Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gone with the Wind

From yesterday's post: "Got to balance my checkbook, do the bills, fill out financial aid forms and put away these dang Christmas decorations." I've done none of that. But I did nap and watch the Patriots. Read my book. Made chicken soup. That's productive, right? Whatever, tomorrow is another day. Today, I went to my meeting and had breakfast afterwards with a group. So now its 1:30 and I don't want to spend the rest of the day doing bills and stuff. So as Scarlett said, Fiddle Dee Dee....I'll think about that tomorrow. Now where is my book????

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Reflections

Been reflecting on the difference between self caring and being selfish lately. When I was drinking I was completely and totally selfish. It was all about me and how I felt. Even though on the outside I looked like the loving wife, involved parent, concientious worker, devoted daughter.. on the inside I was seething and all I cared about was changing my consciousness. And I did. Now all I care about is staying sober. And while putting my sobriety first can seem selfish, I'll choose a meeting over making dinner for the family, I'll call my sponser instead of my mother, etc, it is only by doing these things that I can be fully present to my family, my friends, and another alcoholic. Last night, after the meeting, I came home and watched Season 2 of The Office with my daughter and my husband on my bed. My son had his friends over which is a huge step for him. He NEVER wants to have his friends over. That evening never could have happened if I were drinking. I cannot tell you how fulfilled I felt this morning. Anyway, in a good place today. Got to balance my checkbook, do the bills, fill out financial aid forms and put away these dang Christmas decorations because I'm sick of them and they make my house look and feel messy. And in between that I am going to get a nap in and watch the Patriots go undefeated for the regular season.

Oh yeah, visit my new friend in soberville http://annlwa.blogspot.com/. She has helped me to reflect back to 6 months ago... I needed a Mechanic. I think she may as well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Day After Christmas!

Ho Ho Ho! Santa did indeed leave some gifts under our tree and I was up at 5 am to prepare the house, turned on the lights, had the croissants and scones ready to pop in the oven, the coffee ready to be brewed.. set the stage. I am so very grateful that our biggest controversy this Christmas was that I changed the location of the tree this year, (well, that and the fire created by the candle too close to the silk poinsetta, LOL.) Bad idea. You just don't mess with tradition. But we are blessed to just be concerned with that and not whether or not there are gifts and loved ones wherever the tree may be.

I did not go to the morning meeting yesterday as planned. I was just too too tired to put it together and the day promised to be a long one. I know I could have shown up in my pjs but I really just needed another hour or so of sleep and I have learned to take care of me and my sobriety. Ended up sleeping until 9:30!! Thank God for teenagers. Was on my feet all day Christmas eve making goodies for what you would think an army but really just the four of us. My meetings are going to enjoy these leftovers today! I must admit as the days, both Christmas eve and day progressed, twinges of how comfortable a drink would make me passed through my brain. Mostly when I was cooking. But it did just that, passed. Grateful to have learned that.

I did alot of dealing with the wreckage of the past on Christmas eve. And a lot of praying to let go and to trust it will be fine. Don't get me wrong, we had a nice evening but my children are still learning to trust me and have not let go of their resentments quite yet. It will take time and as I progress through the steps I feel hopeful that we can repair our relationships. Until then, I just have to trust God. Well, even then, but I am hopeful that the work I do and will continue to do can only bring better things because even though there is lingering bad feelings they are merely lingering, not being created.

Last night after dinner we went to see Sweeney Todd. Not your typical Christmas fare but it was a great movie and very well done by all involved. Fun to go to the movies as a family. Not so much in the car but the movie, cool.

So Merry Christmas everyone and lots of day after Christmas {{{hugs}}}. I get so much from each and every one of you and if I can share just one ounce of what I have received here I will be blessed.

Have a wonderful, sober and love filled day!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

These Are My People

I just came from an awesome Big Book meeting where we listen to a chapter and then discuss it. We were on Chapter 11: A Vision for You. One of the lines in the chapter we talked about is on Page 161: "life among AA is more that attending gatherings and visiting hospitals..." and here is the part that really resonated with me this morning: "being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds attuned the welfare of others....." That to me is what this program is all about. Now. After you get past the physical aspects of sobriety. For me AA has brought me to God who has been there whether I knew it or not. Some people who are not alcoholics find their own way but AA has been the vessel for me. And there are many different religions, practices, ways of expressing faith but the fact remains we are "restored and united" under One God.

This chapter also brings about an amazement at how far we have come from 2 fellows in Akron, Ohio. A friend of mine who is not an alcoholic asked me if I was making new friends in AA. It is so much more than friendship, the connections I am making with the people from my meetings, the people in my online group, the people in this sober blogging community I've become a part of. It is beyond friendship. It reaches to Ohio, California, the South, the North, the UK, South Africa, Australia and beyond I am sure. It is deep and profound how I feel about these people. How much they mean to me and I will probably never meet them. And then the people I do meet and see every day or week in my meetings. That I talk to on the phone now, that I have tea with. Or just a brief hug in the parking lot. That I care about. It is just so much more than friendship. These are my people.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Early Saturday Morning

This is what it looks like around my town though this picture is from Sunday and we've had at least 6 more inches since then. It's actually very pretty and now that the roads are clear not so scary to drive. Just a pain putting the boots on and off and bundling up.

I just have the fun stuff left to do. Decorate the tree, stocking stuffers, menu planning (my daughter thinks we should do Chinese takeout, LOL) and grocery shopping. The only bad thing left is going to WalMart to pick up the photo calenders which aren't ready yet. My biggest problem is how to incorporate AA meetings into my holiday. Since its just us, I don't want to infringe on our traditions. But I also want to be there not so much for myself but for my AA friends and any suffering alcoholic that happens to find the meeting. My Monday meeting is the biggest problem on Christmas eve from 7:30- 9, but I have decided to no longer dwell on it and when the meeting time arises I will let it happen as it is supposed to. I just have a sense of obligation to that meeting since I am the Secretary and I know the Treasurer is not going to be there. Usually at this point I am completely frantic and do not settle down until late on Christmas day. So grateful that I don't have to do that now.

I am grateful for:
-Snow covered trees
-My daughter and her friends who are fast asleep in the living room after a slumber party. They've been friends since kindergarten and it is so good to have them all home for the holiday.
-The old Websters dictionary that was still in the antique store from the summer and half of what it cost at that time that I am going to suprise my husband with.
-Naps because I'm planning one for the afternoon!
-A grateful heart and a peaceful brain

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Enjoy!

And when you're finished check this out http://www.theinterviewwithgod.com/viewmovie.html

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Crash

I had a rough morning. I pick up a few women for the morning meeting and I drop off one of the women's daughter at school on the way. This morning, she got out of the car, and I assumed she was walking behind the car and began to proceed but she was in front of me and I hit her. Nudged would be a better word for it but it scared the living daylights out of me and of course the daughter. I just wasn't paying attention. We were late for the meeting, I was talking away and boom. Talk about getting ahead of yourself. She was not hurt but was scared. Me too. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I could not stop crying. Her mother was telling me it was allright and I know it was but I just could not stop. I thought I'd stay in the car to compose myself but I went inside because I thought I pulled it together. Of course we were late so we missed the moment of silence and I just weeped through the whole meeting. I passed because I couldn't speak. I got up several times to try to pull it together. Every time I got a compassionate look it made me cry harder. I ended up outside with the smokers where I was able to share which really helped. Brought me down to earth and outside of myself. That helped. Thanking God it wasn't worse helped too. Probably there is more going on inside for the floodgates to open like that. Just when I thought it was safe.......
On a better note, two women who have been struggling called me this afternoon. Which again, gave me an opportunity to get outside of myself. One was checking in on me from this morning and the other I'd been calling because she hadn't been to meetings in a few days so she finally returned my call. Things aren't great but she hasn't had a drink. This is a beautiful program.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas

Between the support here, online and at meetings I cannot tell you how much better my outlook is today. The fellowship in AA really does work as does prayer and the program. Yesterday I managed to get my house decorated without drinking and by the end of the day I was actually humming a Christmas carol. Managed to handle my husband's irritable mood after he shoveled the foot of snow we got this weekend. Managed to get a hug from my 17 year old son who claims he doesn't care whether we have a tree or not (caught him whistling a Christmas carol too!) Is it all visions of suger plums and fairies? Absolutely not. And tomorrow may suck. As someone in my morning meeting said today, Santa can take a flying F*CK. But yesterday I was humming and today I am grateful and that is all I can ask for. I was given permission to share this from one of my online groups. It very articulately describes how I've been feeling and how I don't have to anymore. Merry Christmas!

