Still clinging

Its hard to write when it feels like all you’ve known for so long is no longer. Life as I knew it ended about a month ago. I won’t go into detail on here but it felt like 1000 deaths at one time. It’s been like waking up to a nightmare every. single. day. And as the mourning continues, I have nothing in this world to cling too like I thought I did. That may sound dramatic but it’s a literal translation of where my soul and heart are at the moment.

I’ve read about the dark night of the soul so many times because I could always relate to it, on some level. And so now I am there. In all its fullness. This was born from pure evil. Flesh and blood are too weak.

And so at 104 days sober, I’m exactly where I was 104 days ago-clinging to the cross. The miracle is that I don’t want to drink. I know it would make things so much worse. My drunk mind would add lies on top of heartache and I just will not go there. The pain is too deep to pour wine on it.

One thing I’ve clung too so hopefully is that this world is not my home. This is not all there is. And experiences like this just make that more of a fact. This world indeed is not my home, as my Savior is on the throne in heaven and I am with Him. I just really miss holding on to something with skin on and right now, I trust absolutely no one. My husband and son and family are good, but mourning the same.

If you are a believer please say a prayer for me. Only God can turn ashes into beauty and I hope and pray I don’t sink into a never-ending pit of despair before that happens. Pray that he puts the ripped pieces of my heart back together and that I trust Him in the process. Thank you so much.

 

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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

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!!!!

 

Still so thirsty

So far sobriety seems so grinding. It’s been 21 days since I felt the false sense of security alcohol gives me. My emotional insulation is gone. I feel everything. And as much as I want to counter all the above with the harmful effects and the unending shameful hangovers, part of me just needs to feel the pain of losing it.

So far I’ve managed to block it all. To immediately dismiss a craving. To just keep going no matter what, keeping sobriety as my goal.

So far my days have been pretty good. I’m laughing again. My husband and I are getting along so well and I’m not quietly resenting him or wishing him away so I can get drunk peacefully. I’m back doing ministry work at church that I love deeply. I’ve only been sporadically and half-heartedly present for most of the last few years as far as I’m concerned.

I’m not even craving right now. I’m just so tired of the daily grind of not escaping. I’m so grateful to the ones that still blog about sobriety. The ones that have stayed to talk about the good and acceptance of the bad. I want that. That deep inner peace. My soul is still so thirsty.

David in Psalm 42 sums it up perfectly except I can’t cry:

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”

These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.

By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?

Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”

As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.