Friday, November 13, 2020

 Broken Promises; Mended Dreams, by Richard Meryman and The Good House, by Ann Leary are two books I've been reading -- addiction books - recovery books. I read the Meryman book a while ago - and I'm reading the Leary book now.

I'm looking forward to sharing The Good House with you when I finish. And then, after reveiwing the other one, or re-reading it, sharing that one. 

In fact, I plan to share a number of addiction and recovery books with you during the months ahead. 

When I first got into recovery, there was a group of people in my home group who were reading books like this -so I bought the books, but I was working full time, was doing a lot of church work, had chuldren - you know - a very full plate, so I didn't have time to read most of these gems.

Reading them now - and seeing myself - is good. If you are a reader, you may want to do the same.

 I must share that I had some difficulty getting into The Good House, but when Anne Bogel, of the on-line book group, Modern Mrs. Darcy, recommended it, well..... there ya go - I knew I needed to keep reading. And, yes, it is becoming quite interesting.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Keeping the Rhythm of Recovery During Covid-19

Meetings are an integral part of recovery. There’s something about hearing the stories of our fellows, recognizing our own struggles and victories, and most importantly, hearing the solution to our common problem.

I am so very grateful to live in a time where technology enables us to attend meetings virtually. We may be in the throws of a pandemic, but we do have this one blessed upside. For me, it’s helped maintain a rhythm in my sobriety; I know where I’ll be on Tuesdays and Thursday nights for my A.A. meetings and Saturdays for Al Anon. I have a schedule! I was never much of a fan of schedules until Covid came along, but now I can absolutely verify that keeping schedule helps me keep tabs on the rhythms of my recovery and keeps me connected to the people who saved my life.

And something I would have never expected is the pleasure of seeing old faces pop up in the Zoom meetings! Folks who have moved away are now regulars again at my home group. They’ve found us and continue to be a part of our community, even from far far away.

How are you staying close to your recovery community? Have you stayed close? Have you connected to your old group in your old town or city? What can you do to reconnect?

Sending prayers wherever you are for continued community, connection and recovery.

Sondra J.

October 2020

Monday, June 17, 2019

Serenity Retreat: August 23-25, 2019

Diocese of the Rio Grande
August 23-25, 2019
Albuquerque, NM


Registration is open for this year’s Serenity Retreat.

We will be joined by Rev. Dr. Ted Wiard of Golden Willow Retreat and Counseling. 
Ted Wiard, LPCC, CGC is an author, Founder & Executive Director of Golden Willow Retreat. Ted Wiard along with his wife, Marcella, created Golden Willow from a combined vision of compassion and healing towards all life. Ted is a licensed clinical therapist, certified grief counselor, an ordained minister, a New Mexico certified schoolteacher and a certified tennis professional. Ted’s passion for working with grief, in its many forms, arose from his own personal losses in which he realized there were very few places that offered support and healing from grief.  While working at Betty Ford Center, Ted counseled individuals and families with clinical and spiritual support through the recovery process, realizing that many individuals rarely touch the underlying conditions that led them to their dysfunctional behaviors. He has written numerous articles on the subject of emotional healing, grief, loss, trauma and the connection verses disconnection of spirituality in grief, loss, life transitions as well as addiction and relapse prevention.  His book, “Witnessing Ted, The Journey to Potential Though Grief & Loss”, is a sensitive guide on the six aspects of grief and the journey to a wiser more authentic life.  He is sought out for speaking engagements nationally to offer his inspirational and dynamic message of hope and healing.  Find out more about Ted’s programs here. and

Anyone in any 12 step program is welcome to join.  We’ve even had a few who tried out the concept of the 12-Steps at one of our retreats for the first time!

