“Depression is stupid and not a thing that makes me a better writer. One time I went a whole year without writing and I stayed in bed and drank. Fuck your Bukowskisms. I want sunlight and love and running down some street I’ve never been on where it’s warm and cool at the same time and I’m smiling. I want nothing to ever be bad again - and I don’t mean that I want a life free of conflict, I mean that I want a life free of meaningless conflict. Not being able to will oneself to take a shower or leave the house is meaningless. There is nothing to be gained, no lesson to be learned from that kind of life. My heart is stale, my prose is stale. Give me fire if you want to hurt me. Give me something I can taste. There’s nothing romantic or mysterious about where I am. There’s nothing here worth holding onto.”—
“So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More Compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide.”—(via soul-runner)
I spent 12 solid hours cleaning out my house yesterday. Pretty sure by the time I went to bed, I feel fairly confident I know what death by exhaustion felt like. But really… is there a better feeling on Earth than falling into your bed with clean sheets?
I’m pretty surprised I’m awake this early, but I’m about to take advantage of it and try some yoga. I always thought it would be cool to be that person that does yoga really early in the morning. And then drinks tea while the sun comes up.
I’m going to church today. But not just church…. oh no, I’m going to knock people’s socks off when I show up at the 930 service. I genuinely can’t wait. Not only that, but on of my very best friends has (begrudgingly) agreed to go with me. T is so special to me, and I can be the worst influence on her. To be completely honest, I can be the worst influence on most people…. but I mean, what can I say? I’m hard to say no to once I’ve set mind to something.
So now my hope is this…. If I can so easily influence others to make such shitty choices, why can’t I learn to use that to influence others to make great ones? T is an amazing artist, one of the most genuine, selfless people I know. If God could finally get my attention, I know he can get hers too.
To everyone that has messaged me since my last post, thank you. Not just thank you, but really… THAN YOU. I need encouragement more than ever right now and you guys definitely came through. I want to be here for you guys too, so don’t hesitate to contact me!
I am a fuck up. I love too much and for too long and all the wrong people, and romanticize every great thing that’s ever happened to make up for all of the shitty things that have made me want to hide under my blankets forever. I weigh too much, eat too much, I KNOW I drink too much, talk too much, and think too much… Hell, for a lot of people i just AM too much.
But you know what else?
I am good with that. I’m good with that because I know that regardless of my predisposition for substance abuse and my penchant for making really bad decisions, I also know that I genuinely want to be a better person in every aspect of my life. Tangible signs of success aren’t enough for me. I need to know that I’m a great friend and that I’m striving to be the best mom. That I am a good daughter and sister, and that I do something as often as I can to help other people. I want to go to bed at night and smile. I want to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and be happy with who I am and what I’m about.
It’s been really hard to let G go with his dad for the summer, and I haven’t handled it well. I am not super great about being alone.
Today that stops. I can’t manage it anymore.
This is me asking for all of the support I can get. I am lucky enough to have followers that are so sweet to reach out and encourage me on occasion, and I absolutely adore all of you for that. Anybody that struggles with addiction knows that sometimes strangers can be better support than even our closest friends and family.
"The worst thing is watching someone drown and not being able to convince them that they can save themselves by just standing up."
I want to stand up.
I ended up spending some time with a person from my past the other day, and I couldn’t even be mad about our history anymore. All I could think was how sad I felt for that person. Is this who they really are now? They are worth SO much more then what I walked into.
But then again, what the hell do I know? Maybe they don’t want to stand up. Maybe, considering my own circumstances, I shouldn’t say anything at all… feel free to call me Kettle. All I know is that THAT wasn’t the person I remember and respect. I hope that I’m wrong, because what a waste. I don’t ever want someone to look at me like I did that person. It was a game-changer for me. A wake up call that I could be exactly where I was three years ago, on the verge of losing my life, in a heart beat.
I’m not really sure how I’m going to pull this off just yet. I set out this year with the intent of getting healthy and making my life into what I wanted it to be, and so far I’ve got not one damn thing to show for it. I almost lost my best friend over it, and that’s not okay with me. Advice, support, encouragement, war stories - talk to me! Every day, sobriety and living right is a choice. I’m not so good with the choices.
Wish me luck, folks. It’s going to be rough this time, I can just feel it. But I want to beat it. Let’s all stand up - together.
This absolutely beautiful, rainy, dark, thunder and lightening weather we’ve had lately reminds me of home in the best way. Quiet mornings on the front porch, we’d sit with my head on his shoulder, legs and fingers intertwined. We’d watch the rain like that for hours. No where to go, no one to see. Completely at ease with each other, everything we wanted right next to us. It’s those sweet, simple, intimate moments that I miss the most.
