Inside My God Box

GodBoxOblique7972I have a secret. Actually, hundreds of secrets, hopes, fears, desires, wishes all written on little scrapes of paper I’ve collected throughout the years and stuffed into my God Box. This is my way of Letting Go, Letting God – surrendering them to my Higher Power. Instead of worrying, ruminating or obsessing over life, I write it down and Turn It Over.

My first sponsor, over 13 years ago, had one. She thought everyone should have one. At first, I thought it was little childish until I went through some hard times and tried it myself. I started writing notes to my Higher Power, placing them in an old jewelry box.

It was a liberating experience. The simple task of writing down a problem and giving up control is a way of helping me to Accept the Things I Cannot Change. The Serenity Prayer’s words are easy to say, but truly accepting something is so much harder. Soon, I started writing hopes and prayers for others in my life who needed help and placed them in there with my own. It is a form of surrender, an act of faith, a powerful spiritual tool. Over the years, my God Box was getting so full I could barely close the lid.

When I met Darrell Oubré, master wood artist and crafter of amazing handmade boxes, I just had to commission him to make me a new God Box. I told him that my God Box has a special place in my life, and I wanted a box that was just as special. I wasn’t disappointed! Darrell created a wonderful eye-shaped box with an interlocking lid. I was so thrilled with it, that I asked him to make several more so I could gift them to my loved ones. http://serenityisforever.com/gifts/home.html

 

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It Works If You Work It

I’m always inspired by my customers and their stories. Getting and staying clean and sober is one of the most challenging things one can do.  It’s thrilling to get a repeat order one year later from the same customer.  Another year of sobriety!  What an amazing accomplishment!

I was compelled to write about this because of Beverly who contacted me several years ago to buy a one-year anniversary dog tag for her son’s first year sobriety.  She told me how wrapped he had been in his disease, drinking up to 40 oz of booze a day.  He’d been attending Alcoholics Anonymous for a year, liked the program and was staying sober. One year later, she ordered a 2 year dog tag, and the next year a third, and then a fourth!  Yesterday, I just got an order from her for a 5 year medallion! That made my day, and I’m so proud of Beverly’s son.  But, surely not as proud as she is.

It works if you work it!

 

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Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know?

This article is from National Geographic and discusses a scientific basis for the twelve steps.  Good read and interesting insight on science and spirituality.

Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know?.

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Principles Before Personalities

One of the tougher issues I have to deal with as an artist, person in recovery and micro-businesswoman is dealing with personalities. The vast majority of the feedback I get for my work is positive and supportive.  It makes me feel good to be of service, and people love what they have purchased for themselves or their loved ones. However, I get the rare comment that somebody really despises my work. Not straightforward criticism like that it’s just okay, or that they don’t really like this or that about a piece — they hate it and go out of their way to stick the knife in and twist it. I have gotten so very offended a few times by customers who really let loose if their expectations were not met for whatever reason real, imagined or mistaken.

I try not to let my ego get bruised and to remember Principles Before Personalities but, oh boy, it’s so tough sometimes. The rational part of me knows that’s the price I pay for being publicly visible, that there’s always that 1% of needy people who are never happy with anything, who spend their lives looking for any excuse to pick a fight. Yet, those comments still really sting! This is one biggest challenges that I face as an artist, since this is my work, not just something I am reselling.

That’s not to mention that it is also a big challenge for me as someone in recovery. Before I got clean and sober, situations like those would make me lash out, attack and then try to numb out the hurt but using or drinking. When this sort of thing happens now, the impulse is still there but I learned to step back and not give it power, no matter how mean and hateful the comments are. Don’t get me wrong, I still get really pissed off, sometimes I get so angry I have to take a long walk to cool off. I tell myself over and over that I’m not going to let some troll threaten my serenity or my sobriety. Principles Before Personality is about humility, tolerance and patience.

What truly makes up for those negative comments is hearing from everybody who takes the time to let me know how they appreciate my work or how it touched them or their loved ones. I never get enough of those positive and inspirational comments from my customers. I get such a nice warm buzz from those comments, it’s almost like an addiction in itself. Thank you again for your continued support.

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Promises Promises

Gorgeous hand made wallets are a wonderful gift for people in recovery. Wallets have a deep symbolic meaning because just about everyone in recovery has had financial problems due to their using or drinking. Sobriety brings more financial stability.. Giving a wallet sends he message “now that you won’t be squandering all your money on drugs or alcohol, you’ll be needing a nice place to put your money.” Sobriety is its own reward, but as the Big Book promises: “Fear…of economic insecurity will leave us.” As a matter of fact, this is one of the AA Promises that I can personally vouch is so true!  AA logo and other styles available soon.

