Ramblings @ 9 Months…

Don’t expect much here.

Why’s it I have so much to say in my head and the minute I sit down here, it’s all gone?  It’s been about 6 weeks and I’ve got 5 or 6 post titles saved with a few lines in each but haven’t been able to complete even a one.

I think it’s March Madness.  My own.  Nothing to do with basketball.

It’s always the worst month for me mentally and emotionally.  Weather weary.  Wardrobe weary.  Tired of the black and grey.   Brighter colors attract attention and I’d rather not be noticed.

I’m yearning to stay in but anxious to move out.  At odds with myself.

I always feel like I’m hatching in the spring.  Most times I don’t really want to. Just leave me be.  To ramble away…..

Nine months of sobriety feels like a lifetime- in a very good way.  I’m still in awe of the fact that sobriety has become who I am.

I am sober.

I don’t drink.

I don’t even think about it.

It’s no longer even a part of my thought process.  Strange…  it’s almost like alcohol was never a part of my life.  Even on the bad days.  And seriously, there’s been more than a few of them.

Makes me a little suspicious actually.

What hasn’t felt so good is the growth.  I guess it never does.  At least while it’s happening.  The rewards of perseverance come later.  Sometimes much later.

But I trust they will because I trust in the One who began His work in me.  He will not leave me unfinished.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 1:6

By His grace and mercy @ 9 months, 3/20/18

 

 

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The end of myself

1.25.18:

I’ve been coming to the end of myself lately.  You know when you think you’ve made great strides and then BAM, it hits you.  They hit you.  All those nasties you thought you left behind.  Character defects.  Personality flaws.  With a little (or a lot) of the mental combat thrown in.  And self compassion is nowhere to be found.  No matter how much you dig.

So what’s happening here?

Despair at what I see.  The black hole that always seems to suck every good thing into its swirling oblivion.  The black hole always seems to appear after a time of seeing the positive changes and growth within myself.

It’s the all or nothing mindset.  And pride and ego are usually not too far away.

And what’s missing?

Gratitude. Compassion. Mercy. Grace.

Mercy is not getting what you deserve.  Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.

I’ve received more than an abundance of both in my life.

2.4.18

Doesn’t take much work these days.  Actually, it takes an enormous amount of work in the form of surrender and humility.  But I’m willing.  It turns around what in the past would have been the beginning of one of those “dark nights” my soul knows all too well.

So much has happened in the last 8 months.  Yes, sobriety happened.  But I had 9 years of sobriety at the time I was 40 years old and I am so much more now.  I was happy and joyful then.  Stable to a degree.  But I am so much more than that now.

I am healed.  

Not from alcoholism but from the fractured and broken emotional bones of childhood trauma.  From the self-inflicted pain of young adulthood.  From the desire to self destruct.

I am healed.

Of all the self-hatred I nurtured.  The perceived notions, hidden from consciousness in the well of confusion and abandonment, that I did not deserve to love or be loved.

I have learned well what it means to be “saved”.  I always hated that. Not the thought of salvation but the question:  “Are you saved?”

I never realized what that truly meant.  Never realized I needed a savior.  Never wanted to admit it.  But I did.  Eventually I did.  Realized it and admitted it.

Asked for it.  Begged for it.  With every part of my being.

You see, Heaven and Hell exist here.  They are not some fantastical places up in the sky or in the bowels of the earth.  You have the choice of living in either one right now.  You have the choice only if you surrender your pride and arrogance.  The false belief that you can save yourself.  We all need more than ourselves.  The one who created us knows what we need to live in peace and joy.  You can’t ask yourself; you didn’t create yourself.

Only the inventor knows for what purpose he created his invention.

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  Deuteronomy 30:15-16

I am healed.

I have chosen life over death.  Heaven over hell.

I am healed.

Thank you Jesus.

 

Image credit: Cielo e Infierno (Heaven and Hell) | by Dibus y Deabus

 

Loss without the wine

grief.  

I’ve never grieved without drinking.  I’ve lost both parents, 2 brothers, numerous friends and others.  But never without the obliteration of alcohol.

My brother Richard and I have a special bond.

My first memory of him was watching a summer storm together… I was about 3 or 4 and he is five years older so he was around 8 or 9.  As we stood at the screen door looking outside at the thunder and lightning, which us kids always loved and found thrilling, he looked down at me and said: “I’m going to marry you some day, you know.”

He is now dying.

After a 2 year brutal and exhausting struggle with throat cancer, he’s being called home.  Mid-December, my 2 sisters and I took a road trip up to where he lives near the Canadian border.  To hug him, to love him and to say goodbye.  It was a 5 hour trip each way.  He didn’t know we were coming.

Because he would have told us not to.

Not because he didn’t want to see us.  He most likely didn’t want us to see him so helpless.  He wouldn’t want us to worry.  And his battle had left him totally spent.  Head sunk down on the table spent.

