Category Archives: journey

Patience please!

It is 1:37 am.

I just got off of work about half an hour ago.

I told a friend I’d go to church with him tomorrow.

Due to the fact it’s so late, blog posts for “walking unsteadily” and “for the alcoholic” will not be posted.

I just worked an almost 12 hour shift. I don’t have the mental focus that I need.

Thank you for your patience and I hope you understand.

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What I’ve Learned About Having Friends

I almost didn’t want to blog tonight. I had gotten off of work at midnight, and came home at about 12:30 greeted by a wonderful headache. I say that sarcastically.

However, I felt weird going to bed before I finished up my readings for the day. I felt weird going to bed before I blogged about what’s on my mind.

I’ve started reading this book called “Becoming Myself” by Stasi Eldredge. I’m about halfway through, but tonights chapter hit me hard.

It was about friendship. Good qualities, bad qualities, do’s and don’ts, letting people go because you love them. Letting people go because you’re selfless.

This book was written for women, christian women. This chapter, about friendship, got me thinking about the last few years of my life.

In middle school and high school, I had a small group of friends. Men and women. As we got older, our schedules changed, some of us drifted apart. Some of us stabbed the other in the back. I fell victim to this.

A few months ago, who I thought was my “best friend” had unfriended me from facebook. Granted it has been awhile since we talked (I’ll get more into that here in a bit), but I still enjoyed seeing what was going on in her life through her posts. Without a word, she was gone.

This hurt, really bad. This made me not trust women at all. This made me scared to trust women, so I found comfort in the fellowship of men (this all happened before I became saved). They were amazing! They listened, offered advice (which was convenient when I had a crush on some guy, they could give me a man’s perspective on what they do if they like a girl). However, there were still some things I couldn’t talk to them about. Sure, they’d give me chocolate when I needed it (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). However, I still longed for that closeness with a woman. I still longed for that close friendship with a woman. I let my guard of trust get in the way of that.

Even when I did have friends in high school, I put expectations on them (which was a HUGE mistake). I thought that if they didn’t text me or call me every single day, it automatically meant that they didn’t care. It took a long time for me to learn that we don’t have time to sit on our phones and have a conversation all day every day (I know, it’s sad that I even thought that). Though at the time, because it’s what I believed, I rarely talked to anybody. I had that “why bother, they don’t talk to me. If they wanted to talk to me, then they would have.” mentality. It took a long time for me to learn that it’s a two way street and both parties have to be involved.

It also took me a long time for me to learn that having women friends is just as important has having man friends. Let’s be real, if you’re cramping up can you really talk to a guy about that?

The second thing I had to learn was that people will come and go in our lives. It’s a normal thing. Very rarely will we find somebody that will have a lasting friendship. We are meant to let people go, not out of hate, but out of love. Recognizing that we are going separate ways in life, not because we no longer like that person.

Now? Now I have the most amazing set of friends I could have ever asked for. A healthy mix of men and women. Not only are they there for me when I need them, but they also hold me accountable. They are honest, they don’t beat around the bush. It’s so much easier not having to put that “they need to call and/or text me every single day” expectation. Just because they don’t talk to every day, does not automatically mean they don’t care.

Besides, it’s really rare that we talk one on one outside of meeting physically. We have a whole group chat dedicated to that and it’s great.

I thank God everyday for them.

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

I Can Only Imagine

“Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine”

-“I can only imagine” by MercyMe

These lyrics are so powerful to me. Since about noon today I’ve been on the go. A good friend texted me asking me what I was doing at 3:30 because she was going to see the movie “I Can Only Imagine” and she knew I wanted to go. It was an awesome movie by the way and I strongly recommend you going to see it.

It got me thinking about a lot of things. About things I imagined when I was younger and things I imagine now.

Just a few months ago, I had started going to this new church that had a group for college kids like myself. I was so shut off that I kept my distance, but I longed for a close friendship with somebody. I never had anybody that I could rely on when I was in trouble or when I needed someone. I could only imagine something like that. 

