Tag: freedom

Merry Christmas from Discovering Beautiful!


Discovering Beautiful isn’t about outer beauty. It is a bunch of writing shared from my heart to yours.
My blog emphasizes the beauty that is nonexistent &  unnoticed when living an empty life addicted and hopeless.
Sobriety and Recovery both allow us to embrace life.

Because of God’s Grace, we are alive, and are given a second chance; a chance to start over.
We are transformed from the inside out. We understand that beauty, true beauty, comes from the inside.

When we are free from addiction, we can finally SEE, FEEL, EXPERIENCE, & REMEMBER all of the small things.
We see the beauty in people.
We feel the beauty that life has to offer.
We create new memories to cherish.
We can laugh again.
We are able to enjoy simplicity and finally embrace calm.

But life with God, or with sobriety and recovery certainly don’t offer perfection to you..
I am definitely not a perfect mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, writer, advocate or encourager…

What these things DO offer is permission to live authentically, and in freedom.
I am free to be imperfect. I am totally okay with learning and doing better tomorrow.
We are free to love ourselves and to embrace this new  chance at life.
We can accept our past and are completely free to move forward.

So this holiday season, I am thankful to have another year sober.
I have another year full of memories with my family.
I am another year further away from the old me, and my old life.

I have memories that I  can & will remember, and these things are engraved in my boys hearts too.

We are marking the very first Christmas of our 3rd baby boy,
and are continuing our traditions with the older boys.

Sometimes I can’t even believe that this is my life now.
I am still in awe of how much things can change in a short amount of time, and just how much life there is left to live- even after you feel like there is no way out.

I wish you a Merry Christmas to you and yours,
from our crazy awesome, loud, messy, fun, hilarious, imperfect little clan;  The Shelton’s. 

Living Free.

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. 


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.


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

Bending The Boundaries



Ya’ll this week has been a little bit tough.

I think that when someone who you love struggles with addiction, chances are you struggle with codependency issues.

This has been the kind of week that I really have to be on point.
I know a lot of facts and formal knowledge about addiction, codependency, and the dangers of enabling.

I know that I can only love them and it is not my job to fix them.

I know all of this stuff and I have it filed away for weeks like these.
Maybe I should practice these principles every day like I do the ones for my own well-being in recovery, but admittedly, I don’t.

My mother and my brother still struggle with mental health and addiction issues.
It isn’t easy to keep them out of my life and to stay committed to the boundaries that I know work best for me.
Sometimes, I break my own rules because I miss them..or, I miss who I think that they could be.
I definitely bend my boundaries from time to time, and when I do, I hurt myself.

This week I chose to answer the phone when they called and I actually listened to their voice mails instead of deleting them.

Two things that I choose not to do most of the time, because it never fails:
When they call, rest assured, there is a very specific reason and a very specific need.

Presently, they’re sleeping with no electricity in the cold and are desperately needing a couple hundred dollars.
Apparently, cold air + doesn’t mix well with emphysema complications and you can’t mix & inject anabolic steroids in the dark when you are drinking vodka, and the arguing has been more out of control than usual.

That is a life that I know and one that I remember all too well.
I understand where they are coming from and I know it is very real to them.

But I also know that my ‘helping’ in any way won’t really be of any help.
At this point my helping doesn’t even make me feel good anymore.
I know the truth, and its hard to elude.
There aren’t any reasons left or any more excuses that I can make to help them anymore.

I compartmentalize these feelings because of love. 
Being strong and turning them away doesn’t come easy because of this love and not helping them certainly isn’t natural.

It is also not a socially acceptable thing to casually talk about with anyone, really.

So for me there is nothing else that I can do with the feelings that come from loving people who struggle with their own demons, and who lash out and hurt those around them.

All that I can do is tuck my love away, and hold out hope for eventual wellness.

I am not going to allow myself to do retreat and hide.
To me that is not the same thing as facing the very real, intense, and emotional situation.

My role reversal issues with my mother and my brother cannot be mended by pretending that they don’t exist.
They can only continue to change and become what they should be as long as I am identifying what I am feeling and actively sorting through the feelings.

-It has taken me a very long time to adjust to my new role in the family.
-I am not my mother’s guardian, I am her daughter.
-I am not my brother’s mother, I am his sister.

I am completely, one-hundred-percent powerless over their behavior.
I cannot help them or anyone else to change if they don’t want it for themselves. 

-They don’t ‘need’ me, not in the way that I would like them to.
-I was never helping, I was hurting.
-I wasn’t saving I was enabling.
-I accept and believe that it is okay to let go of my guilt and my sense of responsibility.

