True North


Thank You to everyone who followed my journey while I was Trudging Destiny!!! When I first started writing I never thought anyone would ever read these things and it wants really the point. I felt I had a story to tell. What it brings to me today is clarity, solution, and an outlet of expression.

I have moved from Trudging Destiny to

TrueNorth1218

Same blogger different name. It’s a new journey for me since my new sobriety date of 5/18/16. A lot has happened and life is very different for me. I hope you that have followed me here will consider following me as I try to seek My True North. ūüėé

TC‚úĆūüŹĽ

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Practicing Gratefulness


Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.- Barry Neil Kaufman

When you have destroyed your life to the point of what you think is unrepairable, where do you go? How do you even begin? What steps do you begin to take? Desperation drove me to do ‘whatever’ was suggested is my story. Even making gratitude lists!!! I’ve heard of these, what I would have referred to in the past, “stupid lists” since I arrived at AA in 2004. But never would I have thought these fluffy, psychobabble, silly things would be helpful. I’ve been such a cynic. I have called myself a realist, but in truth I have been a pessimist. I prepared for the worst because it WAS coming, nothing good was coming….. that happened to other people.

So when my sponsor suggested that I make a daily list and send it to her and she’d send me hers, in this new journey in sobriety…..I could have rolled my eyes all the way down the street. I was so damn annoyed!!! But when you are as beat as I was… you just do it anyway. Her lists were nothing short of amazing and wonder. Mine, on the other hand, coffee, my astringent (they were afraid I was gonna drink the crap in rehab so I just got it back), my pillow, and talking to my son. At least I could see something.

But it did get better, I got better. Lots of stuff happened and that would be entirely too dang long for this particular blog but I began to see things. I began to actually look for things throughout the day to be grateful for. A call from a friend. A beautiful sunset. A day without a migraine. A patient not cussing me out or hitting me (I worked in a fully locked unit so let’s just say my patients were a trip and sometimes I was the ride). A day without a fight with my husband. God’s grace. Becoming conscious of His Power, hell becoming conscious. My eyes were beginning to open to the wonder of life through the eyes of gratitude, from these little lists. That’s not all of course but I do believe now in hindsight they were a game changer for me.

Then the bottom dropped out about the time I thought I was catching my stride. After a month and half of inpatient rehab and 5 1/2 months in sober living I was going to move back home closer to my son and husband but into my own apartment. But like I said, what do you do when you have damaged your life beyond repair? What happened to me is I was handed divorce papers. I was heart broken. But I changed nothing in my daily routine. I continued to pray, meditate, talk to others that I trusted and most of all I continued to look for things everyday to be grateful for. Just like the quote says, “no matter what is going on outside of us, there is always something to be grateful for”.

I became grateful for God’s plan for my life. That all I had to ‘do’ was the moment that I was actually ‘doing’ at the present second, and knew that I could handle that. I couldn’t possibly handle everything I was going through, so I just didn’t. I just breathed it out. I focused on just what was good. Not what I messed up, not what I could no longer fix, not what I could have done differently in the past, not what was going to happen in the future, not what I wanted or thought I needed…… I focused on the moment I was in, mindfulness and being grateful. Grateful for everything that I had been through, the lessons I had learned, the mistakes I had made and the truth I had learned from them, the memories that we had shared good and bad because that energy was always and forever expended between the two of us, for who holds the future because it is far better off in His hands that it would ever be in mine. There were dark moments, sad moments, hard moments, and painful moments but they were all temporary although they didn’t ‘feel’ that way at the time.

“No matter how hard you try, you cannot get rid of darkness because it does not exist. It is nothing but the absence of light. In order to effect darkness you must do something with light, because the light is the only thing that actually exists.” -Teal

Developing the practice of gratitude in my daily life, for me, was one of the many things that brought light into my darkness. Not just the list though, that’s way too simple. Being grateful for something is more than just an attitude towards something, it takes action, awareness, care, concern, compassion, responsibility, respect, attentiveness….. get my drift??? It has paid huge dividends for me by bringing light into my darkness. I had no idea that gratitude could be such a game changer or at least it has been for me. It has immensely helped me and 4 months later after I thought I might just die without “him” I am once again whole. Completely grateful for the entire journey and hopeful for what is to come.

Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude. – A.A. Milne

Unshakable Foundation, Part 2


Better late than never Part 2…….after the Inventory, then what? Well that is the other part of the unshakable foundation I have been working on for the last 2 years and a month. Thank you to AA for showing me how to be a woman of my word and giving me an ego that won’t let me be the ONLY one in my accountability circle that answers a consistent “no” to meditation on my nightly check-ins.

