Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Celebrating This Moment..

In my online group, someone asked the question, what was the most significant event of your sobriety in the last year? We all came up with answers, for me it was when I did my fifth step with my sponser back in February. It all seemed to change then, come into focus. I am about to embark on another fourth step this time with a Big Book Step Study Sponser and I am looking forward to this journey as one that will help me to sponser others. But actually, I bring this up because one woman who is new to the group and new to attempting sobriety answered that since that is the case, the moment of her answer was the most significant moment. This moment. That was a very nice wake up call for me. If I can make each moment the most significant moment of my life, then imagine how significant my life can be. So I choose this moment. Right now to wish my friends here in blogland peace and blessings for the New Year. May each moment of your life be significant. And sober. xo

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Risk


Sadly, I had to take the nonsmoking counter off my sidebar. I started again last Tuesday...the stress was getting to me so on the way home from a meeting I argued with myself about stopping to get an outrageously expensive pack and lost. I did not pray. I just wanted relief. And I got it. But I don't think I'm addicted, yet. So I'll start again after the New Year. Or maybe today, I have none left. Smoking sucks...its smelly...and gross....and I've got to sneak around....

My smoking career began when I was in the 6th grade or so. One of my friends had taken a cigarette or 2 from an anti smoking poster at her school. She and another friend smoked it in the woods and then came to my house because my mother smoked. We took some and tried it. I didn't like it but we did it more. Didn't really smoke in earnest though until high school. All the cool kids smoked...and I did too. I finally quit after my grandfather died in 1984 and picked it up again after my son was born in 1991. I was waitressing and it went with the alcohol we drank after our shifts. Smoked off and on after that. Tried to quit many times...finally did about 4 years ago...my drinking increased in earnest then. And I picked it up again in sobriety. Around February or March of this year...been smoking on and off since. A month on, a month off. I thought this time was for good...I'll keep trying. And praying about it.

Of course, my brother saw the butt pot on my porch...leftover from over a month ago that i had forgotten..and had to make a comment. Didn't really bother me..but I felt sad when the wine drinking began last night while making dinner....and then the uncontrollable laughing while we watched Love and Death by Woody Allen. Funny movie...but I could tell his laughter was induced by the wine....I can't lie to say that when I came home from my meeting to my kitchen where my brother was making his famous fish stew and everyone was gathered in the kitchen...sipping and I had to pour myself a diet coke...I longed for the wine...a little. Just a little. More like I longed to drink like other people...but I know that I can't. So gratefuly, I was able let that feeling pass.

Just came in from a long hike through the marsh at our refuge. Through the dunes and onto the beach..unseasonable warm here....but we'll light a fire....make some dinner and satisfy my nephew's desire to play Risk....world domination.....and that's what the holiday is all about....not world domination but spending time with family. Remembering the good times and the bad. Urging my brother to face the reality of his mother. That he is able to deny due to distance and me. Being a good aunt to my niece and nephew. Trying to replace the grandmother they have lost. Encouraging my children to be loving. Appreciating the relationship with my sister in law. Being grateful for my husband and all that he does. And overlooking all that he doesn't do.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Well, Christmas is over...I am grateful for that. The day itself was wonderful I just wish I could have that peace in the time leading up to it. I have a Christmas mentality but I am in a Festivus family. Maybe next year. We had a nice day. My brother and his family are here for the weekend. It's such a difference being with a 9 & 11 yr old. They actually want to decorate trees and make stuff, unlike my own 18 & 20 yr olds. So its fun....but it has been wonderful to fully experience the young adults my children have become. They are good kids and fun to be with. My daughter is hysterical. My son is smart. And watching them with my niece and nephew is inspiring. It's good to be sober.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Intolerable