This weekend we will witness the culmination of the last 10 months of blood, sweat, and tears that has gone into K’s wedding. Rehearsal dinner tomorrow, wedding Saturday, clean-up on Sunday. God bless us all.
G also goes to his dad’s this weekend for the next 6 weeks. I always have such mixed feelings about that. You’d think it would be fun to be kid free for a while, but it’s really only fun for like… a day. I’ve set some goals this time, in hopes to avoid the eventual decline into poor choices and too many beers out of sheer boredom.
10 pm curfew, 11 pm bedtime Homework first Pool Go running outside at least 3 times a week Write at least every other day Read at least one book Finish 2 large scale craft projects
I imagine I’ll get into quite a bit more than this, but I don’t want to continue being dependent on others for entertainment. I’ve never been very good at spending time alone, so I’m interested to see how this will pan out.
“Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.”—Kait Rokowski, “A Good Day” (via oofpoetry)
I finally got the opportunity to do some real work at my job. I’ve been here for 9 months and the amount of time I spend on Pinterest and Tumblr is downright upsetting. So I was really excited/nervous/terrified today when the subject of our marketing plan came up in earnest conversation. I was given the title “Director of Marketing” a few months ago, but my boss is so wishy-washy about what he wants that we haven’t gotten very far. Today, I got an inch. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do what I do best and take a mile. It’s time to put my creative writing ability to use in the real world and get some legitimate experience. What was that quote about, “When you walk up to opportunity’s door, don’t knock on it. Kick that bitch in and introduce yourself”. Yeah, I think the Rock is onto something.
One day I’d like to have a significant presence in the social media world, professionally, of course. I’d also like to teach at a college. And photograph professionally. I haven’t quite figured out the road that way just yet, but I know it exists and that I’d like to end up there.
For now, however, I will dive headlong into what I’m doing now. Director of Marketing.
I woke up mid-panic attack again. I hate that feeling. Hair damp with sweat, body trembling, heart thumping so hard I can feel it in my throat. And I’m just trapped. In my own fucking body. Days like that, I’m anxious and weird for the rest of the day. I don’t know how to act. I had to pep talk myself into just moving. Into just putting one foot on the floor, and then one in front of the other. How did I end up this person?
I don’t even want a drink. I don’t want to feel numb anymore. I want to feel normal. I don’t want to shake constantly or have all this anxiety about my day that spirals into anxiety about my life and my future. I’m tired of being different than the people closest to me, and being judged. And if not judged, then weighed - constantly. I feel like people are always taking a measure of my mental stability, to make sure I’m being normal enough. I can’t take another lecture on what it is that I “need to do”. Until you can walk a mile in my shoes, I don’t want your advice.
So I guess today… I’m feeling angry. And anxious.
And this is me feeling my feelings. And it sucks. I’m fucking tired of not sleeping and I’m fucking tired of being looked at like I’m crazy. But at least I’m alive, I guess. I feel like this can’t last forever. Right?
Goodness. So after last weekends colorful decisions, I am going to go sober again. I have been wanting to clean up for the last few months anyway. Some people just don’t booze so well, you know? Or maybe we booze too good. I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that it’s time to get some shit together. Especially if I ever want to get out of Amarillo.
I have a lot of choices in front of me, and sober is the only way I’ll be able to make the right decisions when the time comes. For over two years now, I’ve been rambling on this blog about commitment and letting God take over some of the big stuff in my life. You can see a trend if you pay attention… I never could quite get the hang of it. And for some reason, man, summer just kicks my ass. Try, try again, right?
The good news is: I DO NOT HAVE A BOYFRIEND. I’m still in school and my situation is no where NEAR as bad as it was when I started talking to the interwebs about my life. Everything is fine, my bills are getting paid. I just think that I was meant for something more. Something bigger. I can feel it in my bones and I know that’s why I am so discontented in my work life and in Amarillo. There is no challenge at work, except superficially. My great love story isn’t going to happen here. Hopefully I won’t have to raise my son in a place where there isn’t any water. Or rain. I think people underestimate my need to be near water.
The bad news is: I don’t have Facebook or Instagram anymore. I’m strictly one-on-one (Skype, WhatsApp, Snapchat) except for Tumblr and LinkedIn (only for work). I also have Spotify and Pinterest, but I think that’s really irrelevant to the conversation.
I’ve never though of myself as a commitment-phobe before. Most people say “commitment” and you assume they mean in it in regards to a relationship between two people (or three or four… whatever floats your boat). I’m good at committing in a relationship. Probably too good, but that’s a post for another day.
