Step Three- Make a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

 

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Step 3 deals with control, surrender and decision making.  Giving up control involves the skill of wisdom. We must learn to recognize the difference between things we can change and the things we can’t.  It’s hard sometimes not to want to change what others do, or the world but we can’t. We only have control of ourselves and our own actions. In AA we often heard the serenity prayer.  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. In this world we can control our own actions and attitudes.

Surrendering – our will and lives over to a higher Power is letting go of our need to control releasing ourselves and trusting in God. For me letting go is so freeing. It releases a lot of pain, Stress and fear. We let go of the crazy cycle that once was. Sometimes in addiction we often have to surrender one day or one hour at a time. When I feel like that I will often pray and read scripture.

Decision making – Choosing an area in our lives that we want to consider turning over to the care of our Higher Power. This could be your relationship, how you spend money, work situation, the way you care for yourself or anything.  Focus on this thing, How have you been behaving in this area of your life. The decisions you make are your decisions. For me I often felt helpless in the situations I was afraid that I would not be able to survive on my own. I then have to put a lot of trust in God to look after me when I was scared or afraid.

Gratitude is something I’m trying to write down everyday in my journal. 5 things I’m grateful for each day. This also helps in step 3. Today I’m grateful for a friend who can understand me right where I am, I’m grateful for love and compassion I feel in my heart, I’m grateful for sobriety everyday. I’m grateful for the awesome community we have in our church and I’m grateful for artists everywhere. What 5 things are you grateful for today?  

“In Step 3, I release who I thought I was and let go of that image or something else can come in. The moment of surrender is when I allow for the possibility that I can act differently, even though I don’t know what I’m, supposed to do.”  Marta        

Hunger………………

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How many of us really know what hunger is all about? Most of you will know what it is like to never know what hunger is about. You will know what 3 meals a day is like and snacks. I wish everyone could experience that. According to feedingamerica.org   40 million Americians struggle with hunger which includes 12  million children. Wow! I find that staggering.  4 million people in Canada experience food insecurity and 1 in 8 Canadians struggle to put food on their tables. This topic lays near and dear to my heart. It is a hard and painful subject for me, but recently wrote about it in my memoirs.

As a child growing up in Ireland we lived in poverty. There were 7 children to feed so money was always tight. My stepmom was Catholic so there were often big families. We had food in our house, but my brother and I were not allowed access to it. We were the black sheep of the family and we were shoved aside. Both of us spent long days and nights locked in our rooms. When my brother lived at home we would hang out on the landings of our homes. My brother tried to protect me as much as he could. I felt helpless as a child.

We were often only allowed one meal a day which usually dinner, but I was not allowed to join the family at the table. That’s another story which you can read in my memoirs. Food often consisted of foods I hated. My stepmom was a terrible cook and boiled everything to death so it was often very rubbery. One would think if you were hungry you would just eat it. I hated liver and I always got an extra portion of it. I was told if I wouldn’t eat it I was not leaving the table. So I sat there for a long time, part of my plan is to see how long I could sit there and not have to go back to my bedroom. My stepmom made me sit there for hours. At least it was a different place to be as I often spent days and months locked in my bedroom. Here I could see how my siblings lived and if I cranked my neck I could hear the tv.  Finally she would get fed up and I’d go back to my room. The next day it would be in my lunch to take to school.

On my way to school I would toss it into the garbage. I learned for a while that my dad kept lots of loose change in his coat pocket and I would steal change out of it and buy food in the tuck shop at school.  When you are hungry so hungry that you feel like you will die eventually that pain of hungry numbs and I had to figure out how to get food without getting caught. While all the kids were outside playing for recess I would go from classroom to classroom pulling out one thing from each kids lunch and put it in my lunch. I had to be so careful and after a week would go to the next grades classrooms and start again.  I never did it from the kids in my grade.   

As I got older I couldn’t do that anymore when I moved to a differnt part of the school so I would borrow money from the Librarian to buy food. Eventually one of my school friends her mom would buy me lunch tickets to have a hot meal at school. Her daughter kept the tickets for me and at least everyday while school was on I would be able to eat. When you are so hungry all the time, school and learning is something that is impossible. Concentrating on anything is awful so I used to just fool around and not pay attention ever.  I picked fights with all the kids and goofed off in school and was known to be a troublemaker. No I was just hungry.  Not one teacher  I had ever knew I was starving.

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Others ways I got food was the lady who lived across the street would pick me up with her son and on those days she always had been grocery shopping and while she went inside her house I would load up her food into my backpack and go home and eat. I believe that she knew something was really wrong over at my house and that is why she did that. I’m very thankful for her. I also tried stealing at local grocery store until I got caught and my dad beat the crap out of me. That ended that. I did find out later that my brother would go in the store and grab lots of bags and fill the bags up in the isles and walk out of the store. I should have teamed up with him.

