Recovery After Relapse

 I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether or not I wanted to share this post.   I have been  a people pleaser most of my life and I didn’t want any one to be angry with me. Others will stop reading.  BUT there may be one or two who will be encouraged or know recovery is actually possible.

My first time in recovery, I shared with everyone.  I didn’t care who knew because NA and the people I met saved my life.  They helped me to learn about me which made me confident.  Some would say I got cocky, since after two plus years of daily meetings I walked away from the program thinking I was “better” and was healed.  I was given back all of the tangibles in my life – family, a career, a house, car and so much more.

If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed I have referenced my relapse and my walk back into recovery.  Pride and ego gets the best of me as I worry about what people will think.  BUT there may be someone out there who needs to hear this story….

When I started blogging in 2013, I shared the story of my addiction. The story of getting clean in 1991 was a blessing.  I was blessed with many years in recovery – from drugs.  Of course, I now know I substituted work for my drug of choice.  I became a workaholic – and some wondered if I cared more about my clients then I did my family.  As a workaholic, I had an occasional glass of wine figuring I had things under control.  Little did I know, it was the beginning of making a total mess of my life again.  See, I forgot one simple thing from those early meetings – a drug is a drug is a drug.  The truth is, anything we become obsessive about is a form of addiction.  So, as I worked for many years at a job I loved; I was able to “manage” my work – addiction.

When for health reasons I had to give up my crazy commute (4 hours a day round trip) and a job I loved – I was lost.  I had no real identity or at least I didn’t think so.  The first year wasn’t bad.  I worked on my direct sales business, and collected unemployment while I looked for something close to home.  The truth was being 54 with LOTS of experience was not an appealing trait for most employers.  All they saw was someone who was “older” and who they thought would quit when a better opportunity came along.

Over the next 7 years, my life would be like a roller coaster ride.  Taking jobs to fill the void and pay the bills.  But each time, my MS (not yet diagnosed) reared its ugly head, and I had to give my notice.  During 4+ of those years, not only did I struggle to find a job but I endured endless testing to determine what was going on health-wise with me.

Financial unmanageability was starting to wreck havoc in my life without a steady income.  MS started affecting my memory, my moods, my balance and my life. The unmanageability throughout my life got worse.  No steady income.  An inconsistent commission check from my direct sales business.  Using credit cards to pay for things or to shop or to keep up appearances.  Drinking wine to relax.  The old behaviors and feelings from my early days of using came back really fast.  Stuffing my feelings again.  Feeling like I didn’t belong.  Feeling alone.  Feeling like a victim.  Feeling unworthy of anything.  Playing the comparison game and never winning.  Being self-centered (I want what I want when I want it).  Angry. Letting pride rule. Jealousy.  All of those things I thought I had dealt with long ago.

See, the reality was I gave up the drugs but I never really worked on me.  I substituted work for drugs.  I identified as a Social Worker.  I identified as mom.  But I never identified as Hope – the person.  Looking back, I was happy with my life BUT I don’t think I was ever really happy with me!

One year ago, I walked back into the rooms of NA, I felt as broken and lost as the first day I walked into the rooms on October 26, 1991.  I have learned so much in the last year.  This year has been a turning point in my life…. you would think at 62 I would have finally gotten it together. LOL.

Are things perfect?  No but they are getting better.  I am learning to like me for me.  I still tend to play the comparison in my business but it is getting better. I am working on re-building broken relationships. I am building a network of strong women who I can lean on.   I am learning to accept my MS diagnosis and truly believe #mswillnotdefineme.

Why am I sharing this?  I want to help someone else who may be struggling.  I am coming face to face with my inner demons so I can move on from the past and embrace the future.

Have a blessed day!

Confidence

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Confidence. There are days when we feel we don’t even know the meaning of the word.  I long for the days when I had some.  I struggle to remember when it was and what it felt like.  It is hard to stay confident when we feel so weak.  I believe God as a plan for me, yet I often feel incapable of caring it out (or sometimes I don’t even know what it is).

When I used to wear titles like “mom” or “Social Worker” or “employee”.  I had confidence most days to do my job.  I knew what needed to be done and did it.  When left to be “Hope”, the confidence quickly fades.  Comparison steals joy.  Inner gremlins run around in my head with thoughts of “you aren’t good enough”.  It is those times when I have to step outside of ME and rely on my Higher Power.  The Serenity Prayer helped to get me through the struggles in my early years of recovery .  I use it today just as I did then.

