OMG! I am a good person 8/29

Yesterday on my morning walk with nature and god I received a wave of love. It was a wave of emotion that ran through me and I literally surprised myself at this discovery: “Omg! I’m a good person.” This is monumental for me. To feel it, to know it and to feel so grateful that I am not who I used to be.

In active addiction, I did things that make me cringe. I chased drugs and booze. I placed more importance on getting high than I did on caring for my own son. I was constantly lying to every one around me. I kept myself in some state of fogginess so I did not see or feel anything that was happening. I could handle nothing in this world without getting wasted. Not even a trip to the grocery store was possible without having a few drinks prior.

The day I put all the substances down, the day I saw my son in a pain that shot through me was the day that the grace of god entered my life. I think my god was always there, it was just this day that I was beat down enough to let it in.

It has been over 11 years since that very day. Coming into recovery and “recovering my true self” has been quite the ride. I have looked for love in all the wrong places, have beaten myself up time and time again, lost loved ones, changed homes, changed jobs, seen births and deaths. However through it all I never picked up a substance. I have experienced LIFE real LIFE with nothing but me, god and the angels on earth that I encounter everyday.

So when I received that wave of love on my walk yesterday, and it wasn’t for my son, or a cute puppy or a pleasant memory….the wave of love was from my spirit to me. It was from me to me. It felt amazing. It felt like “omg – I am ok, I am a good person!!!! Yay!!”

To some it may sound simple, but to me it was the biggest deal of all. My intention in this life is to be free of all self hatred and doubt. To live without fear and create a life of joy and love. This moment in time was just another step in that direction. I wish this for everyone who has yet to experience it. It was a heaven on earth moment for me.

When wrong promptly admit it 8/28

I have learned in recovery that when I am wrong in some way to promptly admit it. This is something that is part of our daily spiritual maintenance. I was taught to take a look at my actions daily and if I was wrong in any manner to promptly admit it.

This can be as simple as me being snippy with my son and then apologizing for it an hour later. Admitting I was wrong to speak to him in a certain manner. I believe there is never an ok time to snap at someone or speak to them aggressively or with anger. It reminds me of what my mom used to consistently point out to me…“Danielle if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

Sometimes it can take some time for me to realize that I was wrong, but when I do I almost find it relieving. I am relieved that I get to put myself in the drivers seat and say I am sorry to whomever I have offended. I get to clean my side of the street. I get to be free of whatever was upsetting me because I am able to take some ownership in the issue and I have realized I could have handled it better.

There are times when I need to forgive myself. There are many times when I am way to hard on myself with thoughts that are outrageously negative. This I also need to be aware of and promptly admit.

For me, when I am disturbed by anyone or anything the person at fault is me. If I am feeling that way it is because I am not accepting some person, place or thing for exactly who they are. My non acceptance leads to frustration and aggravation on my part.

When I trust gods will then I do not run into those feelings and my spirit stays in harmony with my mind. It’s when something seems unacceptable to me that a problem arises and I am likely to need to apologize to somebody somewhere, even if it is to my own self.

Self Centered 8/27

I can be self centered in a positive way and sometimes I can be horribly self centered. For me there is a distinct difference. Taking care of my self does not mean I am self centered in a bad way. Recovery has taught me to focus on myself to grow and to learn my own personal truths. However, when I am living in fear, worry, guilt, and trying to control people and situations I become self centered in a dangerous way.

That being said the beauty of a self centered addict in recovery is sometimes just down right funny. I only can smile and laugh at it because I have been there so many times myself.

One example of this was in my first year of recovery my sponsor asked me to present her with her 30 year medallion. I had no idea what an honor it was to be asked to present someone with this. She showed up to the meeting dressed beautifully. Her hair and clothes impeccable and a very gracious smile and presence was with her that day.

I on the other hand, showed up in sweatpants, clearly disheveled and totally upset about something that had happened at the bus stop with my son that morning. I had been sooooooo self involved with everything that had to do with me. I was missing the remarkable miracle that another women had stayed sober for 30 years and I was about to give her that medallion. My self centered life -it was all about me and what happened in my world that day.

Steve Harvey puts it in a way that I can easily understand today. He explains that no matter what is happening, “YOU AINT THE ONLY ONE”. That right sizes things for me and gives me a more humble perspective.