Registration Fees:  Includes room, meals, and a “one time day fee for commuters.”
Single-Resident from Friday night to Sunday morning $197
Couple- Resident from Friday night to Sunday morning $298
Commuter/Meals Only $100
Friday Night Dinner and Open Speaker Meeting $20
As with all our retreats, Friday night is open to all who would like to join for dinner and the speaker … or just come for the speaker with no fee!)
5:00-6:00         Registration/Check In
6:00-7:00         Dinner  & Introductions
7:00-8:30         Open Speaker Meeting
Sunday, we always have a 12-Step Eucharist at 10:00am

We have a way to receive Credit Card Payments this year.

Find us on Facebook (a private group):  Rio Grande-Episcopal Recovery Ministry

Email us with questions at

We are looking for folks to post on our blog, and to become involved as committee members.

On behalf of the Recovery Ministries Committee
Co-Chair, Jill Cline

Your committee members are Fr. Chris, Co-Chair (Los Alamos), Jill, Co-Chair (Taos), Sondra (El Paso), Linda (Gallup), Alison (Los Alamos)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Reflections on my first year of sobriety (sharing anonymously)

Terrified, defeated and full of shame, humiliation stung my bloodshot eyes.

That is how I felt when I finally admitted I could no longer continue on my path to ultimate self-destruction. It took me years to face the fact that I was powerlessness and not in control like I had thought I was. I was in denial, afraid of what the future held, but so desperate for change. I finally found someone who I could trust and admit that I needed help and was led to my first AA meeting.

Words penetrated my thoughts and emerged in my dreams...”cunning, baffling, powerful.”

The physical cravings were strong at first and I counted every single day. I went to as many meetings as I could while still working full time and trying to take care of my family’s needs. I did not anticipate being completely overwhelmed by feelings. As I look back on it now, it makes sense. I had stopped drowning myself in alcohol and was slammed by all the emotions I had buried deep inside my soul as they bubbled to the surface. I was so full of anger, sadness, and resentment and felt so unloved.

Finding comfort in the common bond, and sharing our experience, strength, and hope.

Although my thoughts were still garbled, I found strength in what I heard in other people’s stories. The commonality we share is actually very powerful. I discovered that the AA meetings were safe spaces where I could practice finding my voice and not have the usual fear of judgment. I tried to identify my feelings and share them at the meetings and I was comforted to know others had experienced similar situations. It took courage to ask a sponsor for help and I started working the 12 steps.

Still hiding from the world but recognizing the significance of the disease.

I realized that I had spent so much of my life running away from myself and searching for something. I didn’t even know who I really was, what I truly wanted out of life, or what I was working so hard for. As month after month went by, I did find some things slowly changing in me. They were little glimpses of light, hope in an alternate way, tiny miracles. The fact that I had not had a drink in months was a miracle in itself. But I would also still sometimes find myself in deep, dark, frightening places where my soul was silently screaming to escape. When would I find some serenity? When would I find peace?

The new beginning is always today. I have the power to change my story.

I felt very anxious as I approached the one year mark. Maybe because I thought I should be further along in working the steps or perhaps because the next milestone seemed too distant or maybe because I was still fearful of what lies ahead. But I did at least take a moment to appreciate the accomplishment. An entire year broken into 24 hours repeated 365 times. This would not be possible without God and my acceptance that He is in control. I am grateful for second chances. I  am constantly reminding myself to try and stay in the present moment and not get too anxious about the future.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Resolutions: yay or nay?

We Christians seem to find ways to disagree about almost everything – most often with Bible in hand. A disagreement during this time of year centers around whether Christians should make New Year’s Resolutions or set goals for the upcoming year.

Those who say no-no-no, refer to Proverbs 3:5, which tells us to trust the Lord, rather than depending on our own understanding.

Others say that resolutions and goals – in general, planning, is fine and even a good thing, and refer to the creation story in Genesis. When we read this account carefully, we can see that each bit of creation fit with whatever was created the day before. That seems to indicate a Master Plan.
As people in recovery, we all have the desire to stay clean and sober, one day at the time. Most of us would agree that we hope and pray that our days will multiply. That, my friends, is a plan, perhaps a goal, or even a resolution.