Last night I told my husband he was intolerable. The reality was.. I was intolerable. I've been working really hard to stay in the moment..not let the Christmas "spirit" get me and I don't mean Emmanuel...I want to be the person who doesn't care if the tree is done, the cookies made, the toilets cleaned, etc. but I am what I am. I do care. Sadly, I think I am the only one that does, at least in my house. And when it isn't done I become crazy...and I only have myself to blame..I am much much better though because I know this and when I call someone intolerable, like my poor husband, I can catch myself..laugh and apologize and try to explain where it is comeing from. So when I start to feel that angst I can now bring myself down by praying about what really is important. Because none of that stuff is important and apparently I am the only one in my family who thinks it is...so if I don't do it..its A okay. Although, my husband is used to me being a certain way, he's used to me caring and taking for granted what he cares about...and when I am not..he's behind me, whispering in my ear.."but what about this and what about that". But he gets it too. We are a work in progress...it isn't always pretty. But my tree is up..with the lights on, the candles are in the window, the presents are bought, though not wrapped, the menus have been planned...so I'm getting there...downsized...and dare I say...peaceful.

I know that I must not let up on my program especially now. I did not go to my morning meeting yesteday..I wanted to get the MIL's gifts packed to mail..and do a few other things before I went to work...then I went shopping after work. A few last minute gifts at Marshall's. I swear to God, everyone smelled like alcohol in there. Then grocery shopping. By the time I got home I was starving..so called my husband who was also shopping....and said if we are eating together we have to do it NOW. So we met for dinner....but I had the whole H & T thing going of the H.A.L.T. hence the intolerable comment due to the resulting A. So I knew that even though I had planned not to go to a meeting last night so I could finish the tree....I had to go. And I am glad I did. Not only for myself..which I definately needed a meeting but because my fellows need to see me...we need each other. Now more than ever. And I could go home...and apologize....and thank my husband who hooked up all the candles in the window with extension cords so we could light them which made me very happy to pull into my street and see my house lit up.

And I can't wait to go to church and to my AA meetings tommorrow and Christmas morning. I'll have to go by myself...but that's okay. Sunday was so inspiring and moving as we celebrated the Joy of Advent. And my friend who sang moved me to tears. And the snow was falling..we've got about 2 feet now...and it is there that I can continue to recognize and aspire to find the divinity within. And isnt' that what Christmas is all about...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas

It snowed this morning. I love the first snow, especially in the morning when its quiet and hasn't been ruined by cars and shoveling. When all is silent and you can almost hear the snowflakes softly land. I could look out a window during my morning meeting and just watch the snow fall. Maybe this is what I needed to get in the spirit. I've done the shopping I am going to do. And I loved reading Pam's blog today about how she doesn't decorate or bake. That's where I'm headed. I will enjoy the tree and I'm now in the mood to get one. I will put up some candles in the windows...maybe make one batch of cookies....and then I will be done. No pressure, no worries...and then maybe sell all this junk off. Well, I can't get rid of THAT ceramic Santa....that reminds me of when I was a kid. Mom always put candy canes in it. And not THOSE candleholders. Those were Grandma's. What about.....? I probably won't be able to bear getting rid of alot of stuff....so I'll just bring it all back up to the attic and when I die my kids can throw it out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Year Anniversary


NOT MINE!! Actually I celebrated 18 months on the 11th and I celebrated. I announced it at my morning meeting and how I thought there should be a chip for it because I know we're not supposed to count, its a day at a time and all that but a year and half...whoop! It's just hard to believe. One of my friends at the meeting tapped me on the shoulder after my turn passed and presented me with a bottle cap with an orange sticky with 18 months written on it, awesome!...and the chairperson at the end of the meeting called me up and gave me a year medallion and a 6 month chip...proving once again that the squeeky wheel gets the oil.