I am really bad a committing to plans that require some sort of finite schedule. For example: I’m supposed to play Bunco once a month with some friends and sometimes I find myself dreading it because I already know exactly what’s going to happen. I mean, it’s always a good time… but it’s an expected good time. At the cost of an unexpected good time, I am going to something that no longer has the element of the unknown. Aaaaand sometimes I just want to binge watch OITNB. Does anybody else do this??
I used to be the kind of person that had to know what I was going to do every second of every day. Once I let go of that, I never looked back. I am even getting away from the lists that I am notorious for making. I could make a list of the lists I needed to make. Um… what? I’m from Earth, I promise.
I kinda thought this was going to be our thing. For being so close to someone, then going to nothing, it was nice to have one thing left…
Why? Isn’t this what you wanted? I still struggle with what happened between us. You left me, but you want to indirectly keep in touch? Why should you get to find comfort in knowing if I’m happy or not, while you rub my face in how great your life is without me?
What a ridiculous thing to say, that this was our “one thing left”. This was never OUR thing. This was where I came to unload and not worry about who is creeping my posts or judging my life. I don’t have to pretend to be someone without issues here. My closest friends don’t even get to see this, but you’re so special that you should still be able to see my thoughts and rants and all the things that hurt? Things that I don’t talk about out loud?
It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything, mostly because I’m unsure of what to share anymore. I spend a lot of time sorting through some mental bullshit that I’ve been putting off for a bit - I don’t really want to bore folks with what I’m aware should not be such a big deal.
The human race…
Damn, this was 2 years ago and I still feel this way. Kind of lost and aimless. I’m definitely not unhappy, but I’m not over the moon either. I’m just kind of… here.
It’s kind of interesting how life turns out, don’t you think? We grow up thinking we’re all going to be these hot-shot successful adults that can stay out past curfew and talk on the phone after 9, never have to clean our rooms, and smoke weed somewhere besides out that toilet paper roll with the dryer sheet over one end out the window. Adults that just magically have our shit together. But does anybody really “grow up”? Or are some people just better at convincing themselves that a boring 9 to 5 job and a house with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids, living the “American Dream” is what happiness is made of? I don’t know, guys. I just feel like that I would be settling for less if I went that route.
I want epic. I want the love story. I want the life well lived. To see the world and make a difference somehow. I want my kid to experience adventures and places that most adults couldn’t even dream of.
I don’t know what’s in the future for me. I guess right now it’s just the boring stuff. Finish school, get the kiddo through school, and try my best to have some fun along the way. I’ve spent a lot of years trying to plan every second of every day of the rest of my life and it’s just not working out very well. So here’s to dreaming, kids.
So I took a little road trip this weekend, it was definitely interesting to say the least. It sucks, but sometimes other people’s problems really put things in perspective for you. I wanted to help, but I’m still not sure if I did more harm than good. Or if I made a difference at all.
What I do know is that I just saw two people that love each other so much that they can’t even get along until the other person is genuinely happy. It was… something.
I will pick myself off the floor, even if (especially if) there is familiarity in rock bottom. Not for love, not for self, not for anything but for the mere fact that I am a lion-hearted girl and everyone will hear my damn roar.
God is so good to me. Great things are coming together right now. He is working in my head and heart to remind me that I am smarter, stronger and better than my circumstances. I am better then my past and the decisions I’ve made. He is reminding me how to be happy again.
I was given, literally, the opportunity of a lifetime today. A vague feeling of well-being has started to take place of some of this bitterness and anger. I’m almost afraid to get excited because it feels too good to be true. Like… is this really about to be my life?
Part of me wants to tell the world, but really I want to keep it to myself. So I’m here. Lol. Ah, the world of anonymity. A few friends know, so I guess it’s all good. Anyway, I’m genuinely sleepy for the first time in months… See you soon!
The problem is, you don’t just choose… You have to keep choosing. Every day. Sometimes more than once, and sometimes when you don’t want to. But its always a choice. People aren’t made of that anymore. They quit choosing and wonder why it all falls apart and simply walk away before they even get started. Tragic, really.
I cheated, I just looked at the 10 most recently played.
Big Empty - Stone Temple Pilots
40 oz. to Freedom - Sublime
I Can’t Quit You, Baby - Led Zeppelin
Show Me A Little Shame - Ben Harper
Where Is My Mind? - Pixies
Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Cover) - Ingrid Michaelson
Work Me - The Black Keys
Lullaby - JJ Grey & Mofro
Today - Smashing Pumpkins
Southern Girl - Incubus
If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything, mostly because I’m unsure of what to share anymore. I spend a lot of time sorting through some mental bullshit that I’ve been putting off for a bit - I don’t really want to bore folks with what I’m aware should not be such a big deal.
