“It’s all part of the human condition.” Those are the words my brother lovingly shared with me over the phone as we talked about my daughter who had just been admitted to a mental health hospital for severe depression. He had been there. He knew what it was like to suffer with horrible depression for years. That was last Wednesday. We’re hoping she’s well enough to go home tomorrow but there are no guarantees. And worst of all, there’s nothing I can do to fix it.
Month: June 2016
Day 11 of 30: Dig Deep!
My daughter and I are training for her first foot race and have had a good time running together. She enjoys exercising and the healthful feelings she gets after she runs in the morning — as do I! Two weeks ago we started interval training, where you run for short distances as fast as you can, rest, and do it again multiple times. It’s really hard and pushes you more than you think you can do the first time you try it. She was super nervous and kept saying, “I just don’t think I can do this.” I kept reassuring her that I knew she could and that 90% of doing something hard comes from our minds, not our bodies. Then I started to talk to her about the principle of “Digging Deep” and that when she thinks she’s out of gas and can’t go one step further if she’ll look inside and really dig deep she’ll find that there’s still more to give. Continue reading
Day 10 of 30: Be Present
A year ago I was sitting in my therapist’s office with my wife. We rarely met together but he wanted to see how the two of us were doing. I was a hot mess mentally and emotionally. I never did discover why. All I knew was in that moment, sitting in his office I could not sit still as my legs were bouncing. I wanted to jump out of his window and run away (he was on the first floor). I felt like my chest was going to collapse and the world was falling on top of me! I was extremely tense and did not want to be there. He asked if I would like to go for a walk and try to collect myself first. I was happy to accept and quickly left. Continue reading
Day 9 of 30: A Friend’s Journey to Recovery
Two days ago I read a friend’s blog about her progress on her own recovery and was absolutely blown away at the power of her story! It’s been amazing to see her progress and watch the 12 steps working in her life. She is completely different from when I started following her blog and I’m sure there was plenty of growth before that and certainly there will be plenty of growth moving forward! THAT is the power of the 12 step program! I am not kidding, it literally has the power to change who we are. We become different people than we once were. We’re less selfish. We’re more confident. We’re free of our burdens and able to turn our attention to the needs of others. We heal. We grow. We share our stories with others. If you’ve been stuck on your own program or have wondered if a 12 step can work for you, read this snapshot into the journey of my friend’s recovery. It is amazing! Continue reading
Day 8 of 30: Abstain from Sexual Fantasy
A couple of years ago I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s office and he turns to me and asks, do you fantasize about your wife? “Of course I do,” was my reply. I expected that to be very normal and not an issue. I was definitely still in my early stages of addiction recovery (more of the discovery stage versus the solution stage). His simple but powerful reply was, “That’s interesting. Does she know that you fantasize about her? Do you have her permission?” I went to answer and found I had no words. I was dumbfounded. I had never thought of that before. Continue reading
Day 7 of 30: Some days are just okay
Normally I am a very optimistic person. I can generally see the silver lining in just about anything. But every once in a while I have a blue day. They were much stronger and more frequent when I was struggling with my addiction. Mix that with acting out and the guilt/shame cycle that would follow and I had quite the nasty depressive combination. But these days I would describe my blue days as more of a “Meh” day. Unfortunately it’s a bit of a catch 22. It tends to impact my motivation and so I don’t accomplish the things I set out to do for the day — which also makes me feel a bit down. Then I feel bad for possibly not helping someone else which also kind of makes it worse. Can you feel my pity party I have going on here? 🙂 Continue reading
Day 6 of 30: Working with Others
This morning I re-read Chapter 7 in the AA Big Book titled “Working with Others”. The very first sentence of the chapter boldly declares a primary key to continued sobriety: “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from [acting out] as intensive work with other [addicts].” As recovered/recovering addicts we can help other addicts like no one else can. Helping someone else achieve sobriety and ultimately beat their addiction is one of the greatest joys for a fellow addict. This chapter has some great advice on how to help others as well as some important cautionary measures to be sure you take. Continue reading
Day 5 of 30: Incredible sadness with no trigger!
This morning as I was attending a church leadership meeting I found out some incredibly sad news about a family in our church. It just broke my heart. In fact, it’s fair to say I literally wept as we talked about the situation. There wasn’t a dry set of eyes in that room by the time we were done. It shook me to my core and I was incredibly sad. I haven’t felt that deep of a sadness in I can’t remember how long. As I was driving home I realized that one of the reasons I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that sad was because I’ve never really allowed myself to feel that way. Continue reading
Day 4 of 30: Do you Keep a Gratitude Journal?
A few weeks ago we were in the Addiction Recovery Program meeting and while an individual was sharing his thoughts on his recovery with the group he asked us the question, “Do you keep a gratitude journal?” I found that to be an interesting question. Originally I thought, “I do keep a journal, not every day, but often. Why do I need a second journal? I already record thoughts in it that are sometimes thoughts of gratitude.” Continue reading
Day 3 of 30: Keys to Recovery
Over the last several years I’ve studied multiple books including He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, the AA Big Book and the Addiction Recovery Program Manual. I’ve also met with a private counselor, held a private recovery group at my house, attended LDS Addiction Recovery group meetings, and attended SAA Primary Purpose meetings. Fairly early on I took notes from each of these meetings and I would underline passages in the books and write in the columns. Every now and again I would come across something that really changed my way of thinking or lead to a new pattern of behavior or was literally the key to my transformation from an addict to a recovered addict (I highlighted it by writing KEY in the book). Over the next few days I will occasionally list those “KEY” experiences. Hopefully you find them useful for your own journey to freedom from addiction. Continue reading