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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who am I and why am I writing this blog??

   This is what I am trying to discover, or rather, uncover.  Who is Jill?  Where is my authentic self?  How can I be "me" without fillers, preservatives or pretense?  It's about time I start the search, now that I am most likely at my life's halfway point. It's not that I've been living a lie, but I think we all do to a degree.  We all wear a mask or two at some period in our lives.  Not that it's a bad thing.  It is part of the process of finding ourselves and how we fit in the grand scheme.  It's only bad if we remain stuck under a big pile of our own debris.  I have been in the process of digging out of my debris.  Actually, more like giving my debris pile to God to use for his eternal building project.  He is reclaiming me.  Building something beautiful out of my junk.  I am finally willing to go where I've never gone before: fearlessly sorting thru my pile.  I'm jumping in with a big shovel and great determination.  Are you ready?  Let's get going.

     I am a small town girl, but I love the city too. I love wearing my boots and jeans.  I also love dressing up in heels and a sparkly dress! My name is Jill. I am definitely a creative spirit.  I love to paint, draw, sing, play music, collage, journal, write poetry, knit and watch Dr. Phil.   I am Mom to 2 beautiful daughters and I've been married to a wonderful man for 21 plus years. I truly have everything I wished for when I was a young girl.  The husband who is loyal and adores me for my beauty, charm and ability to multitask, 2 lovely and healthy daughters who are smart and focused and love God, and their parents, with all their hearts, a nice home, (should have wished harder for a live in maid!), a car, friends, a picket fence.  You get the picture.   Not to say we haven't had our share of struggles, most of which happened in the last few years and due, in large part, to my great love affair with alcohol.  Wine to be exact.  Only taken on occasion at first.  Slowly it crept into my daily activities.  He is a very cunning, charming dude, alcohol, especially dressed up in a beautiful wine bottle.  Facing this reality is where my search begins.

I never thought I could become a slave to something  I have never been one to admit I had a problem with anything.  Love to help you with yours.  But ask for help myself??  Not so much.  Anyone feelin me??  So it finally got to the point where the addiction to alcohol overshadowed everything in my life.  I mean EVERYTHING.  I made insane choices and "insane" is the keyword here.  It started every evening sharing a glass, or 4, of wine watching the sunset with my hubs.  So romantic.  Just like the movies.  He would stop at 2 and I would keep pouring when he wasn't looking.  One bottle was just depressing.  I knew it would not be enough.  Eventually, I was drinking, alone, all day every day.  When I was sick with a stomach bug, I drank.  On meds that say "DO NOT DRINK WHEN TAKING THIS" I drank.  Driving someone??  I am ashamed to say there are times I drove drunk.  All the while criticizing those people who are stupid enough to drive drunk and get a DUI.  Since I never got a DUI I guess I'm not one of those people??  Once it got going it was off to the races for me.  And I didn't drink at bars or go out and party with my friends.  I drank at home while doing laundry, making dinner, making breakfast??  I said and did things I didn't remember saying or doing. Eventually my love affair progressed to drinking a couple bottles of wine and feeling totally sober to suddenly waking up the next day and not remembering what I said or did for 5 hours the day before.  VERY scary.

Truth is a bitter pill to swallow.  I was now living 2 lives.  One a respectable, educated, stay at home mom, the other a complete MESS.  I was two different people.  My good Christian southern educated successful, goal oriented and unselfish self.  This girl was the expert at masking her struggles.  She "appeared" to have it all together.  She was a friend to all, life of the party, helpful servant who prayed for friends and family, believed in God, Jesus, the Bible as truth, active in her church, grew her kids "Gods Way", threw baby showers for her girlfriends, led bible study groups, sang in the choir  and worked in women's ministry at my church.

The other me??  well, it's hard to tell you about her.  She would over indulge in alcohol on a nightly basis, eventually a daily basis. She/um... I would (attempt to)read DR SUESS to the kids when my talking was so slurred they probably didn't think I was reading in English!!  The list of my stupid drunkalogue goes on and on.  Lets just say, I KNEW I had a problem.  I wrote in my journal TWO years before I actually got sober that I definitely KNEW I must be an alcoholic.  I just wasn't ready to share it with the world....or end my affair with chardonnay.

The thought of never drinking again totally freaked me out.  People who drink normally don't think about things like that. They don't plan their drinking.  They don't plan a drinking schedule to ensure they are not alcoholics(only on weekends, only 2 glasses, never alone).  They don't HAVE to drink even when they want to stop or when bad things happened.   I was slipping FAST and it really made me realize I was helpless to stop on my own.  I don't like being helpless, powerless, out of control.  In this case, I could no longer disguise the problem.  I HATED this person I'd become.  THIS was NOT who God created me to be.  Every morning I would swear "never again" and by noon I was popping a cork or opening the black box.  Of course I hid my bottles under the other trash so my hubby wouldn't know how much I had.

