Resident Blogs

All In Due Time When Working Recovery

Due Time In Recovery

So, we hear everything happens in due time when working our recovery?  I’ve been sitting around with a feeliing of, “Now What?” in terms of my recovery.  It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.  I’m currently reading a book about working the 6th and 7th steps.  I thought Steps 4 and 5 were uncomfortable, but this is a different level of uncomfortability.  An anticlimactic feeling of stagnation.

Make A Gratitude List

So of course I tried the obvious suggestions… “Make a Gratitude List”, “Work with a Newcomer”, and neither of those seemed to slake my ennui.  So, I began introspection and shared my feelings in a meeting.

Unexpected Insights

When I shared in a meeting I got some insights I was not expecting.  A friend suggested that it is my disease that’s got me feeling all “Now What”.  Another friend, whose recovery has been difficult and spotty, had some unexpected wisdom.  He said that one  of his sponsor’s said, “Complacency is the breeding ground of Craving.”  That’s when it struck me that what I’ve been feeling IS complacency.

Reexamine My Recovery

After that awakening I began to reexamine my part in my recovery… Do I stay sober? Check.  Do I go to meetings? Check.  Do I work my steps? Check.  Do I call my sponsor? Check.  Do I carry the message wherever I go?  Check.  So where was I going wrong that I’m experiencing these doldrums of complacency?

Learn By Teaching

Then it hit me.  I need to start sponsoring.  There is no better way to learn something than by teaching it to someone else.  Sponsoring a newcomer will certainly help me to put my own recovery under the microscope; exposing both the strengths and weaknesses.  But where, when, and how would I find someone in need of my sophomoric understanding of the Steps?

Sort Itself Out In Due Time

So this is as far as I’ve gotten in my quest to move forward to the next phase of my development.  I know that the God of my Understanding will put a newcomer in my path in due time.   But until then I just need to redouble my efforts toward completing my steps and becoming the best version of myself that I can be.  The rest of it will sort itself out in due time.
Thanks for reading.  Best wishes on your journey.

Moral Failing And Addiction Are Autonomous

Moments Of Enlightenment

Recovery has been providing me with moments of enlightenment.  Specifically concerning this blog moral failing vs addiction.  I often turn my head to the sky, toward the sun, and think “this is the same sun that warms the faces of my children today”. It is my only physical tie to my children as of late.

An Unexpected Call

That is until the call came. It was my mother. Her words were few, only stating my name followed by “hold on, your son wants to speak to you”. My heart fluttered and galloped within my chest as I held on with bated breath. It had been 134 days since I heard my sons voice. His voice registered in my ears, and I exhaled with an audible tremble. It was as if I had been holding it since we last spoke months prior. His voice had deepened, no longer sounding like a child. What have I missed? Most importantly- what have I done…

Acceptance Not Endorsement

One of the most difficult aspects of sobriety at this point is accepting the immense turmoil and suffering that I have inflicted upon my family, especially to my children.  I have been told by those with greater time in sobriety that I must accept what I have done.  Acceptance does not imply endorsement of any past actions.  Accept I must if I am to continue my path.

Poor Parenting Or Moral Failing

I grew up in a household wrought with addiction, full of uncertainty and chaos. There were many times that I would pray for my parents to stop the constant unpredictable behavior.  I did not think of it as a disease, but at the very least poor parenting, and at worst a moral failing. My thought was, “if they love us children then they will simply stop”. I was certain that when I had children of my own I would never cause such pain. There was such profound disdain within me for those that I felt chose substances over their children.

Addiction Is Not A Moral Failing

I did not understand, nor could I empathize.  You see, good reader, I became all that I said I would never become. An alcoholic, more precisely, an alcoholic mother. I know now that addiction is not a moral failing.   Rather, ones decision making ability is so greatly diminished that immoral decisions become the norm. The addict suffers spiritually, right along with the physical and emotional aspects of addiction.

Contrition Does Not Suffice

I am powerless over my past. I can not change what I have done to those that I love more than words can express. No act of contrition will suffice. However, I do know one thing for certain.  I will not have to feel the deep pangs of remorse, should I not pick up a drink under any circumstances.

