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Hope For The New Year

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Three years ago, I picked up a drink after being in long term recovery and my life had spiraled out of control. Today I am sober by the grace of my higher power and the people that continue to support me and love me unconditionally. This has been a true gift of 2019! However, I am not going to go back and review my 2019, instead, I will put my intentions forward and focus on hope and what it might bring in the year ahead.

My life has been immersed in recovery for quite some time. I had a long and difficult journey to where I am today. I am so very grateful for this life and for sobriety. I have been given another chance and I am reminded so often that even when things get tough there is always hope for a better tomorrow!

And hope is not merely wishful thinking; it is much more than that. Hope is knowing and strongly believing that though one is in a desperate situation, things will improve. This faith and optimism have helped me gather enough courage to get through it all, keep trying, and continue moving forward. Life is constantly changing, just like the weather, no two days are alike. But with hope, the bad days get better, and the great days are proof that hope does work.

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Recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder is so very painstaking. It has so many pieces to it. It’s not just putting down the drink. It’s learning a new way of life. It’s learning to take steps towards a better tomorrow. It’s growing new relationships and mending the old ones. It’s finding courage where there seems to be none. It’s facing life on life’s terms. It’s a journey sometimes one day at a time, one step at a time, or even one breath at a time. But little by little the days start adding up, good things start happening, and our attitude and outlook on life become more optimistic. We grow, we change, we experience all that sobriety can bring and hope is always there to carry us through it all.

So today, on this wonderful first day of 2020, I would like to share some quotes with you. These little paragraphs help me keep hope alive and set my intentions in a positive direction. I hope they can help you too!

So believe it.

Don’t waste another moment doubting or second-guessing what you know deep down inside you to be true. Live courageously and cast your fears aside. Open yourself up to the full spectrum of human experiences that are awaiting you and allow the spiritual essence that is present within us all to guide you. Ask your question sincerely and listen carefully for the reply. It will come. Let down the walls around your heart and love wholeheartedly. You will feel love and warmth greater than anything you’ve ever experienced. Say your prayer with unshakeable faith and wait for the answer. You will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. You’re not crazy. Trust yourself. –  Chris Assaad

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Rise up

You can rise up from anything. You can completely reinvent yourself. Nothing is permanent. You’re not stuck. You have choices. You can think new thoughts. You can learn something new. You can create new habits. All that matters is that you decide today to believe in yourself! ~ Anonymous

Fucking Up

Hey sweethearts. A reminder: making mistakes in recovery/when you’re trying to quit drinking is not synonymous with going BACK somewhere or losing something. You can’t unlearn what you’ve learned, you can’t EVER undo the good you accumulate, you literally can’t go back in time to the person you were when you started. ~ Holly Glenn Whitaker – Hip Sobriety

Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Nelson Mandela and spiritual author Marianne Williamson

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Don’t Give up

Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
And gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face, and collapse ~ Anonymous

Love

It’s love. When we love messy people well, we start to love our messy selves more. And all that love makes us BRAVE. And eventually, Love beats fear. Love Wins. ~ Brené Brown

Happy Sober New Year! May this be your best year ever!




Tools for Recovery: Let Go and Let God Box

When I hold a death grip on everything in my life, and things do not go may way, I find myself stuck in fear and I try to control everything even more. But I know that I actually have very little and often no control over people, things and places around me. I only have control over me and how we deal with the given situations.

Over the last several years in my sobriety, I have noticed that things go much more smoothly when I give up control and when I allow them to happen instead of trying to desperately make them happen. Unfortunately, I often struggle with this, because although I am much better than I used to be, I am still a bit of a control freak. I often waste lots of good energy trying to plan, predict, and prevent things that I cannot possibly plan, predict, or prevent, but somewhere in side of me, I am convinced that I can!

I try to control things for many reasons, but mostly because I get a sense of security. I also:

  1. Want to control things because I fear what I think might happen if I don’t.
  2. Like to control because I am attached to the favorable outcome, my way.
  3. Feel that I am successful and get things done.

