Guest post

“It won’t happen to me”

or

Party animal

I live on a steel bunk in a warehouse. Everything I own in this world is in the footlocker beneath me. It ain’t much; a photo album, a stack of letters, a few books. I’ve been in prison 10 years this time. My release date is 2032. A few hazy, drug-soaked months of strip bars, casinos, and fast living cost me most of my adult life.

I run across old friends and associates from that era on the yard sometimes. They look bad — rotten teeth, track marks, gnawed nails on shaky hands. They give me news of other old friends who weren’t as lucky: overdoses, shootings, suicides. Occasionally I’ll recognize the names of women in the arrest report of my hometown newspaper. Those wide-eyed college girls who were just beginning to experiment with coke and ecstasy in 2003 are now haggard streetwalkers, hardened repeat-offender prostitutes.

This is the natural evolution of drug abuse. Cause and effect. I know you’re thinking it won’t happen to you. I thought I was an exception too. Believe me, no one plans on destroying their life and coming to prison. No little kid daydreams about growing up to rob gas stations for dope money, or getting doused with pepper spray and beaten half to death by abusive guards in a confinement cell, or dying alone in a motel room with a needle in his arm… We call getting high “partying” and like any party, there’s always a mess when the party is over. In fact, the bigger the party, the bigger the mess.

The irony is that the kids we label squares and lames and dorks because they refuse to party grow up to be the doctors who resuscitate us when we overdose, the psychologists who attempt to help us put our broken lives back together, the lawyers who represent us in court when we’re arrested, the judges who sentence us to prison, and the men who step into our families and become the fathers and husbands we failed at being.

So if you’re 15 (or 17 or 24) and you’re popping bars, snorting Roxys or dabbling in meth or molly or whatever, this is what middle-aged drug life looks like. Guaranteed. And if you think it won’t happen to you, we can talk more about it when you move into my dorm. The bunk behind mine is open right now. We’ll leave a light on for you. The one from the gun tower.

From a brother of a brother @ malcolmivey.com

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Clean & Serene

Every time I see that phrase, it strikes me as kind of ironic. I mean, of course I’m “Clean”. My life has been built around staying that way for many years. But “Serene”? Um, well…

One of the Promises goes like this: “…we will comprehend the word serenity…” In my early sobriety, I kept a dictionary close by, in order to be sure of what words meant. My comprehension of the word serenity went as far as the definition of Webster’s. I adjusted the promise, for my own truthfulness and entertainment, to “we will know how to spell the word serenity.” THAT promise has come true, for certain. As far as deep-down knowing of serenity, it’s been fleeting at best.

The natural disasters going on all over the world, just this month, are enough to put even the most laid-back person on edge. Just today hurricane Irma wiped a few islands off of the map, and is making her way up the length of Florida. Hurricane Jose looks to be revving up to follow her path. *Note: this post was originally written in 2017*

Ever since we moved from the Gulf Coast back to Indiana, 16 years ago, I’ve been wishing we could go back to Pensacola. Only in the last week or so has not being in Florida been good with me. I’m very grateful that I haven’t forced my self-will on our location, lately. I have to remember to keep God in charge, because the hard lessons of “getting my way” in the past have left deep scars that I don’t want to forget.

I am blessed greatly to work with people every day who are on one end or the other of their Recovery. The Old Timers are deep wells of wisdom, and the ones just making it to day #1, again, all have things to teach me.

Thank God, I am open and willing to learn. Today.

I am in a position to re-examine my views on mental illness, religion, spirituality, relationships, and the human spirit, on the daily, as I carry the message.

That being said, I haven’t felt like I had much to share, here, lately. I know some reading this will know just what I’m talking about.

So, here I am, in the place where writing my thoughts comes most easily…the laundromat. I hope that I can “pay it forward” to the world today, because He has been so good to me.

…and, now, 2+ years after the initial assembling of this post, life has indeed shown up, more harshly than I’d ever dreamed that it would. I know that, even still, I am deeply blessed.

Serene? Not so much.

Contented? As often as I can manage to keep myself grateful, and focus on God’s daily grace and mercy on me.

So, again, the choice is mine. Today I choose gratitude and grace toward my fellow travellers.

This is Your Time!

Hey! It’s almost June!!

What are your plans for the summer?
Here are some thoughts…please SHARE if it speaks to you.

Don’t just exist…LIVE!!

🌟
Own it (so it doesn’t own you),

Design it (so it’s not by default)
and
then LIVE IT (nothing worse than regret)-
this thing called life!

🌟

If you find yourself holding yourself back because of what other people think, it’s time to STOP that shit! Somebody smarter than me said that “What other folks think of me is NONE of my business!

🌟

TODAY – like right NOW – Start thinking about if you were told you only had three months to live –
AND
What would you want to do?
Where would you want to see?
and most importantly
who would you want to spend your time with?

🌟

Then…. Review this every three months

The harsh reality is – it’s only a matter of time and you’ll be right!
Nothing worse than regret!

YOU got this thing called life if you want it! You just have to decide!

If you feel like you are really stuck or not sure where to start, reach out! I’d love to help! I can recommend some of the books that have helped me climb out (of so many deep pits), or share links where I’ve found resources that help me to “get my head in the game”.

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You HAVE to do what makes YOUR spirit fly!
Do the best you can in the moment and be ok and proud of that! Celebrate the tiniest of victories, and build on them!

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Make today the START of the best of your life – WHAT ever that FEELS and LOOKS like to you, not what you think everyone or society thinks it should look like! 🌟

Also in case NO one has told you today…

The world NEEDS you, and what you’ve got. Not you trying to be someone else or something else you may feel you need to be or do.

