The Bullseye

When I was growing up, and most of my young life, I thought of “church people” as way above me. In my mind they were perfect people and I felt about as good as a cockroach comparatively. Heck, when I was little this bus would sometimes pick us kids up and take us to church, then bring us back after. I remember in the kids class we would sing “Jesus Loves Me” and even though I sang that song with them, in my mind I was thinking “he probably loves you guys, but I know he doesn’t love me”.

Years later, due to a chain of events in my life, I actually REALLY found God: read my blog labeled Brother Ray and you will get a glimpse of my experience.

But what I discovered about “church people” was actually the opposite of what I always thought and now that I go inside prisons and jails to talk to the girls about Jesus, I often refer to the Bullseye to show people who Christians really are. Jesus came for the imperfect people, not the perfect people. He gave us a guide to study, the Bible, which can be referred to as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth – Its like living water, the words are alive and can be used for living out our daily lives until we leave this earth.

I used to quote what I heard from others, things like “God never gives us more than we can handle” and so on. But come to find out, the Bible doesn’t say that at all – It says he will never leave us or forsake us, among other things (promises) – We can endure all things through Christ who gives us strength – Philippians 4:13

Anyway, before I get off track I wanted to share the bullseye depiction with everyone in case there are people who are out there assuming Christians are perfect people – no no no, that is not the case, we are just imperfect people with a forgiving God: we aim for the bullseye each day and at the end of the day clean that board off and start again the next day. So often I miss the board altogether but God don’t want to me to beat the heck out of myself every time I don’t hit the bullseye – He loves us like his sons and daughters!! Anyway, I hope this helps at least one person, God bless you!!

Pocket full of recovery

One of the most powerful moments I have ever had in my addiction “afterlife” came from the fresh feelings of grief when I lost my mother. Since drug addiction has run rampant through my family, it is always trying to rear its ugly head ANY old way it can. This keeps me on my toes!

I had been clean and sober ten years when my mom died, I didn’t relapse, that’s not what this post is about, this post is really about freedom. The history between my mother and I (and my other sisters) was rough. My mom was a drug addict, once of the worst, and not just for a few years but almost her whole life. She was homeless for so long, it was sad to see her struggle so bad with her addiction – So you can imagine what happened with all four of her daughters; One left here, one left there, some dragged around from place to place enduring much instability and many unknowns ( to say the least ).

By the time we were all grown up, each of us had a variety of feelings stuffed down into a place where they would sit for years and fester – Unprocessed feelings!! Unlike our God given foods, feelings are MEANT to be processed. If we fast forward past my years of unstable feelings and almost daily acts of unhealthy outburst which equaled countless broken relationships, burnt bridges, a trip to prison and eventually rehab in Pembroke Pines Florida. This is where I laid it all out on the table, exposing it, and processing each feeling – as painful as it was, it brought the most precious freedom one could ask for.

March 2, 2012 I got the call that my mom was dying and I needed to come quickly. So I drove 3 hours to Daytona Beach to sit with her. It was rough for sure, my mind was flooded with thoughts of coulda, shoulda or woulda, that 3 hour drive took me on a mental journey back in time. Good times, bad times and so on would surface in my mind and vanish like waves in the ocean, only to have yet another wave come along moments later. It was late into the night when she finally passed and I stayed with a dear loved one that night. The next morning something happened and it ended up being one of the most powerful moments in my recovery.

This was back when I was a smoker (cigarettes) and I would sit outside in the morning with my coffee and smoke a couple cigarettes. As I was sitting outside with my precious loved one; I noticed she was preparing a joint (I am sure you know what I mean) and she said to me: you can smoke some of this, I wouldn’t think bad of you, after all, your mom just died you know. This single solitary moment in time is when I realized that feelings are meant to be processed, not suppressed, and I thought no, its OK, I am supposed to feel grief and I am going to embrace it so it can process as God intended.

That grief was MINE and I had the right to do whatever I wanted with it at that very moment. And since its MINE, I can keep it as long as I want. I can put it in my pocket and carry it around with me for when I see something my mom would have loved, then I can pull it out and weep a bit – then put it right back in my pocket and save it for later. You see that grief will always be with me, I do not have to hide it, bury it, stuff it, drown it in a substance (unless I want to) but I do not HAVE to. Its supposed to hurt sometimes.

Every feeling we have is meant to be processed, and we can keep a pocket full if we want. I am still sometimes a little angry at my mom, so I will pull that bad boy out of my pocket and have my anger in regards to this or that. Most of the time, now days, that one comes out when a troubling memory comes along from my past that may be a direct result of my moms addiction and abandoning me when I was young. Other times I will see pictures of her with my other sisters from way back when and not see myself in those pictures and I snatch that anger or hurt from my pocket and process it right quick. I will rehash the “why was I left behind and they weren’t” But the key is to put it back and move on – not letting it control or damage me any longer.

Today, I have been clean and sober for 17 years, I hope to be clean and sober until my dying day – I am very aware of the fact that I could fall on any given day, right back into that addiction. I don’t know if there is some tragedy that would push me over the edge and back into my addiction – but I know that on THIS DAY I am ok, I think about the Celebrate Recovery serenity prayer, Its not just the normal serenity prayer most people know – CR has added a couple lines to it that are so valuable. You see I live one day at a time, and one moment at a time now… yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here yet, today is all I have and I will choose to live today knowing that God will work it all out for me.

I hope this story of victory helps at least one person to stay strong in the midst of struggling. Please leave a comment or two about how this story may have helped you on your road of recovery.

God Bless YOU!!!!

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