The human race never ceases to amaze me, it seems like. You’d think by now that I wouldn’t be so surprised at how people insist on treating the ones closest to them, yet I’m always a bit shocked and taken aback. Why? And how do those people sleep at night knowing what they’re doing? It’s wrong.
I’ve been struggling with the concept of what success is. And, really, what’s important? I think I’m smack in the middle of a generation of people that have strange ideas about things. Which is fine. I just happen to be a 25 year old single mom that still doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Grayson just turned three, I always thought I’d have it figured out by now. Guess life doesn’t always work out the way you think it will. I’m afraid I’m going to spend the rest of my life wandering aimlessly, without purpose.
I’ve probably (definitely) watched one too many Nicholas Sparks movies because now I’m obsessed with this unrealistic idea of unrequited love and soulmates and all that ridiculous nonsense that he likes to fill the heads of puberty bound, emotionally unstable teenage girls with. What’s worse, is deep down I know that those movies are based on some modicum of truth. Someone, somewhere believes in - I can’t believe I’m about to say this - real love. Honest to God, gut wrenching, I can’t live without you, I’d follow you to the ends of the Earth before I let you go, love. Then again, maybe I’ve just played into that bullshit for so long that I can’t imagine it being any other way. Who knows?
I won’t lie, I started today with the intention of completely unloading all my bullshit onto the internet for some poor shmuck to happen upon and read by accident, and spend the rest of the evening with their brain in a cluster fuck like mine. Maybe later, though.
This is a toast to the new, I’m done with the old. If not out of want, then at least out of need. The sheer insanity of it is overwhelming and depressing. I want better. I deserve better. I haven’t come this far, only to let myself be pulled back into the darkness with cheating and secrets and lies. I. Will. Be. Better.
I have not trusted others for the same reasons others have not trusted me… When you are undependable and deceitful, people shouldn’t want to be around you. They deserve better friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, sisters, brothers and parents than what you are pretending to be.
Don’t be afraid to choose something different! That fear of being completely different from what I was has kept me in this weird limbo of in between. Can’t party with the drunks, but still dont fit in with not-drunks. Who am I to hold onto something that God is telling me to let go? Nobody. That’s who I am.
I find myself in this place often. I’m stuck between the old and the new. The old sucks and I’m too impatient for the new, so I’m basically just feeling pretty discontent at this particular moment. My job blows, I hate being single, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on. Having said that, this is me trying desperately to pull myself out of that ungrateful funk. It feels terrible. I feel bad, then I feel guilty for feeling bad, then I feel overwhelmed at the mental cluster I have going on. It’s turned into a never ending cycle that feeds off itself and gets worse. I need to write more, that’s for sure. Even on days I don’t feel like I have anything to write about.
I guess I could catch everybody up to speed on what’s been going on with me, but it has too much potential to turn into a marathon of what’s wrong with everyone else in the world (which I have absolutely no control over, so it really doesn’t matter), so I won’t waste your time.
"Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change."
Probably has been one of the most accurate quotes I’ve found. Some things that were said at a meeting earlier tonight got me thinking about the last three and half months. God is so awesome in (everything, but also) how he teaches us and guides us through our thoughts, words and actions. It’s been such a cool experience to be new enough in this journey that I can step back and still so clearly see how different life would be had I not chosen to do something about it.
Last Sunday I went to an event at the church called “Singles in the City”. I was so totally against it that once I made it there, I was half tempted to get up and leave before it started. However, since my sponser is always telling me, “Do something different! If you want pizza, eat chinese!” - I stayed. Overall, it ended up being a pretty cool night. I’m pretty sure all of the worship leaders were there, making it an All-Star kind of night (it helps that they played all my favorite jams!). The message was great (I’m not, in any way, surprised at this), J talked about how life is all about seasons and we should be content with the season that God has us in right now. Very cool.
