Author: Brittany

Thank you Paul.

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

but while he was sitting in prison.

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

Real Talk.

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Hey Encourager’s!

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While there may be human paperwork filer’s out there,
there are also so many accepting, loving and kind people out there too.

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

However, the numbers are growing- there are people who are just as fed up as I am with stigma, hate and people bashing.

I will not be categorized for loving Jesus, and I cannot tolerate hate, and I don’t condone fighting hate, with more hate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Be Nice.

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

If you are anything like me and you experience some level of frustration
related to being squished into stereotypical, old- school, unjust, judgmental, completely wrong- automatic labeling systems -held by the majority—

-I can empathize with you.
We should be friends.

I see it a lot from people who aren’t Christians, who assume that all Christian people behave, believe and think a certain way.
This is my least favorite stereotype.  
I didn’t even know who Jesus was until I was 23 years old and I do not fit any current stereotype.
I love God, and identify as a Christian. But I don’t picket funerals, force my beliefs on anyone, or isolate myself or my children from people who are (oh’my!)–non-Christian. Atheist. Buddhist. Agnostic. Gay. Whatevs.
It is okay that people are different from me. Interestingly, It’s not that hard to get along with people of all ages, different races & ethnicity, or sexual & religious preferences.

I even have friends who are divorced, some widowed, and some who are contemplating it.
And others who have sworn off being in a relationship at all.

I also happen to have the ability to be objective….
Oh’ and I even have the capability of having fun!
Get this- I love people who don’t think exactly the way that I do!
…….and surprise! I have probably made more bad choices than most people I know combined, so count me out of the holier -than- thou group too.

My other least favorite stereotype: The people who post all of the time about just throwing people in jail or killing them off in masses because of course, ‘drug addicts’ are hopeless human beings.

When in fact, addiction knows no bounds-no race, age or tax bracket. Keep that in mind if you have friends, children, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, siblings, or any other human relationships.
Some also know that I use to be a ‘drug addict.’

This is just another box that people create to squish things into that they don’t understand.

I haven’t ever lived under a bridge, although, I have slept outside a few times.
(Thankfully, I don’t recall those experiences)

I also won’t steal from you –
or rub off my addict cooties onto you or your children.

You’re welcome. 🙂

Oh’ and then we have this one.

I too, once misunderstood brain diseases and the power of environmental and socioeconomic cycles.

Having a mother who suffers with mental illness allowed me to experience so much bizarre behavior. I hated her, I hated it and I had no intention of accepting these crazy people and I certainly was not going to give her a free pass.

(However, funny things happen when you shut your egotistical, all-knowing – pride up for a second and you get some reading material; you research and learn.)

Mental- illness runs in my family, crazy deep.

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

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

Typically it is a route taken by people who have been hurt by a specific people group.

Other times, by those who simply don’t understand certain aspects of these people and their ways.

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

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

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

What do I want from others?
What do I expect?

A chance?
A little bit of understanding?
Just to be accepted for exactly who I am now and who I used to be?

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

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

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

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

 

National Prescription Drug Take-back day

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

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

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

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

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

My thoughts today.

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

-Brittany

A Pill To Cure Addiction?

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I’ll have TWO! 🙂

When I saw this picture, I literally laughed out loud- hard.
I so identify with this.

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

But

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

It is there.
and it is still waiting.

That is just MY truth.
It is a part of my truth anyway.

Maybe I will always be that person who always wonders what ‘two will do’…
But that is not who I am. My past is a part of my story, a small piece of this huge thing that I am blessed to be a part of.

So while I will always stay mindful of the power that it all had over me at one point in my life,
I don’t spend every day reminding myself of those days.
I spend my days enjoying all of the gifts that I have been gifted in sobriety.

 

 

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Christianity and Science.

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

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

But I am not cured.

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

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

It does exist and like it or not, our brains are scientific things, made by a God who is smarter than us but who created sciency people who are much smarter than me….

There are chemicals, and tiny scientific complex operations that happen inside of our heads.

It is totally possible to screw things up in there, and it is possible to be freed in Jesus, liberated and saved by the hope that we find in Him, through our faith and His grace….

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

We may just learn to coexist with a condition. Or we might just use brain and behavioral based therapies to embrace the new life that Jesus gave us.

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A Not So Scientific Self-Led Social Experiment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But- interestingly, it has recently occurred to me:

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

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

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

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

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

So. I wanted to know. 

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

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

If I do, what happens?

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

All week long- I had great interactions.

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

Except for one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Deep Thoughts.

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I am just a person in Recovery.

I manage and control this monster that is now dormant; who is locked in my head.

I have managed to bury it alive and suffocate it with truth, factual information, hobbies, passions, strong people, positive relationships and other things that I value.

I continue to drown and suffocate this monster on a daily basis, juuuust to be safe.

I cannot believe that I was once that other person.
That monster was who I used to be.
I made foolish choices and justified my way all the way to chemical dependency.
I developed a disease in my brain and I got myself stuck in a sickness.
This was a sickness that I recognized all too well.
I watched it devour my mom.

When I got to my bottom I chose to fight.
I also fought like hell to stay alive despite overwhelming feelings of wanting to die.
To give in.
To give up.
To believe the lie that I felt and heard for so long.
I was a wasted person.
I didn’t matter.

I was just a drug addict.

Sometimes I cannot even believe that God’s grace is extended to everyone, even people like me.

I was handed this beautiful thing.

A second chance to start over, as a new person.

It was all mine.
My new chance.
I could do with what I please and I have control over what that looks like.

