That moment I became Wendy from Peter Pan…Grief does magical things when triggered.

Everything was great. Life is great. I’m living the dream. I’m sober, and I have an amazing job, and I’m pursuing my MA in Addictions Counseling. My marriage is awesome, and my kids blow my mind every single day with their growth and perspectives on life. Yet, here I was, sitting in the driveway of my gorgeous two story suburban dream home, in a vehicle worth more than my annual income, crying my eyes out to a song about Peter Pan.

So there’s this song, called Lost Boy by Ruth B. It sent my head spinning when I heard it the other day. I was driving and fortunately I was close enough to home to pull in the driveway and listen to the lyrics. A torrential downpour of tears quickly fell from my face down onto my lap. I guess I was surprised because there was no sadness in the forecast for that day.

Everything was great. Life is great. I’m living the dream. I’m sober, and I have an amazing job, and I’m pursuing my MA in Addictions Counseling. My marriage is awesome, and my kids blow my mind every single day with their growth and perspectives on life. Yet, here I was, sitting in the driveway of my gorgeous two story suburban dream home, in a vehicle worth more than my annual income, crying my eyes out to a song about Peter Pan.

I realize now after I’ve had time to process, that I was in the midst of a grief storm. It was three years ago this month that I received the call that my father passed away, and it was 17 years ago this month that I suffered a miscarriage. I shouldn’t be surprised at all that grief would sneak up on me. But alas, every year it hits me as quick as the last. I suppose it still hits me hard because I still find myself thinking “I should be over this by now.”

The infamous tick tock the crocodile from Peter Pan comes to mind. In dealing with death you quickly learn that time is not your friend. Someone’s always taken too soon, or not soon enough. You always think you have time with someone until time is no longer an option. The past, the present, and even the future are obsolete in dealing with death; none of it even exists anymore. Time is irrelevant, but it’s everything. Time heals all wounds is bullshit. Some wounds never heal; they just change year after year. Each year perspectives change and a little more gratitude is won on the never ending battlefield that is grief.

The truth is that this father wound is the biggest heartbreak I’ve faced. It has forced me to accept a truth about humanity and addiction I’ve tried to deny my whole life. Substance use disorders not only cost precious relationships, they sometimes cost you your life. Fortunately for me, my substance use disorder has become the cornerstone of which I have built my career, in mental health and in addictions counseling.

That being said, my heart still breaks for the boy inside my father. No amount of education, licensure or expertise will cure that. Deep down in my grief, I’m not grieving the loss of him as a family, because he was anything but. He wasn’t capable of being a father because he was a lost boy. I’m grieving the life he didn’t get to live because of the lost boy inside him.

He was abused, awfully so, by his family while growing up. The cycle didn’t stop for him, so he continued it. He was abusive because it’s what he knew families did to each other. He was an alcoholic probably because he hated himself for his twisted family values. He wasn’t able to stop the cycle of addiction and it eventually helped kill him. I imagine he was quite lonely as a child.

1nusqr

Then, I imagine he found his Peter Pan in the bottle.

1nut3a

The alcoholic in him chose to run from responsibility. He chose not to be a father. He chose to not have contact.

1nuu1w

Soon enough, I became an adult and the false promises of his recovery were made. I wasn’t able to see past the illness, I was scared. I rejected him. I focused on my marriage and children instead.

1nuu9q

I carried on about my business till that day he died. I assumed that there was time. Knowing what I know now, I would think that the lost boy in him has found his home. I like to think Heaven is his Neverland. Perhaps his Peter Pan is Jesus, and one day I might just be his Wendy Darling.

1nuuwi

And there you have it. My moment of grief in the driveway turned into a fairytale story ending with me as Wendy. What I learned about grief is it comes and goes. If you try to control it, you’ll surely drown. If let go and you ride the wave, it’ll bring you to shore……but not before that turbulent rainstorm passes.

I Love Me Some Yoga Pants….But I’ll Never Be a “Wine Mom”

Seems to me everywhere I look I see that some form of Mom happy hour is happening. Wine is the new most popular drink of choice. Maybe it’s because wine is “classy.” Perhaps it’s because wine is stronger than spirits but not as “bad” as hard liquor. Maybe it’s because wine is delicious. The self-indulging of wine at the end of a rough day may be harmless to some. To those of us with alcohol use disorders, it is playing with fire.

