Confessions: Part Six

It still amazes me that the therapist at the church could say so little, yet so MUCH. In a short amount of time, with very few words, she was able to open my eyes to the fact that I’d been living my life entirely wrong.

I just got butterflies when I wrote that! That trip to the church was no accident. I KNEW that Dead End sign was for me, and I just HAD to visit that church. That woman may not have been expecting me that day… but God was!

It’s taken me this long to really see that. It’s not like I did a complete turnaround after that, but it did help me get unstuck. And you know what else? That woman has NO idea how her words affected me that day. I hear that’s how God works. Sometimes He uses you for good, and you don’t even know it. Anyway, her opinion was that…

I wasn’t running my life; my life was running ME.

She couldn’t have been more right. I was always adapting to my surroundings. If the hole was round, this square peg would become ROUND, dammit, because I was going to fit! If life gave me lemons, I would make lemonade. Whether I liked lemonade or NOT!

There was never anything that I was after. Well, except happiness. I realized that today, while writing. Finally, ten (or more) years after she asked me that question, I was able to think of the answer to her question. I JUST wanted to be happy. The problem was that I always looked for happiness outside of myself, and it just didn’t work.

It’s like my life had been like a dodge ball game, and I was always in defense mode. All of my time and energy was wasted; dodging here, dodging there… running in circles and flailing my hands about… constantly attempting to deflect the balls that were being hurled at me. I was always reactive… never proactive. I guess all I really needed to do was exit the field. Walk away, and try a different sport.

When I quit my job and left California, I actually DID have a plan. I was going to start a real estate assistant business. And I did. It was a struggle at first, and was slow to start, but after that meeting I took the bull by the horns and I MADE that thing work.

The business took off. I stayed sober for four years, and somewhere along the way that semi-dysfunctional romance blossomed into a happy, healthy and solid relationship. There was never a question in our minds that we’d spend the rest of our lives together. We were in love, and life seemed so good.

But I still lacked belief, faith, and any kind of a recovery program.

Relapse No. 2

In 2011 I met relapse number two. It was on that road trip with my son. The trip was wonderful (I know some of you have seen pictures) and I won’t let that backslide ruin the memory of the trip. It was a great trip! I’d like to say that being in the middle of Beale Street (party town USA) caused me to drink, but in reality I was sipping a glass of wine by the time I hit Albuquerque! Sometimes I think that the relapse was subconsciously premeditated.

Not long after I returned home my significant other announced that he had accepted a job in Colorado, and with my adventurous spirit, I was all in. Well, partially in. I said I’d give it a year… and I made it through two.

Once I left Colorado… I was on a mission to do things MY way; full speed ahead. It’s like I wanted to make up for lost time or something. Anyway, that’s about the time the MAJOR downward spiral started, and my life started falling apart. I had bought a jeep, which broke down, and I couldn’t afford to fix it. My dad passed away. My business started falling apart because my brain was turning to mush. My boyfriend came to California to join me… and I just wanted OUT.

The progressiveness of the disease had finally caught up with me, and I was unable to stop on my own. That’s when I started reaching out to people, and THAT is when I started corresponding with my dear friend Gil. I was finally ready for a REAL change. I wanted to get sober, turn my life around and make a difference in the world.

MORE importantly… I contacted Gil because I knew that I HAD to find God. I knew that He was my only hope—and I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy for this hard headed, closed-minded girl. But I did it! The funny part about that—especially now as I write this and see it even more—is WHERE I found Him. He was RIGHT THERE.  Right there beside me where He’d been the whole time.

It’s so hard to put a lifetime into a short story. You can’t go from A to Z without at least mentioning a few other letters of the alphabet. But through prayer—and through my writing—I’ve learned (and continue to learn) where I went wrong, the ways I was misled, what my weaknesses and triggers are, and a lot more.

Oh, one more thing I wanted to say. My story helps me understand why writing and photography are so dear to me. Because they are things that I have a passion for. It’s not to be perfect at them, or make a living off of them, or anything like that at all. It’s how I’m able to express myself. It’s a natural fit, without force and with no struggle.

And it’s nice to be a square peg for a change.

Read Part Seven

Confessions: Part Five

I’ve been thinking about the gift of belief that I wrote about in part four. I’ve wanted to say, in as few words as possible, how it all came to be. But it’s a lifelong and never ending story.

Basically, for me… belief was one of my biggest struggles.

I’ve always said that I searched for and found God, but today the thought that came to me was that those words aren’t 100% accurate. I mean they are, but they aren’t. In reality, He was right there—all the time—but my mind was completely closed. I had locked it shut, and thrown out the key… for decades.

So, my original attempts at seeking God are perhaps better described as: Prying my head open. Which is really odd, because when it came to people-pleasing (or following the crowd) my mind was WIDE open. Kind of like that joke you see…

Don’t be too open-minded or your brains will fall out.

Which brings me back to my story….

The Chaos Continues

In my years working in the real estate office, nine of those were spent sober. It was in those nine years that I was able to focus on my kids—and buy our first home at the age of forty. My habit of over-spending almost ruined that. I refinanced numerous times and used the money to buy toys for myself and the kids. Cars, dirt bikes, trucks, golf clubs… and so on.