This choice to live sober affords me a certain type of guaranteed freedom…….
Knowing the God that I have on my side brings me so much hope and courage to keep living this life.
Through His love, I am enabled to feel and experience a type of security in my everyday life
-right now, and tomorrow and for as long as I am willing.

This gives me that instant gratification that I so crave (being free every day)
and satisfies every single desire that I had, and some that I am still learning about.

We might have to spend a significant amount of time fighting with our old selves, and learning to be something, or someone different.

We are allowed to embrace the new and rid ourselves of the old.
We can be excited about this transformation even if change scares us.

We are not what the community has sadly labeled us as a whole.
We are not what people assume or picture in their heads.

We know now that we aren’t just worthy of change, we aren’t just worth fixing,
but God values us so much that we are completely transformed into new people.

My Recovery is a place where I live, it isn’t who I am.
It is my world.
I am just a person named Brittany, who chooses to live in this gifted, surreal world.
I live every day getting more familiar with this place.
Each day I get more acquainted with this new person I am finally seeing in the mirror.

This beautiful journey is about finally finding my true self,
learning to love her, and to get to know her.

Every day I dig a little bit, I heal, I learn, I might struggle for awhile, but ultimately, I am inching closer to who I was meant to be.

This is who I am now.
So.
Society:  you can have your labels back.
I have the whole world in front of me.

 

You CAN.

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Tonight the boys and I watched a documentary on Netflix called “Stuck”.

We knew it would be sad and probably tough to sit through.

The thumbnail showed pictures of tiny, adorable little humans (children) from around the globe, and the short description warned us that the movie would be about the complex dynamics of adoption and the lives that the majority of orphans face.
(Oh’ and the f’d up system that makes it all too difficult and lengthy)

We decided to watch it anyway.

I really think that for our family,
watching documentaries with substance have really served as an aid;
a convenient first world tool….

Which brings a nice balance to our home.

(There is only so much ‘Suite Life on Deck’ & ‘Good Luck Charlie’
one can allow a small brain to absorb)

There is that bitter irony… I can flip on Netflix to teach our boys about poverty, social issues, persecution, injustice, and all other violations of human rights…… because we live in a country with the option to do so.

So. We do.

I want them to see these things.
Not so that they feel sad, but so that they are aware.
Not to callously make them feel guilty (about being wrapped up in fuzzy blankets with bowls full of Cheez-its while they watch these types of movies), but to help them to learn to be content and grateful with what they do have.

I talk with them throughout and most of the time I will pause the movie
(which I hear is annoying) a dozen times to explain how this connects with their lives and their mindsets and what is going through their mind.

(and I am well aware of the problems that we face in our own country. However, tonight I am talking about problems like children having to dig through trash for food, live in dirt huts or share rice out of 5 gallon drums with 75 other orphans under the age of 12)

The tone of our discussions provide a platform for us, as parents.

We answer questions. We do feel good that our little people are inquiring about other little people on the other side of the planet.
They have questions. They want to know. They want to know how people are helping. What they can do to help. Can they pray. Is it really real.
We also bond as a family. We even selfishly utilize this time to let our kiddos know how much they are so loved and valued.

We want them to grow up thinking that they CAN change the world.
I live by this crazy philosophy that we all have some type of gift or talent that we can use for good.

So some will say that us watching about this problem on our flat screen tv in our free country really isn’t helping anyone….

But we feel that if these random family movie nights don’t do anything else,
we can hope that we are challenging our children to think outside of the box,
to think bigger,  and are developing a greater awareness of the world that we live in.

(We also like to cultivate strengths here too and in our house, that would be creativity, humanitarian interest, video games and video games.)

On a serious note, the only thing that we have control over is how we react to things that we don’t have control over.

We can’t control world poverty, or any of the other many global crisis’ that we are all well aware of.  There is no magic cure.

There are only people who can love and invest in other people in the name of love. That’s it.
And we can do our best to teach our young people that they can’t do everything but everyone can do something.  (Hellen Keller Quote)

(Sidenote: I am an imperfect parent who has no idea what they’re doing. I really just talk way too much to my children, and if you asked them- they’d tell you that. I am just a hard-core believer in doing better than yesterday and utilizing available tools and education. Frankly, without tools and education, I would still be a high-school drop out/’drug addict.’  So, there’s that.)

 

 

Our Thoughts

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Our attitudes are shaped by our thoughts and feelings.
Remember, we have choices.
Choose to believe the crazy notion, that positive thoughts can lead to happy moods and better days.

One day at a time.

Motivation is what gets you started, and habits keep you going.
Forming new habits take time.

Keep working hard and don’t give up!

One day you will look back and be so amazed at the life that you created by making different and new choices.

 

 

 

 

Gratitude

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Can you remember that cheesy 90’s drug prevention commercial that no one actually learned from?
“This is your brain.” “This is your brain on drugs.”
(*cue egg frying sounds)

Imagine a heart exploding, and a voice like Dennis Haysbert’s, “This is your heart. This is your heart on God’s Grace.”

That’s sort of how I feel.

Just when I feel like my heart and soul could not possibly feel more excited to be alive- and able to give back, I learn something new about the way that we are all wired as humans and I am giddy all over again.

The more that I am learn about Human Anatomy & Biology and the affects that psychoactive chemicals have on us after they are put into our bodies, I can’t help but melt with gratitude and curiosity. It is only God’s grace that has kept me alive through so many different situations.
As I sit here I can say that I have barely scratched the surface of the human brain, and the central nervous system and the heart… and I can confidently assure you that technically speaking, I should not be sitting here typing this.

