Starting Small.

Stop right now and check yourself. Are you discrediting the victories in your life? Whether it be big or small, a victory is a victory, and that is worth being celebrated. As Joseph Marshall III puts it, “Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.” My life has been a prime example of this. If I didn’t take the time to acknowledge all the “wins” in my life- things would be pretty depressing. I’ve found that sometimes it takes darkness to draw out the light. That’s been the case for me at least. Life has been okay since I returned from Florida. I consistently went to Intensive Outpatient, and I met with two different therapists weekly. I was learning a lot, but mentally I wasn’t entirely present. I think I knew that until I experienced more than just alcohol, I wasn’t going to be entirely sold on sobriety. Don’t get me wrong- I wanted to be. But there was a part of me that wanted to crash and burn, so that I would stop wishing I knew what being high on drugs felt like. So a little over two weeks ago I decided to push my recovery aside, and try some pills. Naturally, getting high quickly led to me picking up the first drink, and well… the rest of the story is obvious. That Wednesday night I had the hardest relapse ever, and I experienced a lot of dangerous things. I can stand here today saying I am fortunate to even be alive today. A small victory was me showing up at my outpatient the very next morning, after being out all night- walking through the doors, high, defeated, and truly powerless over my addiction. Before this, I had never truly believed that I was powerless- but after being knocked off my feet by this, I knew that my own will couldn’t manage this addiction.

So that Thursday morning as I talked with my therapist and the team at my IOP program, a sense of determination welled up inside of me. I proved to myself that I truly couldn’t do this alone. So right then and there I made the determination to actually work the 12 Steps, to get a Sponsor, and to take suggestions from those who walked this path before me. The scary thing for me about getting a sponsor, is that commitment terrifies me. Being a burden to someone terrifies me. Interrupting someone’s day by picking up the phone and making a call is scary. I’m an independent soul who has to stop being independent in my recovery. See, I’ve learned that in order to recover, life change has to happen. I don’t just mean alcohol has to be eliminated from my life– I mean that anything I am using as a void-filler or feeling-number has to go. I’m learning to feel things deeply without covering the pain with temporary relief or distraction.

Since my relapse, I did in fact get a sponsor. Her name is Anna and she is fantastic. She doesn’t make me feel like I’m “too much” or “not enough.” We get to walk through this journey together, and the support I am experiencing is huge. Just yesterday, June 22, I graduated from my outpatient program. Foundations Nashville is a place I highly recommend to anyone seeking outpatient services. It has changed my life in a way I could never repay them. A ceremony was held for me, and as people went around listing ways they’ve seen me grow in the past two months of being in this program, the theme of open honesty was echoed. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to stay true to the commitment I made to honesty and authenticity when entering this journey of recovery.

Like I said earlier though- often times it takes darkness to find the light. In the past week I have been fighting intense spiritual warfare. Satan has been doing everything in His power to get me down. As of recent, the Lord has challenged to increase my tithe and offering. Of course I looked at the Lord and reminded Him that I didn’t have a job. Because I mean, CLEARLY the Lord had forgotten, right? Once I did that, the Lord prompted me to give even more. So I did. And then suddenly my finances started falling apart even more than they have. Ridiculous issues with my car has led to hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in repairs. It’s scary being in a situation where the bills keep coming- and they keep increasing, and the income keeps decreasing. One thing after another kept happening. I haven’t cried this in a very long time. However, I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for the awareness I have of Jesus’s presence. Because of Him, I’ve been able to recognize the work Satan is trying to accomplish in my life, and I’ve been claiming the blood of Jesus, the wooden cross, and the empty tomb as my victory. I’m going through this Bible Study called Breaking Free by Beth Moore. This week one of the topics was that even the faithful will face trials- IN FACT, it is often those who are really striving to live for Jesus, who will face the most trials. What need does Satan have to distract those are already not living for Jesus?

Power is available to all who claim Jesus as Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” So let’s celebrate every small victory. Today I celebrate that I am able to see Christ when my financial burden is overwhelming. Today I celebrate that relapsing was actually the kick in the butt I needed to recognize sobriety is a team effort, not a solo run. What are you forgetting to celebrate today? Or what victories have you pushed under the rug because you don’t think they are big enough of a deal to acknowledge? Every single victory is shaping you more into who you are meant to be, so don’t hide it. 

It isn’t prideful to acknowledge the wins in your life, in fact, I choose to believe it is healthy to speak those wins out- verbalize your victories. There is power in the spoken word. Hope is bubbling over in my life and I have nothing but appreciation for everyone who has walked by my side as I went through Rehab in Florida, and Outpatient here in Nashville. I can’t wait to dive more into the community of recovery here as I truly make an effort to engage myself.

I’m learning to be healthy again. Just like with a diet though, if I’m eating a ton of junk food and then decide to eat a salad for just one meal, I’m not suddenly all healthy again. It’s a process, and it takes commitment and dedication. I’m dedicated to becoming the healthiest version of myself- even if that means stripping things from my life that I’m really attached to.

People say it’s worth it in the end, so I’m going to go out on a limb and believe them. 

Start small. It adds up. 

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