A 5 Year Reflection

Rob with Coin

Wow, how quickly this past year has gone by. As I hit this next mile stone, five years without a drink, I look back and really need both hands to count all of the blessings.

In the past few months I have been reunited with my quilt “and the Flag was still there” – a quilt that I have donated to Operation Home Front and now am on the final fund raising drive to finish the Mission. You can read more about that HERE.

Then my dream of inventing the coolest, smallest rotary cutter for appliqué finally came true. I have worked for the past four years to develop The Shark Applicutter and it launched into the market with a huge success. I am very proud to have created a tool that works so well for my style of appliqué cutting. The Man Sewing brand is growing by leaps and bounds and most importantly we are having a blast creating the free tutorials and all of the other fantastic content for all of our fans!

But, you know you can trust me to give it to you straight. So as I approach this anniversary I have also been troubled greatly with an overwhelming rawness to my emotions. It has been explained to me that after years of drowning my emotions, they are growing back and they, like the rest of my body, are becoming stronger. I cannot say that I have been over the top happy this past several months. I found myself feeling on the top of the world during my third and fourth years. First due to the physical and mental improvements in my life, then for the ability to convert my dreams into action due to the newly found strength. Now as I reflect back I find myself plagued by thoughts of lost time and bad decisions from my past.

5 year coin

I am a man of faith, and truly believe that this is all part of God’s big plan. I know that my eyes should stay focused on the future. Looking back just leads to more unanswered questions and fear of what I was really running from when I ended up at the bottom of the bottle.  Each day offers new challenges and what I wish to remind myself of is the simple decision that I needed to make. That for me, recovery is a lifetime choice that I must live out one day at a time. If you are on a similar journey I wish you all the strength in the world, keep pushing on I know it is worth it.

110 Replies to “A 5 Year Reflection”

  1. Hi Rob, I’ve been visiting your website off and on for about the past 6 months, since discovering it. I was seeing if you were still there/here last week and so happy to see you so happy. I downloaded the iPhone plop pattern and am just about to make it so I popped back to your sight just now to see you make it one more time.

    At first I thought this post from yesterday was by Cheyanne Hefly but as I read it realized it was yours. I just had to write. I subscribed only today and before seeing this post, btw. I love your website and all that you do with it and beyond.

