Coffee Keeps Me Sober.

Coffee Keeps Me Sober.

Today I want to talk more about recovery. Specifically, service work in recovery.

There are 4 factors that contribute to continued sobriety. When I listen to them, I stay sober. When I let self will run amok, I drink. It’s that simple. We need newcomers, old timers, sponsors, and service work.

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When I first joined AA and was told I should get into service work I was confused. What the f*ck is service work? So you’re telling me I have to go to a meeting almost everyday, donate a dollar or so at each meeting, and now you want me to work? But, having agreed upon entering AA that I was willing to listen and do what those before me have done I signed up for my first job. Making coffee at my home group. It sounded simple enough.

What I expected: do my time setting up for the meeting and at the end of my term call it a day. I’ve done my deed!

What I got: the gift of giving. AA has FREELY given me serenity, friendships, fellowship like I have never known, support, love and sobriety. I love setting up the coffee and tea station and being the first in the room when my friends start coming in with their big books, babies, and hugs. I love setting out our tattered “Daily Reflection” for the group to read together. I love being there at the end of the meeting piling up chairs and pushing tables back and talking about life with these women. I love going to the store and picking up the Sweet and Spicy Tea I know my friend in the program loves, or the hot chocolate the non-coffee drinkers like to sip on.

How has it benefited my sobriety? It keeps me accountable. I was trusted to hold the key to the church to be there each week to set up our meeting. It’s such a small thing I can do to give back and it truly helps keep me focused, just for that day anyways.

There are a lot of times I don’t want to go to a meeting because I am tired from working two jobs…but on my service work day I am “forced” to go in and I love every minute of it when I get there. Not once, has there been a meeting I attended where I didn’t hear something I needed to keep me sober that day.

Now I am taking it a step further, I have signed up to be the greeter at my Saturday morning meeting in addition to my coffee job and I am making a casserole for a speaker meeting/potluck I am attending. What is better in life than sharing food, coffee, and stories of our experience, strength and hope?

I will always hold a service position now because I am HONORED and GRATEFUL to give back to a program that saves lives everyday. Thanks AA.

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Beautiful People with Beautiful Problems

Beautiful People with Beautiful Problems

Alone I sat in my empty room

My head a prison, my heart a tomb.

The love felt little and the pain immense

nothing in the world seemed to make sense.

For years I poisoned my body and mind

rock bottom I hit, and I knew it was time.

I walked in a room full of sparkling eyes and steady hands

If they can do it surely I can.

They handed me a book and offered a hug

these rooms, I found, were more than free coffee…they were full of love.

“If you want what we have just follow our lead”

I knew these people had not what I want…. but what I need.

To strangers I cried, I broke and I grew

This feeling of belonging was something I never knew.

Now they’re my family and I owe them my life

How can I repay them and continue to do right?

“Its simple” they said as we all held hands

Just carry the message wherever I land.

 

My heart has been full to bursting lately. I have finally taken myself out of my protective bubble and stepped out of my comfort zone to truly connect with women in the program. Before I showed up to meetings and instantly left. Before the meeting started I sat and stared at my phone. I thought I could have AA in one corner of my life and my other life would still exist. Wrong. I have found friends from my old life slipping away and sober people infiltrating my life…and that is my higher power putting my people in my life.

This poem is short and to the point. It is the smallest of summaries I can give on what the program has given to me already. I have never maintained perfection in sobriety, I have never thought I have it all figured it out because I don’t. I need those who did the time before me to guide me. When I put ego aside I can learn from these warrior women who have achieved sobriety through this simple program (that when left to my own devices is a difficult program.)

I am learning that my worst day in sobriety is still a million times better than a good day drunk and all my problems are sprinkled with blessings from my higher power. I am surrounded by beautiful people with beautiful problems.

Thank you beautiful women (and men) for my sobriety.

 

 

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But You Don’t Look Like an Addict.

But You Don’t Look Like an Addict.

I want hit you with some cold hard facts about addiction.

There are myths and legends abound about what an addict is composed of, what we do, how we think, how we feel, what we deserve and what we don’t deserve. With all due respect…until you have experienced the dark depths that is addiction, you don’t know shit. We are ALL human’s and the degree of our suffering varies from individual to individual.

