Category: Addiction

Something to remember:

 

forgiven

“Well, the past is playing with my head
And failure knocks me down again
I’m reminded of the wrong
That I have said and done
And that devil just won’t let me forget….”

“My mistakes are running through my mind
And I’ll relive my days in the middle of the night
When I struggle with my pain, wrestle with my pride.
Sometimes I feel alone and I cry.”

“When I don’t fit in and I don’t feel like I belong anywhere
When I don’t measure up to much in this life
Oh, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ…”

“And in this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am…..”

“Well, I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
‘Cause I’m forgiven…”

(Lyrics of Forgiven, by Sanctus Real)

 

 

Support Systems in Recovery

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I am definitely a fan of ‘alone’.
I am a true introvert, and not by popular, new-age, twenty-first century, because it’s cool choice.
It is simply who I am.
I am not anti-social. I love the people who I am close to, I enjoy speaking and meeting new people and I am encouraged by engaging with readers and talking with other women.
I simply need breaks occasionally and can certainly physically feel the need to regroup and re-engage with self afterward.
My years of struggling with addiction sent me into a black pit of unhealthy isolation, and there was a time where I preferred nothing more than to be all alone with my shame, guilt and continuous running from myself.

When I decided that Recovery was my only option, and my only way to keep my life- I hated everything that it required. Everything. Every little thing.
In addition to truth being a necessary component, so was interacting with and opening up to new people.
It took me quite some time to even consider, but over time it became crystal clear to me why this component could make or break a person’s progress and personal development in their Recovery.

Here are some things that I have learned along the way.
5 Benefits of utilizing a support system in your Recovery:

1. Secrets get us into trouble.
Addiction banks on self-deceit and denial. Secrets are the gift that keep on giving when it comes to a compulsive behavior. Secrets promote shame and shame shuts us up and has the power to keep us isolated.
It is imperative that it all comes out. Anything from our past that we are still hiding or have pushed deep down and anything that we presently struggling with needs to come out.
We need to have someone wise and trustworthy listen to us, and if necessary, provide us with feedback so we can work toward clarity. Over time we will begin to recognize our own thought patterns, our own tendencies and will be able to separate the truth from the lies that we have grown accustomed to believing about ourselves.
We cannot learn to do this sitting alone at home, in isolation. There is proven therapeutic value in open sharing with a trustworthy person.

2. Addiction will prey on our weak moments. 
(And we can just expect to have weak moments in early Recovery).
We know sobriety is a requirement for Recovery. In order to grow in Recovery – sobriety has to come first. It is a great thought, and obviously a huge step to choose to live a sober life….but there has to be a plan in place to maintain sobriety.
We cannot assume that when tough moments come or we are stuck in a hard place making a judgment call, that we will have everything under control. Chances are, we won’t. Drugs affect the thought process of every addict, regardless of intelligence level. We have to force ourselves to reach out, to make that phone call, to drive to a meeting, talk to your counselor, call your sponsor, and reach out.
Sometimes in the more intense moments, if left up to ourselves– we can quickly be deterred and will allow ourselves to be talked back into self-deprecating behavior.
Often, another perspective or a listening ear is all that you need to get you back on track in a weak moment.

3. Growth springs from personal experience and learning from others. It doesn’t matter which Recovery program that you choose-any good program will encourage regular involvement, whether online- or in person. Alone, we only know what we know. Alone, without any outside interaction or involvement there is zero room for growth.
We remain humble by choosing to be open to learning from our experiences and the knowledge of others who have been where we have been. We are far better off and have an increased chance of developing and growing in our own Recovery if we decide that we can learn a lot from others.

4. The right people will keep us honest. Having even one or two people who you regularly interact with who will lovingly call you out on your bs, is a great thing. We have to have people around us or involved in our lives in some capacity that if needed, will encourage us to re-examine our ways. This is a pretty important thing to have in Recovery. As annoying as it can be, and as much as we tell ourselves that this isn’t a necessary piece, it is needed.

5. Building new relationships are a great way to embrace the new you.  It is difficult to believe that we are capable of doing this ‘new life’ thing. New relationships offer us a new start. We begin to see that we are capable of having full, healthy relationships with other people. It is a nice feeling to have a new network of people who know exactly who you are, and accept you as is. It is comforting to have real friendships based on trust and balance, and not shaky or scandalous foundations. Our new relationships are built on firm foundations of mutual respect, and this helps us to continue growing in our recovery. It helps us to believe that we are in fact, living new lives in different and exciting ways. It becomes clear to us that we have in fact changed and are capable of so much more.

Living One Day at a Time: 4 Benefits

 

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I believe that in Recovery we should definitely have long-term goals etched out in our minds.
We should have a rough idea of somewhere we would like to be, somewhere we could see ourselves, and things that we would like to accomplish in our lives, in the long-term, as sober humans.

In early recovery my only long-term goal was to be at peace.
It sounds like a vague goal, I know, but that is all that I envisioned.
I wanted that life.

You know, the life where I would be happy with the simple things.
A state of being that I would be able to enjoy simple days.
I would be a person who could have plans or not have any plans, and still be happy.
Some days would be exciting, and other’s wouldn’t, and that would be okay.
I was just tired of chasing the idea of contentment and truly just wanted to ‘be’ …and to be at peace with just ‘being’.

So you could say that my personal long-term goal was not exactly mapped out with specific routes to get me to that place that I had imagined, but at least I had vision.

In early recovery most of us are told to only allow ourselves to focus on the twenty-four hours that are in front of us, and those hours only.

Why are we told so many times over to live and plan for only one day at a time?
How can living one day at a time be beneficial?