    Finally I’m getting to it: Congratulations Big Time! Wow, 5 years is so cool. I know what that feels like although I’m only at 2.5 years and can’t wait for 3, 4, and 5. I abruptly quite having anything to do with alcohol, wine was my substance of choice at the time. After about 6-7 months I really started to notice how much better I felt, in so many ways. I worked after a long 5.5 hour commute each day at Harvard (not as fancy as that sounds) for 6 full years. When I started this trek and what would become one of the most horrible yet highest paying jobs I ever had, I only drank wine sometimes, and only just weekends. I was very disciplined because I had my beer drinking days or nights rather, and could have about 3-5 micro brews. Gradually my wine intake was on the uptick and after about 3 years of this lifestyle (horrendous commute to go with criminals in bow ties in order to pay for my son’s college education) I was starting to have wine on week nights. Everyone at my work said they did, so I thought why not. Then by year 4-5, it was daily and by 6 no one could tell me not to open a second bottle of wine each night. I would if I wanted to. On June 14, 2014 I had a blackout at the end of a night of partying like a college kid, celebrating my son earning a Master’s degree. I’d drank the one bottle I brought to cover my daily habit, but then there was so much other stuff. My son’s mother-in-law ran amok and it was very, very bad. She could hold her booze, I thought I could hold mine. The blackout came and I woke up in the hospital. The only consolation is that the event I still do not remember happened as the party was winding up. However, my son, only child, 26 years old was so hurt and embarrassed and most of all scared to death for me. He had watched from a distance my alcohol consumption increase over the years and had already begun he said to worry 2-3 years earlier. I had recently quite my job and thought I would then quit my wine habit. That didn’t happen, it was still there. My best friend in Colorado said she could not imagine I’d ever develop a habit because alcohol, when I was young, didn’t interest me like it did most of my friends. I never drank again after that day, stopped abruptly – not knowing that alcohol is the one substance that a withdrawal from can kill someone. I didn’t think I could stay stopped all by myself and my family (husband and son) were too close to the situation, so I tried to get into a very good rehab. There was no room at the inn, so to speak, and it was the only program I wanted to go to because of its rating 12th in the nation and near my home on the cape. They did however offer me, for the time being, “outpatient rehab”, which I started the very next Monday, June 16, 2014. I loved it, all the people, the counselors and all my addicted mates. They had a hard time graduating me because I just didn’t want to go. I’d learned so much. Afterwards though, there was no real “community” except at one scary AA meeting and another snooty one. I didn’t fit in. I discovered thebubblehour.com founded a few years before by newly sober women my age who could relate to my issues. I read the book “Drink” about women and alcohol, and learned I was primed by my age and life’s stressors to fall into the wine bottle as I did, absolutely primed by several factors all combined. TNT, kaboom. Anyway, the podcasts were wonderful. I finished a Master’s in Writing that I’d started before working at HU in 2015, and from there it has been up, up, up. However, and this is a big however, I understand very well how you feel plagued by lost time and and costly mistakes. Don’t be. I was for a bit, sorry for the years I wasted not being present enough to listen to my son’s college adventures and hear between the lines as I once did to guide him along safely. There were ramifications over what I think was a good many years, more than just those 6, because when things got tough in the years before those particular ones, I was going for a beer or glass of wine to quell my anxiety and fears and deep seeded hurt from so many years really long gone. Those thoughts stick around and poke at our emotions. I liken this to my poking the bear. Reading a lot of books on Buddhism has helped me immensely. I don’t know who I owe more to, the Buddha or the women that founded The Bubble Hour. Not to mention the inpatient rehab I am ever grateful for. My family is amazed now, and tell me not to dwell on the years while I was “under water” instead of being with them. They are just glad I am here now. Back where I belong, sober (a word I don’t really like and would rather say “not drinking”). I feel kinda like I was asleep for most of those 5 years of 6. With each month, now year, I feel so much healthier and happier. Emotions do not grow roots, they just swell from time to time, to remind us of how well we are now and how much better we will continue to be, come what may. Life is complicated enough, we don’t need alcohol messing things up. One only gets so many chances to fix things. We are fixed, right now, and we want to stay that way and we can. I have faith we will. I like now, being present, learning all kinds of fun things from you. And do I make quillows! All kinds of different ones, and people actually want to pay me to make them one after they see them. I love your website and all that you do. I will support you as your work here has been a support to me. Again, congrats, man! I’m so happy you shared this part of yourself. You should be very proud, 5 years. The chip is very pretty too. – Take care, your friend, Lindy

  2. You brought tears of happiness to my eyes this morning! So happy to know that you are not only a quilting brother but a brother in the Lord! Well done!

  3. Thank you for sharing. I have two alcoholic sons who had alcolhic fathers (who did not overcome). Sharing your post and asking God to bless you and keep you strong as you continue your journey.

  4. Wonderful words to live by. Each day we face challenges but it is what we do with them that counts. You have accepted to make your life, the life of your family and all of us better.

  5. Congratulations. My father was an alcoholic. I am a retired Probation Officer. I know what an awesome feat this is. I enjoy you videos. They have helped me in my quilting journey. I will pray for your continued sobriety.

  6. Congratulations to you, Rob! My husband has been sober for 38 years and I am so grateful to God as I look back on those 38 years and think of how much our family and we as a couple would have missed without that sobriety. One day at a time! May God continue to bless you and your family.

  7. Congrats, you should be proud, remember it’s still one day at a time, I didn’t know you were in sobriety I also am, I just reached 28 years on 2/2/17.

  8. God Bless You! I have been sober for 22 years. It is, for me, a journey that never ends. I am so happy that you are sharing your journey in such a powerful way. I am new to sewing and quilting and found you through MSQC. I have learned so much from you and can’t thank you enough for being so willing to share all that you know. One day at a time…..

  9. 1 John 3:19,20 Congratulations Rob! It is normal for us to “beat ourselves up” over our past…thank goodness God is greater than our hearts and is merciful and much kinder to us than we are to ourselves. Keep going!

  10. Rob, God bless you for sharing. Being sober is a gift from God. It is the greatest life possible. I have 34 years sobriety–I believe that was the greatest thing in my life. Pain is the greatest motivator ever. Also a Christian–God is good and faithful. Congratulations.

