Amazing Grace 

A few days after my last post about the grace of God in my life, I read an article by someone that doesn’t think it’s fair to claim such a thing because that would mean the ones that are still stuck are somehow different. I have to admit, I’ve heard this before and was a little hesitant about using it in my last post. But honestly, what else could I say? Anything else would be a lie.

All I know is the first time I got sober in 2010 I was completely broken. All my life attempts had failed. Every moment was spent high or trying to get high. My only friend was an old man that gave me pills. My husband was done. My family and friends were done. I had determined that dying an addict was the best way to go. But I couldn’t die and eventually the pain of being alone with my pills became greater than the idea of getting sober. 

And then at the end of myself, I met God as I had never known Him before-through His Holy Word of The Bible. Instead of rehearsed prayers that never broke the wall of my heart, I cried out to Him with all my heart and soul not holding anything back. I still wanted to get high and I was too tired to learn how to live a new life-and told Him so. I told Him a virgin birth and the cross as outlined in the gospels were just too incomprehensible for me to believe. He already knew it anyway. 

And slowly, this Immeasurable God changed my heart from one of stone to one of flesh. He sat my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. My whole life changed. And more importantly I was a new person. Not sinless and perfect. But I knew The One who was. And is. 

Fast forward to 81 days ago after a 3 yr relapse and trying to get sober one more time (this time from a growing nightly wine addiction), and I have no other explanation for it. Only the grace of God could change a wretch like me. I’ve been the one that has been in the pits of despair and wondered “why me God? You could deliver me with a word and you won’t?” I don’t have the answer to that. Only He knows. He is a God that can’t be defined by humans. Thankfully. 

But this I know because the Bible tells me so:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Keep crying out to Him. Get to know Him through His Word. And even though you may not still understand His grace, you won’t be able to deny it. ❤

But for the grace of God…

“Although she was drinking more than ever, she was frequenting bars less. Most of her drinking was done at home now, and she became a recluse, withdrawing from the real world into a realm all her own. 

Nearly all of her waking hours were spent sitting on a bar stool alone in the darkness of our tiny kitchen. She wore nothing but a slip, day and night.

She drank, smoked cigarettes and sometimes muttered to herself. Occasionally she barked out orders to my father or me, but for the most part, she didn’t participate in our lives. 

My mother had been reduced to not much more than an angry voice from the kitchen. At night, all I saw of her was the red glow on the end of her cigarette.” –Glenda’s Story, Led by Grace

Tears, mixed with regret for the past and gratitude for what is, filled my eyes as I read these words last night. But for the grace of God go I. This is me if I ever pick up alcohol again. Drinking provided a “safe” place for me to tune the world out. I wasn’t a fun, easy-going drunk. And at the expense of my family would I go to any length to stay in the place where the blinds to my heart and mind could be shut-even for a moment.

74 days ago God heard my prayer and delivered me day by day to the miracle of living sober. Without it, I have absolutely nothing. 

CS Lewis nails it when he talks about Gods will for us vs our own:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Indeed. ❤

Grateful 

60 days ago I was a complete mess. My heart and soul reeked of alcoholism and I had no idea how to hold on, and much less how in the world I would manage not going to the store to buy wine. It was Day 1. I had so many in the last few years and the most sober days I could manage was about 3. After that I felt like my heart would stop beating if I didn’t go get a drink. 

As I sit here and look back at those miserable days all I can think about is “how did I do it?” What in the world helped me hold on this time to sobriety when all my attempts had failed before? Some of it is a mystery only God knows. After all, if I had succeeded the first time, or better yet, never had been a drunk before, who would I be today? I tremble just thinking about it.

The fact is, those of us who have lived addiction know the heartache like no one else. But even more than that, the victory of finally getting sober feels like we’ve struck a well so deep it never runs dry. I know I have only 60 days but I’m so grateful for every single one! 

No, everyday has not been easy. The first 21 were excruciating. My soul was wailing for a drink. But God made me realize that it was a lie. I was depending on broken cisterns to fill me up and keep me alive. And then all of it was confirmed by the beautiful sober, or trying to get sober, bloggers I have met on this narrow road. So with gratitude I thank you all and I thank Jesus for not giving up me. I have been so held by Him these last 60 days, I can’t even express it. Really there are no words for such a precious gift. ❤️

I just read about the pioneer missionary to North Africa for over 40 years, Lilias Trotter. I love what she says nearing the end of her journey on this Earth. 

“Two glad Services are ours; Both the Master loves to bless 

First we serve with all our powers 

Then with all our helplessness. 

These lines of Charles Fox have rung in my head this last fortnight—& they link on with the wonderful words “weak with Him”—for the world’s salvation was not wrought out by the three years in which He went about doing good, but in the three hours of darkness in which He hung stripped & nailed, in utter exhaustion of spirit, soul & body, till His heart broke. So little wonder for us, if the price of power is weakness.”