It’s funny, today when I am being self centered I am actually the one who suffers. My true nature wants to give and be present for others. If I am to much into “my issues” “my worries” “my poor me” attitude than I am way off from what my higher power is in harmony with.

It does not feel good today to be self centered. At one point in my early recovery it was all I knew. Today is different and I get to recognize it and get right with god and adjust it.

The small still voice 8/26

I heard a woman sharing on a recovery meeting the other day. Her name was Marion and she was just beautiful. She spoke about her spirit.

She said in her early recovery she had lost a job. She was living in the Bronx of NY and she was devastated and paralyzed all at the same time about losing that job. The thought of living with no income was to much. She focused on the fear. She went on to say that she was taking the subway home that day and was standing behind the yellow line at the station waiting for the train. Then she started to look down the tracks and could see the train light coming. She started to inch across the yellow line and was getting ready to jump in the way of the train.

Her spirit whispered “Step back” and she did.

She made it safely home that day and her spirit whispered again “call your sponsor” but she did not listen that time. About an hour later Marion’s sponsor called her – and she attributes that to her higher power. Marion was able to have the courage to share with her sponsor that she wanted to jump in the way of the train and end her life because she had lost her job.

I loved hearing this woman speak so much because she spoke of how that little voice inside speaks to us. It whispers. It does not yell or feel even demanding. It is a guiding source of god that we all have within. It’s beautiful and is always there.

Sometimes we listen to it and sometimes we don’t.

The Rumble Strips 8/25

When I am driving on the highway and I hit a rumble strip I am thankful for it. I need that rumble strip to guide me back to the smooth part of the road and not fly off into a ditch. Such is life and guidance for me. Nothing is wrong. Everything is right. Even if it feels horrible at the time, I get to reposition myself. If I hit a rumble strip I can correct my path. My feelings are my guidance and I get to go where it feels best to me.

I did not have these choices when I was using drugs because I could not get to a clear thought or feeling to even notice a rumble strip or a ditch. In the world of active addiction -everything felt wrong. The only thing that mattered was having enough of whatever I was taking at the time. A sad existence to say the least.

SO, I started to learn to listen for the rumble strips before I went completely off the road into the ditch.

In my early recovery mothers day used to be a nightmare for me. Every mothers day seemed to be worse than the one before. I had some guilt on my part and some resentments towards my own mom and then I had crazy expectations about the day itself – this was just a volcano of disaster waiting to erupt.

One mothers day I was at my brothers with my mom and I literally wanted to crawl out of my own skin. Everything inside me was screaming to get out. I went to the driveway and called another friend in recovery. I cried and said I just hate it here, I don’t know what to do. The friend advised me to get out of there as soon as I could.

I listened to the friend when I could not listen to my own inner guidance. I need those people when I cannot trust myself because the emotion is to high and causes an overwhelmed foggy brain.

Today I know nothing is really going wrong, it’s just the guidance from above and within letting me know it’s time to make an adjustment. I believe all roads, rumble strips, bumps, ditches and all are guidance leading me right back to my higher power where the best feelings reside.

The Benefit of the doubt 8/23

Just recently I have been working on this concept in my own life. Addiction specialist Dr. Gabor Mate shares two important ideas. First “We don’t respond to what is actually happening, we respond to OUR interpretation of what is happening.” And Secondly “Out of all the possibilities of interpretations our minds choose the worst one.”

This idea that I am constantly choosing the WORST possible scenario or interpretation actually gives me hope that I can start choosing otherwise.

As an addict in recovery I am aware that my disease resides in my mind. A thinking disease. It is constantly lying to me about everything and everyone. It tries to make me think and feel horribly to the point of isolation, so the only option for relief would be to pick up a substance.

So when I learn something like what Dr. Gabor shares – this becomes a tool for me to use against my disease. The simple phrase of “giving the benefit of the doubt” has started to become a mantra of sorts for me. Out of endless possibilities I am starting to choose thoughts that are more easy on my mind and in turn my emotions.

