Don’t Look Back… You’re Not Going That Way

don't look back

If I drove my car while looking back… I would surely crash. So why is it that I have lived my life looking back? Every decision I have made, seems to be rooted in the past. Failures or mistakes of the past have colored these decisions. Every new experience causes me to wonder if I will make the same mistakes, or if my actions will result in the same failures.

I may be a slow learner, but at least I am learning! I am coming to believe that if I focus on today, knowing that I am a different (maybe even better) person than I was in the past, it is not necessary to repeat the past. Staying in today, staying in the NOW…. this is the only way to grow. Looking back and living in the past will keep you stuck, not allowing you to grow and change into the person you are meant to be.

Turn your head around… stop looking over your shoulder… stop judging yourself so harshly for mistakes you’ve made. Today is a new day. It may very well be the start of your new life. Go forward, and don’t look back!

~ 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

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

Fellowship Alone Will NOT Keep You Sober

Fellowship is incredibly important. Surrounding yourself with others who understand you and are working toward the same goal of lasting sobriety is priceless. But fellowship alone will not keep you sober. I made the mistake of relying solely on regular attendance at meetings. While that is an important part of my journey, I have realized that there has been something missing.

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Faith… I’m still working on this one, but I know that if I don’t work on my relationship with my Higher Power, I am doomed. I have proven to myself that I cannot do this alone. So one would think that if I can’t do it alone, the fellowship would help, and it does, to a point. But once I moved across the country, removing myself from the fellowship I had come to rely on, I let it all slip away.

Sure, there were other things that contributed to my relapse. However, I have realized that if there was more to my AA program than fellowship, it wouldn’t have mattered in what state I was living. As is written in the Big Book…

“See to it that your relationship with Him is right…and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.”

~ 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

 

Turning My Back On God

When looking back over the past year, I have discovered that my back had been turned on God. Oh, I talked the talk, but even I wasn’t buying the BS I was spouting. My business was failing, I was slowly running out of money, I endured a life-threatening illness, my health insurance was unexpectedly dropped, my “just paid off” car suddenly died, and the list goes on. I got through each day somehow, but if I am completely honest with myself, I see that my faith disappeared. I was questioning my God every moment along the way, wondering why He was letting all of this happen to me.

So I did what I do best. When I fear that someone is going to abandon me, I abandon them first. I turned my back on God, and walked away, an empty shell. Without even really recognizing what I was doing, I was obviously saying, “Fine, I’ll do it my own way since you are not helping me, God!” My own way just doesn’t cut it… I have proven that time and time again.

faith

I saw this saying this morning. It stopped me in my tracks. I was a teacher for years, and I remember on test day, my college students would arrive, take their test forms from me, and go to their desks in silence prepared to take their exam. I remember saying to myself, “Okay, I have given them the tools to pass this test, now it is up to them.” This is what God is saying to me daily, but I have ignored Him.

Last night, I heard a speaker tell his story. He had a traumatic childhood, and as a result, he claimed to have turned his back on God. In telling a trusted friend this story later in his life, his friend looked at him and said, “All you need to do is turn around.” That was so profound to me. God is always there, silently waiting for us to live the lessons He has already taught us. There are times in our lives where we feel like He has left us out there alone, clinging to the edge of the cliff for dear life. It is in those times, where we feel most alone, that all we need to do is simply Turn Around!

~ Paige Loveland

Accept What Is… Let Go of What Was

acceptance

 

One of my absolute favorite parts of the book that is my Bible these days, talks about acceptance as being the answer to all of my problems today. I have read and re-read that section a number of times. I even took a screen shot of it and carry it around on my phone to pull out and read when I am having a particularly rough time. This is one of those times.

When I start to feel uncomfortable, fearful, anxious, or worried, I have to look deep within to find the answers. The cause of these feelings cannot be found by looking outward. Yes, there might be someone or some situation that is upsetting me. However, if there is one thing I have learned, and learned the hard way, it is that I cannot change, control, or fix anyone or anything around me.

People let us down sometimes. Things don’t go the way we planned. But there is absolutely nothing we can do over it. We must simply accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Yeah, right!! It isn’t simple. But it is what we must do if we want to stay sober and live a life filled with joy. Life throws us curves, but it is how we react that matters. We can only control our own reactions to the things that happen around us.

For me, the hard part of that saying is the third line… “Have faith in what will be”. It is sometimes easier to shake off a failed relationship and let go, but much more difficult to believe and have faith that all will be okay and better things are in store, even though I try. Wasn’t it Yoda from Star Wars that said, “Do. Or Do Not. There is No Try.”? I cannot try to have faith… I simply must. Because to not have faith will only lead me back to the life I want so desperately to never revisit. To be sober, physically and emotionally, I must have faith.

~ Paige Loveland