The Noticeable Change

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  Today was a very good day.  Despite all of the stress I encountered at work and the stress of sitting in a bar with my family and friends and telling myself I couldn’t have a drink, the day was very good because I’m ending it sober.  I faced temptation directly and I won.  Its a small accomplishment, but its one I’m proud of nonetheless.

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It Is Not A Theory

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us this,

“The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.  Unless one’s family expresses a desire to live upon spiritual principles we think we ought not to urge them.  We should not talk incessantly to them about spiritual matters.  They will change in time.  Our behavior will convince them more than our words.  We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone,” p. 84.

I know God places in front of us exactly what we need to see at the time.  As I’ve written about, my parents are visiting for the weekend, and I’ve been struggling with how to talk to them about my faith and my alcoholism.  That paragraph in the book was exactly what I needed to see today, though.  “Our behavior will convince them more than our words.”  I am hoping that more than anything, they will see a happier, healthier, more stable person when they see me, and that will be enough explanation for them.

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The Power of Prayer

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  Perhaps one of the things I struggled with the most when I was just being introduced to Christianity was prayer.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around sitting and talking to God.  It seemed like a strange and foreign concept to me, but as weeks and months went by, I learned that there isn’t a by-the-book way to pray, and that I could ease up on some of the pressure I was putting on myself.  I was trying so hard to do things perfectly that I didn’t realize the great things that would come if I just relaxed and tried.  Now I start and end each day with prayer, and if I need a little extra in the middle, well, it won’t hurt.

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Learning to Prioritize

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  When I first talked to my friend about being an alcoholic she told me “I’m more afraid to miss a meeting than I am of having a drink,” and, “You’ll learn to schedule your day around the meetings, not the meetings around your day.”  Of course, being scared and naive, I thought she was a bit crazy.  Sorry for doubting you, my friend.  I see now how important it is to make meetings a priority, and how you do indeed end up scheduling your day around them.  And more importantly, she was absolutely right.  I’m much more afraid to miss a meeting than I am of having a drink these days.  When you go to meetings, all of the experienced people tell you, “Don’t drink and go to meetings,” and it really is that simple.  Of course, those urges to drink still exist and it’s not always easy learning to say no, but its one day at a time and its good to know that as long as a meeting is available then not drinking is easy.

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All is Going to Be Well

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  Today my friend sent me this meditation: You should never doubt that God’s spirit is always with you, wherever you are, to keep you on the right path.  God’s keeping power is never at fault, only your realization of it.  You must try to believe in God’s nearness and availability of his Grace.  It is not a question of whether God can provide shelter from a storm, but whether or not you seek the security of that shelter.  Every fear, worry, or doubt is disloyalty to God.  You must endeavor to trust God wholly.  Practice saying: “All is going to be well.” Say it to yourself until you feel it deeply. I am a firm believer that God gives us the right words to hear just when we need to hear them.  This is something I have been really thinking about a lot lately, and every word of that meditation rings with truth and clarity to me now more than ever.

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To Be Blessed

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  I’m sitting here today thinking about how blessed I am.  I think about this quite often – about how we all complain about little things when we often fail to realize that we don’t have much to complain about at all.  For example, let’s say you’re reading this blog, that means you have electricity, internet, a phone or a computer, and presumably money that allows you to have all of these things.  We are blessed as people, and yet we complain when the grocery store doesn’t have the specific brand of salsa we were looking for.  I think about things like this everyday and many times I can’t even stand to listen to people complaining about things when most of us haven’t even experienced true hardships.

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Remove the Shortcomings

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  Today I had a not-so-good day.  Not a “I went out and had eight drinks at the bar,” kind of day, but the “I want to go out and have eight drinks at the bar,” kind of day.  The determination to stay happy and sober kept me going, however, and I was able to avoid the temptation I was feeling.  Its getting easier to avoid these struggles and temptations, but it isn’t fun.  I would have much preferred just going out and grabbing a few drinks to help me with the stress I felt during the day, but I’m learning new coping mechanisms every week and praying to God for the strength to make it through the hurdles in front of me.

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Renewed Strength

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  To think back on the time not so long ago when I didn’t have God in my life is to think back on a time when I had no hope and only despair.  I was desperate for the unconditional love that God has shown me, for His wisdom and guidance, and now that I found it, I never want to go back to that time without it.  Isaiah 40: 30-31 reads, “Even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and now grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  When I did not hope for the Lord, I was certainly tired and weary.  I was yearning for something I didn’t have, and I had no idea how to find it.  Now that I have found my faith in the Jesus Christ, I have found my strength.  God provides for us when we ask Him, and He rarely lets us down.  At the beginning of my journey to find my faith I said a small prayer saying, “God, show me how to find faith,” and he did.  Since then, my life has been more full than I ever could have imagined.

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Love Thyself

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m an alcoholic.  I think one of the most important parts about both my faith and sobriety journey is seeing the transformation I’ve been making as a person.  I’ve noticed changes in myself and I hope others have noticed as well.  Today, for example, I did some volunteer work that I  NEVER would have done if I was still drunk and didn’t have God in my life.  Although it was exhausting, it felt good and it was so satisfying to see the great work being done.  This is absolutely something I would not have appreciated having the opportunity to do six months ago.  I might not love myself just yet, but little things like that, its making me start to like myself again.

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Learning the Story

God, grant me the serenity…

Hi, my name is Jessie and I'm an alcoholic.  I sat at an AA table with a woman a couple of days ago who was celebrating her 34th year of sobriety.  As always when I hear about people who have been sober and in the program that long, I listen intently to what they have to say.  This woman was full of wisdom and I clung to every word she spoke.  She said one thing in particular that really struck a chord with me.  "Learn your story.  Figure out how you came to be the alcoholic that you are."  I guess I hadn't really thought about it.  It seems like we all know that things eventually got to the point where we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable, but how we got there was often a mystery.  Well, I think I learned my story.

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