  11. Rob, Thank you for your honesty. I can’t say I know your struggle- but I can tell you that this year my own father is 40 years sober. I believe this is nothing short of a miracle- he has seen so many people relapse and is just as surprised as anyone he’s made 40 years. I don’t remember when he drank. I was 2 when my parents divorced and he sobered up. I just know a man who sacrificed so much for me. I will keep you in my prayers for strength in the Lord to continue on this journey in which you have sacrificed and given so much for your own family- because I think it is easier to give in to our temptations than to fight and flee.
    And Can I just say a huge THANK YOU for your participation rare disease day!!? For 15 years I was told it was “just panic attacks and they won’t kill you”….. 3.5 years ago I was told I have a rare disease….that just was given a name 1 year before my own diagnosis. We – as a community- appreciate all that folks do to bring awareness to all those “rare” diseases- named, and still yet to be discovered, named, and validated.

  12. thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I fell in love with your enthusiasm for quilts on the first tutorial I saw with you and Joan. I love watching you share your creativity with us. Praise God for your sobriety, so thankful you are letting Him lead your life. Can’t wait for other great things from you!

  13. By sharing your walk through such difficult times and sharing the faith that made it possible, your intense pain and struggles are not wasted. Praise God for your talents and the new life you have! Thank you for bringing your unique charm and cheerful teaching to the sewing and quilting community. What a blessing you are!

  14. Thanks for your story – and the part about drowning your emotions resonates with me and I wish you continued success with your recovery.

  15. Congrats on your five years of sobriety! I am so proud of you! My husband has been sober for 37 years, and I know he has had some very difficult times during those years. Please hang in there and keep doing what you do best for all of us sewers and quilters as well as your beautiful family!!! I love all your tutorials. Keep up the good work.


  17. Nothing is wasted, Rob. It is all part of what makes you and your story inspiring and helpful to so many now. Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing this part of your life as you share your other gifts. You are a light among us.

  18. Congratulation! I applaud you for being open with your story. My husband just celebrated 8 years last week. Keep putting in the work and keep coming back!

  19. Thank you, Rob, for sharing your story. In my 57 years of living on earth, I think that all humans at some times must deal with difficult struggles, depression, anxiety, issues, rock bottom lows, addictions, etc. It is how you climb out of these problems and face them daily, sometimes minute by minute, that makes you who are. Problems may never go away. No human is above falling into addictions. You must find a way to cope and move forward. Keeping busy with favorite hobbies, water exercise, helping others, being around positive people, my faith in God, and reading my Bible is how I deal with my depression and physical pain. I have seen the results of family members sink in addictions until their death, and it reminds me when I am low, to look up, get up, and move ahead. God has put me on earth for a reason, and I must fight to keep on living. May God continue to guide and bless you. Love your tutorials!

  20. Thank you for being so open, Rob. I grew up with an alcoholic father and experienced life in a skewed way that no child should. By saving yourself, everyone around you has the chance for a better life. I always prayed my father would stop drinking but he died with his issue unresolved. I often wonder what he was really like as I only saw glimpses of him when he was sober. I think I would have liked him – loving a parent isn’t always earned, liking them is. Your children will thank you for doing this for them. Congratulations and stay strong for the better good!

  21. A quote from a wise friend:

    “The only feelings that can’t heal are the ones we hide”.

    Thanks for sharing your struggle so openly and honestly. It is hard to confront memories that cause pain to ourselves and others. Praying that God sends the people that you need to support you on your journey of healing.

  22. We met you at the International Quilt show in Houston 2016. You are an energetic dynamo! Congratulations on your sobriety, Rob! My mother took pills and alcohol for 42 years. Her addictions caused immense pain in our family. But now we are healing and reaching our own ‘family milestones.’ God is always there……

  23. Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson came up with a marvelous program. Keep working it ‘one day at a time’. You can’t change your past but it will help shape you future. Thank you for sharing your story and your faith in God.

  24. Outstanding milestone Rob! Thank you for sharing your story – God is good and will always come through with His plan for our lives, we just have to have our eyes & heart wide open to walk His way. We’re all broken in our own ways, it brings a sense of understanding & compassion of one another when we are vulnerable enough to open up about the stories in our lives on this side of Heaven. God Bless you and keep going strong – you have amazing talent!

  25. Sending you Blessings Rob, all the way from South Africa. Be proud of what you have achieved so far, don’t look back, those years are gone. Look forward and be excited at all the thing you can do for your family firstly, and the of course for all the quilting ladies too. Look up and give thanks to our Heavenly Father.

