LEFT PHOTO:  Pat Tillman  MIDDLE PHOTO:  Heidi and Mom  RIGHT PHOTO:  My sister, Holly and Me

LEFT PHOTO: Pat Tillman MIDDLE PHOTO: Heidi and Mom RIGHT PHOTO: My sister, Holly and Me

Hard week—But only if I focus on the death part.

I am choosing to remember the good today.

• Monday, April 22nd was the day Pat Tillman was killed—my stepson’s brother-in-law and also, the death that took me to the bottom of my drinking in 2004.

• Tuesday, April 23rd was the day my mother died in 2015.

• Today, April 26th, would have been my sister’s 66th birthday. Holly died last year in May.

Instead of being sad and depressed, I am choosing to remember all of the good and NOT drink!

For Pat—I choose to remember the ultimate sacrifice he made for others by his own choice. The Pat’s Run in Arizona is this weekend that raises money for Military families and for Tillman Scholars.

For my Mom—I choose to remember all of the wisdom she shared with me and her unconditional love that brought me through many trials—including being there when I got sober almost 15 years ago.

For my sister, I choose to remember what buddies we were as kids. How we laughed and cried throughout our lives. How we did silly stuff together. Being only 14 months apart in age, we were much like twins.

I choose life. I choose to remember and carry them forward with me every day. Those memories are mine to keep forever. Nobody can take them away.

This weekend, we have the privilege of babysitting our grandsons’ dog, Woody, as the family goes off to Arizona for Pat’s Run. Dash, my 8-year-old labradoodle will be thrilled. My almost 17-year-old Diamond girl doggy will ignore them both and sleep. It will be a wonderful 3-dog weekend.

My heart is full of the joy of my memories.

I am blessed. I am sober to feel it all. I am grateful.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

Dash, Diamond and Woody

Dash, Diamond and Woody

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Recently, somebody asked me if I still consider myself an alcoholic and asked why I still go to meetings. Well, that’s easy. It’s the thinking, not the drinking that still causes me angst. I still have alcoholic thinking even though I am not drinking anymore—and have not been drinking for a long time—5359 days, to be exact.

The stopping drinking part was actually the easy part. Well, after I surrendered and gave that part of the obsession to God (He did the heavy-lifting on that end.) The hard part for me is that I still have crazy thoughts that may lead to crazy behaviors, if left untreated.


Yes, that’s where the meeting part comes in. Going to a meeting is my treatment to keep me in sobriety. I can sit with others and hear them express some of the same thoughts that have been rolling around in my head. It makes me feel like I am not crazy and I am not the only one with those dangerous thoughts.

Like, maybe after all this time, I am not really an alcoholic and I can just have one beer.


Who am I kidding? I have never had one beer in my entire life! That’s where the replacement phrases come into my head because I have retrained my brain, like— “You can’t get drunk if you don’t take the first drink

I believe there is a force out there that wants to not only trip us up, but make us fall flat on our faces in utter defeat. I heard this story about a Cherokee brave and it reminds me of how I handle my sobriety:


 One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. “

My dear one, the battle between two ‘wolves’ is inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is good. It is: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a moment and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?

The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”


We need to monitor our thoughts each day. All of the thoughts that make up our thinking that cause our behaviors.

Here’s how I feed the Good Wolf:

• Decide to do something for my sobriety each day

• Stay in gratitude

• Think about how I can serve or reaching out to someone who needs help

• Call a friend in sobriety

• Go to a meeting

• Pray each day—throughout the day

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

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You can't think your way into a new way of have to live your way into a new way of thinking.

Surrender territory

Surrender territory

Wow. I love that. It is so true. I heard this in a meeting and it resonated with me.

I thought I could think my way out of everything under my own power when I was drinking. My best thinking got me drunk every time.

If I can just figure this out and manipulate a way around this problem, it will go away.” The hard part about this is that some problems don’t have a simple “think around.” So in my obsessive thinking, I would always end up frustrated and back to drinking to stop my thinking.

Now, there’s a brilliant solution! Well, it worked—temporarily.

When I finally tried not drinking and I surrendered to God, I realized how simple it was—let God take control. In that moment, The opposite of what you think should happen—happens. When I surrender, I am not giving up—I am gaining access to the greatest power in the universe.

God. Unstoppable.

I had tried to stop drinking for over thirty years on my own. In one simple move of surrender to God, my obsession to drink was lifted. The veil over my life was gone. The fog had cleared just like that! I am not saying I don’t struggle or have struggles. My solution has changed.

I was free to stop figuring it out. I could live now, freed up to not have the answer to everything.

My new way of thinking is living my surrender each day.

Try it. It works.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:10

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