Today I am 3…!

And not looking back.

Well… except for the occasional review of history.  The present moment sometimes requires that re-assessment for optimal growth.  It’s called a searching and fearless moral inventory.  The 4th Step.  I’ve done many and will continue to do so.  Too often pointing the finger only leaves us stuck in our own muck and mire. But I am so weary-  oh so freakin’ weary, of making the same mistakes.

You see, I’ve been a slow learner.  An extremely, painfully slow learner.  Maybe the lessons that I’ve been needing to learn over the past 10 years have been strongholds-  iron hard lessons about character and personality.  They need to be confronted with a raw and brutal honesty.  Blindspots- named such for good reason.  Most times it takes an epiphany or breakthrough to reveal them.

And when they are finally revealed, seeing these behaviors and issues in ourselves can be incredibly painful.

But if we hang in there and continue the trek, peace will be found around the corner from there.

I think I’m finally up for it.

Lord, please help me to be up for this.

Now that I’m typing, I’m not sure how much I’m ready to reveal regarding the exact nature of this stronghold.

What I will say is that it’s all about emotional control.  Emotional sobriety.  Emotional intelligence.  Also known as EQ.

And my incredible lack of.

It’s also about maintaining sobriety vs being alcohol free.  Now being AF all by itself is a huge accomplishment.  But growth and change and true freedom all require work.  Heavy lifting on the psyche.  Without the emotional control that needs to be cultivated in sobriety,  things can get pretty ugly.

The term is dry drunk.

 I believe that is exactly what I’ve been experiencing for the past year.  Since last spring when the chaos began.  A chain of events, probably around 8 or 9, separate and unrelated events occurred in my life over the course of about 3 weeks, give or take.  I’ve not gone to AA meetings this time around but I began attending daily mass.  Last spring I stopped attending due to one of these “events”.   Had to do with another parishioner.  A male parishioner.  I’ve had traumatic events happen in my past that have centered around men.  I also grew up with a violent, morose, alcoholic father.  Until I was 8 or 9 anyway.  Enough time to leave it’s mark.

Let’s just say I have issues.

With men and with boundaries.  The boundaries could apply to everyone, not just men. Actually, I’m going to re-phrase:  I have had issues but I am healing and becoming healthier in both those respects.  I am changing.  Actually, God is changing me.  This is way bigger than me.

Can I hear an Amen?

‘Cause it’s been damn hard work.  Damn hard emotional work, lemme tell ya.  But I’m determined.  Where there’s a will there’s a way.

So I’m owning it.  Or rather, I’m going deeper.  I’ve owned it my whole life.  Thank God, I found a wonderful therapist and I’ve been “let go” from my job….. nice way of saying I was fired.  But it’s been an absolute blessing in disguise.  I handled myself with grace and integrity; much different than I would have even 2 months ago.  It’s given me time.  Time that I’m using wisely and productively.  Clearing, cleaning and organizing.  Both in mind, body, soul and environment.

I am becoming my own best friend.

This pandemic has triggered such deep stuff in me.  Things from childhood that I thought were gone.  It’s the layers of an onion analogy.  I wrote a post about the scars left behind a little over 3 years ago.  Not long after, I hit my final bottom.  Pray to God it was my final.  I take nothing for granted.  Especially my sobriety.  I had 11 years sober at 40 years of age and went out again.  It took me 22 years to get back.

So while I’m not looking behind me, sometimes a review is necessary….and that’s ok.

Thanks be to God.

And every one of you. 🙏

Finding Our Way Back

“The way home every single time is this:

After my worst failure, after I am convinced this time I have gone too far and destroyed too much, I must believe who God says I am.

I am not defined by my erratic behaviors but by something so much deeper, infinitely strong and constant.  I am a new creature.

When I find myself risking to trust this way of seeing, the power of the lie begins to vanish and that increasing confidence in who I really am becomes the bedrock that will break my shame and addiction so I get to live free for the rest of my life.”

…….Traylor Levvorn

Although this quote from the film “The Heart of Man” relates to sexual addiction, all addiction stems from the same misguided attempts to make ourselves whole.

I’m coming up on 3 years sober and free and in spite of tremendous upheavals and emotional pain in my life, and I know that I am far from alone in this at this time, I still remain with no desire to drink or medicate myself.  Thanks be to God.

Haven’t been around as ya’ll know…. I’ve been on an extended self-directed retreat of solitude.  I am blessed to be able to afford myself this opportunity.