  26. Thanks for your willingness to be transparent, Rob! I will be praying for you and your family. The verse that I pray for my grandson and will pray for you…
    Psalm 105:4. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

  27. Congratulations! Please don’t beat yourself up for past decisions. At the time the decisions were fine for you; part of your history. You’re making new memories now.

  28. Rob, your comment ‘plagued by thoughts of lost time and bad decisions from my past’ resonated strongly with me. This sense of guilt is a clever maneuver by the evil one to steal your joy. When these thoughts of regret are thrown in your direction — just remind the evil one about his future. His final destination is the lake of fire. I applaud you on FIVE years of sobriety. Your ‘story’ portrays faithfulness, courage and determination! You have a beautiful and godly spirit! Be assured of my prayers for your continued success.

  29. I too have struggled with the “coulda woulda shoulda” demons that tempt me to look back. But what is truth is the God has cast my past sins and mistakes as far as the east is from the west. He wants me to live in the truth of who He says I am, and to take the next right step. I just want to encourage you in the words of Hebrews 12:1-2. Keep on keeping on, brother!

  30. Congratulations Rob on your 5 years of sobriety. It takes a while to forgive yourself and really believe it while God has already forgotten your sin. It would be well for you to see the movie “War Room” to give you an idea of how Satan plays with our thoughts keeping us from moving on. And keep sharing your talents.

  31. Congrats on you 5 years of sobriety! Your story is powerful and the emotions you face are a part of the continued journey. The challenges are real and but past does not reflect who you are today. Each day is a gift, given by God to each of us. We know not what is in store for us, but to treasure the gift is part of your new strength. You are supported and loved by so many people, and your story will help someone know that they too can come through their struggles and pain. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and the community of supporters look forward to the joy of quilting with you. Blessings!

  32. Life is not easy, but it sure is worthwhile! Thanks for sharing and know that you have may fans who “hero” you and now for one more reason. I am married to an alcoholic(whom I have never seen drink) and I am sooooo proud to know you courageous men!

  33. Rob, your making your life beautiful, keep going!
    My Father sent me a card many years ago and when my son was going through his sobriety I gave him a copy of the card, I love this! it’s called “A Beautiful Life”

    A Beautiful Life
    Love yourself.
    MAKE PEACE with who you are and where you are at this moment in time.
    Listen to your heart.
    If you can’t hear what it’s saying in this noisy world, MAKE TIME for yourself.
    Enjoy your own company.
    Let your mind wander among the stars
    Try, Take chances. MAKE MISTAKES.
    Life can be messy and confusing at times, but it’s also full of surprises.
    The next rock in your path might be a stepping-stone.
    Be happy.
    When you don’t have what you want, want what you have. MAKE DO,
    That’s a well-keep secret of contentment.
    There aren’t any shortcuts to tomorrow.
    You have to MAKE YOUR OWN WAY.
    To know where your going is only part of it.
    You need to know where you’ve been too.
    And if you ever get lost, don’t worry.
    The people who love you will find you.
    Count on it.
    Life isn’t days and years.
    It’s what you do with time and with all the goodness
    and grace that’s inside you. MAKE A BEAUTIFUL LIFE…
    The kind of life you deserve.

  34. God be with you! My dad was sober for over 27 years before he passed, it was life altering for me to witness his path. He would tell you he maintained his sobriety one day at a time throughout the 27 years. Have faith in yourself. I look at faith as what takes over when there are no answers to your questions. Faith is freeing. Congratulations on a hard worn battle and best of luck with the future, you know you can do it (we know you can too).

    1. Congratulations to you Rob and thank you for sharing. By sharing your struggle and your victory, you are encouraging others–and we all have our struggles. It has been my privilege to meet you on a couple of occasions and I very much appreciate your love of quilting and creating. God richly bless and keep you. Fight on!

  35. Philippians 3:7-14…especially verses 12 – 14…”Not that I have already attained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

    Thank you for your transparency and bravery. We will all walk this journey with you. God is truly taking something and working it for the good. Hang in there- One Day at a Time.


  36. I am taking a risk writing on your blog here, but oh well. I am also a friend of Bill’s coming upon my 5 years. Mourning the lost time is a good thing, beating yourself up for the lost time is living in the past and you know what happens then (something about pissing on the now). Keep going on that path of happy joyous and free. You are an amazing example of how the promises come true. And without those “lost years” you would not be that shining example to change the lives of many out here.

