

I ran across this article from 2011 on Promises Recovery website.
I am sharing directly from their page, and I think it is beneficial for anyone who is in Recovery.  Here is the link to full original article:
(http://www.promises.com/articles/work-the-steps-in-recovery/)

**Working the Steps Promotes Essential Values

It has been said that each of the 12 Steps incorporates an essential value.
As you work the steps, you become more practiced in helping your healing process.

You learn by doing, by being active in working the steps.
Of course, there is no “official” list of values associated with each of the steps. You can ascribe any value you choose to any of the steps and it will be perfectly appropriate. What matters is that there are values that you begin to incorporate into your life of sobriety the more you progress in working the steps.

This listing of values pegged to each of the steps is not the author’s. (*Credit goes to Earnie Larsen, who, together with his sister and co-author, Carol Larsen Hegarty, wrote the book, Now That You’re Sober: Week-by-Week Guidance from Your Recovery Coach.)
We’ll list the values identified by the Larsens, along with our commentary on why they’re important in recovery.

  • Acceptance: Step One – You could just as easily say honesty is a value associated with Step One, since you need to acknowledge what is really going on in your life as you work this step. You admit to yourself that you have an addiction and choose to no longer deny the ramifications of your self-destructive behavior. Acceptance is a prerequisite to moving forward in recovery.
  • Faith: Step Two – Certainly we are all powerless to overcome addiction on our own. When we work Step Two, we come to recognize that there is a Higher Power at work that fosters our ability to climb out of our addictive past and make steady progress in our goal of recovery. To actively work this step, we need to open up to the idea that there’s something infinitely more powerful at work in the universe than just ourselves.
  • Trust: Step Three – Faith, which may be associated with Step Two, goes hand-in-hand with the value of trust so intertwined with Step Three. You cannot go forward in faith of a Higher Power and do the work you must without trust that you will have the strength and courage and wisdom to keep on going. Trust also means that you learn to step outside yourself, end your isolation, and begin to extend yourself to others.
  • Honesty: Step Four – Closely aligned with acceptance (the value associated with Step One), honesty requires that you peer inside yourself and scrutinize what you see there. Addiction masks many character defects, but being clean and sober allows you the opportunity to peel away that mask. Doing something about glaring faults and self-destructive behaviors requires rigorous honesty first – and continuing to work the steps.
  • Courage: Step Five – How do you build connection with “God, self, and another human being” that Step Five encourages? It takes courage, for one thing, and courage is not a value many in early recovery have in abundance. Still, you’ve come this far, so you have some measure of grit and determination. Courage is another word for what it takes – and, you’ve summoned up quite a bit so far on your journey.
  • Willingness: Step Six – Being open to learn a new way of life without the masks of addiction means having the willingness to make further progress. At this point in your recovery journey, you may come face to face with things that you find troubling or even dangerous from your past. But you can’t hope to end your isolation and connect with others if you aren’t able to progress further in this step. Allow yourself the willingness to push on – despite how uncomfortable or disquieting your revelations may be.
  • Humility: Step Seven – The world is so much more than each of us and our immediate concerns. Once you start working Step Seven, it helps if you feel a sense of humility. None of us is, after all, God. Therefore, none of us is perfect. Humility allows us to accept and own that there is a better way to live our lives other than remaining trapped in our addiction.
  • Forgiveness: Step Eight – Months and years of addiction have kept you trapped in destructive and self-destructive behaviors that hurt many others besides just you. As you begin the tough work of Step Eight, you need to find within you the power to forgive yourself and others for all that has happened to cause harm due to your addiction. Yes, you need to own the responsibility for your thoughts, words, and actions. And, yes, you need to do something about it. But first, embrace the value of forgiveness – which makes working Step Eight that much easier.
  • Freedom: Step Nine – Now that you’ve identified and accepted responsibility for the wrongs that you have done to others, making amends brings along with it an incredible benefit – freedom. Once you have lightened your burden by making amends, your soul feels lifted. You have a sense of well-being, an almost tangible sense of goodness and light – and you feel empowered to keep going, to keep working the steps in recovery.
  • Perseverence: Step Ten – You’ve come a long way by the time you reach Step Ten. In some respects, it’s getting tougher to make further progrss working the steps. You need the endurance of a long-distance runner, since you may hit the wall at any time. It is often at this point in recovery when you realize the value of perseverence. You know your ultimate goal: effective long-term recovery. You also know that there are many obstacles that rear up along the way. At any time, you could come smack up against the urge to slip back into addiction. Stick with your resolve. Keep working the steps.
  • Patience: Step Eleven – An awful lot of water has roiled under the bridge since you first set foot on the journey of recovery. It helps if you acknowledge that you don’t always know what’s best for you, that perhaps, it’s your Higher Power or the God as you know Him that can help you through the tough times. The steps you work day in and day out may not reveal a payoff that you can readily see – but they are working in your favor nonetheless. Strive to cultivate the value of patience – which can help see you through periods of indecision or confusion.
  • Love: Step Twelve – When you arrive at Step Twelve, you may be tempted to think that all your work is done. In some respects, however, this may be the toughest step of all. Achieving effective long-term recovery requires that you give of yourself to others. In essence, it means that you recognize and accept the value of love as integral to true recovery. Looking at this another way you could say that recovery is love gained, whereas relapse is love lost.

