When Darkness Comes

darkness

Darkness comes at such surprise

Even devoid of chemical influences

The sun shines bright but I can’t see

These grey tinted lenses hinder my senses.

Mskin feels tingly to the touch

My step an unsteady gate

Lovely music flows with sweet strings and such

Filters through me like screeches and hate.

There’s a space on my bed which remains warm

As I’m lying there most of the day

A half made bed where my weary self mourns

Not one specific word, thought, or ill to convey.

All darkness seems to bear no source

All pain has no true indication

Tears aimlessly run their course

My only known remedy is prayer for patience.

~ Paige Loveland

I Didn’t Turn Over My Will… I Loaned it Out

turning over will

 

One of the many mistakes I have made along the path of sobriety was in not completely turning my will over to the care of my Higher Power. Oh sure, I said I did, and I really believed this to be true. But the truth is this… I turned it over, and then reached out and desperately snatched it right back. So, in essence, I was loaning it out.

I have to be willing to give my will completely to my Higher Power. I have to truly believe that God has me in the palm of His hand, and will protect and care for me. To not do so spells disaster.

When I look at my life, I realize that I talked a good game. I told others that I believed that my God was looking out for me. But in my bed, late at night unable to sleep, I was tossing and turning with fear and anxiety over whatever was the problem of the day. With that constant worry, I was obviously not trusting and believing that God had my back. I may have asked Him for help, but instead of turning it over, I was trying to take back control and come up with my own solutions. Hell, my past history should be enough to prove to myself that when I try to control situations on my own, I only end up in misery.

Today, I am slowly learning and accepting that I need God. More specifically, I need to trust in Him that He will provide solutions and offer me comfort. I’ve heard it said at meetings… “Let Go and Let God”.  I have been struggling with this, while knowing at my very core that this is the piece that has been missing in my life.

Tonight, I was flipping channels and came across an old favorite, Joel Osteen. I used to listen to his podcasts while running on the treadmill because not only was it inspiring, but the podcasts are a half hour long which is perfect for my run! 🙂  Tonight’s episode was entitled “Stay in Peace”. He talked about trusting that God will take care of you during even the most tumultuous times. He gave an example of being in the eye of the storm. In a hurricane, while everything is complete chaos, if you are at the very center of the storm, the eye, there is total calmness. He said that when life is crumbling around you, when you feel there is no way out of your problems, stay in peace… stay centered, as if you were in the eye of the storm. Allow everything to occur around you, but stay calm and in peace.

I love this. The key idea is to trust that although life will continue to throw you curves, trust in God and know that He will provide… IF you place your complete trust in Him… IF you turn your will over to Him and allow Him to help. Ask for help, and you shall receive. Trust in Him, and He will provide.

~ Paige Loveland

Don’t Turn Your Back on Someone Who Slips

We live and learn. Each day in sobriety is another opportunity to learn new lessons, meet new friends who get it, and a chance to improve the quality of our life. In talking with another alcoholic tonight after a meeting, I found comfort in having a conversation with someone who completely understands who I am simply because we share the same disease. We talked about my relapse a few months ago. I spoke of how I felt that I had not been truly working a good program before, and that although my relapse was short-lived, I had been on a downward spiral for months. I had been consumed with fear, loneliness, and uncertainty and I didn’t do what I should have done… ask for help.

Silence can be deadly for an alcoholic. When we don’t reach out for help when we need it, we risk our sobriety. What I have found here in my new AA community since moving across the country has been priceless. I’ve met women who care, listen, and support me, and that in turn makes me want to offer the same love and compassion. What I find sad is that I have found more love and compassion from my newfound AA friends than some of the people I spent a great deal of time (almost four years) with in AA back in Illinois.

I told a few trusted friends back in Illinois about my relapse, and since telling them, I had no further contact with them. They simply stopped calling. It was as if I let them down. When I was struggling with my emotional sobriety months ago, I dared not share how I was feeling for fear of being seen as not being a solid AA member. I had a reputation for being one of the “winners”, so how could I go into meetings and express how scared I was and how lonely I was feeling? So here I am, in a new state and a new AA community. I share openly here, and receive the support necessary and am being handed the tools for dealing with my fears. It all lies in the steps outlined in the Big Book.

Why did those few people give up on me instantly when they heard of my relapse? Why would they pretend to be my friend when they thought I had it all together, only to toss me aside the moment they heard I didn’t? I’m not sure. I suppose to dwell on the reasons is pointless. But it hurts.

The lesson I take with me from my experience is to never toss someone aside for having a slip. This program is about progress, not perfection. I need to remember that every moment of every day. Because all we really have is today!

~ Paige Loveland

The Hurt Behind the Smile (Tribute to Robin Williams)

I won’t pretend to know a great deal about Robin William’s story, but I know enough to feel a strong connection to him and his struggle. For someone like me, it is not unimaginable that a man who could bring so much laughter to the world was probably dying inside much of the time.

robin williams

It matters not that Robin Williams had fame and fortune. It matters not that he had a family who loved him and friends and fans that adored him. Depression and addiction do not care what you have, who loves you, or what your name is.  Anyone is fair game to the grips of addiction, and depression also holds no favorites.

