Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Blind Faith

potholes

Blind faith is defined as ““belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination.” It wasn’t until recently it was pointed out to me, this is what I have.  A positive thing instead of the negative thing I would have described it as.

“It will all work out” has been one of my favorite lines for years.  As a single mom, I always believed things would work out.  I didn’t know how, I didn’t know why – I just believed they would.  I actually believe my relationship with God was pretty much nonexistent through HS, college and later in life.  During my early years, I was active in church and a Rainbow Girl.  I believed in God just didn’t have a relationship with him.  Weird, right?

God was there even when I didn’t see or believe it.  He had his hand on everything which is why I believe through my years of addiction, I was saved.  I had a blind faith deep in my soul despite the odds.  My first time in the rooms, I always said I was “spiritual” not religious.  The Serenity Prayer was the closest I got to having a conversation with God.  It was the thing which kept me going even when I was on the road to relapse and during my relapse.  I thought it was more of a foxhole prayer at that point since I had made such a mess of my life.

Now, I have a relationship with God. Are there still potholes in my path? YES!  Do I wonder if I am on the right road or following his purpose for me? YES!  Do I still struggle with fear?  YES! Do I still play the comparison game? YES!  Fear and doubt didn’t not magically go away because of my faith.  Satan loves to play with me especially on days when my MS flares up.

Every morning, I read my “Just for Today” and pause for a moment to thank God for his many blessings.  Truth be told (have you heard this amazing song?), I don’t STOP and wait to LISTEN for God’s message.

 

There are some days, it is more obvious than others I haven’t listened.  The days when the doubts come.  The days when resentments build.  The days when frustration and anger get the best of me.   Those days, I wonder what happened to the belief God would take care of things?

Those are the days, when I forget it’s not my job to fix the potholes in my trail. I need to let God lead, and He will smooth the way.  Whatever the path looks like, God has a plan for every step (Jeremiah 29:11).  The path may be filled with potholes but no matter where I am headed, God is aware of every gap in the road He’s established for me.

Hubby pointed out to me recently “you have a blind faith”.  I was shocked because I never thought about it.  I used to believe people judged me for the decisions I made.  Many times my decisions were not based on solid facts, just a feeling I had things would be okay.  Sometimes they were and sometimes they weren’t.  It wasn’t until I took my will back and stopped letting God lead the way, the road to relapse became a downhill spiral.  Me trying to figure things out or fix things led me to a path filled with potholes.  It kept me from letting my light shine and making a difference in the lives of other people.

It is time to embrace my blind faith.  Time to stop trying to fix the potholes.  Time to stop trying to figure things out on my own.  Time to let God lead, have faith and let him show me the path he has prepared for me.  It is “his will for my life, not mine”.

Are you trying to fix the potholes in your life or are you “letting go and letting God”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Anniversaries – Celebrations With Reflection

This past week I celebrated two anniversaries both filled with emotions and the struggle to remember.  Two milestones in my life which changed me forever.

On Friday, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  We have been together 18+ years BUT only married 10.  If you know our story, you get it.  🙂

I generally blog about our story BUT this year,  I want to share the gratitude I have for this man.  Our road has been a rocky one – from his commuting for 5 years, to living together to marriage.  It all seems so basic, right?  But add to it – recovery on the road to relapse, a perceived loss of independence, his congestive heart failure, my diagnosis of MS and now his retirement.  Life on life’s terms which is something I’m not really good at.  It has been a true test for both of us of our wedding vows.  He has been my rock on my most difficult days.  I have tested his patience and he has learned how to communicate just a little bit better. We have grown together in so many ways…

As we sat at dinner the other night, the subject drifted to the one question to be sure about a relationship.  I had never heard this and honestly, I was scared. But he continued saying it is “do you bring out the best of each person?”….. Of course I had to know what he thought about us because honestly my memory is awful and fear was creeping in.  My immediate reaction was to feel less than. Not worthy of his unconditional love.  Instead of blurting things out, I prayed to be quiet while he finished.  He said “our life has been a balance –  sometimes we have brought out the best in each other while there are times, we have brought out the worst.  He said it is life but the true test is how you get through it.  We have made it.  WOW!  I didn’t get defensive.  I didn’t try to over analyze.  I just was grateful I kept my mouth SHUT and for how far we have both come. I may have already forgotten much of the night, I pray his words about our life together stay with me forever.

Jump ahead to Saturday and another celebration…. WE HAVE 3 YEARS!  I look back on where I was three years ago… a hot mess on the verge of losing my hubby, a mound of credit card debt, a victim mentality while I isolated feeling less than everyone else, broken emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Appearing confident (often cocky) on the outside while a scared child on the inside.  I had walked this road before and relapse became part of my story.  I had let down my family, my friends but most of all I had let myself down.  The strong confident person was gone.  What was left was a broken, shell of my former self.  Sadly, I didn’t notice it – I thought I hid it well.  I blamed everyone else for what was wrong in my life when the only one who was to blame was me.

