Saturday, September 19, 2009

Change is in the air

I found this quote at work today, & I wanted to write (or type) it down so I will never forget it:

Just as I was reaching a point in my life where I was beginning to feel part of something, I've become restless for a new me.
When you know who you are, new ideas are icing.

I don't think I could ever do one thing my whole life. As much as I sometimes fear change, it also drives me. I'm always looking for new inspiration, new challenges, & new adventures....icing on the cake of life.

Friday, July 17, 2009

90 in 90

Today marks something of a milestone for one of my past blogs, I mentioned that students are challenged to complete 90 meetings in 90 days after graduating the program at CLM. Today is the 90th day post rehab & I'm happy (o.k...happy isn't a good enough word...maybe ecstatic could come closer to the actual emotion) to report that not only has Rich successfully made the 90 in 90, but he has stayed strong in his recovery and is continuing to "work his program." There have been times during the past 3 months when Rich was not able to attend a meeting because our schedule as a family conflicted with meeting times, so my little over-achiever has been doubling up on meetings over the past couple of weeks to make up for meetings missed.
I asked Rich what one of the most effective tools (for him) has been in his daily quest to stay sober, & he said, "Play it out." He described it as a way to control urges by thinking beyond the drink. For example: Rich has a drink. For many alcoholics, that is the one and only thing they think about. But to think beyond the drink...he begins hiding his relapse, I am disappointed, our family is broken, our finances get out of control again....and on it goes. The aftermath of what it would mean for him to begin drinking again helps motivate his sobriety.
Congratulations Rich, for taking your life back from alcohol. I admire your strength & determination. xoxo

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Unexpected Paths

Hi all! So, some unexpected things have been happening to Rich since rehab that I thought I'd share. He was (& still is to an extent) a bit nervous to reconnect with some of his friends "on the outside" for several reasons: fears of how they will react, how he can maintain relationships without alcohol (because, let's face it, many social gatherings involve alcohol), & just the general anxiety of wondering what others are thinking about him/us/drinking/the lack there of...
A couple of weeks ago, Rich was talking to a friend that he had not spoken with for several months (this friend knew nothing of Rich's addiction or his entering rehab)& to Rich's surprise, not only was his buddy very supportive, but he also admitted to Rich that he himself is currently struggling with a drug addiction. Rich is, as I type, with his friend at an NA meeting to be supportive & encourage him to get clean. I have concerns that helping his friend may be too much emotionally for Rich considering he is in the newbie stage of recovery himself. But no matter what, I'm so proud of my husband for not only continuing to be diligent about his own recovery plan, but he has also found a new role in educating others as well as helping friends who are also battling addictions.
I'm amazed how something so seemingly personal as addiction is actually a community issue, & there are many folks out there struggling...and looking for someone to be their "mentor" through the process. And a new chapter begins...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Morning Lovin'

Lately Rich has been so good to get up & give Gage his 5-6am bottle. I'm not exactly what you would call a morning person, so Rich often brings Gage in to our room & puts him in bed with me before he heads off to work. This morning Gage & I fell back asleep after some cuddling & Rich snuck in for the sweetest photo op ever.

(Ah, the joy of being a lazy hairstylist who doesn't go in to work until 10am!)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

6 Weeks Out

Rich has been home now for 6 weeks & we have been going full speed into summer. We've visited our friends Tobi & Corey in Chattanooga (2 times!), my sweet nephew Samuel had his 1st birthday party in Evansville, & Rich's sister Michele celebrated her 40th birthday with us last weekend....2009 has been so full & it's only the end of May!
Rich is trying to do 90 meetings in 90 days. He's done well so far...I think he's only missed maybe 3 days! These past 6 weeks have stretched & strengthened our marriage in more ways than I could have imagined. Although difficult at times, Rich & I have done a lot of communicating about our feelings. We understand each other so much better when we communicate! :-) Funny how that works, huh?
I'm still going to keep this blog going. Since Rich has finished rehab, I will probably talk about that stuff less...although recovery is a life long process so I will discuss how it's continuing to impact our family. But now, I think "the road less traveled" will be about "our family's journey through LIFE." Check back often & enjoy following the adventures of the Becker family!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Appendicitis, Easter, & Graduation!