"As the holidays arrive it is easy to become distracted by our desire for perfection. It might be the need to craft a festive environment, always be in an upbeat mood, or simply the desire to find just the right gifts for everyone in our lives. Even though these things can be positive, if we start putting too much pressure on ourselves during this season, we are much more apt to forget what truly is important -- celebrating our lives with the people we care about. For many of us this time of year can stir up a host of mixed emotions. For example, we might feel a tinge of nostalgia for past holiday celebrations, when times were simpler, or a sense of being let down due to the unmet expectations we have for ourselves and others. No matter what our feelings are, they are likely to be caused by an unrealistic sense of what the holidays should mean for us. Rather than thinking of this season as a time for finding the perfect gift or hosting the best party, we can get so much more out of the holidays if we create a personal inventory of the things that matter most to us. With each item we add to our list, we can then set the intention to use this season as a time to consciously rejoice in and express our appreciation for the blessings we have and for our program. The more we are able to let go and let God/HP, of our traditional expectations for the holidays, the more open we will become to the bounteous spirit that lies within us. Our true enjoyment of this season will only come from looking within and reflecting on the deeper spiritual significance the holidays have for us. Infusing our holiday activities with a sense of gratitude will bring a greater level of enjoyment to our life and also help us extend loving and kind energy to all we encounter. It is this spirit that will allow us to truly celebrate by sharing our greatest gifts -- infinite love, peace, understanding, and joy -- with those around us. Three things will last forever -- faith, hope, and love -- and the greatest of these is love.= ( 1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT ). I want to wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy & Sober New Year. And want you all to know how grateful I am for you all and our program/fellowship, and how important it is to be celebrating our lives with each other and the people we care about and around us."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snow Drifts

Had a really great meeting this morning. I heard so much that my head was swimming. In memories, identification, gratitude, sadness, need I say more. Thankfully I didn't have to speak, we do a round robin and it didn't get to me. I don't think I would have known where to begin. The evil feeling when passive agressive behaviour gets under someone's skin which means success and they can't do anything about it. Bad but fun too especially if they are mean. To hear a 25 year old young man talk about how just reading the Big Book can turn a bad day into a good one. Wish I had been that smart. Does my heart good and he's easy on the eyes (I could be his mother, go away evil twin). How scary being 32 days sober is and how much we need each other. How fighting depression feels like drowning sometimes. How desparate hearing of someone's relapse makes us feel.
How snowstorms used to be an exuse to drink and how I didn't do that last night. I could not get the image of myself jumping off a deck into snow drifts after a blizzard with a bunch of kids (and by that I mean late teens, early 20's) when I had 2 small children and a husband at home out of my head this morning. It was a blast actually but what was I thinking? Who the hell was I? This was 15 or so years ago so I wasn't quite the old lady I am now but Jesus! I always worked in the restaurant on snow days because I could walk. It was awesome because I'd usually be the only waitress and I'd make big bucks running around slinging beers and chili by the fire. We'd close early and I should have been going home but instead I'd party with the boys in the back. And some of them were literally boys. As old as my son is today. Still in high school. If you've ever worked in a restaurant you know the mix. We ended up at my "soul mate's" house (he wasn't in high school, please!) and I impressed the hell out of the teenagers by jumping off the deck. How cool is that. Look at the drunk lady jumping off the deck. God! Definately a cringe moment for me now. Thank God that is over. I hate to think of what has happened to those kids. I don't know but I know they were not doing their homework. I regret any part I had in condoning this behaviour.
So grateful that I could share that here since I was bursting about it this morning. Now its off my plate. At least for now.
No reaction from the husband on my note. Just a thank you and it was very nice, when asked. He's not to good at the heart to hearts but I hope it helps him understand alittle. I knew that's what I'd get. It's not fair to expect more. Like I said expectations will kill me. But at least I shared and now it can go in the God Box. I tried and now its in His hands.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

To my Husband and To my God Box

I'm sorry I blew up last night. I'm sure it is very hard for you to understand because you are not an alcoholic. I am doing everything in my power not to drink anymore. My MO is to drink through stuff I don't particularly want to do. When I say I can't talk about something or I can't do something, it is not to disrespect you or does not imply that you are doing something wrong even if I say you are. I just need to take it easy on myself especially now. I cannot let myself get overwhelmed and if I do I have to stop. I was getting more and more frustrated last night because it seemed like you couldn't hear me. And maybe you couldn't because you truly don't understand. And then I want you to understand so I get frustrated that you don't. Of course it wouldn't make sense to you if I said well, if we keep talking about this its going to make me want a bottle of wine, because you don't experience that. You don't have this disease. Maybe you don't understand that it is a disease. It is not a moral issue. I can't just stop because I want to be a good girl. And because I can't say that or because you don't understand that I get more and more frustrated and then blow up. You have been very supportive and not too reproachful about giving me the time to go to meetings and I need to do that. I may need to go to more because I am getting very stressed out. It helps to be with other people who have had the same feelings and problems that I have. Who understand. That could be helpful to you too. Maybe helpful to our marriage. Maybe even the kids. They have alanon meetings for familys of alcoholics on Monday nights. They have alateen meetings too I believe. For me holidays are triple the work and obviously I already have a hard enough time keeping up with the regular stuff like laundry, picking up, etc. They also bring back bad feelings like the stuff with my mom. Add to that gift shopping, decorating, cooking and the rest and I'm on system overload. How do I usually deal with stress? Drink. I don't want to do that anymore. I don't think you want me to. So I hope you understand and maybe can go just a little bit easier on me. Expectations will kill me. My own and other peoples. Sometimes it feels deliberate. I'm sure it isn't. That's the alcoholism trying to give me an excuse to drink.I hope you understand and I hope this explains it a little better so that you can. Thanks and I love you.

God Box

This post in my online AA group came at a perfect time for me last night. I thought I'd share it here.
"I was sorting through a box of papers and treasures, deciding what to toss and what to store in safe-keeping. Lo and behold, the box I chose to sort through was the one that contained all my stuff from my first year of sobriety. All kinds of treasures... like, when I would hear profound things in AA meetings, I'd scribble notes on scraps of paper. I kept all those notes! Plus I found notes and cards and phone numbers from people who were there during those early years -- people who extended their hands to me and showed me the way. I found AA pamphlets, letters of encouragement from family members, and I even found some early 12-step work stuff I had written.But the thing that really struck me the most was a small cardboard box wrapped up in brittle rubber bands that crumbled the moment I touched them. Stuffed inside the small box were many, many pieces of paper, folded up into little wads. This was my very first "God Box." For those of you who haven't heard, a "God Box" is a tool some of us use to get into the habit of physically turning things over to God, so we can learn to stop trying to manage our own lives. We chose a box of any size, shape, color, it doesn't matter. When we find ourselves worried or concerned or stressed out over something in life, we write it all out in a letter to God. Then we fold up the letter and we put it in the God Box. Once it goes into that box, and the lid goes back on the box, then the problem belongs to God. It's no longer our problem. We don't own it anymore -- God does. And whenever the problem seeps back into our minds and we find ourselves stewing about it, we quickly remind ourselves that we are no longer in charge of that problem. It belongs to God, and we can't take it back. We never take those things out of the God Box. They stay there permanently. And little by little, day by day, problem by problem, we learn to "LET GO AND LET GOD." We learn in a practical way that we are no longer in the business of managing outcomes. We have a new Manager, and there isn't a problem in that box that God isn't capable of handling on our behalf. Now, almost 15 years later, I can pull out all those problems that were so serious and so difficult. I can read through them and smile. My heart fills with gratitude, because I know for CERTAIN that I have a Higher Power in my life today that absolutely worked out all those problems 100% without any assistance from me. I love passing on this tool to my sponsees. They all have God Boxes -- in fact, I often give them new beautifully decorated boxes for Christmas or birthday presents. My sponsees treasure those gifts. They fill them with all their worries and their concerns and their problems, and we both get to watch God at work in their lives. It's a precious experience. I encourage everyone here today to select your biggest, most pressing problem. Write it all out in a letter to God. Then fold up the paper and tuck it inside your own God Box. Then LEAVE IT THERE! And if the issue starts nagging at your brain, just remember that it doesn't belong to you anymore. You've given it to God. It's in good, capable hands. Watch as God becomes the new Manager of your life. "