Thankfully, my overspending sprees took place when the market was skyrocketing. By the time I could no longer afford the payments and had to sell, the value was HIGH and I walked away with a profit (which I threw away in six short months).

Somewhere in the midst of all of that… I drank again. Relapse one. I met the man that I spent eleven years of my life with… gave away, sold, or left behind almost everything I owned… and followed him to Phoenix.

Me, my truck, and whatever would fit in the back, headed out on my very FIRST solo road trip. My oldest was still in the Army, and the younger two stayed behind, taking over the lease of the house that we’d moved to after selling our place.

Looking back, I now recognize some of the ways that God kept trying to get my attention, but there’s one that really shifted my thinking at the time. Not to believe in Him (I wasn’t ready), but to open my mind and help me see that there was something seriously WRONG. With ME.

The relationship that I was in was VERY chaotic, mainly due to our drinking. I had found the gumption to quit again, but life was really weird. It seemed like a bad dream. I think I was feeling the aftereffects of the marriage (perhaps a mild dose of P.T.S.D), and the new tumultuous relationship was rekindling feelings of uneasiness.

Anyway, I was in the middle of a panic attack one day, and I HAD to get out. With no clue where I was going, and Phoenix being fairly new to me, I just drove. Hands sweating, heart racing, vision slightly blurred and my mind in a fog (but sober), I put my foot on the gas, and held on tight to the wheel.

That’s when I made the turn. The turn that put me smack dab in front of the sign. The sign that I KNEW in my heart was for me. With just two little words…


There, right in front of me, was the sign that summed up what my entire life had been thus far. One big dead end.

Heading Towards a Breakthrough

I managed to make a U-turn and there—before my eyes—stood a church. Of course, with my fully closed mind I never saw God in the picture. BUT… I did see HELP.

I parked, went inside, and asked if I could talk to someone. I wasn’t dressed well, and I’m sure my make-up was smeared down my face from crying. One of the women asked me if I needed some money. I had money! At least I got a chuckle out of it, and I was grateful that lack of money was NOT the reason that I was there.

The woman that sat down with me was a therapist. I proceeded to tell her some of my story; about the ex-husband, and things that he had said and done… and then about my current partner, and things that he had said and done… and then about some of the other THEY’S that were guilty of creating all of that chaos and craziness in my life. My words were all questions: WHY, WHY, WHY? Why do they do these things? She listened intently, conversed with me for a while, and then she asked me HER question:

What do YOU want?

Her question startled me! It’s like she woke me up from a coma or something, and for the first time that I could ever remember… my mind was BLANK.

I had absolutely NO answer to that question. Nothing. Nil. Nada.

Read: Part Six

If you’ve made it this far down, thanks for reading. It’s only the beginning, but I’m fond of the memory because it was the moment that sparked my thought shift—however slight it was—and brought me to the realization that my problems were internal.
—It was time for CHANGE!

Confessions: Light Breaks Forth


I heard a great analogy last night. A light bulb went on, and I knew that I needed to use it in this series.

A hound dog will eat itself to death.

I did my research when I got home and was relieved to learn that this dog will do no such thing! But… when I talk about that void, my insatiable appetite that drove me to my never ending pursuits of More, MORE, MORE—that statement is a FACT.

Janet will (insert action word here) until it kills her.

Left to my own devices, I will overdue things to the point of self-destruction, sickness, or far worse… Death.

I’m skipping through twelve years of my life today. It’s the Christmas season, and I want to focus on the GOOD. I want to cut to the chase and tell you what saved me, and set my recovery in motion. Step Two!

STEP TWO: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

I came to BELIEVE!

There are so many things that I want to share. Breakthroughs, God Winks (AKA coincidences), trials, triumphs… and so on, but today I want to share a special one.

On March 6, 2016, two women from church recovery picked me up at a supermarket (where I sat in a stupor) and drove me to the hospital. My blood alcohol content was around .34 when they tested me, and I stayed there to detox for three days.

My spirit had been crushed, but I came out with a new determination. My first day of sobriety was March 7th, and I made my decision. 

March 7th was my day. I claimed it.

In October, just before starting this blog, the Book of Esther kept coming up. All over the place. Like five different times, within a two week period! FINALLY, one night I sat down and said:

Father… I’m going to read this book because I think you’re trying to tell me something.

When I told a group at church that… they kind of laughed at me. Not AT me, but with me. See… I’m kind of new at believing, and understanding how God talks to us, so sometimes it takes me a while. I think Gil would say that I’m a toddler, just learning to walk.

Anyway, as I read the story… the date March 7th kept appearing. MANY times! The version that I chose that particular night literally spelled out the date, in black and white, as the date that Esther’s people defeated their enemies.

I was completely AMAZED and thought what does this mean??

I proceeded to read a study guide which explained that the Jewish people represent GOOD or FAITH; and the enemy—or the Haman’s of the world—represent EVIL or DOUBT.

As I put the book down, I realized that God really WAS trying to tell me something.

I had just read my story!

March 7th was the date of my VICTORY—The victory of FAITH over DOUBT.

I don’t know about you, but that fills me with excitement and joy! It’s a perfect day today! A beautiful Sunday…to praise God and to say thank you Father…

…Thank you for the gift of BELIEF!

Read: Part Five