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Circle of Sisters NA Convention Tulsa OK

I am honored to be have been selected to be the official jewelry designer for the Circle of Sister upcoming convention on March 15, 16 and 17, 2013 “Stepping into the Circle of Recovery”.  My designs will be featured at this event.  This is my all-first all-women Narcotics Anonymous Convention and I am thrilled to be part of it.  Thank for considering my artwork.

 

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Thank you for the bottom of my heart

I just wanted to say how honored I am that people in recovery and their loved ones have chosen my work to celebrate their sobriety milestones. Any length of continued sobriety is an amazing accomplishment yet lately I’ve been making many 20, 25 and even 30 years items that continue to inspire me. Again, I am so incredibly honored. Thank you so much for supporting my work.
Love,
Stephanie P.

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Relapse Scares Me Still

Relapse from recovery is my number one fear. Falling off the wagon, going out, screwing up: same difference. As a person in recovery for over 10 years, the fear of relapse still scares me sober. And it seems like everyone in recovery I’ve come in contact with has exactly the same fear.

Once an alcoholic or addict is “in recovery” and has been clean and sober for a while and continues to go to AA or NA or other 12 Step meetings, relapse is still a very real possibility. Although I have over 10 years of sobriety, my recent bout of chronic back pain pointedly reminded me of how fragile I am. I was very close to relapse and deadly afraid that prescription painkillers would lead me back to that dark place I thought I would never escape over a decade ago.

The loved ones of addicts and alcoholics in recovery feel the same way. They remember what it was like to stand by and watch their loved one spiral into self-destruction. In many ways, it is worse for the loved ones because they feel so powerless in the face of the addiction that has completely possessed the person they care for so deeply. They want to help their son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, friend stay sober, but there seems to be so little they can do.

It is natural for loved ones to want to help in any way they can to maintain sobriety. Sobriety is still ultimately up to the addict/alcoholic, but encouragement and letting the person know you believe in them can help make that crucial difference. Recovery can be touch-and-go, so every little bit helps. That person is crawling out of bad place and there are many forces in life that will try to suck the addict/alcoholic back into their addiction.

So how does one offer encouragement and show that person that you love them, that you are their number one fan? Those of you in Al-Anon already know that you can hurt the alcoholic’s or addict’s recovery by helping too much. This is the same whether the addict/alcoholic is active in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or any other 12-Step Recovery group. You must not enable that person, you cannot bargain with them to stay clean or sober, and absolutely no bribing either. Of course, a little token of support or appreciation now and then is fine but, say, a luxury watch would be way over the line.

During my first year of sobriety, I was struggling badly. My husband never missed a chance to speak positively and tell me how proud he was of me. He offered me little tokens as I reached each milestone like flowers, making a special dinner or rearranging his schedule to accommodate my meetings. He even attended a couple of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings to see what they were all about.

As for myself, I started making bangle bracelets as touchstones which helped me focus on my staying clean and sober. I wore them all the time and I felt protected by The Serenity Prayer that I had inscribed on them. Even though they were just inanimate objects, somehow they made me feel better and reminded me of the love I still had for myself and my family. It was important to me that I could actually feel them to make the Serenity Prayer seem more real and close to me. I started making recovery jewelry for friends in the program who felt they too needed touchstones as reminders and as sources of inspiration to carry on.

When I achieved my first year of sobriety I proudly took a medallion, but I also made myself something special to wear around my neck with the number One on it. Acknowledging that I had accomplished that first year was vital to me as it proved that, if I had come this far, I could keep on going. I shared these tokens with my fellows in the program. By popular demand, I have branched out to sharing my touchstone artwork with the world.

 

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New for NA Peeps!

 

Brand new design, hot out of the oven.  Come and get yours!  Officially licensed by Narcotics Anonymous.   http://serenityisforever.com/jewelry/dog-tag/military-style/na-symbol-dog-tag-necklace.html

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My stuff is at Bill and Lois W’s House!

I am so honored! Some of my artwork has been chosen to be showcased at Stepping Stones, the historic home of Bill and Lois Wilson, respective co-founders of Alcoholic Anonymous and Al-Anon in Bedford, NY. Stepping Stones www.steppingstones.org operates as a historic home museum and has a gift shop on site and will be selling some of my jewelry.

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