Saturday, June 20, 2015

Powerlessness

I had an amazing group meeting today. I love the women in my group. I just absolutely love them. They are some of the most beautiful, courageous, stunning souls I have ever met. I love them so much.
Today we talked about powerlessness. I used to think of powerlessness as a bad thing. If I had no power, then I couldn't do anything. I wasn't good enough. I was worthless. And that's how I felt in my addiction. No matter how much I tried or wanted to stop, I couldn't. I would have long bouts of sobriety, but then I would fall again. Every time I would want to kick myself. Sometimes I would actually bang my head on something...I just couldn't understand why I was doing it again and again. I decided to be stronger, to work harder. The sobriety would last a while again. But eventually, I would give in again. And so on and so forth...for years.
It wasn't until after I talked to my bishop that I was introduced to powerlessness. Talking to him was really good. I felt relief and a sense of peace that I hadn't felt for a long time. But he said something to me that I didn't quite understand. He told me I had an addiction. He gave me an addiction recovery manual and told me he would like me to start attending group meetings. I seriously had no idea what he was talking about.
He tried to get me to go to group that next week, but I didn't go. I was nervous and scared and decided that I didn't really need group--that it wasn't for me. I honestly thought I would be fine without it. But during that week, I continued to be tempted with things that were beyond me. They were unimaginable things that I couldn't understand. I couldn't understand why I was being tempted with such horrible thoughts and feelings. I wanted to throw up. I wanted to climb into a hole and not come out. But it was then that I understood I had an addiction. And I realized the addiction was bigger than me. There was no way I was going to conquer this Goliath on my own. Understanding that I didn't have to do it on my own brought instant relief. This huge burden lifted off my shoulders. I realized that powerlessness was a good thing. Powerlessness brought Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ back into my life. Proclaiming my powerlessness was the way for Them to sweep in and exert Their beautiful and incredible power.
I believe that sometimes Heavenly Father allows us to take a wrong turn in order to find the right one. He lets us travel the wide, bumpy road, in order to find the strait and narrow path. For, without the experiences I had in the past, I would not know of the sweetness of the here and now. I am grateful for agency. Truly, it is a gift. Heavenly Father knows me and loves me. How grateful I am for this truth. How grateful I am for Jesus Christ and a way back.
How grateful I am for powerlessness.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

One...

One year.
Today is my one year sobriety and recovery date. So, I guess it's sort of like an anniversary. I am humbled and grateful to my Heavenly Father, my Savior, Jesus Christ, my bishop, my husband, my sponsor, my group, my therapist, and to all others who have helped along the way. I know I wouldn't have made it without all of them, but I especially owe this sobriety and recovery to Jesus Christ. He is the reason it is possible. He is the reason I don't feel lost in the depths of despair and darkness anymore. He is the reason I feel hope and peace and joy. He loves me--all of me. His grace has been, is, and always will be sufficient for me. It is sufficient for everyone. That is a miracle. Truly, the Atonement is a miracle. It is a precious gift from my Father in Heaven. I don't always see it or treat it that way, but I become more determined each day to do so. I have faith in Heavenly Father's plan for me. I have hope in Jesus Christ. I am happy today. Today has been an absolutely wonderful day. I know my days won't always be like this. But I pray with every fiber of my being that when they are not, I will reach for my Savior. I pray that I will turn to Him and trust in Him. He is the way. He is my way, and I will follow Him. I do not know where I would be without my addiction and without recovery. I know this weakness is a gift from my Father. He knew I needed it. I will always need it--to learn and grow and change, to become what He knows I can become. It is in my weaknesses that I find my greatest potential and my divine identity. I have a lot of weaknesses--so many that I have yet to really work on. But I know that recovery will help me with those too. I know my Savior will help me with all my weaknesses. I can surrender them to Him. He can give me courage and strength and light. His light and touch is in every good thing, and I am so grateful for Him. I have felt His arms wrap around me so many times in the last year. It is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. And I will not give it up. I am ready for another year. But I will take it one day, one moment at a time. For now, I will just remember what Jesus Christ has given me.
One year.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Funk...

