Don’t Look At Me That Way

adult alone anxious black and white

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2

“I quit drinking.”

I just know what is coming next. The person to whom I am speaking drops their shoulders, tilts their chin, leans in closer while shaking their head and says, “I am so sorry, I had no idea that you had a problem.”

Wait, WHAT? I am proud of the fact that I quit drinking. I lost 20 lbs, my clothes fit better and my complexion is clearer. I have more energy, I’m sleeping better and I’m 10x more productive. My head isn’t cloudy, my memory has drastically improved and I am an all around a much happier and healthier person and if you put all these things together, I am a stronger, more confident, better educated, champion in life. I’m not sorry, I’m so excited for all the great benefits that have resulted from this decision that I can’t wait to share it with people!

I do have to give credit to some a select few who do know me and have responded with “Good for you” or “I’m proud of you”, but most often I hear the follow up comment as, “I could never do that!” Yet I’m the one gets sympathy?

Just for kicks, what if we changed the conversation over to, “I quit smoking, I stopped gambling or reigned my dead-end job? What if I gave up carbs, cut back on social media, am avoiding refined sugar or I decide to join Weight Watchers?” Regardless of how bad my problem was in these areas I would likely hear, “Good for you”, “That’s awesome”, or, “I should [fill in the blank].”

Is there a difference?  Yes, stigma!

If you Google “Drinking capital of the US“, the top search will bring you to a 2018 article from USA Today that lists the top 20 drunkest cities and my great state of Wisconsin holds 10 out of the 20 cities listed. Not that my geography has anything to do with my choice to consume or not consume alcohol, but I live smack dab in the middle of the #1 and #3 ranked “drunkest” cities; Green Bay and Appleton. This means that by mere per capita, most everyone that I am sharing this news with probably has an alcohol problem too, but they, within their own state of denial, are extending pity on me? I think it goes without say, but we need to feel sad for them.

It’s been 110-ish days since I personally and consciously made the decision to refrain from drinking alcohol, yet I find myself having “the conversation” and proceed to deny that I have had even a hint of a problem; primarily out of fear, shame or risk of being labeled as an alcoholic – or worse – getting that sympathetic reaction from people.

This reaction that makes me feel ashamed and weak as if I’m an outcast and the local weirdo.

We need to get the word out that people who quit drinking are not victims, sufferers and not everyone who quits drinking has hit some rock bottom that they picked themselves up from. Instead, I would rank them among societies hero’s, conquerors and dedicated over-comers because they have unbelievable will-power, are surrounded by a huge support system and, like me, are empowered to live a better quality of life and are able to see life in vivid technicolor unhindered.

1 Thessalonians 5:6-11, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. for those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

I also found this Tedx Talk by Clara Pooly and she does a great job of articulating this. We have similar stories and share the same opinion, I encourage you to check it out.

To all my fellow non-drinkers out there. Keep fighting the good fight. Our lives are better for it and next time someone shakes their head and asks surprised that they didn’t know you had a problem, do a better job of standing tall. I have some work to do.

40 Days With A Purpose


It was 2002 that I picked up Rick Warren’s nationwide best seller, “The Purpose Driven Life.” At that point in my life, my husband and two daughters had just moved to Appleton, Wisconsin and I found myself with no friends, a business that felt like pushing a snowball uphill and overwhelming grief over the life we left behind in Milwaukee. Simply put, I was depressed. One day I found myself aimlessly wandering through the isles of the neighborhood bookstore when the subtitle of Mr. Warren’s book literally jumped off the shelf, “What on earth am I here for?”  Which was the exact question I was asking myself, “Why on earth am I in Appleton, Wisconsin?”

I later found that the book was about why God put me on this earth and what his purpose was for my life – which did ultimately lead me to a surrendered life in Jesus Christ – but, I believe it was no coincidence that I found this book and because of it, I gained friends, found a church and re-prioritized my life.

As you read the first few pages, the book explains that it was written to be a 40-day journey and parallels that with the statement, “Whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purposes, he took 40 days.” Noah had 40 days of rain, Moses transformed by 40 days on Mt. Sinai, the spies had 40 days in the promise land. David and Goliath’s 40-day challenge, Elijah, Jonah in Nineveh, Jesus in the wilderness and 40 days on earth in his resurrected body. 40 days (biblically) is a really big deal!

Well, I have been sober 45 days and there is no doubt that God is doing some wonderful things in my life. As I shared in a previous blog, I have been an avid YouTube watcher, looking for any and all topics that educate, inspire and explain why I don’t need alcohol or shouldn’t touch the stuff. I have benefited from having more energy, better sleep and a crisp clear mind. I’m down 12lbs, gained an amazing circle of support, am cherishing the quality of time that I am getting with my husband and daughters and have a renewed vigor about life, goals and my future. [If you are following me, I recorded at my 30 day milestone that I applied for a master’s in counseling program and I found out (on my 40th day of living sober) that I have been accepted.  Wahoo!!!!]