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Stupid Christmas

I don't know. I haven't felt much like writing lately. Nursed a cold all week. To be perfectly honest I think I milked it for all it was worth. I know its tis the season and all that and I do like the meaning of the season and the good cheer but I really do not enjoy the frenetic pace, the commercialism, the extra work, etc. I was feeling good about my new outlook on life, one day at a time, living in the moment, letting go...but maybe because I took some time to rest this week, I really started to feel the pressure because now I'm behind on everything. The bills, the decorating, the shopping, the socializing on top of the usual requirements of life, work, bills, cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. It's just too much. Did I mention the bills?? So yeah, I took some time to rest, to take care of myself. But now I feel as though I'm paying for it and I'm getting that knot in my stomach. And I''m getting less and less done. I'm trying to pray. And it does indeed help. Something new and different. The St. Francis Prayer especially. And I really like my meetings. Especially if I make myself go. And if I look around, within my home, my family, my friends, I realize just how much I have to be grateful for and so what if my neighbor has their lights up and I never get mine done. And my town can wait another month for the water bill. And I don't have to go to every party. And we can wear our jeans an extra day or two or three. Whatever.
Thankfully I am not looking for a drink but I am looking for relief. I'm looking for my pink cloud and all I see are boxes of Christmas stuff to unpack, catalogs to shop from, bills to pay, etc. Just a week ago I was commenting on how calm I was feeling when usually I was so frenetic at this time of year. I'm not frenetic and that is progress, but I do have this knot in my stomach that is making me clench my fists and jaw. Meeting makers do not make it but they do get help. I need to call my sponsers. And I need to finish that fourth step. And keep praying. Those are my priorities.
I know that I will get it all done. I always do. But I always drank to get through it. Drank while shopping, drank while baking, drank while decorating, drank while wrapping, etc. I am looking forward to getting it done sober and peaceful. I think that what I will find, if I Let Go and Let God, if I take it One Day at a Time, if I Bless them and Change me, and if I Let it Begin with Me is the true meaning of the season and that I can do it sober.

Peace on Earth
Good Will Toward Men

Monday, December 3, 2007

Chapter 8: To the Wives

I haven't relasped mainly because I avoided AA to begin with so I had nothing to relapse from. Plenty, countless really, of times I "quit" drinking on my own only to last a day, a week, a few months. It's different for me this time because I am following the steps as outlined in the book and as a result I have had a spiritual awakening. There was no sudden light. No AHA moment. I'm still rubbing my eyes, groggy as hell but I no longer have the compulsion to drink. Pretty amazing. I know it takes each of us our own time to have the compulsion removed and I am very grateful that it has happened for me.

It struck me when we were reading Chapter 8 "To the Wives" yesterday in our Big Book group, that the solution to a relapser is right there. On page 120, second paragraph it says: "though it is infinately better that he have no relapse at all, it is by no means a bad thing in some cases. Your husband will see at once that he must REDOUBLE his SPIRITUAL ACTIVITIES if he expects to survive." Now maybe I am naive or maybe I'm missing something but when you are asked what are you going to differently this time, I would think that is where your focus must be. A Power Greater than Yourself. I guess this concerns me because I see many relapsers return to the meetings and I'm never sure what to say. What will you do differently this time? I want to know what to avoid. I want to be prepared so I don't relapse.

I found this to be a good chapter for me even though it is directed to the wives (spouses, partners, whatever, gotta love our sexist roots) I could relate to their description of their spouses. I did the same thing. Called my husband a killjoy when he didn't drink with me or admonished me for my drinking. While I didn't drink us into financial ruin, when I was waitressing I often spent half or all of my tips on drinking after my shift. Then lied and said it was a slow night. I didn't do this but one of my coworkers once went to an ATM to withdraw money so she would have cash to show her husband when she got home. I just lied and since I handled the finances I didn't have to. I thought the idea brilliant though and would have used it if I had to. And that is not to mention the money I have spent since on alcohol on a daily basis. It's disgusting really.

I identified with the description of the 4 types of alcoholics. Could find myself, easily. I believe I am of the second type. Lack of control, out of hand, attempts to moderate and quit, loss of friends, job suffers, drinking earlier and earlier, awareness that I did not drink like other people, worried, remorseful. I did not ruin everything. I was still functioning but I was well on my way.

And though I think males are not as long suffering as the females described in the book and perhaps show more anger, I could see my husband in some of the descriptions of the wives. Although I would say he avoided the situation and confrontation about it. As long as I was functioning he let things pass. We had a joke in our family, "you know your mother's not well". It was meant to be funny and we all laughed but how true it was.

Anyway, today I am grateful to know that I am being taken care of. That I can recognize my faulty thinking. That I have a group of people who understand me. That I can be of service to those same people.

Still snowing here in New England.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Jessica!!


I know that 19 years ago today I was not drinking because I was giving birth to my daughter. When I found out I was pregnant I was petrified because we had been to a wedding and I had drunk myself into oblivian. I remember plodding down the streets of Philadelphia barefoot and fighting with my husband. Anyway once I found out I was pregnant I stopped drinking and didn't really drink or at least not heavily for about 2-3 years. Of course after my second child was born and I went back to work waitressing, the party began and pretty much did not stop until recently but that is a story for another day. I am just so grateful that I am sober today and of course petrified that my beautiful daughter will follow in my footsteps. I keep adding to all my conversations with her, don't drink. Like tonight, she's going to celebrate her birthday by going out to dinner with friends and going to a tree lighting in Boston and all I can say is have fun and don't drink! She's a freshman in college now and it is her journey. I just pray for her daily. That is all I can really do, right?


I have been pondering how I can help newcomers recently. I thought with just over 5 months sober I didn't have a whole lot to offer but in my step meeting we just finished the 12th step and we've been discussing it in my online group. Interesting. I know for me, right from the beginning, the best feeling in the world was when I could help someone or someone could relate to me. But I hestitate because I didn't think I had much to offer being newly sober. What I have learned and what I have been told is that all I have to do is share what I have done. It may not always be by the book (though for me, it usually is) but it is what works for me., not necessarily in order of importance. I started online, in an online group and here in blogdom. I reluctantly went to meetings thanks to what I learned here. I picked meetings to attend regularly. I became a secretary of a group. I got a sponser. I accepted invitations to tea. I read the Big Book. I read more literature. I journaled by blogging. I started the steps. I listen. I share. I pray. I am thankful. I try to help others. If I just share that, its enough. And to offer a smile, a pat on the back, a welcome, a ride, a phone call, anything, is enough. Whatever, its enough. I think about what people have done for me, and I try to do that for others. Encourage, hug, smile, welcome. An occasional 2x4. One woman in my online group called me to talk until I had the courage to get a sponser closer to home. One woman in my morning meeting urged me to get my 24 hour chip, it took me a few days but I finally went up to get it. One woman, gave me a phone list, her number and said the Lord's Prayer always made her cry too. Others offered me their numbers, told me they knew how I felt. One woman asked me for a ride. One guy said they were going to charge me more for the basket because of all the tissues I used. One guy asked me, "are you still here?" Fellow bloggers encouraged me and directed me. Challenged me. It just snowballed and snowballed until I am now just one bundle of overflowing gratitude and more importantly, I am sober.