    Recovery

12 gifts of Recovery.

 

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1. HOPE- We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
(Romans 5:3-5)

2. POWER- For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

3. CHARACTER:  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-23)

4. CLARITY- Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.
(1 Corinthians 13:12)

5. SECURITY-  What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
(Romans 8:31)

6. ABUNDANCE- And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19)

7. WISDOM- If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
(James 1:5)

8. SELF-CONTROL- But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.
(Romans 8:9)

9. FREEDOM- For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1)

10. Happiness- Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.
(Psalm 119:35) 

11. SERENITY- And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
(Romans 8:38) 

12. PEACE- I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
(John 14:27)

 

Courage & Wisdom.

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Everyone goes through ups and downs in life.
(And if you have an addict in your life, there are sure to be lots of ups, downs, unpredictability, uncertainty, highs, lows, let-down, defeat and more.)

One thing that I have learned in Recovery that I have applied to my everyday life, has been learning to accepting what is.
Sometimes it is hard to accept the truth.

When you finally understand and accept that you cannot control or take responsibility for anyone but yourself and your own actions, you will begin to see things much more clearly.

This can be pivotal for anyone healing and trying to move forward.

Bystanders.

After writing my open letter to my family members, I saw a photo posted by someone who lost their loved one too soon to drug addiction. I immediately teared up.

These emotions are so raw and real.

Family members literally watch their loved ones slip away, day by day, very slowly.
They aren’t dead but they aren’t who they once were.
They are lingering in that place between spiritual death and physical death.

We grieve while they are still alive, for who we once knew.
We yearn to see their eyes bright again.
We so wish we could hug them so hard, that they would definitely feel real love.
We want to break down those walls and rip off their masks.
We want them to feel safe with us and know that they are free to be them.
We want to scream so they will hear the truth, they can change!
We are here to support them!

None of it is heard.
It is like watching a silent movie.
Nothing penetrates that wall.
Their thoughts cycling through as repetitive  as they are, are stronger than our deepest, most sincere pleas.

I am so sorry to all of the families who have watched this happen, who have physically lost their loved one.

This is why we are so afraid to make boundaries and keep them.
We don’t know how much time they have left, and at the same time- by not keeping any boundaries, we are chipping away at the remaining time.

It’s a strange predicament to be in, and is not easily explained.

This is where we have to be reliant on God’s truth and the truth that we know as fact, backed up by science.
We only hurt by helping, even though we feel obligated to help.
We feel like if we just sit back with our hands metaphorically tied, we are enabling their demise…when in fact, it is the other way around.

It is hard to do when your brain doesn’t understand. Your heart doesn’t want to follow, but your brain tells you ‘facts’ and ‘truth’.

We have to be on top of our emotions, to make sure that when they are ready for help…
they have someone stable and reliable to go to.

Utilize Al-anon, Celebrate Recovery, Nar-anon, and online-support groups to get you through these tough times. It is not easy for families to get through this alone, in one piece (mentally, emotionally and financially for some)

We have to be bold and courageous enough to reach out and share with others about our struggles. People help people and there are people out there who are willing to listen and help you through.

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TO FIND A MEETING NEAR YOU:
http://discoveringbeautiful.com/need-treatment/

An open letter.

I am in need of this reminder this week, so today I am going to refresh my memory as to why good, strong boundaries are so important in relationships with addicts.

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An open letter to the addicts in my life. 

I love you both very much. I know that you don’t feel like I do and you cannot see how I could. I distance myself from you both.

Brother,
I know that I won’t help you when you need it most, and I seem not to care if you are sleeping in a filthy motel with only one paid night left before you hit the streets.

I know that last night when you were crying and grieving, I wasn’t there for you. I didn’t even call. I won’t give you rides and I don’t believe your lies anymore.

I understand how you feel like I am better than you and I don’t have time for you, and I know that you think I don’t have any idea exactly how it feels to look out into the world feeling like you are completely alone with no one who has your back.

