Saturday, September 8, 2012 that another blue chip? A desire chip? Or was it relapse?

Let me assure you, I did not drink alcohol. It has been almost 45 months without a drink. Yet along the way I have toyed with other habits, ways of dealing, coping. Many times I make the right choice. I turn to the Lord, I text a friend, I get in the Word when I am feeling out of control or uneasy.

Then there are other choices. Like the few days that I took pills that I shouldn't have- I gave the pills away. Or when a friendship became too much of a distraction, but I fixed that.

Each time I struggled with my failure, my weakness. Why, if I knew the right things to do, did I still fall? Why was I tempted, yet again by Satan and his schemes?

Come to find out, I am human, STILL in need of a Savior and still here in this broken world. It is not going to get easier. I am going to get tripped up, even fall sometimes. It doesn't matter that I fall or even fail, what matters is how I deal with it. That I get back up, ask for and accept the Lord's forgiveness and learn from my mistakes.

That is what I did this week. I went to my meeting Thursday night, fully intending on getting a blue chip. I read the scriptures aloud during the meeting as another gal read the steps. I was teary eyed.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18
Then the time came for chips. As I walked forward for my blue chip it was almost as hard as it was the first time I got a chip. I came back to my seat, turned the chip over and over in my hand and felt His peace. His love. His grace.

No coincidence at all- the lesson that night was on GRACE. It is a lesson I've heard before. With points that I've grown to love, to embrace in my daily life and as I work with others. Yet, I was hit afresh with two sentences on the power point slide:

Grace- getting what I don't deserve.
Mercy- not getting what I DO deserve.

And that my, friends, is truth, truth truth.

This morning I read Jesus Calling, the devotional book. Man, that book can speak directly to me. The lines that reached out to me today were- "Even if you wrongly choose..., I will not reject you. You can turn to Me at any point and I will help you crawl out of the mire of discouragement. I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day."

Oh, thank you, sweet Jesus, for not giving up on me, time and time again. My heart so desires a life that is lived in obedience to you. And I will keep trying. I will stand up, in front of others and proclaim my faith in You and Your strength, not my own. I will also remember that as long as there is breath in me, I've still work to do here on this earth....and you aren't through with me yet....

My favorite lyrics of the moment:

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

~and there IS hope

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I have often read the word 'Selah' in the book of Psalms and heard it to mean pause. As I was reflecting on the events in our community of the week I read Psalm 62:8 in the Amplified Version of the Bible:

Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Did you see that at the end.....Selah- pause and calmly think of that....oh wow... new perspective for me. Not only pause, but to think calmly. I will be practicing Selah as much as possible these next few days-

and there IS hope~

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where will I be?

I have a heavy heart this morning. My husband just left for work and we hugged tighter than usual, both of us with tears in our eyes as we pulled away. There was a tragedy in our town yesterday. A man was doing his job and another man, dealing with mental illness, shot and killed two people. The man doing his job and an innocent bystander. Others were also wounded.

An interesting fact....I am connected to 4 people involved in the tragedy. My husband was friends with the first victim. I went to at least junior high and church with the shooter. The other victim has family at my job and a wounded by stander is a friend of a friend from out of town.

As the events unfolded yesterday I was quite unaware. I was seated at a tiny ethnic restaurant, talking with a gal, sharing parts of my story, hearing parts of her's. Our lunch took two hours, not unusual for me. When we exited the restaurant and I checked my phone I had several missed calls and texts, wondering if I was ok, what was going on.

I had no idea.

A quick phone call to my mother in law and mom and I came home. The rest of my information for the day came via text, I did not turn on the television or computer. Apparently we made it on to a major news network.

I tried reaching my husband, whose job sometimes brings him close to dangerous people. No answer. I left a message. I texted. I took my kids swimming, trying to pretend like all was ok. As I was making dinner I received a text with the identity of the shooter. I immediately called my friend....are you kidding me? It was a guy I had algebra with. I remember him.

Unreal. My husband came in from work, with tears in his eyes. I didn't realize how well he knew the first victim. This had all hit so close to home. After a few minutes of long silences and quick phone calls to exchange information, I kissed my husband and left for Bible study.