A bunch of girls from the bible study group I went to a couple Sunday’s back made a point to find me and say hi. I think the only reason I find this a pertinent enough fact to mention this in a follower-less (new word, enjoy!) blog is that after I got home it occurred to me (for about the kabillionth time over the last two or three weeks) that I’ve still got a long way to go despite all the progress I’ve made. Coming from a horribly unhealthy lifestyle, complete with the flaky, pretend friends, I’ve been incredibly reluctant to make new friends. Which is strange, because I’m not able to not make friends. It’s, well… kind of what I do. Point in case, my dad brought over all of my report cards dating back to kindergarten the other day. It seems that excessive socializing and poor time management are burdens I’ve been carrying for two decades now. Which is funny if you think about it, but that’s for another blog. Anyway, the point is, since I’m seriously (if not always enthusiastically) trying to develop new, healthier relationships through the church I’m going to try something pretty radical. I’m going to take the things that people say at face value and accept the idea that people might be to be my friend just because. Not necessarily just because I can benefit them in some way. Sadly, this is a big deal to me. I just don’t want to be Debbie Downer anymore. I want to be a “glass half full” kind of girl. All rose colored lenses and whatnot. I need glasses… maybe the optomitrist can hook it up?
Anyway, if you made it this far, thanks again for reading my crazy thoughts.
More to come this week for sure! I’ve got to get caught up with Crazy Love and a bunch of AA stuff.
Can we add about 4 more hours to the day? See you soon!
Any reason is a good enough excuse to soak one’s feet. Especially when they’re tired and hurting from wearing inappropriately high heels for eight hours at a job that requires you to regularly climb 4 and 5 flights of stairs. However… 1. Please pay close attention to what temperature you run your water for said foot soak and 2. Please, please, PLEASE, for the love of God and all that is holy, CHECK THE WATER TEMPERATURE BEFORE YOU SHOVE YOUR FEET INTO THE TUB. I failed to follow either of the aforementioned steps and now I’m fairly certain the skin has melted clean off my feet. I felt compelled to warn my fellow foot soak fans before they, too, become overly excited at the prospect of a long overdue soak and fall victim to such tragic circumstances.
I almost lost someone very close to me yesterday. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared before. I’ve never wanted anything so bad as I did when I fell to my face in prayer that she was going to be okay. All day it’s been on my heart. Yesterday was far too overwhelming for what happened and it’s implications to really sink in. Today is a different story. I could feel myself making excuses not to deal with it. I had to work for a couple of hours and then I had to run some errands and get my kiddo. But the hurt and panic keep coming. I’m going to try T’s way… I guess I’ll write about it.
It’s these kind of days that I find myself craving a beer and a half a bottle of that delicious, amber whiskey. I just want to not feel all of… this… for a little while. Unfortunately, I’m struggling with this today even though I’m well aware that disappearing into liquid oblivion will only make things more complicated on the other side.
It became clear yesterday that we have but fleeting moments to make a difference in another person’s life. Sometimes we don’t know when those moments are upon us until they are gone and it is too late. I want to challenge anyone who reads this to make what you say count, don’t take for granted how much your words affect the people around you. Don’t let the last thing you say to someone be said in bitterness or anger. Remember that just because you think you know someone, you don’t know everything. Pain and sadness are not always obvious to us, as simple humans. Let the people you love, know that you love them. Let them know that they matter and are important to you! Don’t wait until it’s too late to realize your moment to make a different has passed.
Hebrews 6:18-19 are a couple of verses I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
"So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary…"
Anyone trying to do better with their lives (not just recovering from booze-a-palooza) occasionally (frequently?) feels the tug of old habits from our former lifestyles. Sometimes our old life beckons, tempting us with familiar sources of comfort. We, as creatures of habit, long to return to what we know, even if it is destructive. New can be scary, I get it.
It doesn’t always make sense, even to those of us that “get it”. It is important for non-addicts and people “on the outside” to understand - it will never be 100% clear why, exactly, we do the things we do. Why would anyone go back to such horrible routines for the sake of comfort when such amazing things clearly lie ahead? I don’t have the answer for that. The only explanation I can provide is this: It’s freaking terrifying to take that leap of faith necessary to begin the healing and recovery process. To leave behind everything we know, no matter how terrible, for something completely unknown and out of our sphere of understanding. Chances are, for far too long, all we’ve known are betrayal, dishonesty and fake-ass friends that are only too quick to bail when you need them the most. We’re cynical, narcissistic and probably can’t see past what’s staring us in the face. It’s totally awful and unhealthy on every level. But it’s what we know - our comfort zone.
True and complete recovery requires leaving that comfort zone. It requires us to believe in God and to whole-heartedly trust him to fix our lives. To fix us. Even when the call to fall into former routines is strong - to open that bottle, to go back to destructive relationships, to hurt ourselves when the stress and the pain are too much - We’ve got to let go of that and give it to God. Only God is capable of taking that pain and making us whole again.
I started this study yesterday about a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The back cover reads something like this:
"Have you ever wondered if you’re missing it?
It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe - the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor - loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss.