The begining of the end for me was when I went to bed (passed out) in my gardening clothes, broken glass all over the foyer, someone threw up in the bathroom (Me????) I had answered the phone when he called from the ER where he was with my daughter because she had hurt her hand.  He had forgotten his debit card and called so I could find it for him and call right back with the number.  I had absolutely NO memory of any of it.  I talked to him and told him I would call him back??  really??  Oh, how did the glass get all over the foyer??  not sure.  Why did I sleep in my dirty gardening clothes??  doesn't everyone??  This was the begining of the bottom for me. My "moment of clarity."  My hubs insisted that I get help.  I would call a rehab center or HE would by the end of the day.  To say I was terrified is an understatement. I was scared to death and relieved that it was finally out on the table.   But I didn't want to lose my family, and I could tell hubs was DONE with this circus of a life I was inflicting upon one and all .

I called a detox center in my town and made an appt. to go for an interview...I guess to see if I "qualified" for the inpatient program.  Uhhhhh, yeah, no problem.  I was checkin in!! what!!  I had to go to a hair appointment first and get my roots retouched before I go to REHAB. It was VERY hard to get in with my hairdresser and I wasn't about to miss my appointment.   It was a very important step for me...the rehab, not the retouch!!  haha.  I will share about my time in the mental health spa in another post.  Lets just say it saved my life.  I learned that I had a progressive disease called alcoholism.  It is surely fatal if left untreated.  I didn't want to lose everything and eventually lose my life.  I'm so glad I took that step, as scarey as it was.  My husband, kids, best friends supported me and prayed for me.  Getting sober was a miraculous experience. STAYING sober is also quite amazing. That was 3-18-09 and it gets better every day.  By God's grace alone have I been restored to sanity.  I have hope about my future, as long as I stay sober one day at a time.

This was definitely one of those FORKs IN THE ROAD. I could no longer live without alcohol.  I could no longer live WITH alcohol.   By God's grace I finally got help.

So began my journey to find "the real Jill".  I found such a source of creative energy and internal peace when I let God run my life again.  I pray each day that He will keep me sober and use me to help others who might be struggling.  He was there all along waiting for me to ask for help.  It is amazing to see the difference in my life today.  I am still ADHD, scattered, unfocused and irritable at times.  I'm learning it's okay to feel that way.  It's okay to live in the moment you are in, right now.  It's okay to NOT be perfect.  It's okay to try and fail, face my fears, share my struggles. It's okay to own my defects and ask God to remove them.  Like a Father, he loves teaching me new things and giving me little gifts in the form of poetry or a piece of art that is divinely inspired.

WHAT I AM LEARNING:  I am very conscious of what I produce, what flows out of me, when I am doing it to please "them", others, the critics, my family, friends, colleagues, etc.   This kind of creativity is stifled and trivial.  It's contrived and probably not "the real Jill".  BUT...when I create something that is DIVINELY INSPIRED, bursting from overwhelming gratitude, springing out of a full heart, just because, I can see a BIG difference in the outcome.  It just comes, an amazing high, only from my heart that is once again filled with God. I'm different from the inside out.  Such a great lesson.  I can only open my heart more as I share honestly with all of you.  I am tired of hiding.  I am tired of trying to please others and gain acceptance from people who don't really care if I succeed or fail.  No matter what, if I am creating something from a place of honesty and truth, to please God and God alone, I cannot FAIL.

Lets talk again soon...goodnight.

Click on my POETRY page if you would like to get poettted.  Partake in Poetation.  Read a couple of my poems.  Eventually I will figure out how to post a link so you can just go straight to it.  I'm new at this blogging thing.  


  1. Beautiful post, Jill! I'm so glad you have started blogging. You are a true inspiration to me and so many others. So glad you are with me, among "the living" today. You are a wonderful example of recovery in action!

  2. Wow. Your post made me cry...and thank God for his mercy and grace. I've known you since you were born. I've seen that "real Jill" and I love her very much. She has always been an awe-inspiring creature. Full of life, full of adventure, a never ending source joy. You filled our lives with laughter and hilarity...and a bit of jealousy, if I am completely honest. Passion for the ARTS and a keen sense of creativity has always come easily for you, something others long for, something so often "just out of reach" for those of us who are admittedly 'normal'. But fall into the 'gifted' category. You shine. You are one of God's 5-talent gifts to a dull world. Jill, you are an anomaly. You are that fragile vessel with the strength of Samson. The butterfly that churns a hurricane. I so love who you are and I am so proud of you.

    Can't wait for your next blog! Keep 'em coming!

  3. Love, love, love your sharing your heart, poetry and art. Espceially love the "Road to Dreams....." So proud of you my friend!!


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