  37. Congratulations Rob on your 5 years of sobriety…and thank you for sharing your story…you are an inspiration and a very talented teacher and “quilt artist”…

  38. I absolutely, totally, admire you for your ongoing struggle. Watched my
    dad go sober for 10+ years after a lifetime of alcohol excess. I have
    his coins now, as a reminder of how small my struggles really are.
    I am blown away by the internal strength it takes to accomplish this
    heroic goal. My thoughts and prayers will be with you as you continue
    your journey. I have a small sign posted on my bulletin board here at
    home…”Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.”

  39. Thank you for sharing both triumphs and challenges. Congratulations on BOTH of your recent triumphs! Continue your successes through your faith in God and faith in your SELF. Together ALL things are possible!

  40. It took a long time to park “the garbage truck” in my life, but I did years ago and haven’t regretted it. We can go over and over the past, but nothing changes. Live in the “now”.

    The idea isn’t original to me and I have shared it with others: You can walk backwards down the road to the future, dragging the past with you, or you can walk forward with open hands, trusting that God will provide what you need for today.

    Congratulations on 5 years. I look forward to the day you say it is your sixth year anniversary.

  41. Thank you for sharing your story. We never know the path we’ll walk in life but, I believe God when he says “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11
    We can learn from yesterday, live for today and not worry about tomorrow.
    I love your tutorials, and am inspired by your creativity! May God continue to bless you today and always.

  42. Rob that’s Wonderful, congratulations! 26 years for me and I feel Fantastic. You’ll always be the designated driver LOL I find it more acceptable now when some folks choose not to drink alcohol, people don’t look at you like you have two heads. I don’t miss it, I can deal with life’s problems way better and with a clear head, … Rob, Well Done!

  43. God has blessed you, Rob, He has given the ability to share both your hardships and your gains. Keep going. You are much loved by your family and extended family.

  44. God Bless You – As a military mom – the idea of “your flag” and Operation Homefront hit me directly. Thank you and keep up your fight. You’re an inspiration to all of us. Don’t worry about losing days / activities – build on today and think of the things you share and the work God in store for you. Good Luck

  45. I am so Thankful for you in this world.
    I so enjoy your way of teaching and humor.
    We all have our battles in life keep working all your doing.
    Thank You for the courage you share.
    Every little bit of God is glorious to us all.

  46. Rob, have you heard the song “You Are More” by the Christian band Tenth Avenue North? It is such a hopeful song…as one line says: You are more than the sum of your past mistakes! Congratulations on such an important anniversary. I love your tutorials and can’t wait to get one of your Shark Applicutters, I’m very drawn to your style of applique and have several landscape quilts in my head, just haven’t had time to start those projects yet. Keep those great ideas coming and never, ever give up!

  47. Ten fingered prayer (raise a finger for each word of the scripture) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Whenever our family is going through “stuff” I tell them to get em up (raise those hands and recite the verse). Its a wonderful reminder of our God’s love and promises. So proud of you Rob. You’ve got this brother!!

  48. Hi Rob, I haven’t had a drink since 1986, before that there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t have a drink. I don’t tell too many people how many years it has been. Congratulations on your five years. Proud of you.

  49. Congratulations to you! I am very happy for you and enjoy seeing you on my email. Please continue your fine work in quilting and helping us. Thank you for sharing your success with us, I am behind you all the way.

  50. Rob, I haven’t been so touched by anything is a long time. We just had Teen Challenge at our church and a graduate from our church. I have to say Sir, when I first heard of Rob from Man Sewing, I about fell out of my chair, but it’s been my place to run when I need to learn something about quilting! Thanks for the excitement and the joy that you present! There’s so much more than I don’t know so I’m glad you are still working at it… And, congratulations, you deserve the kudo’s…..

  51. I wish you strength for your battle. We lost our daughter 18 months ago. Wished she could have found your strength to quit. You are bringing so much happiness and creativity to the quilting community, keep strong!

  52. Rob, happy 5th!! I have 23 years, one day at a time. A lot of our growth and changes happen in the first few years, then it can get more mundane. Sometimes we liked the highs and lows, then it gets more even. I like to call that Serenity! God bless you. I wish you many more birthdays.