No way.
But here I am. Living.

Also, equally important, here you are. Sitting there. Reading this.
Yes.
You.
I am glad you are here, and not just because you are here reading my blog post, but I am happy you are still here living your life here on this earth.

Our journey’s are so much bigger than I think most of us are capable of really realizing; we have a huge opportunity to make an impact on our communities and to leave our stamp on the world and family that we will leave behind someday.

Just wanted to share my gratitude.

And I hope that you are able to see that you are here for a reason.

 

Ignoring My Boundaries.

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Last month I was literally chased out of my grandmother’s funeral.
Technically, I was ran out of a ‘celebration of life.’

I think that this could have been avoided if the genius who planned it chose a beautiful, historical location that meant something to our family, WITHOUT the open -bar that was posted up alongside of a large table full of a variety of lovely finger foods.

That decision didn’t make sense to me, considering that many of our family members are taking psychoactive drugs and shouldn’t drink. Some attendee’s were alcoholics and struggling with drug addiction, and we can just say, unequivocally, that an open bar at this event was inappropriate on so many levels.

But I’ll go ahead and take responsibility for this incident.
I knew I shouldn’t have gone in the first place.
I went against my better judgment and my husbands strong recommendation of privately grieving at home and cutting out the possibility of something exactly like this happening.

Since my mom does not have a car, I offered to pick her up and take her to the celebration.
Death had never been an experience that she handled or coped with sober and I didn’t expect her to this time. She lost her mother and I knew it would be a hard day.

She and I had already had a rough morning.
My mom had already screamed and yelled at me when I showed up to pick her up to pick her up.
She had already started the day out using, and I quickly became the closest target for her. She threw the necklace I loaned her to wear. She ripped off the sweater that I bought to go with her dress.
I didn’t take it personally, because without emotional regulation, people tend to overreact or misdirect emotion.

But I knew I should have just left right then.
And I didn’t.

I chose to put myself in harms way just because my grandmother was really important to me, and I knew that once I got there I would be surrounded by a huge venue full of my grandmother’s oldest friends, and my mom would be outnumbered, and hopefully, preoccupied with someone else to hate and torment.

When we got there she and I parted ways, and I helped distribute pictures on each table full of guests.

She made a beeline straight to the bar.

I made small talk with various people about our memories and the fun that we all had with my grandmother. I was able to watch a group of her old cast mates from the local theater sing a few songs; a performance I won’t forget.

But I kept my eyes peeled for my mother who was lurking around, shooting me dirty looks.
Then, things went really wrong.

I was talking with my uncle, reminiscing about a shared memory.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught her staring at me, circling around me slowly like a shark tends to do when stalking prey.

I made a very discreet comment to my uncle:
“She is going to hit me, stand right here.”

As she circled away from me I walked quickly out of that room into the adjacent room,
grabbed my purse and got out the front door of the building.

And she followed close behind me.
As I walked faster, she began to pick up speed.
I started to run, and she ran right behind me.

Dammit.

No one was helping, no one was holding her back, but everyone was watching. I began to ran as fast as I could (in the cutest purple wedges that I have ever seen that my grandma would have loved.)
There was a long walkway to the parking lot that felt like it was on another planet.

I could hear her screaming behind me.

“Bitch you better run!” “You think you’re better than me, little girl!”
“You are a hoity toity little b*tch!”

This was familiar. I wasn’t surprised or caught off guard.
We had been here before many times throughout my life.
During my childhood I would just hide or leave the house.
As I got older, I began to fight back.
The last time that I did, we both went to jail.

I had my car in sight, car keys out and I was almost there.
All that I kept thinking was that I hadn’t been in trouble in so long, I was finally off probation for our last incident and I was not going to let my anger take over despite the fact that it took everything that I had not to just stop, take my shoes off, and whoop her mouthy little as*.

But I knew better.
I had made the mistake of going in the first place, but I truly felt like I had a right to be there too.

I chose to take the chance knowing the risk involved and the probability of something like this happening to me or to someone else.
I also really loved my grandmother and decided that I wasn’t going to let my mother rob me of yet another moment in my life that I wouldn’t ever be able to get back.

It is so difficult to have a parent who is unhealthy and suffering.
That day was a terrible day and I still kick myself for ignoring the boundaries that I know work for us.

The part of the story that should be surprising but isn’t is that the guests didn’t think anything of the situation. The large majority of them knew my grandmother for years and had watched or heard about her concerns and happenings with my mom for a long time.

Here is what stood out to me after I had some time to (calm down) and reflect on this day:

Not everyone will understand or welcome your lifestyle change and that’s okay.
Live well anyway.

People who judge me for cutting her out of my life and not offering her support are out of line.
I will keep doing what works for me, for my sobriety, and for my own mental health.

Change could mean a number of different things for you as an individual, do what works for you.

All of your change is to benefit your new life in Recovery, even if that means cutting people out.

You should expect resistance from unhappy people when it comes to you making positive change.
Not everyone wants to understand it.
Not everyone will respect it.
Not everyone will want to support you, and that’s okay.
Do better anyway.

What is right for you or your new life, or your best self, are not always the easiest things to apply.

My boundaries are necessary and are the right thing for me, even though I have spent a considerable amount of time questioning myself for sticking to them.

Valuing your own progress and your positive change is okay.
It is why I kept running and didn’t turn around. I refused to react in the way I use to. I refused to give into anger or to resort to being impulsive. I chose to stick to who I had become and what I knew was right.