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”-Jesus, Mark 2:17 

Sinus infection & alka seltzer cold plus for dayssss 😫

I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for over a week now and I think the alka-seltzer cold plus I’ve been taking is helping the symptoms but the after effects of drowsiness are making me feel worse.

Also the side effect of depression from not being able to go and do like normal is getting me down. I know that this will pass, “if it doesn’t kill me” as I told my husband. On a brighter note, I’ve read like 10 books in the last week! Lol. Probably more like 3, but still. 

So to counter my boring update (sigh), I will end with one of my favorite prayers from the book Valley of Vision. Sober Day 57 ❤️. And I will add that God has been so sweet and loving to me during this down time. He is truly such a good Father and more! 

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, 

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, 

where I live in the depths 

but see thee in the heights; 

hemmed in by mountains of sin

I behold thy glory. 

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,

that to be low is to be high,

that the broken heart is the healed heart, 

that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, 

that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, 

that to have nothing is to possess all,

that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, 

that to give is to receive,

that the valley is the place of vision. 

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine; 
Let me find thy light in my darkness, 

thy life in my death, 

thy joy in my sorrow, 

thy grace in my sin,

thy riches in my poverty 

thy glory in my valley. 

Human 

Some days I just have to sit in my weakness. I’m a human being who wrestles with daily life  and I can’t forget this important fact-I’ve only been sober 52 days! It is such a gift, don’t get me wrong! But sometimes I feel so immensely blessed that that my drinking days feel a world away from where I am now.

The sadness of today, for no particular reason, is just what it is. A down day. It doesn’t mean my sobriety is bad or that I have to do A, B, & C to feel better. It just is what it is. 

Sometimes feeling all the humanity of ourselves is good. It’s what keeps us humble and compassionate. And rids us of any pride that we may acquire, unknowingly, on our good days. God is just as good on my “bad” days as my good days. Maybe even more so. ❤️


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

I love being sober

And all of a sudden I remembered I am sober. That’s what happened a few minutes ago when I came on here to my reader and saw the precious sober bloggers that fill my feed. The ones that have reached out to me the last 41 days and I to them. It’s really a magical feeling to struggle with something for so long and then realize that just for today, I didn’t struggle with it at all.

This week can be summed in one word: Sweet. I really had the sweetest week. I realized after my cravings post that I indeed was craving something no alcohol or drug has ever been able to touch and that is God.

So I prayed to Him more than I ever have. As much as I could I committed every act and thought to Him, even, no especially, the smallest details. And all I can say is I had the sweetest time washing dishes, doing the laundry, and other mundane tasks that a housewife normally does. I made every effort to walk, live, and breathe in His grace and something happened to my heart in those occasions that is so hard to put in mere words. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it.

I am so thankful today. I can’t believe that I am still sober and that I have so much peace. My marriage is 100 times better and my relationship with my teenage son is even really good. This is really lovely. I love being sober! 🙂

Craving

I kinda miss it. The buzz, the euphoria, the escape. I drank alone in my room mostly at night. But sometimes in the morning and during the day too. I would watch Dateline and 48 hours bc it made me feel better about myself. At least I wasn’t murdering people. I was just a drunk.

I think if it wasn’t for the shame I would still be doing it. My husband said “It just takes the life out of you”. And I liked that it did. I think so much, about everything. I’m like a sponge soaking up all that’s around me. If I see something awful happen to a child, it’s all I can think about for at least 2 weeks. I don’t watch the news because of it. The only time I could ever “handle” anything like that is if I was drunk. I don’t like feeling so deeply about things. I’ve prayed to be more simple. And the fight to become what I’m not meant to be usually just leads to being cynical and sarcastic. The walls go up around my heart and I become numb and cold.

But I do believe with all my heart that God makes us how we are supposed to be, to glorify Him. I’m like a magnet to those suffering or grieving. I feel like I’m boasting when I say that but if your like me and you don’t like your sensitive nature, you need to know that it’s really a gift. Compassion for others always cost something. Suffering is the price to pay to help others who are suffering in any real way. It makes their pain almost tangible because we’ve felt it. We know what it’s like to have our hearts torn apart by a death, or a loss, or getting sober.

This is what is helping me stay this path right now. To know that it’s not meaningless. The boredom, the cravings, the having to fill the time with something else, the being way too lazy and staying in bed too much and trying to work myself out of that-it’s doing something.

As I crave and have brief thoughts about taking a break from sobriety I have to remember I’m going somewhere good. It is so painful some days but the shame I felt when I couldn’t control it anymore and it’s all I could think about is not worth it. I don’t want to go back. I want to keep going. Even though it’s only been 35 days since I’ve stopped closing the blinds on my heart and mind and I’ve got such a long way to go, it will be worth it. God says so. And I believe Him. 🙂

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.[a] If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[b] of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

 

31 Days…

One thing I’m learning to love about being sober is at the end of a really crappy day (Translation: It was just an ok day but my hypersensitive nature and over-dramatic-ness makes me believe it’s a really crappy day) is at the end of the day, I’m freaking sober.