I’m just going to say it. Motherhood sucks at times. Sometimes I’m on top of the world and deserve a prize. Other times, I’ve earned nothing more than a participation trophy. On my worst days, I quit. I have literally told my children that I am done being their mother. Not one of my most stellar moments, but I was at my wit’s end. I have two girls, ages 8 and 12. When the premenstrual hurricane blows in every month, the three of us are affected by the barrage of estrogen and hormonal outbursts. Before I was sober, I would grab a “mom drink” at the end such a disastrous day.

828da653b427e5124c68ac08fa23aba9_-my-life-friendship-memes-mom-life-meme_490-490

Seems to me everywhere I look I see that some form of Mom happy hour is happening. Wine is the new most popular drink of choice. Maybe it’s because wine is “classy.” Perhaps it’s because wine is stronger than spirits but not as “bad” as hard liquor. Maybe it’s because wine is delicious. I did love me some wine back in the day. My social media is filled with all types of sarcastic memes encouraging Moms to drink as the day goes to shit.

Capture

The self-indulging of wine at the end of a rough day may be harmless to some. To those of us with alcohol use disorders, it is playing with fire. Unfortunately, society still sees the alcoholic as the bum on the street and not the mom next door. Most people don’t realize that you can be an “alcoholic” and not be physically addicted to alcohol.

A lot of people fail to realize people that it is medical personnel that diagnoses alcoholism. Counselors and psychiatrists generally diagnose symptoms of alcoholism as an Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD. The very presence of 2-3 symptoms in a 12 month period can lead to a diagnosis of a mild alcohol use disorder or AUD. Some of these symptoms are as simple as a craving and taking alcohol in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended. Drinking wine to cope with a sucky day of parenting is dangerous for everyone because the behavioral impulse can lead to an AUD, even in mild form.

Drinking as a coping skill just doesn’t work. This isn’t something I learned from a textbook, it’s something I learned from experience. I tried escaping my failing marriage and kids in a bottle on several occasions. It started with one glass of wine or one beer. It ended with me completely intoxicated each time. The very things I was trying to escape were the trigger for my anger while I was intoxicated. I never really “escaped” life while drunk because it just brought the feelings I never processed back to me, 10 fold. Then I became the angry wife and mom.

bree

There’s nothing glamourous about waking up with regret. There’s nothing glamorous about being told about the awful things you did to your family the night before during a blackout. There were many occasions I could have had my kids taken away from me while I was drinking wine. There were instances in which my husband would be totally justified in leaving me because of my inappropriate behavior while drinking wine.

Fortunately, we found Jesus and I found sobriety in time to save our family. I had struggled with a severe AUD for decades before getting help. I suffered for years in part because I didn’t fit the “alcoholic” definition that society projected. I wish I knew then, what I know now.

I write this with the hopes that some moms who are participating in this “wine-o after the kids are crazy” behavior; that they might consider the fire they are playing with. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of responsible adults out there that do not struggle with an AUD or alcoholism, and if you’re one of them, go on and do your thing. If you’re on the fence about whether the behavior is a problem or not, it probably is.

mother-daughter-love-sunset-51953

So, I say with complete gratitude that I will not be getting off my wagon to indulge in a glass of wine after a crappy day of parenting. I do love some yoga pants, a messy bun, and some good ole’ Target browsing though. I made a promise to my kids to never have wine again, and they come before fitting in. I’ve found that the days that are the suckiest, are the most rewarding if you don’t give into the false lie of escaping into a bottle. Self-care comes in many forms.

On the sucky days of motherhood, sometimes I lock myself in my room for a mommy time out. Don’t knock it till you try it. Sometimes I just need a good long bubble bath with candles. Usually, it’s an adult oriented television show (my faves right now are The Walking Dead, The Americans, and This is Us….) and a dessert that will do the trick. The hardest part is choosing to process the situation with the kids instead of escape it.

I choose to discuss each problem as soon as the storm has passed. Even during the worst meltdowns, a child can throw at me, it’s worth it. Yesterday in my child’s anger I was told I was a horrible mother, and she was going to call the police because I wouldn’t give her the fast food she didn’t deserve. She went on to slew angry slurs at me for a good 30 minutes, in the car where I couldn’t escape. When I pulled into the drive I craved a glass of wine. If I wasn’t an alcoholic I could totally justify having a glass, which only pissed me off more.

