Unshakable Foundation, Part 1


Hey there blog-peeps! Long time – no type! Just living the dream or trying to…. I guess. Not even gonna attempt to catch you up on all that madness!!! I will just jump right in with something that I have been working on, towards and putting in to practice in my trudge over the last 17 months.

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an UNSHAKABLE foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God’s Kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the Will of our own Creator.” 12 & 12 page 98

So first off, If you have done more than just the 1, 2, 3, waltz around the rooms of AA, then you have had an introduction to the self-examination that this piece of literature is referring to. We learn to inventory our behavior at step four, confess to another in five, identify character defects and become willing to have or HP remove those in 6, ask our HP to remove those objectionable to us in 7, decide who was harmed in 8 and make restitution to those harmed in 9. We begin to continuously monitor our thoughts and actions with the practice of step 10, while we our cleaning up the wreckage of our past. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am not the greatest at telling you that I am full of fear while I am in the middle of a knock-down drag-out fight with my husband. It looks like rage on the outside but is truly more like insecurity and self-centeredness. Which is why I have become extremely grateful for step 11 for several reasons.

See, I miss stuff during the day that I am supposed to catch in step 10 when I  “continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.- Big Book(BB) page 84” I will still lie to myself in the moment. So, our literature gives us a backup plan of sorts on page 86, “when retire at night…” under step 11. Just in case I miss it in the moment, because, lets face it, I will miss it!!!!

I have been going through and answering those questions on page 86 in the BB in writing form and sending my invertory to an accountability circle of women for 17 months. Much different than just reading over them and answering them in my head. Or what I did for the first 7 years of my sobriety, which was not look at those inventory questions at all. I can look back at my written inventory and see what I need to bring to my Higher Power for corrective action in prayer. I can see where I have been intolerant of others or unkind and unloving. I can see which character defects have been activated once more due to my selfish, self-centered behavior.

It is not to something I use to make me feel terrible about myself but to see what I can do better tomorrow. I want to grow in understanding and effectiveness like the BB says at step 10. To understand where I have been wrong and what I have done good so that tomorrow I will be able to a better instrument for my HP. After all, He did grant me this gift of GRACE in sobriety. I do try, however falteringly, to do His will daily…

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Drunk Dialies


Have you ever been guilty of drunk dialies? I sure have….. more than I care to admit! This should clue you in a little on my age of sobriety! Notice I didn’t say drunk texting or drunk posting on Facebook or Twitter. Drunk posting probably even has some cool name in the Urban Dictionary.

Kinda like Pregame:
n. To drink before going to a party. This most often happens because they party where you are going to will be carding and you are under or because you want to drink something hard to start your night off. Often pregaming happens at the house and involves taking shots.

See back in my drinking days, this didn’t have some-sort of cool name, it was just drinking. Most of the time to save money, in my case, because I have never been a cheap drunk. So drinking at the bar was very expensive for me or for whoever was buying my drinks (usually some poor fool who thought I was interested in more than just lightening my financial load). I digress….

I would somehow get home from the bar, I blacked out a lot so it was rare for me to know how that happened at times. Apparently, due to said blackouts, I had no recollection of the phone calls I would make at 2, 3, 4, in the morning. I would pick up my phone, after I “came to”. I was most often panic-stricken due to the amount of blackouts I had. I never knew where I was going to wake up, how I got there, who would be with me or not with me for that matter. I would eventually get around to checking my phone and find that I called any number of people. It was often some old boyfriend or guy I dated(I use that term very loosely) or perhaps my ex-husband. I would never remember what we talked about when I looked at the length of the call or what kind of craziness I left on their voicemail.

I needed someone to take my phone from me when I started drinking, but that was NEVER gonna happen!

So I have been downloading new songs from iTunes, more appropriately, new songs to me or new to own. I was listening to the lyrics of “Should’ve Gone to Bed” by Plain White T’s. Best song about drunk dailies I have heard to date! Here’s a sample:

All day long I’m over you
Never really think of you
I keep you out of my head
But some nights when I’m striking out
You’re all I can think about
Just gotta have you again

So I down my cup
And then I hit you up
Saying way too much

Oh, I should’ve just gone to bed
I should’ve never called you
I should’ve listened to my head
When it said leave it alone
No, a few drinks in
Here I go missing you again
God only knows what I said
I should’ve just gone to bed

I should’ve turned the lights out
I should’ve called it a night
You should’ve never picked up my phone call
If you’re not sleeping here tonight

LOVE THIS! Brings back memories! Not fond ones but memories, nonetheless!

Video

Not NOW! Not TODAY!


Wish I could say that I have been a beaming angelic child of God lately but that would be entirely untrue. Life is just life! I am at least grateful that I know that no one is doing this or that to me. You know you have heard the sayings… Life on Life’s terms or Life on God’s terms or Life on my terms. I don’t know which is true or which reality I am actually living. That’s probably because my belief is that it is simply or complicatedly JUST LIFE.