As hard as it has been over the last 8 years, I have chosen to stay committed to my path toward my own personal health and journey to wellness- free of substances. Free of toxic people.

It is so hard to love someone who struggles with addiction. For me, it happens to be a parent who I think I love, but who I have never really had the chance to know. I love the idea of her and having to sit by for that last 30 years watching her chip away at her soul, dying pretty damn slowly, has been a hard thing to process for me.

I haven’t always made the most wise decisions, (evidenced by my decision to put myself in this situation) but life isn’t always so black and white, you live, you learn, and you allow yourself to move on.

I definitely took a few things away from this experience, most of which, are things that I already knew.
It is possible to veer from the norm. It is possible to make a healthy life for yourself, despite the odds.

Please don’t let anyone tell you different, not even yourself.

Ephesians 6:10
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble.

Sobriety: One Size Fits Most?

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I just read an article written by a clinical psychologist named Gerald Shulman,
who has been in the addiction field, in some capacity, for over 50 years delivering and supervising treatment.

Here is an excerpt from his article in Addiction Professional Magazine
It’s not 1960 anymore; A more balanced model is needed to optimize recovery potential today.

“I have arrived at the conclusion that recovery for many is a three-legged stool.
The seat of the stool represents recovery.”
“The three legs represent: *Psycho-social treatment: 12 step treatment, trauma care, motivational enhancement, cognitive-behavioral therapy etc.
*Recovery support services: group therapies, reading and writing assignments, etc.
*Pharmacotherapy (med assisted treatment)”
“One of these alone, is usually not adequate to bring about Recovery for many addicts.”

(Read the article in it’s entirety here:
www.addictionpro.com/article/its-not-1960-anymore)

Although I (hate) the term addict, I really like what he is saying here.
It’s totally relevant and reflects what I am seeing in the world of sobriety.

Not everyone wants to participate in a 12-step program and often, if they do, it won’t always be enough to lead them to a path of wellness. We are seeing an entirely new group of people who are struggling with addiction using new drugs, having less foundation laid in their lives, and are younger onset at time of first use.

No two people have the same needs. No two treatment plans, recovery plans, or sobriety paths are going to look the same and they don’t need to in order for us to be supportive people. I think we all need to keep an open mind when it comes to support other people who are in recovery, who are striving to live their lives sober.

I will not discount your recovery –if your higher power has a name like mine does, Jesus Christ. If yours doesn’t, if it’s different, or if you don’t have one at all that’s okay too.
I will not discount your recovery — if you loathe 12-step groups, or if you love them. I started my journey as a huge fan of them and have benefited from the steps and principles, and still do. But there are things that I choose not to use, and that’s okay too.
I will not discount your recovery if you choose professional one-on-one counseling and no group therapy.

I personally relied on 12 step meetings, one-on-one counseling, adult homework, CBT, my relationship with God, and literature during the early part of my recovery and beyond.

The point of all of it is to take the desire to change, and meet it with a concoction of individualized treatment therapies that will help you to break the chains that have been holding you back for so long, keeping you from being the best version of you that you are so capable of being.

Ultimately, it is all about utilizing the resources and tools that we need to maintain sobriety and a healthy lifestyle.

Whatever you find that helps you and inspires you to want to live again, do those things.

There is NO SUCH THING as one- size- fits -all sobriety.

 

 

 

 

SAMHSA’s Prevention Project

The “I Choose” project, which began in February 2013,
will continue through National Prevention Week 2014!

This project is an easy way to make a difference, be a positive example, and inspire others.

By participating in the “I Choose” Project, you can help spread the word that our choices make a big difference in our lives, our health, and our future.

I choose my children. I choose to be the one who breaks the generational cycles!
Addiction stops right here.
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Big Life Change.

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I think that the type of feelings that I have been feeling lately could be similar to the ones that people have when they are experiencing “Empty-Nest Syndrome”.
(is that a real thing–an actual syndrome? )
Hmm. I might Google that later.

(Sidenote: If “selfie” has been officially added to our American dictionary, it’s safe to assume that the empty nest thing is something your insurance will cover.)

Moving on.

I have been working pretty hard (after hours) to job search- and prepare my resume.
Do I even have a resume? Not really. Housewife and mommy has created quite the time gap.
I have a few state certification tests to take over the Spring/Summer months, and I finally almost done with my school…..

and think I have finally, (finally) absorbed the crazy notion that both of my children
(who I won’t publicly call ‘babies’)
will be in school next year, and mommy is going to to work an official outside j.o.b.

What is happening to my life?

Roughly 5 years ago, when my husband and I had our first discussion about me quitting my job and staying at home– it was scary, but it was what we really wanted…. it is what I really wanted. It was something that meant a lot to me as a mommy, but also as a woman in recovery who had already missed so much life.

In theory, it would be easy.
But it was a huge life change. Huge.
A huge but perfect life change for our little family.

Being a stay at home mommy has been a gift to me.

Through this one, huge, life- altering decision, I learned so much about my husband’s character as a man, as my partner, as a ‘daddy’  and as a human.
I was met with an overwhelming, supremely supportive response to this change in dynamic from family and friends, and it has grown over the years.

I have had the honor of loving on my kids-all day every day.
I have been able to be here to take wayyyy too many pictures, and document everything.
(I didn’t say organize, I said document)
I am here and I have taken it all in.
I am happily sober -so I can remember it ALL.
(which is pretty nice bonus.)

I know that not all mommies can be home, I know that not all mom’s want to be home, and I know and respect that not all who are home, want to be home.

