Conversations With God

I have really been struggling since I wrote my last blog. I think I’ve said it before. I’m a planner. Usually I have some sort of an outline in my head as to what I’m going to write about. Now I will tell you, each time I’ve sat down to write with an outline or general idea in my head, God has taken me in a different direction. The difference is, I had an idea. I had an outline of some sort. I felt confident in sitting down because there was something there. Not lately. It’s like a black hole. It’s blank. I have nothing. I feel like a deer caught in the headlights.

I keep jotting down little thoughts and ideas in my notebook that pop into my brain. Lord knows if I don’t write it down, it’s gone in the next five minutes. Then I start to question myself. Maybe that’s all you have. Maybe you were just supposed to get on here write a handful of times and then move along. Well, maybe that’s true. How am I supposed to know? Where’s my burning bush? Can’t you just give me a word God? Well, that’s the thing. It was pointed out to me the other night in my recovery group that I just need to let it happen. I am listening to the voices of defeat and not even giving God a chance. This oh so wise person said, “You have got to stop trying to plan out everything. You can plan a lot of things but you are going to have to just let God move through you and stop trying to put him on a schedule.” Not planning is along the same lines as going to your job/school naked. Yeah, hermit status for the rest of my life. I want to feel confident before I step out and do anything. I want to feel like what I put forth is going to be met with acceptance and understanding and not get egg on my face or wow did I really say that.

It’s so funny because I used to think I was so confident back when I was drinking. I could talk to anyone, life of the party, dancing on the tables and sometimes the bar. What a false sense of confidence alcohol gives us and oh what it makes us step out and do. Talk about egg on your face or wow did I really say that or do that. We are more afraid of showing our true selves and being real with eachother than we are of being absolute idiots and making a fool of ourselves. That can just be chalked up to, oh, she just had to much to drink. Well that’s not the real me. I am more than that. Why are we so afraid for people to see us? We are afraid they just might not like what they see. It’s like the filters on Snapchat. Ya’ll better stop using those all the time and take some real pictures of yourself. Someone is going to see you in person and not know who you are. I needed to take that filter off. I needed to be me because it got to a point where I didn’t even know me. I had to start finding out who I was again and just where it was that I decided that I didn’t love myself enough.

So I took the advice and picked up my computer today. WITHOUT AN OUTLINE! WITHOUT A PLAN! She was right. That wise person in my recovery group. God knows what I need when I need it. Just like all the other times I have written. I may have felt confident but It was God laying on my heart what needed to be said. It is God writing this today. I just placed my fingers on the keys and started typing. The words just flow and you know what it’s like? It’s really like I’m letting you all in on a conversation that God is having with me. He likes to wait to reveal things to me until I’m typing here. Maybe he thinks someone else might need to hear something similar. My confidence needs to be in God. Not in how well I think I can write about a certain topic, or just how many ideas I have come up with.

It is a process to get to know myself. I have hidden away for quite a few years. I am learning through my conversations with God. I didn’t even realize until tonight that he was showing up in real time and having class with me each time I wrote.The more I remove the filters and remember and find that girl inside, the more I like her. The more I’m not ashamed. I may have done some shameful things but that does not define me. I am more than that. If I could just see myself as God sees me. Whoa!!!! Watch her go. Now that’s a Wonder Woman.

The Rock

Do you ever go to church and think, are you spying on me? Did God tell you directly to write that sermon for me? I almost felt a little paranoid this past Sunday. I was beginning to wonder if my Pastor hacked into my home security camera’s. I mean the worship music, the sermon everything it couldn’t have been more spot on. I haven’t been in a while with everything that has gone on. That’s no excuse. There is no good excuse. That is all the more reason to go and make time for church and to hear the word of God and be loved on. Sometimes we are so quick to be so lazy on the things that we need and are so good for us and are so quick to pick up the things that can do us so much harm. So I made it back this past Sunday and I do know that my Pastor did not hack into my home security system but he sure did preach. It was for me, and I’m sure others but God sure did give me ears to hear on Sunday. Now let’s do this!!!

I leave church and I always feel like when I leave its like a football huddle. We all have our heads together, we are all given the plays, we’re hyped up, ready to conquer, we have our arms around eachother in a great big circle kind of doing a little jumpy dance, the Pastor yells break and we all jump up and yell, GO TEAM!!! That usually makes for a great Sunday. There is usually good food on Sunday, Football (I happen to know that God is a Steelers Fan, he does have a Terrible Towel). But seriously, church just feeds your mind, body and soul. It always helps me get a handle on my week and I can sit down and break out my super planner and schedule for the next day. Each night I sit down and write out individual things I need to accomplish for the next day. I mean right down to when I’m going to eat breakfast. Don’t judge. So here’s the thing. I have a couple of things that I let steal time from me.