As I sit here writing, unable to feel anything but sadness (MS seems to play with my emotions as well as taken my memories) I struggle to remember how bad it was.  Not just this time but the first time (my first clean date was 10/26/91).  Hubby often says, God took the memories because it was too unbearable for me to remember.  God gives me glimpses at times but when it becomes overwhelming for me, they fade and only segments remain.  So instead of struggling to remember, I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday. Does it always work? NOPE!  I know with God’s help, it will.  I continue to go to meetings – I need to hear the struggles, I need to share my blind faith, I need to be surrounded by people who have been where I have been and I need to remember  “never” should not be part of my vocabulary.

Today, the credit card debt is paid off.  Today, I am trying to connect with local women in recovery.  Today, I accept I am an introvert but it does not mean I need to isolate.  Today, I know my ride & die gals who have been with me since the first night 3 years ago are just a phone call away.  Just for today, I like myself.  Today, I don’t beat myself up over the weight or how I think “I should look”.  My life is blessed in so many ways.  Yes, MS kicks my butt BUT it is not an excuse to go back to those old destructive behaviors.  Living life on life’s terms is not always easy but WE do recovery together.

Thank you to everyone who has walked these many roads with us.  We are grateful for the part you have played and continued to play in our lives.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel, Recovery, Weigh to Goal

Jiggle Thighs and Acceptance

Once a month, I am doing a “me blog post”.  Basically, sharing my strength, hope and experience about something.  I looked back on past blog posts for inspiration when I stumbled on one I did in April 2013.

I am learning to accept me for me.  Not easy since I have had a negative self image for as long as I can remember.  Why is it the negative is easier to remember with my MS than the positive things?  A post for another time….

For as long as I can remember, I have had “bumps” on the top of my thighs and my thighs jiggled.  Yes, they got smaller with the loss of 105 pounds but they are still there!  There was even a time when I was working at WAWA where I think they were not as obvious – at least to me.  I mean standing on your feet and doing lots of walking (15,000 steps a day) had some benefits even though I usually felt like a MAC truck hit me.  As my MS reared its ugly head, I struggled with walking long distances.  I struggled with being on my feet a lot so of course working was no long an option. What is a girl to do?  I ride a stationary bike at least 3 times a week, I walk when I can but probably not nearly as much as I should. Opps, there is that word “should”.  I hate wearing my brace on walks because I am forced to accept my limitations due to my MS.

Since COVID and the move, I have been living in yoga/leggings.  I have maintained my BIG weight loss and am about 10 pounds from my original goal weight yet the “jiggle thighs” seem to still be there.  Of course, to me they are really obvious because my waist shrinks (the first place I lose weight) and nothing is in proportion.  So maybe this isn’t your problem area, maybe it is the “jiggle arms” or the muffin top or the roll our bra creates – no matter what we all seem to judge ourselves when we look in the mirror.

How about this thought….My jiggle thighs (or your problem area) are evidence of God’s goodness in my life! Sounds crazy, right? Mind you I never notice this or any other problem area on other people, just on myself.  Most people don’t mention it – okay maybe an occasional child who is curious but why wouldn’t they be – I’m curious as to know why God has blessed me with these wonderful thighs.  LOL.

 
I read something awhile ago by Jen Wilken who wrote The expectation of physical perfection hits modern females early and often”.  Expectations, OMG!  I have learned in my recovery journey, expectations are not good.   She goes on to say Increasingly, physical perfection is the legacy of womanhood in our culture, handed down with meticulous care from mother to daughter, with more faithful instruction in word and deed than we can trouble to devote to cultivating kindness, peacemaking, and acceptance that characterize unfading, inner beauty.”
 
I say all this to say – let’s not torture ourselves with lies about the need to have a perfect body or to be an ideal weight.  I am not saying – don’t be healthy, what I am saying is strive for a goal that is reachable for you.  I am learning to accept me for me – jiggle thighs and all – knowing I am beautifully made by God.  I am not less than because it has taken me a “LONG” time to reach my goal weight.  I am not less than because my body is not a perfect size 10.  There will be ups and downs in my weight loss journey just like there is in life.  Consider those “downs” as blessings where we learn more about ourselves and our relationship with our Higher Power. Learning to love myself is one of the hardest things I have ever done!  
 
Today, I am living in the hope, security and the arms of a Higher Power who loves me unconditionally.  Give yourself a break today and know as long as you are trying your best – that is all that God is asking of you.
 
