My Recovery Reinforcement

A well known blogger, Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce, died by suicide last week. She was 47 and last posted on April 6, 2023 at 18 months sober. I had no idea who she was until yesterday when I saw an article about her death and my heart just sank. Alcoholism and depression go hand in hand and it’s so sad she was one of those that didn’t make it. Most don’t, actually. That’s just a fact. A very sad fact. Which is why we in the recovery world call each other miracles. It’s a miracle I’m still here and I have so much to say about that but today, I want to share something else.

Oh man, I’m already crying. Pull it together, Holly.

I told my bestie the other morning that I had this insane (albeit fleeting) idea that maybe I should drink so that I could experience the “gift of desperation” that so many people get when they want so badly to quit drinking but can’t stop. The feeling of “I’ll do whatever it takes to get and stay sober” feeling. When my first sponsor asking me over 11 years ago if I was willing to do whatever it took to quit drinking, I said yes and that was a flat out lie. I didn’t want to quit drinking. Everyone else wanted me to, but not me.

Never mind the second DUI, the numerous crashed cars, the hangovers, the bloating, the bruising, the incomprehensible demoralization, the list goes on – I did NOT want to stop. And I didn’t. I did relapse a handful of times and the only reason why it wasn’t more was because I got pregnant.

For a long time I said that my firstborn daughter was my “reward” for getting sober. However, after confessing my most random, why would I even think it thought of drinking to my friend, she revealed the real truth: my baby was a gift.

Not a reward.

A gift.

Not of desperation.

Of grace.

God’s grace bestowed upon me for absolutely nothing. I didn’t deserve or earn her. God knew I wouldn’t stop drinking so he graciously gave me A1 and spared me more self-sabotage. I would and should have suffered more for my drinking, even though I had suffered so much already. My piss poor attitude towards sobriety and my whole family for forcing me into it was unacceptable. At one point, my dad said I was dying and in my head, I rolled my eyes and thought, “uh, okay, that’s a bit extreme. I’m not at death’s door.”

But truth be told, he was right. Physically, I was slowly dying but inwardly, I was dead inside. I was drinking because I was depressed, and I was depressed because I was drinking. It was a never-ending vicious cycle.

One that I would continue for many years without a drink.





My Reflections – Part 2

Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know Him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring. – Hosea 6:3 NLT

Okay, so first things first, let’s address the bipolar diagnosis because I have decided I don’t really want to dive into the specific details of what led up to it. The bottom line is, I have been using drugs and alcohol for most of my adult life and those things drastically alter anyone’s brain chemistry. At the time of my diagnosis in the fall of 2020, I was taking an antidepressant, smoking lots of weed and macro-dosing magic mushrooms. I wasn’t going on full on trips but I definitely was having some intense thoughts and displaying very manic behavior.

What happened after that was I was taken off my antidepressant and put on a different one, along with a mood stabilizer AND Chantix to help me quit smoking cigarettes. I wasn’t advised to ween off my previous antidepressant and things got very very dark.

Since today is April 27. I WAS going to post my journal entry from the same exact date from 2021 but then I decided to look back at the beginning of the year. I found a pivotal moment in my story that needs to be shared. So here is my journal entry from January 24, 2021; 3 months after my medication change under the care of a doctor who I discovered was NOT a psychiatrist. I take responsibility for not doing my due diligence when I chose her. BUT, it was all meant to be because I had to go through what I did to know what I know today.

January 24, 2021

“Remain in me, dear child and I will make your path straight.” That is what I heard just now as I re-read today’s devosh [short for devotional]. Grace. God’s grace is upon me – I stand at a turning point. I hope, I pray. Today, the demons in my head really wanted me dead. That’s the first time I have ever said that, let alone thought it. I also said out loud, yesterday, to myself & God “I don’t want to live anymore.” Strangest thing cuz I have never thought that in my life! Ever! As soon as I said it, I then said “what? no…where did that come from?” So weird. K told me I shouldn’t be taking the Wellbutrin with Chantix. The f***? Why is my doc prescribing this then? I need to get this sorted out because the way I feel is unacceptable. I cannot and will not live like this. God help me!”