Like so many others I suffer from migraine headaches and I have for 20+ years. I think I have been on every medication out there and I continually try new things that come out on the market. I wake up on a regular basis with a migraine headache so that throws my whole day off. A lot of times it can take my whole day from me. Sometimes several days from me. I also suffer from depression which has a really good relationship with these stolen days. It’s very hard to suffer from a migraine and be down a day or two or more. I can send myself into a spiraling hole of depression. The struggle is real and it all takes place in my head.

It has gotten much better. There was a time quite a few years ago that I could not function. I could do the bare minimum. Which was take my son to school and pick him up. I think I managed to function just enough to get through the day. It really all came to a head when I decided I didn’t want to be here anymore. I thought Wyatt would be better off without the stress of me in his life. He would not have to continually worry about me. I know JT felt like a caretaker and that was no way for a child to feel about his mother. He should be a kid. He should be with friends, having fun not worrying about whether I was going to be ok. I just wanted them to stop worrying about me and I just wanted to stop hurting every single day. So I decided to stop hurting and take a bunch of prescription sleeping pills and attempted to cut my wrist. I was so tired by the time I tried to cut myself that all I managed to do was scratch myself. Wyatt was at home and he was working in the garage and kept coming in because he felt that something was wrong and I finally told him what I did. He took me to the emergency room and I was admitted to St. Mary’s Mental Health Ward. I spent almost a week there, they changed up my meds, I was released and began counseling.

There are a couple of things that are important to me to point out about that time in my life. 1: Prior to this happening I had changed Dr.’s and he had changed my depression medication. I had called him for a month. I had made 4 phone calls and told him I did not feel right. There was something wrong with these meds and I did not feel like myself and was feeling even more depressed than I was before I started taking them. Each time I was told “Just give it some time, they will get better.” The last time I called I was told, “Dr. —– can not help you. You are going to have to find someone else. You need to see another Dr.” 2. The first thing I said to Wyatt when I got to the car that day when leaving St. Mary’s “I’m so glad to be out. The first thing I want to do is go home, have a cigarette and a glass of wine.” It is very important for everyone to understand this. I am positive there was something wrong with my depression meds. I’m not saying it was the total cause of why I did what I did. It is very important that when you start taking something new that is supposed to alter your brain chemistry you let people around you know. That you Dr. is attentive and listens to your concerns. You know your body best. My Dr. was negligent in my opinion. He should have brought me back in. Those little warnings on the commercial or in fine print on the leaflet can and do happen. Pay close attention to your loved ones who are on these depression meds. It was also important to me to get back to self medicating myself with alcohol as soon as I got out but Wyatt and I weren’t identifying that as the problem. It was the depression. I’m pretty sure alcohol doesn’t mix with those meds.

I am so beyond thankful God brought me through that. I didn’t want to die. My family would not be better off without me. God has things for me to do! I wish I could say that I turned everything around from there but you might know by now I think I know better. I know that is a whole lot to take in and maybe more than you want to know. I feel like a lot of times as Christians we feel we are not supposed to talk about those kinds of things. We don’t suffer with depression, we don’t do things like try to commit suicide. We don’t smoke, we’re not alcoholics and we certainly don’t get committed. We’re all happy. We have Jesus!! Can you tell me where that group of Christians is because I’ld like to make sure I steer clear. I’m not sure of anywhere in the Bible where Jesus said if you believe in me life will be one big walk in the park. In fact just the opposite. – Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me they will persecute you also. John 15:20 – In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 2 Timothy 3:12 – strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Acts 14:22.

As believers we are going to have hardships that we come under, some more than others. Some of our own making and some not. No matter if from our own making or from God it’s what we do with it. How we get through it. Illnesses that can keep us down. Depression that can take over our minds and bodies mentally and physically. Substance Abuse that is slowly robbing us of everything we hold dear. A lost job threatening your financial situation. A bad marriage, a violent spouse and you don’t know where to turn. An out of control child and you feel like you are held hostage in your own home. Gossip spread about you that has no merit to it what so ever yet it is ruining your reputation. Compulsive lying and you don’t know how to stop. Death, expected or unexpected. There are so many trials we will go through while we are here on earth and each one that belongs to us can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. I can certainly say I have not done a great job approaching some of my mountains I have come up against. My initial reaction has not been to immediately turn to God. That’s our flesh. That’s the world. If you are in this world and of this world you have a lot of options. Drink your problems away partying with friends, complain, blame, send your problem away, violence, denial, look to false Gods. None of those will bring you peace. If you are in this world but not of it you have one place to go. Jesus. You have to face the truth. That’s not always very easy. I am certainly learning that. I’ve tried for so many years to ignore Jesus and use the ways of the world and it finally came crashing down. What I feel starting to form under my feet is that rock.