For tips on healthy weight loss check out – Weight Watchers. This is the program I lost all of my weight on.  It took me longer than I expected. There are those “expectations” again.  I compared myself to others (guess that is a character defect I will need to deal with, LOL) and still do in many areas of my life.  Just for today, I looked in the mirror and actual like the person I am.  Give yourself a break.  If you can’t love yourself totally, find at least ONE area you can love (great smile, pretty eyes, great personality) and count your blessings.  Have patience, and think positive thoughts.
 
Have ThirtyOne-derful day.
Recovery, Unclutter Your Life

How Honest Are You?

 The “Just for Today” reading this morning was about growing honest.  Think about how honest  you really are.  Do you return extra change to the cashier? Would you admit if you hit a parked car? 

Now, how about being honest with yourself.  Do you honor the person you are on the inside by honestly sharing with those are around you?  Maybe you are like me and don’t always know who the person is on the inside.  Maybe you have “white lied” or left out parts for so long, you have honestly lost the person inside….

We all say we want “the truth” but are we always ready to hear the “truth”???

I remember telling Belinda when she was growing up  “if she was honest with me, she wouldn’t get in trouble.”  I know you are probably thinking  “she’s CRAZY”, right?  Who is crazy enough to tell a child they wouldn’t get punished?  Was I scared of what she would tell me?  YES!  I wanted her to know I would always be there for her.   I stuck to my guns. When she did something wrong or thought I wouldn’t approve of some thing, she told me and she didn’t get punished.  I’m not foolish enough to think she admitted everything but I do know there were times when she did and I was grateful.  I think it helped us in building a strong relationship.

My first time in recovery, I was honest to myself.  I wanted the values I was learning (re-learning from my childhood) to be instilled in my daughter.  Sadly, as I made my way down the spiral to a relapse, those things were lost.  My “white lies” or not whole truths kept me from being the honest person I wanted to be.  It sent mixed messages when there should have been complete trust.  I chose pride over honesty until things were such a mess, I had not choice but to get “honest” with myself and others.

As I entered recovery for the second time, the phrase “honesty is the best policy” haunted me.  Doubt and fear had me convinced those I loved would walk away, never speaking to me again.  They trusted me.  They believed what they saw on the outside while I was trying to close the door on the inner gremlins seeking to get out on the inside.  How could I be honest with them?  I feared the pain I would cause.  I feared the outcome.  I feared the losing the people I cared about the most.  But we are only as sick as our secrets.  It was time to get honest and take the good with the bad….

With 22+ months clean, I am learning honesty is more about having faith.  It is trusting my Higher Power will be there to guide and protect me.  Do I still struggle with being honest about my feelings?  YUP!  I play through how I think the other person will react.  I play through all of the “what ifs”.  Then I turn it over (or at least try to) and trust in the process.

After losing a sponsor, I looked for another.  I valued this person’s honesty at meetings. In a conversation, they told me “you worry too much about what the result will be, just share your feelings.  Be honest because it is about YOU getting better”.  I tried their suggestion and it backfired. Because when stating my feelings, I lost all compassion for the person I was speaking to. I realized their honesty was often self-centered, without a caring and compassionate concern for others. NOT the person I wanted to be.  I learned compassion and honesty had to work hand in hand for me.  I’m learning there is a time and a place to be honest.  What I mean is maybe sharing my feelings is NOT appropriate at this moment and may be better done at another time….the feelings still get shared BUT it is done with compassion towards the other person.

”Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.”~Mary Kay Ash

This quote was in an early blog I wrote about honesty in business.  It can be applied to any aspect of your life.  Do we have self-confidence when we tell those “little lies” to hide our feelings?  Do we let doubt and fear take hold, so honesty goes out the door?  If you are lacking confidence, maybe you should look at how honest you are being to yourself and others.

For some honesty is the only way they have lived.  For others, being honest is something they have to re-learn because of past experiences.  How often have we thought we were being honest yet we were not sharing “everything”.  

When we are NOT 100% honest, we weave a tangled web.  We are being deceptive.  Believe it or not, after awhile we start to believe our own tales.  One small tale leads to another sort of like digging a ditch (one shovel full at a time).  Before long you are confused and lost in your own stories.  Reflecting, every time I lied or left out details (the times I remember) I was usually convincing myself I wasn’t good enough.  I was afraid of not living up to the expectations of others (which probably wasn’t there to begin with) or I just wanted to fit in.

Honesty cuts through the red tape, the distractions, the frustration and the indecision. Honesty gets you where you want to go faster because you live how you really feel. Believe it or not your intuition will give you a feel for what is in harmony with your heart.

