What Happens When You Surrender to Sobriety?

I am going to address two of the search terms from early this morning – how to surrender to sobriety and joyous emotions. The reason I chose these two is because once you do get sober, you experience joyous emotions.  I want to be very clear that my joyous emotions are possible only through my sobriety. I proved otherwise for 26 years of drinking.

The “how to surrender to sobriety” sounds like a plea to me. Sounds like someone is recognizing their need to start sobriety, and cannot get to surrender, can’t go there. I surrendered after spending several months in deep and debilitating grief over an unrequited love. So, my surrender was very difficult and when I finally asked for help, I was desperate. I was begging for help. You don’t have to get to that point.

On the other hand, my surrender to decide to attend a support group to help to stop drinking came with grace. The friend I was living with said to me that she had been to this group before and did I want to join her? I just quietly said yes, without even thinking. This part was easy. It was getting to the decision to quit, finally quit, that was difficult, that brought me to my knees emotionally. Let’s look at that for a minute.

I kept on and on with my drinking because I knew of no other way to deal with my pain over the unrequited love, over childhood issues. I was afraid if I quit, I would wither away to nothingness, that it would zap what little energy I had left. The reality was, starting in sobriety actually gave me more energy, I found, because I was not  so badly hung over every morning, that I had to eat greasy or spicy foods to control it.

I couldn’t even name my pain, I was that far gone in the ability to know what I was feeling. The thing is, as I said, I was afraid to give up the only way I knew of to deal with the pain. What I didn’t know was, the longer I kept drinking, the longer I prolonged the ability to feel joyous emotions. I prolonged the ability to get through and past my grief over the unrequited love, the anger over my childhood. It was a vicious circle.

Let me just say that, in the end, I adore and cherish my sobriety and if I had one regret, it would be that I didn’t do it sooner. If I had, I could have spent less years in emotional misery from childhood issues. That’s because, with the aid of the support group, I was able to get to the point of dealing with the childhood issues and thus, healing from them.

If you were to ask me, I would tell you that sobriety is so well worth it. Yes, it sucks at first and sometimes for a few years. But in the end, when you clear out all the past debris, when you can visit the past only to make it possible to move forward in the present, you reach a space where you find peace and freedom. And joy. Tremendous joy and excitement about the things around you, especially the people.

Then there’s wonder. In sobriety. You see everything and everyone with great awe and wonder, as you focus on one moment to the next, taking it all in. Along comes grace, that space where you somewhat float along, where the ability to roll with everything that is going on descends upon you like a cloak. And, of course, there is peace, a deep knowingness that all is well, that all is going as planned.

I wish you well on your journey to sobriety and hope that you can approach surrender to it with grace and wonder, instead of with the attitude of giving up in defeat. Yes, you are defeated by alcohol, but that doesn’t mean YOU’RE defeated as a person. You have  treasure trove of things to discover about yourself and others. Happy discovery.

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Find Peace – Keys to Unlock the Gates of Your Heart

Good morning! I hope this finds you well, and on your way to creating peace in your life!

Yesterday’s search term that caught my attention was “an invitation to the opening.” Very interesting, given that we are dealing with the keys to unlock, then open, the gates of your heart. And, I invite you to join in our journey, the search for peace about which I am blogging.

The journey involves first using the keys to unlock the gates of your heart. These can be used all the time. In fact, I recommend that you DO use them all the time. It will further your ability to create peace in your life.

The first and most important key is willingness. You must be willing to take the journey, willing to look at things with new eyes. Are you willing? You can be willing at any time, all the time… willing and eager for new information. I cannot stress how far willingness will take you.

Then there’s surrender. I used to think surrender meant giving up in despair. But it means giving in, letting go, of just about everything… the need to control and manage everyone and everything, the need to control and manage your feelings, to look good to others. It means letting go of trying to control the course of your life.

This is different than taking action. You want to take action in all areas of your life, but then, after taking that action, you will want to let go of the results and let them occur naturally. If things are meant to happen, they will, without your prodding and pushing.

The next key to unlock the gates of your heart is gratitude. Gratitude turns your life to gold, everywhere you look, with everything you touch. You see, if you are grateful for the little things, the littlest of events, your life will begin to transform and you will experience peace more and more. If you have difficulty seeing the world with gratitude, practice waking up and being grateful that you woke up, given the chance to live another day.

When you’re in despair or having feelings of worthlessness, waking up won’t be something to be grateful for, most likely. I know I experienced that, at any rate. In that case, learn to be grateful for one little thing in your life and hang onto that gratitude. Openly thank Source for that one thing, over and over again.  Over time, you will be able to expend that gratitude to other things.

