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woke up a bit earlier than normal today, so I figured it was a great time to catch up on my reflections before the day gets away with me.

This past week was chock full of moments for learning and growing and just being. I have been feeling more up than down, which has led to me getting more accomplished, and in turn feeling more productive and good about myself.

I had my housewarming party this past weekend. While I was showing people around, it really hit me that this was my HOME. Not just a place to lay my head and have Buddy run around. This was something that I worked really hard for and finally have and am completely grateful to be here. Hearing the word "deserve" in context with my own life is such a difficult concept to truly believe. I've been consumed with shame for so long, that when someone tells me "I deserve this," it's hard to accept. But I'm working on it. I realized as I looked around at the people who came that I am truly blessed to not only be where I am at in life, but blessed because of who surrounds me. I left a life of drunkenness and debauchery and found myself amongst unconditional fellowship and unwavering love. I look back to my 40th birthday, when I was celebrating at Praise Team practice... We're all standing around the piano and eating cake and laughing, and Kent says to me: "Did you ever think this was how you'd be celebrating your 40th?" And I laughed and probably spit out a bit of cake, because, no. Never in my previous 39 years did I think I'd be in a church celebrating my life with people who truly love me and enjoy my presence for exactly who I am right in this moment. And that's what I saw on Saturday, and was able to truly appreciate.

I started logging my food intake as the first steps to my getting healthy physically. It's amazing how eating less amounts of processed carbs contributes to me feeling less bloated and seeing the numbers on the scale already starting to lower. My goal in this journey is to change my thinking about food into a healthy lifestyle and hopefully feel less pain and feel better about my external appearance. It's not about a number on a scale. I just want to feel comfortable in my own skin again. I went through some personal coaching last year with a great friend and mentor of mine, Sasha Tozzi. She really helped me lay the foundation for loving myself and getting my mental space where it needed to be before I started the steps of the physical work. So now I'm working on my food intake and shifting to better, nourishing choices. Next week I'll be starting a 21 day program to kick-start my physical routine. I signed up for this program at a local gym in hopes that I can find the motivation to get the workouts in. I just completed setting up my own home workout area, but right now I'm having a hard time making my workouts a priority. So my thinking was a short commitment with a lot of encouragement and accountability might be the key to unlocking my next door to health.

Tomorrow I'll be heading off to Soulfest. This will be my first weekend away sober where I will not know a single person where I am going. This will be test of my social anxiety and using the tools I've learned and worked on with my therapist. I am so very excited to hear some of my most favorite inspirational artists, but also to listen to new ones and really just be enveloped by God and nature and music all weekend. I'll also be taking a social media break while away. I want to focus on being in the moment and really cherishing everything for how it is as it's happening. Plus, I feel like my scrolling addiction needs a check. I plan on bringing my notebook and my camera, so it'll be like an old school journalistic weekend.

I recently listened to a podcast where they talked about an argument in a friendship. And how the falling out brought to light the things that they hated about themselves and really just didn't want to see. This in turn led to a thread a friend of mine started where we were able to share our own misgivings in a self-loving and non-judgmental space. I felt like I should share it here as well, as this blog is all about transparency and I want you all to know that while recovery brings me great joy and progress, there is and always will be struggles along with it. So here are my self-reflections: I'm Cristina. I silently judge myself and others even though I completely believe and try to be compassionate and loving. I can't handle expressing my feelings when I feel like they will hurt the other person, which leads to me pulling back in friendships. I often find myself procrastinating because I don't place enough importance on my priorities. I have no problem telling people I'm sober or about my mental issues, but I get anxiety when I want to share my feelings about my relationship with God. I wonder how people think of me or talk about me when I'm not around. I swear more than I'd like to. And I have a hard time trusting others with my intimate needs and dark parts.

I leave you all with Grace & Peace-

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