This summer I've been studying the book of Esther and the repeating theme is that God is in control, He can turn the tables at any point and He works all for our good and His glory.

Yes, I've heard that before. Yes, I want to believe that. Yes, I have to hang on to that when all seems chaos.

As I read the many articles this morning detailing the events of yesterday, two quotes stood out to me. One person said that the first victim wasn't even supposed to be doing that job today, that indeed God was calling him home. And his wife was heard to have said that he was doing what he loved so much.

So I can rest in that. I can rest in the fact that God has numbered my days, that nothing surprises Him. That although I do not know what the future holds, I serve a Lord who does and He will be glorified in my life when I submit my whole heart to Him. I will not live in fear, frightened that I or my husband might die any day.

The truth is, we might. At some point, we indeed will die. I don't know where I'll be, what I'll be doing. Until then I will do what I love, I will serve the Lord and I will not be afraid.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Monday, July 23, 2012

He makes all things new-

A few months ago I wrote about a struggle I was having with a particular friendship. I knew with out a doubt that the Lord was calling me to severe the ties that held me bound so tightly to this particular friend. So I did. As I reflect back, I see that I did it in a hurtful way. While that was never my intent, I know I hurt her and I hurt me and it was a very rough several months.

The Lord has sometimes made things very clear to me and when I balk at His suggestions it doesn't turn out well. This was a time that I fought against His lead and things got way worse before they got better. On March 3 I wrote in my journal "I am willing to place (this friendship) on the altar. I WILL place it there. Lord, it is Yours.Oh how I love You. Above all else. Even a friendship... Boo."

I had to match my actions with those words I professed. There were days it seemed impossible. Tears cried in the shower. Moments when my chest ached. Then those days became fewer. My constant thoughts were not of this situation. I continued meeting with a counselor and we kept peeling back the layers. Tears came then, too, for longer held thought patterns, actions, past mistakes.

Somewhere along the way, I began to think my friendship was over forever. I somehow forgot that from the start of this unlikely friendship we've seen God's hand. That there is no other way EXCEPT thru God that we should have connected in the first place.

I'm doing ok. I'm doing good. This summer has been a gift, a blessing, a golden time for me and my family. I am truly enjoying each day with my children. I am meeting up with friends, taking swims, hanging out with my sister. I am in an incredible Bible study with a group of women that challenge me. I am making the most of my workouts and my body feels strong. It is good.

It is ALL good.

Two weeks ago I saw my friend for the first time this summer. We spent two hours visiting and it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. A weight I would have told you I wasn't still holding on to, but in reality I was. We were honest with each other, shared our hurts and I felt able to explain a bit more fully what was going on in my head.

Our conversation moved on and we shared a bit of what the Lord was doing in our lives these days. My friend told me how she was learning to let go. To not place expectations on others that often set herself up for disappointment. Wise words.

I realized I was doing the same things. With my parents. With my children. And that that is what I had done with my friendship with her.

Ah....the Lord had been teaching each of us a similar lesson.....

Last night my friend and I had the opportunity to visit again. I took her for a ride in my new car and we ended up back on her couch. We talked about our family, our children, our husbands. As the night went on, we talked more specifically about our journeys with the Lord. Where He is leading us, what He is teaching us.

A time or two tears came to one or both of our eyes. There was very little talk about our friendship bump in the road but there was lots of talk of the recent growth each of us has experienced. It is incredible to me to think of where we've come from, where I thought we'd never be and what transpired last night.

Last night was more than 5 hours of girl chatter. It was a testimony to the miraculous work of the Lord, Jesus Christ, when we are open and obedient and when we trust Him more than we trust ourselves.

Two weeks ago my friend texted me. I told her I regretted the way I handled things in the spring. Her reply was "Don't look back with regret. I think God may be building something better and stronger....Oh the possibilities."

Honestly? I didn't believe her. Which is why you shouldn't trust feelings. I felt so disconnected from my friend, so sure that it was 'never going to be the same' that I couldn't see a hopeful future. Part of me forgot that indeed it couldn't be the same. That was the whole point of the spring. And I'm determined not to waste the pain and yuck of those lessons.

The Lord is building something stronger. Between us and inside of us. We each have come to realize how much we must depend on God to carry us, to fulfill us, to give us our worth. That people will disappoint every time, but that Christ does not. That when all seems lost and hopeless there is One who remains.