Many of us need structure, and goal setting helps – AND, there are Biblical ways to go about setting our goals. We can look at the gifts God has given us (Romans 12:4-8.)  We need to understand that timing is usually God’s time, rather than ours. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Peter 3:8).

Asking God what our goals should be is a good idea (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:7; and James 1:5.) The Divine answer may come directly, or indirectly, as in our daydreams or nighttime dreams, comments someone makes, things we ponder, things we learn from others – the message at church, a daily reading, and so forth. We can also consider what makes us happy or fulfilled. When we look at all of these things and compare them with our skills and other gifts, the goal, the resolution, may be looking right back at us. So may it be. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Ho-Ho-Ho or No-No-No

Ho-Ho-Ho or No-No-No

Oh dear - here we are again. Sure, for some this is the season of ho, ho, ho, and maybe go-go-go. For others, it’s the season of No! No! No! Yes, some people really enjoy the holidays, and there are many who absolutely dread and hate this time of year.  Those who enjoy the season are lucky, and maybe there is hope for those who don’t. 

No, we can’t avoid the season. And, yes, it is everywhere – movies, television, radio, magazines, stores, restaurants, and even the streets are full of the sights and sounds of the season.
But it’s not “The Season” for everyone. Think about it – marathon movies with happy people, or people who may not begin so happy but have a happy ending, aren’t so wonderful for someone who isn’t in a relationship, or if our family is no longer available, and if our old friends are anything but supportive of our recovery.

So whether it be the music in the store, the sights on the street, or what we see and hear in the stores, or the movie we swore we wouldn’t watch, we may be left feeling lonely. Then the memories invade: of the good old days (Were they, really?), or the not so good old days. Either way, our lives just don’t seem to measure up to those pretend stories we see in the movies or on TV, or in the pictures in the magazines, or in the lyrics to some of the songs. Faced with them (or, having them in-your-face) can create high expectations. These can lead to expectations of ourselves and others. When we or they can’t meet the unrealistic expectations we may be left feeling unfulfilled.

There’s more to haunt us. We may have thoughts and feelings of loss and grief. We may find the too happy and too loud Christmas music is overwhelming. It’s cold and dark outside, and everyone is hustling around, pushing us to join in with what they see as fun.  Bah!

When we’re feeling lonely, trying to find ways to meet unrealistic expectations, and we believe that we are surrounded by people who are all happy, we can feel defeated. We may not know how to cope, and yet we know that to hold on to our recovery, cope we must!

All of the tried and true suggestions we hear in the rooms are even more important if we are feeling down during the holidays. So, as trite as it may sound, yes, it is right. Go to meetings! Share. Talk with your sponsor. Talk to your Spiritual Director. Talk to your priest.

Try to avoid toxic people and places. If we really feel forced to go somewhere, like a work-related party, prepare ahead. Know what to say when tempted. Carry a beverage so maybe no one will offer a drink. Stand on the other side of the room instead of by the snacks. Breathe! Deeping breathing in the moment does help.

Back at home, practice self-care. Throughout the season, pay attention – what are we doing, thinking and feeling? Eat the right foods, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. If still feeling down, do something for someone else, especially someone in a situation that seems worse than our own. Join with some others and take blankets to street people. Offer to help in a soup kitchen. Do some errands for someone in need. Remember, as Teresa of Avila taught us, we are the hands and feet of Jesus.  (But, for the codependents among us, take care! We are only the tools, not the Savior.)

Still down? Maybe it will help to just go with the flow. Get your blankie and pillow, cuddle up and have a good cry. Take a nap. Take a bubble bath. Listen to some good music. Time alone can be very healing. And, pray, read scripture or a devotional book, because that’s how we can remember we are never really alone. We are blessed. Along with everything else, we have been blessed with the Gift of Recovery. Thanks be to God!

  Broken Promises; Mended Dreams , by Richard Meryman and The Good House , by Ann Leary are two books I've been reading -- addiction boo...