I am a 5’1″, blonde haired, blue eyed girl with a sunny disposition. I smile at every stranger I make eye contact with and car karaoke to Britney Spears and Taylor Swift. I meditate and pray to reiki music and use the healing touch of reiki to help others. I like to cook and walk on the beach and collect seashells. I hike and revel in the beauty that is the pacific northwest. In all senses I come across as a very “normal” and peaceful person. Just because the vessel that is carrying out these day to day motions looks calm and collected does not mean the soul that resides in it is calm. Stevie Nicks says “Never have I been a calm blue sea, I have always been a storm”. I am both. On the outside I am a calm sea, on the inside I am a storm. Not always…but that darkness is in there.

Addiction is not prejudiced. It touches the religious, the atheist, the broken and downtrodden, and the CEO’s of major companies. It grips women and men, young and old. It suffocates gays, straights, every national origin and race. It kills the rich, the poor, the beautiful and the ugly.

You get the point…addiction runs rampant like a tornado picking up and destroying anything that happens to be in its path. Now let’s talk about the aftermath. You have finally come down, fallen on your face which we refer to as our rock bottom and realize you can’t go on like this. This is when we tentatively walk into our first meeting with our eyes on the ground. Uncomfortable with the warmth and hugs being passed around between these humans that seem so different from you, who are actually the same as you. Laughter and joy swirls around the room on the wings of the scent of percolating coffee and you wonder how these people are so happy when they don’t “get to” drink? This is what they get to look forward to? Sitting in a circle talking about the shit show they have made of their life? You sit silently your first few meetings still digging your heels in the ground. Reading the book letting it flow in one ear and out the other. Sometimes, a lot of the the time, we relapse. Rock bottom comes faster and harder this time. A month has gone by and you’ve been on a bender that has left you shaky in the hands, weak in the knees, sick to  your stomach and ashamed. With heavy feet you walk back into that room and as if time hasn’t touched anything, they are all still there. Hugging, laughing, and sipping their coffee. Still happy, still not “getting to” drink…and then you realize…its because of their lack of drinking, its because of their supporting hugs, emotional outpouring, and acknowledgement that they are the ones smiling. A little bell goes off in your brain, you lift your heels out of the mud and you pick that book back up with a new drive to learn how to do this too. A week goes by and you are almost out of the woods with your withdrawals. The night sweats are gone, your mind is more clear and you are soaking up the message AA (or NA) has to offer and opening up your wounds to begin healing them from the inside out. You begin to have a subtle obsession with recovery rather than alcohol or drugs. All of a sudden free coffee and women’s meetings are you new liquor store. You feel euphoria walking into church rooms and hugging those women and men who not long ago felt like weird, foreign creatures. They are now your family. Your friends. Your life line.

All that sounds rosy and fantastic and like the happy ending of the story has come. The truth is the ending never comes for an addict. I do not desire to drink, but I crave the drink. I don’t want to be drunk, but I miss being drunk. To “normies” that makes no sense and is a total contradiction but I guarantee most addicts will understand….we know we cant drink and we really don’t want to, but yes we do. I know I can’t sit on my deck and watch the sunset with a glass of wine. It never ends that peacefully and it is not a moment of serenity. The first glass of wine turns into two bottles and a hellacious mental ordeal. At one of my women’s meetings we read a story in the big book and this line from it knocked the wind out of me with its truth “that special relationship with alcohol will always be there, waiting to seduce me again. I can stay protected by continuing to be an active member of AA”. So you see, the work of the 12 steps never ends. The choice to stay sober is a DAILY choice. We do recover but it is an everyday effort. You cannot give us a pill and we are magically cured. Actually, if there were a pill we would probably become addicted to that.

When we speak about recovery we speak with gratitude, joy, and appreciation. We rarely talk about the parts we all know to be true though. We feel anger, stress, desire to give up, we scream into our pillow “why am I like this”, and we sit in the midst of emotions we have suppressed with booze or pills that are now crashing over us like waves that want to take our life. But this recovery thing is a journey….the ending of this journey doesn’t come until the vessel that carries our soul has expired. But I promise that journey will fill you far more than any substance ever could.