I loved that video because it really brought me back to where I was. While I know I am an alcoholic, my human condition can cause me to forget what it was like and because I feel so good now, my mind can make me think it wasn't so bad. I was just like all those people. Exactly. They are good actors. I can never forget what it was like. But it is so much better to be like those other people at the end of the video offering the solution.


Anyway, that's what I've been doing lately. Thinking about this stuff. Thanksgiving was challenging but I didn't drink. Life is challenging, but I'm not drinking. I have been time constrained so not able to check in lately but I am here and grateful and I'll be coming to visit your blog very very soon:) Keep the light on for me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Okay, I've been tagged, twice!

"7 x2 random facts you have learned in recovery"
rules
* link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
* post these rules on your blog.
* list seven random and/or weird facts you have learned in recovery.
* tag seven random [?] people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
* let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog

So I was tagged by shadow and Michael but I can't figure out the link thing so forget that. Anyway, here goes:

1. I have learned to have a grateful heart.
2. I have learned I have a disease and that my drinking was not a moral issue.
3. I have learned that just because I am changing does not mean the people around me are.
4. I have learned acceptance.
5. I have learned that staying in the day does not mean procrastination.
6. I have learned to pray.
7. I have learned that I am powerless.
8. I have learned to practice constant vigilance.
9. I have learned patience and tolerance.
10. I have learned that recovery is progress not perfection so although I am learning I am not always going to get it right.
11. I have learned that I cannot do this alone.
12. I have learned to call my sponser when I need her or even when I don't need her.
13. I have learned that to help another alcoholic is to help myself.
14. I have learned how to be completely honest with myself and others.

I think I have probably learned alot more but I'll stop here. If you have read this consider yourself tagged:)

Thanksgiving..It's Official

For my friend Michael across the pond and the rest of us.....

Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation
************

**********************************************************
Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclomation that follows is taken from the
collection of Lincoln's papers in the Library of America series, Vol
II, pp. 520-521.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the
blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties,
which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the
source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so
extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften
even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful
providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled
magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States
to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved
with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been
respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in
the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly
contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful
diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful
industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the
shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our
settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the
precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.
Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has
been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the
country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and
vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large
increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out
these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God,
who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless
remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should
be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart
and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my
fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those
who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set
apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of
Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the
Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the
ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and
blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national
perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those
who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the
lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and
fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the
wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent
with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony,
tranquillity and Union.

Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!



May your stuffing be tasty. May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes ' n gravy have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious. May your pies take the prize.
May your Thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs. (or wherever else it may settle.)
MAY YOU ALL HAVE A BLESSED THANKSGIVING!

It's been crazy busy in preparation for the holiday. I am now settling down a bit at my brother's in NYC and enjoying the smell of turkey roasting in the oven. I will catch up with all of you soon I hope but I wanted to wish all of my blog friends a blessed and sober day!!

ps..I'll respond to the tag soon as I'm able:)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bonfires, Memories and New Beginnings

Had another sober social event. One of the members of our morning group had a bonfire Friday night (sorry Michael no video:) I was anxious all day but I went anyway with another sober woman who has about 45 days. It was nice to see everyone outside of the meeting. And once I settled in, my social anxiety died down. The last time I went to a bonfire was about 25 years ago when I was dating my husband. We went with another couple up to Keene, NH from Connecticut. The three of us drank the whole way up while my husband drove. We got pulled over (you're tires are bald, boy) and he had to do a sobriety test which he passed because he wasn't the one drinking. It was a huge party and there were barrels of grain alcohol punch as I recall. I didn't know alot of people so apparently I just kept drinking. At some point I became upset with my future husband for some drunken reason and decided I was going home. Proceeded to leave on foot. I was in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night! I don't know how long I stumbled around in the pitch black. I ended up passed out on someone's front yard. House was dark. When I came to I didn't know what to do and I didn't know where I was. I knocked on the door and woke them up. They gave me a flashlight and pointed me in the direction of the road. I managed to find my way back to the party and spent the rest of the night in the car. I don't remember much more than that. Just remember being mortified, scared, and I felt ridiculous. My husband never came looking for me, he had sprained his ankle but this was a pattern that began very early in our relationship now that I think about it. I held onto that flashlight for a long time but it didn't stop me from drinking. When I was leaving for the bonfire my husband said he couldn't find a flashlight (the flyer said bring one if you wanted to hike in the woods.) I said I didn't need one, had no plans to hike and he said, you did last time:) He was joking but it hit home.

Anyway, I told that story in my morning group and it was good to share it, unload it, dispose of it. I went to the bonfire because I felt I owed it to myself to replace that memory. And I did, with toasting marshmallows & hotdogs on a stick and good conversation and as we were leaving, someone called out, "you didn't get lost in the woods this time!" It's nice when people remember and know what something means. It was good for me to get out of my comfort zone. I hope that someday my husband will feel comfortable enough to share these moments with me. I hope that someday I will feel comfortable enough to share my feelings with him such as I can in a meeting.

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for a woman from AA. She apparently had some health issues and died peacefully but unexpectedly in her sleep. I had just gotten to know her and she was a quiet, gentle soul. I am sorry I didn't know her better but I am so grateful for the example that she has given me. Before she died, I knew her as a sweet, quiet and caring woman in my meetings who always had a friendly smile and a positive message. In death she has shown me how one person can touch so many and create a community and family. She apparently had a very difficult life from childhood when she was orphaned. Between her church and the AA community she created a network of people who cared deeply for her. If she didn't know this when she was alive I pray that she knows it now. The service her church provided her was beautiful and meaningful and I may have found a place to practice my faith and for this I will be eternally grateful. Now I just need the courage to try it. Thinking of attending a church feels like going to my first AA meeting and this church just so happens to be where I go to my morning meeting everyday. I am trying to avoid it at all costs but in my heart I know that once I get there I will be found. Gee, sounds famliar:)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!
Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come;’

Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis’d good to me, His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease;

I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who call’d me here below, Will be forever mine.

John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779)

Thanks Pat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Having Another?


I had the day off Monday in honor of Veteran's Day. I was able to go to the parade to watch my son march in the band to honor our local heros. There was a nice crowd and it was extremely moving. Our town lost a son 2 years ago in Afghanistan. A well liked boy from a nice family. A leader amongst his peers. His father read a beautiful poem about our children laying down their sports equipment for guns that someone had annonymously left in his mailbox. I try not to get angry about this war but I am afraid I am. I am grateful to these honorable men and women who are called from within to duty and I am very patriotic about my country. But my patriotism does allow me to express my dissatisfaction with our leadership and this war which has gone on much too long and was ill advised in the first place. And while I don't look forward to the coming election year I do look forward to change. I pray that our country will do the right thing this time. I'm not sure what the right thing will be but as a citizen of Massachusetts I know one person who would not be good for this country. I won't name any names but he was a governer here. That's as strong as my feelings are about any particular candidate. Hopefully I can focus on the postitive soon but all I can think about is NOT getting someone elected. Anyway, that is not where I was going with this post....
What I was trying to reflect on with Vets day was that the parade ended just in time for me to attend the noon meeting which I usually do not attend because of work. I had done my usual morning meeting and thought it would be a treat to go to the nooner. Someone at the morning meeting had told me I should do something to treat myself to celebrate my 5 months. I don't think she meant go to a meeting but I was glad I did. The speaker was one of the first speakers I heard. He's a "tough guy". His story was quite different from mine but I remember one thing he said. You can't sit in a garage and expect to become a car. Meaning that this is a program of action. And he said this when I was getting all these car analogies. It stuck with me and it helped me to see that I had to work for my sobriety. It wasn't going to come by just reading and not drinking. It meant going to meetings, talking, writing and doing the steps. I got to thank him and that was cool.