“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

I was told to pray beginning on day one when I landed in AA by accident (God knew what He was doing and it’s a good thing He didn’t ask my for my opinion because I was already trying to run). My thoughts on the praying thing were all completely negative due to the fact I thought I had “neatly evaded and entirely ignored” the whole “GOD” thing for a while. But I was no FOOL! I saw the G-O-D in red on the wall in those cute little steps of theirs and I was not real happy about it!!!. The problem was that alcoholism had done its due diligence with me and had completely crushed me from the inside out. I was utterly hopeless and I had been granted what I know today as the “gift of desperation”!

They told me to Pray and I did. I was out of options and good ideas…. or bad ideas for that matter. Over time, God and I grew to be on better speaking terms, mainly because my perception of Him Changed. But that is a longer story for another day. But the whole meditation idea I completely ignored for almost 8 years of my sobriety. I just figured that was for more balanced folks. You know the ones that can turn their brains off for more than 10 seconds, and I was not that girl! Not by a long shot! I ignored the directions on page 86-88 of the Big Book and would hit and miss Prayer in the morning and at night. I prayed in times of trouble, not so much when things were good. I leaned on the fellowship for strength and on conferences for spiritually filling my cup instead of really trying to enlarge my spiritual life through truly seeking God.

Then came the day I wanted more, I needed more! I listened to a Mark Houston CD on steps 10, 11 and 12. He basically said if you aren’t doing 10, 11, and 12 then you aren’t doing AA!!! Talk about a stake in the heart, because I knew he was talking about me. I was doing step 12. I was working with newcomer women and I had service commitments. But If I was really honest with myself, I wasn’t great at step 10 because my ego was justifying a lot of behavior and I was very unapproachable. Just ask anyone in my homegroup, LOL!!! My 7 year chip Birthday night “roast” was brutal! I’ve never been called a Bitch in so many Politically Correct terms in my whole life and from the podium. Prayer, some…. Meditation, NOPE! I needed some serious work!

But thank God we are a work in Progress!!!!! Spiritual Progress not Spiritual Perfection!!! I was finally ready to acknowledge that I was ignoring these vital steps!!! I was ready to address them head on! I found some women that were ready like I was, not without some misgivings. I knew I needed accountability to help me remain motivated and stay the course. I am so grateful for these women that have been with me on this!

Texting nightly inventories and committing to what at first was morning meditation. Which has become daily meditation. I’ve learned that I can meditate whenever I want to! If I miss it in the morning, I can do it at lunch or before bed, because there is never a wrong time to quiet my crazy head and listen for God. I listened to guided meditations on youtube, I still do. I’ve read spiritual books. I read 86-88 most mornings….. It really is a WONDERFUL way to start the day!!!! I pray my way through it! I’ve done 21 day meditation challenges from Deepak Choprah. I don’t get upset with myself if I can’t keep my head quiet for 3 minutes or 5 minutes or 7 minutes. However long it is quiet is however long I meditate. Somedays longer and some days shorter. It’s not about the length it’s about the effort! I believe God is honoring my effort.

The Unshakable foundation is this…… Emotional balance!!!! What the hell!!! If you would have told me that when I started this process, I would have said BS!!! No Way!!! Crazy-ass girls with heads that run like mine don’t ever get to a point where they obtain emotional balance……But it is true! Higher Highs and Not low lows…..Does that make sense? Less anger! The ability to keep my Big ‘ol mouth shut! The ability to appreciate the sunset in Puerta Vallarta for 30 minutes. To be able to pause my day for that long to watch it! I highly recommend it, if you haven’t tried it! God continues to reveal more and more to me and more about me! I’m so so grateful God gave me the willingness to give this a shot! I only wish I would have tried it sooner!

God help me!


Do you ever wonder “Where is God in this?” or “Why is¬†God letting this¬†happen?” or “How could this possibly be God’s will?”¬† Well I do! There’s just some things in life that are hard to reconcile. Like why my 24 year old dear friend had a massive stroke when she was sober and doing the best to live spiritually and serve God. Thank God for good sponsorship! I still remember vividly the phone call I got that morning. I was at work in a meeting when my phone rang. I excused myself from the meeting for a minute to take the call and proceeded to begin wailing. Really sucking snot hard! That kind of crying that you can’t contain the noise or¬†the almost hyperventilating breathing. I was devastated!