The truth is, you have physically hurt me, and you don’t recall any of it.
I am pregnant now and I really cannot risk being around you for one second.

I love you so much, and it absolutely breaks my heart to see you hurting and in so much obvious and denied, stuffed, heart -wrenching emotional and physical pain.

I love the memories that I have of you, when you were young, silly, and care-free. You were unapologetically….you. The best little brother ever. (even though I wasn’t the nicest big sister)

I pray for you all of the time and the only thing that stops me from swooping in and saving you- giving you rides, ten bucks, another night in the motel, a shoulder to cry on—is my own well-being and safety and your well-being and safety.

I cannot  and will not allow myself to be lost in you. I cannot and will not ever forfeit my own Recovery to ‘help’ you. How in the world could I break these cycles for my own children if I was destroying my own progress by getting lost in my love for you-& choosing to helping you in all of the wrong ways?
Oh’ how I wish I could just grab your face and reach the depths of your soul for you, but I cannot.

Only you can.

I wish that you could see from a different perspective, I want so badly to force you to see how talented you are, how much you are loved, how valued you are as a family member and just how important you are to the world. You have so much to offer. You have so much life left to live.

Even now, after you have been in and out of prison, dozens of treatments, accidents, car wrecks, overdoses, health problems, developing mental health issues ALL drug and alcohol related…. over a ten year span..
—my heart and mind still tell me the harsh truth.

Only you, brother can decide that you want to change and give it all you have.
Until then, I will keep praying for you.
If or when I get that phone call that I have been expecting and dreading- It will kill me inside, but ultimately I know that there is absolutely nothing that I could have done for you.

************************************************************************************************Mom.
My love for you is much different. I love the idea of you, and the you that I have heard stories about.

I know that you think my brother is my responsibility. I am not sure why you have formed this idea in your mind, but somewhere over time- it developed into something real for you.
There is no  way for me to help you understand how much I care about my brother, I am not abandoning him – but newsflash. I didn’t give birth to him.
This way of thinking that you have had my entire life, is precisely what gave birth to my colossal, destructive, and hard to get out of role reversal & enabling issues.

I understand that you do not comprehend simplistic statements and cannot follow in conversation. I know that you don’t choose this, you simply do not have the capability of having rational thought patterns.
I know you get frustrated and you don’t see why I am not helping you to help my brother.

I can sense the anger in your text messages, and I can hear you struggling to keep it together in the 1 a.m voicemails that I have been getting.
The hatred, the antagonistic threats and the sarcasm in your voice are exactly why I am still honoring the boundaries that I have had set with you for a few years now. You still aren’t safe for me to be around.

I wish I knew of some long-term, documented study out there that has already been conducted, to help me to better understand what has happened to your brain.

The mental health issues that have been either exaggerated or have developed as a result of your continued drug use frustrate me. I don’t understand the way you interpret and perceive any given circumstance. I cannot understand you decisions. We live in two different worlds.
My main frustration stems from not being able to get through no matter which way I word things, or how patient I am.

I don’t hate you but I certainly hate your illness.

Yes, I use to yearn to know who you may have been, or maybe who you were. By the time I was born, mental illness had already begun the decomposition process...but…..

I don’t hate you anymore.
I don’t blame you for my drug use anymore. Those were my choices.
I accept what is.
I have learned about the psychology of your illness and and I completely accept you for who you are.

I have come to a peace, a place that I found after true forgiveness for you.
God has shown me what true empathy looks and feels like, and I have that for you as a human.

You truly did the best you could, with what you had to offer. What I do hate, is the idea that you were cheated out of life. Maybe, you cheated yourself because of the choices that you chose to make, but ultimately, you missed out on so much Joy.
I wish that you could feel true peace for even just one second.
That, mom, is what i struggle with presently. That you won’t ever know what it feels like to just…..be.

I want both of you to know that my decision to stay away isn’t always as easy as you think it is. It wasn’t an easy choice to make. I knew that after over twenty years of the drama, I needed a break at the very least. I needed a chance to figure out who I was, apart from the role that I had adapted to. I needed to give myself a shot, for my kids. They deserved that. 
It has been one of the most difficult decisions to stay committed to, and at the very same time, one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

I also want you to know that it is never too late to change things. People can and do recover every day. I don’t think you are throw away people. I don’t believe that you are lost causes. I think that miracles happen every single day and like I have said before- if you are still here breathing, there’s still HOPE for you. 

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Venting & getting these things out is a healthy thing to do. It helps me to sort out my emotions instead of ignoring them. These thoughts and feelings weigh heavy on my heart and sometimes it makes it tough to enjoy my own family, or be excited about my own life happenings when I know there is so much hardship going on in the hearts and minds of these two. The battles are continuous for them.