As I continue to read my journal entries during my depression, I’m being called to keep sharing them.

So I will.

I might share them in their entirety, or I might leave some things out. I don’t know.

But here is what I do know:

More will be revealed.

My Reflections – Part 1

This blog has always been a back and forth between the past and present (for the most part) and it’s now time to go into the past for a while and I’m kind of stuck on how I will go about it. There are key things I want/need to share when it comes to the “what it was like” and “what happened” of my story but I’ve waited so long to do it, I’m struggling with how I will structure it.

At the beginning of the year, I told myself I would post twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. Have I been consistent? Nope! But is it ever too late to start? Nope! I published one on Monday this week and I’m due to post tomorrow. And as of 6pm this evening, I had no idea where I was going to start.

Then the idea came to me:

“I know, I’ll go look back into my journal on today’s date in 2021 and see where I was 2 years ago today, April 5, 2021. Ooh, mayyyybeee even share what I wrote. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do!”

It’s not exactly where I was planning on starting but after reading what I wrote, I’ve decided to do exactly that. Remember what I said about my plans vs. God’s plans?

April 5, 2021

Of course, it’s been days, maybe 2 weeks, since I wrote last. This seems to be a pattern. I have a ton of incomplete journals. I have always gone in phases. I bet it correlates with my bipolar. Right now, I think I might be manic. OR the Holy Spirit has taken over…which, I have prayed for again and again. Praise the Lord! I came to change my clothes but just wanted to update.

Everything is so so good. I am enjoying my girls today…last night was another story. Wow. But, I did handle it well, thanks to prayer and some weed. I quit again and even changed my date to be the same date [as my alcohol free date], just a different year. But I’ve already relapsed [couldn’t even make it a week] so I’ll try quitting again when I run out or it makes me depressed. It most certainly can and if I do get depressed, then for reals for reals, I’m quitting. Not worth depression to keep smoking. Screw that!

Thank you, Lord, for coming to my rescue once again. Show me your ways. I want to embody your love.

I mentioned a couple things in my first post this year, My Rationalization, and also did in the above journal entry.

Bipolar and weed.

I now know exactly how I shall proceed.


Skeletons 3.10 – My Recovery Resistance

“I can trust that God is part of every detail of my life today. I can either be peaceful about what happens or be resistant and miss my opportunity to contribute.” – Karen Casey, A Woman’s Spirit, April 3.

I have been in and out of AA for 11 years. I have had 4 sponsors and have never truly completed the 12 steps. Why? I could give you a comprehensive list of very logical “reasons” but at the end of the day, what it really boils down to is 3 excuses:

  1. I wanted to keep smoking weed and AA is against that.
  2. I didn’t really want to do the 12 steps as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (BB).
  3. Should I ever be asked to sponsor anyone, I didn’t want to condone the “God of your own understanding” as one’s Higher Power when I serve and have been called to bear witness to the one, true, living God, Jesus Christ.

You know what? I can’t leave out a big one and it’s that I am insecure in my sharing in meetings. I could go on and on dissecting why that is but honestly, I don’t want to. Bottom line?

Perfectionism, self-obsession, ego and pride. Those are the drivers that have held me back from sharing in AA. And guess what, from what I hear, if I do the 12 steps as suggested, those things will slip away. So what the heck have I been waiting for?

Desperation. That’s what. I needed to get desperate.

Growing up, my dad would always say “persistence wears down resistance. Always has. Always will.”

God has a way of getting my attention when I’m not living in His will. Back when I was drinking, He gave me LOTS of opportunities to get sober and I didn’t heed His still small voice. I got sober from alcohol but I didn’t get emotionally sober, nor did I stay clean and sober after I started smoking pot after 1 year 3 months of sobriety.

He patiently persisted and pursued me for another 9 years and then His still small voice got louder and louder.

I willfully disobeyed His gentle instructions, and I suffered the consequences.

And now it’s time to tell you about it.

Ugh, I really don’t want to.

But I will.


Skeletons 3.9 – My Relinquishing

“Who cares to admit complete defeat? Practically no one, of course.” Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, pg. 21.

