Monday, February 29, 2016


This week with heavenly and earthly help, I nailed down my present definition of sobriety.

Semantics are tricky, amIright?  When it comes to defining my own sobriety, the words I use make a huge difference.  Too many words overwhelm me to the point of giving up on weighing in on myself... I give up on self-accountability before I even begin.  Not enough words, and justification sneaks in with rationalization on it's shirttails.
Ambiguity is not an option.
Perfectionism is not an option.
Balance is the key.  And balance can be so elusive.

I struggle with my own addictions, so do I throw that into my definition?  I reminded myself that I am working the 12-steps outlined in the s-anon program.
Why am I doing that?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that question?  Do you ever sit through a meeting and think, "What am I doing?  Who am I?  When did THIS get to be my story?  WHY AM I DOING THIS?!"

A: Because of the pain.  I flashed back to that day... it was the tail end of 2010 and I was in so much emotional pain that it graduated to physical pain.  My heart hurt.  And not in the way folks on social media say, "My heart hurts" when there's puppies with no one to adopt them.  My heart LITERALLY hurt.  I clutched my chest.  I couldn't think straight.  I couldn't see through the tears.

One thought pounded clearly through, though:


Everything I had done to keep this life from being my life had failed.  I was living this life -the life of a woman married to a man with a compulsive sex addiction -at the hands of my husband.  I was in the ugliest, irrational bout of Tug of War with my circumstances.
Sometimes they controlled me.
Sometimes I liked to think I controlled them.

But that day, I realized my circumstances just WERE and the Tug of War was all in my head.


As the tears turned into a migraine, a question came through the brain pipes:


It felt that way.  In that moment, it felt like a change of circumstances was impossible for me.  JUST me.  I had exhausted my abilities, resources, capabilities.  According to my past experiences, that meant that the only thing life had left to offer me was WHAT WAS.

I didn't know then what I know now -that circumstances have not much to do with my peace and serenity unless I let them.  I thought if my circumstances were in line with MY IDEA of peace and serenity and happiness, then I could be peaceful, happy and serene.

My pain came from trying to manage everything around me, everything inside of me.
And that -right there -is where I found my definition of recovery.  I turned to s-anon because of the unmanageability that came into my life from trying to manage everything and everyone around me.

"If I go to control, fear, or anger and try to manage it myself, I have lost my sobriety."

So hey there.  My name is Alicia, and I am 3 days sober.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Feeling Good

Lately, I've spent more time down than up.  Health issues are one of my trials right now, and I'm trying to practice (learn) acceptance.

Yesterday I woke up without a stomach ache for the first time in at least a week.  I'd been to visit my trusty Back Doc which meant my joint inflammation (which has been wicked this last week) had eased up. I got outside as quickly as I could -is there anything better than crisp morning air?  It was light outside, but the sun wasn't officially "up."  I had a hyper dog with me, and we kept a good pace.  I loved feeling the sun's rays on my back as it peeked up in the east.
I came home and jumped on my yoga mat for a gentle session.  I didn't want to over-do it.  I set my intention, "I am grateful."  Danny joined me and let me guide him through a session with me.  I'm no yoga instructor, but it felt really vulnerable to invite someone into my session.  I listen to my gut and my poses follow a flow that my intuition dictates.  I let Danny in which was brave in it's own yogi way.
Off my mat, I made breakfast. I sang out loud to Jerry Lee Lewis, and my family found out that Mom knows all the lyrics to "Great Balls of Fire" even if she doesn't have the moves to go with them... just more bravery from Mom, right?  I did dishes and went outside.  I raked things and moved things.  I pulled some old leaves out of the flower bed, noticing that decomposition was taking place.  I loved that.

The cycle of life is amazing.  The leaves once gave shade and are now turning into compost -fertilizer.  They continue to serve and give, even after death.  It made me think of those who have passed away, how their service now is different but still felt, still making a difference. How death can be a door of sorts... while living, the leaves couldn't do the job they're doing while dead.  I think people must be the same way -doing jobs they just couldn't do while living.

I came inside and cracked away at some online work.  I was able to clean up the house here and there... chucked out old food from the fridge and spent some time bleaching tupperware and mason jars.
I washed windows.
They are streaked, but I don't even care.  I didn't wash them so they'd be clean, if we're being honest.  I washed them because it was nice outside and washing windows sounded like a nice thing to do.

As the day closed, I took a nice shower.  I skipped making dinner so Danny bought some.  I started some homemade broth in the crock pot.  Danny and I tried our hand at starting a batch of sauerkraut.

I stopped in at my grandma's house that evening to watch Lawrence Welk with Grandpa -our weekly standing date I just hate to miss.

We wound down to a few episodes of "Rosemary & Thyme" -a show we aren't even ashamed to say we love.  It's like Scooby-Doo for grown-ups... and middle-aged ladies.
Then I lit a little lamp and we all snuggled up in my bed for scriptures.  I read from a children's book and sent them off to bed.

As I stepped in an old cow trough -now filled with dirt, getting ready to be planted with all manner of cool stuff -to wash the outside of my bedroom window, I thought, 'Today is amazing.  But if I were 16, today would be the worst.'

I remember hating days like that -days filled with dailies.  A day without something HAPPENING just felt so wasted.