I do not know if Robin Williams was heavily involved in AA or NA. I only know that after 20 years of sobriety, he relapsed. In an interview with Jon Stewart, he spoke of taking that first drink after many sober years. He felt the grips of the disease after one sip, and it led him straight to the abyss. I am still searching for articles to see what happened at that point, for how long his relapse lasted, and for how long he had been sober before the tragic day of his suicide. But I do understand the hopelessness that comes with our disease, and the shame and guilt that come along with relapse.

Robin Williams on The Daily Show

What I have learned from the program of AA, is that I cannot hide behind a happy facade. If I am feeling sad, frustrated, or lonely, I need to be completely honest with another person, whether it is my sponsor or another trusted friend. I cannot pretend to be happy when I am not. Putting on a happy face only allows the low feelings to fester… and when I am living in my own muck, my disease is waiting, ever so patiently. I need to always be in the right frame of mind, and I also need to be spiritually connected. If I am not feeling that way, then I need to talk about it. To hide is to suffer. I wonder if that was what Robin Williams was doing… hiding, suffering, dying inside.  Again, I will not pretend to have any idea what Mr. Williams was going through in the days leading up to his death.  I only know how saddened I am by the loss of such a great talent. I pray for another one of US… lost to this insidious disease, whether directly or indirectly. I will let this be a lesson to keep my sobriety at the forefront of my life and my connection with my Higher Power number one.

RIP Robin Williams

~ Paige Loveland

Powerlessness is Not Weakness

Until we accept that we are powerless, we do not stand a chance. When I first heard this said in the rooms, I honestly thought this meant I was weak and incapable. Although I was beaten down, I still believed that I was in control. I thought maybe I just did not have enough willpower or that the circumstances in my life were what caused me to drink too much. It was that kind of thinking that kept me stuck at step one. Sure, I had gone through the steps a few times in my first few years of sobriety, but had I honestly lived them?

powerlessnessPowerlessness is not a sign of weakness. It is pride that keeps us from asking for help when we most need it. Last night, my daughter told me that I need to let my guard down and let others help. This was coming from an 18 year old girl who has more wisdom in her little finger than I had at that age for certain. Out of the mouths of babes.

So, today, I am pushing my pride to the wayside in hopes that I will accept help from others, and more importantly, from my Higher Power. I have learned time and time again that I am powerless… not weak… simply powerless without God in my life.

~ Paige Loveland

 

Complacency is a Dangerous Place

complacency

The lies of the enemy rarely tempt us to evil, but rather to complacency. Who is this enemy? Our disease.

Pain, worry, anger, & fear… these are all emotions we may recognize as dangerous, slippery slopes along the path of our recovery. But what many of us ignore, myself included at times, is complacency. This was the topic of my women’s meeting tonight. In all of my self-searching, I have discovered that complacency has been my biggest problem. Attending meetings, being social in sober circles, reading meditation books, etc… these are not enough to keep me sober.

I had been walking around with my Big Book covered in my fancy leather binder, notes in the margins, neatly kept. I had read that book, cover to cover. I had ‘worked’ the steps THREE times… but was I ever really working them? The mere fact that I do not know what it really means to work the steps means that I have a great deal of work to do. People talk about the fourth step as having been pivotal in their recovery. I agree, but the truth is that I think the third step is where the transformation begins.

Yes, step 1… I am powerless… YES. Step 2, came to believe… AMEN. But Step 3, made a decision to turn our will and our lives over… You have got to be kidding! I wanted to be in control. I believed that being strong and having the desire would be enough. I had never trusted another person with anything of importance. I’m a self-admitted control freak. If I can’t trust others with simple daily tasks, how in the world can I turn my will and life over to a God that I do not fully understand? But I simply had to… at all costs.

~ Paige Loveland

 

A Journey of a Thousand Miles…

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

single step

 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. When I finally admitted this to myself, truly believing it to the core of my being, I was ready to begin the journey. This journey involved a long path that wasn’t always smooth and sunny. Along the way, there were massive bumps in the road, boulders actually. There were storms where I had to squint aimlessly through with the windshield wipers on high. There were snow storms from where I had to shovel my way out. I found detours that my GPS didn’t recognize, sending me into a tailspin of confusion. I skinned a few knees, broke a few freshly manicured nails, and lost a lot of sleep from worry and despair.

Sounds terrible doesn’t it? Well, the truth is, it really has been a beautiful journey. Why? Because my head was free and clear of alcohol through the entire journey up until now. I took a serious nosedive, but alas, I awoke the next day ready to admit my powerlessness again. None of the lessons I learned up to this point were lost. They may have been hidden beneath the surface a bit, afraid to show their faces. But when I reached down, grabbed them by the neck, and held them up to look them square in the eyes, those lessons were right there where I needed them.

So, here I am. I admit that I am completely powerless over alcohol, that my life has, yet again, become unmanageable. Fully accepting this is a fresh start. So I am merging back onto the road to happy destiny. Wanna come along for the ride??

~ Paige Loveland