Diversity

“In diversity there is beauty and strength” ~ Maya Angelou

Just like every person is different, so too are our talents and the way we do things. Let’s look at a couple of examples of how each of us have talents that are unique to each of us.

As a kid in the kitchen of our home economics class, we were all given the same a banana bread recipe to make for a grade. At the end of class, each of us presented the results to the teacher for our grade. I looked around the room at my classmates results. I was surprised to see all of the end results of our assignment. Each of us had different results even tho our the recipes were all the same. My banana bread may have risen more than Jane’s but hers was moister than Kim’s.

Another example is my skills as a caregiver. I can remember countless times during my time working as an aide that I was told that I was the best one that gave a shower, made a bed, or helped a patient somehow. I’d also been told I was the worst too(chuckle). Even though I told my patients/clients that I was doing the same thing as my coworkers did, they still said that I did my job different in some way than the others.

Whenever each person brings their own unique talents together with others we can create a type of harmony. When all of us create harmony together, and don’t argue who’s better than another, we learn that although each of us is different, we learn that we are stronger together.

Thought for the day: No matter what the task is at hand, each of us has our own unique way of doing things. That diversity can make us Stronger together.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

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Diversity

“In diversity there is beauty and strength” ~ Maya Angelou

Just like every person is different, so too are our talents and the way we do things. Let’s look at a couple of examples of how each of us have talents that are unique to each of us.

As a kid in the kitchen of our home economics class, we were all given the same a banana bread recipe to make for a grade. At the end of class, each of us presented the results to the teacher for our grade. I looked around the room at my classmates results. I was surprised to see all of the end results of our assignment. Each of us had different results even tho our the recipes were all the same. My banana bread may have risen more than Jane’s but hers was moister than Kim’s.

Another example is my skills as a caregiver. I can remember countless times during my time working as an aide that I was told that I was the best one that gave a shower, made a bed, or helped a patient somehow. I’d also been told I was the worst too(chuckle). Even though I told my patients/clients that I was doing the same thing as my coworkers did, they still said that I did my job different in some way than the others.

Whenever each person brings their own unique talents together with others we can create a type of harmony. When all of us create harmony together, and don’t argue who’s better than another, we learn that although each of us is different, we learn that we are stronger together.

Thought for the day: No matter what the task is at hand, each of us has our own unique way of doing things. That diversity can make us Stronger together.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Thorns in Life

“Every rose has its thorn. Just like every night has its dawn…” ~ Poison

A number of years ago, my best friend and I used to go berry picking. Oh, how I dreaded it! I always got scratched up. And then we had our “secret” spots that had their own set of dangers besides the thorns. One time I accidentally stepped in a woodchuck hole and twisted my ankle. Another time she felt a sting followed by another and another. Suddenly she was yelping and ripping her clothes off while running around with her arms flailing in the air. Come to find out, she was standing on top of a fire ant hill and they weren’t to pleased. Thankfully we were on a private path where no one beside myself saw this hysterical spectacle!

After all was said and done, the berries washed, our wounds cleaned and bandaged, we ended up with sweet treats and even a little wine. Our first batch ended up more like moonshine, but I digress.

In order to enjoy life’s rewards, we need to go out and pick the berries. Anybody who’s been berry picking knows that to get that sweet fruit you need to watch out for the thorns. Of course no matter how careful we are we can still get snagged by a branch, step into a woodchuck hole or, Heaven forbid, stand on a fire ant hill. If the worst thing that happens is that we snag our clothing, get a couple scratches or sprain an ankle, that’s ok. We can always bandage or patch that stuff up. Dirt washes away, wounds do heal, and we still survive.

Thought for the day: Sometimes we can reminisce the times we got scratched up, bit up, or stepped in “stuff” and can have a little chuckle at our own expense.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

No Matter What

I wanted to share a social media post that moved me. Many of these words kept me clean in some of my darkest hours. Thank you for the reminder April.❤

Here is a poem I wrote using some common recovery slogans/sayings….. Hope y’all like it! 😊❤️

No Matter What
By: April Grisham

6 years & 8 months ago
I went to get help
They all told me
“You can’t do it by yourself”

I was overwhelmed
Wanted to say, “Shove it!”
They told me to calm down
And remember, “Easy does it”

I was told to get a sponsor
And I was like, “Why?”
I thought, “What a joke!”
They said, “Work the Steps or die!”