My husband and I have said for years…..”When life slows down in a few months” or “When we have a weekend off from commitments”. You’d think we would have figured out by now, that is simply not gonna happen! There will always be something that comes up to plan into the mixing bowl which is our life. Even with all these gadgets and do-ma-hickies that make everything faster, none of them shorten my day. They do however allow me space to cram more stuff into the already over filled day. So, you start with this super crammed life that I have either created or participated in creating and then you throw in some anomaly like back taxes due to the IRS because I screwed up 3 years ago, my husband having the flu and me having a raging migraine simultaneously for 5 days, or our car was in the shop and then the car we borrowed breaks down while my husband is on the way to work. I could go on, but I’m not special! This kind of stuff happens to everyone.

“We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence” Big Book page 133

WHAT AN ORDER!!!! Truth is, this is not always the easiest thing to do. When trouble comes my first reaction is not to go skipping through the tulips with full trust and dependence on God. My first reactions is to FLIP SMOOTH OUT! No spiritual giant here, for sure! I usually calm down pretty quick because I get this uneasy feeling in my stomach that this is not how to act, treat other people or react in any given situation. My sponsor says, “at any given time I am either moving toward a drink or moving toward God”. I have this sneaky suspicion that letting my head spin like I am having an exorcism is in no way moving toward God! So what I usually have to do is regroup which most of the time comes down to me talking to God with skin on.

“When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care. These were the new attitudes that finally brought many of us an inner strength and peace that could not be deeply shaken by the shortcomings of others or by any calamity not of our own making.” 12 & 12 page 116

The coolest thing about this program, to me, is that we GET to practice it. Practice the principles. Practice turning our will over to His. Practice forgiveness. Practice reliance upon God. Practice! Practice! Practice! I think about all the years I spent playing basketball and the countless hours of practice I put in. I made tons of mistakes, air-balls, turnovers, bad passes etc. As long as I dusted myself off and tried again, I still improved and over time I made fewer mistakes. To practice is the repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. So essentially I am trying to become proficient in a spiritual way of life.

No matter what my poorly planned, insane, inappropriate reaction to calamity, another persons behavior, or just simply &h!t Happens……… God can and WILL meet me right where I am! What an AWESOME gift that is! I don”t have to come to Him perfect! I just have to seek Him, not find……just continue to seek! And that folks is simply FANTABULOUS!

Aside

Change in the Making


Totally not my normal post but I heard this song today….. And this is me! I’m a change in the making, thank God and Alcoholics Anonymous for that! So I thought I’d share with y’all. I’ve heard it said before, I’m not who I was but I’m not yet who I’m meant to be. That is a truth in my life! Through continued work, sacrifice, surrender, service, faith and dependence in my Higher Power…. One day I will get there! Haha! But by then, I’m sure there will be more to change and more to learn. After all, it’s about the journey not the destination!

Here’s the lyrics

There’s a better version of me
That I can’t quite see
But things are gonna change
Right now I’m a total mess and
Right now I’m completely incomplete
But things are gonna change
‘Cause You’re not through with me yet

And this is redemption’s story
With every step that I am taking
Every day You’re chipping away
What I don’t need
And this is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I’m closer to who I’m meant to be
I am a change in the making

Wish I could live more patiently
Wish I would give a little more of me
Without stopping to think twice
Wish I had faith like a little child
Wish I could walk a single mile
Without tripping on my own feet
Oh, but You’re not through with me yet

And this is redemption’s story
With every step that I am taking
And every day You’re chipping away
What I don’t need
And this is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I’m closer to who I’m meant to be, oh

From the dawn of history
You make new and You redeem
From a broken world to a broken heart
You finish what you start in everything
Like a river rolls into the sea
We’re not who we’re gonna be
But things are going to change

I am living redemption’s story
With every step that I am taking
And everyday You’re chipping away
What I don’t need
And this is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I’m closer to who I’m meant to be
I am a change in the making
I am a change in the making

I’m not who I’m gonna be
I’m moving closer to Your Glory

Change in the Making
By: Addison Road

Video

Pain in Progress


Been a minute since I blogged! Been busy going through some life changes and some familiar problems I’ve had before. Nothing like change to bring about fear! Even when change is good, prayed about and not taken lightly…… It can still bring on the fear. In my case, it was time for a switch in the gear of my chosen career field. An overdue change really!

I don’t make decisions like that quickly! I pray for neon signs. After I get the neon sign, I ask for confirmation of the neon sign. Then I get counsel on the interpretation of the neon sign and then I pray some more, hesitate, worry, procrastinate, fear the out come, get some more counsel, continue to pray and meditate and eventually make the decision. Sounds nuts I’m sure! However, I did take the plunge! I love the new job!

In the process of all of this madness and stress, I have had a migraine for the last 7 weeks. It’s not like I’m paralyzed with pain everyday, but his sucker will not go away. This is not foreign to me I’ve had these before, I’ve just had a good string of wellness for the past year and a half. When they got bad about 4 years ago, I started the worst spiritual spiral of my sobriety! I was dry, defeated, spiritually disconnected, ate up with resentment, devoid of any faith, and I isolated myself away from the program. By the grace of God I made it back to spiritual fitness without a new sobriety date or blowing my brains out which crossed my mind a few times too.

