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Hi! Welcome to She-Who-Hears.Net and its off-shoot, the Learning to Live Sober blog. Both blogs are written by me, Joss, a 29 year old who’s passionate about living a life that reflects her values and her potential. I have a lot of struggles in my life right now – health, sobriety, and education – these blogs document them.


She-Who-Hears.Net is my general blog, which includes daily updates on different themes – typical life stuff, thoughts on spirituality, times past, the present and my hopes for the future. I also do creative writing – mostly poetry.

I’m following the 365 Days of Writing Prompts guide, and have my own weekly and monthly features. Each week, I’ll post a quote, poem, and piece of art. Each month, I’ll review a book, album and movie and write up an inspiring person. Currently, most of my thoughts about sobriety and my struggle to achieve it are here, but as time goes on I’ll shift the majority of it over to Learning to Live Sober.

Learning to Live Sober is strictly a collection daily reflections pertaining to sobriety and stepwork. If you’re not affliated with recovery, what that means is that I’ll be doing reflections from “Each Day A New Beginning”, a book which features an inspiring quote each day meant to aid in recovering women’s character development and therefore enhance their sobriety.

Stepwork is the written work behind achieving advancement through the twelve steps. I’m following the Narcotics Anonymous stepwork guide, which includes my thoughts on addiction and actions that I’m responsible for and my attempts to remedy the damage and grow as a person.

You can follow both, one or neither – but I’m clarifying what in the devil is going on here.

Featured post

A Sense of Humor

To be wildly enthusiastic, or deadly serious – both are wrong. Both pass. One must keep ever present a sense of humor.

-Katherine Mansfield

Some emotional reserve is necessary, but I feel that emotions are okay and should be expressed and felt organically. Perhaps I’m projecting here – my standpoint is that of a person who is already emotionally reserved…I don’t know, being able to laugh at yourself is important.

Just don’t overdo laughing at yourself and get numb and detached from your emotions.


Anger repressed can poison a relationship as surely as the cruelest words.

-Joyce Brothers

 I agree – Inability to express my anger appropriately or at all has led to me bottling up frustration and ending or leaving relationships. I’m working on expressing myself better, and it’s quite helpful.


The pure relationship, how beautiful it is! How easily it is damaged, or weighted down with irrelevancies, just life itself, the accumalutions of life and of time.

-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

None of my relationships are pure, and some of them were so fundamentally unhealthy that I had to scrap them entirely. At this point, I have about three real friendships in my life, and those have their own sagas.

Key elements here are my general distrust of humanity, and my tendency to attract leaches. One of my goals in life is making real friends as I approach thirty, and boy, have we all gotten more complicated than we were in preschool. No one wants my cookies. Or everyone wants my cookies, as long as one of us has cleared out by morning.


Love is an expression and assertion of self-esteem, a response to one’s own values in the person of another.

-Ayn Rand

Huh. I’m fighting the urge to deconstruct this whole thing on the principle that its something Ayn Rand said, so therefore wrong and evil.

Gimme a minute.

Mature love is indeed based around a person’s values and inner beauty rather than an infatuation with their outer shell. I tend to appreciate and value people with contrasting, but compatible values, though. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone with exactly matching values to myself, so maybe I just haven’t had the opportunity yet.

I realize this quote is being used in the context of general love, rather than romantic love, but I find it amusing that most past objects of my affection would be prone to agreeing with the quote based on the fact that Ayn Rand said it.

Therefore, she’s wrong and evil.


Is there ever any particular spot where one can put one’s finger and say, “It all began that day, at such a time and such a place, with such an incident”?

-Agatha Christie

Hah…I actually have two incidents in my life that upon meeting people I knew that both relationships were going to be instrumental and important to my development, but had much too positive hopes for them. Sometimes your worst experiences are what teaches you best.

That said, most of life is an interrelated flow, and you never know what’s going to happen. It’s best to put your best foot forward and keep your expectations low, or at least that’s how I currently feel.


It takes time, love, and support to find peace with the restless one.

-Deidra Sarault

 Restlessness resides within the self as a response to the failure of an individual to adjust to the circumstances of their life. Therefore, it is self-centered, and can be helped by practicing further acceptance and relying upon God.

One of the motivators in relapse for myself and others that I’ve seen is restlessness. Previously, I was unable to rely on God, but have learned to. I’ll put this in my toolbox for later.


To believe in something not yet proved and to underwrite it with our lives; it is the only way we can leave the future open.

-Lillian Smith

The third step asks you to take action and place your life and will into God’s care. This is the ultimate test of faith after a life lived purely on self-will and selfish desires. My experience so far has been that God has greater things in store for me than I could imagine on my own. Nothing grandious, but there’s a significantly greater degree of peace and order than I could imagine on my own. Each day I work to better my future, and each day after the next keeps getting better.

Paying Attention

When I slow down long enough to smell the roses, I usually see the beauty and all else that is ours to share.

-Morgan Jennings

The greatest gift we can give ourselves and others is our complete attention, as the saying goes. This resonates with me because I’ve begun a daily meditation practice that is making me more aware of the moment I’m in and the fact that it is one-of-a-kind and unique, never to be experienced again. I missed so much subtle beauty because of my former attitude toward life. Life really is what you make it – it can be a terrible chore with few and far between moments of joy, or it can be a continual process of gradual awakening and learning.

The choice is yours.


How have I acted on self-will? What were my motives?

Inching away from the program after my leg broke, allowing and continuing contact with people from my past, relapsing. I give myself a pass for about a month, but after that I thought I could do it on my own and handle temptation.

I failed.

There goes my clean time.

How has acting on self-will affected my life?

It’s introduced more failure and setbacks then there needs to be.

How has my self-will affected others?

It’s hurt other people and driven people away.

Will pursuing my goals harm anyone? How?

No, pursuing sobriety and education will only help myself and others.

In the pursuit of what I want, is it likely that I will end up doing something that adversely affects myself or others? Explain.

No, because my goals are sobriety and education.

Will I have to compromise any of my principles to achieve this goal?


Describe the times when my will hasn’t been enough.

Too many to describe. Staying away from my ex, staying away from drug use, self-control with a panoply of substances…anything involving the combination of self-control and dopamine generally doesn’t work out well for me.

What is the difference between my will and God’s Will?

God’s will goes beyond instant gratification, my tendency toward destruction, and my short sighted and inefficient ability to “help” others. By staying in my own lane and minding my own business, I am not contributing to the negative behavior of others or myself. I have this time to settle down and focus on repairing myself, so it’d be in my best interest to take it.

Have there been times in my recovery when I’ve found myself subtly taking back my will and my life? What alerted me? What have I done to recommit myself to the Third Step?

Yes, with my recent relapse and when my leg broke and my fall from the program started. A sudden move placed me away from my support network, and things started to fall apart.

I had subtle warning signs that I was relapsing on old behavior and old people, but I thought I was safe because of not being able to move and being physically separated.

I’ve reworked the first three steps and gotten close to people in the program and my sponsor. I work a daily program and stay vigilant.


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