🌟

Be authentic -the YOU God made you to be, and do what makes you HAPPY! The world needs you! Confident, kind and uniquely YOU, your lessons, your scars, your compassion, your experience, your understanding, your SMILE (this is one of the most important), your courage, your strengths and your vulnerabilities…more than EVER! You are unique to ANYONE else and the world needs YOU, all of YOU!

🌟

Memorial Day Ramblings

Recovery from addiction is about so much more than just not drinking or using. It’s about making a connection with the ONE Who has all power.

When you still act like a thug, or a whore, or a gangster, player…well, just keep coming back, work the steps, and stick close to your Sponsor. Some people say “everybody’s selling something”. What are you selling?

The “lifestyle” of addiction takes many people to their deaths, may e even more easily because they *THINK* they’re good.

The difference between being “sober” and being “dry” can be subtle, but deadly. I’ve been around long enough to see both. Usually people who *just don’t pick up* will turn to other things to take the place of their drug (or drink) of choice, things like food, sex (or non-stop, revolving relationships), shopping, or something else that’s not as obviously detrimental as what they used to do.

Sobriety is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual thing. Not necessarily in that order.

There are so many hurting people, every where you turn.

Without the relief I found in drugs and alcohol, albeit temporary, I never would have lived long enough to find the Solution for Living. In order to find a long-term solution for alcoholism/addiction, I had to stop using AND then address the mental illness and Complex-PTSD that I’d acquired along the way. One day at a time.

Sound like a tall order? Maybe. But if it’s your only hope, and you make up your mind to hang around with people (aka “stick with the Winners”) who are DOING IT, then it’s absolutely doable.

This weekend, I’m grateful for the men and women who gave their lives fighting for our freedom.

I’m also thinking about the ones who made it back home and NEED their community to support them. Veterans have an unnecessarily high rate of addiction, and (because it’s what alkie/druggies often do) premature death, whether by overdose, alcohol poisoning, SBC, or something else…avoidable.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY.

I aim to continue making a difference. By the grace of God. It’s all I can do.

Mothers Day Minus One

Since last November, I’ve been living in the Year of Firsts, without my boy.

Benjamin was the reason that I had a lot of “1sts”, not only the 1st Mothers Day. He was also the “WHY” for my realising that I HAD to get clean and sober.

Because God allowed me to become a Mom, I got to experience my baby’s first…poopy diaper (tiny but legitimately icky)…the first time our eyes met…the times after that when we would share a smile, a snuggle, a laugh…

As a single parent for about half of his life, I was concerned with SURVIVING for much more of the time than I’d like to admit. It’s nearly impossible to “stay in the moment” and live all of the Hallmark card images that flood the social media streams when you don’t know how your MOST BASIC needs are going to be met. We never got to go on vacations or to amusement parks. Instead, we mostly went to the Children’s Hospital to see whether his heart was working as it should. I learned later that he had to live with his own kind of PTSD as a result. I just know that by the grace of God, I did my best. We had a lot of laughs together.

PLEASE don’t feel sorry for me/us.

I’m not sharing that for your pity. It’s my life, and the reality hasn’t been pretty a lot of the time. So, nobody (except social media) ever said it had to be. Or even that it SHOULD be. It’s just truth.

My boy taught me so many things. For example: when I thought I had taken as much pain as I could stand, he inspired me to endure a bit more. He gave me reason to dig deeper for the answers when there didn’t seem to be any. His smile and tender “I love you more, Mommy” gave me the courage to find a way out of dangerous situations and to leave relationships which were destined to leave lasting scars on both of us.

My 1st baby was the instrument used by God to teach me what unconditional love looked like, walked out.

My boy grew up into a kind, gentle, insightful and funny man. I will always be more than grateful that he was a man who chose to forgive me for sometimes reacting out of fear… and things I learned from my own less-than-perfect, yet perfectly human parents.

I hadn’t planned to write anything for this Mother’s Day. In this year of 1sts, I’d just as soon skip over it.

I am still a Mother. I have another boy, or rather, young man. He delights me, more than I have the ability to express. And, I have Ben to thank for him, as well.

When he was about 6, Benjamin began to say things about how he would like to have a brother. So we prayed together, if it was ok with God, could we have a baby brother for Ben? And God listened.

I have been blessed, doubly. My son’s both grew up to exceed my hopes and dreams for them. I can’t wait to see what my younger son will become. He’s already more than I imagined he would be.

Only God knows what the future holds for any of us. But I know this much:

The Creator is good, He loves us, and He delights in our seeking to know Him. I look for the day when I see my Dad and my boy again. Trusting God to guide the rest of us Home.

Monday Musings

Four Lessons on Life

1. Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up.

2. If you get too far ahead of the army, your soldiers may mistake you for the enemy.

3. Don’t complain about the bottom rungs of the ladder they helped to get you higher.

4. If you want to enjoy the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm.

(-Warren Wiersbe)

Got some Monday nuggets of wisdom to share? Please set them down right in the comments!

Are you hungry?

I find myself ever increasing, in being aware of an emptiness in my soul. My spirit has been touched by God, of course. I am a Christ-follower.

But, still, there is such a longing for more. More of Him. More of His Spirit. MORE. The Word says that we can have as much of the Holy Spirit as we WANT.

How much do you want?

This world has beauty, and it has joyous celebrations, and peaceful moments. The Bible talks about how we think we are healthy and happy, and have all that we need. In fact, we, without Jesus, are quite the opposite. We are lower than the beggars on the street, that we try not to see.

But…I know that there is more. I have personally experienced it. Then, I was led away, back to the familiar. Sure, it was my choice, but I went.

If you are a seeker of Truth, if this world does not fulfill the deepest desires of your heart…you know, when you’re lying in bed and you wonder “is this all there is?”, then I hope you will listen to this.

Ask Him to speak to your heart, a little louder. And then respond when you hear Him.

I plan to.