Love – even in sorrow

This may  be the strangest post you read all month. With Valentine’s Day coming, I am sure you are thinking it is about Valentine’s day, but it’s not.

Six years ago today my old son was born. We named him Jedadiah before he was born, after one of the rebuilders of the temple wall in the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament prophets.  In retrospect, I think I named him Jedadiah because I believe God has called me to be a rebuilder – to help people rebuild their lives.

I’ve written about how Jed died the next day before, but today I want to concentrate on love. On how with Jed’s heart problem he could have died before he was born, but he wanted so much to live with us. That’s love.

Or his big sister, who is 12 now, and more beautiful every day, and how thrilled she was when he stuck his tongue out at her – we couldn’t touch him because he was sick – and how she asked, when she heard Jed died, “Did Jesus float him up to heaven?”. And I thought for a moment and said, why yes, I think He did. Simple faith, simple love.   And Jed was so sick, I think perhaps sticking his tongue out was love, because that was all he could do.

And how two years later, we opened our heart to love and had a baby girl. She will be four on Friday.  And I made the mistake of trying to explain to her that she has a brother, and she decided my good friend’s son is her brother! That’s love too.

Love is far more than a holiday, flowers, and romance. Love is daring to dream by opening your heart to that foster child you’ve dreamed of adopting, sponsoring a newcomer – daring to dream that God can use you.

Love is finding yourself a coach or a therapist or a sponsor– loving yourself enough to dare to dream that things can be different.  And love is also daring to believe that God really does exist and that He loves and cares for you.

I am Sally and I am a recovery coach, mother, and so much more.  I help people harness their own creativity for sobriety.  I have a deeply eclectic background and harness my own love for music and art, my background as a deeply contemplative theologian, a love for the 12 steps, and PhD level studies in counseling, particularly in attachment theory, to help you reclaim that passion.  Then, using my business background, I help you turn that passion into a sustainable business.  Read more about me and my coaching practice here.

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

Being clean & art: for me its the motion of the planets

My life used to be chaotic. Well, sometimes it still is, but at least it isn’t the “what’s the name of that man I slept with last night?” or “why did I drink so much last night” or “why in the world would that man want to see me again, I only slept with him to get even…”

And for the longest time I thought I thrived on the chaos. I thought that I couldn’t be an artist without that chaos, that I couldn’t be like the great writers without the alcohol or drugs, that somehow I would miss something. And so after I got clean the first time, I didn’t do art. I wrote, but not that much. And I got so busy that I forgot my music.

And not being an artist was like losing my sense of self. I lost part of me. Fortunately, when I got clean this time, I had good people around me to encourage me to do art, to dance, even if I wasn’t very good, to paint, and to play my instruments.

And playing music and art, for me, was like feeling the motion of the planets, the sweet whisper of the wind, the feel of the beach upon my feet. It helped me find myself and to connect with others. It made me smile, and encouraged me to love others, to get out and do things with my family, and to feel happy.

Your new life story- what changes?

Okay, so the party days are over. You’ve come in from the cold (at least that’s how it felt for me), you’ve been clean and sober for awhile, but something is still missing. For some of us, it is feeling a part of humanity. For some it’s a need to be creative, to reach out  and make some more friends, any of a number of things.

Getting clean is a huge accomplishment. You can do anything, and become the person you want to be.

Okay, so who are you? What do you value?  These might be some of the things that are important to you:

Character:  love, joy peace, friendship, creativity, spirituality

The zone: getting into “the zone” where everything just flows. For me that comes from painting, and to a lesser degree, from writing. Always nice when you can get in “the zone” with your job.

Relaxation: arts and crafts, music, photography, exercise (I like to put my young daughter on the back of my bike and take off!), sports, yoga…

Education: going back to school

Other: Religion, improving public speaking (I love Toastmaster’s),

What are YOU going to do this week to become the person you want to be?

Sobriety feels good! The dragons are gone…

I went through so many years feeling like a lost child, thinking that the only way to feel okay was by using, particularly when terrible, intolerable feelings reared up like ghosts and filled my life with a fog of pain and hopelessness.  Periodically it seemed as if there was an uncontrollable dragon that took over my life, stamped everything that was precious to me into pieces no larger than ashes. Sometimes the dragon receded, but the pain never went entirely away.

When I hit bottom and wanted to quit, I didn’t see how I could stop using and deal with all the pain inside. But as quick as I told God this, I heard Him tell me, “Relax, my child, and let me worry about that.”  And somehow he did take care of it.

I spent alot of time in the first months just re-building my relationship with God and trying to know Him again. I was so happy that the close relationship I had had with God before was not just a memory, but real again.  I felt God close to me as I prayed, but still things were not right inside.

Confusion reigned, and often, the dragons seemed worse without drugs to numb it. I went to meetings every night, got a sponsor, and talked in every meeting. Still I hurt more than you could believe.

I got a therapist.  He got me started painting.  I would paint pages and pag, nmy life still felt upside down. It took until about six ma pagonths before my life felt “mostly right side up”. For months I felt like one of those weebles wobble but don’t fall down toys- constantly wavering, but somehow still right side up.  Finally, after about six months I came to peace with the worst of the memories. I felt like I was alive again!

I love how I feel now! If someone had told me I could feel this good, I wouldn’t have believed them. God is good, and has given me far more than I could ever have asked for.

3 words for 2012: Creativity, hope, love

Another blog I read this last week challenged me to find three words that symbolize what I would like 2012 to look like. For me, the words are creativity, hope and love.

Creativity helps me find creative solutions to life’s problems – and makes me feel REALLY good! Creativity is the spice of life and the way to make recovery truly yours. Sure, it’s great to find out from others what works for them (you know I’m really big on the 12 steps, sponsors, meetings, and Narcotics Anonymous), but at some point, your world falls apart and finding your own solutions really helps.  Maybe, for you, it’s painting instead of cutting, dancing instead of using, sculpting a new you.  For me, sometimes it is simply plucking the strings of my cello and hearing them reverberate throughout the cello’s body!

As an example of creativity in action, this week I’ve been reading about sculpting in Family therapy. In family sculpting, the therapist has the family get into positions that represent whatever struggle the family is going through. For instance, if there has been abuse of a family member by an outsider, the family could sculpt what they looked like before and after the abuse.  How about if you try it? How about sculpting (either with your body or with a medium) what using made you feel like and what you feel like now? Or how about sculpting how you feel now and how you want to feel?

 Creativity is also key because it helps us find new ways of making money,  relating to our family members and friends, and living life. I’m considering putting up a post on innovative and creative ways to make money in this down economy, since that is one thing creativity helps with!

Hope gives us that extra “push” to put those creative solutions we find into making money, relationships, or our inner world into action. Most importantly, though, hope gives us the strength to put the drugs or alcohol down and dare dream that things can be better- that somehow we can get over the seemingly insurmountable emotional problems that drove us to use. Hope helps us believe that “Just for Today, you never have to use again“.

Love draws us to others and helps us to like ourselves. By experiencing our High Power’s love, we begin to be able to give and receive love, not just take, take, and take some more.  Somehow, love transforms us, and we begin to become the being that we were made to be. We begin to run towards others and towards God, not towards a substance. How about you? Can you tell me how love has transformed you?