Now that I am sober, I try to stay out of conflict. I try to speak only truth in love. It is one of the hardest things for me, because I am SO opinionated. I feel deeply about things and express it. I have always been this way, it is not something I can blame on my addiction. I feel that my passion can be a good thing. I love that about myself, actually. I do have to focus it in the right direction though. That is one reason I am so active and involved with things I care about. Being involved also helps with my sobriety. Doing things I care about gives me purpose. It also makes me extremely busy. I work at slowing down on a daily basis. I work on putting time with my family first. This is why my blogging has slowed dramatically. I know that I have to grow as an individual. I intentionally involve myself with life. I now have teaching during the day, school to gain my certification back, studying for the test to be reinstated, committees at school. Junior League, my passion and sharing of Young Living Essential Oils, church and exercise that I try to fit in my day, not necessarily in that order. Of course, loving and spending time with my family come first.
With all of these things I am doing, I have had difficulty writing. Time is so precious. I believe that writing is important, not just for me, but for the people it helps. I know that knowing you aren’t alone can make all the difference. I know that hearing someone else’s experience, strength and hope can keep you going. It can save lives.
I love this life I have created. I love all the good I am doing and hope I am bringing to people. Opening up my life as a vessel for God’s love is my goal. I don’t do this perfectly, I really don’t know anyone who does. I get involved because it feels amazing to finally be present in this life from years of active addiction. I lost myself in that downfall. There were few people who saw the heart of me during that time, and me of them was my husband.
It is no secret that we have struggled in our relationship. Beginning a relationship with an addict in the depth of their addiction is not easy. We both brought pain and hurt and just yuckiness to the relationship. In the almost 6 years we have been together, we have truly come from the bottom to the top. We are by no means perfect now, never will be, but we are solid. We are happy and joyful in our family. I have had people ask me(us) how we stayed together in the hardest times and the only thing I can really tell them is love and prayer. Those two things didn’t always come from us. We had people praying for us and loving us, even when we didn’t love ourselves or each other. Love is work. Love is effort. The life time type of love is not easy, well, with two strong-minded, stubborn people.
We are still learning how to disagree in love and to work through things without spewing mean things. We are learning how to work through frustration without hurting the other person. We are learning to put the other person first at all times. I am proud of our marriage. It isn’t shiny and new, it is weathered and unique. I don’t ever doubt our love. We don’t threaten to leave any longer. I know now that that was our own insecurities in ourselves that was truly destroying our relationship. The further we get in our faith separately, the better we are together. The more we develop ourselves in a positive way in our own lives, the better we are together.
The beginning of our relationship was not easy on anyone. His family, my family and our friends have all weathered some really rough waters. I think the past 5 or so years have just been hard on people in my life in general. I am happy about where we are now. I am proud of all we have worked through. I see so many people give up, we were close. I can’t even express how glad I am that we didn’t quit. All of these trials have made us stronger, closer.
I have done some really awful things in this life of mine. I have hurt people. I have felt like I deserved the bad things that happened to me since I have gotten sober. I felt like it made sense that people were mean to me and treated me unfairly. What happened to me this last week, I didn’t even come close to thinking I deserved it. I recognized Satan’s attack immediately. One of my husband’s family members decided to attack me with deception and manipulation. It was shocking and hurtful. I wanted to be angry, but I saw the desperation and sadness in these people. What do I do? How do I fix it? I can’t. I had to give it to God and move forward.
God placed me in the right church to hear the perfect sermon at the perfect time. My favorite part was, ‘God will not keep you from conflict but he can grow you through it.’ There were so many great ideas and verses presented on this topic. The Bible is full of how to handle conflict, because, I think, sin has created so much conflict. It is everywhere, how we choose to handle it is what really defines us. I used to fight back, hurt more than I was hurt, desire to win.
“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” – Max Lucado
I think asking yourself, why is huge. What is your motive? What do you want to gain? Who are you gaining for, yourself or Christ’s kingdom? The world is watching, are you speaking truth in love as Jesus taught?
All this being said, learning how to grow through conflict is what will reduce your stress and strengthen your relationships. I think that the self reflection that is mandatory in recovery has been been beneficial in growing in maturity. I don’t think you have to be sober to grow in this self reflection though.