There will even become a point when you will be grateful for even the tough times, as you will realize there is a gift in them, a lesson to be learned. When you reach this point, then you will have mastered gratitude. Work toward this goal and when you reach it, you will be knowing peace.

But don’t try to fake it. Be real and authentic with your thoughts and feelings that you tell yourself or others. Admit to having a bad day. Be careful not to slip into self-pity, however. Just state facts about your situation, without pity, without remorse. Be sad or whatever you are at the time, but catch yourself short of wallowing in pity for yourself. This is a non-productive and energy-sucking place to go.

These are the three main keys to unlock the gates of your heart that will lead you to peace. There are other keys, such as humility, courage, honesty, and having an open heart and mind. Over time, as you practice these keys, they will become automatic. They are something you can do all the time.

Today, take some time to practice being willing, surrendering, and being grateful. These three things alone will lead you to more peace. I wish you well in your efforts to unlock the gates of your heart.

 

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Surrender is Key for Sobriety

Surrender of Pretense

Today, we return to our road to sobriety. Our next topic is surrender. This is a very important step in the process.

What do I mean by surrender? I mean giving up the fight, giving up the pretense that all is find behind your false bravado and politeness. You need to step forth and let people know and see who you really are.

You need to give up trying to maintain as if everything is fine, when it is not. It is safe to show your vulnerability around certain people. Choose wisely the people you open up to, making sure they will not verbally abuse you with the information you give them about your thoughts and feelings.

When you give up, it is a surrendering, not in defeat, but in calmness, looking forward with an air of excitement to better times. Your goals are to become and remain sober and to find peace. 

How do you surrender? You just give up. You just say to yourself that you no longer wish to fake it, when you’re dying on the inside.

You will wish to surrender initially to get sober, and then you will want to surrender again and again as you maintain your sobriety. You will need to give up your need to control and manage your emotions, your thoughts, your behaviors. Remember, you are giving in to the need and desire to become sober and doing whatever you need for that to happen.

What does surrender look like for you? Are you able to give up the pretense that all is fine behind your false bravado and politeness? I hope you can join us in surrender. It is the first step into a life of wonder and awe.

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Surrender Is Key For Sobriety

Our next topic on the road to sobriety is surrender. This is a very important step in the process.

What do I mean by surrender? I mean giving up the fight, giving up the pretense that all is find behind our false bravado and politeness. We need to step forth and let people know and see who we really are.

We need to give up trying to maintain as if everything is fine, when it is not. It is safe to show our vulnerability around certain people. Choose the people you open up to wisely, making sure they will not verbally abuse you with the information you give them about your thoughts and feelings.

When we give up, it is a surrendering, not in defeat, but in calmness, looking forward with an air of excitement to better times. Our goals are to become and remain sober and to find peace. 

How do we surrender? We just give up. We just say to ourselves that we no longer wish to fake it, when we’re dying on the inside.

We will wish to surrender initially to get sober, and then we will no doubt have to surrender again and again as we maintain our sobriety. We will need to give up our need to control and manage our emotions, our thoughts, our behaviors. Remember, we are giving in to the need and desire to become sober and doing whatever we need for that to happen.

What does surrender look like for you? Are you able to give up the pretense that all is fine behind your false bravado and politeness? I hope you can join us in surrender. It is the first step into a life of wonder and awe.

 

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Life Offers A Realm of Possibilities

Realm of Possibilities

Realm of Possibilities

“If I climb the steps, anything is possible. Anything.”

This is the photo that appears on the cover of my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. It is representative of the many possibilities available to us if we climb the steps.

And what are the steps we are to climb? All of the things we have been discussing in this blog… first surrender, then awareness of the world around us. We next climb the step into trust of a power greater than us, which leads us to courage and humility

With honesty, openness, and willingness, we have the keys to continue up the stairway and we commit to our journey. We conduct a self-appraisal to discover our strengths and our weaknesses, doing so with gentleness and compassion.

These are things which we show for others around us, and we add in kindness. Once we have learned how to show compassion for ourselves and others, we are led to forgiveness, also of ourselves and others. We finally are able to accept ourselves and our lives as they are, and we feel hope. 

We persevere with patience, while we respect and acknowledge others. We treat them without judgment, and we engage in dialogue with them. When we do all of these things, we will experience grace and wonder. Throw into the mix a lot of gratitude, and the world is our oyster. We are prepared to do anything, as we will have grown stronger.