O.K...I know. It's been a LONG time since my last entry. April was the craziest month ever! I had my appendix out on 4/10 after a long night in the E.R. Here is a picture from my boredom inspired pre-surgery E.R. photo shoot. :-)

My sweet mom drove all the way from Indiana to be with me & help take care of Gage. I really wanted to go visit Rich because not only was it Easter weekend, but he was also getting baptized in the Hiawassee River on Sunday afternoon. So, a little over 24 hours after surgery, we were off to Murphy!

On Easter afternoon, 4 students at CLM were baptized by Denny in the (quite cold!) Hiawassee River.

On Friday, April 17th, Rich graduated from his 11 week program at CLM. Everyone gathered around the Ebenezer Heap & this is Rich's rock he added to the pile...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I need more hours in the day. This is my living room floor...I sit in the middle & surround myself with all my bills, tax stuff, coupons, cards, etc. Land mines of paper...and on the outskirt of that ring o' paper are 2 play mats, a swing, & an exersaucer to keep my son occupied while I figure out life. There probably won't ever be enough hours in the day to figure out life though, huh? I wanted to spend more time on this blog, more time chronicling my son's development, more time tidying our little home. Yet with all that I've wanted to do with these hours I don't have, I really find I'm doing a decent job "holding down the fort." My house may look like a tornado hit, but I'm finally getting a hold of our finances & paying the bills on time. I know I've been bad about logging in the email & phone time I planned, but I've spent some awesome time playing, singing, & bonding with Gage. Through intense personal struggles I'm learning what is really important...(But who am I kidding? I've always hated cleaning! Now I just have a good excuse not to!)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gardening Offers Recovery

The following is an article written in the Cherokee Scout paper last week featuring the greenhouse at CLM as well as some of the volunteers & students. Rich was one of the students working that day so he got his picture taken as well as a small quote. Sorry I had to cut & paste this entire article...I can't figure out how to post a link to another website! :-)

Gardening Offers Recovery
Christian Love Ministries greenhouse helps addicts overcome their addictions


Tuesday, March 31, 2009 8:05 PM CDT

From the time a seedling sprouts into a leafy stalk, its life is fragile and dependent on a gardener to keep it safe and healthy.

Thousands of plants at Christian Love Ministries greenhouse are in the hands of those who understand the struggle of life better than most. The gardeners are recovering addicts.

The greenhouse, a ministry endeavor, grows natural vegetables, fruit and flowers to sell at reduced prices to the public. Volunteers make up most of the gardening staff, including students of the ministry. The students are in the church’s substance abuse rehabilitation program, learning a new way of life without the crutch of drugs and alcohol. Some people have been sober for years, while others only have been clean for weeks.

Geoff Grubb, greenhouse manager, oversees the project and relates to the students on a personal level. He was one of the first to join the rehab program 15 years ago.

“I was a cocaine addict when I moved here with my family from Florida,” he said. “We were homeless before Christian Love.”

Grubb explained his past as he worked with his son, Josh, and brother, Doug, both volunteers working in the greenhouse. He said the project is a family effort and run completely by volunteers from the community.

Emilie Jones designed the logo for The Greenhouse and often takes her two children, Liam, 2, and Gates, 3, to work in the dirt. They help transplant seeds into packs and keep mom busy during the mornings she helps at the garden.

“We saw a need and an opportunity to support the community with this,” she said. “This is also a safe environment for my babies, and they get hands-on work in the garden.”

Jones has met with several artists to come up with the logo and extended her search for volunteers to Facebook, an online networking site. She works, side by side, with those struggling with addiction and said the greenhouse provides a form of therapy for them.

“It’s rehabilitating for the students to sell food to support the ministry and in turn, themselves. It allows them to dedicate time to something that they can produce. It’s selfless,” she said.

Bob Maddox, another volunteer, works with the students everyday, teaching them gardening techniques. Richard Becker, a student who has been in the program for nine weeks, said he had little gardening experience before entering rehab but he’s open to the project.

“I want to learn everything I can,” he said.

Joe White, sober for more than two months, said he has been in rehab four times in the past. Moving from Chicago to Murphy less than a month ago, he’s pursuing his faith through the ministry.

“I’m finding the greenhouse to be fulfilling, relaxing,” he said. “The key is to use the Bible as a step-by-step instructional manual ... to have serenity.”

“We supply ourselves with this food. The more we grow for us, the less we have to ask for donations,” said Joey Aldridge, discussing the responsibility of residents. “Every little bit helps us.”