The thought quickly faded as I stepped inside and felt the safe haven of my home. Then she finally broke. I heard her praying after we got home, and begging God for a do-over. Shortly after, she came to me and apologized and asked me if I could ever forgive her. “Of course,” I said. “Nothing you do could ever make me love you less, and I’m proud of you for making the right choices.”

The right choices aren’t easy, they’re often the last thing we want, but the rewards are often magnificent.

wpid-facebook_2123723918

That Day I Cussed God Out….and he Healed My Father Wound.

Today I write about the father wound. It’s a wound all too familiar for many people. The father wound has always existed in humankind. It’s nothing new. It exists because mankind is fallen. We are all far from grace. We all make mistakes in parenting. It goes way back to Adam and his decision that “knowledge” was more important than his father’s warnings. Adam’s son Cain was so upset by the rejection of his offering to his heavenly father God that he killed his brother. And the cycle of father wounds continued all the way to the present generation.

Let me tell you about my father wound. This wound ran so deep in my heart and soul it was part of my identity for decades. It was a wound that couldn’t be cured by running away. It couldn’t be cured by sleeping around for men’s attention. It couldn’t be cured by drugs or alcohol. It couldn’t be cured through co-dependence. It couldn’t be cured through isolation and depression. It couldn’t be cured by the obsessive striving for success. It couldn’t be cured by the becoming a control freak. It couldn’t be cured through anger and anxiety. It couldn’t even be cured through therapy and medication alone (though they were helpful). No. What it took was a relationship with my heavenly father to cure the broken relationship I never had with my earthly father.

Let me explain. My parents divorced when I was 5. My father had been abusive and controlling of my mother. We went to a safe home after we left for a while. I was confused and didn’t know how to share my feelings, so I stuffed them. I swallowed my feelings and went through the motions for the sake of others. This was a pattern I would continue until it nearly destroyed me as an adult. I was confused because I wanted to love the man we were leaving, I missed him. He was broken, but I missed him. He wasn’t involved after we left. He had one chance for visitation and he messed it up. There was one occasion we received gifts for Christmas but I was so rejected that I threw them away. The stage was set, the roles were cast, and I would be given the part of the girl without a father.

exit

I felt rejected. I felt ashamed of myself. I felt unloved and unwanted. I was young, and I had convinced myself that I wasn’t worthy of love. I didn’t attend Sunday school; I didn’t attend church for many years. I didn’t know “God the father” was an option. I began my journey toward God as a father in the chapel of a Catholic church. It was in the silence that he awakened my spirit. It was when I was reading a book full of testimonies from the nuns that work a youth outreach shelter on skid row. The stories of the displaced children resonated with me. I began to ponder, that if God could love these kids making all these bad choices, maybe just maybe, he would love me too. Maybe he was my father after all. Little did I know that this reading on runaway youth would inspire a short-lived runaway journey of my own.

I was in middle school and was desperate to escape. I was convinced I had lived long enough in the streets of Detroit that I would have the “street cred” I would need to survive. Who was I kidding? I was just a crazy little white girl from northern Michigan now. I wanted to go somewhere bigger. My father wound had convinced me I was the biggest reject at school. In my delinquent mind, it was his fault I was binge drinking alcohol in the 6th grade while other kids were doing productive recreational activities. It was his fault I was hooked on cigarettes, not many other 6th graders understand the depth of nicotine withdrawal, so I was isolated. I hung out with the other “rejects” and “loners.” I felt less than, so I became what I thought was less than. I convinced someone else she needed to run with me. I had the accomplice, the plan, the food and supplies, and the journey had begun one afternoon after school. We had taken a path that ran parallel to the highway and walked a full 7 miles. My young feet thought they might just fall off and die. We came across a factory and decided the next thing to do was hitch a ride with a trucker. We could have been murdered and dumped somewhere. But we weren’t. We were picked up by the police and taken to the station after making it to the next town. Our God is a good father, he had plans for our lives, and we were protected on our ignorant journey.

crowd

I spent the next decade trying to earn attention from boys. Once again, I was that little girl, setting myself up for the rejection I felt I deserved. I kept men at an arms distance and kept them emotionally detached. This behavior led me to a teenage pregnancy that defined my relationship with God. I kept the baby but soon miscarried. When I reached all the humiliation and pain I could handle, I then committed the ultimate sin. I told God he gave me a shitty father, and that he himself was a shitty father, and I didn’t need him in my life anymore. I then filled the void with pain killers and club drugs till I found myself in the bottom of a ketamine hole on the bottom a dingy motel floor. It was then that I cried out to him again.

