Throughout my recovery, there have been many people, places and things that have affected my recovery. But, here are the most prominent. The ones that have touched my heart and soul from the beginning.
The Lord “introduced” himself to me the day I realized I needed help and could not do it on my own. He took me down a road that I had never been down before. I learned quickly that He did that for a reason. Had I already been down the road he was about to show me, I probably wouldn’t have went. What roads you ask? The roads in my mind, trails made from old thoughts, roads I tried that ended up dead ends . Any road I ever wandered down before, was a dead end. The road that God sent me out on was brilliant, bright and true! Starting down that road was a bit scary (heck, VERY scary), but I really had nothing left to lose. He is still showing me this today. New roads, new experiences, new feelings, new friends, new accomplishments. I owe it all to Him! Learn to trust Him and let Him guide your way. I promise you, He knows best!
2. Family (support)
Having a good support system is so important. Yet, by the time an addict may be ready to travel the road to sobriety, there may not be many people there anymore. The people that have been hurt by an addicts actions can be very resentful and tired of “helping.” In my case, I also pushed a lot of people out of my life. I became severely depressed and had a lot of anxiety and it seemed easier to just be alone. Near the very end of my addiction, I pushed everyone out of my life, except for my father. This was the road I believe God was sending me on, without me really knowing at that point. I had a strong urge in the end to push out my mother especially. She was a little too “loving.” Otherwise known as enabling. As much as she thought that she was helping and supporting me, she unfortunately was making my illness worse. This was the only thing in the end that I saw and I suddenly had a strong feeling inside that I had to let her go. I ignored her calls and her text messages. Everything. At that point, I think I felt safer with my father, as I knew he would not go out of his way to help me too much. Maybe if I asked him to, but I’m not the type of person to ask for just about anything (including help with my addiction). I will share more of my family story at a later time. My family is still a large part of my support system. Sometimes just to have them look you in the eye and to tell you that they are proud of you, is a feeling greater than I can explain. It never gets old.
Ok, so here is the part that some may not want to hear. The part that takes work. The work that you either are ready for, or you are not ready for. Plain and simple. My attitude was something I had to re-learn. During my addiction, my thought process had become so incredibly screwed up. The chemical makeup of my brain had changed, no doubt. Irrational thoughts became irrational behavior. I’ve heard and have had many conversations with addicts since my recovery began, right up until today. It is scary to hear things that come out of an addicts mouth, knowing that I said those very things at one point. Anyway, more about that later. Here is what I had to start working on when it came to my attitude:
There is so much more to healing and recovery, such as diet and exercise, rehab, group therapy, coaching, etc. Everyone’s recovery is different, therefore requires different approaches. This is what has helped me recover and heal and I hope it can help you too
You are not alone!
Do you need advice for yourself or someone you love? I’d love to help in any way I can. Click the Contact SOS button above, enter your info, click send and I will answer your question to the best of my abilities. I respect your privacy, your info will never be given out to anyone. Feel free to use an alias (fake name). I will not mention your name in any post I may write regarding your question.
May you find Grace in your times of darkness, aloneness, in fear, in doubt or in pain. The Holy Spirit is a gift given to us that holds power. Power to provide light in the dark, hold us in our aloneness, guard us in our fears, enlighten us when we doubt and comfort us in our pain. The Holy Spirit is the love and power of God. I pray that you seek and find the presence of the Holy Spirit and that you trust and have faith that Jesus died for you and those you love. That you are enlightened and realize he will be back. I also pray that the Holy Spirit teaches you to recognize sin, wrong from right. And I pray that the Holy Spirit touches your heart and shows you that you can change. You don’t have to continue to live in sin just because of your past. That is the power that can come from the Holy Spirit. He can stir that power within you and allow you to heal from your addiction. Pray right now that you receive the love and power of the Holy Spirit. Pray that he may teach you how to heal. If you don’t know how to pray or what to pray for, that is ok. Pray that the Holy Spirit teach you how to pray and even to pray for you when you can’t find the words. Be confident that he knows what you need and will help to take care of your every need. Sit quietly in a room and just breathe. You are not alone!
Sometimes starting over can feel like one of the most difficult things you’ll ever have to do. And many times, it is. It can not be guaranteed that the hurt and pain will all go away. But the strength you will receive from it, will make it all worth it!
The day my addiction began, never did I think that I would eventually surrender to a feeling of nothingness. Hadn’t I
known the difference between love and lust? Truth is, I never loved my addiction. However, there was always a part of me that lusted over the feeling that it gave me in the beginning. It was such a strong feeling of having it all together, while blocking out the parts of my life that I was unhappy and frustrated with. Suddenly I had the ability to smile when I was sad. I had energy when I was tired. I had found what seemed like the missing ingredient to my being….my coping mechanism. It allowed me to block out whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to. It simply, simplified my life…at first.
Now, my addiction didn’t begin because I was out seeking pills or booze. They came to me in a very sneaky way. It all started when I was dealing with some pretty bad migraines, that came more and more often. I had gone through so many different medications. The samples I had were endless. Nothing helped and sometimes it seemed to make it worse. I also found out I had a brain tumor (pituitary) in 2003. I lost hope until my sons birthday years back, when I was given a hydrocodone because of a bad headache. I had only taken them once prior to that, which was when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, in high school. They made me so sick, I was throwing up outside the door to our home. Didn’t even make it in the house. So, bad experience. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. Alls I knew is my head hurt and I was desperate. I knew nothing about addiction to prescription medication. Once the medication was in my system and working, I couldn’t stop thinking how great I felt. Had I finally found my miracle pill? I thought I did.
I couldn’t wait for the Monday thereafter, so I could contact my doctor and ask him to put me on the hydrocodone. That was all it took. A simple request and before you know it, I had the prescription in my hand. That was it. I surrendered, without even realizing it, to a pill and a feeling. The surrender I made to my addiction became worse. I lost a lot with that surrender. Here are some of the things in life that I lost to that surrender:
And worst of all…my children
Things I gained with recovery (all the above plus):
And most of all…1) my children 2)God, along with his Grace and Mercy and a relationship with Jesus Christ! A relationship where He showed me what selflessness is really like. And he showed me how happy it made me to do so. I’ve gained so many feelings with Him. One important one is being at peace. By showing me what truth looks like and what it doesn’t look like. Showing me how great I will feel if I am honest.
What will your recovery help you gain? Here is a hint: everything you lost (write your list). That list is most likely to turn around and you will gain those things/feelings back through recovery. Now, finish the list with the things you have gained throughout recovery (or would like to) and pick out some gains that are better than what you were before your addiction began.
Keep the list out where you can see it daily (and update anything new) and you will eventually have a great list of all your good gains. Focus on those and weed the bad ones out! You can do it because you are never alone!
It took a lot of determination, pain and fear to get where I am today, but it was worth it. I’m not who I was yesterday, I’m not who I was throughout my addiction and not even who I was prior to that. Today I am stronger and wiser than ever, and I love the person I’ve become! You are not alone!
Remember that you have always been loved. You may not feel it (sometimes not even know it), but you sure are. Though you may have changed because of your past decisions and mistakes, nobody knows you better than those that love you. Don’t take those people for granted. Humble yourself in your time of sickness and hopelessness and let them help you. You may have lost yourself somewhere along road you’ve gone down. But, they remember you…what you stood for…how loving you were…what made you smile…what big heart you had and can have all again! Keep these people that love you close. They are not here to hurt you, even though many days it may seem so. XOXO…Heather
U R Not Alone!
Who do you surround yourself with? Do they balance you and help you to become a better person? Or are they just “there,” yet you are still lonely?
So, if you surrender today and agree to get help, what do you have to lose? Because, if people think that you need help, reality is you probably don’t have anything to lose, or shall I say, left to lose? Your job that you’ve been calling into sick? Trust? Time? What are you going to lose, really??? Fact of the matter is, you don’t have much left to lose. You’ve become unhealthy, you’ve ruined relationships and you are no longer trustworthy. Most of all, you’ve lost yourself. Somewhere along the line, amongst the pain, the lies, the failures, the memory loss and the denials, you lost the real you. You forgot what made you happy and what made you sad. You forgot what it feels like to wake up and be excited for a new day. You’ve probably forgotten what it’s like to have real friends, forgotten what it’s like to even start a conversation with people you know and don’t know (you’re so different now and sometimes believe that it’s others that have changed). Responsibilities and priorities have probably taken a back seat to your addiction. So, what do you have to lose? Your pride? Your dignity? No, most likely those are already gone. Your job or your children? Trust me (yes, you can trust me now), those things will be there waiting for you. Any good employer has probably seen some sort of change in you and/or your work. I’m sure they are looking for honesty in their employees as well. If they refuse to keep your job for you, then it’s probably not the job that was meant for you. And if you have children, no matter how young or how old, they WANT you to get better! They need you, the old you! Getting help and getting sober is the best gift you could give them. I know, mine have told me. And I’ve seen families come together after they’ve gotten their loved one back. I’ve seen the smiles and happy tears. It’s not just your recovery, it’s everyone that loves you also. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Get the thoughts out of your head that you have things to lose. Those are not your thoughts. The devil really does wear Prada and the things that seem so wonderful, look so good, that seem you absolutely could not lose, are not always what they seem. They are not always your thoughts…
You are not alone….today or tomorrow!
I believe my take on addiction is different than most others because of one simple thing. Something I learned rather quickly when studying about addiction and everything else that goes along with it. What is that you say? It is common sense. We know that is not something that comes easy for all of us, but you can train your brain to work toward that. Sometimes we get so incredibly involved with trying to find an answer to something, that we don’t look right in front of us. We want to know why and how, but we forget about the actual source. For example, we want to know how to start a blog. So, we google all the answers and watch all these videos on what the best approach is, yadee, yada. Or, maybe your cell phone is not working properly and you do the same…google your question and search for the best answer. I’ve done that a million times and sometimes it can be very frustrating when you can’t find exactly what your looking for. Well, when you sit and think about it, wouldn’t it be so much easier just going directly to the source? Yup, why don’t you go to the blogging forums (say on WordPress or Blogger)? Why not try the FAQ section directly on the cell phone carrier site? After all, I’m sure your not the only one with the problem your looking for. So, why not use this concept when we are looking for answers to this addiction dilemma? Sometimes I want to choke myself and others for not seeing this. Seriously, look right in front of you. Whether it’s you that has the addiction or someone you love, so many answers lie right before you. One, think back hard, to when the addiction first started. What happened prior to the start? Were you or the addict in a stressful situation? Did they seem depressed (distant, down, tired, sad)? Had something changed in or around their life at the time? Did they start a new job (new friends, co-workers)? Were they on any other mind altering substances at the time? Had they recently given birth? Any one of these could have set off a trigger and caused the start and/or continued use of any substance use. Man, I wish someone would have opened my eyes to that. Before my addiction at its worst, I had more than one yes answer to the above. I’d been on prescription medication, was severely depressed after moving away from my family, whom I depended on for emotional support. At this point, I started seeing things in my husband, that I never really saw before. Well, I sorta saw (when people pointed them out). But, my life at the time was filled with love from my family. They filled spaces in my heart that my husband did not. My husband was very selfish at the time and he wanted things his way. If he didn’t get that, he wasn’t happy. He constantly complained and wasn’t very patient when it came to our children. My whole demeanor changed as soon as I’d here him pulling up the driveway. I instantly felt anxious. Dishes done? Check. Floors clean? Check. Beds made? Check. Kids quiet? Check…uncheck…check. Kids toys picked up? Check….uncheck. Ugh! It was stressful and it didn’t get better. You get the idea though.
Two, what are some great memories you’ve held on to? If you’re an addict, you will have found or soon find, that you forgot them. What memories? This is me…”if you don’t like me, too bad!” Sound kinda familiar? Yeah, we certainly lose ourselves in the midst of it all. What used to make us happy? What made us sad? How did we deal with our problems? What did we look forward to in life? What did we look forward to weekly or daily? Seem impossible to remember on your own? I know the feeling. Well, get digging? Get out the photo albums, play the old movies. You may be surprised at how much you start to remember. Might even make you cry and laugh a little (something you probably don’t do much anymore). If you are trying to help your addicted love one, grab your albums. Heck, leave them out somewhere that you know they will see them. You don’t have to force them to look. Mail a picture or two, to them every week. They’ll get the idea, but you won’t be in their face to set them off. How about music? You know that one song that always reminds you of good times, maybe even painful times. Make a playlist on Youtube (stay tuned as I am going to put one on here under Inspirational stuff soon). Make a CD with all these songs for the car. Or, make a CD for your loved one with music that reminds you of them. Mail that to them. Seriously.
Send it with a letter, number three. Get your feelings out. Be open and honest. Firstly, with yourself. That goes for both sides. But, do it calmly. This is not a time to let the situation get out of control, hence I say write a letter. You’ll be able to get out anything you need and not forget anything important. If you’re the addict, write a letter to yourself about anything. Just write and be open and honest.
Four, stop enabling! I cannot tell you how bad that is for the situation. You enable the addict to continue to harm themselves and everyone around them. Then, they enable you to enable them. They allow you to be there for them, when they need you. This is also the hardest of all four, because of our love for one another. So, use common sense and look at your situation from all sides. Are you an enabler? Is someone else the enabler? Tell them as soon as you see it. The sooner the better!
Would you agree that these are all common sense? I think so. Again, we get so caught up in trying to fix the situation or trying to hide the situation, that we forget about common things, common solutions, common answers. Surely, this is not all that is needed for recovery, but it is a great start! It will stop the addiction dead in its tracks. Maybe only for a minute, but sometimes that is all it takes to wake someone up!
God bless you all in this journey! If you have any questions or advice you could use, please click the contact SOS tab above, complete and submit. You can also follow my blog (click button in right column) or use the social media buttons below to share Starting Over Sober.
You are not alone…nope!
Hey, if you’re gonna be addicted to something, why not my blog? After all, many times, recovering addicts turn to other temporary desires and addictions to let go of the one that is harmful to them. Is that good or is that bad? Well, in my opinion, it can be either. Many doctors and drug rehab facilitators may say that you should stay away from addicting things and habits, such as sugar, caffeine and of course any other mind altering substance (nicotene) . But, there are certainly other things in life that I think you can become “addicted” to, that aren’t all that bad. For instance, reading and writing, working out, listening to music, teaching others and even volunteering! All of these things can make you feel great on the inside and outside. Why? Well, they get your body juices flowing. Whether that be your creative juices or you’re getting the blood flowing through your body with exercise. Why teaching others? We can all learn so much from ourselves and about ourselves just by teaching others what we know. Have you ever explained something to someone and ended the conversation knowing more, because of a thought you had while explaining the info? I know I have and I think that is pretty amazing at times. We really are our best teachers! And we all know that by helping others, it also helps us. Yup, that’s right. So, even when we volunteer to help others out, we get equal satisfaction. That is why I am here today, writing this very sentence. Because ONE: I really do want to help anyone that I am able to help and TWO: I want to feel even better myself. I help you, that helps you and me! Selfish? Eh, maybe a bit, but only in a good way Kinda like the “I’ve got your back” kinda relationship.
With that said, I truly hope that if you come across this blog, that you share this post or any of the others. You can use the buttons below to share this post with your friends and family. Addiction is a very touchy subject. One of my goals is to get it out into the open and maybe enlighten people about the illness. There are so many that are hurting from addiction, whether it be themselves or a loved one. It is NOT a one man illness. It creeps up on everyone surrounding the individual troubled by it. Sweeping it under the rug is just not gonna do it anymore. I have some very interesting ways of dealing with this issue and I happy that I’m finally ready to share what I have thus far. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, ask me anything!!! Click the Contact S.O.S. button above, complete the form and submit.
Maybe you don’t know anyone facing this awful subject, but someone is. Maybe someone close to you that is hiding it. Maybe someone just waiting for anyone to approach them and help them. It can be a scary and embarrassing place to be. So, please use the buttons below to share this post. You could potentially help someone out, by only clicking a button. ALL QUESTIONS/COMMENTS WILL REMAIN ANONYMOUS unless otherwise specified by the commentor.
Thank you sooooooooooooo much!!!
You are not alone
The biggest reason I decided to start this blog, was to connect with those of you who may be going through tough times. Or, maybe you just have questions. Maybe you need to know, that you truly….are NOT alone. Maybe your feeling ashamed and alone. Afraid to ask for help. Afraid of what people will think of you. Afraid of changing…that is probably the most scariest thought of all. One of the things that helped in my recovery the most was seeing and feeling that I wasn’t alone. No, it didn’t take the shame away (right away) but it did give me a sense of direction. It inspired me and encouraged me to keep going. So, who knows if I can surely lead you in the direction you need. You may never know though, if you don’t take the chance. Do it, take the chance. I promise you that you will feel better knowing that you actually took the chance. You’ve been taking chances for a long time now, why not one for the better. You may just see, it’s not so strange, talking and relating to a stranger.
Questions? Go to the Contact S.O.S. link above and submit your question. Everything is kept confidential unless you specify otherwise. Feel free to use an alias name if you don’t want to use yours.
P.S. You are not alone….never!!
The Serenity Prayer is often used in rehab facilities and groups like AA. Whether you believe in God or not, this “prayer” can be such a great reminder to us all, addicts or not. So quickly, are we to blame others for our problems or hold them responsible for how our lives are being run. We cannot change others no matter how hard we try if either they don’t want to change or they believe they don’t need to. We can, however, be in charge of our own lives. We’ve been given the wonderful gift of choice. Unfortunately, choices are not always good ones. Whether you are here on this blog because you are the addict or your loved one is, that choice is great! That means you are aware that there may be a problem. Wanting to change for the better is what we want, but let’s help each other in making more smart choices. Let’s talk! You probably have questions and I certainly have answers.
Questions? Go to the Contact S.O.S. link above and submit your question. Everything is kept confidential unless you specify otherwise. Feel free to use an alias name if you don’t want to use yours.
One Mother’s story of being lost and beaten by addiction to finding herself again, and much more along this brutally honest journey.
So, I’ve been working on so many different projects the past couple of years (almost). This last year has been so much work. The thing that has been hard, is that it is work that you cannot really see or feel. At times, I felt so unaccomplished…looking at the clock wondering where the time went and thinking, “I certainly look like I did nothing today.” As I sat there still in my pajama pants and my hair placed on the top of my head, in a hot mess. Trust me, with two children whom are not afraid to express their opinion and an Italian husband, who was an only child……it was sometimes hard feeling like I had to explain what I did (or didn’t do, so it seemed). Because, how would they know? Everything I did was stored in my brain, on my laptop or behind closed doors, sharing my story and advice to those who had fallen prey to addiction. The mornings I woke up so tired because I was up until three A.M. soaking up anything I could learn. I must say though, I’ve learned sooooooo much! After I got sober in early 2012, I could not believe just how bad my life had gotten. I’d forgotten who I was and what I stood for. I’d forgotten what made me happy and what hurt. I had loved ones right in front of me, yet I totally didn’t see them growing….my children, nieces, nephews. My brother and sisters were growing into great parents (when did that happen?). My parents were getting older. I’d also lost a best friend in the midst of it all…an angel in my eyes…my Gram (A.K.A Mema). This is still so hard for me and I didn’t prepare this post. Quite honestly, I wanted every bit of it to come from my heart, even if it hurts. It’s the pain, that I had forgotten about. The tears that were once dried up, flow down my face now. And I realize, that that hard time was a stepping stone to where I am today. That part of my life, is what gives me so much purpose today! I now know that there is a God. A God that I heard of and wanted to believe in. A God that was there with me until the end (even though I didn’t realize). Who was the rock at my bottom and showed me something that no human could possibly do. His Grace certainly taught my heart to fear….and Grace my fears relieved. And so the song goes, “How precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first believed.” How it changed my life and hopefully how it can help to change yours! I know this is part of my purpose here on earth and I’m ready to face it head on with you! XOXO ~Heather~
You Are Not Alone!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people in my life who watched me struggle and struggled with me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for always believing in me, even when I didn’t. Thank you for showing me what love is. Thank you for not letting me give up! I’m so blessed to have every one of you. God knew just where to place each of you in my heart. Butterfly kisses Mema…miss you more every day.