Step One is this:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

I didn’t know it then but March 29, 2012, I took my last drink. I had just been caught drinking and the fear of what might happen if I didn’t get away with it the next time filled me with fear.

Here’s how it went down:

I had a few hours before H was going to be home from work and I wanted to drink. I told myself “Okay. This is it. I’m going to prove that I am not an alcoholic by having ONE drink and that’s it. If I can have ONE drink and not go back for more, then I am good.”

My license was suspended (you know why!) so I walked up to the liquor store and purchased ONE mini bottle of vodka and some pineapple juice. ONE cocktail. A double shot, but still…just ONE drink. That’s all I needed to satiate the craving and prove to myself (and everyone else) that I was not an alcoholic.

The anticipation leading up to the drink alone was exhilarating. I hustled home and it was down the hatch. I immediately wanted more and looked at the clock. Did I have time to get more, drink it and sober up before H got home? Nope! But I was going to do it anyway.

Of course, I couldn’t return to the same liquor store; they might think I had a problem. So I walked to the grocery store and purchased a small box of wine. I might have purchased 2. I’m not sure. But I only got through about half of one box before H got home. I had already hidden them under the sink in the kitchen and the plan was to sip on them the rest of the night, hoping he wouldn’t smell it on me.

HA! That’ funny.

Him: Have you have been drinking?

Me: No.

Him: Yes you have.

Me: No, I haven’t.

Him: Swear?

Me: Yes.

Him: I don’t believe you.

Me: Well, I haven’t.

Him: Okay, let’s go down to your car and you can blow into your breathalyzer.

Me (in my head:) You’re f****d.

Me: Okay, let’s go.


Him: (sigh) Never mind.

He left the room and went to take a shower. I ran to the sink and went to drink more to get rid of it but decided to pour it down the sink instead. I don’t think I had EVER thrown out booze. I ALWAYS finished what was left.

Even though I knew I had clearly failed my little test, I still wasn’t going to accept my alcoholism. There was no way I was going to admit complete defeat or that I was powerless over alcohol. My life being unmanageable? Whatever that meant, not me! Taking on the label of an alcoholic? Nope. Wasn’t going to happen.

But for the time being, I was giving up my right to drink. Then once I had “paid the piper” and gotten everyone off my back, I would go back to drinking.

That was MY plan.

But God had a different one.


My Rationalization

I am finally ready to start blogging again. I have wanted to return to it for a long time but I had to go through some stuff and I simply wasn’t capable. I’ll tell you ALL about it. For now, I need to clean out my drafts folder. I started this post with just a title: My Rationalization. That’s it. I never finished it. I’m not sure what I WAS planning on writing back when I started this post in 2020. What I can tell you was that I was macro dosing magic mushrooms, smoking lots of marijuana and getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder. What followed after that started my decline to another series of rock bottoms before I decided to surrender once and for all. But before I tell you the what it was like, what happened and what it is like now, let’s do a little bullet point refresher of what you can go back to read by clicking on my story, if you so desire:

  • I started this blog in the fall of 2017 to come out of the closet as a person in recovery from alcohol who still smoked marijuana and was very proud of it. I was sick of lying about it and wanted to live my most authentic self, whether you liked it or not.
  • I didn’t reveal that information for a while, going back and forth between talking about the past in my drinking career and present circumstances as a wife and mom of two young daughters just trying to survive life with untreated alcoholism and addiction (even though I was convinced I was treating my issues just fine.)
  • Not only that, I wanted to expose the offenders in my life – using lots of foul language with intentions of hurting them and making them feel small, should they ever find their way to my blog. I have since edited and removed posts because that is not the person I am today and I have ended up forgiving all of them (and myself.)
  • I blogged very inconsistently until 2020, 4 times in 2021 and 1 time in 2022. Just. one.time.
  • I encourage you to go back and read the last few posts, starting with My Recovery Restored. Seriously…go and read those last 7 posts and then keep an eye out for the next post on Monday, February 13.

Before I end this, I need to circle back to “My Rationalization.” What’s that all about anyway? Let’s look at the definition:

The action of attempting to explain or justify behavior or an attitude with logical reasons, even if these are not appropriate.