Years ago, phone calls like the ones I actually answered this week-
would have sent me into a tailspin.

I am doing a better job at sticking to my own rules and boundaries.

So, while this week has been markedly more strenuous for me-  (compared to a typical week)…..

I have not allowed it to consume me.

I sound insensitive but I have to be rational about it.

And realistically, I know that if it is this hard for me, they are hurting a million times more.

The only difference is, 

I can feel it.


The Smaller Reminders.


Looking back, early recovery was basically a big block time filled with excruciating discomfort.

Of course any life change is uncomfortable and so is coming off of drugs, but what had really terrified me was coming to the realization that I never really did know who I was. I hadn’t ever found myself. It was one of the hardest of my truths to accept, stone cold sober.

There were strong emotions that accompanied accepting that I was and had really always been, completely lost.

But even in the midst of my discomfort and all of the unknowns that I was being introduced to, this new way of life still offered a long list of positives that overshadowed all of my discomfort.

And while these positives didn’t cancel out the consequences of my choices, they did a great job of providing hope and inspiration to keep going despite all of the discomfort.
The ability to appreciate the small things was one of the first gifts that sobriety gifted to me.

I began to notice the things that I had never given a second look before.

I can remember the first time that I looked up and noticed the sun setting.
I was completely overwhelmed by the natural beauty.
The colors were so bold and bright.
This massive sky was very clear about its presence.

And I felt so small and so surprised that I had never taken the time to appreciate something that felt so obvious and beautiful.

The earth had presented this beauty every day of my short life of almost 23 years and I had never stopped long enough to appreciate or notice it.

For the first time I realized that I actually had the ability to soak in a moment and benefit from something that I couldn’t buy at a store or pick up from a pharmacy.

That was a personal victory.
And somehow, I even felt closer to God even though we were hardly acquainted.

The overwhelming beauty of the earth in all its natural glory truly put me in my place and I felt humbled.

I realized that The universe is a powerful living thing, and I have power over exactly none of it.

If something like this could make my heart feel so peaceful maybe life didn’t have to be as complicated as I had made it for so long. Maybe it was all more simple.

I had spent a lot of time trying to find ‘happy’.
I still hadn’t figured out how to fill the dark place inside of myself.

I would have never imagined that something so simple (& free) could offer me peace and calm.  But what had changed was my mind, my heart and my perspective.

The sun has been doing its thing for a while.

Even now, years later, I still pull my car over to the side of the road if that means that I get a better view of a sunset.

Every single time I am reminded:

*Why I choose simplicity and why toxicity can have no place in my life.
*How small I am and how great God is.
*That busy is overrated
*How far the east is from the west; my transgressions have been moved that far away from me.
*My lack of control is very real. It is important to be aware of what I can and cannot control.
*How grateful that I am for the small things.
*The sun will always come up tomorrow and that means we have a new day- new chances and new opportunities to do a better job.

Sunsets have become meaningful to me and represent a lot of sober and beautiful happenings that I never thought would happen in my life.

It is a good reminder to me to not allow myself to get too wrapped up in anything that would cause me to ignore something so obvious and magnificent that is provided for us on a daily basis.

A new chance to start again tomorrow.

Wanted to share this with you. This song by Casting Crowns, truly speaks to me.

A glimpse of —her.

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This is a picture of my mother and I.

This short visit happened on April 13, 2013.

It has taken a lot of learning to trust in God’s word and personal growth on my part to be able to say that I am truly grateful for her, and genuinely happy that she has thought about trying sobriety.

I respect her for that, and have chosen not to love her only when she is doing ‘good’.
She has a dual diagnosis, and struggles with sobriety and balancing her mental health issues.

Having waited such a long time to try to begin to manage her life – has really had a negative impact on her treatment success.

I do know that I was grateful to have a sober visit with her, that seemed almost ‘normal’.
Whatever that is..

But it was the most normal interaction that she and I have ever had, my entire life.

I hope that we can do this again someday.

*Bear with each-other, and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)

*Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

I will be grateful for this visit if this one visit -even if it is the only one that we ever have.
We are all important.
We all deserve respect from other people.

My mom would be no exception to my beliefs.
My excitement for her is not for her as my mother, but for her as a person.
This is her journey, and this is one of her personal victories.

We have since had run ins, and not good one’s.
She struggles so much.
I pray for her, but am still grateful that I got to see a glimpse of ‘her’.



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