Anyway...yesterday at the meeting I was chairing and this one guy asked to start...I heard him say "one year ago today..." and I realized I had forgotten to look in the anniversary book...so I scrambled around looking for a card which we didn't have. We are fortunate in that the church we meet in has a gift shop and we can buy cards from them when we run out, so I went next door and picked out a card...came back, wrote a message from the group, wrote my own personal message and then started to pass the card around. Meanwhile he's sharing..and I am hearing about his last drunk, jail, etc. But not really listening. Then the Secretary comes and whispers in my ear...his anniversary is on the 17th...and I'm like...are you sure? Anyway I asked the person...and he confirmed that it was the 17th so I sheepishly put the card away and apologized for jumping the gun. Today he asked to start again and finished his story...his last drink was in the wee hours..he's really doing a countdown of the last debacle....his wife picked him up from jail..the guilt and remorse, the drunk driving..we all know the story. This time I listened. But noone else in the meeting did. Well, the old guys. They were all congratulating him on his year when he made clear it was tomorrow. Whatever. It's confusing I guess. Today he was going to spend at his 5 yr olds Christmas Concert...what a difference a year makes. I am looking forward to the third installment of his story....a year...it's a big deal.

Monday, December 15, 2008



We lost our cable over the weekend. Not complaining, we got a pretty bad ice storm here and many of my friends are still without power and heat...all we lost was our internet for awhile and cable. Lost electricity for about 10 minutes..long enough to find all our stuff and get a fire going. Anyway my son has these DVDs of Penn & Teller's Showtime show Bullsh*t and I started watching them. They have this one on 12 stepping and it was.... well...a bunch of BullSh@#t.

They preface the whole thing by saying they don't know anything about alcoholism or addiction and then proceed to trash AA and the like. Their biggest misconception to me was equating an admission of powerlessness with a lack of self esteem. Heck my self esteem was what got me in trouble in the first place. And admitting powerlessness certainly didn't require that I become a weakling or that I was helpless. Quite the contrary, I became empowered. The bottom line is that they are atheists and can't wrap their heads around the higher power thing. They buy into the whole cult mentality which is annoying. Cannot understand that AA is NOT an organization and so therefore does not have records..heck its Annonymous. And on and on...I guess it bothered me because that was the mentality that I was coming from for so long that perhaps inhibited me from getting help sooner rather than later. Preconceived notions, misconceptions, contempt...and its what I think my Dad would be saying if he were still here and what my brother is probably thinking as well. But what they think is none of my concern. I can only concern myself with staying sober in whatever manner works for me...and after trying so many other ways...AA was the only way...Thank You God! Its just another example of why AA works when other treatments fail...because if you don't have this disease...and by the way.why didnt' they interview someone from the AMA....there is no possible way you can understand it..what it is and how to treat it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I've been home wrapped up in some sort of virus..called in Friday....to work...to the meeting..felt better yesterday but not good enough to really do anything but I feel like I'm back this morning..yay!

Had a drunk dream last night. Can't really remember it but it left me with a scared feeling. Not sure if it is related to one of my friends in my online group relapsing or the fact that I haven't been to a meeting since Thursday night or maybe because I feel like I have my finger in the dam of the impending Christmas frenzy. Or what used to be frenzy.

I'm trying not to get caught up in it all. In fact this Christmas I feel so different. Last year it was all about staying sober...this year its just different and I don't feel like shopping or decorating or all that stuff. I'm doing it and I'm feeling neglectful when I'm not. And I have no doubt I'll put it together for my family and tradition but this year I feel "holy" and I don't mean that in a "than thou" sort of way. I think that for the very first time I know and that just makes it all different somehow..and I'd rather do church and concerts than malls and presents. I don't want to be rushed to get things done..I want to be quiet and listen.

Maybe I've just had too much time to think the last 2 days...plus its lost time in the countdown and like I said I've got my finger in the dam..fending off......hurry hurry, get the stuff down from the attic...put it all up...get the list done...check it twice....wrap, bake, party, enjoy, give, receive, send, write, and on and on...and I just want to be quiet.

But I've been quiet for 2 days though more in a sleep it off (the virus, silly) sort of way not in the way I'd like...so I will spend today playing catch up hopefully enough so that I can be quiet.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Duh!


