Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

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on September 2, 2014

Four years ago today, I woke up and took the first step toward one of the most significant journeys of my life – the journey toward recovery.  Four years ago today, September 1, 2010 – I decided to stop digging my own dark pit of misery and begin the climb upward and outward.  Four years ago today, I become willing to understand and accept the disease of alcoholism and the fact that it had its ugly grips on me.  Four years ago today, I had NO idea what God had in store for my life, because I didn’t know God.

Four years.  Approximately 1,460 days ago.  When I look back at where I was on that day compared to where I stand today…right now… I am absolutely in AWE of my Creator.

Let me say that again.  I am in AWE of my CREATOR.

I reiterate that Truth because there are a lot of people who want to pat me on the back for 4 years of sobriety.  There are many well-intentioned people who want to tell me that I am a strong woman for all I have endured.  And while I will agree with them that today, I posses a strength that I never have before, I will absolutely NOT accept the credit.  The strength that I have today, comes from a source so much more powerful than I could ever dream to be.

Some might say, “Now Dawn, give yourself some credit.  You did the work.  God didn’t get you sober – you did.”  And I would disagree.  Every single time.  And here’s why.  Let me tell you a little story.

On June 15, 2010, Dawn made a decision to stop drinking.  Dawn put down the bottle to appease all those around her who were worried about her.  Dawn complied with some suggestions, and changed the ACTION of picking up a drink. Dawn felt pretty amazed that she had the sheer willpower to stop drinking.  Dawn felt on top of the world and patted her own back nearly every day for such an amazing accomplishment as putting down alcohol.  Dawn began to feel she deserved praise and attention for her accomplishment.  Dawn began to try to save the rest of the alcoholics around her because she had this sobriety thing figured out!  63 days into this “sobriety”, Dawn drank again.  Why?  Because she was relying on herselfher own strength.  And her strength ran out.

Yep, that is my story.  My initial sobriety date was June 15, 2010.  For 63 days, I didn’t pick up a drink.  That is the only thing I changed.  I didn’t change my attitudes or my behaviors underneath the “drink”.  I didn’t lean on God’s strength, because I had enough strength of my own – or so I thought.  I felt invincible after I stopped drinking for like a minute.  After all, this was an accomplishment of a life time – an alcoholic who stopped drinking, all on her own!

And this was to my demise!  It wasn’t about putting down the drink.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that my recovery has very little to do with me.  I would be so bold as to claim that the ONLY reason I am sober today, the ONLY reason that I am standing on THIS side of 4 years of recovery, is because God said so.

I believe I was CALLED into recovery.  I don’t believe it was by my own choice that I put down the bottle.  And I definitely don’t believe it was on my own power that I was able to stay sober, either.  I believe that God chose me to recover, at this time and in this place, because He has a purpose far greater.  I believe that my recovery is just a small part of HIS much BIGGER plan.  Why do I feel this way?  Because, it is written in His Word.  God SAVED me.  Why?? Because He loves me.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

The problem some people may have with this thinking, might be something similar to the issue I had at the beginning.  He loves us ALL, so why are there people out there who are still suffering?  Why doesn’t He “reach down from on high” and draw everyone out of their “deep waters”?  I wish I had an answer for that.  All I can say is that I know His ways are higher than mine, and He has a plan for each one of our lives.  I know that He is God, and I am not.  I know that He decides where, He decides how, He decides WHEN it is time for our suffering to end.  I know that He strengthens us in the midst of trial.  I know that suffering builds perseverance to keep fighting the good fight.  These are things I have learned, and I am always seeking to learn more.  God is God.  I can’t speak to WHY He does anything, other than out of His GREAT love.  I know that I, for one, had to go through every single moment of self-inflicted pain and misery before I welcomed the love of the Creator into my heart and my life.  So, perhaps it isn’t always God who is “holding back” on the saving…. perhaps it is WE who hold back on the asking.

At any rate, I am eternally grateful for the new life I lead today.  Eternally grateful that it was my time to heal, to be called into recovery.  So grateful I heard the call, and responded.  So incredibly grateful that I recognize that my sobriety – like every facet of my life today – is in God’s hands.  All I have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, and follow HIM.

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