Cabbages, lettuce, cauliflower and heirloom tomatoes have been transplanted into packs, and are ready to be sold.

The greenhouse opened for business on March 15. Open-pollinated plants and flowers also will be available. By summer, the plot adjacent to the greenhouse should be flourishing with seasonal vegetables.

About 1,500 addicts have found a safe and healthy lifestyle through the Christian Love Ministries’ program.

The greenhouse brings a new outlook on life to those in recovery, turning simple gardening skills into lessons of value.

Grubb and his friends are working towards providing cheap, natural food for the community. Volunteers always are welcome to partake in the on-going project and donations are appreciated. To find out how to become involved with the greenhouse, call Jones at 494-2449.

Photos by SCOTT WALLACE/Cherokee Scout

Liam Jones, 2, and his 3-year-old sister, Gates, help their mother, Emilie, plant seedlings at Christian Love Ministries geenhouse on River Road in Peachtree on Feb. 6.

Josh Grubb; his brother, Geoff Grubb; and Jeff’s son, Doug Grubb, (from left) work side by side in the Christian Love Ministries greenhouse. All three have availed themselves of Christian Love’s programs and now volunteer their time.

Joey Aldridge and Richard Becker (from left), both students at Christian Love Ministries, work and learn in the organization’s greenhouse. The skills and experience they are gaining will help secure employment when they have finished their studies at Christian Love.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Little Inspiration From The Television

So, it doesn't happen often that I write down a line from a t.v. show that inspires me, but the last sentence spoken in last week's episode of Grey's Anatomy has been my motto lately:
Maybe we have to get a little messed up before we can step up.
I feel like I'm on a stair climbing machine I've been stepping up so much lately. But it makes me wonder...If we weren't going through this time in our lives, would I be stepping up this much? Maybe I've been stagnant for too long & this is exactly what I've needed...hmmmm. I'd like to put out a personal challenge to anyone who reads this passage to think about ways your struggles can make you stronger and how you can use those obstacles to make a positive change in your life. Step up friends.

Monday, March 23, 2009

25 Days & A Breakfast (& Counting!)

We all feel it in the air...spring is here! I find that the seasons & their characteristics have been especially significant to our family over the past year. Last spring marked the beginning of new life when we learned I was pregnant with Gage. Our summer was filled with exciting adventures: going to France, our 1st wedding anniversary, road trips to visit family & friends, and (of course) my expanding belly! As fall approached, we embraced the new changes of turning our other bedroom into a nursery, remodeling our bathroom, and welcoming our son into the world. To view it from the outside in, our life looked like it should be pretty perfect. But scattered among those seasons were lies, fear, distrust, lack of communication...a family falling apart just as it was beginning.
And then winter came.
Rich's behavior was changing...he was forgetful, tired all the time, became defensive very easily, started gaining weight...strangely enough, they were all things happening to me while I was pregnant, so I excused them away as stress from having a new baby. Then I discovered a large stash of Rich's empty alcohol bottles just before Christmas. That was the moment I realized that Rich didn't just have an "issue" with drinking, he was an alcoholic. I felt a rush of more emotions than I may have ever felt in one moment. "How could he do this to himself? To me? To our family!?" Ironically, winter brings about feelings of depression and restlessness for many does alcoholism. The beautiful thing about life is that God gives us spring.
I can not only see the changes happening in Rich, I can feel them. We are communicating more openly, laughing more freely, and enjoying the rebirth of our relationship. I married my husband for better AND worse. I look forward to growing old with Rich...through all the seasons of life.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Speaking of an emotional roller coaster...For the past few days I have felt pretty down & angry. Today, however, was the bright spot in my week that I've been needing. I (nervously) went to my first Al Anon meeting. It was a fairly large meeting of at least 30 big that they never even got around to me in the circle as people were sharing. I actually found that to be o.k. with me for my first sort of sit back and take it all in instead of feeling compelled to share. I also told a few more friends about our situation today and was so touched by the positive support they extended. When Rich first entered rehab, I emailed a couple of his friends to let them know about what was happening, and I was so disappointed that one of his "close" buddies has yet to even respond. I think that fear of abandonment has kept me from continuing to share with others and reach out for help. Today's experience taught me a valuable lesson: I have to show others respect by giving them the chance to experience & feel their own set of emotions about this process of recovery. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for our words could ever express how much we have been blessed by your love.


