“Hip Hip” Hooray!

IMG_7686aI am not an expert in sobriety but I have found support in the 12 step program, Alanon, as well as extensive counseling. Additionally, I have had the joy of watching family members successfully and continually work a 12 step program to achieve and maintain their sobriety.

I lay in bed after extensive hip surgery and it got me thinking. Is it possible to parallel a 12 step program/lifestyle to a physical recovery? I believe the answer is…yes.

I suffered debilitating hip pain for two years and received several misdiagnoses (one of which included uncontrolled anxiety/chronic pain)! I became powerless over my pain, my quality of life deteriorated drastically, and my much needed sleep was a distant memory. I did not want to accept the fact that I was powerless over my situation and that I could not manage and fix this problem. But for quite some time, I too, was forced to believe that maybe this WAS in my head and this is what the medical field means by chronic pain brought on by uncontrolled anxiety.

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“The first step prepares us for a new life which we can achieve only by letting go of what we cannot control, and by undertaking one day at a time the monumental task of setting our world in order through a change in our own thinking. I will dedicate myself to managing my own life and only mine.

So I dedicated myself to finding answers in hopes of improving my quality of life. I wouldn’t accept the diagnosis and searched for a Dr. who would believe me. I chose to live one day at a time. And that truly did help me get through the days and weeks! I believe in a higher power, prayed to that higher power, and continually asked for help and guidance. In turn, I was given answers to my physical pain and offered a solution with hip surgery.

The parallelism of a 12 step program and a physical recovery from an injury isn’t a perfect one and I don’t claim them to be. But I can tell you, there are similarities. Eye opening acceptance, lessons in humility as your husband bathes you, a commitment in achieving wellness, willingness to keep pursuing and investing in your health. And a continued vigilance and attunement in a higher power.

It will be a long recovery. Four weeks on a walker, a hip brace and extensive physical therapy. 4-6 month full recovery time. I feel sorry for myself at times. Then I pick myself back up and keep going. Just like many of you, in recovery, I am living my life one day at a time. And on really bad days….
one step at a time.

Keep Trudging,

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Colleen

 

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Summer Mocktail

We wanted to create a non-alcoholic drink that was just as delightful to look at as taste. Watermelon is a summer staple, easily found and enjoyable for all ages. Dragonfuit adds an unexpected tartness as well as a gorgeous garnish. See below for the other cast of characters!

Recipe:

-1/4 Watermelon
-1 Dragonfruit
-1 Lime
-1 Berry or Lime La Croix

Chop the watermelon and dragonfruit, puree separately and strain. To make 2 glasses, fill with ice.

Add 1 oz dragonfruit juice

Add 4 oz watermelon juice

Fill with La Croix and squeeze lime to finish. Enjoy!

We wanted to create a non-alcoholic drink that was just as delightful to look at as taste. Watermelon is a summer staple, easily found and enjoyable for all ages. Dragonfuit adds an unexpected tartness as well as a gorgeous garnish. See below for the other cast of characters!

Recipe:

-1/4 Watermelon
-1 Dragonfruit
-1 Lime
-1 Berry or Lime La Croix

Chop the watermelon and dragonfruit, puree separately and strain. To make 2 glasses, fill with ice.

Add 1 oz dragonfruit juice

Add 4 oz watermelon juice

Fill with La Croix and squeeze lime to finish. Enjoy!

DIY Gratitude Linen

Our lives are busy. They are sometimes stressful. It takes conscious effort to stop and smell those roses. We appointed October a month to focus on gratitude, an issue that is of great importance to recovery. 
We chose a quote that got to the very heart of this issue and exercised a little creativity by hand painting it on linen to make a thoughtful wall hanging.
We began by lightly penciling in the stenciled message with a ruler. This ensures the placement is as you want it, and also that the lines are straight. 

This way, when it comes time to paint, it goes by quickly because you have a guide.

Take your time and enjoy this peaceful activity.

You’ll be surprised how good it feels to have such an uplifting message to read everyday. And maybe, just maybe, you will take your own advice and live a good life. A sober life.

Sobriety Deserves A Party!

The iconic triangle within a circle was originally a symbol for warding off evil spirits. While the modern meaning of the sobriety symbol is more complex, ultimately the purpose is the same. It’s highly recognizable and powerfully symbolic; the perfect decoration for our sober anniversary celebration.

It’s important to celebrate sobriety milestones. They are hard earned and each one is an accomplishment. We wanted a simple, rustic setting, and chose to make the symbol out of rosemary and eucalyptus branches.

It’s easier than it sounds! Tie the rosemary sprigs together using as many as it takes to make the circle the desired size. Peel the eucalyptus from it’s branch and set those twigs within the circle forming a triangle. That’s it!

 

September is National Recovery Month, perfect timing for a this type of celebration.

 

I freaking love recovery!

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Would you like to inspire others with your story? We are constantly overwhelmed by the love and support we receive by telling ours. Share your story on Instagram using the hashtags ‪#‎IFreakingLoveRecovery‬ and ‪#‎DirtyLaundryDesigns‬, or email it to info@dirtylaundrydesigns.com anonymously for a chance to win one of our t-shirts. Whether it is your personal struggle, or your experience with a family member, every story is important and may resonate and help another reader. Contest ends 4/30/16, winner will be contacted 5/1/16. http://etsy.me/1ThXTT6

 

REEL Happy

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I am up early and before anyone in my house. Enjoying a cup of coffee, okay, maybe two.
A little piece of haven in a quiet house where I reflect, pray and write. Quite often, I choose not to share these deeply personal thoughts …exposing your heart isn’t always easy.
But this entry I would like to share because my heart is bursting with gratitude.