Whether you’ve verbalized it or not… we all know something’s wrong.
Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts - it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love as Francis describes it, you will never be the same.
Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.”
I joined the group mostly because I’m (kind of) trying to meet new people (I have mixed feelings about it). Something spoke to me when I read the back cover of the book and I decided to go.
Chapter 1 is called “Stop Praying”. It’s about how we can become apathetic about speaking to God. We say words that are so routine that we don’t even notice what we say anymore. Think about it like this: How many times have you said the “Our Father”? It finally occurred to me a couple of months ago to actually think about what this prayer meant, something I had been dutifully reciting since childhood (I was raised Catholic, though I’m non-denominational now). It’s kind of an intense prayer, really. Definitely not something to be said lightly.
If you met God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it, what would you say? What would be the first words out of your mouth? Knowing my rather colorful vocabulary, I would be desperately hoping not to utter some awful obsenity in the presence of Jesus Christ himself. Which would get me thinking, “I wonder if he can hear me praying that, and I wonder if he thinks it’s funny.” By now, my curiosity would be getting the better of me, and I imagine I’d have a million questions I would have to ask him. And halfway through, my southern upbringing would kick in and I’d be mortified that the first thing out of my mouth wasn’t, “Thank you! Thank you for allowing me to have had the life I have lived”. And he would shake his head and laugh at me because he knows me pretty well and knows that I talk a lot when I get nervous. I hope that’s how it would go down anyway.
For a long time, I prayed at God. I told Him all of the things I wanted and needed. I whined that everything was awful. I mindlessly repeated prayers without any thought to what I was saying. God had never seemed so far away. Ironically, it took hitting bottom (and the tentative climb up) to realize that God isn’t far away at all. He listens. And responds!
I’m confident that God has a much bigger plan for me than any I could ever imagine. I ask Him what He wants from me, what I can do for others. I pray for guidance in my thoughts, words and actions (something reiterated by my sponser and participation in AA). I’m learning that God will tell me what He wants me to do in His own time. If I’m not getting an answer, I should probably just be still and let God have it.
Don’t get me wrong, no one is perfect (least of all, myself!). I certainly don’t always pray this way. I catch myself complaing and whining just like the next guy. But then I’ll see something amazing… A sunrise or sunset (the Texas panhandle is known for the amazing view), or the way the clouds look in the morning on the way to work. The breeze blows just right and you can smell the rain coming. Something simple. And I’ll remember - God is responsible for all of this. It’s mind-blowing. It’s a reminder that we are but specks in the grand scheme of things. Not even a blip on the radar… yet He knows us. Everything there ever was, is or will be to know about us. He hears everything we have to think or say and listens and responds to us. It’s absolutely awe-inspiring.
How do you keep that feeling? That heart-happy confidence that you feel when you are absolutely certain of your Creator? About halfway through my week, I start letting life get in the way of my closeness to God. I always think it would be awesome to carry that great feeling all of the time. Duty, discipline, and desire, I suppose.
I’m pretty new to this “spiritually active” lifestyle. I have to be careful to not “take advantage” of God through prayer. I am here to serve Him, not the other way around. I can see where this concept gets confusing. It might, in fact, best be stated in the Big Book (an alcoholics second bible):
"… We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work."
As a recovering alcoholic, this is one of the methods we use to stay sober. It’s easy to slip back into old habits though. Through diligent, thoughtful and meaningful prayer we can avoid self-serving requests or half-hearted approaches.
Anyway, thanks for reading through my crazy rambling. I would love to hear what you think about all of this! As for me, I’m off to bed… more crazy rambling to come soon!
It’s official. My computer (and/or internet connection) hates me. Really, it (they?) are smarter than myself. I am but a simple girl trying to run a simple blog. Oh, what trials we suffer for our cause.
I believe that occasionally we all need to be reminded of what is important to us and what we stand for. Or what we want to stand for. A reminder of the kind of person we want to be versus the kind of person that we are. Sometimes I get stuck in this rut with negative thinking and not enough conviction. Everything just seems so unfair! Why me? Why am I the one with an unnatural love for Jack Daniel’s? Why do I have to talk about it everyday? Why can’t I make more money? When is it my turn for life to be easy?* The first step to make all of these things better is to do something (everything) differently.
I’m learning to trust (and be honest with!) God completely. He has a plan for us that is greater than anything we can imagine. He knows my worries and concerns before I even have them, so why not go to the source for guidance on how to navigate what he has set in motion? It such a novel idea, and so far has been the hardest to execute.
Long story short: I can’t get sober alone.
