I just got home from a meeting and had to sit down and document the way I feel, because I want to remember this feeling forever. This evening at the NA meeting, I had the privilege of sharing my story in front of a room full of people in early recovery. I have been a speaker at meetings countless times, and it is always the same. The nerves begin to get to me a few moments before I'm introduced. My heart starts pounding and my hands begin to shake. I pull out the "worry stone" my father gave me as a gift to help calm my nerves, and I begin rubbing it between my fingers. Once I am introduced and everyone begins clapping, a take a deep breath and say a quick prayer, asking God to speak through me and allow me to carry whatever message he wants to share to the people listening. Tonight I spoke at a rehab facility. I imagined these people had a regular day, filled with meetings and cafeteria food and cigarette smoking, so I really wanted to shake things up and get their attention. Add some excitement to their day. I begin sharing my story, briefly speaking on my childhood, then I jump to high school. When I tell them about what happens 2 months after my first drink, the all gasp in surprise. That was it, the moment their ears perked up and they began actually listening. I didn't want to speak at them, I wanted to speak to them, through them. I wanted my words to slip into their mind and take residency there, I didn't want my message to go in one ear and out the other. They begin leaning up in their seats, listening intently as I make a conscious effort to make eye contact with each person in that room as I speak. I want them to feel important, they are important. As I take them on a journey through my life, the terrible things that happened, that I did, then get to the part about my rock bottom - you could hear a pin drop. They were invested, desperate to know how the story ended. I explain to them how every single choice I made upon my arrest was life altering. The smallest step in one direction changed everything, the Butterfly Effect. When I got to the "now", the way my life is today, the gratitude I feel, my children, my home, the person I have become, I grow emotional. I noticed others feel the same as I see a few people wipe hopeful tears away. When I finish they all applaud and begin raising their hands to ask questions and thank me personally for coming and sharing my story. I have moved some of them, I have inspired them, I have sparked a flame of hope in their hearts. This is my purpose. This is why all of the terrible things that happened, happened. So that I can stand in front of a room full of people and say "I have been where you are, and I know the way out". I feel high on life in this moment. The gratitude is overwhelming. I am so lucky to have been given a second chance at life today, and to be able to give back what was so freely given to me. I have shared my story many times in the past at various facilities and meetings, but tonight was different, God was definitely present tonight, I could feel it, I truly believe he moved through each of us. The newcomers in that meeting may feel like I was able to inspire them and offer hope, but they don't realize that they helped me more than I could ever help them. They are working on changing their lives and have no idea the beautiful plan God is orchestrating for them as we speak. To see the uncertainty in their eyes, the nervousness of the unknown, the anticipation and trepidation of what comes next reminded me of where I came from. I felt that way once. On my way home I said a prayer for everyone in that room. That they are able to fight for their recovery and overcome the demons that are trying to take their lives. I feel blessed, honored and humbled tonight, thankful for my new life, and the miracles that God continues to show me on a daily basis. I want to remember this feeling forever, this high, it's better than any high I ever experienced while using. I'm high on life, man.
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