If we do all these things, we will discover when we get to the top of the stairs, that there are vast numbers of possibilities available to us. All we have to do is quietly take note. We can begin to bask in peace and our sobriety will be easier to maintain.

Today, while you practice all the principles of living we have discussed, find yourself at the top of the stairs and see how many possibilities there are for you. You will be delighted with the choices you have.

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Getting Past Hopelessness

This morning we continue on in my book and reach hope. We have now experienced ways for getting past hopelessness.

Ray of Hope

Ray of Hope

“A ray of light across the bars of my being lights my way, instills hope in my heart.” This is the verse that accompanies the photo on the left.

Hopelessness is defined as having no expectation of an event occurring, being despondent. Despondent implies being in very low spirits due to a loss of hope and a sense of futility about continuing our efforts.

Hope, on the other hand, is defined as a feeling that what is wanted will happen, a desire accompanied by expectation. It is hope which we want to cultivate in order to dispel hopelessness.

We have come a long way in our journey and have learned several tools and ways to act and behave that will be useful in combatting hopelessness. We have learned to surrender the pretense that everything is fine with us and we have discussed awakening to awareness of what is going on around and within us.

We have learned to trust in a power greater than ourselves, and to have courage and humility. Ways to treat ourselves with such things as gentleness, kindness, and compassion have been discussed.

We have become honest about ourselves and heave learned to practice willingness, to commit to the journey, to move forward. Finally, we have learned the tremendous tool of how to conduct a self-appraisal. Through that appraisal, we have come to forgiveness of both others and ourselves. Do you see how far we’ve come?

Now, after going through what we have, we have learned to accept ourselves. All of these things in combination provide for us a ray of hope that life can and will get better for us. Hopefully, it already has begun to do so.

We focus on that ray of hope as we work on getting past hopelessness, allowing hope to grow. We take a deep breath, reveling in this new-found hope, and we allow it to blossom.

Today, take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come, and begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the way past hopelessness to sobriety and inner peace.

 

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Acceptance of Ourselves As We Are

We continue to move on in my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, as we work our way to sobriety and inner peace.

Acceptance of Self

Acceptance of Self

We have come to Acceptance of Self. “Have we really changed throughout the years, or do we merely hold within our heart and mind and soul the essence of who we are, while our physical form changes?

“Can we recapture the delightful being we have always been, as we allow and celebrate our strengths, our flaws, and our spirit?”

I firmly believe that each of us has a truly delightful soul that has often become over-ridden by the hurt and pain we have endured throughout the course of our lives. Our response to these experiences is to close up, to protect ourselves, sometimes treating others or ourselves badly.

In the process of doing that, we forget that we have that delightful soul and spirit that awaits our recognition. Or, perhaps, we focus on our flaws and, so, see ourselves as “less than,” or unworthy.

At some point, we have to just give up, surrender, our negative thoughts about ourselves and celebrate our humanness – celebrate who we are in our soul. We have to gain acceptance of who we are. For in our soul is a good being, if only we can recognize this.

Our efforts need to be focused on our positive points. That is not to say we ignore our flaws, which we all have because we’re human. But we have in place a method for dealing with the hurts we cause others and ourselves through our flaws. It is the self-appraaisal which we discussed a few blogs back. We need to practice doing an appraisal and amends, as appropriate, on a daily basis.

Once we are clean with others, we turn our attention to ourselves. We forgive ourselves for our transgressions, and we just accept ourselves as we are. I say that like it’s easy, but it is not. The key is willingness to let go of our negative beliefs and treatment of ourselves, allowing that delightful spirit to emerge. We surrender to who we are at our core.

When we do these things, we will find a deep and abiding peace, and we will be that much more able to stay sober.

For today, allow your spirit, your soul, to emerge. Clean up ragged relationships with others and yourself. Then, just give up and accept yourself as you are, knowing that, in your soul, you are a valuable human being.

 

 

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The Gift of Surrender

Today let’s talk about the gift that we receive when we give up, when we surrender. This is the next topic in my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing.

Surrender of Pretense

Surrender of Pretense

“I put on a courageous face and move bravely forward, but I feel lost and displaced. My heart, dies, one piece at a time behind a gate that rusts away.”  Such is the beginning of the verse that accompanies this photo.

We get to a point where we are no longer able to maintain the pretense that all is fine behind our gate of false bravado and politeness. In essence, we need to give up, to surrender. 