  53. Rob, I would just like to add my congratulations for a great milestone in your life!! Although I have not used alcohol to wall off my emotions, I so relate to battling with severe depression just the same. I’ve only been a fan for a brief time as I just started quilting a year ago but when I discovered your UTube tutorials through MSQC I was fascinated and “hooked”. Now I wouldn’t miss your tutorials or your newsletter because you explain whatever you are teaching in such a clear and straightforward way! I love it!! I too am a person of faith and seek our Lord’s direction and plan even through the pain of past experiences. Blessings to you and all those you love and I’m hoping to get a chance to see you when you visit the San Diego, CA area soon!! 🙂

  54. Thank you for sharing your story!
    Wishing you many more sobriety years!
    You are an inspiration, in so many ways!

  55. Rob…Thanks for sharing your victory of 5 years. You are an overcomer – thank God for each day as it comes. Blessings to many more years of sobriety and faith, one day at a time.

  56. I am so happy for your anniversary. As the mother of two children who have gone this route and have been in recovery for 14 and 21 years. They both live each day so happy with their achievement. Life is not always easy but just one day at a time. I know the struggle you have gone through. It is really worth it. My prayers are with you and all who struggle with this disease daily.

  57. Congratulations, Rob! Keep on going. You’re doing a great job introducing sewing and quilting to men, making it feel like a gender-neutral hobby that anybody can enjoy at any time in your life. To five more years of sobriety, one day at a time…

  58. OK. First time (really) I’ve ever written to someone I don’t know. I knew there was something about you, in watching your tutorials, that was more than just a spazzy guy who has infectious enthusiasm about what he does. Your passion and spirit of gratitude shows. I know what it’s like to have your life redeemed from years of bad decisions. I’ve learned that wondering what if? about the past goes nowhere… but asking what now? about the future inspires hope. You are an inspiration! May God continue to bless you abundantly.
    And I LOVE the ‘Shark’ 🙂

  59. You have my huge congratulations for your self confidence and the ability to read this milestone. I have a brother that just reached his 25th year and it has changed all our lives so much. KEEP GOING – I know it will get rough at times, but it is so worth it for you and your loved ones. Very Proud Of YOU ! ! !

  60. God bless you, Rob! Your 5 years of growth and sobriety are amazing. Thank you for sharing. . .may those emotions settle in and bring you a new strength to meet your challenges. You are a great friend to all of us!

  61. Thank you! Congrads. 5 years is a long time. That is great. I hope to meet you on the happy road someday, God willing.

  62. I am praising God for bringing you through these past five years! Please please remember just how much He loves you and has forgiven you. Those regrets do not come from Him. Those attempts are Satan’s attempt to de-rail you from your new life. You are right to keep your eyes on the future to see how God will continue to lead you and use you for his glory. Congratulations!!

  63. Philippians 3:13 Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: FORGETTING the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before,
    Philippians 3:14 I PURSUE toward the GOAL for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward.

    Paul had many more things to beat himself up (throwing the Christian brothers and sisters in prison, watching the coats as men stoned Stephen to death) but this ONE thing he did, he forgot about it and pursued. I’ll keep you in my prayers, Rob

  64. My heart and soul goes out to you. I am aware of the struggle you deal with. But let me tell you this…. you made the step or steps to gain your life back. Others like my own sister drank herself to death at age 48. So gain strength in the knowledge that you have come so far and are continuing to improve your life by leaps and bounds! As you said, you are stronger than you were a few years back. And you are making your dreams reality. Keep pushing forward and stop looking back. The future is what matters, the past is in the past
    Leave it there.
    Congratulations on your journey, “you’ve come along way babie”
    Robin F

  65. Please remember you are so much more than your past. We for the most part have all made poor choices and let them stay in the past and not destroy happiness in the today. Thank you for being open and sharing with us……keep up your great work on yourself, your business, and helping others learn an art you do so well. <3

  66. Wow! Thank you for sharing. Well done, I hope the time you find yourself mourning about chances and opportunities lost is short lived. Those times have led you now to an amazing place, celebrating your 5th year. Congratulations and well done.

    Your story and words have helped me, It’s like someone just switched on the light. ???? Seriously! Just now! I’ve spent so long severely depressed about my physical condition, mourning all the things and chances missed, that I have not recognised the other opportunities that I have.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and congratulation on your absolute success. I too believe God has a plan , I suppose the things we have to go through in our lives shape is into the people we become. It’s just choosing which path to take when our time of troubles comes to us. Your 5 year medal is yours because you took one day at a time on the path to health.

