Just keep swimming.

“Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again.

Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.

There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t.

When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher.

Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too.

Don’t stress over things you can’t change.

Live simply.

Love generously.

Speak truthfully.

Work diligently.

And even if you fall short, keep going.

Keep growing.”

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.

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.

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!

You don’t have to say “Yes”

(From the archives)

You don’t have to say “yes”, just stop saying “no.” 🤗

An incredibly large percentage of the people I’ve spoken with in recovery about God have a similar story to tell. In one way or another, they feel that God has let them down, or betrayed them, or they blame God for the actions of people claiming to represent Him.

In my case, I had been taught that God was angry and short-tempered; He watched my every move just waiting for the next time I screwed up. I came into The Rooms with the belief that my purpose was to be a “Whipping boy” whenever He felt like punishing someone. I certainly was never anywhere near perfect, so I knew that I deserved every bit of pain and sorrow that I received.
Not coincidentally, my vision of who God was looked remarkably like my Dad: overbearing, rageful, impatient, and entirely frightening. 😢

As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of something a friend said to me many years ago, in regards to establishing a relationship with my Creator.
I was in perpetual “bowing and scraping” mode. I was way too ashamed and fearful and guilt-ridden to even consider approaching God. Rather than beginning, I would stay stuck in the endless reasons I had for why He would not welcome any interaction with me. I was positive that I was better off doing everything I could to stay invisible to Him.

My friend told me that as far as this “introduction” to (hopefully) a loving God went, I didn’t have to put my foot on the gas pedal: I simply had to take it off of the brakes.

Instead of fighting to keep God at a distance, perhaps I just needed to stop running away, and stand still. 🤔

There have been periods in my recovery where I’ve done a better job at coasting than others.
I was talking about the “g” word with a friend recently, and she said that she was ready to start moving closer to God. It sounded like she was seriously standing on the brakes…but there is a lot to be said for “acting as if”!(You do NOT NEED to understand. Just follow directions.)

I get it. Apprehension and trepidation were my closest associates in my early days of sobriety. All I can do, after all, is share my experience, strength and hope. One of the most amazing parts of early sobriety, for me, was the (gradual) realization that I was not God. I’m gonna try not to interfere as He works His loving ways with my friend. I just hope I’ll get to watch, and that I might somehow be helpful as she inches toward the loving Father of Whom she’s in desperate need.

He knows what skittish little kittens we can be. I imagine Him sitting still with His back to us as we creep ever so silently toward Him…letting us take all the time we need, while gently coaxing us to come nearer so He can rub our fur and scratch us in the best spots.

In considering “the God part” of your recovery, I would suggest that, rather than the thought of throwing the door wide open to “whatever” may be on the other side of it, maybe just open it a crack, and then pause.

Rather than focusing on all of my “problems with God” (things that I don’t understand/agree with), my life has progressed in a positive direction when I concentrate on learning about the simplicities of His character. He wrote a book as an introduction, but for so many years I believed the hype instead of SEEING FOR MYSELF.

I’ve gotta tell you, it’s been worth it, to investigate for myself. Standing on the brakes get tiring. He hasn’t steered me wrong. Not even once.

Sprouting

I want to write. I know that writing can be a positive way to handle…life. Pain. Hurts. Feelings in general.

I do have things to say, I suppose. But I don’t know that I can express myself. Well. Any more.

If I knew all the words for all the emotions with which I’ve been wrestling, I could have written a novel. In just the last 5 months.

But I don’t.

I have been using other people’s words to try and share my feelings. This helps.

But they’re not MY words.

I seem to have misplaced my ability to string together words in a consecutive order, with which to accurately share what’s on my heart and mind.

I suppose it’s fear that stops me. I’m afraid of judgment. That usually comes from my own tendency to judge other folks. I do that.

Judging comes from my defensiveness, because I feel inadequate and insecure. I guess at this point I’m afraid of what else is going to be ripped away from me.

I admit that this is where trusting God has to come in. Don’t I trust Him, though? I do.

Someone said that “faith and fear can’t co-exist in the same place”. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I have faith that God is in control. I also know that He is working things together for my BEST.

I also know that the process of growth and change can sometimes include great pain.

Growing Pains.

I don’t have as many words as I once did. I can’t think, as I once did. I am not the same person as I once was.

Not worse or less than, as a person. Just different.

Very much different.

Please don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t want pity. Pity is really a BAD thing. I don’t pity me. I don’t feel much at all for myself, really. But certainly not pity.

So, for now, I allow myself to be numb, emotionally, as much as possible. The more I can get through today, without thoughts of tomorrow or yesterday, the better. That’s what spirituality is, right? Staying. In. The. Moment.

The good news is, while I may have been placed in a hole, and covered with dirt…I am, in fact, just about to start sprouting.

I’d love to know I’m not alone…please comment below.

Gifts to Grow On

All we are asked to bear, we can bear. That is a law of the spiritual life. The only hindrance to the working of this law, as of all benign laws, is fear.
—Elizabeth Goudge

There is no problem too difficult to handle with all the help available to us. Let’s not be overwhelmed. The program tells us to “Let go and let God,” to turn it over. And that’s where the solution lies.

Our challenges, the stumbling blocks in our way, beckon us toward the spiritual working-out of the problem which moves us closer toward being the women we are meant to be. Our fear comes from not trusting in the Power greater than ourselves to provide the direction we need, to make known the solution.

Every day we will have challenges. We have lessons to learn which means growing pains. If we could but remember that our challenges are gifts to grow on and that within every problem lies the solution.

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I will not be given more than I and my Higher Power can handle today, or any day.

On this, the 5 month mark after my son’s death…I can do all things through JESUS.

From the book Each Day a New Beginning