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FOURTEEN DAYS SOBER!

FOURTEEN DAYS SOBER!

I don’t have a ton of time to write, and it certainly isn’t anything profound but it’s important to me. Today marks 14 days sober. The longest amount of consecutive days since 18 years old that not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips! Tomorrow is the start of August and I cannot wait to hit that 30 day mark and celebrate my birthday with my sisters in recovery!

This has been such an amazing journey in just two weeks I cannot imagine how my life is going to be months and years in. I owe my life and sanity to Alcoholics Anonymous.

It really is about taking it one day at a time, working the steps, going to meetings, talking to your sponsor and chatting your higher power’s ear off. If you don’t work the program it doesn’t work. This time I am dedicated to my recovery and my healing and it is paying off. Slowly, surely, and day by day.

Thank you for never giving up on me Universe/God/Goddess.

 

 

Don’t You Worry Your Pretty Little Mind, People Throw Rocks at Things That Shine.

Don’t You Worry Your Pretty Little Mind, People Throw Rocks at Things That Shine.

Most of my blog followers and friends know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and write from it. I am an open book, sharing my struggles, triumphs, lows, highs and everything in between. I have a public Instagram because I found when I turned the privacy setting off, an abundance of like minded people started following, commenting and liking my posts. I have found some truly inspirational pages since making my account public. I used to hide my heart and my social media due to fear. Fear of rejection, fear of being followed by people I didn’t want to see my life, and fear of bullies.

Recently some unsavory people from the past have been cropping up and my first instinct was to make my Instagram private and not blog. Then I went to an AA meeting and a line from the passage we were reading in the big book spoke to me…”Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope.” – The Big Book. This is the mentality I have taken on my blog posts about not only alcoholism and recovery but also recovering from broken hearts, anxiety, mental illness, and eating disorders. I also like to openly share the joys in my life because if this blog alone can span from darkness to light so can your life…that is why I write candidly and openly. Maybe somewhere these words are making an impact through sharing experience, strength and hope on all aspects of life.

Yesterday was a rough day emotionally. I took my real estate broker’s exam and failed by 5 points. Following that there was an onslaught of unnecessary drama and work was a struggle. I picked up the phone and called my sponsor and she was a voice of reason in the midst of chaos. She gave me page numbers to read in the big book to re-direct my faith and I felt like the load was lighter. Off an on throughout the day the waves of anxiety crashed over me and I kept repeating in my head what she told me…”It is none of your business what other people think about you or do. You know the truth about you and your higher power knows the truth.” Isn’t that the truth? People can form opinions of you based on emotions they are feeling, but that is a reflection of their heart, not yours. I have been a target of stalking and bullying for a long time and I could never figure out why. A specific example of the kind of messages that have been plaguing my inbox “I’m glad you finally admitted you are an alcoholic instead of being a fake bitch.” At first I was hurt when I read those words. Because yes I was in denial about my disease for a very long time. But I’m not anymore, so all I can do is agree with you messenger…I am really glad I admitted I’m an alcoholic too. To the people who don’t like me who might be reading this I am sure they are thinking in their head that I get targeted because I’m a bitch, I’m this, I’m that. But the only thing that can come to my mind is “Don’t you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at things that shine” – Taylor Swift.  I am not perfect by any means. I have petty moments, sassy moments, I throw tantrums, and I have insecurities. I even quote Taylor Swift. The difference is that I make attempts everyday to overcome my human defects to the best of my ability by spreading light into the world and that includes sharing my life story.

So, as of today the Instagram is back to public, the blogging will commence. I cannot promise you will always agree with me and more often than not you will probably be shakin’ your head thinking “this mess”….and that’s OK. I want to be alive and free in my own skin no matter how flawed it may be…with the hope that someone, somewhere is taking something away with them.

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Experiencing the Rawness of Living Through Sobriety.

Experiencing the Rawness of Living Through Sobriety.

The universe is throwing me curve-balls left and right this past week but I have been whacking them out of the park with grace, dignity, and sobriety.

