Nobody said it was going to be easy.

Here’s a news flash: getting clean/sober is difficult. Right? That’s what many alkie/druggies will tell you. And, not unlike the feeling you get while preparing to jump into frigid water, once it’s done and over with, it’s not as scary as you may have thought.  

In the same way that our minds magnify the anticipated discomfort of the chilled water on exposed flesh, our addicted mind launches a massive campaign to convince us that going without our “medication” will be bad at the least, and more likely, downright unbearable. 

Truth is, there may be moments in early sobriety where it  does feel unbearable. And, there will also be moments that can only be described as exhilarating. 

You will never know how strong you are until you test yourself.

In my personal experience, when I have considered jumping into water that is anything but warm, the biggest motivation is that there is someone already in the water calling me to join them. If they’re encouraging me to come in, there’s one thing I can be sure of: it didn’t kill them.  

The primary reason that I don’t WANT to feel the water is simple: I have some recollection of the last time I was immersed in cold water, and it was absolutely NOT in my comfort zone. Nope. Not even close to it. Similarly, the times when I’d gone without any mood-altering chemicals were also uncomfortable in a BIG way. 
It was only after concluding that it was the only viable option, that I decided to stop using. The way I approached it was like learning to swim after finding myself in the deep end of the pool. Since I wasn’t doing a very good job (at life) on the shore, it seemed like a no-brainer that I should do what I was told by those who had been keeping their heads above water for a while. I learned to keep some distance between myself and other Newbies, because they could easily pull me under and cause me to drown. 

Staying in close contact with others walking the same path has been crucial to my recovery. In my experience, the statistics are true: 1/36 of us will STAY sober. It could be even less than that, I don’t know. But keeping my butt in places where I was continually reminded of what life was like before, saved my life. And being around old-timers gave me such hope and inspiration. 

If you think about it, we have very selective recall. I need to be taken back to how it USED to be, and hearing other people sharing about how it was terrible and horrific for them, just like it was for me, proves to me that even with slight variations on the theme, it’s still gonna SUCK. 

Anyway, it’s not easy to radically change every aspect of your life. It’s scary and uncomfortable. Easy would be staying with the status quo, not rocking the boat. Similarly to victims of domestic violence, the KNOWN insanity is more appealing than the UNKNOWN, cos, really, what if it’s WORSE? I’ve been there. 

If you’re miserable enough where you are, you will eventually break through that fear, and get the hell out. You don’t have to wait until you’ve been traumatized and scarred to allow yourself an opportunity to see if perhaps there is Something Good out there waiting for you. 

Even if you don’t know how to swim, I know of a LOT of people (myself included) who will be happy to lend you a life raft. Just let us know that you’re about to jump, and we will be there to help you hold your head above water. 

Written from my cabin in the mountains.

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Life on Life’s Terms

I’m  a pretty simple person. I find it difficult to express myself with my small-ish vocabulary. But having found how therapeutic writing is for me, write, I must. Because if I don’t take care of me, I’m no good to anyone else.

My phone rang…

Last night I received a call from my firstborn. He had just seen his Cardiologist and called to let me know how his appointment went.  He told me that later that evening he would be getting an MRI on his brain. To determine whether or not he had a(nother) stroke last week. This may be the 2nd stroke for my 23 year old son. Here’s his post on FB, from the Children’s Hospital:

James Whitcomb Riley’s Children’s Hospital

“​Idk which has changed more, me or this hospital. I remember the stuffed animals, the hustle and movement of doctors, the laughs of kids that were getting better. Now there are no stuffed animals, the halls feel large and empty, and it’s just worried parents sitting on benches or chairs staring at phones or their coffee. Maybe I’m just seeing it with(out) the magic. I used to come here and be so happy cause it meant I was gonna get better. Now I come here and feel the dread that I won’t leave.”

Riley Children’s Hospital circa 1993

Change is inevitable
In the past couple of years he’s been having lots of palpitations and other painful events, which means trips to the ER on the regs, with a crap ton of feeling anxious and concerned about the future…not to mention the time he’s missed from work…

What can I Do?