All this to say, 40 days truly can change your life. However, I do not want to give someone false hope though. What makes 40 days truly magical, is how closely you cling to God.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4

I want to share one particular story that will forever be imprinted on my heart because God showed up when I needed him most. My life long girlfriend was coming to town and a few weeks prior she asked if I wanted to go golfing. I was within my first two weeks of not drinking and this particular friend is my most fun drinking buddy. When we are together, we are fun! I wanted to decline, but I mustered up the strength to say yes; believing that a true friend would accept and respect my decision. Well, that’s only one side of it. The other side is that it’s golf, and I golf better after I have had a few drinks and to be totally honest, it’s one of those activities that drinking is just part of why I like to golf. This temptation is beyond what I imagined I would be able to bear.

For weeks I was anxious over this and I almost cancelled numerous times, but I really missed my friend and wanted to spend time with her. When the day finally came, I threw myself into my bible and lamented in prayer, “God help me, I do not have the strength to do this on my own.” Just as God is God, he met me right where I was at and brought me to Deuteronomy 30:11, “The command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach.

I cried like a baby, those were the EXACT words I needed (in addition the verses 12-20) and I persevered. It was hard, I’m not going to kid you, but I was empowered, by God, to golf without drinking. It remains my proudest milestone accomplishment to date.

So, I post this today to update my followers on my status, encourage those who are on a journey of their own and celebrate what God has done in just 45 days. My friend, Maggie, says, “I know God has performed miracles in my life, my entire life, but when you visibly see God move a mountain right in front of you, Whoa!” I can personally say that I have witnessed mountains move.

When God puts his finger on your sin or wants you to obey him in an area where your life doesn’t necessarily align with what his purpose is for you, buckle your seat belt because it’s going to be quiet a ride. Here’s to the next 40 days!


Tips For Sober Living


Let us examine our ways and test them,
    and let us return to the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:40

Last week I poured out my soul to you with a confession that I have made the decision to live sober. It was my “coming out” post to let the Godly Girlfriends community know that I have been moved, by God, to address my drinking problem. (Geez, that is still hard to own up to – Just sayin’!)

If there is one thing that I have learned in my first 30 days of sobriety, is that you can NOT do it alone. I tend to live my life as an open book, but this is deeply personal so putting this out there really takes vulnerability to a whole new level.

Today I would like to share a list of what has prevented me from giving in to all the temptations that I have encountered over the past month. My goal is to inspire others who are following my journey, looking for the courage and motivation to embark upon their own journey or for you to share with someone on a similar journey who could use some fresh ideas.

No matter what, please don’t judge me. I don’t have the perfect antidote, nobody does, but in these first 30 days, I have learned a lot about myself and this disease so I’m putting it out there. It’s what is working for me:

  1. Life Recovery Bible: I don’t know how anyone can do this without a Life Recovery Bible. It has given me daily biblical lessons that have put my addiction into perspective given me the strength to kick addiction off the pedestal of my life. In addition, I watch the Life Recovery Videos that compliment each step in the bible and the recovery system to further guide my thoughts and support my healing.
  2. Join a Celebrate Recovery Support Group: I can’t speak for AA because I haven’t been there, but I have known enough people in recovery (family members included) who have been successful in AA and have greatly benefited from that framework. I commend anyone who relies on their AA network of support. I have deliberately chosen a Celebrate Recovery (CR) Group because CR focuses on the healing power and sovereign grace of God; not my own manifestation of a higher power. Without having the one and only true God along side of me on this journey, I would not only be unsuccessful at overcoming addiction, but helpless to overcome all the proverbial curve balls that life throws my way.
  3. Countless YouTube Videos: I searched for every topic that I could think of and I listen constantly. In 30 days, I haven’t stumbled upon a repeat video yet. The messages, testimonies, education and knowledge that I have gleaned has given me answers that not only give me the assurance that I’m not alone, but this is possible. Some of the topics that I searched were Ted Talks about sobriety, detoxing, liver damage, sober stories, alcohol use disorder, overcoming cravings, signs of alcoholism, what is an alcoholic, functional alcoholics, women and alcohol, how to eliminate bloating, how to stay sober and what it means to be an alcoholic – to name a few.

    I owe the Life Recovery Bible, my Celebrate Recovery Group and the hosts of the numerous YouTube video’s credit for the remaining tips, but regardless of how I derived at them, they are working and I hope they work for you or someone you love too.

