Feelings Are Not Facts And Hope is For Real

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When everything falls apart and we feel uncertainty, disappointment, shock, embarrassment, what’s left is a mind that is clear, unbiased and fresh. ~ Pema Chödrön

I promised myself when I started this blog a few years ago that I would always be honest and real when sharing about the day-to-day details of recovery.  

Staying present–both feet firmly planted in the now–is what this blog is about, although there are times when that is way easier said than done.

Right now is one of those times.  Right now it feels like everything is falling apart.  God knows I’m surrounded by uncertainty and disappointment, a little shock and even a bit of embarrassment.  Right now, that’s all I can see.

Now, before my phone blows up with texts and calls, please notice in the sentence above that the word “feels” is in italics.  I am okay, albeit hangin’ on by loose threads; everything just feels like it’s crashing.

And feelings aren’t facts, as I’m often reminded.  The truth is I do have several things going on:   major financial challenges, a couple of potential health diagnoses and significant emotional rawness in grieving family issues.

The good news is none of it will kill me, not today, anyway, not if I focus on what’s right in front of me.

On the Beam or Off the Beam?

These two lists occupy the walls of many 12-step groups in Texas (maybe other places too).  I bought a copy of each, framed them and hung them on the wall just outside my office.  I see them every time I go in or leave.

Sometimes I really see them, know what I mean?  Today, for instance, the word hope is a little clearer after a recent 12-step topic meeting.

The bottom line is 23 years ago, I felt hope-less.  I was about a week away from entering recovery and my life felt like it was circling the drain.

Oh, I wasn’t like a skid-row bum guzzling from a bottle in a paper bag.  Gosh no.  I had a house, job and car, thank you very much.

But I was an empty shell living a purpose-less life.  I was an automaton living to drink alcohol to numb my feelings of nothingness.

Yes, I would say I was hope-less, devoid of believing my life would ever be any different.

But hope is a cunning and baffling trickster.  She can masquerade as the force that drove my car to my first 12-step meeting and voice the words of those people who connected with my heart that night.

I believe there’s a reason Hope is at the top of the On the Beam list.  Hope carries the torch for new beginnings with, as Pema says, “a mind that is clear, unbiased and fresh.”

Let me go on record–as I approach the 23rd anniversary of entering recovery–that while the outer trappings of life may appear to fall apart, so long as I am mindful right now of hope, I am okay.

Compared to where I used to be, the feeling of being okay is fine by me.


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  1. kim manlove says:

    ….and once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” Haruki Murakami

    • Beth says:

      Thank you, Kim. Coming from you, the words mean a lot because I know you’ve lived through the most severe storms a person can endure. Your strength gives me comfort.

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