The Voice of Hope

hope

I remember when hope was prevalent in my life… but not in a good way. I used to HOPE that I would not get pulled over for drinking and driving. I used to HOPE that my family would not notice me sneaking in the bathroom to pull out my water bottle filled with vodka for a few sips during holiday gatherings. I used to HOPE that my employer would not notice my bloodshot eyes and the shaking going on in my body. I used to HOPE that no one would ever ask me to quit drinking.

These days, HOPE looks quite a bit different. Today, I have hope that life will continue to get better… as long as I continue living in the solution. Regardless of the obstacles which almost inevitably come my way, I feel a sense of hope that God will get me through even the most challenging of times. Those times where the world seems to be setting up major roadblocks are the most challenging, but somewhere deep within, there is a tiny voice offering messages of hope.

So for today, I prefer to live each moment with hope for the future, and gratitude for what I already have in my life.

~ Paige Loveland

This is God. I Will Be Handling All of Your Problems Today.

turning over will

I used to wish I would wake up one morning and see a note like that. Today, I don’t need the note because I believe those words with every inch of my being. I was unable to say that as recently as a month ago. About a month ago, I was still struggling with the concept of putting my will completely in God’s hands. I wanted it, don’t get me wrong, but I was not convinced of it.

I played the victim role… I’ve played that role my entire life. When things went wrong, I couldn’t understand why God was letting me down. Now, what I see is this… Things may have been bad, but instead of believing that God let me down, I now see that God helped me through those hard times. I truly believe this.

When times are bad, many of us tend to look to place blame outside of ourselves. We cannot understand why bad things keep happening to us. I was over three years sober when I remember looking up to the heavens and asking out loud, “When do the promises start coming true, damnit?!” Those promises were always within my reach, but I neglected to reach out and grasp them. I did everything in my power to work against the principles of the program. Sure, I convinced myself and a lot of other people that I was working so hard. But the truth was, I was wallowing in self-pity and living in my ego. A deadly combination, I might add.

How did I get to today? I woke up every morning and went to bed every night by thanking God for the blessings in my life and the blessings I am receiving.  Even if I had to struggle to come up with things for which to be thankful, I did it. Before I knew it, I started seeing God’s blessings throughout my life, past and present. I started seeing Him as a loving being, who did not inflict pain on me, but instead, guided me through those hard times, helping me survive each and every difficulty in my life.

This was a huge turning point in my life, and in my sobriety. I know now that if I turn my will over to God each and every day, He will not let me down. My faith is restored, and my trust is strong. I am no longer trying to drive the bus.

~ 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

 

Clarity in Sobriety

clarity

While drinking or using, our thinking is so clouded that we cannot see what is right in front of us. Yet, even in sobriety, we can still have clouded judgment. It is these alcoholic mind moments that should put us on guard. We have a disease which tells us we do not have it. Our minds play tricks on us in ways that non-alcoholics do not experience.

I have a clarity these days that I have not had in what seems like ages. The sky is bluer, the air is cleaner, and the moon shines brighter. I am not fooled by that little nasty voice that is chanting words of discouragement. I love my clean life. I am not ashamed to tell a new friend that I do not drink.  I am unashamed to admit what drinking did to me, and would do to me if I decided to go at it again.

Remembering what it did to me, and playing the tape through to the end as we are encouraged to do, keeps me grounded in reality. I must always remember that the girl who drank, and drank way too much, is always right there, beneath the surface. She is holding a stiff drink in one hand, and beckoning me over to join her with the other. But she does not fool me, for I know who she really is. I don’t need her, and I don’t want her. She is toxic to me, and she only wants to bring that fog back to swell exponentially within me. Today, and today is all that I have, I choose peace and clarity!

~ 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

The Journey Begins… Yet Again

serenity

Having had almost 4 years of sobriety, I was feeling as if I had this thing licked. The signs were written on the wall… signs of a fall. I was going through some rough stuff, but nothing I had not overcome in the past. Then I moved across the country, took a new job, and left everything else behind. I thought the fresh start would be good for me, and in most ways it has been. Change can be good, if we are spiritually fit.

I heard someone say last night that after a few years of physical sobriety, he still felt this gaping hole inside of him. I can relate all too well to that. When we search for ourselves, we are in a constant state of flux. I haven’t felt whole in many years, and I allowed myself to begin feeling like I was on the outside looking in. I felt as though there was something missing. Was it finding the right man in my life? Was it finding fulfilling work? Was it searching for answers in the mountains? I haven’t found any of these things, yet.

Since I got sober, I had never dated a man who drank.  So when I started dating a wonderful man who drinks, but drinks normally, I thought I could handle it. I started to even fantasize that maybe, just maybe, I could drink normally again, with him.  After we had been spending time getting to know each other, we decided to get together with our kids.  He was having a few cocktails, and my daughter and her friend were having a few with him.  I felt suddenly angry.  My crazy thoughts went to… “He is having more fun with them than me because they are all drinking and I’m not.  Then, as if I was not even aware of myself and my actions, I walked inside while they were out on the patio, reached in the fridge, and picked up that bottle of whiskey (which would NEVER have been my drink of choice) and tossed it back.

I did that a few more times, and sadly but not surprisingly, I do not remember a single thing that happened for the rest of the evening. I only know that we all crashed there for the night. I awoke the next day having to face my daughter and this new guy. But mostly, I had to face myself.

I spoke with a respected friend last night who told me that feeling shame is pointless. The important thing is that after that one night, I went right back to meetings, talked to others who understood, and have been walking the walk, once again.

So here I sit, ready to start anew, trying to not focus on the time, days, hours, or minutes. I only have today, and the journey begins, yet again!

~ Paige Loveland