In this case, I don’t have the option to say these things to either of them and even if I did, it wouldn’t matter, and sometimes, it just isn’t necessary.

 

 

Happy Anniversary… x2!

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As much as I loathe getting on my *personal facebook account sometimes, I really do appreciate not having to remember anything whatsoever.
(Birthdays, social events, life-milestones lol)

Having said that, Facebook has reminded me that September 13, marks my
3 year anniversary of quitting smoking cigarettes!

September 13, 2011. 

When my Recovery journey began, quitting smoking just wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. If anything, it was the very least of my problems and definitely not the most dangerous thing that I had been doing. I had no interest in attempting to quit, after all, it was all that “I had left” …….

Keep in mind, in 2006 is when the journey to get sober began. I needed to smoke.
It kept me busy. After the first year of failures, things got much better and I was completely sober. Smoking was still not something that I was ready to give up.

By 2011, I was getting sick a lot.
I would get coughs from colds that just wouldn’t go away, and also- my kids were getting older and would watch me. I hated them seeing me, and I hated them smelling me.

Around this time, my mom was given yet another diagnosis. This time it was emphysema.
It was scary to watch how quickly her ability to function normally (speaking of her lung function) spiraled out of control. I am hard-headed and typically, I am a ‘see it to believe it’ (or at least experience it for myself) type of person….but this was enough for me.
I really wanted to be healthy for my kids when they were older and when I had grandchildren. Granted, I only smoked for 13 years or so, but it was difficult. I make it sound so easy, my motives were pure and it is easy to talk about them….but quitting was not so easy. I failed more than a handful of times, gave up and started over.

Finally, I quit and prayed…prayed….prayed and took a prescription for the first 4 weeks.
After that, I was on my own.

Today- it has only been 3 years and I have times where I will think about it. That is as far as it goes. The benefits of feeling good, being able to work out and know that my body is in repair mode is enough for me to stay away.

I never thought I could do it.
If you have been thinking about trying to quit….you can email me for support if you want! (Ladies)
You can do it!

My next anniversary is our wedding anniversary. September 27.
I am excited every year….because we are still so in love and happily married. God has truly given me a man who is perfect for me. Of course…things aren’t beautiful all of the time, but I know in my heart that he is my ‘home.’ Well. That’s how it feels anyway. He’s a good dude. 🙂 A great father and someone who keeps me on my toes…which is what I need.

Anyway, here’s to many more smoke free and happy marriage years.

When They Judge, It’s Not About You

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If you are in Recovery, chances are, you know someone who cannot understand how ‘people like us’ could ever allow our lives to be transformed, taken over, and destroyed by a chemical or process addiction.

They just cannot fathom being so stupid.

I have heard variations of comments like similar to these:

Those people are stupid. 
How could you let your life get like that. 
Wastes of space. 
They don’t deserve to live. 
Line em’ up – kill em’ all. 
These people are what’s wrong with our (seemingly perfect otherwise) country. 
We waste so much time and money on people like this. 
My taxes pay for these trashy losers. Wow. 
Just quit already, get a job for f*ck’s sake.

Most of the time it is a lack of understanding or a lack of empathetic development somewhere up in their pretty little heads, and for others, it is not about education or developing empathy through personal, first-hand, experience. It is simply much easier for them to look the other way by considering us throw away humans.

 

I have wondered what makes people so judgy, so harsh, so hateful, and quick to assume the value people who struggle with substance abuse or addiction.

Lack of education.
Some people don’t know anything and they believe in their soul that, that’s enough. They are set in their ways and there really isn’t any reason to try to change their perspective. There are only two ways that will happen- and that is between them and God. So don’t worry about the stares or dirty looks. They have no idea that addiction doesn’t make you actual garbage.

Ego.
To drop a nasty, harsh, or down-right mean opinion about the soul of another person anyway, requires a high opinion of self and the false belief of personal authority & superiority over another human….and not only that human, but a very large group of people. These people usually aren’t very nice to any other humans. Don’t take it personally.

Lack of empathy. Well and a lack of life experience or interaction. Let’s face it. Everyone knows someone who has struggled or who is struggling with drugs or alcohol. You can only develop empathy if you choose to be intentional about opening your mind and heart to interacting and being around someone who isn’t as perfect as you are. Only then can you begin to understand them a tiny bit more. We can’t force them to want to understand or want to know more.

My point really is- people in all forms of recovery are often stalled or shamed so much and instead of feeling proud of themselves, they feel ostracized and ashamed.

I just want you to know that people aren’t all bad. Not all people are proud owners of these characteristics. You will encounter this kind of stuff from time to time, and in my experience and observations, many of them are family members.