I think last night was a gift. A beautiful example of rewarded obedience. I prayed before our visit that my old feelings would not return, that I would not again be drawn into feelings that were not appropriate. And I wasn't! I feel like all the good was there and none of the bad. While I know I must remain diligent, taking each thought captive, I also have tasted the sweetness of the possibilities of this friendship and been refreshed.

My friend validated some of my thoughts as well as challenged me to think more fully about things I struggle with. We discussed roots versus visible weeds. Our discussion gave me some questions to raise with the counselor on Wednesday.

As I drove away from her house very late last night {or very early this morning, ha!} I had a smile on my face and peace in my soul. I felt connected to God in a way that I haven't in a long time. I was brimming with gratitude.

It's ALL good.

and there IS hope~

Sunday, June 24, 2012


My journal entry from the day before I took my last drink:

How ironic that I got this journal for my 21st birthday. 10 years later I am writing in it, finally. I am 31, I have been married for almost 9 years, I have 3 beautiful children and I have a drinking problem. A real problem. When I feel overwhelmed or irritated I drink. When I am angry or sad I drink. I hate myself. I hate what I have become and the example I am setting for my children. Saturday night I passed out at a little party with my husband's work friends. I was there maybe 10 minutes, enough to tour the house before I fell asleep on the floor. Are you kidding me? My eye won't stop twitching as I write this. I am a huge disappointment to myself. I felt the conviction of the Lord clearly in June on this matter and it is only December, yet here I am. I have been drinking everyday. I took a coffee travel mug full of sangria to work two weds ago. I chugged a beer before I took the kids to the dentist.These are not okay things. At all. I hate my weakness. How irritated I get and how good a buzz feels. I cannot spend another night laying awake feeling such shame and guilt and hate for myself. And fear that I'll lose my job. This is ridiculous. Absolutely insane. Aghhhhhh-
I am not looking forward to the process of dealing with my addiction. But I am looking forward to getting some help. Because I don't think I can do this on my own.... I really need help.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I remain thankful-

Its true, I do. I read 1,000 Gifts a few weeks ago and my eyes were opened to the daily blessings bestowed upon me. I have taken to writing in a spiral my list, my gifts, my joy. I want to see joy, to see gifts in every thing, though I don't always succeed.

Last night I took my babes to a worship concert at church. We arrived a few minutes late, slipped in the back and within minutes my hands were raised in praise. Then my 8 year old pulled my arms down. During the next song, I again, without conscious thought raised my limbs in response to the love in my heart. Again my off spring pulled my arms down.

I chose to not get frustrated. It worked!

We drove around after the concert, my kids were so happy, we were enjoying the bit of coolness that the afternoon rains brought. Laughing, singing, exploring roads we've never driven before.

Then things turned south. The laughing turned to squealing. Turned to shrieking. My head hurt. I asked them to control the volume. I asked again. Yelled. Stopped the car.

When we entered our neighborhood I opened the door and told my youngest two to jump out and run home. I had had too much and didn't want to yell in response to their high decibel levels. Laughing, they tumbled out of the car and sprinted the block home. And I was thankful, even then, for their health and joy and exuberance (isn't that a fun word?). Yet I was not thankful for the headache pounding behind my eyes.

So, I haven't quite mastered the 'Give thanks in all circumstances' command in 1 Thessalonians. Do we ever get there? Is anyone thankful ALL THE TIME? I don't know. But I do know I am given gifts daily. And as much as I can I will see thru the lens of gratefulness.

and there IS hope~

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ten Truths I Know For Certain

1. I am an alcoholic
2. I have been sober since December 16, 2008
3. I could not have remained sober all this time without texting
4. I text too often
5. My husband is very supportive, even when he doesn't understand
6. The Lord is working on my familial relationships
7. I feel loved thru words of affirmation
8. I prefer solid hugs
9. Holding a nonalcoholic beer sometimes does the trick
10. The Lord will not waste my years of wandering

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.  Psalm 32:5

Friday, June 15, 2012

Actual email I sent to my counselor this morning:

What a difference a night of sleep can do, this I know. I had a flash of pain at CR last night. Lesson was on admit and confess. Ugh, right? I have done the steps with my sponsor and totally confessed all my presobriety junk with her. I have told another mentor about this most recent junk and told you, too. Yet last night, as I was leading the ladies thru the questions, which weren't even us sharing the inventory I felt sucker punched. Like I was a phony because I wasn't willing to tell them my ugly uglies. And I was reminded that I hadn't told my husband my ugly uglies. Feelings of shame and fear washed over me.