At first I resisted
All because of fear
I said, “I got this”
They said, “Your best thinking got you here!”

I was pretty offended
But I listened anyway
Worried & scared to death
They said, “Just for today”

I began working the Steps
And started to be healed
They said this is forever
And “More will be revealed”

I began to feel emotions
I felt under attack
They said, “The best & worst thing about recovery”
“Is you get your feelings back”

There were times I wanted to give up
There were times I couldn’t see
I got angry when they told me,
You’re right where you’re supposed to be”

I stayed the course anyway
Recovery seemed so far
I wanted to run away
But they said, “Wherever you go, there you are”

I took all of their suggestions
At times I’d just smile & nod
Then, life showed up
They told me, “Let go and let God”

At 18 months clean
Everything happened so fast
I lost my job & almost lost my brother
They said, “This too shall pass”

I wanted to use so badly
I felt it in my gut
They held my hand & told me,
Don’t use no matter what”

I stayed clean through it all
But I’ve also made mistakes
But I have stayed willing
To do “Whatever it takes”

I have to take suggestions
To avoid being in a hearse
And remember that no matter what
My recovery MUST always come FIRST”

I still keep a gratitude list
I still continue to climb
Sometimes it’s really hard
But I take it “One day at a time”

Things still make me angry
At times I scream & swear
But I calm myself down
Saying “The Serenity Prayer”

I still hit my knees & pray
My brain still has a short circuit
But it’s true when they say,
It works if you work it”

I haven’t relapsed “YET”
I have a lot of haters
Sometimes it’s hard to deal with
But I know “It gets greater later”

Recovery has changed my life
Acceptance is the key”
I’ve learned so much
And gained serenity

I never thought it was possible
I never thought I’d find
A way to stay clean
And gain true “peace of mind”

So, if you think it’s impossible
And you feel under attack
Just know “We Do Recover”
And “Keep Coming Back!”

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Our Journey

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~ Lao Tzu

When we go on a journey what are we doing? We’re going from one place to another. How do we do that? We walk, drive, or fly. Each event we go thru is a step on that journey. We experience all kinds of things that bring us joy, sadness, anger, laughter and all other feelings in between. Each experience has something to teach us. Sometimes the events are big, while some are small but everywhere we go, everything we do, shapes our journey. We learn and grow. Quite often, we don’t know we’ve grown or learned anything until we’re past whatever we’re going thru.

My 1st total life upheaval was when the apartment building I lived in caught on fire nearly 13 years ago. There were so many reminders that made me cry for some time. I think it was around the time I was given a possible reason for it happening that I began to heal. That reason was because I couldn’t do what I needed to on my own, so, my Higher Power helped me the best way He knew how. Instead of continuing to mope around, I finally picked myself up by my bootstraps and started to live life again.

Thought for the day: Today, when I look back, I see the lessons learned even tho I may not have thought so at the time. I may look back and shed a tear in my heart over the good memories, I see the lessons I’ve learned and the growth I’ve had because of them.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Another Life Taken Far To Soon

“Addiction begins with the hope that something ‘out there’ can instantly fill up the emptiness inside.” ~ Jean Kilbourne

It’s one week shy of the one year anniversary that I got a phone call I didn’t want to get. That day I stopped dead in my tracks because I was shocked and heartbroken. I remember when I heard the news from my friend on the other end of the phone. I instantly went numb. The same thing happened roughly 5 months later when I got a social media message and again last night when I ran into a friend. What was this news you ask?

Another friend died. What’s worse is that they died a senseless death from a drug overdose.

If you’re not an addict, you might be wondering how I could possibly be friends with an addict? Simple. Because I am an addict too, but I am a recovering addict. I knew these 3 beautiful souls when they were at their best and their worst. Each of them did stop using for different lengths of time, but for whatever reason, they chose to start using again. I watched them come into recovery not only physically broke but also spiritually and emotionally broke.

At first, when they came in, you could see the pain in their eyes and hear the desperation in their voices. After they got some time clean, I saw the transformation. They started looking and feeling better. They began to have hopes and dreams again. They became productive members of society again and regained the love and trust that they’d lost from their families. But something happened. It was any number of reasons but it mainly boiled down to one thing.