My boss¬†pulled me aside and told me to go for a drive. I got in my car and promptly called my sponsor. She made me take 10 deep breaths in and out and made me count them out loud to her. Then she said, ” Are you listening?”¬† I said, “Yes.” She said, “You need to be. Are you ready?”¬†I again said, “Yes.” She then exclaimed in a very stern and definite tone, ” This is NOT ABOUT YOU!”

Bam! Snapped back to reality from my self-pity, self-centered, self-absorbed feelings. Was it devastating, YES! But her family needed me, but not like that! They needed strength and assurance. They needed a shoulder or an ear. They needed help with their children. What they did not need was some self-centered, wailing, defeated mess!

This all happened about 14 months ago. She made it out alive, it was very touch and go for over a month. But her, her husband and her children’s¬†lives are forever changed. I wouldn’t have been human if I hadn’t wondered those questions I formerly mentioned about God. I was able, through the grace of God and an awesome sponsor,¬†to live to His purpose.

“Service, gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world we are partners in a common effort, the well understood fact that in God’s light all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return … These are permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes. True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.” 12 and 12 -page 124

I am so forever grateful for the experiences God gives me, good or bad. Well, lets say I am grateful for them later down the road, because I am not always grateful for the bad ones at the time. I walked through that situation without it shaking my faith. Not everyone involved had the same experience as me. Some lost faith and questioned the existence of God and I completely understand why they did. That just wasn’t my experience.

So I rock along, 14 months later and I’ll be damned if I don’t have another situation arise that I have to ask God those same questions I did at the beginning of this blog. Another very dear friend of mine was blessed with a pregnancy after 38 years of a barren womb. We are 22 weeks in and she went into labor Monday night. She delivered the twin girls, Emery and Aylin, just before noon on Tuesday. Both the girls are angels in heaven now. I mean OMG! Are you freaking serious? Why? I am devastated yet again! I hurt so much for my friend! I feel just as helpless and lost as I did 14 months ago!

The first thing I heard in my head when I heard the new was my sponsor’s words, “This is NOT ABOUT YOU!”

“Henry Ford once made a wise remark to the effect that experience is the thing of supreme value in life.¬† That is true only if one is willing to turn the past to good account.¬† We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and convert them into assets.¬† The alcoholic’s past thus becomes the principal asset of the family and frequently it is almost the only one!” Big Book -page 124

I know without a shadow of a doubt that there is a plan. I know that the only thing, just like last time, that will get me through this is true dependence on God. I know how to not make this about me and I know my purpose!

“Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service¬†to God and the people about us.” Big Book- page 77

So I am leaning HEAVILY on God! I am focused on how I can serve! And my bags are packed to go do what AA has taught me so very well! WOW! How do you get from where I was 8 years ago……a me me me, what can I get from you, show up in the middle of the night unannounced and brake the tank on your toilet, self-serving, angry, psychopath…..to a woman who desperately longs to be of service in any way possible to my dear friend in her time of need? I’ll tell you how…… a total psychic change, a spiritual experience from actively working the 12 steps, in order as written and practicing the principles to the best of my ability and willingness on a daily consistent basis.

Man, I am so stinking grateful to God and AA right now I don’t even know how to act!

After Birthday Night


My husband was out of town at a Men’s conference, so he missed out on Birthday Night (BN). When BN was over I checked my phone and I had a text from¬†my awesome husband, it said……”you and I have been asked to speak at ______ Roundup May 10th”

My response, ” No No No No”

Him- ????, since when did you get allowed to say no?

Me- Answer your phone

Him- In meeting

Me- Was this your suggestion or idea? I will KILL you Mr Husband!

He called me after¬†his meeting and SWORE he didn’t throw me under the bus! I gave him the 5th degree of how this conversation went down. I am still not totally sure I believe him!

Like I said I don’t like speaking! He, on the other hand, is completely comfortable behind the podium or anywhere else that he has everyone’s full attention. He speaks very well and I don’t just say that because he is my husband! See he has a nice sized ego, so you have to be careful with compliments HAHA! Love you hubs!

I can already see how this will go down….. they will love him and they will listen to me and wonder why I was chosen. I am no way near his caliber of speaker. But, regardless, he was right when he asked me in the text…….”When did you get allowed to say no?” The truth is I don’t! I dang sure wouldn’t call my sponsor and tell her that I refused to speak! I am not that stupid!

But o do still have the compulsion to confess, so I did call my sponsor. I told her my response and she laughed and said, “I think that is wonderful! It ain’t about you anyway!” ¬†Then she gave me the same advice I have been given since I got sober , “Tell the truth and don’t say the “F” word.” ¬†After all, it has always worked in the past!