I withdrew, became very quiet.

I sent a text to mentor and said I was feeling pride and shame and fear, feelings I thought I had dealt with. We wrote back and forth and she said she really couldn't advise me re: telling but that she did know I was clean as snow, washed in the Blood. She then said Satan was accusing me, trying to stop my work in CR. To stop the Lord's work in CR. To make me feel like an imposter. That made sense to me. I felt better. Panic subsided and I got back on the road. I had pulled over to turn the ac on full blast and finish texting.

I feel better this morning, assured that I am covered and redeemed and forgiven. I will not listen to the Accuser who comes to lie, steal and destroy.

In the last 24 hrs my dog has thrown up three times and tried to eat it. I will not be like a dog who returns to my vomit......'Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”   and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” ' 2 Peter 2:22

I do want to talk to you about how much to share at what point with my step group.

We are planning on going to my parents this afternoon......

Have a great day-

This morning in my journal I prayed that I had been totally unprepared for what I felt last night. Then I realized that wasn't true. I WAS prepared. Yes, I felt those feelings. But I instantly reached out for wisdom. I dealt with it last night, talking it thru. I am not still wallowing this morning. I wasn't even, when I went to bed last night. My earthly consequences are memories of my mistakes. Yet, my Lord does not throw them back in my face. It is the enemy. And that war has already been won....

"Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave....look up the video!
Seems like all I can see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
stop fighting a fight that’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
Wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
Cause his day is long dead and gone
I’ve got a new name, a new life I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today I have much to be thankful for. I am sober. Almost 42 months sober. That is gift in itself.

Yet, I have been given more. SO much more.

1.My girl is having a blast at her first church camp
2.My youngest says 'I love you, Mama!' unprompted several times a day
3. I'm having lunch with a friend today
4.It rained on Tuesday
5.I was able to run and walk 4 miles this morn

What are YOU thankful for?

there IS hope~

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday on a Friday

I just finished the book 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The writing is beautiful, it is poetic. Sometimes I found myself reading the same line three times to soak in the imagery. The general gist of the book is to be grateful, right where you stand, for the blessings the Lord bestows. Early in the story Ann is challenged to make a list of one thousand gifts in her life.

I felt challenged to start the same list and last night I turned to the first page in a very ordinary yellow spiral notebook to number blessings from the day. I wrote down five....

1. Bedtime prayers
2. Betty
3.Candy's voice
4.Breeze at tennis
5. texts from Mrs. Dana

I want to get to 1000. I want to get to 10,000. Because I know that He gives us more than we can even fathom. I want to notice His gifts. I want to accept His gifts. I want to pass on His gifts to others.

there IS hope~

Friday, June 1, 2012 that's fun!....

I have an assignment. I need to redefine fun. It became clear to my my counselor this week that I still define drinking as 'fun'. And when I can't drink in certain situations I get all bent out of shape. Last week it was a dinner, poolside. I sent my sponsor a text that read 'Can I have one corona by the pool?' She immediately wrote back 'No.'

Why did I want a corona? That wasn't my favorite beer back in the day. But have you seen those commercials? Corona makes the world slip away and suddenly you are on a private beach with nary a care and all is beautiful and perfect.

Um, not exactly reality.

My reality is that I am an alcoholic. One beer would not have done it for me. It might have worked Saturday night, but I know that Sunday would have found me figuring out another reason to just have one drink. And the next time it would probably be two. Soon I'd throw up. Or drive. Or flirt too heavily.

Yes, my reality does not involve white sandy beaches, it involves black outs, drunk driving and close calls.

So why do I still wish I could have a drink sometimes? Why am I a little peeved to not be going to the staff party tonight after I found out on facebook that there will be over 250 jello shots? I don't want others to not drink around me, necessarily, I just wish so much of social life didn't revolve around drinking. I wish it didn't seem to be everywhere.