So, I’m giving serious consideration to how good of an idea it is for us to live 8-10 hours away. When we moved here about 15 months ago, it seemed like a Good Thing all the way around. There is no question that it’s been  a blessing in many ways, but at the same time, God didn’t indicate how long we were to stay. 

God, grant me the serenity

Between my Mom living alone and losing her eyesight, and my baby spending more and more time in hospitals, it’s getting more and more difficult to feel good about being So. Freaking. Far. Away. 

Courage to change the things I can

I’m gonna have to seek God’s will…hard. Cos knee-jerk reactions are seldom, if ever, part of His plan. And moving cross-country is no small feat. The older I get the less I feel like packing everything up and beginning again. 

And the wisdom…

Thank God we have never had to go through any of this alone. God and His angels are always right on time. My trust has to be in Him, coz one more time: I’m powerless. 

I feel like this post is even more jumbled than usual, and I’m sorry for that. I needed to write this down, and get it out. I know that today, I will weather this storm, because I’ve withstood as bad or worse. And because I’ve seen and experienced God’s faithfulness, I am convinced that this, too, shall pass. 

Have you had to deal with powerlessness as pertains to your children? Or a family member’s declining health? Please share your E,s, & h in the comments below. 

Exhortations for Recovery

​Addiction lowers our consciousness and cuts us off from the source of ALL creativity. By disconnecting via mind-altering substances and other temporary distractions we attempt to avoid moving forward in life. 

F*ck Everything And Run

Fear of our ability to achieve our goals keeps us STUCK! We get frozen in time. We become like a deer in the headlights. We are miserable and unhappy because we are committing an unnatural act by not fulfilling our destiny. All major religions speak of sin. Some would say that the biggest sin of all is not fulfilling your God-given purpose. 

What are you waiting for?

Don’t let fear keep you from reaching your potential. You deserve better, your family deserves better, and most of all, your GOD deserves the best you’ve got. 🙂

I didn’t know what I didn’t know

My Dad told me that getting sober is about growing up. One of the first things that I can remember becoming clear to me in those early days was that I didn’t know everything. The next step seems to have been realizing that it wasn’t important for me to be RIGHT. That’s been an on going lesson. 

When I became a Mother, I knew that I had no idea how to care for my child. I’d worked at Day Cares, and even become a certified Nanny at one point, but in the position I found myself when I became a parent,  I realized that I was pretty much clueless. I knew how to put on a diaper, sure, but there was so much more about which I had no idea. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Now, almost 24 years later, I am convinced that I have no clue. By the grace of God my boys have turned out as healthy as they are. 

When I began working the steps with my Sponsor, I was apprehensive, having heard lots of those who’d come to the rooms before me talking about their struggles. Of course, I hadn’t begun my Stepwork, so I thought those people were a bunch of cry-babies. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But I soon found out. 

When I was still calling the shots in my life, in Party Girl mode, I was always looking for something new. Something exciting. For a long time, the chemicals were enough to bring me to new and exciting lands (if only hallucinatory). After a while that wasn’t enough, so I chose more exciting places and more dangerous people with whom to run around. I suppose it was the adrenaline rush along with whatever drugs I used that made for an acceptable escape from the mundane and the depression that was a constant companion. I knew how to create distractions for myself, even if they were increasingly perilous. I was untouchable. 

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. 

Of course one can only live in that level of (drama) for so long before it starts to catch up with them. I don’t recall anyone talking to me about my drinking or using, but I suspect that’s just because I’d decided that wasn’t going to hear it.  More than likely, there were at least a couple of times that folks cared enough to try to get through my hard head. But I was skating along with relative ease, at the time. I refused to see the place that this lifestyle was taking me. I suspect that much of my cavalier attitude regarding the impending crash-and-burn was due to my complete lack of self-worth and my confidence that the hell I was living in was unavoidable.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know. 