Bad thoughts equal stress and uncomfortableness. They come, but this gives me the awareness that my first thought is not always correct. I will be honest this is not an easy practice. The first step is the awareness of how many times in a day am I defaulting to the negative. But then….the joy comes when I get to reframe the thought and move on in a better “frame of mind.”

God gave me a brain (i think) and my intention in each day is to put it in a place of harmony with my higher power. Like Einstein said “I just want to learn to think like God – all the rest is just details.”

People Pleasing 8/22

I have trouble with this one. Where is the line of doing something nice for someone or doing it because you know they really want you to but you honestly don’t feel like it? I try to be kind because I enjoy being kind -however where is the line?

I personally have not mastered this topic, but I do believe I am better than I used to be.

In active addiction I could use drugs to numb the empty, lonely and worthless feelings I had about myself. But when I put the numbing agents down….here I was still feeling the empty, lonely, worthless pains of life.

When I first got clean I was desperately seeking approval and praise from anyone and anything. I was not ok with myself at this point so it was very understandable that I was still seeking to fill that void. These behaviors ranged from unhealthy relationships with men, to trying to prove my worthiness to my family and friends.

Fact is I got into recovery to be free but I was still being controlled by the opinions of others.

Over time as I have become more comfortable with myself, I am breaking free of the need to please others. Helping others is one thing, but just trying to please them because they want you to is a whole different ball game.

Today I take things one instance at a time. I ask god for guidance and the awareness of what to do and for whom. My higher power usually leads me to be kind to myself first and then I get to decide what I can do for others.

Keep Going 8/21

I heard a woman share on a meeting last night. She was clearly ready to rip her own skin off. She had about 1 year clean and was filled with rage. She kept saying that she was so angry and wanted to kill her x boyfriend. She exclaimed she did not want to take care of her child because it was hard. She said she did not want to use drugs but the pain and emotions that were running through her body were horrible. Her emotion was as raw and as real as it gets.

We were on a zoom meeting so she was pacing her house and her toddler child was following her around and when she finally sat down on her couch, the baby got in the view of the camera and said hi and smiled. There’s God.

When I heard the Winston Churchill quote about going through hell and to keep going…that made such sense to me. If I am in the middle of that fire or nasty feelings I better go right through it because I would be a fool if I am to stay there. I know now through my own awful hell on earth experiences, that when that stuff comes…it does pass. I did not always know that.

I did not always know that “this too shall pass” is not a lie. I can trust that no matter what I am going through, it will pass. This gives me a slice of peace and a bit of acceptance to allow the junk to pass on through. I say to myself ” I will laugh again.” Not sure when, but I will.

Last night when I heard that girl share, it brought me right back to where I needed to be. I needed to hear that early recovery sucks and it is like being born again as an adult. The confusion, the self loathing and you don’t even know you hate yourself. It is a miracle any of us make it.

That girl was brave. She had the courage to share her truth no matter how ugly it might have looked. Recovery gave her the safe platform to do so, and in turn she helped me. Miracles we are all miracles.

Prayer 8/20

In recovery we are introduced to prayer and meditation. For some of us this is the first time and for some of us we have said the “god if you get me out of this one” prayer thousands of times.

Regardless of what knowledge I had prior to coming into recovery, my whole outlook on prayer has changed dramatically. I was a rehearsed catholic. I went to the catholic school and for many years church every Sunday with my family. I could recite the mass and all of the prayers by heart – I did not find any meaning in them but I could say them perfectly.

For me this “religion” was a set of rules that my insides did not connect to. So when I started to wake up a bit in recovery and heard people sharing that they had their own god that did not punish or damn them to hell, I was very interested.

Today my favorite prayer of all time is “Thank you”. I just simply take a moment at some point in the day (sometimes more than once) and I say “thank you.” For me this connects me to a higher power that at that moment I am acknowledging, showing appreciation and reverence for my life.

Recovery has taught me that there is no wrong or right way to pray. I have heard people say that they talk to their higher power all day long as they would a friend. I have met people who have very ritualistic prayers in the morning and evening.

A heard a man share that his prayer in the morning was “Whatever” and at the end of the day his prayer was “Enough”. I like that in recovery we develop our own spiritual path and it can change and evolve over time. Religion for me had everyone saying the same thing whether they meant it or not.

Today I am grateful to know I can connect to god however feels good to me.

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