Now, I have that. I’m so thankful for them and I tell them that often enough they’re probably sick of hearing it.

Before, I could only imagine a love so unconditional, a love so reckless, a love so selfless. I found that through Jesus Christ.

Now that my faith seed is blooming, I can only imagine what it would be like if I met Jesus face to face. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t me saying I’m going to go out and do something life threatening just so I can meet Jesus, but rather what would I do when I met Jesus-face to face?

The chorus to this song partly sums it up. Would I dance with him? What would I feel? How would I feel? Would I be so amazed that I’d be speechless?

I feel like I would just fall down at his feet and start crying. Tears of happiness, tears of sadness, tears of remorse, tears of guilt. Beg and plead for His forgiveness.

This is a relatively quick blog post because it is almost 1 in the morning, and I was up until about 4 in the morning yesterday. None of my readings have gotten done, but that’s okay. If I want to put myself on a schedule, I need to go to bed earlier and if that means skipping out on my readings one night so I can get up earlier and start my day off right, then so be it.

I’m thankful for this movie, I’m thankful for MercyMe, I’m thankful for my friends and family who have been so supportive on the journey I’m walking on. I’m thankful for you, my readers, because I wouldn’t be able to do this without you. You guys inspire me. Most importantly, I’m thankful to God. Without Him, none of this would be possible.

Now, I must get some rest. My goal is to be up by 9 am tomorrow.

Photo by Ryan Wong on Unsplash

Coming To Terms: What I’ve Learned

Today, I read a story about a man. A man from the 20s. A man that I’d never imagine I’d be able to relate to. As I was reading his story, it sounded familiar. It wasn’t just “his” story, but mine to.

How many times have I told myself that I’d stop drinking, but yet continued to drink? Sure, the hangover would be torture the next day but after the hangover went away, I’d be right back at it again. The only reason I told myself I’d stop drinking, was so I wouldn’t have to endure the painful hangovers. As soon as the hangovers went away, it was right back to it.

It took two months after turning 21 before I got popped to realize that God was alive. It took another 6 months more after that before I realized that yeah, I did have a problem. Self doubt is currently still there, “Oh, maybe I’m not an alcoholic,” but if I’m being real, in my experience, that is something only alcoholics would say. One fact still remains: I cannot control my drinking. I like the feeling of being drunk too much (even though that meant I’d have to endure painful hangovers). I cannot manage this, but God CAN. 

If I got $1 for every time I told myself I’d have one or two drinks and call it a night, I’d be rich. If I got an additional $1 for every time I had more than one or two drinks, I’d be even richer.

You MUST be willing to want to change yourself, I cannot change you. Without admitting you have a problem, nothing will change. No matter how hard you try.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

I’m Bleeding, and I’m Okay

Today was overall a good day. It had its ups and downs, but thats life in general. I’m really thankful that someone had held me accountable with AA. I’m glad I started going back, I finally found a sponsor.

I’m really excited for this, but I’m also scared. The last week has been nothing but coming to realizations I didn’t want to come to, but I had to.

From recognizing alcoholic tendencies to learning how to heal and let go of that and acknowledge the fact I shouldn’t be drinking. When I got on probation, all I could think about was how I couldn’t wait to get off. But why? I couldn’t wait to get off because it meant I’d be able to drink again. That was the only reason. Not because I wouldn’t be tied down by the court system, not because it meant I wouldn’t be “watched” by the courts anymore, I couldn’t wait to get off because it would mean I’d be able to drink again.

But I realized…

How many times have I told myself I would have one or two drinks and let it be, yet realized that nobody was “policing” me so I could have more than I wanted? How many times was I worried about how I’d get home because I didn’t restrict myself? Too many times to count.

Honestly, the idea of me not drinking again terrifies me. And that’s perfectly normal for someone who admits to themselves that they can’t be a “normal” drinker. However, I know that as time comes, it will get easier. I won’t have that thought anymore.