I don’t remember a time when his life has ever been about him.

Richard is a stubborn, self-reliant Vermonter through and through….with a huge heart.  A soft heart.  And a servant’s heart most of all.

As I write this, I’m wondering if this is his moment….. Or is it now? An hour from now?  Or a day.  Only the Lord knows.

What I do know, is that a part of me will be leaving with him when his soul takes flight.

I want to be awake and ready at the exact moment he finds his freedom.

I’ve spent the day in prayer, candles lit, gazing at the last picture we took of him and me. And gathering together all the photos I have of him with me and the rest of our brood.

And resting.

Because grief is exhausting and it’s only just begun.

Through it all I have remained sober.

Thanks be to One who set me free.

 

I am the toddler on the right. Richard is standing behind my sister holding me.

I talk too much.

  Especially when it comes to certain men.

Certain men that I find appealing.

And really, there are not many that turn my head.

It has little to do with looks and everything to do with demeanor and character.  I mean, I’d rather he not be a hunchback or anything.  But when that special combination arrives in front of me and the interest appears mutual…..

I give myself away.  Just like a happy pooch.

Happypup

I remember my mom always said: “You need to keep some mystery about you.”  I hated that!  It seemed dishonest but I’ve always had a tough time distinguishing between what was appropriate to share and with whom.  It’s all been very confusing for me.

I can appear to be aloof because I am somewhat reserved.  I dislike small talk and having to make conversation.  If we talk, let’s get down to it.

I want to know what feeds your soul.

And you can be sure I will tell you what feeds mine.  Along with the long drawn out history of the why, who, what, where and how.

But because this takes a lot of energy, let’s only do this if we think we can make a go of it. You know… be friends and all that.  I’ve not only approached my romantic interests this way but my women friends as well.

Sometimes I wonder about myself.  Less often than I used to… but still.  When I look at myself, I see a mess of bloody contradictions. Definitely not gifted in the social arena.

I remember reading somewhere in the blogosphere:  “People should earn the privilege of hearing your story.”

If you are the owner of that quote, please claim it!  I would like to thank you.  I’ve actually started keeping a journal of all the amazing bits of wisdom I’ve read along with the wise men and women that “spoke” them.  I want to give the credit where it’s due.

Because you have all been my healers and helpers.  

Of course GOD is the master healer because He led me to you all, but I would not be here sober had I not found this amazing and nurturing community.

The good news is that I’m getting used to being in my own skin. With sobriety I have peace.  A growing acceptance of the things I can’t change and a strong desire to change what I can.  So what if I don’t have all the answers.  I do know I am a person of solitude and quite happy with my independence.

I know that my path is total devotion to the Lord.  If He sees fit to give me a partner to share in that devotion, my social idiosyncrasies won’t matter…I’ll be loved just as I am.

As I am loved by Him.

In ending, it just struck me that a little mystery is a good thing.

A beautiful thing.

A GOD thing.

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth to all.

 

 

ghostlines

There are marks that leave their legacy on our life.

We can grow and outgrow, improve ourselves and even be healed to the extent that we provide for our families and contribute to our communities….thanks be to God, but…

the ghostlines remain.

The unseen patterns and lines etched into the canvas of our souls are there.  Our changes in behavior and thought may remove the black lines, however,

the original marks will forever be there.

Indentations that, sometimes loudly, sometimes almost without perception, call us to not forget….

from where we have come.

I was born and raised in a farming community.  When I turned 12 tender years of age, that community was forever changed by IBM.  It became a bedroom community for those commuting from the great city of N.Y.

And along with all that sophistication and knowledge came the judgement on those who had made their simple home there for the years gone by.

We were the “uncultured”; the folks that didn’t matter much.

We weren’t in their circle.

Deemed the “lesser” folk.

My best friend had moved away and my parents were divorced.  My mother worked.

Hard.

We were left alone.  I was alone. Left to ourselves.  Left to myself.

In retrospect, we were feral children.

That’s what we were.

At the time, all I felt was freedom; the times were the late sixties.

What I felt at the time was not what I thought.

It wasn’t freedom.

It was fear.  It was pain.

Unprotected.

And lost.

I’ve come far beyond those pain filled times, however the deep seated feeling that I’m somehow less than, remains still…..even now.

Those are some of my ghostlines-  I know them for what they are.

I know they are ghosts….

but

they still and will always have power over me if I allow them.

I’ve had a couple of restarts since my last post.  Something happens when I address my sober time as counting days, weeks, months and years… it always has.

I fall.

Time is a funny thing for me in sobriety.

I pray that with time, I’ll have the ability to celebrate mile markers with everyone else…

for now-

I was sober yesterday, I am sober today and by the grace of God, I’ll be sober tomorrow.