As a former single working mommy- I did not have this option open to me. I have worked two jobs, night jobs, bar jobs, just to hustle to pay the bills. I so empathize with those of you who truly
(single or not) aren’t getting to live out what you really want to do.

That is just another reason why this experience was so amazing.
I wanted to have the chance to be here at home, and my husband and I were able to work it out.

Yes there were things we chose to live without, but we have made it work.

This experience has affected me as a woman in so many ways.
I learned things about my own capabilities, likes, dislikes, my passions, my limits, strengths, weaknesses and talents that I may not have otherwise discovered.

I feel like I am like a 5- foot- tall Swiss army knife/ninja, multi-tasking wizard of sorts; completely flexible, not afraid to get dirty and feel confident entering in this workforce thing.
(Hmmm. I wonder if I can put that on my resume?)

I really cannot describe how much this experience has changed my heart and how much it means to me.

 

I have tried to teach myself to pick the good out from the uncomfortable.
To view change as opportunity and to use the unknown or the uncomfortable as a chance to learn to trust God and the to trust the process more and more each time life throws inevitable life transitions my way.

Things happen- we either adjust or we don’t.
Seasons in life come and go anyway, regardless of how ready or resistant we are-  it’s happening.

So I am going to take this change.
Although initially, I was shocked, in disbelief and felt a little bit sad-
I am a also rational person.
There is nothing that I can do to halt the age progression of my children.

I have gone back to school for a reason and the only thing left for me to do at this point,  is to remind myself that my #1 job is to bring glory to God-and I can do that right now by trusting him through this life change.

My husband and my children will still remain my top priorities.
My blog and ministry are still going to be a close 4th –and my new job title, whatever that ends up being –will mesh into my priorities somehow.

It is going to be alright.

I am willing to bet (or not -I might have a touch of an issue with control, and betting is not my friend) but I can say with confidence that it is probable that
there is something brewing that I am not aware of yet.

Great things will happen this year, and I will be amazed (yet again) at how things work out when you trust God –and trust that the progression of life and it’s process of change.

Transitions are perfectly normal, and healthy. Scary, but okay.

Someday, I will be able to look back and see the blessings poured out all over all of this change- the same ‘change’ that I am so excited and justifiably terrified about.

So I guess if you learn anything from this post- and my blabbering
it could be that life throws us things.
We have to learn what to do with them – because it happens and it isn’t going to stop.
Change happens. Transitions come upon us.

We have to make decisions. Remain grateful that you have life- that you have a daily source of strength, love and everything else through your relationship with the Lord- that will never run out….. and hold on for the ride.

It can either be miserable or exciting.
That part is up to you and your brain. 🙂

Update: After working hard on my new resume and applying for different jobs-we found out that we were having baby #3. Oh’ life. Thankful I have a sense of humor.

Stop Rushing.

 

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Simply ‘being all there’ and taking each day-

one day at a time.

If you think about it, rushing doesn’t really ever produce anything of best possible quality anyway.

Breathe deep, and take it all in.

This is something that I have to constantly remind myself of.

Whether we are tying shoes, washing dishes or folding laundry.

I try to do my best to take time to teach and explain to my little ones.

I remind myself that our job, is to prepare them to live healthy lives. Not lives without us completely but independent lives.

Just something that I work on every day.

Guest: Tom- Acknowledging Alcohol Abuse

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Hi my name is Tom and I am a recovering heavy alcohol abuser/possible alcoholic (I can’t say I was alcoholic or not because I never got evaluated).It all started when I got back from Afghanistan in 2007 and I felt the need to drink a lot because that is what I thought everyone did when they got back from their deployment.At first it was okay and there didn’t seem to be any problems, but then somewhere two or three years later I just couldn’t control how much I drank anymore. I still thought that nothing was wrong and that I was just being “normal” like everyone else and I felt that if I wasn’t drinking then I wasn’t being normal.
 So in late 2010 I had an episode where I drank 8 beers before I went to the bar, I did this all the time and thought that is what everyone did, and then 6 pints of really strong beer at the bar. Probably totaling somewhere around 18 beers if you add up all the ounces and alcohol content that night. So I got home and the next morning I had the usual hangover symptoms and thought everything was fine. It wasn’t until around 3 pm when I was on my way to college that something didn’t feel right.
My right side of my face and right hand became numb and I thought I was going to pass out. I started to throw up real bad and for like a few hours this numbness and feeling sick went on and hyperventilating. I went to the hospital and I almost went in, but I was too embarrassed to go in. Luckily somehow I made it home and in a few days I felt better. If I drank anymore that day I probably could have died.
You would think that would stop me from drinking, but a few weeks later I was back at it. I never drank that heavily again but I drank about 10-12 beers once every 2 or 3 days up until the day I said that is enough of this lifestyle. I am happily 4 months sober at this point. . (Sober date of September 16, 2013)
Here I am today, luckily, 4 months sober with the help of everyone around me, my running club (I now run 3-4 times a week, which is a way better high than alcohol ever was), and Brittany’s blog (which by the way rocks!!!)
What I am trying to say is NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!!There IS life after addiction or substance abuse.If you are reading this and are near giving up hope or feel like you are not worth it, believe me, YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!If you feel like you want to end your life or getting close to it, there is SUPPORT AND HOPE out there and we all think that YOU ARE WORTH IT.Whether you believe in a God or not, that is okay. What I can say is that God has surely helped me personally and now I read the bible every day. God truly does love you and has no partiality for anyone. No matter what you did in your past, He really really really loves you. All you have to do is love Him back.
KEEP GOING BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!

Guest: Rob- Celebrates 2 Years in Recovery!