I’ve been unable to avoid the political sh*t-storm in recent weeks, try as I have. This post was prompted by learning the truth about a situation that had been sold as a seriously unfathomable act by a candidate. The original information wasn’t (clearly) reported as having been (spun) by their adversary, so I took it as the truth. It was pretty outrageous. I thought this person was as big a scumbag as I’d already decided that their opponent was. Then I stumbled across the truth. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
It’s my own fault. I’m too comfortable hearing about unethical behavior to actually look into it, to find the truth. Laziness, I guess. But as the Day of Reckoning draws nearer, I’ve begun to concede that I ought to gather some information before I go pull a lever. I lot of times in the past I’ve been able to just watch for my associates (politically in-the-know people) to summarize the facts, and go from that. But this time it’s just not that easy. I’m beginning to know what I don’t know. Once you know a thing, you cannot unknow it. As much as I prefer to be ignorant about the goings-on of the “powers that be”, I’m coming to believe that not only is ignorance NOT bliss (crazy, right?), but that ignorance in these matters may give me something else to answer for in the Grand Scheme of things. And that list is already WAY TOO long for my liking. 

Let’s get busy and learn about the people who are vying for control of our great country. Four years in the hands of an idiot has proven to be more costly than we the people can afford. 

Who am I, really?

I’ve been wrestling with this question- well, not really wrestling, more like thumb-wrestling-for a while, now. And I will likely be thinking about it for some time in the future. 

OK. Who am I?

Obviously, I’m a person in long-term recovery. That’s been pretty well established. I’ve been a Mom (for a while), a student, a Recovery Coach, a Direct Support Provider, and countless other nouns. But, my question remains the same: who am I? 

Do you know me?
I am a middle-aged Caucasian woman, a brunette, and not as tall as I once was. But that’s just the things you can see. 

I’ve been married, divorced, homeless, thought I was a tree for a moment, a miserable young adult, and a frightened child through it all.

I am an advocate for those who have no voice, and for those who do but are afraid to speak. I am a Believer in Christ, although I don’t represent Him as well as I could, which is why I’m reluctant to mention it. I know people (myself included) have often judged the Lord by how His chosen behave. I hope no one looks at me as anything but an example of His grace and mercy. For real. Even on my best days, there’s nothing good in me, save the Spirit of God.

Where do I fit?

I’ve been considering my place in the world, basically, since I was abruptly released from a certain position…one that had me smiling every single day. One where I KNEW I was right where I was supposed to be.

The situation (the termination, frankly) had me convinced that it would be far too risky to ever get a job again that meant THAT MUCH to me. The devastation and loss I felt were palpable, and lasted for weeks.

Life goes on…

I am a writer, a joke-cracker, and a Wounded Healer. A deep feeler if not so much a deep thinker. 

I believe that there are still people that I will be allowed to help, that want to learn how to live clean and sober. That’s really all I want to do, but it’s gonna have to be God’s time. 

Practicing the principles in all my affairs.

For now, what I absolutely must be is willing, honest and open-minded. I am grateful for the things God has given me, and equally grateful for things He’s taken away. 
Honestly.

Who am I? I’m a person. A weary traveller. In long-term Recovery. Former alkie/druggie, current mental health consumer. Trying to figure things out. In some ways, I am you. 🙂 

Tell me, who are you, today?

3 Truths Recovery Taught Me ~ a guest post by a Recovery Rockstar ~ Rose Lockinger

   When I first got sober the only thing that I really wanted was to figure out how to stop drinking and get my life back. It was the driving force behind entering into treatment and if that was the only thing that I got from sobriety that would have been enough. But sobriety has offered me so much more, so much that I didn’t know I was going to receive.

 

Being sober and involved in Alcoholics Anonymous has given me a new way of life, with new principles and a better understanding for who I am in relation to the world around me. And it has taught me some important truths that I probably would not have learned otherwise.  Recovery has also helped heal from trauma that haunted me for so many years.

 

The first major truth that being sober taught me is that I do not have to be perfect. I am not sure if other people learn this quicker than I did, but for me perfection was always the goal, whether conscious or not. I’m not sure where this need for perfection stemmed from but my ability to accept my failings as a human being has always been lacking. For most of my life, I have been extremely hard on myself, and anything that did not measure up to the level of perfection that I was seeking was deemed a failure.

