Recognizing Patterns


Vanessa is my second cousin- and we really had no interaction until the last few years. When I moved to Minnesota, we connected a bit, and we came into each others lives right when we were needed.  Through Vanessa's journey, we can all grow and heal in our own ways and overcome any circumstances, situations or setbacks we might experience in our lives.

I hope you enjoy this blog series,


Recognizing patterns

By Vanessa VanVorst

One of the most interesting and fulfilling experiences in my sobriety thus far is recognizing my emotional and spiritual patterns. I spent so many years drowning out my life in general with alcohol, that I just went through the motions, not recognizing what I was doing, or why I was doing the things I was doing. This is terrifying to look back on now, with a clear mind. I was completely reckless, I lived in chaos (I’m still actively working on this), I didn’t know why things happened in my life, and I also did not care why things happened in my life.

I thought that the less I knew, the less I would have to deal with. I didn’t want to manage my own life, and in all honesty, seeing my life as unmanageable definitely did not bring me into Alcoholics Anonymous. The variables that came with unmanageability were exciting to me, and after living that way for so long, it was comfortable to me. I also thought it was a nice little shake up to be as surprised as the next person when it came to my day to day activities. It took my health being unmanageable to get me into the program.

I could no longer handle the shaking, the vomiting, feeling my body slowly die day after day as I continued to poison it. That coupled with being completely baffled on how to get healthy again, to figure out how to live again shook me to my core and ultimately brought me along this journey. 

I realize now that I am present in my own life, that I do not ever want to go back to the chaos which I called my life. I enjoy this learning process, and I have naturally adapted to recognizing my patterns. I am able to process and feel things, and have an understanding as to why I am feeling the way I am.

I recently decided to drop my Wednesday night meeting, to give me a mid-week break, and to have an evening to spend home with my daughter, rather than getting home at 8 pm or later as I do the rest of the week. Wednesday seemed as if it was the perfect day to do this, for my own mental health, and for my daughter as well. I missed the previous two Wednesdays, and while it was very enjoyable to have that evening to recharge and not feel so rushed during the week, I have noticed my emotional and spiritual balance yo-yo all over the place.

Initially, I could not figure out why I was becoming agitated over trivial issues which wouldn’t usually affect me, I couldn’t figure out my disconnect with myself, I noticed that I was slowly losing some of my upbeat, positive attitude and I was allowing negative thoughts into my mind. My life is pretty well scheduled, and I do not put myself in situations that alter my mood much since I am still new to sobriety (closing in on 10 months) and I feel it is important to be as even keeled as possible as I transition into my new life.

The only variable had been skipping two Wednesday meetings. Now, these Wednesday meetings I attend are good meetings, but I generally don’t feel extremely moved after them. I really didn’t expect to feel such a disconnect by not attending. I most definitely do. I attend meetings on Monday and Friday, and I choose Saturday or Sunday based on activities with my daughter.

By missing this Wednesday meeting, I am disconnected from my network for almost my entire work week, and that throws all balance out the window. Balance is what I crave these days, and having this lovely tool of recognizing patterns helps me to adapt and overcome if I am finding myself losing balance.  

It is really interesting to me to dive deep into my inner psyche. I am fascinated by it. I realize that recognizing my patterns comes naturally to me, but only as long as I am free of mind altering substances. My guard is always up when it revolves around my personal wellbeing. I baby my emotional and spiritual state, and I believe that is absolutely necessary.

I enjoy the work that I must put into being present, as it makes me a better person, a better mother, and I am much more content when I am in touch with myself. This is something that I know I will need to do for the rest of my life, every single day. I’m very grateful that this is coming so naturally to me, because I am a self proclaimed lazy person. If collecting my thoughts and taking my inventory every day seemed like a lot of work, I wouldn’t do it.

This isn’t work to me, it’s my life, and I actually care about my life and the legacy I am creating each day. I know that every day that I am blessed with is a day that I can live to my fullest, to offer myself in service to others, and to reward myself with respect and balance. I deserve the natural beauties that life has to offer, as long as I acknowledge and appreciate the gifts that God so freely gives to me.  

Today, I am grateful to have been able to spend an exhilarating day on rollercoasters with my daughter, as we experienced true belly laughs, faced fears together, and fed off each other’s happiness. I am grateful that I see today as a building block, that I was present in each feeling I had today. I am grateful that I find appreciation in the sunshine and perfect weather, and that I was able to recognize how much of an impact my actions have on my daughter.

She really, really loves me, and she is so freely giving with her love. There is nothing more pure as the love of a child, and today I choose to give love as unconditionally as my daughter does, because today I see that loving unconditionally is pure, it is honest, and it is free. 

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Vanessa VanVorst
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