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    “My name is Rob Kelly, I am an alcoholic and addict!
    Today January 10th 2014 I celebrate 2 years clean and sober, this is the longest I have been clean and sober since I was 12 years old, & I am 51.”

    For me the journey into darkness began after being physically and sexually abused.

    I sought to fill the hole inside me with alcohol, drugs, sex, a successful career as a teacher, coach, and contractor, my marriage, as a parent, and an active Church member.

    Gradually I lost them all and I put a hand gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger… the firing pin dropped and hit the primer… nothing happened…

    I didn’t realize it but God had a plan for me.

    The pain and darkness, the desperation, the self loathing spiraled out of control.
    in total surrender I cried out to God!!!
    Help me, I cant live like this anymore, I want whats real!
    If you are real you have to show me!!!

    From that earnest plea, that small act of faith, God did respond in a way that changed my life.

    Today I have a peace and serenity in my life that comes by the grace of God, Jesus His only Son is my Lord and Savior and I have been redeemed through the salvation he supplies.

    There is hope in him, please know this.

    This is a very abbreviated version of my story.

    If I can share my story anywhere or help you or a loved one struggling in darkness please let me know.

    Remember my God always responds to faith. I am given a daily reprieve based solely on the maintenance of my relationship with the God that created the universe and breathes stars into being!!!!

    Thank you for letting me share.

    Rob.

    (If you would like to contact Rob, feel free to comment below or request his email address. You can do so anonymously)

Good Grief.

 

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The stages of mourning and grief are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s own terminal illness, the loss of a close relationship, or to the death of a valued being, human or animal. (Psychcentral.com)

I used to run and hide from any kind of pain or uncertainty.
I knew that if I hid long enough, it would all just go away.
And every single time I resurfaced and saw that it hadn’t, it was my cue to reinsert myself into my induced, but functional, coma.

Before substances were my necessity, my best friend, and my only priority, they were my refuge.
Before they transitioned into chemicals that were killing me and taking over my entire life,
they protected me…….they were my safe place.

So today I am trying to sort through my emotions in dealing with a loss that is making my chest feel heavy, like I got hit by a semi-truck.
The kind of loss where I think that I can actually feel my heart breaking.

While I am still really beyond thankful that I am able to feel in the first place,
it can still be overwhelming to feel so much at one time.

But I am happy that I understand that it is normal to feel this way when experiencing personal loss.
Not only is it normal, it is OKAY.

My sobriety has taught me many lessons, but one of the most important lessons has been about happiness.

Being happy all of the time is unrealistic and unnatural.
You can’t always feel good. These expectations are ones that cannot be met.
Just as it is unnatural to always feel down, miserable, and unhappy.
It’s a balance thing.

Obviously, loss is a part of life, and grief is a part of our very real, very human experience.
It is okay to allow ourselves to feel sadness and to allow ourselves to recognize that we are in pain.
It is not wrong or bad to hurt and it is not a shameful thing to grieve for someone.

Today as I sit here I am okay with life not always being okay.
Is there a ‘right’ way to grieve? I don’t think so.
I think there are only healthy, and unhealthy ways to grieve.

I am able to feel and handle grief in a way that doesn’t negatively affect my wellness.
All for me, here is what that means: 
-I will not push the feelings away.
-I will not allow them to run my life and take over all of my thoughts.
-I don’t constrict myself to a time limit, I will grieve as long as my heart needs to.
-I will accept the feelings that come.
– And I understand that I am not ‘abnormal’ for having waves of sadness and a lot of tears as I mourn a loss that just might hurt for a long time.

We cannot change the fact that people will eventually pass on.

It’s just a tough fact of life.
It is a beautiful & painful process.

I know some of you who are reading right now might be grieving someone too.

Try to remember that we are left here with the gaping holes and pain.
But I believe that they are somewhere- and their spirit is alive and healthy, and near to us.
They are not hurting or sick anymore, sad, alone, or debilitated in any way.
They want us to remember them and to live a life that honors their memory by embracing the legacy that they left behind. That is how we can honor their lives lived here.

So I am going to try to do just that.

I am going to laugh, and allow myself to enjoy my life.
I am going to take my memories and what she instilled into my life,
and I am going to give it away to others.

She would have been okay with that.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
(Psalm 34:18)

My Grandmother.

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My grandmother passed away in her sleep on January 8, 2014 – at around 3 a.m.

I know you might be envisioning a sweet little old lady, with cats or a cute sweatshirt that has something embroidered on the front of it…

or maybe a woman whose house smelled like freshly baked, warm cookies, or a woman who wore aprons.

But my grandma?
My grandma was like no other grandmother out there.

Anyone who knew her knew someone special, driven, bold, and creative.

I am going to attempt to encompass her personality by transforming its massive but complex qualities into simple text, but I already know that it is not going to come close to frame her spirit or match its vigor.

She was a lover of any soul that the world would try to tell you wasn’t ‘worth’ anything.
Right off the top of my head, the major causes that she stood behind:

*Special needs children-Their right for inclusion and to be celebrated, and accepted.
* Helping people who suffered or struggled from some form of mental illness (her daughter- and she considered this an illness or disease, not a defect.)
*Supporting, loving, accepting, and defending Gay rights —their freedom to choose to live life the way that they feel suits them personally, because after all, they are just people like you and me.
*Feminism. She was definitely a supporter of women but she went beyond that. She pushed the boundaries and she liked to shatter preconceived assumptions.