I begged for neon signs to guide me, because I was so afraid to make the wrong choice. I’ve done a lot of asking around about this, and the overwhelming response is always the same. When you are at your bottom and you cry for mercy and help, God will all but literally come swooping in. He will tell you exactly what he wants you to do. It’s amazing. It’s a rallying point, really. He came for me not one moment later than I absolutely needed Him to. It seemed like overnight He completely changed my life. It was just enough of a boost that I started to think that maybe recovery wasn’t impossible. I’m not talking about recovery from alcohol alone, either. I’m talking about all of the long-term effects of the decisions I made during that period. You don’t realize until you’re sober how much differently your life could have been. The good news is, however hard it might be, with God it’s all fixable.
Have you ever gotten that “my life is a spiraling, out-of-control mess” feeling? Imagine that feeling being your norm. That’s what whiskey did to me. I drank heavily (“heavily” being the operative term here) for roughly 6 years, but that last year or so almost did me in. Evidently I’ve got a few screws loose upstairs as it is, so I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. My life was completely and totally, in every way possible, unmanageable. Below, you’ll find a letter I wrote to a pastor at my church when I decided to start this journey into sobriety. I had hit what you’ll hear referred to as “my bottom”. Everybody’s rock bottom is different and this is where I stood…
I guess it started last Easter when M called and told me she had written my name on a wall inside the church somewhere. I thought, “I’m surprised the building hasn’t burst into flames.”. Out loud, I said, “For what?”. She said that someone had asked her if she could pick one person to bring with her to church on Easter Sunday, who would it be? Evidently she picked me. While I was touched that she had thought of me, I didn’t really take it very seriously. See, although M and I have been friends for years, at the time we had lost touch for the most part. We just led different lives. I spent most of my time in drinking too much and routinely making terrible decisions, while she spent most of hers being a normal functioning adult. We spoke occasionally (usually when she bribed me with a decent meal or when I needed someone to cry on because I couldn’t figure out why I was so miserable all the time). The thing is, I was losing it. Emotionally, financially, physically. I couldn’t figure it out. Not one part of my life was going how I thought it should be. I quit calling because I was embarrassed of what I had allowed myself to become and the awful decisions I couldn’t seem to quit making. I had no one to blame but myself, and I felt alone most of the time. M had suggested that I come to church a few times, but I wasn’t having it. I could figure this out on my own. Long story short, I finally let her nag me into coming to the Easter service.
I woke up feeling worse than normal that morning. I almost didn’t go. But I went, and I cried (something I did a lot) because of how amazing it was and how awful it made me feel to be such a screw up among so many good people. People who surely recognized the smell of day old whiskey emanating off my skin, yet still smiled at me and shook my clammy, trembling hand like I belonged. I still can’t explain exactly how I felt, but I know it scared me to death. Afterward, M invited me over for lunch and (of course) asked if I liked the service, if I was interested in going back… You could tell she was hoping I’d say yes. Of course, I didn’t. I wasn’t ready for God. I made up some excuse about work at the bar and she let it go. I went back to my “life”. I realize now, God was talking directly to me that day, probably begging me to let him change my life. I just wasn’t listening.
It wasn’t long after that, that I realized I had completely lost any semblance of control of what was left of my life. Three day drinking binges were becoming the norm when I wasn’t working, and more often than not, even when I was working. I hated my job, and since I spent all my time there, I really just hated everything. I was absolutely miserable and couldn’t see any way out. I couldn’t see much of anything really, because that’s what happens when you’re mainlining whiskey or feeling worse than death from the hangover all the time.
Again, M suggested that I come to church with her. I showed up late, and everyone was singing, but almost immediately something happened. God wasn’t just burning a bush… He might as well have set the sky on fire trying to get my attention. I was in His house, looking at everything except what was right in front of me. Even though I was raised Catholic and attended church semi-regularly as a teenager, I don’t know scripture by heart. I didn’t know any bible stories except that of Adam and Eve. Suddenly I wanted to know - desperately. God was calling to me, chasing me, courting me. He knew I was so close to figuring it out. I finally cracked and I felt like my heart shattered into a million peices. I had been broken as far as I could possibly be broken. To know that my life had become so completely unmanageable was gut wrenching. I was in total awe of what I heard that day. God loves me. We’ve all heard it a million times, but it was like I was really hearing it for the first time. God loves me and accepts me for who and what I am, and desperately wants me to belong to Him. He wants to hold my heart. He wants to me to give Him my worries and my problems. So here I am, all but uncontrollably sobbing in the middle of this church, and I prayed for the first time in too long. I begged for help and guidance and relief. I didn’t want to do it my way anymore, it wasn’t working. He could have whatever He wanted from me, if He would just fix … everything. I had lost most of my friends, my boyfriend and my job. My kid didn’t want to be around me. I was on the verge of losing my home, my car and my life if I didn’t get it together. I had lost hope.
