Emotional sobriety: flaunt it if you got it

On Friday nights my husband and I go to our home group meeting. Usually my brain is so over loaded that it’s just nice to not have someone pulling on my pants or crying at my feet. I’m listening to the sharing and my husband takes a turn and out of his mouth falls “I’m not going to apologize for having a good life.” It was one of those moments that I didn’t realize I needed to hear those words until that very moment. The gap in the human go where the divine slips in I think I have heard before.


I think about it in concept of I’m not going to apologize for living an out loud life either. I live out loud. I talk about sex, fights I have with my husband, insanity with my kids and simply my crazy ass self. It has taken a ton of work to get me to this place but as my sponsor told me this morning I choose wisdom. I choose to seek the deeper reason why I want to slam my head in a car door rather than to answer another why question. Or why I laugh as my kid is throwing him self to the ground yet another time. Or why I say out loud for people to hear do not punch your 16 month old in the face for punching me in the nose. Any one that knows me knows I would never hit my kid. Good on ya if you have never thought that. I have. And I’m not going to apologize for being real. Thoughts don’t hurt people, actions do. If I don’t talk about my thoughts they turn into actions.


I believe that I get the chance to re-parent my inner kid as my children age. When my kids don’t listen, punch me, break stuff, take stuff and for the 112th time they dump tippsy-cup of chocolate milk in to the dog water I get the chance to re-do some of the damaged parts of me. Be the parent I wanted when I was little. I don’t do it well all the time and that doesn’t make me a bad mom.


I ask my self and have friends (who’s children survived there parenting) ask me “what’s hooking you?” I get the chance to go deeper and choose wisdom. Why do I do the things I do? Well I have gotten clear about several things about me but they usually come down to a few core reasons.


One: I think I know what is best. The old adage mom knows best. I disagree with that. Who am I to attempt to deny my son the opportunity to learn about gravity if I’m always catching him? My husband and I play through some times when we are at the park, how many feet do you think that drop is? We usually conclude it’s going to hurt when they fall but not death. 70% of the time they never fall. I embrace the belief that my kids have a life to live and experience that they need to grow through that are vital to them becoming men. I do my very best to stay out of the way because they have a God and I’m not it is what it really comes down to.

Two: I’m not enough, there is not enough time and I don’t have a right to be. The biggest thing for me that I struggle with and thanks to conscious parenting I have rewired a lot of screwed up shit in my brain is I don’t have a right to be, where I am and doing what I’m doing because you disagree with me. There was a time in my life I would have sold my soul if it meant you would agree with me. In the re-parenting my inner kid world there are plenty of chances to re-wire my thoughts.

Three: I always want to do it right. Errks me to even say based on the last paragraph but it is true. I want to get it right every time. I want the home run every time I’m up to bat and that’s just not possible. I was meeting with an old sponsor a while back and I said to her “why do I always have to screw things up?” her response was priceless “because Ashley if we got it right all the time and didn’t go from extreme to extreme and swing that pendulum we never get to experience the lessons that lay in the middle”


I don’t apologize for having a good life. I don’t apologize for living it out loud either. I crave connection, I crave relationships, I crave other seekers. Being a seeker has served me well and its also kept me up at night. There are assets in my defects and defects in my assets. Living a life of clean and sober living I work very hard on the emotional sobriety. I seek, I ask and I dig. No freak out moment with my kids is by accident. I don’t spend all my waking hours oozing over all my mistakes but it is something I think on and a topic I cover when talking with other seekers because after all raising kids isn’t all fun and games and happenstance it’s a way to grow deeper, softer and have a chance to learn my life is good no matter how bad the day went if I lay my head down sober my kids have the chance to have a sober mom the next morning and I have a chance to apply what I learned yesterday to today. Thank God for sober living and living out loud.


Loss of a child, a faith renewed

In 2011 my husband and I lost a baby at 32 weeks and 3 days gestation. Her name was Danica. She had a chromosome disorder called Triploidy. My heart breaks when I think of her but not like it used to. Time heals many wounds. She was born at the end of August and I wrote this a couple weeks later.

Some days when things are hard I forget that this kind of strength still runs with in me, I believe that God reminds me along the way that peace can exist amongst chaos. I’m grateful that with a lot of grief work this pain is not as big. My heart still skips a beat when I am asked how many kids I have or someone mentions about if we are going to try for a girl. I love my two boys to pieces and I miss my daughter, through the gift of a ton of personal work both a true and I do not feel guilty about it.

Familiar seas on uncharted waters

September 13, 2011 at 3:41pm

I sat down at my journal the other day and usually God speaks to me through impressions I get or thoughts that come and what occurred to me is that I have never been here before. I am in uncharted waters. I have no insights, no impressions no word pictures. There is just this deep ache in side my heart and soul that I cannot describe in words.

Today I hurt, the last line I wrote in my journal. I hurt. I hurt for my daughter that won’t get to play with her brother in the back yard. I hurt for Abe who wont get to teach Danica how a lady is to be treated. I hurt for me who wont get to have special tea times with my little girl. I hurt. I believe Danica is in heaven somewhere basking in the sun light of God. That she is safe from harm and is standing guard for us in a way that only an angel can.

I have had countless conversations with people who have given me as a parent the thing that I wish most for my kids. I wish for my kids to make a mark on this world, to pack as much in to the stream of life as they can. Teach others, learn them selves and find joy in there days on this earth. Danica was here in the womb for 32 weeks and 3 days. What she has caused to flow from humanity is beyond my ability to comprehend. I don’t know the far reaching’s of what she has done and what she has done through us but Gods on the job because amazing things have come to pass for Abe and I and countless others.

It is humbling for me to hear people say things to me like “you are so strong, I’m not sure I could have done what you have done it must have taken such courage to do what you did.” The part that is hard for me to take in is that this is just the way we do things in our house. Together. I wouldn’t have done in any other way. In AA the first tradition is about unity. With out that there is nothing. Unity in the good times and in the hard times. It is a blessing from God that that has been in our home. That’s what we strive for, not perfect at but that is what we strive for and in this journey so far we have nailed it. 🙂 Thanks to the prayers of the people that have walked with us on this journey and our desire to be together.

Today it is God who gives me strength. I’m not strong enough to make it through this. I reached a breaking point in the hospital and realized that true strength is moving when you can and saying enough when you cant. Strength isn’t “manning up” its not holding it together or doing it all, strength is what’s driving the boat to make those things happen. Strength in the doing and the giving up. As the paradox states, you have to surrender to win. So today I say I’m good because I hurt. I’m happy because I’m crying when I need to. I’m peaceful because I’m a mess and can’t think straight some times.


This is taken the day my husband and I went to spread her ashes. Its taken from Spray park, Mt Rainer National park. An eagle was flying over and a bear was just up the meadow.

Thank God that I may not know where I’m going but at least I know for sure where I have been and in that I can trust that path that I can not see for someday I will look back and see not just my foot prints but another as well.

Sunset at the pass where her ashes were to be laid. My husband was backpack with his brother one ridge over. This photo was taken on the day they think her heart stopped in the womb.

Sunset at the pass where her ashes were to be laid. My husband was backpacking with his brother one ridge over. This photo was taken on the day the Doctors estimate her heart stopped in the womb.