He should have told me to piss off. I certainly deserved it. But that’s not who God the father is. Through sobriety, I learned he is the ultimate father I felt I never had and he was there all along. God is a gentleman, and he will not intrude in your most sinful moments unless you ask him to. I scraped up enough faith to do something with my life. I joined the Army to travel and go to college. I went to war instead. I also met the man of my dreams, the one God designed for me. The costs of war took their toll on our marriage and I was once again begging God to step up and be part of my life again. I had this pattern of using God until something resolves then putting him on the shelf for use at a later time. Long story short, my father God restored my marriage. He did it by introducing me to his son Jesus. What a good father indeed.

When I finally admitted defeat I found myself in a church full of strangers hugging me and welcoming me, as if they had known me forever. I remember thinking to myself, “what a bunch of weirdos.” It was during worship one night, though, that my soul was touched and I finally came undone. I was in a program called Celebrate Recovery. I didn’t know what I was there for. I just knew I was a broken sinner with a dozen different hurts, habits, and hang-ups that needed to be fixed. I thought my marriage was over, I even had a lawyer. Back to that moment of worship. I began to see a vision of the hand of Jesus reaching out to me. He smiled and told me “come along little one.” Here I was, a grown woman, and this guy Jesus was speaking to the broken little girl in me. He knew that underneath every hurt, habit, and hang-up, was the father wound. He knew I wouldn’t be right until that was made right with my creator. I trusted him, he led me to the cross, and I surrendered that wound once and for all. Or so I thought.

Man feeling freedom on open sea

Flash forward a couple of years, and I was back in the middle of an alcohol relapse. My career wasn’t going in the direction God had planned, and my marriage was once again weak. We were living, but not really living. God had been put back on the shelf, even after his son intervened on his behalf. What a wretched sinner I am indeed. I was feeling terrible about my walk with my heavenly father when I got the call. I got the call that my father had passed away. Not only did he pass away, but he passed away 4 months prior. There was no memorial service, no funeral, no body, and no grave. There was nothing. I had to do the research and the medical examiner contributed his death to depression and alcohol dependence. I was numb for a good month. Then the emotions came. Grief was a tidal wave of emotions. I cried more than I ever had in my life for a father I never really had. I made attempts through the years to reconnect, and it never worked. I thought I had time. I was wrong.

I found myself on the floor of my bedroom in the fetal position one night. I was absolutely devastated. I was cussing my dead father out. “You couldn’t even die right, you fucking jerk.” Yeah. I said it, and I didn’t even regret it. What came next was even worse. I cussed at God for leaving me. I cussed at him for disappointing me. I cussed at him for taking him before I got another chance. I told him once and for all, to piss off. I questioned if he was ever there at all. Was it all just a fallacy of my imagination? I was afraid it was all make believe. I felt absolutely abandoned and I considered ending my life. I was once again the worthless little girl, only I was all grown up, and had little girls of my own looking up to me. I begged God to show me his presence. It was more of a challenge than a request really. My daughter knocked on my door to check on me. She entered the room and the thought of death fled. What a selfish, terrible thought to have had. She saw the pain on my face, a pain I could no longer deny, and she held me. Here was my baby girl, comforting her grown mother. It dawned on me suddenly all at once.

She was Jesus in the flesh. I called out to him and he showed up. God sent his son to save his girl, and he did so through this little girl in this moment of surrender. He was showing me that that little girl inside me was capable of healing and helping others. So, that’s what I’m doing with my life. I’m helping others who have had the same walk. My father wound left me with one hell of a scar. I can’t say it’s healed or finished, about the time I do, grief comes in with buckets of tears to remind me I’m not alone. There is a process to healing, it is slow and methodical. It is difficult and it is painful. It is the road less traveled, but it’s a beautiful journey. What happened next was a miracle. My father’s body came back to me in the form of ashes and I planted them into a tree. This tree is now growing on my property. How good is our heavenly father? Only he could make that happen. Only he can take death and create life with it.