I have had fun times without drinking these last 3 1/2 years. Lots and lots of seriously, pant-wetting fun. It is true. So I need to think on those moments and fill my head with memories of fun where drinking wasn't involved. And I know that society isn't going to change, alcohol is a big part of how folks do life. So I need to learn to deal.

And I will, one day at a time.
because there IS hope~

PS- What do YOU do for fun?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

1000 paper cuts

Several weeks ago the television was on in the bedroom. It was a baseball there anything else on? I wasn't really watching, but I heard the commentator say something about death by a thousand paper cuts. I didn't meditate on the comment, but I did file it away.

The last two weeks can easily be explained in such a way. My life is not hard. I am not in want of any material possession. I am healthy, I am employed. I have money for appointments with my therapist and movies with friends. My children are bright, my husband is helpful.

Yet I have struggled so lately. I have had hard nights of sleep. Weird dreams. The drama I wrote about at work awhile ago is ongoing. Two women aren't speaking to me at all. While I have learned from that situation, it still hurts. It seems that there is a power struggle and I am doing my best to stay out of it. I wish I had talked about it less and am learning that I need not tell details to more than my sponsor or my husband.

A friendship is in the rebuilding stages and I want it to move faster. I feel like things are good, going well, then something will be said and I question my part. We went to the movies on Friday and it was easy and enjoyable. Yet earlier in the week as we stood near each other in the hallway it seemed as if a boulder lay between us.

My obligations at work have changed and I am really wondering what part the earlier drama has played into it. The reasoning being verbalized appears to make sense, but on second thought it is a flimsy excuse to change the game that is going on. I feel useless and unneeded and my pride is hurting.

My son has twice pooped his pants at school. He is eight. What the heck? I have toyed with calling the doctor, but I really think he is being lazy, not that he has a lazy sphincter. So now each morning before we leave the house I am telling him to sit on the throne awhile.

I am trying to figure out what it means. What should I be learning from all these minor irritations that seem to be piling up and up. Why the subtle attacks on my peace of mind, my sense of worth and value, my ability to function in life?

And to top it off, Friday afternoon as I was covering a class I noticed about 12 paper cuts on the tip of my pointer finger. Seriously. And I have no idea when I got them, what I was doing. Yet, the irony is not lost on me. Friday the cuts were many and sore. And today they are hard to see, the healing is taking place almost before my eyes.

So while my laundry list of complaints seems to overwhelm at this moment, I know that as I continue to wake up each day, they will disappear. To be replaced with new skin, healthy minutes, and yes other irritations. Because life will go on.

and there IS hope~

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


You aren't a very good wife. Your husband cleans better than you do. He makes the lunches. He folds laundry. He works full time and still cleans the bathroom twice as often as you. You leave early in the morning and he has to let the dog out. You spend evenings out without asking him. You are not a good wife.

You still can't do your job very well. That student doesn't act that way for anyone but you. Shouldn't you be able to do this by now? Why can't you remember how to do that, she told you how yesterday. No one else cries so easily. You aren't good at your job.

You are not a very good mother. You stood at the front door this morning and yelled "Are you dumb?" as they played in the rain. They ignore you half the time. You lose pieces of their uniforms. You forget to sign their binder. You aren't a very good mother.

You are not a very good friend. You talk too much. You text too often. You tell people more than they care to know. You try too hard to please too many. You are not a very good friend.

These are the lies that have been swirling in my head the last day or so. I fight any one of them at any given moment, but yesterday the weight of all 4 major lies felt heavy on my shoulders. Generally, I can have a bad day in one arena, but feel pretty strong in another. Yesterday it was all bad, all the way around.

And I knew they were lies. And I didn't want to succumb to the pity party that I can sometimes find myself attending. I prayed, then and there. I texted some wiser women for truth.

B said "You are the daughter of the King."

D said "I am praying too!! Indeed they are lies. May He fill you completely with His peace." and "You are an amazing mom! We all feel inadequate and quite often overwhelmed. I still do myself. Wonder if we are doing anything right. Its just satan's lies. God is and will direct and guide. Cling to His promises.