    I’m going to try it too. Unfortunately there is no group for me to attend, but your one day at a time is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing your story. I found quilting and crafting over the past 5 years through my condition. It’s kept me sane, but still not well of positive mind. But one day I wish to be able to go to America to Missouri, the land of the quilter. The only way to do that is to follow your lead of one day at a time. That’s my goal! My first step is to try to become confident to start trying to leave my home for short periods of time. (After I have a look at your new rotary cutter online that is.)

    Thank you, God bless and well done. You are inspiring.

  67. Thank you for sharing. My husband has been sober for 25 yrs now and doing well. He has gone through some health issues that I was not sure that he would make it through remaining sober but his faith and determination helped him succeed. We have had many good years to overlay the bad but life still proceeds, one day at a time. Stick to your determination and work the program each and every day. Love your U-Tube shows. Keep up the good work.

  68. Rob, keep on keeping on! What a great accomplishment. My struggles have been from a different direction but we all probably beat ourselves up on some aspect of our lives. You are an inspiration to me to stretch my creativity outside the box with confidence!

  69. That is a real blessing. It’s not easy but it is easy if we just get out of the way and let God show us the way. It gets better! No actually it gets fantastic. There is no other way to live….life on life terms….. Congratulations and may you have many many more clean and sober years. …P.S. I will have 20 yrs on July 27 🙂 but who’s counting.

  70. Congrats to you…… 5 years is quite a milestone…… keep going. I do enjoy watching your videos to learn a new technique or just to remind me about things…..

  71. You’re sewing toturiols are an inspiration for my own creativity in sewing and quilting. I’m very faithful in watching each and every video.

    Now, to turn to your 5 yrs sobriety, that my friend, is the greatest achievement you have ever earned to date. My late husband of 23yrs, had to fight several very serious battles in his short life of 49yrs. He was a recovering alcoholic of 20yrs, with each and every day being a fight to stay on top of his sobriety and our girls and I were at each and every Chip celebration at their open meetings. We supported him each and every day as did many of his fellow members, not to mention his sponsor.

    Six months into his sobriety, we found out we were expecting our first daughter, only to have our world fall apart as we learned 3 days after that he would need a liver transplant or would not live long. He turned to his sponsor for guideance as well as to God. He received his liver and were blessed to be able to have our second daughter. I thank God each and every day for this gift of life as he would not been here nor would our second daughter. Fifteen yrs later, we got some more bad news that he would be in need of a second liver. The waiting was almost 3 yrs and put us to the test as a family, but he received second gift of life, only to loose his battle 3 yrs later. His body was to frail to continue with all the harsh medication he had to take to be able to stay alive and not reject his livers.

    Having said all this, he remained true to his sobriety with all the ups and downs his illness brought to him in his lifetime. I was so proud of my beloved husband and loved him enough to let him go to continue on his journey to finally be able to find peace and no more pain. Today, I celebrate in my heart his 57 birthday.

    May I also add that his drinking had absolutely nothing to do with his illness. This is an illness past down from his fathers side. He now has a nephew recently diagnosed with the same illness

    God will give yo what you can handle as he knows it will make us stronger and better. One day at a time my friend, one day at a time. Also accept the things you cannot change and to have courage to change the things I can……..


  72. Congrats Rob; 5 years is a wonderful accomplishment…this summer is my 6th year of sobriety…ai t life grand when we live it and feel it…keep going you are worth it and so much more!!!

  73. First off, thank you so much for your great smile and enthusiasm for quilting. You are a joy to spend time with learning to make quilts. Your projects are so much fun as well. Secondly, congratulations on your success in sobriety. I know that I would never have made it without God lifting me up and carrying me through the challenges that recovery presents sometimes. Look forward to more great videos from you.

  74. So happy for your success. I’ve only been following you for about a year, but I find your tutorials helpful and funny. Please keep your eyes on God and he will bring you threw this. You are a great blessing to alot of people.

  75. Rob you are an amazing man with an awesome talent. I love your videos, tips, instructions, and handouts! I have learned so much and it just continues. Thank you for that. Telling your story had to be very humbling. Remember…’you can do all things through god who strengthens you’. Don’t look back into that big black hole…keep looking forward.

  76. Hey, Rob, just wanted to let you know I am so happy for you celebrating 5 years of sobriety! I know it’s a road you walk every day. God has certainly done amazing things in your life. Keep up the great work and keep those tutorials coming! I know I’m not alone in saying your videos are so inspiring! I made the skateboard quilt for my grandson. If all goes as planned, he will get it for Christmas this year.