I am in a funk...mostly emotionally and physically and mentally but also a little spiritually. I just haven't been me the last few days...it's frustrating. I don't know why I feel this way. It could be one specific thing or a bunch of things, but I don't know, so it's bothering me. I don't want to do my dailies. I want to isolate. And I have been isolating a bit. I've been super tempted to act out. Thank goodness I haven't. Thank Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ that I haven't. Thank my support system that I haven't.
Anyway. I don't really have much else to say except that I'm in a funk. I hope I get out of it. Soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Breakthrough...

Monday of this week, I had a breakthrough. I was lying in bed, unable to fall asleep, and I began to think about things. In particular, I was thinking about an experience I had had over the weekend. My sister and her kids came to visit for Memorial day. We all went to the open house of the Payson temple. It was beautiful. Before we left, my sister told me that she and a few of her kids really wanted to go see a movie after going through the temple, and she wondered if I wanted to go with them. When she told me the name of the movie, my heart sunk a little. It was a movie that I had decided not to see, based on its content. I did not judge my sister for wanting to see it, but I have a boundary set for myself, and I knew I couldn't cross it. So, in a bunch of fumbled and mumbled words, I told her I didn't want to see the movie. I was so afraid of hurting her feelings, of her thinking that I was judging her or claiming to be better than her. But I knew I would not be true to myself if I went. She was a little sad but took it pretty well. I was so grateful to have found the courage to say no, through grace. I know Jesus Christ was there helping me, and Heavenly Father was looking down on me, giving me strength. It almost seems like a small, perhaps even silly, thing. But to me, if I had crossed that boundary, it wouldn't have been small. It could have really messed with my recovery. I am so grateful that I said no. This was one of the things I was thinking about, as I longed for sleep on Monday night.
I also thought about how sometimes I don't feel close to Jesus Christ. I still feel like I don't really know Him, like we don't have the relationship I want to have and feel the need to have. This is a struggle for me, and I often feel shame about it. Like, "Why do I not feel close to Him?! I have almost a year of sobriety and recovery. This is ridiculous. I should know Him better by now. I should understand Him and the Atonement...and basically I should be ready to be beamed up to heaven." Yeah, that's what Satan tells me. I know he is wrong, but sometimes he is really believable. And he plays on my weak points. But as the shame started to creep in, instead of dwelling on those thoughts, I began to think about how much I have changed in this last year. I have really become a new person, and I owe that to Jesus Christ. I still have a long way to go, but I have also come a long way. A year ago, I wouldn't have said no to that movie, and I probably would have really enjoyed it--even (or especially) the parts with questionable content. And it was this thought that proceeded my breakthrough...
As I thought about this miraculous change in me, I realized that I am GRATEFUL for my addiction. Let me repeat that: I am GRATEFUL for my addiction. I really am. And I cannot even believe I am writing these words. Without my addiction, I wouldn't be the person I am today. It is very possible that I wouldn't feel a need for a Heavenly Father and a Savior. It is quite possible that I would be content in isolation, and I would not reach out for the support of others or offer my support to them. Without my addiction, I would be a different person. Heavenly Father knew that I needed this weakness, this trial in order to change and become more like my Savior, Jesus Christ. He knew that I needed this in order to learn humility, patience, hard work, courage, and strength. Could I have learned these things some other way? I suppose it is possible. But I am beginning to learn that this addiction did not happen TO me. It happened FOR me. Heavenly Father, in his infinite goodness and knowledge, gave me this weakness out of love. And I am grateful for Him and for it. During this last year, I have heard women in my group talk about how grateful they are for their addictions. I thought they were CRAZY. Like really INSANE. I didn't understand it. How could they be grateful for something so horrible and awful and tormenting? How could they be grateful for something that brought them so much pain, shame, and heartache? But I understand now. It is the horrible moments, the awful darkness, the tormenting thoughts, the painful nights, the shame-filled actions, and the aching heart that push me to reach out to Christ and ask for His help, his solace, his grace. The moment I began to contemplate changing and asking for Help, He reached out to me and grabbed my hand. He was always there, but I needed to ask. I needed to realize that I couldn't and He could. Then, I had to let Him.
I have felt the love of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as I have written these words. I am so grateful for Them. I am so thankful that they have helped me to have this breakthrough. I am so grateful for the women in my group who have been patient and loving and kind and such wonderful examples to me. This journey of recovery is a beautiful journey, and I am so grateful to be on it. I can't wait to return to my heavenly home some day and thank Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, in person, for my addiction.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My spirit and body