Later, I attended my usual Monday night meeting. I was tired and honestly if I had my druthers I would not have gone but I am the Secretary and that is also a part of the work. I don't particularly like this meeting. But there are 2 people there that I must hear so I go. Their message is clear and spiritual. So I tolerate all the rest and I listen to them. And sometimes what I "tolerate" is good too:)
Anyway, as I was getting ready to go to the evening meeting, my poor husband who also had the day off, looks at me and says, "you're going to another meeting? " It sounded just like when he used to nag me about my next glass of wine. "you're having another?" "KATHY......" Used to really irritate me. This time I was struck with that same irritation. But it was also amusing. Sometimes I think, for me, the hardest part about getting sober is doing it around someone who doesn't understand and doesn't necessarily want too. And whether I'm having a drink, a cheeseburger or going to a meeting, his expectations are still the same. He has them:) He's happy that I'm sober and in that sense doesn't care how I got here just that I did but he really doesnt' get it. I guess this will be something to pray for and to work for as well. Who knows?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Five Months

Unbelievable! I think this might be the longest time I have ever gone without a drink not counting my pregnancies. I did have a period of time in 2004 (after I ruined Christmas dinner and the house filled up with smoke. Remind me to tell you about it sometime:) and I honestly do not remember when I picked up. Somewhere between 4-6 months. When I thought I could handle alcohol. The difference is I am sober now. Not just not drinking. The difference is I don't feel as though I am missing anything. I feel as though I have gained something. The difference is I am searching my soul and liking what I find and with help removing what I don't. The difference is I have a program. The program of AA. The difference is I am not alone.

So thank you to all of you who so freely share. Not sure where I would be had I not found this forum where I am learning to express myself and where I am gaining experience, strength and hope. I am grateful for finding the Spirit of the Universe which has allowed me to connect because I believe that connection has allowed me to heal.
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hollies - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

In the spirit of love and fellowship. A favorite song I was reminded of while watching the Osmonds on Oprah today. Have a great weekend.

Bottoms


I've been thinking on this lately as one of the women in my morning group has been struggling. She has lost her kids, is in trouble with the law, etc. She has been trying to put together 30 days for a long time. But she is fighting and we have been talking. She thinks I am lucky because my bottom does not involve institutions, jail or death. On the face of it, maybe she's right. But I have learned to identify not compare.
I did not lose the physical presence of my children. I lost their respect. In fact, I think she is lucky because if she can get sober through the Grace of God, she has the opportunity to be a sober mother to her children through their childhood and teens. I lost that. I can only be an example to them now and earn their respect back.

No, I was never arrested for drunk driving but I should have been. Had I been caught, perhaps I would have asked and received the help I needed at an earlier date thus saving me and my family from additional heartache.

No, I have not been close to death, but I cleaned my uncle's scalp from the bathroom floor when he died alone from falling down drunk in the bathroom and was dead for a month before we found him. I rescued my mother from death when I found her in an alcoholic stuper on New Year's Day, 2003 which resulted in her permanent disability of Korsakoff's Syndrome. And I drank through it all. To the point of losing control of my own bodily functions and other gross stuff I'm sure we all know about. Until I finally just got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So I guess my point is, our bottoms may be different but how we get there is not. We were unable to control our drinking. And there is a solution. One that can lead us to a life that is happy, joyous and free. I am grateful to have found it and to have the opportunity to help others find it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fellowship



Trouble is a part of life, and if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough.--Dinah Shore


Just as gravity keeps us grounded and connected to the earth, our fellowship keeps us bound to sobriety. The fellowship available to us in our Twelve Step program keeps us in reality. A problem pondered in isolation seems immense; the same problem shared by those who truly understand is manageable. We need other people from the moment we are born. We need to be included, to feel we're a part of something larger than ourselves. Our spirits hunger for contact from others, and thirst for a relationship with God.Our fellowship is there, a warm, friendly, and accepting family. Our Higher Power loves us. We are not alone, no matter where we travel, no matter how large our problems seem at the moment. Our joys are doubled and our sadness diminished through the sharing of our hearts.
Today help me listen carefully and give as well as take so I may fully experience this gift of fellowship.

You are reading from the book:
Body, Mind, and Spirit by Anonymous, Copyright 1990 by Hazelden Foundation

I am just beginning to understand the fellowship part of this program. And it is a wonderful thing. The connections we make, I believe, are symbolic of our connection with a Higher Power. The transmission line, if you will. I am grateful that I can be there for a new sober friend who is in the hospital. I am grateful that I have sober friends that I can discuss my understanding of a Higher Power. I am grateful to have attended my first sober party. I am grateful for the support I receive in the rooms and here for my trials and tribulations and for my thought process. It's just a wonderful thing. Pure and simple.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

For Mickey: I am your Disease


I hate meetings...... I hate higher powers.....
I hate anyone who has a program.

To all of you who come in contact with me, I wish you death and suffering. Allow me to introduce myself.... I am the disease of addiction.

I am cunning, baffling and powerful. That is me.

I have killed millions and I am pleased. I love to catch you with the element of suprise, I love pretending that I am your friend or lover, I have given you comfort, haven't I.

Wasn't I there when you were lonely? When you wanted to die, didn't you call upon me? I was there.

I love to make you hurt. Better yet, I love to make you so numb you can neither hurt nor cry.

When you can feel nothing at all, that is true gratification!

And all I ask from you is long term suffering.
I've been there for you always. When things were going right in your life, you invited me.

You said you didn't deserve these good things and I was the only one who agreed with you.

Together we were able to destroy all the good things in your life.
People don't take me seriously.

They take heart disease, strokes and diabetes seriously, but not me. Such fools! Without my help, these things would not be possible.

I am such a hated disease, yet I do not come uninvited.

You CHOOSE to have me. So many have chosen me over reality and peace.

More than YOU hate me, I hate ALL OF YOU who have a 12 step program. Your program, your meetings, your Higher Power. All these things weaken me and I cannoy function in the manner I am accustomed to.

Now I sit here, quietly. When you live, I may only exist. But I am here....And until we meet again, I wish you death and suffering. Just wanted to keep in touch.

Regards, Your disease.
(author unknown)

I'm done allowing you to post on my blog dear Mickey. So comment moderation has been enabled. Peace be with you.

Strength


A.A. Thought for the Day


Strength comes from the fellowship we find when we come into AA. Just being with people who have found the way out gives us a feeling of security. We listen to the speakers and we absorb the atmosphere of confidence and hope that we find in the place. Am I receiving strength from the fellowship with other AA members?