I love that. And nothing and no one can take this super precious state of mind from me. Except a drink. But I don’t want to drink, which is absolutely insane! (in a really good way)

Oh and I saw a wine commercial today and the people were all happy and laughing and having a good time, throwing their heads back, picnic blanket on the beach, and I am not lying when I say this-my immediate thought was “Bullcrap!, That is NOT what that stuff does to you!” Ok maybe for 20 minutes or at the longest 30 minutes but, seriously, any euphoria disappears after that. I know because I tested it after reading The Naked Mind several months ago. And she points that out in the book and I was like, No way! But ya’ll, its true. After maybe 20 minutes, the euphoria is gone and all that’s left is the chase and drowsiness and the inability to relate to anyone on the planet in a healthy emotional way. Yes, alcohol. That’s what you freaking do and I’m calling you out on it because I have a feeling my brain might want you soon and I just want it to be prepared and know the truth.

I’m trying to figure out why my day was just “okay” and not “great” like the last few days but I honestly don’t know. And maybe I don’t need to figure it all out. Maybe it’s ok that I’ve joined the human race that’s not getting drunk and high and that have ok days and they remain ok and that’s ok! 😉

To all the people struggling, I’m praying so hard for you tonight. I ache for you, I really do. I have been there and it would only take a second to get right back there. But keep trying. Keep reaching out. The first 3 weeks I was sober were excruciating. It’s not easy now but it’s worth it. I’m a world away from were I was just 10 days ago and I know that it will only get better from here.

Love & Hugs 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Insecurity

White noise is a sound we get used too. It can be crickets or traffic, depending on where we live and sleep. I sleep with my fan on. I love to sit in my room with it on while I’m reading or surfing the internet. It soothes me in a way nothing else does. It’s my adult version of rocking the anxiety away and putting my thoughts to sleep.

Another “white noise” visited me today. One I wasn’t expecting but am well acquainted with. I’ve struggled with a deep sadness and fatigue all day because of it and it’s the first time in a very long time I’ve dealt with it sober.

Insecurity. I didn’t catch it in time this morning before it would spin lies in my head the rest of the day and become a familiar noise of obsessive thoughts that shaped my mood and heart so effortlessly.

‘I’m so fat. My hair looks like crap and is unfixable.’

At church…”Hey how are you, Merry Christmas!”….’I look like crap and I’m fat’ (white noise in my head). “Oh, I got a very nice watch and some Nerium”… ‘I’m such a freakin loser, I need to lose weight so I can feel more confident in public’ (WN). Singing..”This is the night of our dear Saviors birth”…’I wish I would’ve stuck to my diet I started in October!, What the crap, I’m such a failure!’ (WN)

And on and on. And the people around me that looked absolutely adorable and flawless seemed like gods to me, I’m just being honest. And the thing that makes me even more crappy is these people are my closest friends. We have been through so much together! This is a “come as you are”, grace-filled, loving, gospel-believing church. We are family. Brothers and sisters united in Christ Jesus! We cry and confess sins to each other and lovingly encourage and pray for one another. We are encouraged to be real on this journey of sanctification so we can better serve each other on this hard and narrow road.

I hate insecurity so much. It’s the worst distraction. It has effected so many of my relationships with people and especially myself and God. When I was in AA several years ago, I did a very thorough 4th step. One of the things that came up over and over in the last column, labeled “my part”, was my resentments towards others based on assumptions and not facts. Like I’ve resented so many people because of warped thinking in my head about what they “probably” think of me. So self-centered and self-absorbed I know. It makes me sick to my stomach, literally.

I pray that I can believe what God says about me and not what my crazy brain and white noise thoughts say about me more and more. Insecurity is such a soul eater and a waste of time. It spews lies and produces days full of deceit because we are not walking in truth. I’m so glad to have made it to 27 days sober. Good tears have been welling up in my eyes this past week and that hasn’t happened in a very long time. Deep down, perhaps for the first time ever, I am truly grateful to be sober.

 

 

 

Sweet Relief

After 21 days of sobriety, it finally happened. I hesitate to write this because it’s so hard to believe and I don’t ever want to be fake or put anything out here, in this precious sober community, that would lead anyone else to think they are doing recovery wrong, if they don’t feel this way at 3 weeks sober but I’ve tried so hard to be honest from the beginning. I’ve had such a deep sense of peace the last few days.

I feel so relieved! It was such a fight every dang day to just keep breathing and walking and living. And then on top of that the cravings and denying every single thought about drinking that would come up. I’m sure my soul was bleeding. The pain of those first few days sober was excruciating at times. And I just had to keep praying and keep fighting and keep believing other people in recovery who are a lot further along than me. They said it gets better. They said just hang in there. They said keep going. Thank you sober community for being here! You are such a gift!

I don’t know what else to say. Something has definitely shifted and I love it. Day 24!!!!