It’s a defense mechanism of the ego and I have been no stranger to this tactic of deceiving myself while trying to deceive others in the process. Justifying and blaming to protect my ego and not “get in trouble.” It may sound like it makes sense when doing it but at the end of the day, it’s a lie.

I don’t want to get to ahead of myself here because I have a lot to tell you but I’ll tell you this since it fits within the context of this post:

I am currently on step 4 where I take personal inventory of MY wrongs when it comes to my resentments towards others. And the running themes are…

…drum roll pleeeeeaaaaasssse…

Dishonesty and selfishness.


God Shots #2

I have been wanting to tell this story for a long time but I haven’t been in my right mind for 13 months (more on THAT in future posts, stay tuned!) What I’m about to tell you actually took place almost 2 years ago but I was waiting for the perfect time to share it and you know what I realized? There is no perfect time for anything when I am in my will. Perfect timing is God’s timing and the Holy Spirit is telling me NOW is the time. So here we go!

It was July, 2020 and our world was being attacked by COVID-19; and I was also being attacked spiritually. I mean, we were quarantined – no doubt I wasn’t the only one. For me, I was struggling with my anger & patience issues with my daughters and once again, questioning my cannabis use; which always means I have gone astray in my faith.

So I decided to quit cannabis AND sugar at the same time. My friend suggest a book called “The 40 Day Sugar Fast” written by Wendy Speake, so I bought it and dived WAY in immediately. On Day 4, another friend in AA suggested I join an online speaker meeting that she said, and I quote, “this woman’s story is going to change your life!” Funny because my friend who suggested the sugar fast said the same thing. Coincidence? Nope. Keep reading.

So I went to the meeting and was sobbing by the end of it. I wanted to smoke so bad and so I did, I broke my cannabis fast. It was all or nothing for me. I wanted to keep smoking but not if God didn’t want me to. I wanted to continue using cannabis but not if it was going to get in the way of my usefulness for Him. I went to bed crying and praying…begging…for God to take the desire to smoke away or allow me to use it responsibly. Begging Him to help me show up as a better mom to my daughters during such fragile, formative years. And wouldn’t you know…

…I literally woke up feeling totally different. Like, a massive weight had been lifted. My entire attitude and outlook on life had changed and so had my behaviors towards my girls, literally overnight. That same evening, the 3 of us were drawing on the living room floor, listening to a meditation music station on Alexa. Second song into the playlist, I say, “this song is beautiful, I wonder what it’s called…Alexa…what’s the name of this song?”

” The name of this song is “Children” by….”

We continue drawing and the next song plays and I love that one too, so I ask Alexa again what the name of the song is.

“The name of this song is “A New Beginning” by…..”

My jaw drops. I’m like “uhhh, hello God!” We keep drawing. 3rd song starts playing.

“Alexa, what’s the name of this song?”

“The name of this song is “With Utmost Calm by…”

And there it was. Confirmation. God heard my prayers the night before. There was no doubt in my mind.

Not only did God hear my prayers, He listened.

Not only did He listen, He answered.

I had woken up that day feeling like a new woman and went to bed that night a new mom for my girls.

Coincidence? Luck? Serendipitous?

Not in God’s kingdom.

That was a God Shot.

I can’t make this “shtuff” up!


P.S. I DID complete the “The 40 Day Sugar Fast” book with a few cheat treats and still, the book totally changed my life. My friend was right. Of course she was. God had brought her back into my life for a reason. Lots of reasons, as it turns out. I can’t help it, I gotta say it again…


God Shot #1

What is a “God Shot?” A God Shot is when something happens in our lives that results in an unexpected blessing or lesson learned; one that can only be defined as “divine intervention” or a “divine appointment.” These experiences can be described as ordained coincidences, messages from others or sometimes an intuitive thought that had a great impact on us.