So, I was talking with my mom today, and she suggested that I use this platform as a way to express how I’m feeling…about everything…not having Rich around, trying to keep my house in order, wondering how I‘m going to pay our bills, etc. I’ve fallen into a habit of writing about only about CLM for fear that if I try to express myself at all, I’d sound like the spacey, sleep deprived mom that I am! But I think she is right. My goal with this blog was to share our journey, good and bad. So here it goes…
I have to say I wish I didn't have to experience this role as a "single parent" for these 11 weeks. My house is a wreck. I forget everything (literally everything!). I don’t know what I’m going to wear tomorrow it’s been that long since I’ve done laundry. I have no idea how we are going to survive financially. I cry a lot. I don’t pray enough. And I’m trying to stay sane enough to take care of our beautiful baby boy. But this is life, right?
Tomorrow I’m going to go to my first Al Anon meeting. I’m hoping that participating in these meetings will help me understand and get a grip on the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ebenezer Heap

In front of the CLM building is this rock pile known as the Ebenezer Heap. Each stone in the pile represents a student who has graduated from the program. Students have creative freedom to decorate their rock and place it among the others in the pile. I was curious about the meaning of the word Ebenezer, & I found that it is a combination of two Hebrew words that literally mean "stone of help." I think it is very fitting that this pile of rocks is a focal point for the students because it not only reminds them of the hundreds of students who came before them, but it also showcases the individuality of each person. Below is a picture of one of the recent graduates from Christian Love with his decorated's a great addition to the "stone of help" pile, don't you think?!? :-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Words of Wisdom

In the kitchen at CLM, there is a dry-erase board where one of the employees writes a daily quote/joke/whatever. I thought I'd share these every so often. Here was one of the quotes on the board when I visited last:
It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.
28 days into the program, Rich is doing great so far. When I talk to Rich in the evenings, it's awesome to hear how he is (gradually & cautiously) opening up. He has found the daily AA meetings very helpful & the classroom material is furthering his understanding of substance abuse. He's been there long enough now to have seen several students graduate as well as new students enter the program. I think he's glad not to be the "new guy" anymore, but he understands that he has a long way to go & is glad he entered a longer program & not a typical 30 day program.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

12 Steps

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been learning so much about addiction and recovery. Although I had certainly heard about the 12 Step program, I realized I'd never actually read through the steps...which got me to thinking that there are probably others who haven't read them here they are:
Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

For even more information, visit the following websites:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Contact Information

It's hard to imagine going a full day without a cell phone, television, or the internet...but that's exactly what it's like for the 77 days students spend at Christian Love Ministries. All 15 of the guys in the program share one land line & getting a letter in the mail is the highlight of their day. If ever there was a time in Rich's life for words of encouragement, this is definitely it! So if you'd like to revisit the lost art of sending a handwritten card or letter, here is the mailing address:
Richard Becker
c/o Christian Love Ministries
P.O. Box 376
Murphy, NC

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Rich!

Today is Rich's 38th birthday...Happy Birthday my love! Gage & I had the opportunity to go visit Rich this past weekend for the first time since he entered CLM. Here is a little bit about the program:
Christian Love Ministries is a non-profit drug/alcohol treatment facility at the top of a (steep!) hill overlooking the Hiawasse River in Murphy, NC. It has provided treatment for over 1,400 individuals since their doors opened in August 1996. The success rate of the program at CLM stays consistent at 50% (or above)-most secular programs have only a 3-10% success rate. During a student's 11 week stay at CLM, they are given individual counseling, group therapy, classroom instruction & daily AA or NA meetings. Funding is provided through donations and money raised at the 2 Market Place thrift stores run by CLM. Every day, the students spend a few hours working at one of the Market Place stores sorting donations, filling shelves, or bailing clothing into giant bales that are shipped to Africa. It is quite an time I visit I'll take some pictures to show just how amazing it is!
For even more info, you can visit CLM's website:
Here is a picture of us down by the Hiawasse River yesterday...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Penny Lane

On Monday, February 2, 2009, my husband Rich and I begin our 2 hour drive to Murphy, NC...our destination is a place on Penny Lane called Christian Love Ministries. For the next 11 weeks, this is where Rich will call home as he begins his recovery from alcoholism.
My goal with this blog is to share our journey, answer questions, find hope, & record this experience that will forever change us...