To the One Who Loves an Alcoholic

There is someone in my life who I adore. I love her so much that my insides ache when she’s hurting. Unfortunately she is in love with an alcoholic. And as some of you reading this have experienced…we are capable of causing the worst kind of pain. 

Looking back over more than a decade in recovery, free from alcohol and all it brings with it, there are things that I know to be true. Things I can see now that I couldn’t see before. Things that just, are, no matter how much I wish they weren’t.

So, I wrote her this letter and now I’m sharing it with you.
Not to provide all the answers for what you’re going through, but to hopefully shed some light on the person whom you have continually given the ability to hurt your heart.

I will be removing any personal information with generic wording and adding quotes so that you can insert the name of your person.

Friend,” this is truth…

He” is married to alcohol. Drugs are his mistress. Anything else…anyone else, is just a side thing. He always returns to what he knows. Alcohol.

It’s one of the most difficult relationships to sever. It can be done, but it takes more work than most people are willing to put in.

It’s not you.

Truly. It isn’t.

It’s that cunning, baffling bitch known as alcoholism. And without a Higher Power, complete Surrender, and the Willingness to change by dying to self, there is no hope.

You’ve laid awake countless nights, bartering with God.
Your bartering has turned to begging.
Your begging has turned to weeping.
Your weeping has turned to exhaustion.
And just when you’re about to give up…there he comes…back in the picture…full of empty promises that you want so badly to be true.
And the vicious cycle starts all over again.

This has gone on for years.
You say things like, “…but I love him! When you really love someone, you don’t just give up on them.
That may be true, but…
as a human being, a beautiful child of God, born with great purpose, you must see the wasted moments on this person who is blissfully unaware of your worth.

You don’t, do you?
You can’t.
Something in you, like in all of us, grasps on to the smallest ounce of hope and we refer back to that speck even when we are surrounded by the mountains of proof that say otherwise.

This is where I have done my share of begging God.
For reasons unknown to me, He hasn’t lifted the blinder that covers your eyes.
I know He can.
I know He wants you to be whole and live in the light of His glory and grace.
And yet knowing this, doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

There is a reason why so many alcoholics lose their battle with alcohol, at times taking entire families down with them.
Like the blinder you wear, he too wears a self-inflicted blinder.
The difference in yours and his is that he can remove his at any time.
All if takes to begin is a choice to change.
One choice can change everything.
After that one choice is when the real work begins.
I can’t even call it rebuilding. That can’t start until all of the wreckage is sorted through and hauled away.
This is a grueling process.
It’s the part where most people give up.
After all, it’s much easier to have a drink than to feel the weight of our current reality.

Here’s that most difficult part for you and for most people…
Are you ready for this?

There is nothing you can do to change him.

You can’t wish him sober.
You can’t force him to get sober.
You can’t make him see the disaster he leaves in his wake every time he comes around.

Here’s what you can do.

You can accept that nothing is going to change until he actively participates in recovery. (By this, I mean, pursues it like he would his next “fix.” It’s the only way to freedom.)
You can acknowledge and release the time you have given him and that he has squandered.
You can look at yourself in the mirror and say 2 words, “Not Anymore.” followed by 4 words, “From this moment forward.”
You can sincerely speak into your child’s heart and mind that you are her protector, provider, greatest advocate, teacher, mother, and that you will do whatever it takes to provide a life that’s healthy physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. One where she can grow and thrive, because you know the time that you have with her is short and you will lay a solid foundation that she can always stand on without worry of losing her footing.
(The way you can be 100% confident of this is because it’s what Christ does for you…and for her…everyday.)
You can recognize that even though you didn’t plan for your life to play out this way, there are so many people who love you and want to come alongside you, if you will let them.
You can cry when you need to cry, scream even, when staring at the difficult truth that your child’s father isn’t present. (This is no place to linger. You feel the feelings and move on.)
You can look in the mirror, straight into your own soul and breathe in the grace that you will need on a daily basis to do life.
You can repeat in your head and out loud as much as needed, I am not alone. I am capable. I am strong and I am worthy of love.”
You can say these same affirmations to your daughter. She will need to know them. There may come a time in her life when they seem the only thing to cling to in the midst of the storm.
You can put one foot in front of the other and know that there will be days when you are in a groove and moving like a champion as well as the ones where every step towards tomorrow seems to sucker punch you back into yesterday. That’s okay. We appreciate beauty all the more when we see the purpose of the rain. (Didn’t you tell me that?)