Ending this with one more quote from the same film.  William Paul Young, author of The Shack, is the author of this one. 

See you next time I come up for air. 

“We have no idea about the truth of our beings.  We do not know how relentless this affection is that will pursue us, wrap itself around our brokenness and sing us into healing.

We matter.

Every single one of us matters and the choices we make matter.

Every choice to forgive, to be kind, to be authentic, to open up our inside worlds to tell our secrets-  these things change the cosmos- not just inside you, but inside this whole created universe in which we dwell

Who you are matters and who you’re becoming matters.

You’re the one He left the 99 to go and find.”

 

With much love and prayers to all of you amazing warriors.

And thank you…. I wouldn’t be sober without all your love and support.

🙏❤️🙏

 

Image Credit:

“IMG_6587” by {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

Chop Wood, Carry Water

I am writing this as much for myself as anyone.

The ability to lay one’s life down for his brother produces perfect love.

And “Perfect love casts out all fear.”  1 John 4:18

I can feel the anxiety growing.

Not so much in myself but in the “energy field” we all live in.

Stop thinking and trying to figure it all out.  We can not.  And the mind and thoughts will tend to bring us down.  We need to stay with our deepest knowing part of ourselves.

Our heart.

The only things we have control over are ourselves and our ability to stay grounded, centered, aligned, balanced.

self-less.

Breathe. Be in your body.  Feel the sensations.  Ground yourself. Center. Align yourself with love, not fear.  State your intention to remain loving and helpful to others in need.

Do the next right thing.

Where have you drawn your strength from in times of need?  

I draw strength from my faith in Jesus Christ.  This has been my path.  We all have access to the Creator inside our hearts.  Ask for the truth of who you are.  It’s time to let all the pretense fall away.  Pray for higher, unselfish wisdom and guidance.

TRUST.

Pray for all those suffering and in need.

They have always been there but in our blessed lives, we have tended to not notice.

There is much to be done.  As Bob Dylan put it:  “You’re gonna have to serve someone.

Will it be yourself?  Or the other?

The following is the full and original version of our Serenity Prayer:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

I can’t imagine where I would be right now if not sober.  Curled up drunk and scared and of no use to anyone.  Or to God.

Thanks be to God for giving me the grace of sobriety.

 

 

 

My Tree

“If we walk in the light as He is in the light…” (1 John 1:7).

For many of us, walking in the light means walking according to the standard we have set up for another person. The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie.

                                                                    From My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

🙏

Choose love over fear.

Perfect love casts out all fear.

Love will save us. Not hate. Not fear.

Not Judgement. 

If you feel a need to blame or judge, first look within. Then cast the first stone….if you can.

Stay strong.  Stay sober. 

Each of us has a part to play in this healing.

Because…

every one of us has played some part, large or small, in getting us here.

Help someone in need. You won’t need to look very far.

May the Lord pour out His abundant Mercy and Compassion on us all.

 

Supernatural Sammy

I rescued her in 2007 from a shelter.  She’d been there for a year after being taken from a home along with 152 other cats.  Some not living.  Horrible.  But I guess the woman meant well.  So often our intentions are good and we can’t see we’re making a hell for others.

Animal or human.

Sammy looked nothing like the photo above.  She was one solid mat ball of fur.  And, wow, she stunk…. real bad.

Oh, but she was a sweetie.

 A loving, affectionate mess of a cat and I had to have her… my husband (at the time) is a “designer” kind of guy.  At least he was then.  Everything he owned had to make a statement of excellence. We argued.  “But she’s a mess!” he cried.  “Yeah? Well so am I!” I piped back at him.

I won.

Turned out she really only responded to me.  She was actually quite feral but slowly she began to trust and we healed together.  You see I had rescued Sammy right after I was released from the hospital.  Locked ward kind of hospital thanks to Lexapro.  Four weeks into it, it triggered a manic psychotic episode and then a downward dive into a suicidal despair.

So Sammy and I, we were both a little off at the time.  Both traumatized by life.

My sweet 20 year old kitty is not well.  Dr. Bernie thinks it might be lymphoma. I know I’ve given her a wonderful life and I have no words for what she has given me.  Pure love and joy….and healing. I guess those are words but they seem so inadequate.  I’ve never had the bond with another animal that I have with her.  She is truly supernatural.  I sometimes wonder- she seems part dog, part human with a little cat thrown in.

I can’t fix this.

I just don’t want her to suffer.

Please pray for her peaceful passing.