But that still doesn’t mean that there aren’t so many people out there who are loving and kind and accepting and understanding, who will hug you and love you and walk beside you.

 

 

Take the Leap

 

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Being one hundred percent positive that we should do something is an elusive luxury that we don’t get to have. We can’t base our decisions on being completely certain of an outcome and aside from knowing a probable outcome based on statistics or patterns, we can only trust God,

and leap.

If we fall short and smack our chins on one of the stairs that we couldn’t see
we tend to hesitate when it comes to taking chances from that point on.

When we make a decision that doesn’t quite work out the way that we envisioned, we get stuck.
We become slaves to our own anxiety, and the unknown scares the crap out of us, forever.

Fear, if left to its own, will smother you to death.

I am not a fan of making big, serious, or life-changing decisions unless I have considered as much as I am capable of foreseeing. As a former reckless decision maker, I have enjoyed getting to know this me who embraces logic and calculated reasoning.

On the other hand, leaping is just what it sounds like. It is more of a sporadic sort of thing and doesn’t require planning or forethought. Typically this is the more scary one of the two. Leaps don’t always go as planned. More than once in my life a leap has gone really, really wrong.

Having to pick yourself up yet again, admitting a small defeat, being a little embarrassed from time to time, or having to muster up courage to stand behind who you are at all costs,  isn’t really as terrifying as it all sounds when you are replaying them out in your head as possibilities.

These times is where life happens.

So, if you have a dream that have been pulling on your heart strings, consider going for it.

Wear bright red lipstick tomorrow if you want to.
Go sing karaoke,
Sign up for that 5k,
Try Zumba,
Take a pottery class,
Learn to line dance…
Go and do that thing that you have not done yet because fear has been holding you back.

And after you do, you will realize that YOU were able to do that something that you thought was impossible.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7

The Complacency Trap

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Ahhh. Complacency. We have all heard about it. I am almost positive everyone goes through a phase where they couldn’t even imagine themselves falling into an infinite loop of nothingness; and that place that isn’t necessarily ‘bad’ but it isn’t effective or healthy either.

Complacency is to recovery what bystanders are to injustice.
No, maybe you didn’t speak up or do anything wrong, but the real sum of the problem can be found in your chosen inaction.

I don’t think that we all need to be overly critical of ourselves, that isn’t healthy either.
What I do think that we need to avoid is the trap of becoming people who aren’t self-aware.
To be self-aware simply means that we have an accurate view of ourselves. In order to obtain a view of oneself we have to be willing to honestly evaluate ourselves often.

In early recovery we are taught (in most cases) that personal accountability and taking responsibility for our actions is a huge and courageous step to take on our journey. We can’t really fix anything if we will not allow ourselves to embrace our role in all of it.

Even as we enter the long-term or maintenance phase of our recovery, we will still have to hold ourselves accountable and we will still have to face things.

Avoiding complacency will still be on our radar and is based on the same principle that worked for us in the beginning, but it will look slightly different.

No matter where we are in our sober lives
or how much sober time we all have
or which recovery path works for us,
there are a few things that we should all do to avoid complacency:

*We should assume that we ‘finished’  evolving, changing, learning, growing, discovering or stretching ourselves.

* We have to realize that if we are not working on anything at all, we are slowly digressing in some way, even if it isn’t immediately noticeable at first.

*We need to travel at a pace that works best for us.
Having mentors or guides is wonderful, but keep in mind, yours is still a unique journey to you.

*We cannot hide.
This would include hiding from things like mistakes, missteps, or feelings. It is just best to own our decisions and to face our what we’re feeling.

 

We don’t always have to be thinking or analyzing every single thing that we think, feel, do and say every second of every day in an obsessive or compulsive way.

What we do have to do is have embrace this life, while maintaining balance and regulation.

We can let go a and enjoy all that God has gifted to us, but that doesn’t mean let the weeds grow and get out of control until we can no longer see our gardens.

We don’t have to tend to it compulsively,
but we cannot allow ourselves to get in the habit of looking the other way either.

 

 

Writing Exercises

 

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In Celebrate Recovery there are a lot of homework assignments in the participant guides ask you  to write down specific thoughts and feelings about specific times in our lives. Maybe times where we have been hurt, things we have not yet forgiven, times that we have made poor choices, or beginning to keep track our personal daily inventories… (and DOZENS more).

These exercises help us to SEE where things went wrong,
evidenced by certain actions and feelings that we remember or associate with the certain events that we write down.