It’s amazing how when one is hungry your survival skills kick into place. I hated to steal but without food I would have died. One crappy meal a day would not have been enough. My hardest times were summers they were long not allowed out at all. Sometimes but rarely my dad would let me out of my bedroom to eat something before my stepmom would be back.  

While kids were out being kids I was surviving this cruel world. I may not be good at sports or other activities, but I do have amazing survival skills. Thank you God for helping me survive from hunger. I no longer have to worry about where my next meal comes from, but as we have read at the beginning people and children are still hungry everyday. We can reach out and help.

This is Rosa my sponsor child from Guatemala I sponsor her so she can go to school, eat and whatever she needs. I sponsor her through Hope of Life International. It’s an amazing organization and once a month she gets money to help her grow and learn. I have also volunteered at the food bank 850,000 people go each month to the food bank to get food for their families. How can you help with people being hungry? 

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This story about pheonix touched my heart so much and when I first went to the ranch I related to this horse so much for how it had been treated. 

Thanks for reading. Be Blessed today. 

 

 

Writing My Memoirs

One of my bosses lent me 3 books on writing as I told her I was writing my memoirs. This is the first one I cracked open the other day. I love it a lot, because it’s got short stories everyday and quotes from differnt people some of the things that have stood out to me was things I have felt but was not sure how I was supoosed to feel about them. This is the kind of book you could read day by day, but because it was lent to me I couldn’t keep it for a year. I have actually put it on my wish list to buy. 

On the 5th day the title of the day is Getting Caught. A group of students were asked if writing felt dangerous to them. One student replied ” Writing is dangerous because you might get caught.” –  Ralph Keyes ” Anxiety is not only inevitable part of  the writing process but a necessary part. If your not scared your not writing.”  For me to write my memoirs is terrifying in some ways and exciting all wrapped in one. It makes me feel really vulnerable and all my secrets will be exposed. I often worry about my proffession, would my co-workers or families I work with judge me for my past. I also know that if I don’t venture out and do this; I would be missing out on sharing an incredible story.

My family comes from the era that we do not tell people our darkest secrets. I’ve been told many times if I need to write, write it in a journal. Do you know how many journals I have more than you could ever imagine. I used to dream of writing my story but I thought for a long time that I was stupid. I was often told I was stupid or dumb and that I would never amount to anything. Guess what they were wrong. I became a woman who has strong passions for children. I love all the children I have taught for the past 30 years. God has given me a huge heart for those that are picked on or are different in some way. I was often told I did not belong. God gave me a heart that understands those hard topics that people will run away from. I understand addiction, sucide, depression, abuse, feeling so hungry I thought I would die. I wrote even as a child stuck in hell. I now know this writing helped me survive, so if I can survive all these things I can survive writing my memoirs.

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Since I confessed about why I had orginally wanted to write my memoirs I have written 5 pages. I have that flare to write again and the words drip off the pages of the book. I can’t wait to sit down and write, so everyday I will write something.  I turn on my favorite music and put on my headphones and I write.  Sometimes when I write I feel happy or sad or a hard memory will come up and it’s tough. Sometimes I will reflect on that painful memory and cry or stop and pray and keep going out. I think bit by bit I will get through this book. I have written 67 pages so far. I’m proud of myself for getting this far.

My counselor is a wise woman she often says to me if I sit in those hard memories I won’t die. I hate feeling hard emotions or feelings but yes she’s right. I’ve not died yet…………. The book is about hard painful things but also happy memories all rolled into one. I’m thankful that I can walk this journey with each of you, I have a lot of awesome people in my life.  God gives me the strength to get through those hard times and I believe all this writing will bring FREEDOM for me.

Writing is not a hobby. Collecting stamps or coins is a hobby, writing is a calling.” Day 3 Holy calling from A year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie          

Confession

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This morning I was reflecting on why I love writing on my blog, but my book seems to be back on the shelf again. I was talking to my husband about it and came to realize that I originally started to write this book as a way to get back at the people who hurt me. They hurt me so this was my way to hurt them. I told myself and others that this book would bring hope and encouragement.  I have struggled writing it from day one and often had to put it out of my mind. I told myself it’s hard to write because of the content of my past. That is tough but deep down I now know it’s because this book was not my story through God, it was my story about me and revenge. I hate admitting that but I also know that confession is a must to put the situation in the LIGHT.  

Along the way God changed my heart about my dad and my stepmom and in one of my blogs I wrote about the forgiveness and how God took that hate and blackness I carried in my heart and filled it up with love.  I truly do want to write this book to encourage others. I want people to know that no matter what you have gone through in your life that God looks after us  and we can do anything.  I could have given up many times or let addiction take over my life. Instead I wanted a better life and I have worked so hard to do what God wants for me.