S said "You are so NOT a failure. You are precious and wonderful and godly and good and funny and smart and beautiful."

SD said "You have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Read Ephesians 1:3-8"

While I was not fishing for compliments when I sent out my SOS text, their words were balm to my soul. They spoke love, wisdom and encouragement to me. They prayed for me and lifted me up. I have purposely surrounded myself with strong women, women of character and love, to pour life into me when I need it.

Now while I wish I didn't have these moments of doubt, I know that as long as I am fighting the fight against sin and addiction I will.

and there IS hope~

Tire tracks

Last week I got thrown under the bus. Not literally, of course, but it hurt so bad it might as well have been me on the asphalt with a yellow dog steam rolling across my shoulder blades.

It happened at work. Caught me quite off guard. My supervisor told me that an entire group of people at work were uncomfortable with me. That they felt like I was spying, telling our boss things.  I will freely admit that I text too much. I was encouraged to text less a few months ago, did well for a few days and soon was back to my thumb loving self. When I find lag time I feel the need to communicate with others. It isn't right. I realize that.

What I didn't realize is that others in the room assumed I was passing on information to the higher ups. It seems preposterous to me. First of all, there is no info to pass on, all do their job quite well. Secondly, my boss would never put up with it. And third, I thought I was friends with these people. Like real, I-got-your-back, friends.

And if we were connected like I thought, then my friends would know that I wouldn't do that, if there was even anything to do. And, being a people pleaser, it tore me up to think that an entire subset of coworkers were unhappy with me. To know that they had talked about me and come to the conclusion that I was making their life harder, and less enjoyable.

I cried. I offered to go to them, to face them and tell them I hadn't done such things. See, in my program step 10 says to take a personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it. While I hadn't passed on info, I had done something to make them think it had happened. I was ready to look into their eyes and ask for forgiveness. I was told to let my supervisor handle it. I thanked her for going to bat for me, for defending me. {And while I didn't face them as a group, I have gone to several of them, one on one and apologized. It has been well received and accepted.}

Later in the day I learned that perhaps my supervisor was told an inflated version of the story. That maybe they weren't ALL upset with me. That maybe one of the coworkers tends to overreact and exaggerate.  I felt relieved, frustrated, angry and still upset.

Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this woman is really hurting. To accuse another of such things in the manner that she did is ugly. It is rude and spiteful. And I know that hurt people hurt people. So I did what would have been impossible three years ago. I decided to pray for this woman. That she might feel safe and secure and loved.

Don't get me wrong, I am keeping a professional distance from her. No personal questions about the weekend or reading her Mother's Day cards she has propped up on display on her desk. I am not my jovial, super friendly self when we pass in the hall. But I am making eye contact, doing my job and speaking to her.

And I am no longer speaking much of this incident. It was a lesson to me. A hard, painful lesson, but aren't so many that way?

there IS hope~

Sunday, May 6, 2012


About 6 weeks ago I had a dream that I drank on May 6th. Or it may have been May 4th, I can't remember exactly. I do remember that it was a party of sorts and I was drinking. At the end of the night I turned to my husband and asked him what on earth I had said when I decided to take that first drink after 3+ years of sobriety. He couldn't remember.

That part of the dream remains vivid to me. What was it, what made me think the time had come to drink? What changed my mind? What made me say 'Now it is okay." ?

Because sometimes I think about that. I think, will there come a day when I'll drink again? My program says One day at a time. And it definitely helps for me to just make the decision not to drink at this moment. But still, I wonder....

Anyway, I told my counselor about my dream. She was a bit intrigued too. She asked if I had anything on the calendar for that date, and at the time I didn't. She encouraged me to really think about my decision if I ever drank again, not to just be out one night and think 'Oh, what the heck, I think I'll have a glass of wine.'

I like that idea. That there may indeed come a day when I drink again. But it will be because of a well thought out decision on my part not just a whim when out with friends. Though I do not think drinking will ever successfully fit back into my life, there is some power in that process.

Fast forward to last night. I was at a Kentucky Derby dinner with dancing. It was so fun, I wore a fancy hat and mingled with some of our city's movers and shakers. There was a cash bar and wine bottles on our table. During the cocktail hour and dinner I was content with my ice water. However, near the end of the evening it was just my husband and me left at the table. Most of the other folks had left. {We rarely get an evening out to dance without kids and planned on closing the place down}As we sat down between songs I noticed about a glass and a half of wine left in the bottle. And I thought- Its just my husband here... There is a limited amount of wine available... I could have a glass....