But when life has hit, when sorrow and pain hit hard, when health takes a dive... days like yesterday feel completely miraculous.

Raking flower beds that will be filled with leaves again soon.  Washing windows that will be dusty again in days.  Washing dishes that will be dirty again tomorrow.  Cleaning a fridge that will be filled with filthy food again in a few months.

It doesn't feel pointless anymore.
It feels blessed.

I crawled into bed with sun-kissed cheeks, and as I got ready for church this morning, I didn't bother covering them up.  In earlier years, I'd put on extra foundation to cover up, to make my skin look more even-colored.  But this year, all I feel is proud... proud of the pink skin, proud of the streaky windows.

I used to feel like life was wasted if I did "meaningless" things.  I felt like in order for my life to matter, I had to be seen by people who matter.
But I'm finding for me that life serves a deeper, higher purpose in the thick of those seemingly meaningless tasks.

And that as I rake leaves, I'm seen by God.
And that the people who matter actually live with me.

On Monday, we sat together around our kitchen table and talked about faith.  We poked some seeds into some little peat pots and softly asked them to grow, grow, grow!

Yesterday morning, I woke up to the most beautiful green sprout I've ever seen.  One of my seeds decided to answer my call.  It feels so fragile, so weak.  But it is so precious to me.  Gardening is not something that comes natural, but I love everything about a seed growing into a fruitful plant.

It reminds me of faith and hope, service and stillness.

It reminds me of raking and compost.

It reminds me of growing up with a family who gardened together through gnat clouds and choke weed.

It reminds me of change... because if a seed can sprout under my guiding hand, surely change is real.  And surely, if I can find peace, purpose and a heck of a lot of gratitude while pushing dirt and washcloths around, change is really real.

Friday, February 5, 2016


I love Robert Frost -I've always had a weird complex with jumping on Fan Trains.  This is why I didn't read Harry Potter until everyone else had quit and why I don't do chevron anything.
If it has a fan following, something inside of me strongly resists.
There have been a few exceptions, and Robert Frost is one of those exceptions.  I'm a Frost Fan.

His poetry keeps me on my toes.  I read through them and find a surface message, but I return and dig deep and find a deeper message.
As I read, "Lodged," I smiled.
It is depressing on the surface, conjuring up images of beaten little flowers -victims to the unrelenting nature of nature.

But it isn't depressing.  It is empowering.

A garden bed brings up two pictures in my mind: a plot of fertile dirt, waiting for rain to bring forth fruit.
And a bed/bed... as in the kind of bed I kneel beside, just as the flowers knelt.

I lay lodged, though not dead.
Ah, that beautiful storm that bring me to my knees, it FEEL lodged in those moments.

But I know that when the rain and wind move on, I shake and straighten... my blossom glows brighter, my stem stronger.  Those around me grow as a result of my storm.

Praises be to the storm.
May you kneel during the push and pelt, for glory and grace are waiting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I Buy Books Now

I do.

I used to read voraciously, to the point that my Mom was worried about me.  I read so much -so many things!  My world was made up of narratives, the voices in my head sounded like Roald Dahl and Teddy Geisel.  I tore through The Work and The Glory in Junior High, and High School consisted of me browsing bookstores for books I could carry around in my Pepto Pink back pack -books that gave me an essence of awesome, just by holding them.
I couldn't make it through Silas Marner, and couldn't finish 1985, but I wrote smashing critiques about how awful I felt they were.
I memorized slam poetry, giggled through Jane Austen's SPOT ON characterization and tried very hard to pretend like I was dark enough to love "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
That didn't get me much but some extra attention from a concerned principal.
I guess it is a compliment to my acting skills that he couldn't see through the facade?

Anyway, somewhere between then and last year, I just quit reading.  The narratives in my head grew quieter and quieter still.  I didn't realize how much I missed them because I wasn't myself.  And anyone who isn't me and isn't accustomed to constant narrative streaming in the background of life WOULDN'T MISS IT.

Maybe it's because I quit reading the right kind of books and started reading sabotaging self-help books.
All it took was a baker's dozen of those to sell me on a life without books forever.  Throwing the baby out with the bath water has always been a favorite trick of mine.

Whatever the reason, my heart or my shoes, I quit reading.  I quit buying books.

I let go of an integral part of my identity.

I didn't realize it.  I realized somewhere along the line that I wasn't buying books, but I didn't realize FULLY what was going on until a few days ago when the voices came back.

The constant narration is BACK, and I can't write enough.  I can't put my keyboard down.  I have books in my hand again -new books, books that I BOUGHT with the money I made at my job!

I'm basically 17 again, sans back pack and cuckoo's nests.

I think the word I'm dancing around here is "restoration."

I'm looking forward to my next paycheck because I've got a few books in my cart.  Isn't it great being a grown up?  I don't have to wait for other kids to finish reading the book I want... I can just BUY it.  The problem I'm running into now as an adult is setting boundaries for STOPPING.

And now that I'm finding and reading all of these great books, I keep giving them away because apparently I assume that everyone isn't reading great books.

But it doesn't matter.  What does matter -what really does matter -is that one of my favorite pieces of me came back this week, and I think there needs to be some sort of ceremonial cake eating.
Or something.