Tag: love

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.

 

 

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.

 

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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Husband Q & A

Relationships. 

Let’s say you are a couple.
You love each other and value one another.

One of you ends up with an addiction and becomes dependent on a substance.
It tears them apart and dismantles who they once were.

That person that you fell in love with  is gone.

All you are left with is an empty relationship, basically completely deteriorated;
looking nothing like it use to and there is not a lot of hope in your heart when it comes to the prospect of finding him or her once again.

*You are sad, and feel lost. What can you do to get this person back?
*Is it a fruitless effort?
*Are you hurting or helping? Where should you turn?
*Who is this person that you use to know?
*Should you take it personally?
*Can you be of any help?
*Is this person who you love going to be this manipulative shell of deceit and self-absorption permanently?

These are the types of questions that ran through my husband’s head and made his heart ache leading up to the days where I smashed into my rock bottom face first, and throughout my first two years of Recovery.

This is the type of confusion that he dealt with and had to learn how to navigate through. 

My addiction did have a profound affect on him, and although I was far too busy focusing on my recovery to empathize or inquire at the time–

in the succeeding years post active addiction— he has revealed so much to me about HIS journey riding on the crazy coattails of my recovery.

While I was abstaining, detoxing, hurting, learning, growing, and changing-
He was going through his own change and was navigating a new path himself.

I am going to share that with you guys now.

As a side-note or a disclaimer of sorts:
As a professional I would never support or recommend that a person in Recovery start/begin/consider a new romantic relationship.
It is not a healthy choice to make.

In the event of entering recovery as a married person or as a person who is already committed to a long-term relationship, I would definitely set certain boundaries and limits with both parties on a case-by-case basis. Everyone involved would be learning and would need to be counseled on some level.

Every life, recovery and circumstance is completely different. What worked for us, may not be something that will work for another couple who is struggling with getting through Addiction-TOGETHER. 

What does inspire HOPE is knowing that there are other people who have made it through some of the most exhausting and trying times, and have come out the other end—
strong and CRAZY in love with the new people that we have transformed into throughout our journey together and individually.

So take what you can from it and leave the rest. 

Thank you for reading and I hope that we can inspire you to keep working and loving.

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So THIS is Love.

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When I began to believe that God did exist and I actually began to feel and see the evidence of Him in my life, the way that I experienced love immediately changed.

Unlike most other aspects of change in recovery from addiction (and underlying issues) this change was almost instant and didn’t require work.

No longer was it a word that I tossed around, or a word lacking meaning behind it.
I could feel it.
Although it is an over-used word these days, there really aren’t words powerful enough to describe what it feels like to experience love for the first time.

Self-Love was brand new to me.
For the first time in my life, I saw my own reflection in a new way, and felt differently about all of the circumstances that I had inherited and created for myself. 
I saw who I really was, and I embraced her.
For the first time, I could say that I loved me.
Not who I would become, not who other people told me I needed to be.
I loved myself, and it was enough to let myself embrace the things that were to come.

Feeling the Love for my children.
I had always loved them but something was different when I looked into their little faces, and seeing the brightness behind their eyes, celebrating their victories, soaking in the belly laughs, hearing their stories, cherishing the color pages, and even wiping their tears.
I could remember the moments.
All of it became something more than what it had been before.
I could finally see them.

Being madly in Love
for the first time.
I wasn’t in love with a persona, or who a person might possibly become.
I wasn’t staying for lack of better alternative or the sense of being needed.
I knew I was valued and appreciated, imperfectly accepted.
I was in love with someone who was already whole.
I could see this person for who they were and I didn’t want to change anything about them.
I wanted to be more because he inspired me.
I wanted to keep going because he pushed me.
I wanted to unpack my own baggage, so that I could be a whole person too.
I wanted to receive his love and to give it right back.

It all finally made sense. 

I had finally accepted love. I had finally let myself be loved.
I was finally able to give love away.

God’s love for me shined a beacon of light on what this life is really all about, about what love really means, how it really feels, and why it is all so important.

1 John 4:19
We love each other because he loved us first.

 

 

Why Did You Change?

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For family members or friends of people who are addicted, we often wonder if they will ever change.
We worry.
We lose sleep.
We wish we had answers or effective words or more powerful love.
What it will take for them to finally be ready?
How much more will they have to lose?
How many more injuries can they sustain? Hasn’t it been enough yet?
What if it is never enough?

But I know better. Endless worrying won’t make any difference.

That pressure to change can be crippling. To hear the desires and concerns of people who have pure intentions, who are not motivated by anything other than the bond of love. While their expectations are heard, (and it would be perfect if they inspired people to change), most of the time it only stirs up anger toward self, and toxic shame. I can remember scrutinizing myself relentlessly after a plea from a family member. For fuck’s sake, the way I viewed myself was about all of the criticism that I could handle, and when I was hounded with inquisitions concerning my life choices, I just wanted to evaporate. I didn’t want to think about how many people I had hurt or let down.

I hit my personal bottom a few different times just to be safe. But I was tired and as motivated as I would ever be, to take the jump.

But having the motivation or feeling inspired to change varies with every single person. Everyone has a place that might look like a bottom to everyone else, but it doesn’t feel like it’s deep enough for the person who is using. Then on the other hand, not everyone has to hit a bottom. The hard and unfortunate truth is, some of us make it and some of us don’t. I am not sure we can pinpoint a definitive answer for why this happens.

Maybe it is just a combination of things. My personal opinion is that it is a mixture of a person’s psychological and biological make-up & development, whether or not there is a consistent and solid support system in place,and also whether or not the system in some cases (doctors, insurance etc) drops the ball during any phase of recovery attempt.

Yet, sometimes all of those things are happening, and moving and turning and the wheels are spinning and things are working and it still doesn’t change the outcome. It is baffling to me. Why is it that some of us hit bottom and change.  We feel motivated or inspired, we take the  jump, and somehow we accumulate time and we make it to tell the story. And then, some people who are motivated and inspired who have hit bottom and want change so badly, they don’t make it.

In life I have learned that there are simply some answers we don’t get the privilege of knowing. Sometimes there just aren’t clear-cut answers. It can be frustrating and it feels like we should know more and do more and be more for other people. But we can only do so much.

I am just going to focus on asking myself how I can best help people to stay motivated.
How can I help another person to keep progressing as time passes after they get to the point where they are willing and open to making changes?
How can I be of service to them as long as they are wiling and active participants in their recovery?

Maybe the best answer for me right now is to stay motivated. To keep doing my tiny part in this huge thing.

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