I have experienced many of these in the past 3 years ( I talk about one of them in the post before this one) and I’m going to attempt to recall them for you as I continue my recovery journey transparently on this blog. So, from here on out, I’ll be sprinkling my God Shot stories in with my recovery story that keeps changing. Before I share one that happened this past week, I shall go back in history to set up the story:

It was the year 1998 and I was being pursued by a guy I worked with.  He wasn’t really my type but he had a charm and charisma about him that made him attractive.  He also had a girlfriend who just so happened to be a girl I was friends with briefly before she transferred schools a few years before.  She was absolutely gorgeous and I didn’t understand why he would want to be with me and not her. He told me over and over that they had broken up, that she was a psycho ex-girlfriend and I believed him.  I believed every single one of his lies for the next 4 years until I finally broke up with him, knowing he already had another girl on the back burner, just as the same ex-girlfriend had done with him.

Fast forward 23 years later and this same ex-girlfriend (HR) randomly popped into my dreams.  A couple days later, a friend mentioned her colleague who had the same name in a conversation and I instantly remembered HR in my dream and felt a strong urge to send her a message.  I had looked her up before back when our shared ex-boyfriend had been contacting me but I couldn’t find her. However, this time, I did.  I sent her a message, apologizing for “stepping on her toes” way back when.  I wanted her to know, that even though I was sure she was just as happy as I was to not have ended up with him, I still felt bad for what I did and that I was sorry.  And she responded.  What happened next is the God Shot.

We started chatting and at one point HR says “I feel like we would have been friends had f*** face not been in the picture.” That’s when I ran upstairs to my 8th grade year book and sent her pictures of our middle school cheer squad that we were on together.  I told her “we WERE friends” and reminded her that she had left a note for me at the school office, saying goodbye, as she was transferring to the middle school across the street.  She then proceeds to tell me that just that morning, her daughter (who now goes to the same school we went to) asked to see HR’s yearbook because she didn’t believe that her mom went to the same school. Literally the same exact morning that her daughter asked to see proof, I popped into her message box and gave her hard evidence that indeed she did attend the same school as her daughter.

Most people would just look at this story as a coincidence.  But when you walk in blind faith, you know that there are no coincidences.  I was supposed to reach out to HR; and not just because she needed to proof for her daughter. It’s because God knew we were sister’s in Christ and that we needed to be friends. And now, we are.  We don’t know exactly why yet, but I’m excited to find out.


Skeletons 3.7: My Reactiveness – Part 2

**This was originally published October of 2020. I haven’t written a new post since this one and I’m ready to “get back at it!” But before I do, I want to share this one again.**

It was a long hug; with a stranger whom less than an hour prior, I was cursing at.

When we broke our embrace, she looked at me and said again, “just pray sweetie, God will give you peace.”

My car had been towed the night before and I had acted a fool towards the people at the tow lots. When I got to work, the thought came to me “you need to go back to that first lot and make amends.” And that’s what I did. I also was inspired to visit the second lot as well and thankfully, the woman from earlier was still there. She greeted me with a huge smile.

Her: What are you doing back here?

Me: Well, I really felt bad for my behavior this morning so I wanted to come and bring you gift.

I handed her a voucher to come to my skin care studio. She was shocked…and so was I. I couldn’t believe what I was doing. Then I asked her if she was a Christian and she said she was and that she goes to a church less than 5 minutes from my house. She invited me and I attended once. A week later, the pastor had a stroke and then a week after that, our country shut down.

THAT, my friends, is what I consider a “God Shot.” No, I didn’t make that up. It’s a term I learned in “the rooms;” and I’ve experienced A LOT ever since that day.

But before I get to the best part, I need to finish telling you what it was like before I experienced, what I can confidently say, was the day I woke up a brand new person.

March 13, 2020 – we got the official word that my husband had been predicting for weeks: schools were closing. And I welcomed it. My husband is self-employed and I work part time, so we were were actually kind of excited at the idea of all the family bonding time and getting projects done. No schedules, no lunches to be made, no lines to wait in for drop off and pick up; it was a “break” that I deemed a blessing in the midst of tremendous uncertainty.

It was great. For about a month. Next thing I knew, feelings of depression and anger started setting in. Like many parents, I was starting to lose my mind. I found myself fighting those episodes of rage that had finally stopped and I was crying. Every. Single. Day. I was overindulging on sugar and self-medicating in excess with marijuana. I was spiraling and felt out of control with my emotions once again.

Something had to change. At this point, I knew that my girls were not returning back to school any time soon and my new facial business that I had JUST opened in January was going to remain closed for an undetermined amount of time. Once again, I felt lost and defeated.