A Meaningful Gift

My gift of despair can be properly used for the greater good. I can begin repairing and rebuilding relationships and have a chance of happiness and peace in my life. During the conversation with my son, something took me completely by surprise. He offered his forgiveness without reservation, a gift undeserved. Both of us weeping, I said “I love you so much Son, so very very much.” In a quiet voice he replied, “I love you Mom”. The sweetest four words I had heard in 134 days, and the most meaningful gift of sobriety I have received thus far.
Until next week good reader, CB

Self Work Creates The Girl I Am And Love

Self Work Brings Drastic Changes

Self work has brought on a drastic change from where I was then and where I am now.  And it’s all thanks to recovery and being willing to live this new way of life.  In the beginning I was so scared of getting clean only because using was comfortable.  I knew that at some point I was going to have to look deep inside of myself and figure out who Lauren was. I was more afraid of looking at what I’ve done.

Unexplainable Relief

This past year I’ve been able to do a lot of self work. I did my fourth step thoroughly and was able to look at my part in a lot of things. The biggest thing I got to work on and work through was the abuse. I was afraid of ever admitting some things that have happened which were not my fault, but to me they were embarrassing. Once I was able to get that out and talk about it the type of relief it gave me was unexplainable.

Sixth Step And Character Defects

I am now on my sixth step.  That means I’m working on my Character defects.  So far I realize that I have way more Character defects than I thought.  But by being able to look at my Character defects I am able to open myself up for change.  I’m able to allow my higher power in to remove me of some of my Character defects.  Now I know with work in the sixth step that not all my Character defects are just going to up and vanish.  But I do know that I can work on them.

Need For Daily Self Work

One of my biggest Character defects is having expectations.   And being vulnerable scares me.  The thing is I put expectations on someone else that I’m not willing to on myself.  Why?   Because I’m scared to be vulnerable.  So with doing daily self work and coming into contact with these Character defects, I can hopefully make changes in that area of my life.

Hopeless, Helpless And Feeling Less

A year ago I came into a transitional house with nothing. I came in hopeless, helpless and feeling less. The only thing I knew was that I was miserable and tired of being sick and tired. I drained myself of any emotions that I had.  A couple of years ago my license was taken.  I never thought I would be able to get my license back.  Through all this I have practice patience.  And I knew that when the time came it would be the right time.

Self Work Creates Self Love

A few weeks ago I went and got my license back, and shortly after that went with my friend to get a car .  Now I have a car, am able to do alot more things especially with my kid and get around to work easier. Still though, I remain humble and know that if I put anything in front of my recovery I will surely lose it.  Soon I will be going into a salaried position at work and making my way up the ladder.  Never did I think I would get this far, but I have. I have a place to call home, friends that turned into family and a life beyond my wildest dreams.  Today because of self work I am a better version of myself, and I love that girl today.  My name is Lauren and I’m an addict. My clean date is April 29th of 2017.

Grateful recovering addict, Lauren

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Spider, An Unorthodox Prison Companion?

Finding Companionship

Spiders wouldn’t be considered the way to find companionship, but this story is amazing.  You never know where you’ll be when you learn something that will interest you for the rest of your life.  About 3 years ago I went to prison to service my sentence of a year and one day. This story is not about me or my journey though.  Rather, It’s about several other women and what they did to find companionship while doing their time.

Prison Pets

As the work day was ending and the women would come home to their dorms, I observed quite a few of them with cups and toilet paper rolls sitting on their bunks holding something very tiny. I worked with one of the girls named Heather in culinary.   So I went over to talk to her and she had two spiders. And, these little guys were her pets.

Meet “Ophelia, the Monster”

One’s name was Ophelia, the Monster.  Ophelia, the Monster loved to climb all the way up her head to the top and play with her ponytail. She would hold them and they would jump off her hand make a web and climb back up. This was a game they could play for hours and hours. I found this interaction very adorable.  When Heather would go to work in the kitchen she would find them little snacks like moths, flies and ants.

Coming Together

We had another girl in our dorm, we’ll call her Merch.  Merch had 5 spiders of her own. One day, while at work, she got herself into some trouble and went to lock. You’re probably thinking the cops would have found and killed her five pets while packing up her belongings. But no way these ladies were prepared to get each other’s back in case of an emergency.   And this was an emergency.  One of the girls had her locker combination, and so five different women each took a spider till she did her time in lock.  I was quite impressed.

Shakedowns In Prison

From time to time we would have shakedowns in the prison dorm.  This is when the officers would search for any contraban and dispose of it.  During the searches a spider or two would be found.  Unfortunately the police didn’t value the spiders lives and would squash them. This was always very hard on these women. Trying to protect their beds 24/7 in a prison is very difficult.