I have a theory...because of something I felt yesterday. I have been physically ill over the past year or so. It is nothing life-threatening (as far as I know), but it is uncomfortable, painful, and confusing. Yesterday I was in pain. And the thought came to me that my spirit was feeling empathy for my body, and therefore I was also in a bit of emotional pain and turmoil. That really made me stop and think. When I am emotionally or spiritually upset, a lot of times I have physical symptoms. I get headaches, stomach aches, nausea, etc. And so I wonder, is this my body having an empathetic response to my spirit? I don't really know. But I have a theory that my body and spirit have empathy one for the other. And for some reason, that gives me a lot of comfort. I am grateful for the connection and the validation. I know my body and spirit are one and they are me, but I often feel distance from the Holy Spirit, and I think, in turn, from my spirit. So, it is comforting. That's all I have to write, but I wanted to write it because I had a strong feeling about it, and it brought me some peace.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Climbing mountains...

I had amazing group meeting tonight. I meet once a week with some incredible women. I am so grateful for this blessing in my life.
Today we talked about mountains. Well, sort of. We talked about how we often come to mountains in our lives, and we want to sit at the bottom and complain about how tall and rocky and slippery they are, and then we promptly ask Heavenly Father to remove them because they would just be too hard to climb. The truth is, they are hard to climb. Sometimes, even impossible--that is, to climb them on our own. The mountains in my life, and I'm sure in everyone else's, tower over me and cover me in their never-ending shadow of darkness. I feel like I want to quit when I look upon them--just give in and give up. A lot of times, that's exactly what I do. But there is a way to climb these mountains. It is a beautiful, tender way, filled with peace and light and truth. The way is grace. The way is Jesus Christ. He will rarely move the mountains for us, but He will help us climb them. He will take our hand--or both of our hands if we can't even muster to lift one--and he will lift us up. He will help us take each step. He knows how hard it is. He knows it is painful. He knows that I am exhausted and that I don't want to climb anymore. But He asks me to put one foot in front of the other and assures me that He will be by my side. He will push from behind; He will pull from the front; He will grasp my hand by my side. All He asks is that I have the desire to continue moving and that I humbly ask for His help. But even when I lose the desire, He is right there waiting, pleading for me to try one more time. He assures me that there will be places to rest. He will fill my cup with water and feed me along the way. He will hold me in his arms and caress me as I rest--as I take deep breaths and ask for courage to begin again. He will instill in me courage. He will endow me with strength. He will fill me with peace. He will surround me with love. He will embrace me with grace.
I am ever so thankful for grace. I am thankful for the reminder tonight to not give up but to keep climbing. He is with me, and He will be forever.
He is my Savior and yours.
Keep fighting.
Keep climbing.
He is with us.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

One of those days...

Today has been one of those days. I was grumpy. My husband was grumpy. Neither of us felt good. Nothing worked out the way we thought it would. I ignored my kids and snapped at them. My husband did the same. Blah...My thought right before putting the kids to bed today was, "I hope this isn't my last day. Because it sure was an awful one." But I guess all I can hope is that tomorrow is a better day. Even more than hope though, I can make it a better day. I can have a better attitude. I can talk to and play with my kids. I can forgive my husband's grumpiness and see what I can do to make his day better. I can apologize and ask forgiveness for my grumpiness. I can ask Heavenly Father for strength to endure the pain that I am feeling in my body. I can ask him for courage to continue searching for answers as to why I still don't feel good. These are some things I can do to make tomorrow better. Today was awful, but tomorrow can be awesome. I have so many blessings. 
Today I helped set up and clean up for a funeral in my ward. It really made me think about death...One day, we'll all die. And that's it. I mean, I know Heavenly Father is merciful, and I don't have to be perfect because of the Atonement, but I really do need to make the most of my time here on earth. And I don't think I've been doing a very good job of that. But tomorrow I can try again and do better. I have an amazing, loving husband. I have two beautiful, fantastic kids. I have family and friends who love me and look out for me. I have a warm bed and food to eat. And I have countless other blessings. So even though today was not a day I would choose to live again, I can actually have a "do over" tomorrow and the next day and the next--until I get it right. This is because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for Him. I know He loves me and will help me get back up and fight. Sometimes every day seems like a fight--physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And sometimes I get really tired. But He will help. He is there. He loves me. 
I am grateful for that.