My answer: Yes.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Rampage saga continues


Yeah, well we made the front page. Below the fold though so that's good. Of course our local rag got many details wrong and characterized the event as an "egg rampage". It was a dozen eggs, man. The"young child" who was hit in front of a witness is a freshman in my son's high school band and is not coming forward. My son apologized, hopefully with humility. He didn't come home from school with much humility. Seems one of the other boys isn't getting many consequences. This is making me spittin' mad. He has to pay for his lawyer and is not allowed anymore sleepovers, poor baby. Has learned a lesson simply by being arrested. Not only that, his parents are going on a 2 week vacation and leaving him home alone. They are leaving a 17 yr old home alone. A weekend maybe with lots of neighborhood watches but 2 weeks! Had this not happened, I would not know this and my son would be hanging there unsupervised. Come to think of it he has been there unsupervised because clearly these parents have different values than I do. I am trying very hard not to pass judgement but they are making my job so much more difficult. And their poor son. He is the Eddie Haskell of the group and not many parents like him. Clearly he has been abandoned by his parents. They don't come to any of the soccer games either. I don't know, it is hard enough raising a teenager but to be undermined like this just really pisses me off. The father told me at the police station that he would be grounded. My first instinct is to call them and tell them how disappointed I am in their decision. I did call them to offer a place to stay for their son while they are gone. Not with us (that would be a reward for our boys) but with another friend who lives next to the high school and has an extra bedroom. It sounded as though I got a thanks but no thanks. But at least my offer expresses my concern.
Had coffee with the other child's parent. We are on the same page but she is devastated. I felt really bad for her. She can't quite get past the reflection on her part. While we were having coffee I saw a few people from my morning meeting at the shop. It made me feel safe. And I am just very grateful I have this program to help me see this thing in perspective. I felt very confident in my feelings and decisions and was happy that I could pass some of that on.

Decided to go to a meeting last night. Well actually it ended up 2 half meetings so that I could catch my little felon's half time performance at the foot ball game. I was going to skip the meeting but I could feel the need in me. I am glad I went. The speaker at the first meeting had a very good message and one that I needed to hear last night. I was sorry to leave early and miss the group discussion but I was able to hear the West Side Story montage and the band sounded good. I didn't care to see the football so I went home and on the way realized that there was a meeting at 8 that I pretty much don't like. It is one of those big hall meetings. It's like a Friday night social. But I was anxious so I went anyway. Yup, you got it. Message I needed to hear. Then, a few faces that I had seen in Court were also there. Not sure I mentioned that before, but it seems everywhere I go now I see people that I have seen in the rooms. I saw these familiar faces when my son was arraigned but I didn't know them personally so I got to meet one fellow last night. It was really nice and not only that I won the 50/50 raffle. 12 bucks. Clearly meant to be.

On my way to a sober candle party tonight. I was invited by 2 different women. I want to shout out like Sally Field, "they like me, they really really like me!"

Friday, November 2, 2007

Blessings


Well we went to Court. The lawyer is good and will do what he can. Good case scenario is that it will get continued without a finding, (first offense, good kid, community service, stay out of trouble, I'd add apology to the victim). Worst case, this gets publicized (small town where teenagers are often made expamples of good police work) and the judge has public pressure.
I can't believe that I am feeling so blessed. I'm disappointed and disgusted with my son and his friends but I honestly feel this is a good thing. I think God did this. I pray for my children and I think that my son needed this kick in the butt. He is a smart kid but like me he has to learn things the hard way. But now with no cell phone, no car, no outside life besides school, work, sports, with expectations that he carry his weight around the house and no rights to talk back and the like, I think he is going to come down a few notches and we are going to get closer as a family. We've already got a few fence post holes dug, a clean bedroom and he even picked up the house! (We haven't progressed to dishes but there's always tomorrow!) His ass is mine!!
Best of all, he was not drinking. To me that is "normal" 17 yr old behavior. Even better, I was not drinking and haven't. I got to go to the noontime meeting yesterday. I was headed to work after court and thought that is where I needed to be. Its a good meeting. Sorry I can't get there on a regular basis. I was able to share what was going on and able to talk to a few people after the meeting. This program is really doing it for me. It's all good.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

You're Under Arrest


My son was arrested last night and charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Seems he and his friends thought it would be a good idea to drive around town with a dozen eggs (the deadly weapon) looking for teenagers to throw them at. 911 calls came into the police and they set up a net and stopped them, found the empty egg crate in the car and my son and one other boy fessed up to throwing the eggs and were arrested along with the driver. The other boys were sent home. An 18 year old girl was injured with, from what the cops say, a nasty welt on her side. Apparently her father was after them as well and we are lucky the cops got to them first. There is a report of a young child getting hit though no proof of this. I am extremely grateful that it appears alcohol was not involved. While my son admits he was really stupid he thinks this is "normal" teenage stuff. It doesn't feel normal to me. He's 17 years old. This seems the stuff of much younger kids. He is an honors student. He is smart. But you know what, sometimes he is not very nice. And he has been mean, at least to me. He used to be a compassionate kid but he doesn't seem so anymore. He seems remorseful but he has made a series of bad decisions especially since he got his license. And while he hasn't been caught drinking, I am sure he has been as I have seen some online pictures that look suspect.

And while I am full of fear and working on 4 1/2 hours of sleep, I feel strangely calm. I am worried about his record and his future, but I feel at peace. I am angry, but I'm not frustrated. I do have faith that what ever happens is supposed to happen. I will pray that my son be guided. I will pray that my husband and I are guided. According to the cops and a few lawyers, as a first offense, its possible that it can get reduced to disorderly conduct or something. I want whatever happens to be the best for my son. He needs this lesson. His world just got very small. He is not "normal". He is the child of an alcoholic.

So my husband and I get to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary today watching our son get arraigned.

"In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause, ask for quiet, and in the stillness simply say: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yea for the Red Sox!


Wouldn't seltzer do just as well? Thinking about how I would feel in the middle of this situation.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oh My God!

Friday night I went to the Ask Bill W. women's meeting I've been going to of late. I was very pleased and suprised to see my sponser there. The only meeting we attend together is our Tuesday night meeting but her sponser has just recently been given the all clear from the nursing home to go out so my sponser brought her to the meeting. Unfortunately, noone seemed to be running the meeting and a speaker did not appear. My wonderful take charge sponser decided that I should do it. Geez! I knew this was going to happen at some point but I was not ready. I was encouraged by the group that it would be okay. To tell how it was and how it is now. I am fairly comfortable sharing in round robins now. I don't burst into tears when it becomes my turn anymore, most of the time:) I can raise my hand at meetings though usually what I mean to say doesn't quite come out right so I haven't done it lately. Anyway, I gave it a shot.

The chairing part, not so bad because you just read from the paper. I am the Secretary of the my Monday group so I'm used to that but then it came time for my story. I don't even know what my story is yet. I'm still trying to figure that out. I know what happened but I'm not sure why. And in some cases I don't really know what happened because I don't remember a lot of stuff. I tried to prepare for this by writing about it here but I haven't gotten past my marriage yet. But maybe preparation is not important. I guess I feel as though I don't quite have the insight yet into myself that I seem to get from other speakers sometimes. And I was petrified of making people's eyes glaze over. So I felt a little insecure in my sharing. But then again, I am me and they are them. And I shared alot of the above sort of as a disclaimer.

Anyway, I told a bit about my drinking as a teenager, in my 20's and through married life. How I finally got to AA 4 months ago and how I felt now which is hopeful and better. I got a lot of nods and a few laughs. I always have to go for the laugh. I felt pretty unemotional about it all and was just conscious of my burning face. I didn't want to dwell on stuff for too long but there are so many different periods of my drinking. And I stayed away from the stuff that I just can't talk about right now, what my kids have seen and how its affected them, my marriage or lack thereof. I can't go there yet. Anyway, it seemed that some people related. One young woman shared that she appreciated hearing that my bottom wasn't so low (I've never been arrested, no DUI's, no institutions, no rehab just like Amy Winehouse, etc. ) because it helped her to think that she was in the right place. Not to say that I shouldn't have been, of course! On the other hand, she also shared that my image of drinking wine while cooking dinner was something she wanted to be able to do someday. I told her I still did too but it was just a romanticized image. That's not what it was like. It wasn't romantic. I started dinner then many times forgot dinner. Or ruined dinner. Or ate dinner in a blackout. Dinner preparations began to start hours before necessary and the drinking didn't stop with dinner but continued until I passed out. Sometimes there was no wine for my husband at dinner because I had finished it all by then. Then had to figure out how to get more. And so on. But it scared me that my story might have given her the wrong impression.