She was an incredible writer. She wrote short stories, screenplays, comedy pieces & skits, plays, and a column in an Irish newspaper that she was also partial owner of.
She had a genius I.Q.
She was upfront, honest and outspoken.
She wasn’t afraid -of anything.
Being told ‘she would be able’ to do something rekindled the fire inside of her…
She believed that people all deserved a shot. All people.
She was a witty, analytic thinker.
She wanted us to know how big this world is, as it is much bigger than what we can see.
She always encouraged other people to go after their dreams and not to ever, ever, ‘think small’.

She taught us that people, regardless of how they looked, how slow or fast they thought or comprehended, who they chose to love, or what religion they followed– they were all worthy of love and respect.

She taught me that I should only partake in activities that I would be comfortable having printed on the front page of a newspaper…

She was an advocate for being ‘you’ before it was cool.

She was at every emergency room visit—by my side through every major injury, every stitch.

When I didn’t have the courage to take a first step in any endeavor, she was there pushing me and encouraging me. She wouldn’t allow me to second guess my own abilities.

She taught me how to line dance, play black-jack, and how to be comfortable in the only skin that I have.

She taught me the value of knowing how to read a map and the importance of turning the radio off during a road trip.

I know why we tell stories about our lives and how much there is to absorb from the experiences of another human.

If you have an idea, work for it. Apply yourself and make it happen. You are the way from point a- to point b. There is nothing stopping you, except for your idea that you cannot do something.

I could go on and on, and who knows.
This is probably just a part-1.

My parents struggled hardcore with drug addiction/alcoholism when I was a child, so I spent a significant amount of time with her for many, many years. I am just not sure that I realized the impact that she had on my life.

I have watched as she led her life with arms outstretched to other special needs families in need for so many years and as she loved on children that were overlooked by society as a whole. I observed her living out her love and her passions manifest and as she left a little bit of her personality, everywhere that she went.

I have never met anyone as fearless and strong-
or as funny and intelligent,  or as cut throat or badass.

She really was a force to be reckoned with, because when she believe in something or set a new goal-
there wasn’t anything that was going to deter her.

I know her spirit is watching over all of us.
We all know she’s dancing in the sky and singing with damn you (family dog), Grandpa John, Grandma Mickey, Tiny Phil, Grandpa Phil, Matthew and all of the other loved ones who were waiting for her arrival.

She can breathe. She can walk, run, jump, dance and laugh as long and loud as she can.
Everything is different…
but not – gone.

My heart is so heavy and I literally feel physically sick.
We experienced our fair share of ups and downs, but at the end of the day she knew, as did I that we had a special bond and a connection like nothing else I have ever experienced.

All that I keep thinking is the only thing that we can do now, is honor her by allowing her life and legacy to live on — through our outstretched hands.

This speaks to my aching heart and soul right now.
I know she’s dancing – I know it.

Happy New Year! 2014

 

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We all want to improve or change something in our lives and this time of year gives us a great starting point and although the large majority of people will not actually follow through on their new year’s resolutions, it is still a perfect time to take a step back to reflect on our year.

For me it’s a simple and short process. I do take some time to look back on my year. My gratitude for my sober life is deeply rooted in my life and I do try to make sure my actions reflect my level of gratitude. As long as I did not travel backwards regressing toward something unhealthy, and I am also not a complacent shell of a human,
I basically call that previous year a win; points for me.

My personalWell I look at it like this.
I did not die from my addiction. I tried to. I could have. I almost did a few times.
But, I didn’t. By the Grace of God- I’m alive.
So that’s always a point in the positive side. 🙂

 

My goals are pretty simple milestones. I truly just want to continue living in the now. I will continue to try to inspire my children to be the very best versions of who God created them to be. I want to learn to communicate more effectively with my husband, I want to learn to be a better friend.

I won’t compare my goals to anyone else’s. You shouldn’t either.
This new year is just another block of measured time to do more healthy, positive things. We have more time to learn things and to grow as individuals.

 

Use the start of 2014 to become an even better version of —YOU.

 

Just do it for the right reasons and don’t let the excitement of a new year beginning, take away from all that you are right now.

Unexpected Gifts of Living in Recovery.

 

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Using substances may have been some of the darkest, saddest, loneliest & scariest times of my existence, but that wasn’t where I first started to lose myself.

That started long before.
I think pain & trauma can make for fertile ground for that to happen, especially if it is not addressed.

I began hiding as a young girl.
I created masks to wear that became my safe places to hide when things became unbearable or when I really didn’t know where else to turn, so I turned inward.

I felt like I needed to hide from the drugs; the pipes, the trays, the smells, the bottles.
I cowered and hid from the violence; the drama, the yelling, the noise, the sirens.
I hid from the strangers in my living room; the men, the lurkers, the lovers.
I would imagine myself being in different places. Different houses, different cars, or different families.
I believe that I hid so often that there didn’t seem to be any benefits to coming back out again. It didn’t feel safe.

By the time that I started looking to different substances I was already a lost person.

All that I really yearned for was inner peace and calm, and some type of contentment. I just wanted all types of enough, to simply be enough.

I didn’t think that Recovery would work for me,
because I believed to my core that I was a throw away person.

But I wanted it.
I wanted to learn how to live a sober life.

The more I learned about God- the more I felt like I knew about myself,
and the more that I knew about myself through Christ,
the more I felt okay being who I was in my own skin.

I was finally able to make some real peace with my past.
I finally understood that I could not take back my bad choices, or get the time I had lost back.
I could not live on regret and I may not regain all of my memory either.
I began to understand that I was forgiven and it was alright to move forward.
I was given a sense of peace about it and felt ready to make new choices and new memories.