They couldn’t or didn’t want to deal with their reality which was different for each of them.

I can hear the comments already from non addicts who are not familiar or don’t understand this disease – and yes, it is a disease. It is a mental health disease. I won’t go into the specifics of that today. I have written numerous pieces over the last year and a half and encourage you to read them. Pieces like “Who Is An Addict?”, “Reality of Addiction”, “A Demon Named ‘Addiction’”, “Addiction-Disease or Moral Failing?”, “Break the Stigma”, “The Demon” and many others. I write this today for another reason.

My hope and purpose today is to reach out and touch the life of just one addict with my words.

To any addict who may be reading my words, wherever you may be in the world, especially the addict in pain right now. Whether you have less than 24 hours clean or you have 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, 1 decade or longer clean. Whether you are an old timer, newcomer, relapser, or the one contemplating a relapse this message is for each of you.

“There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away.” ~ Sherman Alexie

I know your pain. I have lived it and I am still living it but I am still clean. I don’t care what your pain is, I understand it. Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “Yea right lady. How can you/You can’t possibly understand what I’m going thru? You’re not going thru what I’m going thru.” Ah, but I do.

I’ve been in recovery for a few 24 hours now. I’ve done research on the internet and talked to numerous professionals and other addicts in that time. I’ve also done something for a while now that’s helped me not only with my personal research but it’s also helped me stay clean. When someone who’s relapsed comes back into recovery I ask them, “Why did you relapse?” The answers I’ve gotten back have varied but there’s one common denominator. Reality. You don’t want, can’t, or know how to deal with whatever your reality is.

Pick a reason, any reason; this person died, your kids are making you crazy, you can’t deal with your spouse or kids clean, that person looked at you wrong, this person said something to you, that person pissed in your Cheerios, the sun is out, it’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s to hot, it’s to cold…or maybe it’s something I neglected to mention.

“But my situation is unique.” Really? Allow me to tell you what I’ve been thru and still stayed clean.

Since I’ve been in recovery, I have been thru a divorce and another relationship after that. I’ve been thru deaths of family, friends, loved ones and addicts I considered family. When my dad fell ill and was in the hospital, I had to tell my mother and sister that I agreed with the doctor when he advised pulling the plug on him. I had to force my mom into a nursing home and lost my blood family because of it. I’ve had financial problems, no food in the house. I’ve been gossiped about and stabbed in the back. I’ve argued with more people than I can count, and currently I am dealing with a potentially progressive illness almost as serious as addiction.

And that’s just a snapshot of what I’ve dealt with over the last six years. Have I thought about using? Of course. Do I have an excuse to go back to using? Sure I do, but not a darn one of those excuses is a good enough reason.

Since i got clean I’ve also been able to pay off my car and buy my own home. They’re both mine. I don’t have to worry about being evicted because of divorce or family problems. I have a part time job and I finally have peace of mind. Yes I still worry about having money to live, but my drama and chaos is behind me. Best of all I still have family – a group of friends who will and have dropped everything to help me when I needed it most. Right now I can say life is good. Tomorrow may be different but for right now I am in control of my life. Plus, I’ve discovered new passions and a purpose for life.

Best of all I don’t worry about my next high or how I’ll pay for it. I don’t have to worry about being dope sick.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Look, I’m not going to lie to you. Being in recovery isn’t going to be easy. It’s not for the faint of heart? Some days will be damn hard. There are numerous ways to get and stay clean. Some of those ways are difficult and someone are easy. I’ve learned from other addicts that the easy way is a surefire way to not succeed. For an addict to stay clean we need tough love, not enabling, coddling or condemnation.

Most of all, we need the fortitude to commit to a new and better way of living.

I want you to know something that you may not know about yourself. You are important, deserving, loveable, intelligent, worthy, beautiful, brave, strong, powerful, resilient, fearless, talented, fierce, funny, loved, needed, alive for a reason and so much more than this list. You CAN do this.

Please, seek out recovery before your loved ones and friends bury you.

“Wait for me.” The words come out choked and pained. “I need you to wait for me.” ~ Krista Ritchie

…There’s no more time to wait. The time is now to live the life you were meant to live.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts.