R2 had told me about this 40 Day sugar fast she was doing alongside a book that is meant to transform your spirituality and relationship with Christ. It had already been put on my heart that maybe my over-indulgence in sugar was affecting my brain, so I took this as a sign that I needed to fast and read the book too.

I started the book on Tuesday, May 26th.

On May 29th, I cried out to God to help me.

I begged.

I pleaded.

I surrendered.

And on May 30th, the Holy Spirit took over and things haven’t been the same since.


Skeletons 3.6: My Reactiveness -Part 1

**This was originally published in September, 2020**

I started this post about a year ago and the time has come to finish it.

I think I have a legit anger problem.  At 7+ years sober, I only just recently figured this out about myself a couple weeks ago.

H had pissed me off about something that, of course, I can’t remember now.  I was (and still am) trying to quit smoking cigarettes. So naturally, my go to when I am mad at him is to rebel. I went, bought a pack, took them home and puffed 2 down in a matter of 10 minutes (or less!)

I felt guilty after and it hit me right then and there: wow, anger is a major trigger for me.

Just like I did when I drank.  I drank AT people, places and things.

I have now been sober from alcohol for 8.5 years.  Exactly 102.06 months, 3,106 days and 74,549 hours.

And guess what?!? 15 days ago, I hit 2 years clean from Adderall.

Both of those are miracles but I’ve got even a better one that I cannot wait to tell you about.

Up until 4 months ago, I was still struggling with my anger management.  While I was no longer experiencing episodes of rage, I was still allowing my emotions to get the best of me; leaving me filled with tremendous guilt, shame, and remorse.

Earlier this year, we had house guests for the whole month of February.  Towards the end of their stay, I was ready for things to “go back to normal” and wasn’t coping very well.  My husband had been following the virus infiltrating our country and preparing our home for the impending lockdowns; and like many Americans in the early days, I didn’t truly understand the severity of what we were facing and that ” going back to normal” was never going to happen.

One week left in February and my car was towed from outside my house.  I was enraged.  The next morning, upon arriving at the tow lot, I saw that the gate was open.  So instead of going into the office to pay for the release of my car, I decided I would just walk on the lot and take it.

Adrenaline had taken over and aint’ nobody was going to stop me.  I was immediately approached by a man who told me I wasn’t allowed in there and I walked right past him and told him I was just getting my wallet – which – was a lie.  I was literally going to steal my own car.  

Long story short, I shared some choice words with the manager and then immediately fell apart into a puddle of tears.  And guess what? My car wasn’t there.  It was at their other lot.  When we got to the other lot, I was met with what looked like an intercom.  I could hear the woman inside dealing with another customer as I pushed the button.

No answer.

I push it again.

No answer. 

My husband suggests that maybe the other lot had called and warned them that I was coming, which incensed me even more.  So I started pushing the button non stop. The woman finally responds out the door “I’m with a customer, I’ll be with you soon” and how did I respond?


Her: “Don’t you talk to me like that! Just for that, you’re gonna sit out there longer!”

I was already crying and now I’m sitting on the curb, in the fetal position, balling, as my family watched from the car.  “Longer” was just a couple minutes and then I was let in.  I apologized for cussing at her and she nearly cut me off and said “do not use that language again” or something to that effect, to which I replied “I just apologized.” 

I went on to explain that the reason I was so upset was because the last time I had my car towed was because I had been arrested for my second DUI and now 9 years later, it’s being towed from outside my house because of my service to another; never mind that I was breaking rules I never took the time to learn.  The woman seemed cold – she couldn’t care less.  I wanted her to join my pity party and she was declining my invite.

When we went to retrieve my wallet, I apologized again and she acknowledged that the button I pushed over and over looks like an intercom, so she understood why I felt like I was being ignored. 

But I still couldn’t really get myself together.  I was on the verge of tears the entire time.  When departing in the lot, I don’t remember what I said to her as I let the tears start rolling down my face again.  But I do remember what she said,

“It’s going to be okay. Just pray.”

My heart burst open.  I said “I love Jesus and I do pray.” 

And then we hugged.