Then the shocking de ja vu hit.....last night could have been my dream! I could have decided just that easily to drink, to give up my 40+ months of sobriety. Oh my! I kind of mumbled to my husband that I almost asked for the wine. Yet inside I was shaking a little. And so grateful for the dream that warned me to be on guard. To think through the drink. To realize it could be that easy.

We got up, danced a few more times and left. And I'm still sober.

there IS hope~

Thursday, April 19, 2012

40 Months

It has been 40 months since I took my last drink. Over 1,200 days. Nights and weekends. So am I cured?

I'm afraid not. I had a scare just last week, twice I justified taking pain pills when they were not exactly necessary and not for the pain they were prescribed for. As I was sitting at the ball park, texting a friend,  I shared that I had just recently gotten the pills back after giving them to my sponsor to hold on to during a rough patch. I was bemoaning my lack of willpower and she offered to hold on to them for me.

She said, but if you give them to me I'm not giving them back.

I said no thank you. I wanted to keep the pills. Even though both times I took them my attitude got worse. My irritation with myself grew exponentially. I was not more patient with my children. So why hang on to them?

Why was I holding on so tightly to something that really wasn't working for me?

Because I am an addict. My counselor explained it to me in this way: a part of my brain is looking for the euphoric feeling I had once or twice with the pills. Nevermind that it doesn't happen anymore, somewhere, somehow, my brain thinks it can get it again. Which is why I took two instead of one on Saturday.

And my counselor also told me that it is not a character defect that causes me to want the pills, there is legitimate brain chemistry at work. Though I think it WOULD be a character defect if I didn't recognize my behaviors and do something about them. Especially dangerous behaviors that have the possibility of hurting myself or others. And taking pain pills falls into that catagory.

So I changed my mind. The next morning I left my prescription bottles and a short note on my friend's desk. And I feel so free. I am not having to fight myself to take or not take the pills. I am not thinking all the time about the pains in my hips and if they hurt 'that badly' or not. some point I am praying this gets easier. But if it doesn't, I have faith that He will give me day at a time.

and there IS hope~

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Could have been-

Last night I woke up at 1:30a. My tongue felt fuzzy and huge. I realized I had fallen asleep before every one else in my family, not even saying good night to my husband, leaving him to put our three kids to bed.

As I went to the kitchen to get water I was slightly irritated with myself for falling asleep so unintentionally. Then I realized how different it could have been. I could have been drinking wine all evening and passed out at 9:15p. My tongue could have felt thick and fuzzy because I was still slightly drunk. I could have stumbled into the kitchen, frustrated, then purely angry with myself for having too much to drink. Again. After I swore I wouldn't. I could have crawled back in bed, praying, bargaining, begging God for forgiveness yet again. Been there, done that.

But no, that was not the story last night.

Yesterday morning my 8 year old and I ran in a local 5K. Then I took him for baseball team pictures and met my husband and two daughters at the soccer fields. I spent the afternoon helping a dear friend run errands because she is still mourning the loss of her brother and her brain is too overwhelemed to pick out mylar balloons. I had a full, full day.

So did I unintentionally fall asleep too early last night? Yes. But did I pass out because I had been drinking? No. I am still sober.

And there IS hope~

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I am raw. I had a session with my counselor this morning. At 7 am. She is awesome like that and my boss lets me come in a few minutes late on Wednesdays.  So as I came to work I was fighting tears. As I worked with my students I was fighting tears. I took my scheduled break, fighting tears.

And when I went home for lunch I lost the fight. I got in my car and Praise You in the Storm was on the radio:

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am

And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

The tears came. And came. I mouthed the words, sang from my gut, when my voice wouldn't work. It was an ugly cry, I was grateful to be alone in my car. Yet, it was also cleansing. I have been escaping my pain for years. Throwing myself into friendships, a relationship with my boyfriend turned husband, drinking alcohol, then more friendships.

