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.

Keep them alive long enough to get HELP

So, if I showed signs of having broken my leg, would you, as a religious person, tell me to pray about it, and then go on about your life? No.

If your child was diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, would you tell them to read their Bible, and that’s it? No.

Why do otherwise intelligent people insist that mental illness has to be prayed away? “If you’re depressed, read your Bible more.”

Reading scriptures and praying may not be hurtful, but I think the reasons for not going to a Dr. or therapist have much more to do with fear of what “people” would think, along with hoping that it will just go away…but it doesn’t work that way.

The last time I checked, the same people who would REFUSE to get help for a depressed child don’t think twice about taking medicine when THEY are feeling poorly.

So, here’s my point:

Familiarise yourself with symptoms of depression.

It’s NOT normal for a (child, preteen, teenager)person to stay awake all night, every night. Or to sleep 12+ hours, regularly, for no apparent reason. Or to have noticeable weight fluctuations. Or frequent tearfulness.

Often sadness is hidden behind anger. Surliness, irritability, sarcasm, isolation, fighting…

These things alone, are not necessarily a cause for alarm. If you notice several of them, on a regular basis, you should take notice.

Talk to the person. LISTEN. Then don’t stop looking for a solution until you’ve found one that is agreeable to that person.

If it takes therapy, medication, dietary adjustments, or whatever, do it.
DO SOMETHING.
People struggling with depression (or any other mental illness for that matter) DON’T just snap out of it. They will not grow out of it.

What happens if you don’t find something to reduce the depression? Do you want to know? Really?

The person will find a way of relief.

*Self-harm (this can end in accidental suicide)

*Drugs or alcohol (may also end in death)

*Impulsive/high-risk sexual activity (same)

*ALL of the above, and worse (death)

From my own experience as a person in recovery, and a formerly depressed person, I have a good amount of insight. And, I have no reason to lie to you.

If your kid is floundering, no matter what age, do them a solid and get them help.

In case you weren’t aware, they are killing themselves out there.

Toes in the grass

Today I will be mindful.

I will sit with my toes in the grass and let the sun and earth feed my soul. I will remember to eat foods that are HEALING to my mind and body, and I will adjust my thinking when it drifts off to harmful places.

My Creator has given me the ability to choose what I let into MY world. Thank God for the tools to build/rebuild a safe and healthy place for myself and those He sends to me.

…and on those days when the sun hides behind the clouds, when I feel like I’ll never feel that warmth again, I will remember.

I will choose to recall the countless times that the sun has returned. I will listen to the birds as they continue to sing; they know that the sun will return. They sing their songs in full confidence that their needs won’t go unmet.

I will let their songs remind me, that my Father has never left me.

It’s my choice: to hold onto what I know to be true, and not let my current perspective take away tomorrow’s hope.

So, in the sun-filled days, I will let my heart feel the Son’s touch. And in the rainy, gray, chilly days, when my mind wants to crawl back into bed…I will look inward, to the Spirit in me. And I will sing of His unending love.

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.