Day 3413 – How A Song You’ve Heard Thousands Of Times Can Have A New Meaning

As I was running today, listening to Firebreather by Thrice (my running song of choice), I was struck by a new thought. Here are a few lines from the song, you can read the full lyrics here.

Tell me, Are you free
When the fear falls on you?
Tell me, Are you free
When the fear falls on you?

The song was written about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who spoke up about the injustices he saw in Nazi Germany. It has always resonated with me.

It has always been about someone who is killed for their belief. That belief has always been Christianity in my mind.

But this morning, as I was mid-run, it struck me that it can also be about speaking up about things that others shy away from for whatever reason. It brought me comfort to know that I rarely shy away from speaking up about things.

It gave me fresh encouragement to share that it’s OK to not drink, that you can have a full and wonderful and FUN life without alcohol.

That it’s ok to not have kids.

That it’s ok to sleep on the floor.

That it’s ok to not have furniture in the “normal” sense.

To shout from my little blog rooftop, that it’s ok if you are different from most of those around you. It’s ok if most people think you’re crazy. To remind you that there ARE others out there who think and feel like you do.

It may take time to find them, but I assure you, they are out there.

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Day 3398 – Why I Shared About My Alcoholism

When I was first asked if I would share a testimony at my previous church, I thought I would talk about some awesome things God had done in our lives up to that point. I had put together something, but it was just “eh.”

A few months prior to being asked, I had a moment of “I have to get up and write RIGHT now” where I wrote about my drinking and sobriety. At the time, I thought it as more of a “get it out of my head but never share with anyone” type of thing. Then one day in church, someone else shared something deeply personal in her testimony.

On that particular day, we were helping out in both services, during the second listen of her testimony, I pulled up what I had written about my drinking. Reading through, I thought, I have to share this. This person sharing their struggles, led me to share mine, which has led to others sharing with me.

If you had told the drunk/hungover me that I would put all of it out there, I would have laughed at you and never thought it possible. Then again, that Jennilyn would probably not believe she’d ever get sober.

So if you have something to share, share it. Even if it’s just with a friend. As Thrice would say, “Every scar is a bridge to someone’s broken heart.”

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Day 3381 – When Did I Know I Was An Alcoholic – repost

Originally posted 8/6/17

I’m working through my second draft of my memoir, and I’m happy to see it taking somewhat of a logical shape.

Yesterday, we had so much fun hanging out with some friends at a beautiful waterfront bar. Chatting with one of my friends, we talked about what was success for my first book, which was that one person’s mindset was changed.

In my current draft of the memoir, I wrote “I don’t want to write this book. Thinking back to these times doesn’t make me happy. Trying to read other memoirs about drinking is hard to do. I want to forget it all happened. I want to leave those memories in the past. Why would I ever want to go back there? Why would I want to share even more about the things I did? I suppose, if just one person is helped. If one person can move past addiction and treat it finally as a sin, it is worth it.

I think I have my goal for this book.

So, when did I know I was an alcoholic?

Probably in the few days after my last drink. Here’s a snapshot from my journal, which is part thinking out loud, part praying, in the days after that last day.

September 29, 2014 (first day sober)
I do enjoy it and I have had some great times, yet I’ve quit so many times. Can I really not control myself or am I trying to prove to myself that I can? Am I holding on to sin? Should I cut it loose? Do I need to cut it out completely? Truly? Forever? Is it standing in my way?

On October 3, 2014
Thank you also for the clear “it’s time” to quit drinking. Thank you for the strength already against temptation. Let it open doors to honest communications about how Christians aren’t perfect.

Almost three years later and I think it’s so true – that it can open lines of communications. People are shocked when they hear about my sobriety – “but you’re a Christian!”
Thinking back to the months following this moment, I remember thinking that there is almost more stigma against people who don’t drink than people who do. Look at all the memes about drinking at the end of the day, or that say “how could I ever quit drinking, I’d be boring!” I was more embarrassed and nervous to say “no thank you” to a drink, then when I was downing bottle after bottle.

I’m so thankful for sober Jen, because she can go to places like we went yesterday, and remember every minute. I really hope we can live near the water some day.

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Day 3380 – Reflections On Getting Arrested In 2006 – repost

Originally posted on 9/16/16

Ten years ago at 1:59 a.m., I had a number of thoughts:
– I was so excited about my new job! It was my first “real” job. A 9-5 where I had to wear business casual and not a uniform.
– I really enjoyed working at Target.
– I should not be driving right now.
– I texted someone and said as much.

Ten years ago at 2:00 a.m., when I was pulled over, I had a number of thoughts:
– I shouldn’t have been driving.
– I shouldn’t have been texting.
– I should be ok, I didn’t have that much to drink.

Ten years ago around 4:00 a.m., after being officially arrested, I had a number of thoughts:
– I can’t believe this is happening.
– I can’t believe I blew a .13.
– I can’t believe I talked to the cop on the way back from the official breathalyzer test about thinking God wanted me to talk to him. How embarrassing.
– I can’t believe the cops at the station said I took a good mug shot.

Today, ten years after being arrest, I have a number of thoughts:
– I can’t believe I didn’t think I had a problem back then. I found a short survey I took for my court mandated substance abuse classes. I scored an 11 out of 24. 9 or more meant probable alcoholism.
– I am SO thankful that God graciously helped me quit drinking cold turkey.
– I am so thankful I was pulled over that day. If I thought I was ok driving that day….I shudder to think what could have happened on the days prior that I knew I wasn’t ok to drive.
– I am thankful for those who stood by me through the last 10 years.
– I never thought I would put this out there publicly! I remember being SO scared about people finding out.
– I am thankful for work that doesn’t require me to check off a box – “have you been arrested” etc.
– I am thankful that I can now be a designated driver and not be mad about it.
– I am most thankful that alcohol doesn’t hold any power over me anymore. I always thought I wanted one of those stories….you know the kind…..drug addict, alcoholic, etc sees the errors of their ways and comes to Jesus and is completely saved from their vices. I always thought, well, my story isn’t that exciting….I grew up in a Christian home, gave my life to Christ very early and have clung to my faith ever since. I now know that is one of THE best testimonies. But, now I have both testimonies. 🙂

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Day 3372 – When You Have To Wait A Long Time For Things – or – The Other 40 Year Wait For Moses

This post has been marinating for a while for me. If you know the different adventures of different biblical characters, you likely know about the Israelites and Moses wandering around the desert for 40 years. But what about the 40 years BEFORE that when Moses spent time in Midian?

As I’ve been reading through the Bible this year (using the Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan, which is reading out of four parts of the Bible each day). As I read through the old testament, what strikes me most is how long some things took. What never hit me until the last few years is that Moses spent FORTY years in Midian.

I can almost mentally understand forty years, being at the ripe old age of 36 and some change. I think about how long it took me to finally wake up, take God at His word, and get sober (about nine years). I think about how long it took me to grow and change in different ways, and I remember Moses and I’m encouraged.

Basically, it’s ok if something takes me a really long time. Some things in life do.

So if you’re stuck in your time in the desert, or your time in Midian, remember, you’re in good company of “having to wait a long time for something.”

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