For the first time, I was honest with myself. I had made myself vulnerable. I am exploiting myself every day whether I realize it or not.

I’m becoming a better person, and that’s something I’d never be able to find in a bottle. Normally, on Thursday’s I go to my college group but was invited to something that focuses on co-dependency. I figured I’d give it a shot. Because I am co-dependent, and this applies to many things on top of alcohol.

I told a friend that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the group tomorrow because of time conflict. He was disappointed, but he understood. And he sent me a text that gave me assurance that I was doing something right.

It felt really good. Not because he said good things, but because of the fact that the work I’m putting into myself is in fact worth it.

I’m radiating love. I’m radiating hope. I’m radiating faith. I never wanted to be this open because it meant that I could be taken advantage of. It meant that I could get hurt. I was so scared of getting hurt that I kept closing myself off. I can’t do that. I won’t do that. I need people just as much as they need me.

I’m bleeding, but in a good way. I’m bleeding love. I’m bleeding hope. I’m bleeding faith. If I don’t have something to work for, if I don’t have something to believe in, then what am I living for? I have to believe that my life will get better, I have to believe that God is there, and he is. Let this blog be my testimony.

I’m grateful for this life. I’m grateful for my friends and my family who have been so supportive. I’m thankful for my readers.

If I can make just one impact in someone else’s life, then that’s all I need. If I can make a change, then so can you. It’s not easy, but it’s well worth the investment. I cry myself to sleep sometimes, and it sucks. However, it’s part of the healing process. Recognizing and staying in tune with your emotions is important. You can’t just bottle them up inside because nothing good comes out of it. Trust me, I’ve been there. I know.

I’ll have my good days, and I’ll have my bad days. But on the good days I choose to have faith. On the bad days, I still CHOOSE to have faith.

 

Cover Photo by Jade on Unsplash

Discouragement and Staying Sober

When I started this blog, I got really excited about being able to share my stories with the world. I was excited about knowing that I could make an impact to somebody, anybody.

However, today, I came across a blog that I thought was a lot better than mine. I didn’t get jealous, but I started to question what the point was with me doing this. I began to doubt myself, and more importantly, I began to doubt God.

I don’t want this blog to be about being “the perfect Christian.” This blog is far from. Besides, nobody is perfect. Plus, the word perfect is so relative anyway. It’s not a good word.

I want this blog to be about the daily struggles that ALL christians have. We all get mad at God, we all doubt God sometimes, and we all feel like God is not there. However, we have to make a conscious effort to remind ourselves that God never turns our back on us and that getting mad and doubting God is a human reaction. And guess what? HUMANS ARE NOT PERFECT.

What started this journey? I’m not sure if I ever really got into it. I got picked up for drinking and driving in December of 2017. My BAC was .09 and I was right by my house. I got arrested. Luckily, the end result was an Operating While Visually Impaired charge and not an Operating While Intoxicated charge, and I thank God everyday for that.

I was ordered to take impaired driving classes and that’s when I decided to give in. I decided to learn how to listen to God more. I decided that I’d actually make a conscious effort to make sure my faith remained solid. I may not blog every night, and I may not read the bible everyday, but at this point I pray more times a day than I probably have in the past year.

Another thing I did was start going to AA because I figured the courts would make me go anyway. They didn’t, so I stopped going.

However, recently, I started to go back. I’ve met some pretty incredible people and even a few remembered me and that felt really good.

However, I began questioning myself after the second meeting back. I’d find myself asking questions like “Am I really an alcoholic? Do I really belong here?” I decided to do the twelve steps anyway because I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for self growth, and growth with God.

Then tonight’s meeting happened. I had finally put words to explain how I felt. I was questioning if I was whether or not an alcoholic. Somebody said something to me and it struck me: If I have been arrested for drinking and driving, chances are I was an alcoholic. Normal drinkers don’t get “popped. That caused me to do some serious thinking.