I’m obviously not formally educated in theology. I leave that to the professionals. I simply choose to share my story. That’s the structure of the bible anyway, right? It’s a combination of books, of stories, of testimonies that tell of his promises and healing…and to think, it all began with Adam. Check out the Father’s Love Letter below, it has all the biblical reference you need to confirm the love of our father, God. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. All the healing you could ever want is on the other side of fear.

00001

 

 

Top 3 Reasons to Choose Vulnerability

We live in a fast-paced world where no one connects…at least not in person anymore. How much time do we spend on phones comparing ourselves to others is beyond measurement? Technology has taken place of the human connection, am I right? It’s easy to turn out the world of connection with that device in hand. Technology can be a wonderful tool to connect with others.   Say you’re in line at your favorite coffee shop. Have you even noticed who has passed by you? Maybe you don’t even realize you’re in line with others because it’s really a line of people ignoring each other while on their devices in their own worlds. We don’t even notice we are literally surrounded by people when we’re online searching for a distraction from the very fact that we are lonely! We’re lonely because we no longer make ourselves vulnerable to a simple conversation while in line for coffee.

Chances are that you are in recovery or are struggling with some form of addiction or behavioral issue if you’re reading this. Part of the recovery process that is essential but rarely discussed is the vulnerability factor. Most addicts or people in recovery have spent their lives avoiding vulnerability. Even if you’re not an addict or in recovery, ask yourself. How often have you avoided people through that device, or how many masks do you wear on social media to avoid being vulnerable? I know I avoided vulnerability until I was so desperate for a change I had nowhere else to turn.

I made some very poor decisions in the first half of my marriage. My decisions were a result of my refusal to be vulnerable. My addictive personality, coupled with a ridiculous amount of codependence, along with constant isolation led me down a path of destruction. When my marriage imploded, I found myself in a recovery room full of women who struggled with love and relationship addiction. We went around the room, each having a few minutes to share about our addiction and our week in recovery. My vulnerability fear had me in an internal battle with myself. I was trembling, shaking at the thought of revealing myself as a love addict. I had never even admitted this to myself, let alone reveal it to strangers. My heart was racing, my thoughts were panicked, and my mind was somewhere far away. Before I knew it, it was my time to speak. “My name is Rachel. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, who struggles with love and relationship addiction.” There. I said it. The words fell out of my mouth and there was no turning back. The truth was spoken.

What happened next was a mixture of emotional flurries and confusing sobs. I spent the next 5 minutes confessing everything I had done wrong in my marriage that led it to a place of separation. My words fell out like glass shattering on the floor. I thought about what this moment would look like before I had gone to recovery. I imagined that I would confess my ridiculous, inappropriate, and sinful behavior. I imagined being met with judgment. I imagined the world would come to a screeching halt, and that everyone on it would fly off simultaneously at the shock and awe of my addictive behavior. I imagined the earth would open up and swallow me whole, sending me to the fiery inferno I thought I deserved.

pexels-photo-29660

Reason #1

You need to be vulnerable because it connects the human soul to others.

So there I was, confessing the deepest, darkest secrets of my part of the failing relationship in that recovery room. The world didn’t stop spinning. The earth didn’t swallow me whole. What happened next sent Holy Spirit goosebumps all down my body. Are you ready for it? No one judged me. No one gasped. No one condemned me. I was met with hugs, love, and support. They loved me just as I was. They loved the broken, messy, sinful woman I was. Some of them even said “me too,” and they became the very best friends I have ever had. I was met in my vulnerability by other addicts that had decided to be vulnerable themselves… the “me too” moments connect the souls. They connect souls through the very concept of vulnerability and shame.

Through my God’s and my husband’s forgiveness, grace and unconditional love, I was able to make myself healthy again. Our marriage was restored. If I hadn’t had the courage to be vulnerable that moment in the recovery room, I wouldn’t have discovered the power of vulnerability. I wouldn’t have discovered that vulnerability connects souls. The vulnerability was what was missing in my marriage, in my friendships, in my family, and in my life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reason #2

You need to be vulnerable because, in your weakness, you are made strong.

