Sure Fire Remedy for Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Last week, my stinkin’ thinkin’ crept back in. If you’re familiar with Al-Anon or AA, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Stinking thinking means allowing thoughts that used to boss us around to return. To have their way. To do us in. My struggle isn’t with alcohol, but to worry, obsess, fix, and try to control–as ugly as it sounds.

I’ve been working my program for years, but Thursday stinkin’ thinkin’ tried to tie me in a tizzy.

And then the gentlest most obscure thought tiptoed in.

Why don’t you try to get to number 1,000 on your gratitude list?

Because I’d have to come up with sixteen things. Five is the most I’ve written in a day.

Try…

After reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp last year, I started listing things I’m grateful for in a little green journal.  With 984 gifts already noted, I decided to give it a shot.

I grabbed my journal and started snapping pictures.

#985. Clyde and Levi (our daughter’s Lab) having fun.

#986. Mounds candy bars. (I have Celiac Disease. Can’t eat wheat or gluten but Mounds are just fine!)

#987. Crunch of  fall leaves.

#988. My walking path.

#989. New copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.

#990. Summer slipping into fall–my favorite season.

 #991. Sweet aroma of the tea olive tree.

On a roll! Having too much fun to worry. 🙂

#992. Front porch gardenia is still thriving.

#993. Candlelight at my desk. Lord, You’re the Light of the world. And my heart.

#994. My novel characters and what they teach me.

 

#995. Ferns made it through October.

#996 One more pepper in the garden.

 #997. Laughing at our porch party this morning.

#998. Log parakeet house Rick is building in the backyard.

#999. Acorns falling at my feet.

and finally….

oh finally…..

Wo-hoo!

Hallelujah!

Number 1,000. When someone asked my opinion, I spoke the truth in love. 🙂

Gratitude delivered me from my stinkin’ thinking.’

I’m on my way to number 2,000!

Has gratitude ever changed your outlook? I’d love to hear!

Love,

Julie

 

 

Jeremy–The Road to Recovery Part 2

One of Jeremy's tool boxes. The other one is in his heart.

Jeremy, what made you decide to change? How did you start the process?

“I got so low I never wanted to go down that rocky road again. For me, change is a lifelong process. I stopped hanging out with my old friends, but knew I needed friends. I started going to Celebrate Recovery every Thursday night. I have an accountability partner. We talk three times a week. I talk to God every single day. I go to church. I made amends with people I’d hurt.”

What did you lose?

“An inheritance from my grandfather, a business, respect of my family, pride in myself.”

What have you gained? (I’m smiling. I can’t wait to hear his answer!)

“A new house better than my old one with a nice shop out back, an up-and-coming lawn maintenance company, a leadership position for chemically addicted young men at Celebrate Recovery, regained trust and respect of all my family members, an inheritance from my Heavenly Father than can never be destroyed.”

Amen!

“And you know what else? I don’t always have to look over my shoulder. I don’t have to be afraid every time I see a cop. Peace. Tranquility. Flow. Organization. Continuity in my life. Total mental clarity.”

A pause formed in our conversation…

“Back when I was using, it made me mad that you (Julie) wouldn’t give up on me. I thought, she’s beating a dead horse. I wanted you to shut up and go away. I couldn’t understand why you’d encourage something I thought was impossible.”

Your addiction worked for good in me, too. I’m so grateful.  I had a lot to learn on the Al-Anon side. I had to leave you alone and start working on myself.  I’ll write more about that later. What would you say to someone facing any kind of addiction?

“Nobody’s beyond hope. Right now, I have two chemically addicted young men who call me daily. I don’t chase them around. It doesn’t help to beg someone to change. You can’t nag or guilt somebody into sobriety.”

You’re so right. None of us changes until he or she is ready.

“I’m available for these two men 24/7, but it’s their responsibility to contact me. If you’re serious about recovery, work on it. Every single day. Find a sponsor.”

Do you have one last piece of advice?

“Build a toolbox for yourself. Fill it with whatever works for you. I use things I’ve learned from counseling, AA, NA, Celebrate Recovery, life experiences, my family, my sponsor, church, and group meetings. We’re all different. No two set of tools will be identical.”

What’s your favorite scripture?

“It’s Philippians 4:13. I know it in English and Spanish. ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.’ That’s the key. It’s His strength working in me. I can’t make it on my own.'”

Me either, Jeremy.

Love,

Julie and Jeremy

 

A Hopeless Addict Set Free

Jeremy Receives His Four Year Sobriety Pin

I’m honored to interview my brother.  This is part one of his story. Welcome, Jeremy. Jeremy’s a 43-year old recovering addict.

“Go ahead and use the dirty word. Call it what it is,” Jeremy said. “I’m a recovering meth addict.”

Jeremy, you celebrated four years of sobriety this past May, on my birthday. I’m so proud of you. You have a new purpose in life. What is it?

To share the Hope inside me and tell others how I made it out. I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in hell.”

How many times have you shared your story?

“Twice at Celebrate Recovery, once at a street ministry, once at a church for homeless people, and lots of times to individuals. I’m not proud of where I’ve been, but I love letting people know there’s hope.”

 When did you begin your decent into addiction?

“I started smoking pot and drinking around age 21. When I was 34, I tried meth, and it was off to the races. At first, I thought I could handle it. Pretty soon my goal in life was to score meth. Nothing else mattered. I didn’t think beyond my next high. I used a sack until it ran out, and then I needed more.”

Do you remember your worst day?

“I sure do. I got my second DUI within ten days. It was February of 2005, right before my 37th birthday. I thought, this has to be a dream. It can’t be happening. But when the detective pulled me out of the car with his gun drawn, I knew it was real. I walked inside the jail feeling like my life was over. I wanted to die.”

When did you first have hope that you might be able to turn it around?

“The day I completed the judge’s sentencing.  I remember looking at the mountain I had to climb and thinking I’d never reach the top. But with God’s help, I did everything the judge ordered. I lost my license for three years, had 36 months of probation, paid my fine, served 289 hours of community service at Goodwill, saw my regular addictions counselor one-on-one and in group, attended AA–at first 90 meetings in 90 days, completed two DUI classes, had a 17-week course of intense counseling with another addictions specialist, and had the interlock system put on my car for seven months. Looking back, the worst day of my life turned out to be the very best day of my life. It’s what finally broke me.”

How did meth change you physically?

“I’m 6′ 1″ with a normal weight of 180. I lost thirty pounds and two teeth due to meth use.”

Mentally?

“Nobody’s sane on crystal meth. It’s very cunning. You might think your actions make sense, but you’re not fooling people. They know. You’re always paranoid–thinking it’s showing, and it is, even though you’re trying to cover it. But you can’t.

Please come back next Wednesday to read more about Jeremy’s road to recovery.

Gratefully,

Julie