What we are trying to do, remember, is to find inner peace. We are trying to remain sober amid all the pain and hurt we feel.

The thought of giving up trying to juggle all the “balls” in our life is terrifying, I will admit. What will become of us if we just let go, if we give up? 

In my case, it led to sobriety. I was so beaten down emotionally that I could not function – could not feed myself, lost touch with reality. All I could do was drink and cry.

I remember one night feeling especially bereft, and I turned my face to the sky, begging that power some call God to help me. The next thing I knew, I was headed  from the Bay Area to San Diego to become sober with a friend.

I had given up. I could no longer keep that front up that I was fine because I was definitely not fine. I had severe emotional problems and my drinking was out of control. The rejection by the man I deeply loved was the catalyst for all sorts of past hurts and pains to come to the surface. Now I know they were rearing their ugly head for me to look at and to heal.

It is not pleasant to have to face our demons. We especially do not want to let go of the one thing that has been our friend, helping to numb out the pain of old wounds – alcohol. Even if you are not consciously aware of drinking to numb out, if you’re having problems because of your drinking, chances are that you are numbing out old hurts or things you have experienced that are just too painful to face.

My fear of letting go and surrendering was that I would find I was nothing, that what I had been told all my life was true – I was worthless and no good.  What I found instead was a community of people, all trying to get sober, who welcomed me with open arms. 

“Won’t I lose control if I let go?” you may ask. If we surrender, we will find that we are caught in the arms of those who have experienced similar things to what we have experienced, and we find support and solace from them.

It is safe to let go, to surrender. It is a necessary step on the way to finding inner peace. 

 

 

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Surrender the Pretense That All Is Fine

“I put on a courageous face and move bravely forward, but I feel lost and displaced. My heart dies, one piece at a time, behind a gate that rusts away.” So does the verse begin that accompanies the next topic in the book, Surrender of Pretense.

The Look of Surrender

Surrender of Pretense

Can you relate? Are you dying inside while you present to the world that everything is fine? Are you trying to numb those feelings of pain with alcohol and drugs, with shopping or food, trying to keep them at bay?

It doesn’t work, at least, it didn’t for me. It caught up with me big time and my drinking drove me to a horrible emotional bottom.

There is a solution. It is to surrender the pretense that all is fine. It is as simple as letting go of the facade and asking for help from others and from the powers that be.

Easily said… let go… and difficult to do. Yet, the energy it takes to keep you from showing yourself and your pain is no doubt taking its toll on you.

Another way to say let go, is to say give up. Give up trying to prove that you’re strong, that all is fine with you.

Go ahead, try it. You will find that people are there with open arms, willing and able to guide you through your journey to healing. They will not think you are less than, or a failure, or a weak person. Oh, no. Instead, they will admire your strength.

So, go ahead… surrender the pretense that all is fine behind your gate of false bravado. Let go, give it up and see what magic appears.

 

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How to Surrender, to Let Go

Surrender of Pretense

“It is time to let others see the pitted and rusted metal that is me. It is time to let myself come out from behind my gates.”

This is the topic in the book which follows despair. Just a recap… we are blogging through the book, one topic at a time, as they appear in the book. The order of the topics reflects my own journey of healing, as I experienced these emotions or beliefs in this order.

Todays topic, surrender, or letting go, is a pivotal point at which things can begin to turn around. It is the point at which we open ourselves to the Universe, open ourselves to receive from the Universe. For some, it may feel like giving up in despair. This does not have to be the case, however.

How does one give up, without it feeling like despair and failure? It is helpful to adopt the attitude that the only thing we have control over is ourselves. Once we believe this, we can understand that all our fretting and worrying about the results of our actions are out of our hands, out of our control.

We can begin to see that our worrying or chasing the results we want are wasted energy, which could be better spent taking action. What does that mean? It means assessing every situation, looking at our part in the affair, determining if there is anything we can do, and then doing it – taking action.

Then, we let go of the results; we leave it up to the Universe. We turn our attention to the next thing in front of us to do. and we do it. Every time our thoughts return to that outcome for which we wait, we need to remind ourselves that we have turned that issue over, that we are allowing the Universe to bring us what we need, which may not be what we want. We have to be prepared for that.

Letting go, surrendering, becomes easier with time and practice. A benefit of turning things over is that we develop patience. Another is that we are not obsessing over the results for which we are looking.

This practice is extremely useful for those trying to keep sober, as well as for anyone who has trouble with trying to manage and control everything, trying to force things to happen.  The practice of surrender leads to peace.

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