Nowadays, I get anxiety about writing about my vulnerable moments. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? The minute after I click on the submit or send button my nerves go haywire. What if this piece totally sucks? What if I totally missed the mark? Crap. I’m completely exposed. I’m broadcasting my issues for the world to see. What will my mother think of this? Why am I doing this? I’m crazy. That’s it. I’m certifiably crazy because no one does this.

I’m a prisoner of the vulnerability induced panic attack until I can get myself under control again. Even after all I’ve learned through all my addictions and impulsive behavioral traits, I still find the vulnerability to be one of the most difficult pills to swallow in recovery. It requires trust. It requires faith. It requires humility. A vulnerability is the rawest moment a human can experience, and yet through it, we are forged by the fire.

I didn’t experience true freedom from my hang-ups until I released them into the world. I confessed, and I was free from the enslavement that secrets keep you in. My secrets kept me in bondage for years. Think about it. If you no longer have anything to hide, you really are a new creation. Life begins when you no longer have to worry about being “found out.”

pexels-photo-129859

Reason #3

You need to be vulnerable because the world needs you.

Yes, you read that right. Yes, you. The world needs you. The world is full of fallen, ill, sinners like me and we need others to show us that we are going to be ok. Telling someone they are going to be ok is easy, I’m sure a monkey could be trained to do that. We need to share our stories with each other with a sense of vulnerability. We get stronger when we are vulnerable but we cannot do it alone. In the recovery world, accountability partners and sponsors save lives by making themselves vulnerable to the people they are in recovery with. This can mean the difference in life and death choices for some people.

What would happen if you made yourself vulnerable just once, on social media? Instead of showing the world how stunning you are, turn off the filter. See what happens. What happens is people get real and some may be judgmental, but to that one person who says “me, too”…well, you’ve made the world a better place to them. They breathe a sigh of relief knowing they’re not alone in their struggle, whatever it may be.

So there you have it. The reasons you need to be vulnerable have been laid out for you. What will you choose to do with the gift of vulnerability? Will you change lives or will you continue to avoid vulnerability because of shame and anxiety? The choice is yours. Being vulnerable is optional, and the road is full of difficulties, but trust me my friends, when I say it is worth it. Ultimately those who choose vulnerability choose love, and the world needs more of that.

Need to connect?

Join me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/therecoveryhaven/

Follow my Blog at https://therecoveryhavenblog.wordpress.com/

Finding your Alexander Supertramp – Thoughts on Wanderlust and the Transcendent Experience 


Current status….my sweet escape. 
I walk out to the balcony and I’m completely overtaken by the fragrant blossoms of spring in the air. It smells so sweet the air almost tastes like honey. The flora and fauna are foreign to me, they are an exotic array of colors, textures, depth, and height. The birds though, are clear as glass as they sing to me in a familiar tune that seems to shout “good morning, outta bed sleepy head!” 

The skyline is covered by a dense fog that overwhelms the entire city. It’s a mix of pollution and low lying clouds. It’s a haze that can’t be penetrated this fine morning. The sun shines from the east as it is rising slowly but methodically above the terra cotta tile shingles. It reflects on the mug of steaming coffee to my left, just within arms reach. 

This house is as foreign to me as the fragrant air and palms that surround it. It is rich in history, as it was built in 1926 I believe. The windows are my favorite tell tale sign of the decades that have passes since the fine craftsmanship of the past. Every sill is ornate, with trim in intricate patterns, and solid wood shimmed just right to fit each pane. The knobs throughout the house are a stunning mix of eclectic Art Deco mixed with class and luxury. Some are solid brass with the perfect patina over detailed scrolling all the way around the diamond shaped knob. Some are good old fashioned clear or milk glass that squeak when you turn them. The doors stick from the shifting this old house has done through the last 90+ years of existence. 

I’m drawn into immediate wonder of who might have turned these knobs, who might have opened these windows to catch that familiar California breeze. This is a multimillion dollar property in the hills of Hollywood with a stunning view of the skyline. Griffith Observatory is so close I can nearly reach out and touch it. My latest travels have led me to discover that the curiosity about travel in Los Angeles is not the what or where, but it intrigues the senses to discover the who. 