Someone had also quoted something from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that gave the reader a challenge. Try controlled drinking. Have one drink and let it be just one drink.

This caused me to go into some serious thinking.

How many times have I went out before I got my DUI and told myself I’d have just one, but ended up having two or three? Too many to count.

I’ve only been 21 for almost 6 months and the last 4 months have been spent on probation. I still don’t have a solid answer to my question and I don’t have to. But a coworker asked me a question the other day that I could not answer. What is the whole point of drinking?

Maybe it’s better for me not to find out rather than finding out when it’s too late. I’ve also been terrified at the thought of never drinking again. Clue number two maybe? I don’t know. At this point, I don’t want to find out.

I have been sober for awhile, but never really kept track because I didn’t consider myself an “alcoholic”.

However, today. Something changed. I decided to keep track. Today counted as Day 1 in my book.

I’m so thankful that God made me realize how important this journey was, and I’m grateful that I’m able to make myself vulnerable and share my story with you.

How Changing Your Mindset Could Change Your Life

First of all let me say this, my day started off horribly. My paycheck for my job never came through, and as soon as I got to work, I started throwing up. Even though I felt fine after, they thought it best that I be sent home just in case it was something more serious.

So I hung out with a friend, taught him some piano, he taught me guitar, and I helped him get ready for his audition for our church band on Thursday. Then we went out for sushi, and I went to an AA meeting.

There’s so many things I could talk about with what I’ve learned today alone.

I’ll try to narrow it down to the one of the things that hit me the most.

A few days ago, my dad had tagged me in a help wanted ad for something I’m going to school for. My initial thought was, “What’s the point? They probably wouldn’t call me anyway so there’s no use in applying.”

Something inside me switched. Instead of thinking that, I thought “What if I did get the job though?”

So I took a chance and applied. I’m not saying that when I go into work tomorrow I’m going to place all bets on getting this job and putting my two weeks in, but what if I did get that call and it was because I decided to try?

Changing your mindset to have a positive outlook on life can do so many things. You’re not coming up with excuses to not push for something, but rather finding reasons to push for something.

It gives me hope, and hope is what drives me. God didn’t plan for me to live a life full of doubt, fear, and worry. He planned for me to live a life full of love, radiance, and hope. Knowing that everything will be ok.

He is my hope.

Honestly? We could play the what if game all day. I know I’m bad at falling into it. If that was an olympic sport, I’d have a million gold medals. But what if we changed the rules of the “what if” game? What if we pursued God even more? What if we prayed more? What if we read the bible more? What if we actually tried? I promise you the answers are much more positive than if we asked ourselves “What if this doesn’t work?”

What if we didn’t live for us? What if we lived for God?

I realize that there is a possibility that I don’t get this job, and I’m ok. Our problem with society is that we have too many unrealistic expectations. We expect young adults (~20) to have at least one kid. We expect this generation to not go to school and get a higher education. We expect ourselves to work to death to provide for our families. We expect every rugged looking person to be an alcoholic or crackhead. We expect ourselves to put labels on things where no label is necessary.

We think that just because a woman doesn’t meet the current standards of beauty to not be worthy of anything.

We think that just because a man doesn’t meet the current standards of beauty to not be worthy of anything.

But YOU ARE.

Jesus loves you for who you are. No matter what. His love is unconditional. You might think that you’re not a good person, but you are. You have the ability to be a good person. And the phrase “being a good person” is so relative that each person has a different definition for what that may mean.

Instead of not trying, try. Instead of doubting yourself, push yourself. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in God. Trust in Him and Him alone. I promise you if you do that, the results will amaze you. I’ve been amazed. I think that I’ve made more growth in the past 4 months than I have in the past year.

The sky is the limit, but if you really think about it. The sky eventually leads into space. Space is endless. So really, you’re limitless. You can do whatever you want to do if you really push yourself, have faith in yourself, let go, and let God.