Spider Personalities

What always impressed me was how each spider looked.  Each spider had their own little personalities, just like any other pet would.  Some were personable and some were just plain old stubborn.  Heather’s two spiders were so friendly.  Although they definately loved Heather the best. They would let you hold them, but with these spiders they would just stay on your hand.  But with Heather they would climb all over.  It was actually adorable.  Each spider had beautiful eyes.  What I found so cute was how the spiders would literally put their arms up.  It was as if they were saying “pick me up mom”.

Trips To Work

There were days Heather would take Ophelia, the Monster to work with her.   When we had a break Heather would then take Ophelia, the Monster home to her little bomb-shelter to keep her safe.  A few of her spiders had been found before, and the police would kill them.  That absolutely devastated her.  She actually felt guilty when they would be killed.  She enjoyed them a lot.

No-one Left Behind

Then the day came when Heather was going home.  At the time of her release she had three spiders.  She wasn’t planning on leaving them behind.  Actually, she was counting on the officer who was releasing her that day to be a little lazy that morning and not do a thorough search. She had them in three different compartments.   And sure enough all four of them left that day.  All alive and well.

Prison Pass Time Becomes A Business

Since then I’ve spoke to Heather.   She’s now in the spider business and breeding them.  As of now she has two different kinds of spiders and over a hundred babies.  They sell for $15 and $20. Heather has her own Facebook page called Ophelia, the Monster with over 1000 followers. Heather has many little aquariums in her bedroom and sometimes a little buggers gets loose. She keeps a few adults as her pets like Ewok, Padme the Hunter, Fat Bottom Girl, Pi the Groomer, Mr. Bubbler and Ripley. Padme the Hunter always raises her arms in triumph after her catch.  Ripley’s the mama of some of the babies.   Heather says her babies are a handful and they’re bad kids.

Cycle of Life

Something Heather shared with me is that she believes she has spider PTSD from prison.  She’s always to trying to keep them safe and sound.  As spiders age they slow down. The gripping hair on their feet often wear off so they have trouble climbing. And therefore they eat less and less.  Old spiders often lose the ability to build new sacks.  What happens is the spiders do not change their enclosure or remove the resting Sac.  Often spiders show some particular symptoms before dying.  Most often hanging out on the bottom of their enclosure as a sign they won’t be around much longer. They usually live to be one year to 2 years old.

The thing is Heather found a companion with Ophelia, the Monster.  It’s incredible to me that she was able to take her home.  What’s also incredible is the bond Ophelia, the Monster created for Heather and I.  Two different people brought together in an uncommon place by an uncommon friend.  Too Cool!


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People Pleaser Behavior Builds Resentments

Resentments From Being A People Pleaser

I have not always been a people pleaser, but as soon as I decided to get sober that happened.  My thought was that people would like me better.  I found it easier to do that than to really say what I was feeling at the time. Confrontation can be tricky.  Either you’re the one saying how you feel or you’re hearing the other person feelings.  My problem is one of two things.  I either let things slide or my temper blows up.   Then I end up walking around with a resentment towards that person.

A Respected Quality

Mean what you say and say what you mean, right?  Nice thought, but not that easy to do at times. If I think about it, the people I respected had that quality about them.   And, I do really like to know where I stand with people.  This is definitely one of my challenges I face daily.

Setting Boundaries

I am in recovery and every person deserves to be treated kindly.   However, the word no sometimes needs to be said.  Or maybe even, I am not willing to do that or this is unacceptable to me.  You can say what you mean with out being rude, or in a kind tone of voice.  It is taking me a little to get this down, without people pleasing or saying it too harsh.   It’s a challenge, but with practice I should be able to change my people pleaser behavior.  After all I owe it to my self to give respect and receive it.

Changing People Pleaser Behaviors

I know that having a sponsor changed the way that I look at recovery.  I feel part of a group that I belong.  For me, I could be standing in a crowd of people and still feel so alone.  Never mind trying to handle a confrontation with out loosing my temper.  The cool part that I am seeing is I am changing.  I am willing to learn how to live a better way of life.  As well as learning how to take suggestions even though I might not feel like it at the time. I am willing to try to change behaviors that are not healthy for me.  In the end it will only make me a much happier person. No, life is not always fair. However, I am responsible for my actions and how I speak to others.  I will say what I mean and mean what I say.   But I can try do that in a kind way going forward.


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