Got myself a threadbare gypsy soul….

Each place I’ve travelled is different but one thing remains, my mind becomes free as I engage in my surroundings with child like wonder once again. My heart is full and light. There’s a carefree pep in my step. My soul….well it is absolutely satisfied. My soul is satisfied that I’ve scratched that itch once more. I get bit by the travel bug all the time, and what it leaves is a itch that cannot be relieved by anything but good old fashioned travel and adventure.  

I’ve been accused of having a gypsy soul, and here I sit, guilty as charged, in a new city, that is waiting patiently to be explored by every sense I have in my body. It is said that “You see someone who has a gypsy soul is a person in need of change or an adventure. A gypsy soul seeks for the next best thing in any situation. They can be very passionate and inspired by different ideas, attitudes and experiences. … Sure, gypsy souls have a wild heart” (The Odyssey Online). Having a gypsy soul doesn’t mean I’m a pagan, I’m a Christian who happens to see My God and his son in all my travels. I struggle with wanderlust and that struggle, my friends, is real. 

On wanderlust….

Wanderlust is a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about (dictionary.com). I’ve had this desire as long as I can remember. My mother will tell you it’s true. We roamed the country with my father, as he was in the Navy and we moved frequently. I know the moment my gypsy soul was formed and the wanderlust began. It began when I was just a small child, maybe 4 or 5. I was really too young to remember such details but they were forever engraved in my memory for some reason. We took a road trip from Rhode Island, all the way to Washington State. I remember the sound of the wheels on the highway. I remember the sights and sounds. Most importantly, I remember the connection of my spirit to nature. I was hooked on travel from then on. 

That’s great right, but what does this have to do with recovery? Well besides the CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) benefits of travel, like mindfulness for example, there’s much more going on than just travel and adventure. I believe there’s a genuine healing property found in nature. I believe it because I’ve lived it. It began when my mother left my father when I was a little girl. 


Riding the transcending wave….

I was being carried out of the house in the middle of the night. I had my favorite blanket wrapped around me and the air was filled with the scent of the pines of Washington State. These trees seemed to reach the sky. Without saying a word, I knew what we were doing. We were leaving. I asked and it was confirmed. I looked up to the sky and saw the brightest stars my little eyes had ever seen. The sky was black, but the stars were so clear they seemed to be pinholes in the darkness. I looked at the moon and I knew. I knew there was someone up there watching over me, protecting me, guiding me. It was a moment that only lasted a few seconds, but it’s a moment that I re-live often. It was my moment of freedom. It was my connection of my higher power to nature, and to my human spirit. They were all connected; god, the universe, and myself.

What I experienced was a moment of transcendental realization. Transcendent (per Google dictionary) is being beyond ordinary or common experience, thought, or belief; supernatural. I think the common ground we have here is that each person in recovery has experienced transcendentalism. This is why it’s encouraged to believe in a higher power, because in order to truly change a persons soul, they have to experience something that connects them to the rest of the universe. Without this experience the individual continues the cycle of behavior they are trying to change. My transcendental moments happen over and over again in nature, mostly but not always while satisfying that wanderlust I was talking about. 

My challenge question to you is when did you first have a transcendent experience? What was it like for you? Was it healing? What can you do to experience it again? 

My two favorite recovery and nature movies are Wild and Into the Wild. I highly recommend a viewing of these if you’re stuck for motivation. If these don’t motivate you to get out there and explore your transcendence, I don’t know what will.

I leave you with this thought to ponder. “The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Christopher McCandless

A Plate of True Grit-With a Side of Resilience 

A fellow writer afforded me the opportunity to share my story. I am forever grateful for the community of connectedness and sharing found in the modern writers world. 

Here goes the story of how I overcame many obstacles to become a success story instead of a statistic. 

https://transformation-is-real.com/blog/true-grit-side-of-resilience

The Spiritual Disconnect of Alcohol

Today is my birthday and I’ll celebrate it. I have learned in recovery though that holidays are full of triggers, especially birthdays when there’s a father wound. Here is my story of how my fathers death brought us closer. Shout out to https://sobernation.com/ for publishing me and making this dream possible.

Click here to check out my story:https://sobernation.com/the-spiritual-disconnect-of-alcohol-2/