Greetings from México! As an alcoholic going to an all inclusive resort, where the alcohol flows like a fountain, I never thought this was something I could actually enjoy. I mean I knew I could go, I knew I could go and not drink, but could I do it without feeling sorry for myself?
Unlike many other trips I take, this one was my choice. Many of the business trips I accompany my husband on, I don't have a choice. On those trips, every single day, each event seems to be preceded by happy hour. They are usually at the most beautiful places you can imagine. A castle in St. Thomas, a beach in Aruba, the highest spot in Costa Rica to view a sunset and for this I would say, "Sorry! I can't drink, I'm not going???" Of course not! But yet many of those times, while a snowstorm raged at home, I chose to feel sorry for myself and be blinded to the beauty all around me. All because I could not have a glass of wine while I enjoyed the view.
So, I have found myself thinking about what real surrender is this week (again). It means I give up, I cannot do this anymore. You simply can't do things the way you have been: going on trips angry, resentful of others drinking, and feeling sorry for yourself. It doesn't mean you quit doing the things you love, you just have to learn how to do them differently.
Take vacations, for instance. My vacations used to consist of a haze of days running together. I was trying to keep my drinking under control so know one would know I had been drinking 24/7. Talk about pressure! There's a saying, it works until it doesn't and that's exactly what happened, it was no longer even remotely fun, it was actually a burden.
I was always wondering if there was a liquor store near the hotel, so I could keep a stash in our room because it was very complicated to drink at the hotel where they want to put everything on a tab to your room. I look at all the stress and drama that went along with this game I played for quite a few years and it was exhausting! So you CAN quit the way you were doing something and re-learn how to do it differently. You really have two options: stop doing a lot of good things in life because of the fact that there may be (in my case) alcohol all around or learn how to enjoy them without.
For example, this vacation is during my daughter's college spring break. She is gone at school most of the year, and I get to spend a week in this paradise with her and my daughter-in-law. Like I said, there is alcohol all around, but the trade off is this. I get to spend a week with two of my girls laughing, shopping, talking, enjoying the sun, and everything else that goes along with vacations together.
Everyday, every time I order my club soda with lime the waiter says "Tequila for Mama"? His eyebrows are raised playfully and he has made a game of this with me. Every time I say, "No, none for Mama" and he laughs and walks away. Just like that, it's not painful, I'm not angry with him. It's not his fault I am an alcoholic! I have learned to live in this moment, this life with all the gifts that God has given me and enjoy them to the fullest.
When I think of how many life experiences I have wasted and missed out on it really pains me. I can't do anything about them and I can't get them back so I choose to live right here today. In the moment, in the experience, and remember all of it the next morning.
If you're struggling with certain events, people, or places that are triggers for you, I would tell you this: before you go there, make a list and ask yourself, "What's the goal here? What do I hope to get out of it? What can I find gratitude in that I couldn't before?"
I will tell you my biggest one this week. I wake up in the morning and feel this pull to get up and get down to my chair on the deck. This chair is like a hammock and it overlooks the water. There is never anyone else there and it is so peaceful. I get my coffee and grab my journal and Bible and that is where I am, until my girls are ready to go for breakfast. It is blissful, it is beautiful.
The best part is how present I am with God. I feel an overwhelming joy to be here in this beautiful place with him. Rested, no headache, or churning stomach. Simply enjoying the beauty of his creation with him. It is a moment in time I did not know was even possible until I quit drinking. When I stopped letting addiction consume my life, I feel like God really took over and led me into this restoration. Isaiah 26:3 (MSG) says this, "People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole. Because they keep at it and don't quit."
I did set my mind on him. I reset myself every morning reminding myself of who I am in him. I am his child, he loves me and wants what's best for me. Why wouldn't we choose him? I don't know what took me so long, but this is where I am staying.
¡Hasta la próxima semana!
(See you next week!)