  4. Alcohol is poison: In my research on health, consequences of consuming alcohol and liver damage has given me enough ammunition to refuse to drink. You don’t have to go far to learn the negative repercussions of alcohol on the mind and body, but when you’re enjoying drinking why would you want to know you’re killing yourself? Making the psychologically shift from seeing alcohol a reward or a much deserved selfish indulgence to seeing it as something that will kill you can have a life altering impact.
  5. I want to feel: When you’re not putting yourself to bed and night with a bottle of wine and waking yourself up every morning with a pot of coffee, the world is beautiful in a new and fresh way. The sunset’s are breathtaking and the sunrise’s are indescribable. I love seeing the beauty in the world and appreciating all the moments that I now have to pause and appreciate them.
  6. I hate “Day One”. As much as my last 30 days have been consistent and without relapse, I have been motivated, many times, by the motivation to not have to start over. The thought of going back to day one after putting in this much work and adding another number to my sober days has helped me remain strong.
  7. Record Milestones. First holiday, first time golfing, first Friday night, first full weekend or whatever victory I am proud of achieving. I heard that it requires one year of “firsts” to fully appreciate the exhilarating feeling of being fully liberated from the triggers of alcohol. Also in the time frame of one year, you’ll have the time to create new experiences and build positive memories. As much as this is a “one day at a time” process, there truly is something inspiring of having a whole year of new beginnings. With each recorded milestone, my enthusiasm for a better future grows.
  8. Find new things to love. I love a hot cup of camomile tea before bed. I love reading a good book, working out and checking things off of my to-do list. When I used to come home from work and pour myself a glass of wine, that was putting an end to any productivity I planned to have for the night. I considered packing my gym bag without forgetting anything for the morning after workout was considered a successful night. I now appreciate the feelings of accomplishment, personal growth, good health and productivity. I especially love waking up in the morning with a clear, rested mind and energy! The sense of accomplishment I get from not drinking (again) the night before is exhilarating.
  9. Examine my motives. In one video I learned to ask myself “why I want a drink” each time I feel tempted. I remember pulling into my garage in week 1 and being inundated with thoughts of pouring myself a glass of wine as soon as I could get in the house. I caught myself and consciously asked “Why?” My list of reasons that I wanted a drink was weak; to say the least. From, “I just want one” to “I need to relax” to “It’s been a long day” or “It will help me sleep.” Once I deconstructed each reason for the root of why I really wanted a drink, I was able to disprove the reasons and redirect my desires toward healthier options. I learned I was drinking more out of habit, then for any true, rational or beneficial reason.
  10. Find an accountability partner(s). One of the first things that I was told early on is that I need an accountability partner. For me, this was my best friend. Someone whom I love and deeply respect too much to let down. She welcomed the opportunity to take on this tough-love assignment and she regularly sends check-in texts, unexpected daily reminders and sweet, sweet messages of encouragement and prayers that she is praying for me. With cheerleaders, advocates and non-judgemental safety nets that I have established, I seek their approval and affirmations and look forward to reporting my daily successes to them. I must add that my brother’s sobriety is motivating me. He may or may not, but I feel that he is relying on my strength and want to inspire him and show him that I am in the trenches with him. This feels like a bigger victory in that our family history is overtaken by this disease. Together, we can prevail!
  11. Make a Why List. Denial and justification for drinking is relentless and sneaks up at random and unexpected times. My mind swings from, “This is too easy” to “clearly I don’t have a problem.” That is until one of my triggers flare up and I start entertaining the idea that “just one won’t hurt.” I made a list of 10 reasons why I don’t drink which takes me back to the place that I was when I made this decision 30 days ago and the exact that I declared “enough is enough.” When I revisit that list I am reminded of the guilt, shame, regret and embarrassing memories or strong convictions that gave me the strength to stop. I don’t advocate for living in the past, but remembering where you’ve been and how far you have come is empowering. I’ll take that!
  12. Facebook Group: I searched and found “Slaying Sobriety” on Facebook. This group has over 6,000 women who have their own stories and I appreciate immediate responses with support, encouragement and connectivity to others who understand where I am at. I have encouraged others and they have encouraged me in my moments of weakness.
  13. A Lifestyle Choice. There is no denying the stigma of addiction, alcoholic and drunk. A clever marketer on YouTube suggested that we choose the label we want to bare, rather than hanging our head in defeat. After all, we may be alcoholics by genetics, mental health, past trauma or just fun people who took fun to far and for too long. Regardless, we don’t need society to make us outcasts. Instead, we choose sober living, living sober or life in recovery as a more positive representation of those of us who want better life and are making better choices for ourselves. Nobody criticizes a diabetic for taking insulin for their disease, why should we be ridiculed for ridding our lives of alcohol that makes us sick and will kill us.
  14. A Better Future. I often think about the years of drinking. I have been drinking more than 35 years. I get excited to imagine my next 35 years where I will have fewer regrets, more opportunities, better memories and more genuine friendships. As much as drinking is a societal norm, it is also derails our quality of life.
  15. A New Me. I’m having fun getting to know the new me, I really am. A girl who is full of life with a broader, more hope-filled vision for the future. Let’s be real, it’s not a great and wonderful experience… I’m making it one. There are moments that I do wish I could just take it or leave it, but I have had to get honest with myself and I have a track record of not winning in this area. I find myself dreaming again and imagining what more life holds. I am waiting to see if I get accepted into the Master’s of Counseling Program at Concordia University as we speak. I like the idea that it’s not to late to be what God created me to be.

