Chips

We have these chips scatter around the house. No, not Fritos or cheetos. AA chips. We have ones from 24 hours to 1 yr. We even have multiple ones of the same month. (That’s another story for later.)

But today marks the day when we add another chip. There will be a 2-yr chip somewhere in this house in the next 24 hours! Although it’s not mine personally, I am proud to say it will be in this house. 

I used to be annoyed when I’d find them lying around- in the laundry, on top of random dressers or tables, or on the bathroom counter. At first, the selfish person living in my head would say, “Well, it’s awesome you got another chip, but could you at least pick them up?” 

What I failed to realize was the subliminal message the chips were trying to tell me. You see, it wasn’t really announced when another chip entered the house. Maybe we talked about every few months, but I didn’t constantly ask what month we were on. I didn’t have to. The chips reminded me that we were headed in the right direction.

So maybe we had an off week. Or maybe we were both more irritable than normal. Those chips remind me that we are still sober. We are both still sober. 

One day at a time, and 2 years later, a new chip has arrived. We will keep on keeping on.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

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How Do We Control Ourselves? 

Unfortunately, we have a member of our family whose health is declining. There’s no immediate need to jump to any conclusions, but their health is definitely concerning. It’s times like these when I find myself searching for more ways to counteract my need to try to “control.” Control the situation. Control the outcome. Control people involved.

But I can’t control anyone other than myself. So what do I do? 

First, I try to recognize when I’m trying to take charge in the first place. Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious (to myself and others) when I’m trying to take over and control everything. Other times, it’s a like a ninja move my brain is trying to do without me even knowing what’s going on. I have to be diligent in recognizing when I slip back into these old habits and stopping the madness before it gets outs of control.

Secondly, I have to decide what I can do to help the situation. This is really tough too because sometimes there’s nothing we can do. Maybe you can be a friend to someone that needs an empathetic ear. Maybe you can give someone a ride who needs a meeting. Maybe you can be extra nice to the lady at the super market who cut you off with her oversized cart full of kids and an obnoxious amount of fruit snacks. Maybe you can’t do anything but show up.

My point is that we have to be intentional every day. Not just go through life on auto-pilot then wake up one day saying, “How did I get here?” 

Be intentional. Be intentional. Be intentional.

The Seasons are A-Changin’

So I’m a huge fan of seasons changing, both physically and metaphorically. I love it when the birds start singing again in the springtime, the sun stays awake longer in the summer, the crisp fall air rolls into town after a long and hot summer, and again when the winter breezes mean fireplaces, scarves, and boots of all kinds.

Yes, the physical seasons changing gives a fresh perspective on life! But even the metaphorical seasons of life can be exciting too. For example, my family is about to embark on a new journey. We are moving for my husband’s job. Although we are a little nervous about how everything will play out, we are really excited for this new opportunity, especially because we will be a lot closer to our families!

Why is any of this relevant to you? Because I bet you have gone through many seasons in your life you never thought would end, ones you couldn’t wait to end, or even seasons you never wanted to end. 

I remember a time in my college life that I wanted to go on forever. I had the perfect job (making minimum wage), a great group of friends, I was loving school and what I was studying, and I had just met this great guy who would later become my husband.

If I would have asked time to stand still in that moment, I would have never gotten to experience the lives of my children. Or watch my brothers become fathers. Or my husband graduate college.

There are highs and lows in life. There are seasons for peaks and there are seasons for valleys. Just know that if you feel stuck in a valley right now, you will make it out of this season in life. You can look back on today and remember that this moment is what led you to taking that next big step.

Go out into the world and appreciate your season today…

Don’t Let It Be Awkward

My brother and I were chatting recently. He is someone well-aware of mine and my husband’s alcohol avoidance lifestyle. When he asked about my husband’s recent trip to New Orleans, I told him from what I heard it was great minus the one awkward encounter at a team dinner.

From the way my husband explained it, they were having a team dinner to have some more bonding time and one of my husband’s colleagues asked him if he wanted a draft beer from the bar because he was headed there himself. My husband simply answered, “No thanks. I don’t drink.” The colleague’s assumption was, ‘Oh, he doesn’t like draft beer,’ so he offered any other alternatives from the bar. My husband politely answered with, “No thanks. I don’t drink.”

