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Hi, my name is Patty. I am a grateful believer. I am a survivor of abuse!

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

God has really been impressing on my heart and spirit this week just how out of control or unmanageable my life can be- or get. My insanity cycle (doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results) just doesn't seem to turn off on its own even though I did time, 5 years of hard-core, soul-shattering 12-Step work in recovery that I was convinced at one point (that stretched over a span of months) just might actually kill me. It was brutal... but it is also what saved my life! I just (still) always seem to expect this automatic, remarkable, life-change in my thought patterns, my behaviors, my intentions, even in, I dare say it, my expectations (Lol... I know!). I did recovery, damn it! But this new change just doesn't seem to happen on its own. I actually have to work at it, if you can believe that! Every time my mind starts to skip to a thought pattern that is negative, cynical, sarcastic, or defeating I have to- by choice (grrr), decide to not stay on that track. Imagine, my day is going fine. Sun is out, birds are awake, forecast is good... and suddenly I am focused on my lack of fundage. Ugh! All of a sudden, the sun is not so bright, the birds are pissing me off, and the forecast- well, it can go straight to Hell. I am already over it and all it took for me to veer into the ditch, so to speak, is allowing my focus to fall on my lack of finances. Now, don't get me wrong, a lack of finances is a very real concern to a lot of people, including me. Especially right now. But is allowing my thought pattern to send me careening right into a ditch a healthy or helpful thing for me? Nope... not at all. Is worrying about my finances going to make more money materialize? Ha, I wish ... but nope and never. Is stopping that thought pattern, bringing my focus back to the fact that the sun is out, the birds are awake, and the forecast is good more healthy and helpful for me? Absolutely! But, as I am sure most can agree, that is much easier said than done. If it was easy, everyone- literally everyone, would be doing that and our world would be filled to the brim with everyone walking around with a smile on their face, a skip in their step, and be whistling their favorite tune. Oh, what a wonderful world! That, unfortunately, is not a reality. Every day, all day, I/we have to make a conscious choice to monitor and re-direct our thought patterns, to respond instead of react to what happens to us and around us, to make a decision to have honest and true intentions, and those pesky expectations- we have to keep them in check before we feel like checking out. Even though it is easier to stay in your negative worn-in brain grooves, we will not think, see and/or believe different until we create new positive brain grooves that over time will become more automatic and life-giving.

Last night I found myself reflecting on the Definition of Sobriety [Recovery from physical, sexual or emotional abuse] (Credit: Celebrate Recovery).

'In order to change, we as survivors of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse cannot use history as an excuse for continuing our destructive behaviors.

Therefore, our definition of sobriety is to discover our talents, to build our self-esteem, and to repair any damage done. We will allow ourselves to feel our feelings, to accept them and learn to express them appropriately. We will not partake in addictive or self-destructive behaviors that so easily entangle us. We will not allow the pains of our past to keep us victims but grow from God's healing. We will not harbor anger, resentment, bitterness or unforgiveness for our abusers, nor have we used the actions of others as a justification for inappropriate actions, attitudes, or isolating ourselves from God or others. We will progress in our recovery to become survivors of abuse! In fact, we have survived and can offer the experience, strength and hope of recovery that we have received to other women! When we have begun those tasks, we will move forward from our past and get on with the business of life'.

...let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1b (TLB)

I don't know if this is your first time hearing about this Definition of Sobriety, or if it is the first time in a long time that it has been brought back to your attention, or if you are someone who keeps this posted in a special place that brings your eyes and spirit to it every single day (good healthy habit right here!). Wherever you find yourself, my hope is that the words come alive to you today. I can honestly say that over that five year span of time when this would be read aloud in our Abuse group, different parts of it would just seem to come alive to me with new meaning (true recovery at work). It doesn't matter if you are female, male, young, old, in active recovery, contemplating recovery, or on the in-and-out recovery merry-go-round... this definition of sobriety is life-changing! The change starts on the inside, deep deep down in those dark crevices, and works it way outward. It opens your eyes to new truths, your heart to new realities, your spirit to new hope, your healing to new levels. And, this journey is not meant to be traveled alone. Keep yourself open to recovery meetings in whatever form they take. Keep your support team close. Reach out! Reach out! Reach out! Especially when you don't feel like it! There are so many wonderful people out there recovering from pretty horrific life circumstances and they can offer their experience, strength, and hope of recovery to you! Many of my recovery partners have become some of my favorite humans <3.

AA Twelve Step Program

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

TWELVE STEPS and their Biblical comparisons (Celebrate Recovery)[Adapted for victims of Abuse]

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18) [We admitted we were powerless over the past and as a result, our lives have become unmanageable].

THE ROAD TO RECOVERY 8 Recovery Principles, based on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5); (Celebrate Recovery)

1. Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable. “Happy are those who are spiritually poor.” (Matthew 5:3)


Definition of Sobriety (Celebrate Recovery); [Recovery from physical, sexual or emotional abuse]

Copyright  1952, 1953, 1981 by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)

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