This helps us to pinpoint and recognize a problem, admit our own role in relation to said problem, and then we move even further- we learn how to be mindful. This means that we choose to not make that same choice or to have the same reaction in the future pertaining to the hurtful event or memory.

When we choose to sit down and invest time in uncovering our truest and darkest secrets….
these writing homework assignments become life-changing exercises that can bring immense healing to us.

There are many exercises for dealing with anger management, tracking positive and negative emotions, and for making strides with overall emotional regulation.

Writing exercises are typically used to help someone with a substance use disorder
to SEE and to recognize their own patterns of behavior.

This way, we learn to stop the downward spiral before it begins, and to consciously implement and use new tools as a response, replacing our old, destructive, reactions.

For me personally, I have benefited from paper/pen exercises to help with clarity.
Any time that I am feeling lost, spread too thin, confused on a certain issue, or I am simply compiling a gratitude list, I get out a real-life pen and a piece of paper.

Writing my gratitude lists out by hand, taking a daily inventory, writing, or simply jotting down prayer requests for others, has really become one of my strongest allies over the years. It’s like I have trained myself to be held accountable and to confront anything that might even look like it could be packing itself up, heading for storage.

By performing these acts of self-care it helps me to stay centered and grounded, and strengthens my relationship with God.

It is so cool to me to look back at how powerful something that seems like such a small change in my life could end up having such a positive impact on my recovery journey.

 

 

Getting Sober vs. Staying Sober


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I am not sure that I have ever really thought about which one was harder for me.

Toward the end of what would become my past life,
I had built up a significant amount of anxiety in my mind about living a sober life free from drugs and what that might mean. What that might feel like. What people would say.

I had also compiled a list of all of the reasons why I wasn’t good enough to live that way, and why I couldn’t ever make it happen, and it terrified me.

Thinking about sobriety stirred a fear inside of me of some superficial idea that I had attached to ‘sober people’ or ‘normal’.
This kept down, living uncomfortably in my comfortable limbo.
I was hovering somewhere pretty low in a place between death and that place where you are hanging on by a thread. That’s where I believed that I deserved to be. It was that empty place that I identified with.

I was so afraid of what life might be like on the other side, and so hesitant to even allow myself to consider if I was even capable of doing anything ‘normal’, that I would have rather died.

Typing that now is obviously irrational, and I can see that, but back then, I can remember the overwhelming feelings of disappointment when I would feel the sun hit my face signaling the beginning of a new day that I had somehow made it to.
Again.
Floundering around and spinning out of control felt familiar and comfortable to me, and was a more plausible lifestyle than what I imagined sober living to be like.

But while fearful, I was also tired.
No.
I wasn’t tired, I was exhausted.
I was wounded in every aspect deep inside of my human person and I was running low on a desire to keep fighting.

My motivation to change came after things in my life aligned in a way that left me no choice.
Of course I was sick, and I was tired, but and I secretly yearned for calm things and for inner peace.

I had finally come to a point where I was ready to face that scary unknown that I had talked up for so long.

How interesting that the unknown world that made my heart beat faster and invited a sense of panic to set in, was also a beautiful place packed full of everything that I dreamed of having in my life.

So I was faced with having to make a choice.

I had to choose to leap into a huge world that I didn’t feel like I belonged in and one that I didn’t know if I would ever fit into.

My first year of sobriety was terrible. I struggled to keep it together. I was an emotional, hormonal wreck, but I made it through.

Although I spent the better part of 6 months wrestling with my mind, and fighting off some of the most intense urges I have ever experienced, I still feel like working up the courage to take a chance on myself was more difficult than anything else.

That was the hardest part.
Getting sober was much more difficult for me than staying sober was and is.

Tell me! Which was harder for you?

Feel free to comment here, tweet @ me, or connect with me on my Blog page on Facebook and let me know!

 

My Birthday, Pregnancy, & Morning Sickness.

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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.

Or, they will sit in a drawer looking all cute until I move them to a keepsake box so someday I can re-read them in all of their cute and thoughtful glory.

I got a new, soft, much-needed pillow and some chocolates too.

But most important- my boys went above and beyond showing their thoughtfulness and love for their mama.
My husband made sure that I didn’t have to cook or wash any dishes either.
All around it was pretty incredible.
I live with a pretty great group of men. 🙂

Today also 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 and we have already told our close immediate family, but for the next couple of weeks, we are keeping it as quiet as possible.

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 I am 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 very holyish.)
So forgive me if it sounds cheesy.

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

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.
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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.
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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.)

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Goals.

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Growing up I observed certain things that taught me a lot about the attitude and expectations of living a life at a really fast speed with no real direction.
I didn’t see a lot of follow through.
I saw a lot of getting things now now now, by any means possible.

