Day 3043 – Throw Back Thursday To When I Knew I Was An Alcoholic

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Originally posted 8/6/17
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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 3042 – I Am Thankful For My Past, My Awesome Marriage, And This Crazy Blog

Some of the days that I reblog old content, it’s because I’m woefully uninspired. Today, I am completely overwhelmed with things to write about. I’m currently in the year I quit drinking in my blog review process. Sometimes when I relive my drinking days, I am brought down in sadness and overthinking. But today, I was excited to see what I was talking about in the months and weeks leading up to what would be my last day drinking. I am completely energized today and near bursting with things to say. But I came across the following post, and wanted to share that. May it be an encouragement about how life doesn’t always go how we expect or want, but in the long run, there is a beautiful plan.

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Originally posted 8/21/14
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About a month ago, I found a letter Bret had written to me from Iraq that he never sent. The past few days I’ve been cleaning up my files and found a whole big stack of letters. The bulk of these letters were written to each other when Bret was stationed in Iraq. We started dating about a week or two before he was deployed (only about 4 months after we met).

I want to share a few snippets with my readers. Not because I think we’re some great couple and have sweet/mushy/funny letters….but because the evidence of our trust in God in the situation is staggering….and humbling to me now…it’s crazy how mature my 25 year old self was about the whole situation. I share not to show how great we were….but how great God was and is in our lives. I see hints of who we are as a couple now and it’s wonderful.

So, take a read…it does get a little mushy, so you may want to skip out now if you’re not into that kind of thing. 🙂

Oh and here’s a picture of Bret from 2007. Take that throw back Thursday!

day_01867c

3/14/07 Bret to Jen
thankfully, i have been able to see that “all things work for the good” of people who believe in Christ. its hard, but i have been able to.

8/7/07 Bret to Jen
ps, i hope saying i love you to you never gets old. i seriously mean it every time. you have been my greatest blessing jen, and even if we dont end up together, i will always want the best for you. i love you.

8/11/07 Jen to Bret
Ah, ha, I just realized you’re super easy to please….and so am I….lol…that’s a very good thing. I really love that we can sit back and see what we are and what we have. God is so good for giving us this time apart so we can reflect on everything. It really has been an amazing time for me. I am so floored by the fact of how well I’ve been doing without you here…with you in a freakin other country dude. It’s crazy. God is so good to us. So very very good.

8/23/07 Bret to Jen
by the way, i received your letter today, or i should say letters, there was one typed, and i think another with a poem, and another hand written, or talon written (because i think a chicken scratched it out with his feet), letter from i guess it was you. but yeah, dont have a chicken write any more of your letters, i had to read the sentences a couple times. stupid chicken 🙂 but hey, dont worry, i really dont mind. its actually pretty amusing, i enjoy trying to figure out what some of the words are. its like a game: hmm, let me see, what word could go there, and still allow the sentence to make sense 🙂 although anything could go there, cuz i never really know what the heck jen is talking about anyways.

8/25/07 Jen to Bret
How good God is to us. ah, I can’t say it enough. It really is overwhelming, it’s so awesome God brought us together when we did, it was just the right time for both of us.
It is also a joy to be loved by you. You make it easy to wait. I know there are no guarantees we’ll get married, but isn’t that the way life is? I’m almost glad I don’t know.
“But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me…” 2 Timothy 4:17a
I read that line and couldn’t keep going. I was stuck. It made me think about where I was and how God has overwhelmingly strengthened me. I seem to forget my old self so easy. The person I was just a few months ago could never have handled having someone she loved as much as I love you in Iraq. I never could have imagined I could be as calm and truly thankful as I am. It’s so awesome I can be like this. Maybe the secret is thankfulness. I feel like that’s a big part, a heart of thankfulness really doesn’t have room for worry or future stuff. So here’s what I’m “us” thankful for:
– That we have a crazy story
– that we got together two weeks before you left – it makes things even more crazy/interesting
– that you make me love and appreciate who God is more
– that you also hate me more than I’ve ever been hated before (blogger’s note: when we were dating, we were “mean jokers” with each other. Thankfully, we had very wise pre-marital counselors who pointed out that this wasn’t a good thing…but it makes for a funny read.)
– that God loves us more than we love each other
– that you have, through how you love me, shown me even more deeply how much God loves me.
– still like me even though I write you mushy letters.

I love you like I love the oreo creame pie that’s in my freezer that I didn’t eat today because I’m not a fatty like you. 🙂
~ Your jennilyn

p.s. How’s that for an “I love you”

8/28/07 Jen to Bret
How good of God to give us such a large trial as you being in Iraq so that we can be made so very strong. Praise God I can say that! How good is our God babe, how good!

9/17/07 Jen to Bret
Overall, I want God’s best, whether that means we get married next year, or years from now, or not at all. I want his best, I know that I am no good at figuring things out, so I have to leave it with him. I do trust.

I really never knew what true friendship and love were before you. You encourage me to grow in ways I could never have imagined on my own. You help me to see clearly more and more every day how good God is.