“Friend,” You are so very loved.
We see you.
We hear you.
You matter.

And…it’s time to walk away.
We’ll be right beside you every step of the way.

Love and Grace,
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Stepping Into the Light

My Friends,

I have been completely overwhelmed (in a good way) by the outpouring of concern and support from my last post. Thank you for caring so deeply and reaching out to ensure things are okay.

First of all, I am okay.
Yes, I was very sick.
Yes, it was a tough time.
I will be recovering for the next 3-6 months (according to the Endodontist) Every day brings improvement.

I think people were most surprised that I had not posted updates on social media about what was happening. That’s not how I do things that are as personal as this was.IMG_7549 I was in frequent contact with family and close friends who I knew would pray on my behalf.

I have received emails and comments from readers asking why I wouldn’t send a social media request for prayer and to let people know what was going on. The best way for me to answer this question and ones like it, is this…

It would have raised more questions had I posted in the middle of all that was going on, which is why I waited until I was feeling better and knew things were improving.
I’ve chosen to say, “No” to unnecessary drama. I love my online community. I appreciate everyone who reads my writings, but I will not participate in the kind of posts that alarm everyone for the sake of attention. That said, I feel like that is exactly how my last post was received by many.

Please hear me, I would not have posted anything about this most recent illness if I didn’t feel compelled to do so in order to help someone experiencing a similar struggle. Everything in me, that makes me human, was fighting the willingness to put my vulnerability and weakness on display.

Tulips from HarperGod is working in and around me in ways I have never experienced and while it’s incredibly exciting, it’s difficult to explain and often defies all logic, which is why I resist posting anything relating to my current spiritual state. Honestly, not everyone can process things of this nature and so for some of us, we keep quiet as to avoid appearing crazy. 

I let a little of my most recent “crazy” show through by documenting it for anyone to read. There was a time when I would have found it intimidating and terrifying to speak of the things that I believe and yet do not fully understand. I would have held back and resisted at all cost to avoid losing readers or being viewed as “strange.”

However, I have discovered that by stifling what is ready to be told, I am doing a grave injustice to my spiritual development. By silencing the obvious voice inside begging me to stop giving in to fear, I am removing all hope of going beyond a surface level relationship with Christ and moving into a deeply personal relationship with my Savior.

When I consciously remove the filter of skepticism, I am able to engage and be of the most use to others. And I have never been more sure that the purpose of my life and time here on earth is to be of the utmost use to others by directing them to Christ.

For me, that means admitting defeat. Exposing loneliness. Verbalizing doubt. It means claiming and living sold out to Jesus while recognizing my own humanity and shortcomings and being okay allowing others to see them as well.

I believe that the only way to walk into the light is to come through the dark. If I am always in light, I begin to see it as the norm and not as the blessing that it is. I stop sharing it with others, because I assume they already have it. There is no introspection or assessment and before long I am comfortable and complacent.

For me, for the life I have chosen to live, complacency is spiritual suicide.

My Darling Readers, I appreciate each and every one of you. I am so grateful that you would come here and spend a few moments of your life with me. I made a commitment from the very beginning to avoid any “small talk” and speak directly from my heart, no matter how raw. I will continue to. When you have questions or concerns, I welcome your comments and emails.

For those of you who I have not responded to personally about my last post, I hope this message will suffice. I never could have predicted the response from that particular piece. I’m grateful, if for no other reason, that it started a conversation.