🙏

I am so very grateful to all of you.  This incredible tribe of sober warriors.

 

 

 

One and done. Farewell…for now

I began WTW because I had a desperate desire to put down the alcohol; not because I wanted to write.  But I began to witness this amazing sober community of strength and support and (mostly) non-judgemental attitudes.  And these people were doing it!  Living sober.  And some had been living it for years.  AND…..they were happy.

So I wrote.

I felt it might be my last shot.

Well here I am with 1 year and 2 weeks today.  Unrecognizable at every turn.  I’m at peace with who I am in sobriety and who I am becoming. I am full of hope and look forward to pursuing my remaining years as a sober woman.  By God’s grace, I will pass from this world to the next sober.  One of my goals is to be a kinder, gentler version of myself.  Emphasize the positive traits, temper down the character flaws and defects and mix well with a lot of love!  I’m down 15 pounds although part of that was leaving the cheese shop! I love my job now and the people I lead.  The gratitude most days is overflowing.

I don’t even blink now when someone asks me why I don’t drink-  so rude to begin with.  I just look deadpan at them eye to eye and say “Oh you go first and tell me why you do.”  Usually there’s an awkward silence and then some mumbling.  Gets ’em every time.

  Should someone ever actually take me up on it and list reasons, they’ll be listing all the reasons I don’t.

I do not need to drink anymore.  Not that I’m cured, oh no way.  But way deep down inside of me I feel like a non-drinker.  If it weren’t for the lifetime of wretched memories, it would feel like it’s never even been a part of my life.

BUT…..

you all know we all have “those” days.

That’s why it’s so important to work hard to develop those emotional/mental/spiritual muscles and strong self-care routines early on.  The healthy habits will help pull you through those times of tests and trials.  Along with lots of support from those who’ve gone before you.

So…..

this will be my last post for the foreseeable future.  I’m leaving the blog in place should I feel inspired.  Right now though the thought of writing is painful.  I want to enjoy it- not feel burdened by it.  It’s just not happening for me now.

I will leave you all with two things:

The first is a link to one of my sober heroes latest blog post.  This year did not come easy for me.  I started to become a chronic relapser.  Her posts are always uplifting and in this latest she writes of why it’s so hard to get/stay sober.

Tipsy No More

The second is something I read during my morning prayers last week.  I immediately thought of this sober community.  It is written from one Christian sojourner to another;  someone he’s never met.

“It is not surprising if, despite being far apart, we are present to each other….because we are members of one body, we have one head, we are steeped in one grace, we live on one loaf, we walk on one road, and we dwell in the same house.”      St. Paulinus of Nola to St. Augustine

Peace and Love to you all and may you be blessed.

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Looking Back @ 1 Year WTW…almost

1 month from today, pray to God, I’ll have 1 solid year of sobriety.  It’s hard to believe but then…it’s not.  It’s been a battle hard-won.  Twenty-two years of head banging, inner conflict and torment.  Knowing the truth.  Trying to deny it. Work around it. Trick it.  Ignore it.

Anything but face it.

The powerlessness.  The unmanageability of my life although most of the time, I put on a pretty good show.

The wreckage.

The withering of my soul.

Oh yeah, there have been times when the blinders came off and moments where the truth sunk in- even a spirit of willingness.  Usually after a humiliation.  But the willingness came more from an attempt to redeem myself; in my own eyes as well as for those around me- a bargaining chip- an action originating in pride to soften the sting of idiocy.

The willingness was for the wrong reasons.

But now…everything has changed.

I have not had even one day of taking this sobriety for granted and I’m still in awe that I truly am a new creation.

Thanks be to God.

I’ve had an aversion to all things electronically social these past 3 or 4 months.  Kind of like I overdosed. So, I’m unsure as to how long I will continue posting here on WTW.   While I do enjoy and derive great satisfaction from the finished product when I post, it’s a long and arduous process.  Perfectionism makes it way too time consuming.

But I don’t want to just disappear. I’ve spent most of my life doing just that and it’s a pattern of old behavior that needs to go.  And it leaves me feeling unsettled when others do the same.

While I suffer deeply for connection, it’s the thing I have always feared the most.

I used to love the A.A. saying “Live and let live”.  Most selfish people do.  We take it to mean “Ask  nothing of me and I’ll ask nothing of you”.  Perfect.

That’s not what it means.

Thank you to all my fellow bloggers (you know who you are) who have seen me through to this amazing point because while I give the glory to the Lord for my sobriety, He sent you, His angels, to me.

 

 

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