  77. So proud of you, Rob! Takes a humble man to admit this, and by God’s grace conquer it. I met you in Houston last fall, along with throngs of others, keep up the good work????

  78. Congratulations, Rob. I received my 2-month coin last week. I can truly relate to your joy, and I am proud to call you my fellow. With God, all things are possible, one day at a time.

  79. Congratulations! I will have 31 years this June and I never thought it could be possible for me. Those feelings you are having will fade and God will fill you will new blessings – over and over again.

    You give so much to all of us so, please be kind to our friend Rob Appell. We really need him to teach us about quilting because quilting teaches us about life.

    Thank you, Rob.

  80. Rob, thank you for your story. My mother sent this to me. As a fellow member of the human race who cannot drink and has two months of sobriety, it is inspiring to see others achieve this milestone — one day at a time. I look at my road to recovery from the perspective of a Mary Oliver’s Poem called “The Uses of Sorrow.” It reads, “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” Your recovery, spawned from a box full of darkness, is an inspirational gift.

  81. The thing about mistakes and bad decisions in our past, is that if we didn’t make them, we wouldn’t be who we are today. None of us is perfect, and we all have those things we’d like to have done better, or not done at all. But we grow as humans as we learn from lifes boo boos. Be strong, and don’t tear yourself down about that old stuff, because whatever happened led you on the path to Man Sewing, and we might not have you, were it not for the path you chose. *HUGS* I wish you lots and lots of love, light and strength on your continued journey! <3

  82. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational milestone with us all. God has great plans for you and you are redeeming the time by sharing your past battles. You wouldn’t be “MAN SEWING” without the past man you were and God is going to use your past to propel your future for His glory. Congratulations on five years and many more to come.

  83. Rob, first of all congratulations on your amazing transformation. Only look back to see how far you have come. The feeling are good ones. They will remind you to never go back there again and your faith in God will keep you strong. The things you have done on Man Sewing are amazing and have brought so much beauty into this world. Hugs

  84. I think it is good to look back from time to time, so long as we don’t dwell on it for very long. It can be depressing when I look back and think of all the lost time, as you say (there is LOTS of it, believe me), but I have come to the conclusion that really there is no such thing as “lost time”. Each and every day of our lives has a lesson in it – some small, some large. Some huge! So now I try to look at the it the same way I look at my garden when I’m weeding. Even when regret is near overwhelming, instead of looking at all of the weeds I still have to pull, I look back and all of the work I have already done. One day at a time, Rob. Live in the moment because, as they say, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. And by the way, I absolutely love having your presence in my life ~ even if it is only through the internet. One day I will return to CA and look for you on the beach 😀

  85. Rob, I am so thankful that you are here for us and that your journey has brought you this far. I love all your tutorials and feel blest that you have come to us as you are blessing all of us with your positive attitude and caring enough about us to share some of your life with us. God is good and He is good all the time for each of us that accept Him into our lives. God bless you each and every day of your life and that includes your family.

  86. Rob, I think we all have regrets for things not done. But the past is behind us and we should not look back and dwell on things not done. All one can do is be strong in faith and look to the future. Keep up the good work and congratulations on 5 years sober. It is the first of many milestones to come for you. I am very proud of your achievement as I am sure your family is as well. God Bless you and hold you safe. And keep those videos coming I love your upbeat spirit.

  87. Thank you, Rob, for sharing your story & journey. I pray that your life continues to be blessed and that you remember to cast those “old stones” out, the ones the enemy loves to remind of us. It’s all good, Jesus has your back. I love your enthusiasm in your tutorials – you’re alive, loving what your doing – focus on that. Jesus already paid the ultimate sacrifice, those things have been forgiven, I know the harder part is forgiving yourself and not thinking about the what-ifs…you traveled those roads for a reason, maybe it was simply to appreciate what you have now, or maybe you’re reaching someone out here in the big, big world of the internet, whatever it is you know God has a plan. Be blessed & live loved!

  88. Saw you last night at Inland Empire Quilt Guild.
    Thank you for your honesty and openness.
    I get it. One day at a time!

  89. Congratulations! Awesome achievements in your personal life and in the quilting world. Never look back, you can’t change what has happened or time lost. You can only make amends and move forward with pride and happiness.

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