This calm and peace came to me after my women’s meeting last Wednesday. Not only did I find a sponsor but we worked on step 3 of the 12 steps and that is surrendering our power over to God, or a higher power as we know it and acknowledging we are not in control of our addiction and our lives. This step on my own was very difficult to work through but hearing the women talk about how they tackle this step and utilize it really made me sit back, let out a deep breath and surrender my power. Since then even in moments of chaos I feel calm because I have accepted I am not the one in control. Not my circus, not my monkeys type of thing. When toxic people have started cropping back up in my life instead of allowing myself to get angry or emotional I ask myself “does their behavior have anything to do with me or is a reflection of the person I am?” The answer is always NO…leaving me free to go about my day and focus on my recovery.

I won’t lie and say the hard moments didn’t make me cry or feel anxious. One thing about sobriety is you actually FEEL everything again. The good, the bad and all of it in between. Your heart, soul and mind isn’t bogged down by alcohol or a hangover so you get to experience the rawness of living. This was what used to terrify me the most about sober living, but to be completely honest it’s been refreshing. A solid reminder that I am a human. I am flesh, blood, and a soul….no longer a zombie crawling towards my next fix. I no longer have to schedule every little thing I do around alcohol and “drinking times”. I am ALIVE.

Being this high on life has carried me through the obstacles that have been challenging me. I have so much optimism, hope and warmth in my heart that I don’t feel like I can be stopped. I am not perfect (or as we say in AA, we are not saints) but I am working the program as I know how with diligence and heart.

Some people have had some things to say about me being in the program, actually cutting me down for it…but they are still active in their addiction so I am letting it slide right off me and am praying for their well-being. Even if they are psychopaths, they deserve sobriety just as much as the next person.

This week my focus is working the steps, attending the meetings, meeting up with my sponsor and taking it one day at a time.  My sponsor always says “don’t say, I only have this many days, or this many hours…all we are promised is 24.”

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The Moon Journal You All Need + Info On Dark Moon in Cancer

The Moon Journal You All Need + Info On Dark Moon in Cancer

My dear friend got me this work book for my graduation gift and I have loved using it! Of course when I was active in my addiction again I didn’t really do more than skim through it because I was not spiritually in a good place. Now that my recovery and spiritual journey is at the forefront of my mind again I have found myself picking it up and re-reading it often. The passage about the dark moon coming up from July 21st – 22nd was so spot on for what I need in my life right now! They even provide a lovely ritual that you can do to banish what is no longer serving you and to manifest what you need in your life.  I would recommend anyone who follows moon phases to buy or download a copy of the Many Moons workbook. You can find it here: Many Moons

This moon is all about release so we can leave room for nourishment. I won’t get into the exact ritual the book recommends because I respect the author enough to recommend you purchase the book to receive the full benefit, but here is the spin I am doing on it.

Altar- ALL the amethysts and rose quartz crystals out in the center. I will be placing significant tarot cards for release and nourishment underneath the stones. I will also be doing the Biddy Tarot “Release and Let Go” seven card spread which goes as follows:

Here is the seven-card Tarot spread:

  • What am I feeling right now
  • Why am I feeling it so strong
  • How can I release this feeling
  • What is the feeling transforming into
  • How can I rise above
  • What is my new beginning
  • What have I learned

Source: Release and Let Go Tarot Spread

Also, some dark times have come and gone through my house while I was in relapse so I intend to sage the fuck out of it. Every corner, every inch with not only sage but Palo Santo and the smudge stick made from my sisters garden. I want to ensure all those little pesky negative energies are gone so my home can be warm and light again. At this time I will also put clear quartz at my open door as I am wafting the energies out to shield them from coming back in.

I feel like my recovery coming right at the dark moon is a sign. Between the date of recovery being 7/17/17 and this dark moon I feel like I spiritually have the tools to get through this. I am also taking the steps I need to make sure I am medically being taken care of. I have an evaluation for intensive outpatient this coming week.

Perhaps you don’t have as much darkness and troubles in your life right now, but everyone can do with a little releasing. Release your stress, anger, anxiety, whatever it is you are feeling, use this time to let it go.

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