I was finally able to face and accept my past, and even embrace it to use it for something good.
I had a new chance to do something with my life. I was alive for a reason.
Letting God use my past for His glory, took away all of the negative power that I had given it before. 
It was now completely powerless in bringing me back down.
I was not going back there.

I want everyone who is hurting or struggling to know the truth.
You are loved and you are so so valuable.
God’s love is powerful, His love is the kind that can mend, heal, and re-create.
Through it, you can feel again.
You can love again.
You can live again.
You can look in the mirror again.

Recovery with God doesn’t mean that you won’t have to put in hard work, or learn new things.
Actually, the opposite happens. You are dismantled piece by piece, and re-built with parts that are so true to who you are. You will quickly begin to feel and believe that the cards you were dealt, and the mess that you have made of your life- are NOT the end of your story.

The struggle is real, but so is our GOD, and so is Hope,  and so is life after addiction.

God will absolutely restore every single thing that was taken from you and everything that you gave away to your addiction.

That, and much, much more.

8 Things I Wasn’t Expecting In Early Recovery

Being newly sober  was not what I expected.
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  Here are some things that I personally would have wanted to know early on:

1.  You might feel like you’re physically dying.
Say hello to withdrawal.
On a scale of one-to-ten your severity of pain or discomfort will vary, but go in knowing that your body is cleaning house. This can get ugly and it won’t feel good.
No it isn’t fun but it is a necessary part of getting to the best years of your life. You are breaking down barriers to find the new you.
Don’t give up now. You will get through it.

2. After Detox/withdrawal it gets harder.
So you conquered the first ninety-days and that is HUGE. But things won’t magically be or feel better just because you are sober. After some of the fog clears you might look around and notice that so many other things are still a mess.
Good news friends: It’s okay. Messes clean up and it will take some time. You can only clean up so much at once, so try to remind yourself of the progress that you have made and don’t focus so much on all that you have left to do. It will all get done.

3. The emotional struggle is real. 
You are so used to drugs making you feel better or helping you to not feel the things that made you feel guilty or sad or the things that acted as reminders of who you became.
Be prepared. You are going to feel things that you thought you hid away and you are going to feel things that you don’t recognize and it’s likely that you moods will be all over the place for a while.
Recovery is the opposite of everything that you’re used to, but it is going to be okay. Give it some time and things will even out a little bit more each day. Feelings are good and come and go, so remind yourself that it’s okay to feel the things, but they shouldn’t dictate your actions. 

4. Keeping busy has a purpose.
Often getting sober means that you are getting acquainted with yourself after a long stretch of time. Maybe you never knew what you liked to do to relax, unwind, or recharge. It is possible that you don’t know what recreational fun should look like for you or what kinds of things you are into. What in the hell do you do with downtime? How do you celebrate your victories? How do you curb negative thinking or a mindset that used to trap you inside of your own mind?
In early recovery it is important to try new things and to get a feel for new activities that you can inject into your new life and your new routine.

5. Reaching out can save your progress and your life.
Isolation in early recovery can tear down progress quicker than Donald Trump can say the word great or use singular expressive adjectives to exclaim disdain for his opponents. Sad!
You might not feel comfortable reaching out or ready to pick up the phone and tell someone you are having a shit day or are feeling like giving up. Hiding and concealing is no longer an option. I learned early on that my addiction was very tricky and deceitful. It won every single time that I tried to secretly battle it alone. No one is going to shame you for making the courageous decision to ask for encouragement.
Also, it is your job to speak up and to tell someone that you are having an off day or are feeling unsure of your existence or your choice to be in recovery.
Tell someone who you know cares about you and your Recovery.
Don’t keep it to yourself. 

6. Recovery changes ALL of the time.
You might assume that the second that you made the decision to quit and change that you will quit and that will be it. But that isn’t the reality of choosing sobriety. It changes all of the time.
Every single day life will reveal a little bit more to you. Each day you will grow and move away from the old you, as you step into your new way of living your life. As you make new friends and visit new places or meetings or groups you will change. As you implement new activities or uncover new loves for certain hobbies you will change. Every time you tell the truth and follow through you will change. As you set and reach and crush your personal or professional goals you will change. Your recovery benefits from every single thing that you do and think and say and decide. It all matters and it all pushes you closer to your authentic self.

7. Not everyone will be happy for you.
So I guess I expected people to be really happy for me. I thought that everyone would be on board and I would have a group of supporters beating down my door to pat me on the back.. but not everyone cared. There are so many people out there who will have your back and cheer you on, but they may not be the people who you expected. I have lost a lot of ‘friends’ and many of my relationships are gone, over or have changed. But I have gained a family and true, solid, friendships.

8. The other side of staying busy is learning to be alone with yourself.
This was probably one of my least favorite experiences as a newly sober woman.
Just because I was sober and wanted to learn how to embrace a calm, healthy way of living, didn’t mean that I loved myself. I still hated who I was and I had no idea when the loving myself part would happen. Over time I learned how to differentiate between my past mistakes and the person who I was becoming, the things that I could and could not control or change, and the difference between a bad choice and an inherently bad human being. I wasn’t as terrible to be alone with as I had once believed, but it definitely took some getting used to before I could look into a mirror without crying or wanting to smash my face into it.

I hope that these 8 things serve as reminders to you that you are not alone in this thing.

I may not have felt exactly how you are feeling but I can empathize with what you might be going through and I can only say these two things are guaranteed:

God loves you and is for you and will carry you and be by your side, and it all gets better as time passes.

 

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