Since I made the decision mid-September to pray often and try and live my life as God would have me, my entire life has turned around - almost overnight it seems. It is hands-down the most humbling experience I’ve ever had. I have a good job, a much better relationship with my son and my bills are getting paid again. Not only have I been able to mend relationships with my closest friends, I also found this community of people at Hillside that barely know me, yet still surround me with amazing and totally undeserved support. I joined Alcoholics Anonymous and am now 23 days sober… the longest I’ve been in almost two and half years. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I have hope for the future again. I truly understand the meaning of the word “grace” now, because it surely has been extended to me. If you’d have told me 3 months ago I’d be here now, I’d have called you a liar to your face. Turns out, I underestimated God’s love and affection for me. I will never lose my faith in Him again, for He has shown me the awesome and powerful things that can happen if you just trust Him and believe that His plan for you is greater than anything you or I could imagine. If He wants my problems, He can have them - one less thing for me to worry about. If He wants my tithe, He can take it - everything I have belongs to Him anyhow. If He wants my love, it’s His - Jesus Christ literally saved my life, and without Him I wouldn’t be alive today to tell this story in hopes that will inspire someone else to seek the path I have chosen.
Luckily for me (and anybody else interested in getting sober/clean), it gets better. I’ve got God, AA and my sponser on my side. Hell has an exit, and I found it.
Long story short: I cannot control or manage my life AND an addiction to alcohol. The booze had to go.
I’d eventually like to be a properly functioning member of society. One day I’ll be the “go-to” person with all the answers, and if I don’t have the answer I have a pretty good idea of where to go to find them. I’ll be level-headed and routinely make better decisions. I’ll take better care of myself and eat more vegetables. I’ll be more honest with myself (especially when an awful truth is staring me in the face). I’ll trust God with more of my problems and defects of character. I’ll pray more often. I’ll be more patient. All of these are things I currently struggle with.
It’s not much to change - only everything.
So far, I’m approximately two and a half months sober. The longest I’ve been since I had my kiddo (he’ll be three at the end of April). I drank mostly out of unhappiness and loneliness. I thought I could control it on my own - a fairly common mistake in the AA circuit. Some of us have to learn the hard way. It’s terrifying when you finally have to face facts and admit that you have a legitimate problem. Who wants to do that? I sure didn’t! That means you have to leave your comfort zone and actively seek assistance.
Using alcohol (Jack Daniel’s, please) to cope with… everything… was an awful decision. Trust me, I tried - hard. And often! For a really long time. I drank to escape, to deal with anger, boredom and loneliness. It’s a cycle I intend to disrupt.
You’d be amazed at how much better your brain functions without the constant drunk/hungover cycle wreaking havoc on your thought processes. I react completely different to negative situations than I did before. Before, when faced with a no-win situation, anger and intense, awful, self-pitying dissapointment would be my gut response. I would get ridiculously upset when people didn’t do as I thought they should; or more often, as they said they would. Everything was about me and my feelings. I try now to take myself and my feelings completely out of the situation. I give my worries and problems to God and let him deal with it. After all, I’m not in control here, he is.
I just realized a few things while I was trying to get my Tumblr account going. One, I have a terrible internet connection (yes, it’s mine!); two, I am TERRIBLE at coming up with names and titles and descriptions for every little thing. Which is amazing when you take into consideration that I am the most obsessive compulsive neat freak in the world and can label anything. But maybe that’s just because the things I’m labelling are generally clearly marked as whatever it is. It’s pretty simple to make a folder for a form that reads “Leave of Absence Request Form” across the top. I guess what I’m saying here is, I’m accepting any and all suggestions for what to call this blog since I’m having such obvious difficulty with it.
I made the decision to start blogging the other day when I realized I can type much faster than I can write. I’m an active member of AA and my sponser (we’ll call her T from now on, for the sake of anonymity) mentioned that I need to be writing in a journal everyday. Two months and a very messy (and neglected) journal later, I figure that it might be easier to get my thoughts down without all the scribbling out and progressively worse hand-writing.
Anyway, I hope somebody enjoys this thing. I tend to have difficulty committing to anything that might potentially be good for me, so I can already feel myself rebelling against this ridiculous idea of blogging daily. Blogging I can deal with. It’s the daily part that bugs me. However - it is the new year and I’m determined to make life better. If T thinks this is the key, I suppose I’ll give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen??