On writing as therapy: My Kindle book on addiction, coming soon!

Hello. Good to see you all again. My husband is home after his second surgery in two weeks and much improved. No more surgeries are planned which is a relief.

Over the past few weeks, which seemed like one crisis after another, I found solace in writing. I’ve always been a bit of a writer, but it is only the past few weeks that I really managed to use my writing as therapy and making something that I think will be marketable! My husband’s surgery stirred up all kinds of feelings within me, so  I decided to make grenades into lemonade, used my feelings to relive my first thirty days, and  have almost completed a short kindle book on Surviving the first 30 days Clean and Sober.

I’m really excited about writing this book because I’m so excited about being clean! I want everyone to know about how great it is to be clean!  There is something magical about being clean that I would like to share with everyone.

Go with the flow – turn hand grenades into lemonade

Hello everyone. I haven’t posted much in the past few weeks.  My husband is having surgery for the second time in two weeks.  At first I freaked out because the last time he had surgery, five years ago, it had  involved surgery and a hospital stay, and in my head, I branded it a nightmare.

So now that we are on time #2, at first it seemed like a hand grenade! But now I’ve grown, and in most respects I am a far different person than the person that I was then.  I’ve learned that I will survive emotions, experiences, and so much more. I am still learning not to catastrophize everything – to assume that just because my husband has surgery he will die –and that chances are, everything will work out, even if it takes a bit longer than I want it to.

You know how emotionally freeing it is not to catastrophize all the time? You know how much energy I used to waste in worrying that I would be fired, reprimanded, that my children wouldn’t get into the right school, that whatever I was thinking about would just generally go crazy?

Instead, I am sitting here, writing this post with a big distraction on my lap, a three year old who thinks it is her job to create havoc at the keyboard, who seems to think time is wasted if it is not spent on her Mother’s lap. I can go with the flow, honor my life as it is, including motherhood, and move on into whatever comes next.  Children are no longer a distraction, instead they are a part of the purpose, a key that helps me discover how to be the person I am becoming.

So, I have decided to honor the chaos in my household the past few weeks by turning it into a Kindle book or two. First I will complete the book I am writing on Surviving the first 30 days clean and sober, and then write a second on Staying clean when life turns upside down. It has been fairly easy to write these because life has thrown me some hand grenades and I’ve been able to turn it into the content to these two books. Sorta like making lemons into lemonade, isn’t it?

How will you “honor” life as it is right now by making it into something that works for you? Does reflecting on your life as it is give you more ideas on how to make money?  Please write a comment and let us know about it!

Sally is a mother to two girls, age 3 and 11, and to a son who lives in heaven with Jesus. She is a recovery and business coach, writer, and blogger. She blogs on addiction, recovery, and occasionally, on related topics such as how to make more money in a “down” economy.

Never give up

Everybody has days that they feel like giving up, but giving up just doesn’t work.  Sometimes we feel like giving up on our self, our kids, and sometimes we are tempted to give up on our God.  I’ve tried to compile a list of things to do when it feels like it is time to go back to active addiction, to whatever or drug or behavior of choice was.

1.) Use Creativity – Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Sometimes by asking the five W’s and the one h, we can find a unique solution, one that other people wouldn’t think of.  Sometimes this works really well by leading to a solution that is unique to you and no one else. Sometimes, the solution is the germ of a small business, a new job, a new way to help people – you name it, it can be done!

 2.) Don’t run and hide – Sometimes I feel like running away from it all and building myself a cabin in the middle of the forest. But really, would my problems disappear? Or would I just have a new set, plus the old ones when I came back to civilization? Perhaps a walk in the woods is what I really need at those times. And sometimes, looking at how we want to run and hide can show us a solution – or at least a way to get through the day.

3.) Problems, and feelings, multiply in the dark – and tend to disappear in the light.  Talk about it. Go to meetings. Look for a solution, even if looking for a solution fills you with fear. With time it WILL get better.

4.) Paint, play music, walk – these things always make me feel better and often make me ready to find a creative SOLUTION.

And finally, my favorite – and least favorite (drum roll) –

5.) Meditate. Talk to God. Worship. Pray. I know when I get into one of those moods, talking to God is the last thing I want to do. But it’s often the most important. Do it. It’ll make you feel better.

There are many other ways – send me a comment and we can continue the discussion.

Until later, Addict to Addict

Spiritual death that accompanies a return to active addiction

Okay, this week has been so busy that it seems there is  no time to post. But I’ll take a whack at it.  It’s been a busy and emotional week.  So this week I will share my most favorite Narcotics Anonymous Just for Today mediation, and why it is so important to me.

March 3 Relapse

“There will be times, however, when we really feel like using. We want
to run, and we feel lousy We need to be reminded of where we came from
and that it will be worse this time. This is when we need the program
the most”

Basic Text, p. 78

If we’re contemplating a relapse, we should think our using through to
the bitter ends. For many of us, those ends would include severe
medical problems, imprisonment, or even death. How many of us have known
people who relapsed after many years clean, only to die from their disease?

But there is a death that accompanies a return to active addiction that
may be worse than physical death. That is the spiritual death we
experience when we are separated from our Higher Power. If we use, the
spiritual relationship we have nurtured over the years will weaken and
perhaps disappear. We will feel truly alone.

There is no doubt that we have periods of darkness in our recovery.
There is only one way we can make it through those troubling times: with
faith. If we believe that our Higher Power is with us, then we know that
all will be well.

No matter how badly we may feel in our recovery, a relapse is never the
answer. Together, we find recovery. If we stay clean, the darkness will
lift and we will find a deeper connection to our Higher Power.

Just for today: I thank my Higher Power for the gift of NA. I know that
relapse is not the way out. Whatever challenges I face, I will face
them with the God of my understanding.

pg. 64

… And that spiritual death is why I quit using. I couldn’t have the relationship with the God I’d grown to know and love – and use drugs.  I was so very angry at God about my son’s death -but still, I knew I couldn’t live without God. And I was also angry at God because I’d tried to get right with Him – and it was as if he wasn’t listening.   Now I think I just wasn’t ready to do whatever it takes, and as soon as I was ready, God was there.

When God told me to stop, I said, but what about the headaches? the pain? What about when I’m too depressed to not use? And he told me, Let me worry about that. That’s not your problem.  You quit before when you weren’t even sure you believed in me, this time I am with you. And He was.  I was so happy to have that relationship back – but I also hurt so much. Eventually we worked it through.

And over time I finally learned that instead of being angry at God and blocking Him out, I should treat Him like a trusted friend – the kind that when something goes wrong, you talk it through.

By the way, if you liked the JFT mediation, subscribe by going to this URL: http://www.jftna.org/jft-subscription.htm . Of course, the quote is property of Narcotics Anonymous World services.

As always, stay clean – and think it through before you relapse!  Or – if you’re not clean – it’s totally worth it to get clean! Go for it!

Who are you following? What is your focus?

So many of us have this idea that we are independent, free… and that pursuing freedom is doing whatever we want, whenever we want, with whoever we want (remember people, places and things?), but all it got us was chaos.

You see, each and every one of us was made to follow something, to have our gaze fixed on something. Somehow, that gaze fixing leads us around. The gaze fixing can be drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, and any of a number of other things- there seems to be no limit on what we can get our gazed fixed on.

And then the thing we fix our gaze on- the thing we loved- started to become a bad lover, an enemy- and took on a life of its own.  And perhaps we realized we were addicted, or perhaps we blamed the struggles on other things. Things grew hellish, because we didn’t realize that the thing that we thought was our friend was slowly poisoning us.  We felt sick all the time, so we took more drugs to make us feel better – without realizing the drugs were making us sick to begin with.  We took drugs to help us relax – not realizing that God could teach us to be more relaxed without the drugs, and even happy.

Slowly it dawned on us that the problem might be the drugs. Or perhaps the courts forced it on us. Either way, quickly or slowly, we stopped. Perhaps it came to us in a flash of insight, as it did for me, when God told me himself because I wouldn’t listen to anyone else- or maybe it was a gradual process. Either way, we quit the drugs.

But it seemed as if the drugs still led us around, since we thought about drugs so much.  And slowly, we learned to turn our focus to God.  Perhaps we started to pray and meditate, even though we weren’t sure there was anything up there.  We realized that our life really was unmanageable, and that we had to rely on God. We really had no choice.  Slowly, we started to realize that God really had been caring and protecting us, and we began to give ourselves over to a loving God.  The gazing fixing began to move from drugs to God. And something incredible happened. We began to have some clean time, to collect chips and medallions, even  though we didn’t quite understand how it happened. And, quickly or slowly, we realized that we were happier than we’d ever known we could be (for some of us that took some time).

And even if sometimes it felt as if the rebel had become part of the establishment, life was something new altogether. We began to wish we had gotten clean or sober sooner, even if occasionally we missed the taste of drugs or alcohol.  We learned to enjoy the little things – the beach, the sound of the waves, birds tweeting – and realized how thankful we were that God even gave us so much to enjoy.  Suddenly we realized that even though getting clean and sober had changed everything, we loved it.

Advantages of being a clean addict

To continue on yesterday’s topic, I want to talk about the advantages of being a clean addict. No, I don’t mean, the “I’m not living on the street anymore” kind of advantages.  I mean, knowing that staying clean is so hard, that once you’ve done that, everything else is easy in comparison.

I’ve always been very spiritual, and even though the word “religious” has almost made me almost want to gag, many people have considered me that. Instead of “religious”, I’d say having a relationship with Jesus has always been very important to me. But somehow I couldn’t quite trust God with… you know, all that pain in my life, my finances, and so much more.  When I was close to Jesus, I was usually happy, no matter what was going on. But I couldn’t seem to stay close to Jesus. Now I have to stay there. Being an addict forces me to become what I’ve always wanted to be. I have to do what it takes to be to be close to Jesus, or I know I’ll go back into active addiction. And even if I didn’t go into active addiction, life would be sorta boring… humdrum… and I’d fall back into self hate.  Much as I don’t like most church hymnbooks, that old song, trust and obey, got it right…

And that means I’ve had to develop the discipline to do the spiritual practices that have usually made me happy and made me like myself. I’ve hated that word discipline, too. But, I’ve learned that hating something like discipline has often kept me from being the person I like and want to be. So a big advantage, for me, of being a clean addict is that I like myself and I am the person I want to be.

I’ve also discovered a number of new talents, like a love for art.  My art teacher says my art is all emotion, and boy is she right!  I don’t know how I lived without playing with color and seeing my moods in color.  My world was a whole lot more drab.

Finally, I know that with God’s help, I can do darn near anything, but only if it is what God wants me to do. I know it is the same for you as well.

Clean addicts have great lives!

Hello. Just came back from a meeting that was, you know, on the wrong side of the tracks.  I came a half an hour later to a 90 minute meeting I don’t usually go to. Then, I got invited to cross the parking lot and go to graduation! It was a bunch of addicts celebrating 4 people getting their associates degrees! I saw the glint in their eyes as they talked about could do something that didn’t think they could do and succeeding – college. And now they are on to four year schools.

And I realized just how important the otherwise neglected building that I’d seen before but never been in was – a center with clean parties every Saturday night. A recovery house. And that the building was far from neglected – it was immaculate on the inside, even though it fit in with the neighborhood on the outside. I’m going to donate my electric organ that I don’t really have space for to the center.

And I saw again the hope and the promise of freedom from active addiction.

In my other life, I’m a professor. And I remember, a semester ago, failing an addict who had more clean time that I did. I wanted to yell at her – HOW can you be clean so long and FAIL my class? Passing my class is teeny compared to getting clean! But she didn’t complete very many of the assignments at all. I couldn’t understand it. I think I believed in her more than she believed in herself.  And I believe in you too. Go for it.