Instead of fretting over this for the next 2 months, I will add this to my prayer and meditation, trust that God knows what He is doing and just get mySELF out of the way! I will keep y’all up on the craziness that goes through my head over the next 2 months. Peace!

Birthday Night


“Life will take on new meaning.¬† To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss.¬† We know you will not want to miss it.¬† Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.” Big Book – page 89

I had no idea what this meant 9 years ago when I really tried to get sober for the first time! I didn’t get the “giving of yourself” part of the program. I couldn’t understand why these people, that I barely knew me, wanted to bring me in their circle. I kept thinking, “they must want something from me” or “if they really knew me, there is no way they would let me hang around much less include me in this group”. I’ve said this before, I was just so angry. I hated me and kinda hated them for not seeing how they should hate me too.

My sponsors have always spent tons of time with me. I just knew I was getting on their nerves. Hell, I was getting on my own nerves! But these people kept answering my phone calls, taking time out of their lives to sit down with me and the Big Book, and inviting me to “get in the truck”. I didn’t know that I had the option to say “No”. I thought they would kick me out if they did. I didn’t understand that by spending time with sick-ass me was helping them, too. They would tell me, “thank you”, and I was so confused! I would say, “Why are you thanking me? What did I do?” It was totally lost on me why they would do any of this for me.

Well, I can tell you I fully understand it now! About a year ago, God must have known how very very sick I was! He sent me 3 sponsees in a very short time frame. At the end of last year, when they were all on their 4th step at the same time, I was shocked! It had been a long time since I had gotten a sponsee past Bill’s Story, much less all 3 to start clearing the bogged down channel between them and their Higher Power!

Last Saturday, I had the honor and privilege of giving all 3 of these women their 1 year chips at Birthday Night! Before Birthday Night (BN), I felt weird having to do this 3 times, like a braggart or something. I hate speaking anyway, don’t like that type of attention. But I spent some time in the afternoon in meditation and prayer about BN and when the time came I was ready. None of these ladies getting a year sober was my accomplishment, responsibility or my fault. HAHA God used me for His purpose in these womens’ lives and with their willingness and surrender to the process on a daily basis.

“You are going to meet these new friends in your own community.¬† Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship.¬† If you live in a large place, there are hundreds.¬† High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous.¬† Among them you will make lifelong friends.¬† You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.¬† Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life.¬† You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”Big Book page 152-153

I am bound to these women with new and wonderful ties! BN was freaking awesome! I have fully experienced this paragraph in the book in my life and I am forever grateful!

Aside

It’s a WE deal!


You ever get the feeling that you just aren’t helpful or effective? That no one hears what you are saying? That they just don’t get the point? Well I do! But I have had it beat into my head that feelings aren’t facts! I’ve been told that since I got to AA. None of my sponsors have coddled me or listened to me whine about my “so-called” problems! It always been “where did you start the ball rolling”, or “what is your part in this” or “Man you really are sicker than I thought!”. I’m just kidding about the last one! Although it has been said to me and it is a realization I have come to myself!

But I am not the first one in the program to feel useless or it wouldn’t have talked about it in the bedevilments on page 52 of the Big Book. But God has always provided what I needed, as long as I have been wiling enough to look for it and to give Him credit. There was a period of time that I sponsored no one, truly I didn’t have what anyone wanted or what I wanted either. But when I finally started doing the work again and quit isolating myself from the people that had the answer and from the program, fellowship and service…..I began to get better.

Well that period of time was a while ago and I am not devoid of sponsees anymore. I actually went from 2 to 4 in one day! My first thought was…. “Man, God must think I’m real sick right now!” Truth be told, I love these women I sponsor! It lights me on fire when I see the light bulb come on! It’s better than any high I ever got off dope and booze! The book even tells us about it!

“Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends ‚ÄĒ this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives”.- Big Book page 89

Man has that been my truth! What a blessing and a promise! To go from a self-absorbed, self-centered, “me and mine” girl to wanting to help someone else…… I am amazed! Of course none of that would ever happen if I didn’t have God to reduce all the self, self, self! That was and is definitely a Big part of the equation!

“You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Big Book page 152-153

I have found them! I have made lifelong friends! I am bound to them, for they are my people! I have escaped disaster because they showed me the way out!¬†I journey with them! I have experienced giving of myself, my time, my experience so that¬†WE can not only survive but live! I have learned the meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself”! And I have been shown how to do this by some of the most wonderful people that were once hopeless just like me! It’s a WE deal! I get it!

It is freaking AMAZING!!!

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