Anyway, I did it and in some ways it felt good to get the cherry broken. On the other hand I'd be dishonest if I said I liked it. I didn't. I didn't like being the center of attention. I didn't like feeling insecure. I didn't like feeling unprepared. But I did like feeling accepted and understood. And that I did. Another woman with 17 years of sobriety shared that her story changes every few years or so. Even now. So I am encouraged by that. After all it is progress not perfection. These sayings really are true, damnit!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Why I Blog

Well, I'm no expert. I've only been doing this a few months but here it is:

1. Self Expression
2. To stay sober
3. To stay clear
4. To be accountable
5. Channel my fears, insecurities and doubts
6. Share my journey of sobriety with others who may be inspired
7. Be inspired by others journey's of recovery
8. Gain insight
9. To be more thoughtful
10. To carry the message

What are yours?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Honesty

*Third, I have learned how to be honest. No more ducking or dodging. No more tall tales. No more pretending to be what I am not. My cards are on the table for all the world to see. "I am what I am," as Popeye used to say in the comics. I have had an unsavory past. I am sorry, yet. But it cannot be changed now. All that is yesterday and is done. But now my life is an open book. Come and look at it, if you want to. I'm trying to do the best I can. I will fail often, but I won't make excuses. I will face things as they are and not run away. Am I really honest?" *Twenty Four Hours A Day *A.A. Thought for the Day*

Yesterday was a tough day. Tough day at work, again. But the fact of the matter is that I cannot change my employer. He is the way he is. I have to weigh the good with the bad. And for right now, I need a job and I am not ready to make a major changes. Maybe down the road but not now. Change the things I can. Accept what I cannot. In other words, suck it up.

The afternoon was beautiful. Blew off responsibility and went kayaking on an unseasonably warm October afternoon and all that that means. Brilliant color, birds, sun, friends, peace. Wish that could have lasted.

After loading the kayak on my car, instead of going left I went right. Thought it would be a shorter way. But it wasn't and it got dark fast. I needed to get to my meeting and I was picking up someone as well. Wasn't sure where I was. Called my husband and he was no help, at first, and I couldn't listen to him. The gas light was blinking. I had to go to the bathroom. I was getting more and more wound up. This is a busy week for me and I've got things scheduled to the minute. No time to get lost. Stopped for gas, good. I had this tightening though. This tension. I didn't even think of a drink, but I did think of a cigarette, (my friends had smoked on the river). I know this is coming from the same place my alcoholism is coming from. Addiction, though I haven't smoked in years (not counting the camping butt), I bought a pack. I smoked one. It could have easily been a drink. It was gross. It did nothing for me. Why did I do this? It is making me crazy. Found my way home with time to wash the smell off and brush my teeth. Much better. Picked up my AA friend and went to the meeting. Much, much better. But even though I was headed to a meeting, it didn't stop me from smoking that butt. So I had to unload the pack. You'd think with all the smokers someone would smoke Marlboro lights but no! Finally someone took them for their daughter.

Clearly, I have work to do . I understand much better the relapser. I appreciate the sharing in the rooms and I think I know the signs. I can handle big stuff pretty well. I know there are much bigger problems than getting lost or hosting 20 16 year old boys for a soccer pasta party. But I get myself all wound up and look for relief. I must stay away from that first drink no matter what. Thankfully, the drink did not enter my mind....this time. But I don't want to die of lung cancer either. But what I am grateful for and what is different is that I spoke about it at the meeting. I was honest about what I was feeling and what I had done. I gave it all away. My track record would have been to hold onto that pack, eventually sneaking cigarettes whenever the urge struck, until I was addicted again. I am glad for that. My stuff is coming out and the more it does the better I feel. And when I put too much on my plate I need to breathe. Take a step back and change what I can or Let Go so God will do it for me. Hence, soccer game rescheduled and no pasta party. Now I'm sad that there is no team party tomorrow but grateful that my workload just downsized by 50%.

Learning all of this has made today a much better today. So ..we apply these principles in all our affairs. So much to think about. Geez!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I'm a Bitch


Yesterday had some tough moments. Started with my boss who decided 4 minutes before I was leaving to find typos in a document that he has had for weeks. And they had to be fixed because he's meeting the client today actually. Not only that but it had been on his desk all day and he delayed working on it until just when it was time for me to leave. I wanted to explode. And then he messed around with the file on the computer so that it no longer appeared on my computer so I could fix it. It's not even that I couldn't stay but I just really resented the lack of respect for my time. So I kind of stomped around and did it but I did tell him that I wished "these things" didn't happen right before I had to leave.
I shook it off and proceeded to have a good afternoon. Went to my son's soccer game where he actually got some playing time. Then I met a new AA friend and we had coffee before the meeting and went to the meeting together. It was a good one. Lots of identification. I shared. But I got home and became PSYCHO BITCH! My husband wasn't home as planned delaying the return of a truck we were test driving. My son can't take his PSAT's because we (me) sent in the check late. He doesn't really care or at least is pretending not to care which set me off. So I ended up just yelling at everyone. Freaking out if you will. My son in like..."what is wrong with you?" I wanted to shout "I'm a goddamn alcholic, that's what's wrong!" I refused to return the truck and made my son go with my husband and while they were gone I proceeded to cry. Then I checked out my online group and felt a bit better. They got back and while I didn't apologize I did explain that I was frustrated and felt like a bad Mom.
I just have a bad taste in my mouth this morning. Trying to figure out the why. Here's what I think:
1. Too much caffeine. I had 2 mocha cappacinnos in the late afternoon. I was jacked up.
2. Hormones. I am a woman of a certain age and at certain times of the month it is difficult for me to control my emotions.
3. Guilt. Kept procrastinating sending that check in.
4. Resentful. I resented my boss for his lack of respect and my husband for the same reason.
Here's what I can do:
1. No more caffeine past 5.
2. Going on low dose BC pills to combat symptoms.
3. Procrastination is a 5 sylable word for sloth. If I've read it once I've read it 1000 times. And its not the end of the world. He already took them. The chances of getting the merit scholarship he won't be eligilble for were slim anyway. Stay in the day and move on.
4. FINISH THE GODDAMN FOURTH STEP AND GET RID OF THE RESENTMENTS & FEARS!
okay, I feel much better now:) Going to see my daughter at parent's weekend at her college today. We have a fun day planned. Just needed to let yesterday go so I could allow myself to have a fun and peaceful day.
GO RED SOX!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Responsibility


I just got this quote for the day from Hazelden and boy oh boy is it me and I have a tough time reconciling Letting Go with August Wilson's quote pictured because that feeling of things being utterly and singulary my responsiblity follows me everywhere:

"Some of us have an insatiable desire to do something about every situation that occurs in our lives. We fret about this, we rush into that, and we push our confused minds to the edge of despair. Weary from our relentless struggling, we become short-tempered, highly critical, and completely irrational. Little things become big things. Everything in our lives becomes too much for us.When this happens, we need to ‘Let Go," of our false pride, and admit that we alone cannot understand or solve our present difficulties. Only when we have the humility to admit our limitations can we receive the help we need.Letting go of our false pride, however, is merely the first step. We also need to "Let God" take a hand in our affairs. When we give our burdens to God expecting God's help our problems often solve themselves without our ever making any conscious effort. Leaving our troubles with God frees our minds to receive new perspectives which we could not receive while we were busily clutching our sorrows and frustrations to us. Today, I will ask for God's guidance and help in every area of my life. I will not try to solve all my difficulties at once. I am not expected to handle more than my share. I will work on one or two things and leave the rest to God. "

From the book: The Reflecting Pond by Liane Cordes. Copyright 1981 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of Hazelden.
To sign up for Today's Gift, visit:http://www.hazelden.org/register

And not only do I take on my own problems singlehandedly, I take on others as well. As soon as someone tells me about a situation in their lives, I assume they want me to solve the problem. Or if I see or hear about something I assume it is my responsibilty to fix it. ME, ME, ME! Even in AA at meetings, it would be very easy for me to become the coffeemaker, Secretary, District Rep. , etc. name a job and I'll do it, at every meeting. It is very hard for me to say no. And I perceive I am saying no even when I am not asked directly. If I don't jump up to volunteer, then I'm turning something down. When complaints are made about something a group is not doing, I assume it is now my responsibilty to do it. I take everything personally. I ALWAYS take on more than my share. Overachiever. Thank God for my sponser. She has slowed me down, told me that I do enough AA jobs. So now I feel better about that. But I still need to work on the rest of life. Geez!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Truthful


I got one of those emails from a friend where you reply in one word with one adjective to describe them. Truthful was her one word description of me. Took me by suprise. I certainly strive to be truthful and now that I am sober I am closer. When I was drinking I claimed to be an honest person. But I was full of lies. Mostly to myself but to others as well. I did alot of truth dodging. Hedging my words, dancing around a subject, avoiding people, places and things so that I could claim to be honest. Building myself up to feel better. Twisting words and actions. It was hard work but I'm a paralegal and a smart woman. I am good at manipulating and convincing people to my way of thinking and that I am right. One definition of truth I found was "sincerity in action, character, and utterance." That is my goal.