I look ahead with great expectancy, believing that 2015 is a year for positive change and growth in ways we’ve not seen in recent times. I look forward to continuing this journey with you.

All Blessings,
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“Serenity Now!”

I find myself using this phrase quite a bit when I am attempting to find my “happy place” during moments of stress. Well, I found it and it’s too good not to share with you.

Meet Rebecca. She is responsible for some of the most beautiful plants and flowers I have ever seen. Specializing in dahlias of all colors, shapes and sizes. Truly, I have yet to find their equal.

She has other various types of flowers as well. We brought home a beautiful hibiscus plant that will brighten up our front flowerbed. I have assured her I will send a picture as soon as we put it in the ground under the crape myrtles.

Rebecca is located in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, in the town of Cashiers, near Highlands. We have driven past her sign many times and never stopped, but on this particular day, I couldn’t help myself.

With macro lens in hand, I walked up to her porch to ask if I could take a few pictures of the exquisite garden. She was hesitant at first and the more I talked to her, the more I understood.

Rebecca is not only about surviving, she is about thriving. She raised 4 children as a single parent. Three boys and one girl, they are grown now and quite successful. She takes care of this plot of heaven on earth and calls North Carolina home.

She encounters all kinds of people from day to day, especially during the summer. Most are vacationers. Fortunately, she has wonderful, faithful customers. Unfortunately, she also has people drive up and start taking pictures of her beauties without even asking and when confronted, they shove their “I’m a professional photographer” garble in her face and make false promises to send her prints.

I compare that kind of behavior to someone coming up and snapping pictures of my children without my permission and then using the pictures for personal gain. NOT okay. So you can see why she was wary of me.

I had tucked my camera away and after a few minutes, she said that I was welcome to take pictures. When I say that I could have stayed there for hours capturing every intricate detail of these elegant masterpieces with their dainty petals, I am not exaggerating. And Rebecca is beyond knowledgeable about every single flower. She speaks of each one with such passion and adoration.

All of her plants are hand watered and they only receive organic nourishment. There are no pesticides or artificial anything added to them. The soil, the fertilizer, everything is prepared in such a way that the health of the flowers and their foliage is beyond reproach.

The reason I am sharing this with you is because I almost missed it. Do you hear me? I almost missed learning about this incredible lady who worked 17 hours a day to ensure that her children were fed, clothed, educated and had more than a roof over their heads.

Now, her fingernails stained with rich soil and her hands evident of the work she does, she tends to her gardens and shares the beauty of creation with anyone who wishes to partake. If you are in Cashiers, NC, you must stop by Rebecca’s Natural Gardens. Make sure you don’t miss the gift as I almost did and be sure to stay awhile and bask in her wisdom of God’s creation!

Below are pictures of my top 5 favorites. I was going to do 3, but it was too difficult to choose. And I thought 10 was too many. SO, here they are, in no particular order.

This is a dinner plate dahlia. It was larger than 10 inches and can grow to 12 inches around. Hence the name, dinner plate dahlia. I was completely enamored of it.

Look at the colors…the vibrant center. The camera doesn’t do them justice.

This is one of my favorites. We have a front row seat to the intoxicated bumblebee from the nectar of this flower. Clearly he prefers to only eat organic.

Magnificent

Clicking on a picture will open the gallery and allow you to scroll through. If you love a picture, please leave a comment under the one you like the most.
I’m a words of affirmation girl.

Flowers

The challenge this month was to: Create a collection of similar subjects that also share a similar look. Choose a subject you like, with a lot of examples easy to find (people, flowers, insects…), or that you can capture in studio condition. To maintain cohesion between all the photos, take them in the same kind of conditions, and for photos taken before and during the challenge, while you edit them.

Other challenge entries can be found here: Monthly Project 7

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Purple is one of my favorite colors. When in nature, I seek it out. Therefore I couldn’t choose just one flower or picture for that matter. Looking at these different shades of one color makes me want to wrap myself in its splendor.
I’m rather partial to the first and last picture. Which one do you most like?

For more eye candy click here