I’m building my house upon the rock. It’s going to take a while but that’s ok. No strong house was ever built in a day and you have to make sure your foundation is good and solid. I’ve got a lot of construction ahead and I’m sure storms are going to come and delay my work. I just need to know that this house will always have need for repairs and additions. She’s going to keep on standing but occasionally when those hurricanes rip through a shingle or two or three or even a deck is going to need replaced.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it’s foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mind and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

The Crazy Ex

It can be hard to be sober and feel like you fit in with everyone else. Especially if it is new to you. You feel like a freak, the person at the table or the party or in the room everyone is talking about. Maybe you are, maybe nobody really could care less if you have a drink or not. It’s hard letting go of the world revolving around you and realizing there are other people around that might be of some interest. Being an addict can make a person so narcissistic.

When it’s all new and you have just given up drinking that’s all you can think about. Am I right? It seems like that’s all you see everywhere. Everyone on TV is drinking excessively, every commercial is for beer or liquor, everywhere you go to eat everyone in the restaurant is drinking except for YOU!! Obviously that’s not the case it’s just all your thinking about. Now granted, alcohol is everywhere. It has really become a staple in our society. I won’t be surprised when they place it on the food pyramid. When you see a commercial for a subscription to wine you should drink while watching investigative shows on the ID channel I’m thinking, what the world, score one for the winery who partnered with ID. If I was still drinking I would have jumped right on that bandwagon and had my subscription on rush. That would be just another way for me to justify that “I’m drinking with a purpose.”

It’s hard though. You don’t feel like you quite fit in with the people you were hanging out with and your not comfortable going to the places you were going. You may have to change your whole circle of friends and find new places to go. If all your friends do is go out and drink well, that’s not on your agenda anymore. If you only hung out at bars or went to places where you did nothing but drink well, here’s your sign. The friends that understand will go along for the ride and discover these new places with you and respect the safe places that you create for yourself. The friends that don’t will slowly fall off and you’ll realize you never really were that close to begin with. This really is just a process. A life process. Does it get easier? Yes it does. Does the feeling for a drink ever go away? I don’t know? I’m coming up on 2 years and I still have the urge to drink. It’s not as strong but I Do.

I bring these feelings up because I went to a wedding yesterday. It was beautiful. The ceremony was very intimate and meaningful and I cried from the moment the minister started talking until the time he said you may kiss the bride because that’s what I do. Then it was cocktail hour. We all jaunted over to the next building to grab a drink and some hors d’oeuvres. It was an open bar, beer and wine and water for those who were not drinking. I was waiting in line to get something to drink when I realized there was water available on the sides of the table as people were peeling off the front of the line two, three fisted with mostly beer. I think it’s just normal for my eye to follow all the beer flowing through the room. I immediately go back to, that was me. That’s what I would be doing. I wasn’t freaking out. I didn’t feel the need to tackle anyone outside and hide behind the bushes and down several bottles but it’s just the fact that I think about it. Now a wedding I went to over a year ago I did feel like that. I was completely miserable and I just should have stayed at home. You need to know where you are at mentally before you go to your first public outing. If you get there and you’re not ready, it’s ok. Go home. Home is your safe place and you don’t owe anyone out there anything. You can just politely excuse yourself. I’m not feeling well, I have an emergency, my dog bit my neighbor etc. You know things that could happen. So yesterday I had a good time. I laughed. I cried. I looked sometimes longingly at the beer going by as other people passed. I will tell you like this. The best thing someone ever said to me and it hit the nail on the head. My relationship with alcohol is like a relationship with an old boyfriend. We broke up. It was really, REALLY ugly. It took me a long time to get to this point and I’m doing good. I can go out and see him now but it still makes me want to go talk to him. Then I smack myself in the face and know if I even talk to him nothing good will happen and if I even say hi I will end up in a few hours riding the beautiful swan that is so gracefully gliding across the pond behind this beautiful wedding. So I choose to leave him alone.

Once I have these conversations in my head I can start to relax. I look at my husband and my son and know that it’s not even worth flirting with that no good trouble maker if I could possibly lose one of these two handsome men. I had some fun times and did and saw people do some really funny things when I was drinking and I can laugh about them. I had some really bad times and did some things I’m not so proud of when I was drinking. If there is even the remote possibility that I might do something contrary to my morals and beliefs or lose control of myself (like riding on a swan) alcohol and I don’t mix. If I have to drink to have fun then there’s something wrong with me on the inside. I think I like the new memories I’m creating. I can remember them the next day.