I want my memoirs to glorify God as it’s my story through Him. This morning I prayed that God helps me write this book and that He gives me the right words to write. I want my heart to shine in every word that is written. I want that love to shine through even when it’s tough to read.  I now know that even though my past was very hard and tough and painful, that shaped who I am today and that is why I will fight for those hard things because I am a survivor.  People who know me well call me fiesty. Fiesty is a good trait if it is used in the right way, it means to me that I will never give up no matter what. I will fight and stand on the TRUTH no matter what.

I realized today that I’m ready to write this book to honor God.  Thank you Lord for showing me what this block was. My goal is to write everyday and before I will know it, it will be written. I tell people this is one of the hardest things I have done as it’s painful at times to remember but I also need to remember that I’m free from all of that pain and now I’m free from unforgiveness. That was massive in my life.  Unforgiveness for me was a huge weight that was drowning me that I could bearly breathe. I thought it only effected me in addiction but now I realize it impacted my life in huge ways. It effected me writing and now that explains to me why I struggled so much with this book.  

I look forward to writing and I will still blog and maybe even write about some of it here. I’m off to tackle the book now. Thanks for listening to me.     

We need to only rely on God

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Seems like this is a hot topic in my life right now, so I thought I would write about it. When we put all our stocks in others we are bound to get hurt one way or another. The only person we can soley rely on is Jesus. He is who we should be turning to for everything. I find if I rely too much on  certain people I always seem to get hurt. Don’t get me wrong I have my core people my peeps I can turn to and they are always there for me. I love that, no matter what is happening they are there. Good friends are hard to replace.

In Jeremiah 17:5-9 it says ” Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wildernessin the unhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. He is like a treeplanted by water, that sends out it’s roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for it’s leaves remain green; and it is not anxious in the year of the drought for it does not cease to bear fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  

” The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  Psalm 18:2 The bible is full of scriptures about trusting God. God will never disappoint us but man will. I guess why this is a highlight in my life right now is on a couple of occasions I have felt disappointed and discouraged when I realized I have set my expectations of others too high and that I have set them in the wrong place. It was good for me to see this even though it hurt, it was a good lesson for me. 

I am an introvert in some ways although I do like my down time, so I use people to boost me up and that’s what motivates me to continue on. I don’t do well on my own for long periods of time boredom for me is deadly. Often that is when I would use sexual addiction to fill in those spaces. I enjoy people a lot. Sometimes I can expect things from them and when I don’t get them I feel that rejection or disappointment. During those times I listen to worship music or write or reach out to others. I also can reconize that I need more of God and soak up His words. Then I feel that peace again that only comes from Him. 

 

Step Two – Came to belive that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

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The two key ideas in Step Two are Faith and Sanity.  Faith includes belief and  trust. Both of which you need in this journey of recovery. While I was in addiction I believed in the Lord, but I did not always TRUST HIM. I figured I could do this journey alone and of course I failed miserably. I definitely did not feel sane in addiction. I often tell people that I felt like the hamster stuck on the wheel going around in circles.

Our higher power can be whatever we believe in. Mine is Jesus. I now in sobriety trust that God is with me no matter what. I believe He looks after me and that he’s got this all under control. I believe God brings HOPE, PEACE, and ENCOURAGEMENT.  I also believe that no matter what I do in this life God loves me.  The important thing is we need to trust and believe in recovery and that Help is available. WE cannot do this on our own. 

I have lots of help in my recovery. I have a Woman’s Addiction Life Group where we zoom once a week. This is where I’m doing my 12 steps. I have an awesome counselor who also holds me accountable. Every week she gets my reports for my online accountability. I have internet accountability on both my laptop and my phone. This gives me the freedom to go where I want but choosing healthy sites to go to.  I sometimes go to Celebrate Recovery which I really love. THey are Christian and I really liked them. They are good support and each week you can do dinner and meet awesome people. I also have good friends that have stood by me in this journey.

One of the questions in my book on 12 steps says ” What do you currently believe about a Power greater than yourself? ”  I believe God is my father and that I’m HIs beloved daughter. I believe that Christ did on the cross to save all our sins. I also believe that God is the same yesterday, today and always and I believe God’s word and rely on His words for encouragement. 

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I love that we now have been restored to sanity. I often felt like a crazy woman in addiction. In addiction I did things that I would never dream of doing sober. My crazy cycle. Now I’m out of that I’ve written down words that express the sanity I’m heading towards. This was a fun activity to come up with words. What words describe your sanity in addiction?

Here are mine:  Encourgement, Hope, Blogs, Journal writings, FREEDOM, FORGIVENESS, Friends, Accountability, Praise Music, Worship, TRUTH, Humor, Prayer, BEAUTY FROM ASHES, Counseloring, LOVE.  

The biggest thing for me that I have gained from step two is that I realized I was not crazy and that all the people in recovery we all have a story to share and that we understand each other no matter what.  We can do this recovery process together. Lets ban together and believe and have trust.