So as I deal with these emotions I am moving forward. I am looking back, as I turn the page. I am having to process old hurts, and filter them through my Jesus lens. It is hard work, yet I know He is right beside me. My friend sent me a David Crowder song today, Never Let Go. Part of the lyrics read:

Oh, what love, oh, what love
In joy and pain
In sun and rain
You're the same
Oh, You never let go

And I believe it.
there IS hope~

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I need wood for my fence-

So, I'm seeing a counselor. I've been three times. I got her name from my sponsor and I like her a lot. I went to a psychologist for a bit when I first got sober and try as I might, I cannot recall what we talked about. Like at all. Isn't that weird?

The reason I felt like I needed to see someone now is because I still need help. I need help setting boundaries. A specific friendship has gotten out of whack and I am not sure how to fix it. Or IF to fix it. The Monday before Ash Wednesday, the Lord very clearly told me I needed to step back, that I was way too entwined with this friend. As I struggled through obeying Him, Satan had a heyday with my stubborness.

By God's good grace a mentor type friend texted me at the height of my self destruction. {It lasted two days, involved 4 pain pills and restless sleep}She questioned me, asked what was going on. And again, by God's good grace I told her. I told her details, that had I not previously worked my program I would not have shared.

She asked the right questions and I was truthful with my answers. The next few weeks were difficult. Who am I kidding, it is still difficult. I am having to obey God and possibly let go of a friendship that has been so special to me. My friend has been sincere and truthful. She is funny and real and loves the Lord. So what's the big deal? Why must I give the friendship up?

Oh how I wish I didn't! Although I'm not exactly clear when things started to change, somewhere along the way I began leaning too fully on my friend. I would get anxious if she didn't respond in what I thought was a timely fashion. I often made up scenarios in my head, worried I had somehow upset my friend, bothered her. It began to use up so much of my mental energy.

I knew it wasn't healthy. Yet I didn't know what to do about it. Sometimes I brought it up to her and she agreed that I seemed to be needy at certain times, but never made me feel crazy and never did I doubt her love for me. We have had many many solid conversations and I believe the Lord brought us together for our good and His glory. And I'm praying He will see fit to restore our friendship into something that will again be for His glory and our good.

So how is the counselor helping me? We have been going through my patterns of friendships, starting in 7th grade. We have talked about things I may not have learned as I was growing up. We are talking about my alcoholism and recovery.

Its all related.

And I am reflecting on my part. It is hard. It is uncomfortable and it makes me sad. Yet, I know that God is by my side and He is faithful to carry me through. I am praying that this situation makes both me and my friend stronger. That we will lean fully on Him, not on others. That we will look to our Lord as we navigate life. That love will perservere above all else.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Where have I been?

It has been quite some time since I have posted. Our computer has been broken for months so I generally use my phone to look at facebook, etc and when I am on a full size computer it is just for a few minutes. So what have I been up to?

I spent the fall in lots of prayer. 2 people I went to high school with died from cancer. It was a sad sad time, but also a time of thanksgiving, as they traded their sick earthly bodies for heavenly wings. I spent some time fantasizing about what would happen if either my husband or I got cancer, but not too much time....

I also started a new job. I have spent the last 6+ years working in a church environment. An environment that both hurt me as I had to hide my drinking for the last 3 years I drank and then embraced me with untold support as I got sober. It was a place full of folks I loved, however in the spring it became clear that it was time to move on. I was not enjoying my job at all and I stepped out in faith that the Lord had somewhere else for me to serve.

Indeed, He elementary school! It is a fabulous job yet it has tested me every step of the way. I am doing something I have never done before. I am the assistant, whereas I've always been the lead. I am working in a secular setting as opposed to a church or synagogue, where I've always worked before.
I have cried as work. I have laughed. I have been hugged, hit, told 'I love you', pinched, and done push ups with two particular third graders. It has been humbling, to say the least.

And thru it all I have remained sober. I have! There are just enough coworkers who know me, really know me, that I am held accountable. And by the end of the semester there were even more folks who knew about my struggles and my choices. Not details, mind you, but enough to know not to get me a bottle of wine for a Secret Santa gift!

So, I've been here, busy living life, raising my babes, loving my mister and making the choice not to drink.

Happy New Year!
~there IS hope!