Of course control is wonderful if everything turns out the way I wanted it too! Unfortunately that doesn’t happen often and I am left disappointed and resentful.

However, the energy of letting go accomplishes much more than the energy of control.

When I am stuck and have a hard time letting go, I turn to my trusty old tool, the GOD box. Of course do not be frightened by its name, in case you’re like me — not religious, you can call it whatever you wish and it does no even have to be a box. The point is to be able to do something physical as you are turning it over, or letting it go, or accepting it.

Whatever I am struggling with, resentment or a fear, or a difficult situation, I write it on a piece of paper and I put it in the box to give it to God, or the powers that maybe – whatever makes you comfortable. Then I am not to think of that struggle again. When I feel like I have let it go, I can throw the paper away!

I have a God box that I received for my three year soberversary, from a dear friend. Inside of it is a little poem:

When your head starts to worry,
And your mind just can’t rest,
Put your thoughts down on paper,
And let God do the rest…

I love this tool, because I have a hard time doing things that do not include doing something physical; I can’t seem to do it just in my head or heart! But this works wonders! My box is empty right now, but I am getting ready to fill it up!

Go ahead, give it a try! Let me know how it’s working for you.




Friday Night Pep-Talk: The Sober Lifestyle

I hear many people in early sobriety talk about that sober life feels sort of grey, boring and absolutely blah at times. Alcohol seemed to have had a powerful effect in creating things outwardly exciting for us. Once you quit drinking it may take some time for the enjoyable activities to have the same exciting effect. I often felt that alcohol gave me the stimulating reward feeling for the hard life as an adult. I often had (and sometimes still do) some romantic thoughts about my glamorous drinking days, and how life felt so spontaneous and exciting when I was drinking, of course totally forgetting about how impulsive and dangerous it was too.

Unfortunately my need for a return to thrill-seeking and escape had often lead me right back to drinking. When I finally decided that this was it and I was quitting, I had to come to terms with the end of that lifestyle which can be one of the hardest parts to change in sobriety. I remember clinging to it for many years.

I just could not imagine having any fun sober!

I attempted to hang out at bars and go to parties and not drink. I surely do not recommend this; it was just what I needed to finally notice that I could no longer do that if I wanted to get and stay sober.

woman having fun on the field
Photo by Flora Westbrook on Pexels.com

BUT recovery is not meant to be the end of all fun, or adventure, or thrill-seeking, however it does require more effort to integrate not drinking into those activities. And it also meant doing new things and getting out of my comfort zone; opening the door to willingness to try something different!

In the beginning I just had to stop and not be involved. That meant parties, bars, concerts, wine festivals, and beer tastings and such were out! Then I had to start integrating activities where drinking was not the main attraction.

In the beginning I started going to museums and art galleries, and visited places that I have never been to. I also watched a lot of educational TV like the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel; it opened up a whole new world of knowledge to me.

I also found  that being part of a 12 step program  allowed me to socialize with other sober people. Most groups organize numerous events like movie nights, picnics and dances. And when you meet people at the events you will be able to get even more ideas! If you are interested in becoming a part of a 12 step program please visit their web page and look for events in your area.

woman having fun in the field
Photo by Flora Westbrook on Pexels.com

Other options may be taking a fitness class, or a painting class. There are also activities you might try like the Photo a The Day challenges, like this one at FatMumSlim. I know, I know, all these may seem a bit boring or somewhat intimidating, but once you start doing few things you will find that the excitement will return and you will keep finding new interests things to do which do not involve drinking!

The process of joining these outlets into sobriety may take some time and change through the years. But eventually you may feel comfortable enough with going to a party or a bar for a special occasion or a concert! I remember my first sober concert it was amazing, and I had a blast and even more fun than I have imagined.

Believe me, the enjoyable activities will once again have the exciting effect and maybe even more because the excitement will be all natural!

What activities do you enjoy?