 

This thought process is not unique to me, and one of my favorite principles of the program is that  of progress not perfection.  This has helped me combat to some extent this type of thinking, but accepting this was always difficult for me. It is one of those strange dichotomies of being an addict or alcoholic that doesn’t seem to make sense. In one regard I ruined pretty much everything during my addiction, yet I always sought to be perfect. If I couldn’t be perfect I didn’t bother trying at all. Once I got sober and learned that seeking perfection was a fool’s errand, my attitude changed.

 

I learned that all that I could expect of myself was my best effort and that if I could honestly say that I tried my best then the outcome was good enough for me. This is not always easy for me to accept but being sober and understanding that I am not perfect has helped greatly in this aspect.

 

The second major truth that I learned in sobriety was that I actually am a good person. A little over two years ago you could not have convinced me of this, in fact, for the most part, I thought I was one of the worst human beings on the planet. I felt as if I could never be forgiven for the things I did. This changed however once I got sober and I began to see that many of the actions that I took during my addiction were not me, they were uncharacteristic for the person that I actually am.

 

Learning this truth took some time but when I finally began to see that I actually do care about people and their feelings and that what I want most out of life is to help people and see them succeed, I began to reevaluate my own appraisal of myself.

 

This was a huge truth for me to learn and going from thinking I was the worst, to thinking that I was actually a good person completely changed the way that I interacted with myself and with others. I found that I no longer berated myself as much, although I still can from time to time, and I also found that I was more forgiving and accepting of others as well. I don’t always operate in the mindset that I am a good person, but for the most part, I am aware today that this is the truth.

 

The third major truth that I learned from being in sobriety is that I, of myself, am enough. I don’t need to pretend to be anyone else, I don’t need to try to please you so that you will love me, and I don’t need to feel less than every other person on the planet. When this truth truly entered into my understanding my entire world changed.

 

For most of my life, I felt like the outsider. I felt like there was something wrong me and there was some fundamental lacking that I had to make up for through other’s acceptance. No matter how much I tried to acquire the knowledge that I was enough through other’s opinions, it never brought me the fulfillment that I craved. It was only after I came to realize for myself that I am enough that I began to be at peace with myself.

 

If you think about it from a logical standpoint, being enough with what you currently are makes sense. I mean why would God, or whatever you choose to call your high power, create a being that was not enough? What sort of cruel joke would that entail making a person, who locked within the essence of their being was not enough for the world? When I realized this, I realized that I no longer had to strive for approval and while I could continue to try to grow as a person, my growth was not contingent on my ability to be loved.

 

Behind almost all of these truths is the fear that I was not someone who could be loved. I believe that it is most people’s greatest fear: that they are too terrible, too broken, or too lacking to be loved. Getting sober showed me that none of this was true and above everything else I was worthy of love because I was worthy of love. I didn’t need to be anything other than Rose and understanding this, took some of the pressure off of me that I felt throughout my life as I tried to figure out how to be someone else.

 

I know that if you get sober you will find your own truths and that these truths will transform the world that you live in. This has been the case for all of the people that I have met during my sobriety and I am excited to hear what truths a life of recovery will bring you.  
 

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
 

You can find me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rose-lockinger-6a0a23109?trk=hp-identity-name), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rose.lockinger), & Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rlockinger/ )

July 25th

​July 25, 2016

16 years ago today…

…my youngest child came screaming into the world. Oh, wait, maybe it was ME that was screaming. At any rate, my baby is 16 today. So many things have happened in 16 years. When he was born we were living in the Florida panhandle, loving the life, with a pier behind our place for fishing. Then we moved back to Indiana, where E has remained for most of his life. There were several moves while in Indiana, for financial reasons, mostly. The last place we lived was a small town about halfway between Columbus, IN and Indy. I think it has 2 stop lights. 

Then last year we moved across the country to the place we currently reside. I suppose it’s easy to forget how difficult the teen years are, because our brain is able to “forget” extremely difficult periods. At least mine is. I know that when I was 15, I had just begun to investigate what would be the “solution” for what ailed me: alcohol and drugs.  There wasn’t much talk, back then, at least where we were, about eating disorders and depression in teenagers, so it’s understandable that nothing much was done. I presented as a teen full of angst, I’m sure, moody as hell, and unhappy with the world. Dad diagnosed me with the “poor me’s” which is likely what he heard growing up. Maybe my attitude problem was an actual illness, that could be addressed and gotten past. But nobody thought that way, then, and there. 