Start by being honest with yourself. Be honest about your thoughts, words, actions and wants. Then think about your interaction with others and your personal relationships. Do people know your true self? If not, what are you afraid of?  Tough as it may be, own your feelings when you talk.  Don’t blame others!  I will admit this takes some practice.  I’m still learning!  Isn’t our immediate response to defend when we are hurt or angry?  I know mine is.  I easily react to something someone says instead of expressing my feelings honestly and openly.

Be honest with your friends, family and co-workers.  If you mess up – ADMIT it!  They will appreciate the honesty.  If we are viewed as “perfect”, others may hesitate to approach us.  The way you present yourself to others, being true to yourself and your values will shine through.

Honesty can lead to better health….. “Telling the truth when tempted to lie can significantly improve a person’s mental and physical health, according to a “Science of Honesty” study.  Makes sense, right?  Less stress.

Have a blessed day!

Recovery

Addiction Shows Up in Unlikely Places

I don’t know about you but the more time I spend with me, the more the “past” haunts me.  During these “stay at home” times, most nights I’m by myself since hubby is an essential employee.  Despite my best efforts, the inner gremlins of the past creep in.  I think about those I have hurt.  I think about the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” things.  I think about “what if”.  Not always a good place for a recovering addict.

I love this simple message:

“Don’t Stumble On Things That Are Behind You.”

I thought hard about this seemingly simple directive about a habit which trips so many of us up: looking back. Allowing the past to deter and diminish our present and our future.

I had an “epiphany” last night.  As I was thanking God for the blessings of the day and asking for his guidance, I realized I had again substituted one thing for another.  My addiction had shown up in an unlikely spot –  not really unlikely for me. Showing up in unlikely places is not uncommon for addicts if we don’t keep things in check.  No, I didn’t have thoughts of using drugs or drinking.  No, I didn’t go on a shopping spree.  I was eating “junk food” and hiding it.  Crazy, right?

I thought about the went last 5 days hubby had worked.  I went to pick up some groceries and here is what happened.

  • I stopped to Dunkin for my iced green tea.   It was Friday so I got a “free” donut”. I was out a second time on Friday to pick up Baby’s medicine.  Stopped at Dunkin again and got another “free” donut.
  • Went to Aldi’s for some fresh fruit and fresh veggies – a good thing, right?  They had Cadbury mini eggs on sale.  I have been obsessing over them for a week so I bought a whole bag along with a bag of Robin’s Eggs.
  • Stopped to Wawa and picked up bottles of Wawa diet tea. Not very healthy because of all of the artificial sweeteners.
  • Had to stop myself yesterday from going out just to get a Dunkin tea and a donut.

Each time I go on a shopping run, I end up buying something I normally would not eat or drink.  WHY???  I want what I want when I want it.  LOL. The crazy part is I was hiding all of this stuff from hubby.  I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal BUT it is how it starts, right?  Substitute one thing for another and keeping secrets.

I know I am only as sick as my secrets so I am letting them into the light….I’m sharing it publicly as a way to be accountable.  As harmless as it may seem to someone, it is the start of the spiral.   I beat myself up.  I start to justify things with “I haven’t gained any weight”, or “it is stress eating” or when this is over I will do better.  The truth is by then it will be too late…..the weight will be back and I will be miserable.  I have been riding the stationary bike every day for at least 20 minutes which has helped to keep me from gaining weight BUT it doesn’t justify the sneak eating.  This is an old behavior from my days of being a bulimic – the only difference is, I’m not purging.

I know I’m not alone….finding things to keep us busy and out of our heads can be tough.  I have been creating angels, reading, sewing and cleaning out closets.  I have been doing at least one video meeting a day – over the weekend it was 3 meetings a day.  WHY?  Because I know when I hear what others share, I am out of my head and I know I am not alone.

Today I am giving myself grace – it meets us in the asking for strength from our Higher Power.  Because of this I can move forward (and so can you) in His grace. Even when life is complicated and messy.

It’s not about locking things in a secret compartment of your heart. When we turn things over, no matter how insignificant it may seem to our Higher Power, He can give us the rest we long for. Healing for our heart wounds.

The reward of faith is freedom in our Higher Power. With this faith, the past has no hold on us.  Grace fixes our gaze forward.

So the next time I’m tempted to beat myself up because of a mistake, I will turn things over to my Higher Power and choose not to beat myself up, not to re-hash a painful conversation, not to blame another person … not to stumble on things behind me.

Instead I will reach for grace. I will reach for my Higher Power and call to Him for help.

This seems like a jumble of thoughts but I need to be accountable.  Are you struggling with keeping away from the “junk food”?  What are your best tips?  Share them with us..

Have a blessed day!