Now while I’m retelling this story to my brother, he started going into a whole canned explanation his brother-in-Law should have given instead. “He should have told them that if her drank one beer he’d end up drinking 20 and there’s a good chance he’d up in Mexico doing God knows what!” My brother likes to deflect things with humor and outlandish stories he’s seen in the movies. I have to remind him that real life isn’t always like The Hangover.

Anyway, my point is that while it might seem fitting to explain yourself to your acquaintances while you don’t drink or why you can’t have just one, know that you don’t have to say anything other than, “No thanks. I don’t drink.” It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t have to be an awkward experience. 

When the Answer is No…

I know I’m a newbie when it comes to prayer, but I find it fascinating when people who are well seasoned in the act of praying talk about how long and hard they have prayed for something and…nothing. Crickets. Not even a glimpse of hope for what they have prayed about consistently.

Like I have said before, I don’t want to get too much into religion here, but I believe prayer can span across any spiritual beliefs. I’m just throwing out the idea to anyone out there who may be new to prayer or curious about it that sometimes the answer is no. Maybe it’s not a harsh, “NO! You’re an idiot. Why would you ask for that in the first place?” But maybe more or a subtle, “Not right now.” 

I’m grateful when the answer is “no” and then a much better opportunity comes down the road. Now, life does not always happen that way. I know people who have prayed for 20+ years for something and have yet to see anything come from their diligent prayers. Maybe our Higher Power (HP) has a bigger plan, or maybe it’s not time for the plan to start rolling into place just yet.

My point of all of this is to have some faith. Maybe you’re praying for a loved one. Maybe you’re praying for yourself. Maybe you’re praying for a certain situation to change. I don’t know. But I do know that prayer is one of the greatest ways for us to get to know ourselves better and to have a relationship with our HP. 

I don’t want to get all “preachy” on you here, so I won’t, but I just felt like someone out there needed to hear this today. Don’t give up on your prayers. Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t give up on the life you one day aspire to have. Keep praying. Keep focusing on what life you want. Keep trying to be the best version of yourself. Keep it up…you’re already doing a great job! 

Life’s a Garden; Dig It

Ah, wise words from the great philosopher, Joe Dirt. I know, I know…that was a ridiculous movie with some seriously ridiculous hair, but hear me out! Ole Joe was actually on to something.

We are given this life to do great things. Now, you may not believe that, especially if you’re at the bad end of rock bottom (not sure if there is a good end to rock bottom), but I believe we all have a purpose.

Some of us are even lucky enough to figure out that purpose. (I am still waiting for a sticky note to arrive one day that says, “You are doing exactly what you’ve been called to do.” Sadly, it hasn’t arrived yet.) But either way, life is a gift. Life is a garden. We go through good seasons of harvest and bad seasons of drought. Sometimes we get infested with bugs that eat us (ew, that’s a terrible mental picture), and sometimes we reap the benefits of perfectly timed seeds. 

The garden analogy makes so much sense because we are always changing and evolving. We can either be on the right path or the wrong path, but either way we are sowing and reaping the benefits of our efforts or lack thereof. Whether we have a plentiful harvest depends on how we cultivate that garden (our life) and how we take care of it along the way.

Life’s a garden; dig it! 

Get Fed Daily

I’ve heard from several people I know who regularly attend meetings say, “Man, it’s been too long. I need a meeting,” or, “I haven’t been to a meeting this week! No wonder I’m so irritatable!” 

I’m not sure if you go to meetings or if you know someone who goes to meetings regularly, but I can see a huge impact in my husband when he hasn’t gone for a while. We may not be able to pinpoint the issue until we reflect on the previous days of the week, but most irritations and impatient behaviors melt away when the problem is resolved. 

I know how important meetings are when you are first trying to achieve sobriety, but what about when you’ve hit a good stride (let’s say a year sober) and you no longer need the daily meeting? I suggest, and again I’m no addiction expert, getting fed daily in other ways. I know there are so many books, readings, and short prayers that are offered by AA. Taking the time to commit to even one minute of reading one of these a day can help a lot. 

Perspective is the key. These readings and other materials are designed to motivate you. To keep your head above water when you feel like something is trying to pull you back under. To give you that boost of confidence you need when you feel self-doubt starting to creep up on you.

Get fed something motivating daily. It doesn’t take long, but it can change your entire day!