10/1/07 Jen to Bret
So I guess I’ll try and send you more chicken letters. Though, I don’t know what you see in her. She has the worst handwriting. Oh well.

I think God is having fun and showing off with us, and I love that, it is so good.

10/2/07 Jen to Bret
do you know, like really know how much of a gift and blessing you are to me? Do you wake up in the morning and realize I’ve been thinking about you? That my days are a little brighter because of what God is doing in our lives? He is so glorified through us. It is such a joy to experience His hand so clearly.

Oooo! I’ll write you a poem. 🙂

a lifetime of tears
seemingly washed away
they kind of make sense
always running around
always seeking my own
until He stepped in
put His hand
smack in my way
after the air cleared
the rubble washed away
there you are
everything I think
I’ve always wanted
a love/hate relationship
(but mostly hate)
we’re on this adventure
crazy, new, perfect
made for us
with our special needs
mirrors His joy and creativity
we can only give Him all that we are

11/1/07 Jen to Bret
It is a wonderful dream though, you and me forever. What makes it so good isn’t that it would be all mushy, fairy tale like, it’s that it would be real, we would face trials and hard times, honestly I think that’s what I look forward to, working on things together. Man, I hope God is preparing us for each other. And my goodness have we both been through such rigorous preparation. I am thankful for every time my heart was broken now because of the joy it has been to have you mend it. I feel full and complete now because of your love.

11/5/07 Jen to Bret
I’m so thankful that I’m here for this part of your journey. You are such an amazing man. I can truly not wait to see what God has in store for you. You are going to do huge things for Him. I just pray He blesses me with serving beside you. I don’t think my imagination can fully grasp what God can do with us.

SPOILER ALERT!! – We did end up together. 😉

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Day 3027 – Thanks Past Jennilyn – or – Wowie I’ve Blogged A Long Time!

I’m roughly at the halfway point of reviewing my 6+ years of blog posts. It’s taking time, but it’s been an amazing journey. I can see how much I’ve grown. I can see how much I shared, and how much I kept back. It’s reminding me of times I drank, it’s reminding me of many, many things.

Today, I read a post about uncertainty, and fog. It was so applicable to what I’m experiencing today, I wanted to reshare it.

~~~ originally posted 11/17/13, with just a few minor edits ~~~

As I drove to church today, the fog was incredibly thick, I could only see about four car lengths in front of me. It got me thinking about how God sometimes keeps us in a fog.

I noticed that I could always see the stop lights in time as well as the brake lights of the cars in front of me. I was always informed of the immediate danger.

The drive to church is a very lovely one. There are sweeping farms, glorious foliage and animals galore. Sometimes, all of this is very distracting. The fog kept me focused just on the road ahead of me.

It struck me how God sometimes gives us a time of fog to protect us from what’s going on around us. While it could have been a very claustrophobic thing, I found it very comforting.

If you’re in a fog, maybe God is protecting you from a distraction…

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

day_01590

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Day 3022 – Another Book That Changed My Life – Reading People By Anne Bogel

In case you’re brand spankin’ new, you know I love to read. I read all the time. One person who has helped me embrace my reading even more, is Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. She has been sharing about a book she wrote for a while, and after weeks of waiting, I finally got the audio version from the library. Audio books are harder for me to get through because I just don’t have the time to fit them in and listen as much as I would sit down to read. Thankfully, one thing I’m learning about myself is the need to break up my afternoons with a walk, dance party, and laughing like crazy. In my short walks, I’ve been making my way through the book. I’ve also gotten in a few chunks while driving to my job in Annapolis. I JUST finished last night, and I have to say, AMAZING! I’m a big fan of personality tests, and so is she. The book is about a number of different personality tests, and how they apply to your life. I found myself nodding along, and saying things like YES! in my head…..or out loud…. Truly getting to know yourself, knowing what you can and can’t handle, and not judging what you find has been huge in my life over the past few years. I’ve learned some things totally stress me out and I just can’t handle too much of it…or I have to cut it out completely. Things like nudity in movies, alcohol, or the books I read – I really can’t read some of the types of books I used to. I can’t watch some of the shows I used to. I can’t do some of the things I used to.

So to find a book that helps me further know myself, and embrace myself, gives me strength to continue in the path and forge ahead without apology. It also gave me some insight into others. So give Reading People* a listen, or a purchase. Or put in a hold request at the library. One thing I LOVE about Anne, is that she has no judgement for how you read a book.

Since I have no photo of her book, here’s a pretty picture. 😀

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* Affiliate link
Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
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Day 3020 – Spreadsheet Day

I am a big fan of spreadsheets, and I’m SO glad that I have a whole day to celebrate them! I make spreadsheets for everything. Whether it’s a checklist to print off for my goals, or creating Pivot Tables for Bret’s business, or an Epic Road Trip Planning Budget, I LOVE spreadsheets!

What’s your favorite way to use spreadsheets?

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
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