It is important we realize where confidence comes from. Our confidence comes from the God. It comes from no-where else. He alone gives the kind of strength necessary to meet every challenge. The things He overcame causes our struggles to pale in comparison. If we believe in God (or a Higher Power), then we will have confidence to succeed.

What are some of your struggles?  Share them with us so we can keep you in our prayers…..

Today’s thought: I can do anything I set my mind to because of Christ in me!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Thankful Thursday

thankful-thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday.  I know the rest of the social media world thinks of today as “Throwback Thursday” but today I want to be “thankful”.

I am thankful for:

  • My Mom who loves me unconditionally
  • Being a child of divorce
  • My loving hubby
  • Being a mom
  • My guardian angels who always guide me
  • A family who supports me despite my faults and bad decisions
  • Mistakes I made in high school which changed my life
  • Mistakes I made in college which shaped my future
  • The variety of jobs as I looked for me
  • The friends who have come for a season and those who have stayed
  • My addiction
  • My relapse and recovery
  • My lack of confidence
  • My business and its roller coaster journey
  • My  weightloss struggle
  • My love of writing
  • My passion for helping others
  • My rocky walk with God
  • My MS
  • The rocky and winding road to find myself
  • and al of the other good, bad and ugly parts of my life

Thankful-for

My life has not been perfect, but today, I am deciding to view it through the lens of thankfulness and gratitude.  For it is those things which have helped to shape me.  It is those imperfections which have helped me to become the woman I am today.  Some days those same things take me on a dark journey of negativity BUT today is NOT one of them.

TODAY, I am thankful for the struggles because without them I would not be able to make a difference in the life of someone else. I would not be able to be compassionate. I would not have the desire to make others smile.

TODAY, I am thankful for a loving God who not only has forgiven me for my mistakes but continues to guide me.  I have faith and trust with Him, all things are possible.

So, what are you thankful for today?  Share with us and let’s celebrate our imperfections together.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

It’s All About Who You Know

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message….

We adopted Miss Becky and she adopted us. My husband was the pastor of a church in South Florida and our family lived in Texas. Miss Becky became a grandmother to our two children and a precious friend to me.

I took our two kids by Miss Becky’s apartment every couple of weeks. We always went to McDonald’s for lunch. I tried so hard to take her to a nicer restaurant, but she was not having it. She wanted a fish sandwich, French fries, and an orange soda – from McDonald’s.

After lunch, Miss Becky invited us back to her home for a visit. Translation? Jered took care of any needed repairs while Danna and Miss Becky made cookies. My job was to be there. To talk with Miss Becky and simply share life with her.

One afternoon, Dan called to tell me that Miss Becky was in the hospital having tests run on her heart. I made a beeline for that hospital … but on the way, I stopped at McDonald’s. Yep! I got a fish sandwich, French fries and an orange soda for Miss Becky – food that was probably not on her cardiac diet. But everyone deserves a treat if they are in the hospital. Right?

I approached the information desk to find out where Miss Becky was. “She is on the fourth floor – the cardiac unit. But I don’t think they will let you see her since she was just admitted.” So, I headed to the fourth floor.

When the elevator doors opened, I hid the sandwich and fries in my purse and began patrolling the hallways until I found her room. I spotted her clothes and shoes – but no Miss Becky.

I headed to the nurses’ station and said in my sweetest voice, “Can you tell me where Becky Sullivan is? She is not in her room and I would like to see her.” The head nurse smiled and said, “Well, she is down in Nuclear Medicine having tests run, but you can’t go down there.” So, I went down to Nuclear Medicine.

When the elevator doors opened, I was standing in front of Nuclear Medicine. So was a security guard. Arms folded across his massive chest, he glared down at me and said, “You cannot come in here!” He then spread his arms across the doorway. I ducked under his arms and came face to face with George Hererra, my neighbor. He had just been transferred and was now head of nuclear medicine. When I explained my mission, he grinned and pointed to Miss Becky waiting to be taken back to her room.

I strutted … yes, strutted past the guard and said, “Goin’ to see Miss Becky!” She loved her McDonald’s treats, and I learned a valuable lesson.

All of a sudden, I was somebody because I knew the man in charge.

You may think you are a nobody.

You may doubt your worth.

You may try to find your value in what you do – not who you are.