The overall feel of all I observed and picked up on, was all about the quickest and easiest way to do everything. To me that seemed to be the most important thing to everyone I was around.

A part of me knew this wasn’t the right way to gain valuable things, I was still affected and it did influence how I managed my life.
It did sort of mess up my own expectations regarding what I could do and what wasn’t worth my time.

Choosing recovery not only taught me that hard work was the only way out of that hole that I had dug myself into, it showed me that to living a life with integrity and character was going to require follow-through, hard-work, drive, and personal accountability- and sorry, there was no way around that.

That piece of paper in the photo is so much more than a piece of paper with a stamp on it.
It signifies a huge personal victory for me.

I set a goal, I worked toward it, I stuck with it,  and I stepped up to the challenge and followed through.

Maybe not a big deal for most people but this was a huge thing for me.

It might just be a stepping stone and some progress toward something more.
Maybe not.

All that matters most to me is that I show my kids that it is never too late to turn things around.
It is never too late to set a goal.

 

My Cancelled Plans.

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This photo should say –
“Hey Brittany, your plans never work out-
because God has better ones.”

Guys.

I have been going to school for awhile now. Completely cramming and studying addiction and psychology.

For the last year of classes, I have been mentally preparing myself for a new beginning.

I have been excitedly & nervously planning to go back to work this Fall
when both of my children will be in school.

I was sort of thinking something like this:

Plan A:
Begin my search.
Hunt for a job in my city or close surrounding cities. Search keywords and titles with the words substance abuse counselor, mental health technicians, case manager, intake coordinator.
Narrow the search to any types of employment that allow me to be here in the morning before school, after school, evenings, weekends, and preferably, summers too.

Abandon this plan because this job doesn’t exist.

But keep searching anyway in your ‘spare’ time just in case someone wants to hire someone who has never worked for them, but who is treated like they have seniority to dictate their own schedule to fit their personal family needs.

Plan B: 
Apply to be a para (assistant teacher) even though it is not your cup of tea, and not in the field that you paid money to learn about, but the schedule works. Pay more money to take the para certification test in Missouri, and start applying with local school districts close to where we live.
Perfect. Redo your resume to make it sound like you have always dreamed of working with school aged children that aren’t yours.

Plan C:
Start to feel sick. Take Dayquil and lots of daytime meds to make it through the day.
No matter how many times you throw up, keep going.
Stick to plans A & B anyway.

Don’t forget that you and the hubs have been trying for a long time for a baby, that you didn’t think would ever have the chance to have, because conception is a really hard thing for you two.
Keep job searching. Ignore the urge to rush out and buy more sticks to pee on.

Remind self that I should not be wasting job hunting time doing that!
Rush out and buy one from the Dollar Tree anyway.

Take it at home right before the buses come that afternoon.

Leave it in the closet in the bathroom and completely forget about it for a few hours, and then, abruptly run to the closet doors, pick the stick up and nonchalantly toss it in the trash.

Take it back out because the TWO PINK LINES were clearly visible without holding it up to a florescent light or taking a photo of it and editing it using a negative filter.

The lines were there.
Plan C wins? 

Wait.
I didn’t have a plan C.
Which means, I never really had any plan to begin with.

God has blessed our family with a new life and I didn’t see plan C coming.

At this point, I am focused on getting through first trimester sickness and exhaustion.
We are at eight weeks two days now!

I am overjoyed, grateful, and excited- and anxiously awaiting my first doctor appointment.
Working from home in some capacity is likely going to be what my plan C looks like, maybe.
And maybe not.

I might be done planning for now.

Here’s where the ability to roll with waves, punches and change comes in quite handy.

Yay for skills that I learned in Recovery. This life is beautiful and I really mean that.

That is what life is really full 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 one of my favorite quotes reminds me:

“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.

Cleaning House.

 

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Early in my recovery I was always asking myself the same questions over and over.
I was worried that if I didn’t cover all bases every single day that I would wake up and somehow my acquired sobriety and personal progress might be gone.

It took me awhile to find a balance of self-examination and living that I could healthily maintain.

So instead of obsessing over whether or not I was working a perfect program,
I worked to become more focused on asking God to help me fearlessly examine and search my character every day, and to leave the rest alone.

I believe that it is very important for all of us to get into the habit of taking our own inventory on a regular basis. I don’t think it matters whether you are in Recovery or not.

Aren’t we all just trying to be a little bit better than we were yesterday, while trying to maintain some level of contentment for who we are at this very moment?

My self-care is based around a core group of individualized standards that I have outlined in my own daily regimen to feel like I am the best me; to maintain my overall wellness.

It all really boils down to simplicity.
I enjoy and thrive within the realm of simple.