The difference this time is I am in the NOW! I am present with God! I keep telling Him I know I have the faith that He can get me through this and I mean it! I didn’t have the faith last time, nor did I have fellowship of AA because I cut myself off from it!

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God’s kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of our own Creator.” 12 and 12 page 98

I practice self-examination, meditation and prayer daily. I also report my accountability of this to 3 other women in the program daily. May sound hokey or unnecessary but it has made a huge difference in my life and my sobriety. This is a WE deal, I have been told this from day one in AA. Difference is, today I understand what that means! I’m gonna come through this with the God, faith, fellowship and some sanity this time because I am taking the action necessary to do so.

Halloween Eve


I guess I’ve been a little nostalgic the last day or so. My first sobriety date was 10/30/04. I started this journey 9 years ago!!! Crazy that it has been long! I don’t see my relapse as having lost something, I really gained more experience and was truly able to concede to my innermost self that I am definitely alcoholic! So no regret! I had no idea 9 years ago what I was getting myself into but I was certain that I didn’t wanna live and be like I was. I was just dead on the inside.

Busy busy busy! But that is what a life of sobriety has given me…. A FULL Life! I’ve grown up and learned how to be a lady, although I don’t always act like it! I learned how to be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and especially how to be a friend! I wasn’t really any good at any of those before sobriety. I guess I had my moments at times but I was never someone you could truly rely on.

“He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave.” Big Book page 164

AA has taught me how to suit up and show up in all areas of my life; work, family, service work, friendship etc. As a direct result of that, I have a very full life and many precious friends. That is 9 years worth of relationships that I have had the joy and sometimes the pain of developing. Some are here, some have moved, some don’t come around much, some aren’t sober anymore, and some have passed away. I wouldn’t trade any of those precious moments with any of those people for anything!

What’s funny to me is, I never would have thought that all of this that I have is what I truly wanted. But I also have learned if I wanna keep what I have, I have to continue to do “the work”! Practice the principles in all my affairs. That’s what the 12th step says.

“Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to you fellows. Clear away the wreckage of you past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.” Big Book page 164

Pretty clear directions of what I have to do to continue to grow along this spiritual path that I am on. That’s why my name is trudgingdestiny. It’s what I am doing everyday….. By the Grace of God.

Taking a Spiritual Dump


My introduction to step 4 the first time went something like this….. My sponsor asked me, “Are you powerless over alcohol?” I said, “Yes!” (I know now I didn’t even really know what she was asking nor what my answer meant). She then asked, “Do you believe in a Power greater than your self?” I said, “Yes!” The we prayed the 3rd step prayer and I started writing a 4th step. I was less than a month sober at the time. I went to the library and defined every possible word I could on those worksheets that she gave me. Selfish, Self-esteem, Pride, Ambition, etc. I wanted it to be perfect. I thought it had to be or I would get drunk!

It really didn’t take me to terribly long to do the 4th step in this way, the check off form worksheet method. I got it all completed and prepared to do my 5th step and was nervous as hell. I had never said a lot of these things out loud nor admitted them to myself much less to another person. But I was willing to do whatever it took to get over this life threatening disease that I had figured out that I had. It was on a Sunday and I will never forget it! I told her all that garbage that I had been carrying for 27 years. We laughed, cried, and I realized that I was a very petty person.

She gave me the instructions for my hour of meditation & prayer and I went to do 6&7. I don’t know what the hell happened! I can’t even write well enough to explain it! I was free! I have never felt that light in all my life and I am not sure I have felt that way since that day! I think I could have floated away on a cloud if the just the right wind had blown by. I was lighter than air. I wanted to sing and I AM NOT a good singer. I am a car/shower type singer and I couldn’t have cared less if the whole world could hear me sing. I might have auditioned for American Idol had they been in town. It gives me chills to even think about it!

Knowing what I do now about the information that I didn’t know about the book or my disease, I missed a lot doing the steps in this manner. But I got the effect promised to me in our literature anyways!

“Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” Big Book page 75

See, I was willing, honest, and open-minded! These, it tells me are indispensable. I have since, been through the book many times; line by line, word for word, with a sponsor. I have never done another 4th step in this manner. They have all been fully written out with all the columns not a check off form My sponsors have made me write not just what was affected but how. They have also made me look at not if I was selfish but how I was selfish. A lot more in depth, but that’s ok because……

“We have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with our Creator, and to discover the obstacles in our path.” Big Book page 72

If that is the point, then if I want more, I must look deeper and I must do more. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like every time I get to my 4th step again I jump for joy and do back flips! But I do know that God always has something in store for me on the other side! My Sponsor tells me the greater the doubt, the greater the awakening! I believe her.

I get the privilege of listening to my sponsee 5th step tonight. When I was telling my sponsor I was nervous about messing up she reminded me that I am just there to listen to her take a spiritual dump so that she can walk a way a little lighter because all that baggage is gonna be gone. I laughed! So here’s to my sponsee and her spiritual dump! I am so grateful I get to be a part of her walk into the Sunlight of the Spirit!

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