Saturday, January 19, 2019

What does your prison look like today?

I am writing this from the comfort of my Lazy-Boy as I look out the window and into a winter storm that many on Facebook have joked may just be the snow apocalypse.  As a kid I was constantly in awe of snow and the different landscapes it created in my neighborhood, on the hills of Riverview Elementary and within Brookhaven Subdivision, and in my head.  I appreciated and looked forward to snow and the wonder and new adventures it promised and most often guaranteed.  I think that is the case of many things in our  lives.  As a child there are many things, we are in awe of that later become less appreciated, taken for granted, and eventually we forget the excitement of things like snow.

Growing up do you remember snow, rain, your first glimpse of the ocean, or jumping into a lake for a swim?  Do you remember how easy it was to love all those things?  Do you recall how simple your life was?  Can you recall how BIG things were in your world?  I wonder if you ever took all those things for granted?  I look back and I know I did.  I wonder if you are like me and that brings up emotions, memories, regrets, and oddly enough gratitude.

Fast forward to the Winters of 2016 and 2017 and that is when I came to appreciate snow again.  Prison has been called a lot of things - - lonely, cold, violent, dangerous, isolated, and simply put - - HELL – just to name a few.  What prison was in my life was a time in which I was able to look back at my life and reflect, remember, hash out, and come to peace with.  Not many get to experience prison and for that I am grateful (I am sure those of you who have never been incarcerated for more than a month will join me in that gratitude).  Prison allowed me to sit down, be alone, find myself, find God, and again find an appreciation for snow and…

Rain, hot days, bitter cold days, the feel of grass on my feet, the smell of outside, worms on the walk after a rain, the smell of cut grass and many…many…many other things – but, back to snow.

Snow today reminds me of my journey and my life.  I was a kid and I loved and appreciated snow for what it was - - God’s creation, an adventure just waiting to happen, and simply put awesome.  Along comes life, work, family, stress, worry, anxiety, adulting, depression, loneliness, an affair, divorce, destruction, loneliness, angst, defeat and above all else - - separation from God.  And, just like that snow is just snow.  Snow (like life) is no longer an adventure, appreciated, loved, played in, anticipated,  and no longer recognized as God’s creation. 

Snow is just snow and life is…well…gone.

Funny, it took me going to prison to appreciate snow again.  To love life again.  To live again.  To love God again.  To love me again and to look forward to the adventures that snow and life have to offer.

What prison is keeping you from appreciating this snowy day?

Who do you need to call today for help?

Who do you need to write a letter, email, or a text to today and tell them that you are sorry, or that you love them?

How can I help you appreciate this snow and your life again? Go to Facebook and comment or call me at 765-667-0150. 

I remember falling and staying there.  I remember how that feels.  I remember learning to get back up.  Today, I fall but I get back up.  GET BACK UP…GO PLAY IN THE SNOW.

If you are struggling it’s okay, help is only a prayer away.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


I consider myself blessed to work with people who are trying to find their own recovery path in the journey that is addiction.  Addiction has been called many things – cunning, baffling, powerful.  It has been described as heartbreaking, controlling, demanding, consuming, and destruction of the self.  I have heard family members describe watching their loved ones who struggle with addiction as the worst movie ever made - - yet they cannot turn the channel, flip off the flat-screen, or watch anything else but the destruction happening right in front of their own eyes.  Worse yet, most can only sit and watch the downfall as their pleas to get help are either denied or fall upon deaf ears.

Most people believe that those suffering with addiction must hit rock bottom before they will ask for help.  That was certainly the case in my recovery journey.  I had hit rock bottom and that is where God found me and where my recovery began.  However, in the last year I have concluded that hitting rock bottom is not a requirement to start a journey of recovery.  Instead, I have seen friends, clients, and strangers ask for help from hospital beds, jail cells, Courtrooms, on Facebook Messenger, in emails, via text, and on Instagram posts and direct messages.  I have been contacted by phone, in person, and by EVERY social media app there is (including LinkedIn…I am just as shocked as you about that one).  I have also reached out to people that I knew were struggling (because they told me) everyday until they were ready.  They were not at rock bottom YET but just struggling.  I reached out…okay, I harassed some people into recovery - - you know who you are, and I love you!

In the last year I have learned that my recovery and my rock bottom is mine and that is it.  My recovery gives me some experience and wisdom, but it DOES NOT give me permission to tell someone else how to walk their own recovery journey.  I have learned to LISTEN WAY MORE than I talk, to love way more than offer up solutions, and to sit quietly with someone who is struggling to make it another hour, another minute, and just one more second.  I have learned that the best gift I can to someone struggling with addiction is my time, unconditional support, and love…
      Not my experience
·       Not my wisdom
·       Not my ideas
·       Not my solutions
·       Not DO IT MY WAY
·       Not my advice
·       Not my anything but TIME, UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT, and LOVE

One of my favorite authors, Father Gregory Boyle, says it best - - “there will never come a day when I am not 100% in your corner.”  I love that so much that I tell it to every client, anyone who is struggling with addiction, and all who ask me for help.  I say it because I mean it and it is the KEY in helping someone start their own journey of recovery and maybe in its ultimate success.   That simple phrase says…
I     I love you
·       I see you
·       I believe in you
·       YOU are special to me
·       I support you
·       My time is for you
·       I am right here with YOU
·       I am on your team
·       I am not judging you
·       I am listening to you
·       I am for YOU

Listen up… YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HIT ROCK BOTTOM… If I have learned anything else this year about people and their recovery it is this - - IT TAKES WHAT IT TAKES. Whatever that is for that person in front of me.  I don’t get to decide what it looks like and when.
My role is to just be there - - loving, supporting, listening, shutting up, giving them my time, pursuing them with kindness, praying for them and telling them that there will never come a day when I am not 100% in their corner…

Is it time for you?  Do you want help?  Do you need me to listen to you?  Do you want help?  

Remember, it takes what it takes and only you know that…. ask for help…today.

If you are struggling it’s okay, help is only a prayer away.

BLOGGER's NOTE:  This picture is of index cards that my Mom sent to me in prison.  I cherish these cards and her for always sticking by me and never giving up on me.  She listened when she didn't know how and she loved me when that is all she knew to do.  Above all else, she prayed. . . all the time.  Love you, Mom. 

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