Beginnings are very important! In fact, the place of origin has much to do with the quality of the journey as well as the final destination! My journey – like yours – began in the heart and mind of God. Before I took even one breath, God wanted, loved and planned me. That same truth applies to you. You are no accident! You and I were created in response to the love of God and according to His plans. God did not “accidentally” create us and then step back in alarm to say, “Oops! I created her. Now what am I going to do with her?” The plan came first.

There have been many times in my life when I doubted my worth and value. I filled every waking moment with activity – good things – thinking that if I did enough good things, I would be good enough. It didn’t work. I can never be good enough to earn the love and favor of God. The good news is that I don’t have to be! My worth and value rest in the fact that I am chosen by God. I am loved, wanted and planned by God Himself. Wow! God Himself supervised our formation. We were created for an intimate relationship with God.

Psalm 139:14-16 “I praise You because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What You have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in Your book before I was one day old.” (NCV)

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Energize Your Business

It’s HUMP Day and I am trying to get energized! I’m in a slump with my business. I’m not sure if it is MS related or if I am in-between “why” or if I just need a jumpstart!  What is a girl to do?

When all else fails go back to what worked in the past.  So I pulled up an article on the DSW website entitled “Seven Ways to Energize Your Business“.  I need some motivation.  I need to find a purpose.  I need to figure out what it is I really want to do (when I grow up! LOL)

Here are some of their suggestion which I tweaked just a little.  I mean a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do, right?  
  • Establish priorities. I used to be a multi-tasker, trying to tackle everything at once. MS has changed that AND I usually forget what I am doing without a list.  I’m looking at things now through my recovery eyes.  Just One Day (or step) at a time.  So, list all your priorities (or to dos).  Then focus on one or two items at a time. I have lots of ideas squirreling away in my head but once I get them on paper, it is easier to put them in perspective.  I keep a list on my planner so I can cross it off when done.  I love seeing the pink lines which mean I have accomplished something for the day.  Prioritizing takes the stress off. I helps you  to focus on one thing at a time with the comfort of knowing you will stay on the right track.
  • Be as efficient as possible.  What are your time suckers????  Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, binge watching on Netflix?  A time sucker is anything which distracts you from your daily goals.  I have been known to put a picture of a “security camera” in front of me as a gentle reminder I have work to do.  Don’t have a lot of time to “work”, grab that list of two of three things and set aside some time to get them done TODAY.  You will be amazed at how accomplished you feel when you cross them off the list as done.
  • Combine your work with different areas of your life.  No matter what kind of work you do, you can combine it into other areas of your life.  If you truly love what you do, this will be easy.  I am struggling with my purpose lately so some days this is a little bit more difficult.  As a Thirty One Director, it is an easy!  I use and carry our bags every where I go. People comment about them and I share how awesome they are. As for “The Angel Connection“, this is a no-brainer too.  I always have an angel on.  I am learning to change up my angel so it POPS when I wear certain shirts.  Seems basic enough, right?
  • Actively manage your time and stop wasting it.  Time management may be easy for some but for me it is a struggle.  I am getting better with the help scheduling things in my planner.  Color blocking used to work but now it confuses me.  I still set aside time for family, work, my Thirty One and Angel Connection business and time for me (ok, so maybe sometimes this gets pushed to the side).  Manage your time when it comes to activity or exercise.  Add it to your calendar so it becomes a part of your every day life and you aren’t wasting the small amounts of time doing nothing when you could be active.  I know, I need to practice this one myself!
  • Commit to learning new things.  Lately, it seems like I am learning something new every day.  The struggles with MS has made this an ongoing process.  I invest in my professional development because it helps my business and my team.  You can learn new things in a variety of ways like reading a blog, watching a video, listening to a conference call, a networking meeting or a formal conference/ training.  And a way that works for you.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  There are going to be bumps in the road but you can learn from them and then you MUST let them go.  Sometimes it is easier said than done – whether it is in business or in life.  Just because you hit a bump or deal with a little negativity, it doesn’t diminsh all the positive work you have done.
  • Laugh more. I am learning to laugh at myself.  I feel like this was so much easier before MS.  The truth is sometimes I just don’t get the pun or joke.  It kills the punchline when someone has to explain it to you.  In recovery, I am learning to laugh again.  It is a process but one I am enjoying.
The lesson is simple – we tend to look at our lives as separate compartments – business, family, work, spiritual, etc. – which very seldom merge together.  When they do, it is often in a negative way – why not take the positive lessons we have learned in each part of our life and apply them to every part of our life as we take this journey through life.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!