1. At this crucial stage staying sober is priority #1.
You don’t need to get overwhelmed.
Early Recovery means fresh emotion. Emotions running high.
Emotions all over the place.
They’re inconsistent and seem to want to dictate everything.
Most feelings are being felt for the first time in a long time and don’t make sense.
A lot of us have had personal experiences where our minds are playing tricks on us.
Our bodies hurt and aren’t understanding this new change.
We may have legal or professional issues to handle as well.

For these reasons it is vital to focus solely on the now and to avoid any additional & avoidable stress. Typically, this is something that we can agree to commit to for right now.

2. We are learning to value ourselves. 
By setting daily goals and striving for small changes
we begin to see that we are in fact capable of change; albeit, small change.

We are setting new and attainable standards for ourselves and the way that we are choosing to live our lives. Each day that we take on with intention, we continue to live as this new person.
Every single day proves to us what we had previously thought was impossible for us. As each day passes we begin to realize that we are capable of doing good things.

3. By slowing down, we learn to rely on God throughout each day,
moment to moment if need be.
We live one day at a time, and for most of us, one moment at a time.
We use this 24-hour-format to teach ourselves to slow down.
We learn to analyze ourselves in our environment.
We begin to see the value in embracing what comes each day.
We take a long hard look at our reactions, how we interact, how we respond to others, how we treat others.
We learn to take the time to pause and take note of these things.
We ask for help from God when we need it and if that means right in the moment, then so be it.

Taking each day for what it is allows us to strategically peel off each layer. We take note of the good, bad, and in between every day. We share our heart with God, and we learn to see that whenever and wherever we are He is there, and He is real, and cares about our individual situation.

4. We begin to appreciate and value hard-work and prefer it over instant gratification.
It has been a long time since we believed that hard work can produce good things.
Instantaneous gratification is what we have been chasing.
We got used to having what we wanted, when we wanted it, by any means necessary.
It has become unnatural to have to put in such hard work for what seems like little reward.
Over time we will begin to see the value of the effort that we have put into living a sober life. We become more determined and more focused, despite having rough hours or difficult days.
We begin to see that the easiest way is not always the right way, the best way, the most healthy way and certainly– not the most rewarding.
Things will get a little bit easier every single day that you make it through.
You will make mistakes, but guess what?
You are going to try again tomorrow in the next set of 24-hours that we are given.

You can only get so much accomplished in one day.
You aren’t competing or racing anyone else.

This is your journey and you are doing a great job embracing this new thing.
ODAAT.

Addiction Requires Dishonesty. Recovery Requires Truth.

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We have to pay particular attention to how honest and truthful that we are in Recovery, holding ourselves to crazy high standards in order to ensure the best possibilities for ourselves and our future.

Why?
Because active addiction requires a lot of consistent dishonesty.

One of the only areas left that an addict can manage maintaining any level of consistency with is being dishonest.

The substance that we are addicted to tells us all of the many reasons why it is okay to utilize all of the manipulative techniques that we use.

It all makes sense at the time & all feels completely legit and necessary.

*Here are some ways addiction perpetuates lies.  
An addicted person will: 

-Lie to themselves.
They will believe the lies about their present condition, their abilities, self-worth, value, potential or need to change; minimizing, rationalizing or intellectualizing what their lives have become.

-Deny the need for help from any force more powerful than themselves.
Often, an the addicted person denies a need for any outside help whatsoever, claiming to have control over their choices, or lives. Others, (like myself) mock the idea of a God at all- especially one that could help them.

-Lie to others.
When the drug completely takes over their person, and devours and chips away at any human decency that they have left, interpersonal relationships that may have once been important to them-suddenly don’t mean anything and become expendable selfish resources and nothing more.

Nothing really matters anymore at a certain point, besides their own desire to use. Lies, manipulation, cheating, stealing, and all other small, big or dangerous lies fall into this category. All of these things ruin the relationships that we may have had with others, whether personal, casual or business related relationships.

*Here are some ways that any Recovery program requires truth.
Recovery will: 

-Ask us to get honest with ourselves.
For the first time in a long time, we will look into a mirror and see a person.
We will see what we have become and we have to decide to swallow that hard truth and begin work right there, from where we are at that moment. We decide to dedicate ourselves to not changing the truth of our lives or the choices that we have made up until that point…but we dedicate ourselves to creating a new truth about ourselves.
We commit to vigorous honesty in our thinking and evaluating our daily actions, mistakes, and victories; and we will to work in 24 hour increments.

-Ask that we recognize that we cannot help ourselves and we need help.
In order to do this, we have to be honest.
We have to take an honest look at where we are, and how we got there. For me that meant that without God’s help or direction – this is where we ended up. Without His power to look up, we didn’t have any hope or strength left to start this Recovery process.
We have to willing to admit that we have to look to His power and seek His strength in order to be able to work and handle working a program that is so raw and requires so much honesty,  like the one addiction recovery asks for and requires. And like many other things in recovery, it’s paradoxical. By accepting that we are powerless, we find power.

-Help us to learn to be honest in all of our interactions and dealings with others.
As we begin to understand and value the importance of honesty with ourselves and with God, we will see how this can change and possibly repair our relationships with others.
Whether or not we are able to ‘fix’ broken relationships won’t be as important as the benefits that we will gain as human beings in Recovery, as we do the right thing-one person, one interaction, one conversation and one situation at a time.
That is all that we can do, but there is tremendous healing and potential for personal growth as we go through each day intentionally and honestly. Our integrity begins to rebuild within our inner parts and we start to believe that we are in fact, respectable and *worthy members of society. We begin to see that we can change and we can make decisions that we don’t even expect from ourselves.

We begin to allow that first seed of Hope to grow, and we see that if we keep working even a little each day- great things start to happen.

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.

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.

 

 

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!

 

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.)

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

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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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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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)

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.

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