Zombies

Have you ever watched any of those tv shows or movies about a zombie apocalypse? That’s kinda how our world is becoming with this disease called addiction. If you’re not familiar with either zombies or drug addiction allow me explain.

After watching a tv show about zombies, I realized that addicts are similar to zombies. We are infected with a disease. Yes I said disease. It’s a disease of the brain. This disease affects our rational thoughts, our impulses and our judgement. It makes us obsessed and we do impulsive things to feed that hunger, to get that next fix. We do things we normally wouldn’t do when we’re not using just like zombies do.

When you look into the eye of a zombie, or an addict, many people see a monster. A dead, soulless, monster. We’re still alive but we are brain dead, numb and many of us are spiritually dead. Our mind is fixated on one thing, and one thing only. Our next high. Many of us go crazy just to feed the monster within us. We are trying to chase that first high that we had when we started using but we cannot catch it. What you don’t understand is that we, those walking dead, are real people. We are all someone to somebody.

We are your brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, etc. We all have someone who loves us. We are your entertainment role models.

According to Hollywood, the only way to kill a zombie is a bullet to the head. They can never be saved or cured. However, unlike zombies, there is treatment for addiction. We can be saved, not cured, but our disease can be put into a remission of sorts. The problem is that we have to want it. We are not bad people who deserve a bullet in the head. We are sick people who need help.

Currently, addiction has touched everyone’s life in some way. Just about everyone either is an addict or knows an addict. The people who aren’t zombies – our families, friends and loved ones – want to help, want to save us, but there’s nothing they can do. They need to protect themselves so that they don’t become infected, rather sucked into our madness, or worse. They become addicted to drugs, themselves.

You may be wondering why addicts don’t get the help they need. Quite often we won’t get help because of the stigma. We hear things like, “You just choose to use/get high. Why don’t you just stop? Addicts are only poor uneducated people.” Statements like these are just a couple of reasons. Maybe we said them ourselves before we became addicted. We also tell ourselves that we don’t have a problem, that we can handle it and we can still make it to work.

Truth be told, we may be able to make it to work today, but eventually we won’t. Our performance will decline, then we’ll call in sick frequently. Ultimately we’ll stop going to work altogether.

When we think of an addict, we think of a dirty homeless person with a needle in their arm, a brown bag in hand, or a gangster slinging dope on the street or a sleazy dressed woman walking the streets looking to score. Truth is an addict can look like anyone we know. They can be a lawyer, a nurse, a police officer, an actor/actress, an athlete, or a store clerk. They can be your partner, your sibling, your parent, your cousin, or your grandparent. They can be rich, poor or somewhere in between.

My name is Anonymous and I’m a grateful recovering addict. It took me sometime to be able to say that I am an addict, let alone mean it. It took me even longer to accept it. I was one of those soulless monsters walking among the dead. I’ll bet if you saw me you wouldn’t think I was an addict. I don’t fit that picture I just painted of addicts in the first sentence in the above paragraph. Why am I grateful to be an addict? Read keep reading to find out.

My name is Anonymous because I am you and you are me. Plus my program has taught me about anonymity. Being anonymous means that I have no known name, identity or known source. I am nameless, unidentified and I am lacking marked individuality. I’m not white, black or brown. I’m not a Christian, Muslim, Jehovah witness or an atheist. I’m neither rich or poor. I am no better or worse than you.

My life as an addict was different from other addicts but one thing remains the same. You and I used for the same reasons. We wanted to feel something different, to not feel anything, to escape reality, or…well, I think you get the point.

Like I said, there’s a bit of you in me and a bit of me in you. All addicts, as you may see, have different details of the same story. Maybe any or all of these apply to you; you grew up in a drug or alcohol addicted family, you were abused at some point in your life or were raped, you began using because you wanted to to be cool, or whatever. We are the same because we used to change the way we felt.

If you’re an addict like me, give yourself a break. Maybe my story you will give you a message of hope that you can get and stay clean like millions of other addicts have. Don’t compare your story to mine because each addict has their own story. However, identify with me because we all used for the same reasons – to cover up our feelings or to escape reality.

If you’re a family member, friend or loved one, give yourself a break too. Maybe after reading this you’ll see some of the feelings and crazy thoughts that go thru an addict’s mind

***Please be sure to read more of my posts.