Thank you for following my journey. Not only with alcohol, but in my walk of faith and continuous growth in knowing God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV





When God Steps In to Fix Your Problem

broken glass shadow wooden table

“Do not get drunk on wine because it will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)

Today marks 3 weeks – 21 days – since I made the decision to live sober. I’m going to have to make this a multi-entry blog over the next few weeks because what I have witnessed and experienced in just 3 weeks of sobriety is nothing short of amazing. I want my journey, learning’s, disciplines and new habits to encourage others. Are you with me?

The million dollar question is, “Why did I quit drinking?”  The short answer… God.

The long answer…

  • Years of bad decisions that have manifested themselves into deep shame and regret;
  • A daughter pointing out that the first thing I do when I get home from work is pour myself a glass of wine before I do anything else;
  • A rapidly decreasing memory and a constant fuzzy, cloudy brain;
  • Being a pants size too big for over the past year, feeling fat and unhealthy;
  • Feeling conscientious of smelling like or sweating alcohol at my morning workout;
  • Tired of trying to moderate or keep my drinking under control only to wake up the next day feeling sick and coming to the realization that “I did it again;”
  • Finding reasons or excuses to justify drinking;
  • A long history of watching alcohol destroy my family;
  • My youngest brother getting his 3rd OWI and visiting to him while he was in treatment;
  • Failing efforts to go a week, let alone a day, without a drink;
  • Being jealous of others who don’t drink and wishing I had that kind of will power;
  • Absolutely fed up with being a hypocrite.

I will unpack all of these in future posts.

For the purpose of this first edition of “Why I quit drinking and am choosing sober living” starts with God. He really is the reason that I declared my sentencing and finally put the gavel down. That day and everyday since He has affirmed me and given me the strength to do this. If you read the bible, you know that God has a lot to say about idols. Even if you don’t read the bible you probably know the 10 commandments and #1 is pretty clear, “Thou shall have no other God’s before me” (Exodus 20:3 NIV). When you have god (small g) that is in direct conflict with thee God, there is a clash of priorities which produces stress, unrest, bitter consequences and constant, relentless conviction. For me it was living with a continuous guilt that I was not acting or living according to God’s will for my life.

How do you recognize an idol? An idol is anything that you make more important than God and “it” can take on many identities. Those of us with addictive personalities, it is anything that we obsess about or allow, to give or have, power over us. I remember telling myself, “Instead of drinking tonight, I am going to read my bible” – which I meant and greatly desired. Yet, I would get home from work and feel like I really needed a glass of wine to relax or worse, pouring myself a glass of wine and then sitting down to read my bible. I would have no recollection of what I read and I would get easily distracted by Facebook or some other mindless activity which drained my ambition and would stonewall any plans that I would have for the night.

I am convinced that alcohol is a tool the devil uses to take our minds off of what is important. It becomes our idol because we seek gratification from it; Self gratification or pride being worst idol of all. Whenever you think you “deserve” something, that is a warning sign that you may be nudging God out.

Whenever we satisfy yourselves and seek pleasure of anything outside of God, that is another warning sign that we are prioritizing an idol. John 4:13, “Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I gave them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

I was thirsty again and again at the bottom of every bottle of wine and felt empty again and again every morning.

Here are some verses that God has used to convict me of late:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

“What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk” Isaiah 5:11 (NLT)

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3 (NIV)

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” 1 Peter 4:7 (NIV)

When these verses kept showing up more and more frequently I knew it was God putting his finger on something I needed to address. I know that drinking alcohol is not a sin by itself and I admire (and am jealous of) people who can enjoy a drink or two with self control. I guess my stop button is broken. I was falling into sin far to frequently, knowing full well that I was not acting or behaving in a way that would bring glory and honor to God; to whom I profess as Lord and the leader of my life.

I have listened to hundreds of testimonies over the past several weeks and I have found them to be very empowering. In recovery, it is strongly recommended that you don’t isolate yourself, not only for your own healing, but for the healing of others as well. This falls in line with the purpose and mission of Godly Girlfriends, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

This is me, leaning into my own healing and coming out of the dark. Please like this post if it encouraged you today and please share it with others who may benefit from this and future blogs on this subject so we can strengthen one another and stop the devil from ruining our lives and the lives of those we love and care about.