I’ve told my son that as miserable as he may be, he ought to try to imagine feeling like that every day instead of occasionally, and without any medication to regulate his brain chemistry. I’m sure if I lived today as a teenager, as much publicity as self-harm and suicide get, I’d be right on that bandwagon.  What better way to lash out at uninterested parents, or worse (and usually the case), to try to release some of the emotional pain growing inside? 

I’m told that one of the things that causes people to self-harm is the way that the chemicals in the brain respond to pain, with endorphins or dopamine, or whichever of those feel-good chemicals. That makes sense. Internal, or external, we’re going to find some way to escape the pain.
So, moving to a new place at 15 years old, might not be a big deal for a well-adjusted, emotionally stable (is there such a thing, at 15??) kid. Considering the things that life has handed him, I think my boy has adjusted as well as anyone else in his circumstances would.  

Moving at this time was one of those “jump and know that God will catch me” things. I’m not gonna say that I don’t think we were supposed to move here, as hard as it has been. I mean, really, things are tough all over, right? My husband and I believe that God allowed this move, if not willed it. And before we moved, I specifically asked the boy if he was ok with it. He said yes (3 months of summer break was a motivator). If we’d have known then what we know now, I’m not sure any of us would have agreed, but move we did, and getting settled, we are. 

So, my boy is celebrating his 16th birthday with his big brother, back in Indiana. I know that’s probably the best gift he could have received, as much as he loves his Bubby. 
********************************************************

Update: My boy came back home, and I, for one, was READY for him to be back. It was nice having the place to ourselves, but much nicer having him here. At HOME. 

I’m glad E got to hang out with his brother, and one of my best friends, and my Mom…I know he had been “homesick”, and really looked forward to the trip. But I’m also pretty sure that his dreams of how a visit “back home” would be, weren’t too close to how things actually went. 

So, now, I have a 16-year-old again. I wish things had been different when my elder son (B) was 16. I was an emotional trainwreck,  then, and it seemed best for B to go stay with my mother for a time. The continual fighting between the two boys was like plunging a knife deep into the back of someone who’d already been beaten to a pulp. It tore my heart out, and I just didn’t know what else to do.  I have deep regrets about that period of time. I know I did my best, but my best at the time seems to have been pretty poor. 

In spite of me being such a mess, B has grown up to be a tremendously sensitive, insightful, and compassionate individual. He lives with some of the same inner dragons as I do, and I see him working it out. I’m proud of the man he is becoming. And I pray for him.

My younger son is a Highly Sensitive Person, and by that I mean he feels things more intensely, (including textures) and even his hearing is much better than most.  He is thoughtful and caring and smart to the extent that it’s a handicap. E is the guy that his friends come to when they need a shoulder to cry on. High School is super challenging, as it is for everyone, but I know he will find the strength to rise above the difficulties. And I pray for him. 

I thank God for each of my children, every day. And I pray that He will lead and guide them as they continue to find their way in the world. 

UPDATED Update:

Since I haven’t gotten this posted yet, I want to add some more…

In spite of everything else, this school year looks to be better than last year for E. He’s finding his people, and involved in something that he loves. I’ve changed jobs recently, from one that I loved my co-workers but couldn’t live on the money, to a place where I’m not sure about the co-workers (not that it matters) but eventually we will catch up on the bills and be able to LIVE again.  And it’s the same kind of work that I was doing at the last place. I know how to do it. It’s caring for people that seemingly no one else cares to, or wants to care for. To be fair, it’s not something everyone CAN do, I guess. 

But, here we are. I’m growing fond of our new home. My son appears to be less unhappy here, and my husband enjoys his work, and also he’s making progress in the corporate ladder-climbing thing. So, I’ve been slacking on my writing, and I thought I’d get this up while I’m thinking of it.

Happy Fall, Y’all!