I definately learnd something at the roundup. Was discussing Thanksgiving with my mother. We are going to my brother's this year in NYC. It will be tight. 8+ of us in their small apartment but it will be fun and I won't have to cook. We'll stay through the weekend to attend a college hockey game my daughter wanted to see. I asked my mother if she wanted to go as well and she hemmed and hawed and said that we would have a better time without her. And she's right. But the truth of the matter is she doesn't want to go and she can't say that because that's not how a mother is supposed to feel. We have been playing this game all my life. So I didn't let her get away with it. I dodged the guilt ball. We went back and forth and I turned it around and said, Mom, that is not acceptable and you will have to state the real reason: you would rather not go. It's perfectly acceptable. And she did, said she wouldn't feel comfortable. Doesn't like to leave her home for more than 2 hours or so. She likes her routine and does not like disruption to it. So there you have it. Now, instead of feeling guilty for not bringing her to NYC I can feel guilty for going at all:) But at least I know that she is happier where she is, even if I were having Thanksgiving, she'd come for the meal but is not really enjoying the communing with family. I am not going to have this conversation with her again until right before we leave. She didn't write it down so she won't remember. She only has about a 3-5 minute short term memory due to Korsakoff's syndrome. Long story and I'm pretty sure I wrote about it previously.


Anyway, I am grateful that I got rid of that guilt. Now, on to the rest of it........


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Roundup


And no, not that kind of roundup as my husband liked to make fun of. Happy Rodeo he said as I left yesterday morning. He just loves to find new names for my AA stuff. But geeze, what an experience and I am so grateful I attended. First of all the drive to and from really allowed me to get to know M., my new AA friend. Pretty cool. We got there early of course. I am always early because I get anxious about what I don't know. They had coffee and danish which was great because I didn't have breakfast. The speaker was tough to hear as their sound system, not so good. But the 50% I heard was inspiring. Then there were the workshops.

The Family Afterward. Helped me to understand and share about how for me the hardest part is letting go where my children are concerned. Understand that my drinking has affected them and it may take years to find out how. Understand that I can only do something about that today. By being a power of example. Hear other women's experiences which I could very much identify with.

Overcoming Guilt. Perfect followup to the family afterward. One woman shared how she had asked her son to share what it had been like for him when she was drinking. She was devastated but then he reached over and told her how much he loved her sober (she had 5 years or so). Crying moment. I feel like my past guilt is my easy guilt. I"ve got guilt right now that I struggle with over not wanting to share my life with my mother. I am her caregiver but really I am her keeper. My guilt comes from the fact that I am not a loving daughter though people assume I am. All I take care of is her finances and her meds. I am not grateful that she lives near me in assisted living. I have a book entitled How to Take Care of Parents who didn't take care of You. That is how I feel. I do not want her in my life and I am not grateful that she is. I do not embrace her. I find it difficult to respond to the workers in the facility and to my other friends with aging parents who do not understand. My mother is aging but she's only 67. She is living with 80 & 90 year olds. I shouldn't be doing this yet. She fucked up her life and in turn has fucked up mine. Obviously, I have work to do here. We also talked about cringe moments. Mainly dealing with how as drunks, we do things that are often against our morals. I've got lots of those too. Loved the woman who brought that up. She was laugh out loud funny and I appreciate being given the opportunity to laugh at myself while cringing at the same time. And also we talked about learning how to avoid the guilt ball. That's dodging that ball that people throw at you so that it doesn't stick. My husband loves to do that. He is full of shoulds. For me.

Then we had lunch. Lovely sandwiches and I connected with C. from the morning meeting. She's just so sweet. I can feel the Grace of God when I speak with her though as a Native American she calls Him the Creator. I hope I get an opportunity to know her better. She couldn't stay. I have her number now though so I'll check in. From what she has shared at meetings and what M. told me (she knew C. and her son when they were active) she has had a rough life and I know she has had a tough time with life on lifes terms in sobriety.

Living Sober and Annonymity. This was interesting because I am trying to be an open book. Having hidden this from myself and others I just want it all out on the table. I have been most gracefully cautioned about being careful about how much I share here on my blog, in the rooms, choosing a Step 5 person, etc. I am sharing my alcoholism with my immediate family and my closest friends. Will I share and do I want the community at large to know? No. There are too many judgemental people that can affect my children's lives out there. Do I want my boss to know? Nope, same reason. But one woman shared that she also doesn't share her alcoholism with those in the substance abuse program she works in. She doesn't think recovery is a prerequisite for assisting others with their recovery. Maybe not but it seems to me she is doing a great disservice to her clients. I shared that I did share mine with my friends for 2 reasons, one because they love me and care about me and I want them to know what is going on in my life. But also because some of them may have their own issues and I hope that by example if they choose to get help they know where to go. I know it is attraction not promotion but how can I attract if they don't even know I'm it. I also feel it goes without saying that "who you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here". Heard some tales of annonymity exposed, so it is something to definately be concerned, cautious and protected.

You're as Sick as your Secrets, (Honesty). This was probably the most powerful of all the workshops. Some stuff was shared that was very intense. And it was very clear that to withhold that stuff or to deny can cause serious harm such as relapse to say the least. I won't go into detail but suffice it to say, tissues were needed by all from 20 years sobriety to 2 weeeks sobriety. Some spoke in detail some spoke in generality but everything was from the heart. The differences between us were huge but I felt so close to these women who I will probably never see again. M and I were the only women from our area at the roundup besides C who didn't stay. I would have liked that particular workshop to turn into a meeting every week.

Finally we all grouped back together where our final speaker was one of those salt of earth oldtimers with 30 or 40 years of sobriety. Lots of good words of common sense and wisdom. And a raffle at the end and I was given the book Living Sober. I have one but I can't find it. I tucked it away a long time ago when I gave up my solo, self willed attempts at sobreity. There were more workshops than I could attend but that's okay it only gives me incentive to attend next year. I feel as though I was given strength to complete my fourth and fifth step....finally. I feel like I've been holding onto it. But having the opportunity to talk about honest, guilt, family and to hear what others had to say really rejuvenated me and I think will now allow me to move forward. I have a renewed sense of purpose.

Then today I did the Breast Cancer walk with 2 of my girlfriends. It was awesome. 6 miles on a gorgeous fall day in Boston. We did a lot of talking about my alcoholism. They had a lot of questions, concerns about other friends and we did a lot of sharing of our lives. They are good supportive friends and I don't think I truly realized it until today. So grateful. Walked past my daughter's dorm and she graced us with her presence. It was marvelous to give her a hug (actually 4) and we got to use a real bathroom instead of a jiffy or whatever they call those outhouses.

Anyway just ready for bed and giving Thanks. It was a fulfilling weekend.