I try to rid my life of things that aren’t necessary:

Toxic things.
Negative things or anything else that has a weighted presence that isn’t absolutely necessary. Not just things that are uncomfortable, but real detrimental kinds of things. The kinds of things that will damage your spirit kinds of things.

Extra extra things.
I do my best to thoughtfully, and in some bigger cases, prayerfully commit to extras.
Things like sports, hobbies, play dates, groups, meetings, or anything else that falls into extra curricular miscellaneous. If it isn’t like life or death, I assume that it can be carefully considered and added, or maybe not. Keeping my core priorities number one is my number one, and then if we have time to squish in additional things- great.

Unhealthy relational things.
My boundaries are also important to my mental and emotional awareness and regulation.
In my case, they truly are the difference between my spiritual life and death. When I betray my own commitment or stretch myself in ways that are unhealthy for me, I suffer. Of course my life isn’t void of all things negative, but the situations that I do have a choice in, I choose peace.

Fear based things.
I strive to live a bold life. I don’t always live up to this personal goal. Basically this just means I try not to live in fear, make decisions from a place of fear, avoid making decisions because of fear, or to be led anywhere by fear or anxiety from fear. Sounds simple enough, but I tend to lean a tad toward an anxious personality. So.

Sometimes, tending to my own garden and cutting out crap isn’t pretty.
It’s not always easy or as clear-cut as I would prefer and other times, the crap I need to get rid of is obvious.

I just try to continue learning as I go on this journey.
Spending my borrowed time well and doing things that I hope bring some kind of positive glory to God, who saved my life. learn to spend my time well.
My goal every day is to Let’s learn to spend time, spending our time well.

Let’s recklessly abandon the stuff that we don’t really need.
Never underestimate the importance in abandoning crap. 

Starting Fresh.

 

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Just a thought today.

It is so easy to let ourselves lose sight of what is most important to us.
On any given day we have our moments where we just feel defeated.
I know that I do.
I have to stop and breathe deep.
I try to refocus myself and my thoughts to God.
I ask that he remind me of who I am, what I am doing and ask what I should do next.

There is no rule book that says that we aren’t allowed to start a day over in the middle of one.

It’s okay to take a breather and start fresh.

 

 

 

Living Free.

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Freedom for me, came when I came to believe that a power greater than myself, could restore my life and sanity. That power that has shown me to be much greater than myself, is Jesus. Because of this relationship that I have:

My mind is not as gullible.
Yes I am sober and the fog has lifted, but the shame perpetuating whispers are no longer given power.

My heart is no longer chained down.
No more relying on a heavily saturated organ of hate, guilt, bitterness, and anger.
It is free to accept love, to give love, and to be vulnerable.

My body is free.
No longer does it do the grunt work as a vessel to self-mutilate.
No more working against myself. Healing has set in and I am slowly being repaired.

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 found its peace.
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.

Freedom doesn’t necessarily mean negligence. 
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 – I threw them in the trash. 

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

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. 

 

The Legacy We Leave.

maya-angelouI 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 and we know that eventually everyone passes through.
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.

That is what my sobriety and recovery have inspired me to strive for.

 

12 Ways to Help Kill Your Addicted Loved One AND Lose Your Sanity

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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 loved one 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.
After all, they have to live too. 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 drugs one last time every time.
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:

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. These are ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE DONE OR THOUGHT.

10 Tips: For Friends & Family of Someone Struggling with an Addiction

These are just things that would have helped me when I was struggling.

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.)

Your Journey.

download
This is a book that I just finished.  I really enjoyed it.
It is probably really old. I am not sure when it was published, because I didn’t look. I found it in a huge pile of old books that were going to be thrown away.

I am sharing a few excerpts that I personally benefited from reading, but there are many many more that I have highlighted so you’re welcome for not making you read all of them.

I wasn’t interested in reading this because I felt lost. I really just like to learn about things that I don’t know about. I think it’s important to know why I believe what I believe and I like to have answers to questions that I have from wise, insightful authors.
I also like to challenge myself and am curious about  the diversity and foundations of other world religions and cultures.

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“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

 

Peace.

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

This is so true. I sought tirelessly for a long time. I couldn’t seem to find anything to make me feel content.

Sobriety was my first step to personal freedom.

I chose recovery and I started to get to know God.

I don’t search anymore. I don’t feel like I am dying from an unquenchable thirst or running around in circles.

The peace that I found was found within the realm of what I know as God’s grace.

That was the place where I started over, and thankfully accepted my gift of a second chance.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds …. Philippians 4:7

Step 12

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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

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

Sharing an excerpt…

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. 

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