Fall is my favorite time of year! A favorite season filled with vibrant fall foliage, alluring pumpkin scents, and the bite of the crisp air. But now, fall reminds me of change. And just like the seasons, people have the ability to change. I believe with my whole heart that the positive change of recovery should be celebrated with enthusiasm.

October is my brother Kevin’s sobriety anniversary month. Today, October 28th, to be exact. I could talk about how bad his addiction had been. A desperate hopeless one that involved life support and a 17 day coma. But I have done that before and it hurts to relive it. And I imagine conjures up guilt within my brother. We will have none of that on this joyous sober birthday. But I think it is important to know that it was a desperate situation. As my brother lay in the hospital bed, given less that 72 hours to live, that I made a promise to him. A desperate plea in hopes he would continue the fight to live. I promised, that if he kept fighting, I would take my siblings on a charter boat fishing trip. Quite honestly, I didn’t think he was going to make it. But hoped that my prayers and his love of fishing could pull some strings.

When he was well, we did go on that sibling fishing trip. And it was both fun and meaningful. It was a beautiful fall day on Lake Michigan. We were greeted with a sunrise that I still dream about. I stood on the front of the boat admiring the painted sky and I took a memorable photo. I distinctively remember thinking there is something bigger working here. Much bigger. I mean what are the odds? Here we are, my brother had beat the odds, we are on the promised fishing trip, and the scenery was surreal. AND he was finally sober. With goosebumps, I admired the the view. It entailed a vibrant orange sun bursting upon the horizon. The reflections danced with delight upon the rippling water. The captured photo is now part of Dirty Laundry Designs card collection, DL-35. Let Go, Let God. This card holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me that miracles do happen. Sometimes you have to be patient and step back and let your higher power to take charge. And sometimes the reminders just happen to be on the bow of a boat.

Happy 9th sober anniversary to my brother, Kevin. Your sobriety continues to inspire me.
Please remember your recovery has been a wonderful gift, not only to you, but to me as well. At last, we have a wonderful relationship that I so desperately was in search of for many many years. Thank you for investing in yourself and in turn investing in me.

A Little Ditty -To My Brother On His 20th Sober Birthday!

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Spin Me Around-From Addiction to Recovery Vinyl turntable

This week marks my brother’s 20th sober birthday. Yep, that’s right I said it 20 years! I can’t begin to express the pride I feel. But my heart dances with delight. He constantly dedicates himself to maintaining his sobriety and that isn’t always easy. Let’s face it, life has its up and downs, stresses, worry, and disappointments. And sometimes maintaining sobriety takes an incredible amount of time, dedication, and support. But you better believe it, it can, and will be done. And HE is the evidence. I have been thinking about a way to dedicate and parallel something that he loves to his recovery journey. What I came up with… vinyl records.

First track on the record-was one that none of us would like to repeat. His drinking started socially and escalated to full blown addiction. It destroyed him and shook the family to the core. Addiction spins you and the family round and round. More dizzy with every spin. Eventually, you need to yank that sharp needle out of the groove and set it on a better track.

And that is exactly what happened.  However, my brother, was the DJ.  Along with his higher power, he was in control of his life’s venue. And it is HE that chose recovery. Once that happened, the playlist became happier, lighter and a whole lot more groovy.  His foot tapping audience is huge. And it is me rocking out in the front row. And he, shining up there, on center stage. Congratulations on 20 years of sobriety-You may say that I was a dreamer (hoping for your recovery) but I knew I wasn’t the only one.

Peace, Love & Recovery, Your sis

A Celebration of Sobriety From Your ‘Lil Sis

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photo-4 I thought of writing this post often. Very often. But until now it was much too painful for me. If you have read our addiction story, you know that it was a desperate one. My brother was placed on life support after a long battle with alcohol. We were given the grim news. He most likely was not going to wake up from the induced coma he had been placed in. I mean why would he? It had been hours which turned into days and finally weeks and yet he still hadn’t woken up. Hopeful, we waited. We began to witness his body shutting down. Distraught we continued to wait. All the while, listening to those annoying beeping machines keeping him alive. It is with lots of prayers and a miracle. That he woke up. 17 days later. And survived. Miraculously, he survived. With a tracheotomy and unable to speak, he pointed to a magnetic alphabet board.    With all of his strength, he tiredly pointed out the following letters…

I  H-A-V-E  B-E-E-N  A-S-L-E-E-P

It is only years later that I realized the power in those letters scribbled on hospital letterhead. Yes, you have been asleep. Your body asleep. Your mind asleep. Exhausted from years of addiction and abuse. When one is in the throws of addiction, you are asleep. It grips every inch of your being. Every waking moment. It consumes your soul. Those tattered scribbled letters form powerful words. And it is easy to parallel them to the spiritual awakening one discovers within recovery.  I am so glad you woke up. Your body and spirit. Your recovery is a joy to witness. Happy Sober Birthday “K.K.”   Eight looks great on you! Love, Your sis