I figured out that feedreader thingy. I wasn't signed in so when I clicked on the blogs on my sidebar....it popped up that message....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big Book Step Study


I started to work with my new Big Book Step Study sponser. First she had asked me to read the first 63 pages and look up all the words I didn't know. When she asked me that I said I had alread read the Big Book and probably knew the words or at least understood them. So she asked me what altruistic meant. I know what it means but at that moment I couldn't articulate it so.....she said....look it up. Selfless. I knew that. Anyway, doing what is asked has worked for me so far so I did it and we finally met last night to begin reading together. We started with the Doctor's Opinion and read through Bill's Story. It occurred to me that I had not read this stuff out loud with anyone. I read it to myself several times and I listen to it at a Big Book on tape meeting but this was different. It had a fresh meaning for me.


Before we began I talked to her again about whether I was going overboard on this step thing. Not sure if I really need this. I've done the steps with my sponser...or first sponser...whatever...I did them according to the book....so she had me answer the questions on page 53

"We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn't apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view. We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people - was not a basic solution of these bedevilments more important than whether we should see newsreels of lunar flight? Of course it was."

Did these questions apply to me in sobriety? Am I having trouble with personal relationships? Honestly, the relationship with my husband is not what I would like it to be, I am not happy with my mother or brother, I'd like more from my son, so I guess the answer is yes. Can I control my emotional nature? Certainly more than I could while drinking but not always. Am I a prey to misery and depression? Sometimes. Can I make a living? Yes but perhaps not the living I want. Do I have a feeling of uselessness? Occasionally, more often that I would like. Am I full of fear? I don't think so but the little I have learned makes me think I don't understand the question. Am I unhappy? Not usually but I don't think about it. Can I be of real help to other people? Maybe but I am not confident in my competence.

So we went ahead with the reading. Take turns reading a page at a time. Discussing certain points. I told her a bit about my mother who did suffer permanent brain damage unlike one of the men the Doctor talks about with the gastric stuff. I told her how that led to my sobriety today. My first attempt...my first day...my first meeting...the first time I said I was an alcoholic. When we were done, she said she had no doubt now that I was being led to this process and so she said that she now had no doubt that I should do it. That something was waiting though she didn't know what. I have been feeling led and I guess I needed to hear it from someone else. Kinda freaks me out a little but not enough to stop me, Thank You God.


Nothing changes if nothing changes and the only change can me within me.


And as soon as I posted it was gone...geesh!

Feed Reader

"You are viewing a feed that contains frequently updated content. When you subscribe to a feed, it is added to the Common Feed List. Updated information from the feed is automatically downloaded to your computer and can be viewed in Internet Explorer and other programs. "

What's up with that? And why did it happen to my blog list? I have a headache.

On the bright side..I'm supposed to be working so maybe this is a sign....xo

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whining

1. My feet are cold

2. My sponser isn't feeling well so had to cancel our coffee/meeting
3. My sponsee called after not talking to her several weeks, she wanted money
4. My fingertip is black and hard
5. My son hasn't called to report his whereabouts as usual
6. I blew off my list this afternoon so I feel like a deadbeat

7. My boss cannot focus and hasn't given me the workers comp info for the hospital yet

8. I tried to post a clip from A Charlie Brown Christmas and it didn't go through

ON THE FLIP SIDE

1. I have heat and can put on socks
2. I can send her a get well chicken soup via facebook
3. I can say no even if it is only 5 bucks
4. Maybe that means its healing?
5. I trust him
6. I am well rested from a nap
7. I can be a calm in the storm
8. I can tell you: THAT'S IT! PANTOPHOBIA! (and to find out you will have to watch it)

And even more..I am sober, serene and settled. peace out

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Turn at Honesty

Thanks Judith over at Vicarious Rising and seems like a good enough reason to test my finger on the keyboard. Forgive the typos....

Most of you have already seen or done this so....


Here's the rules:
List 10 honest things about myself
Pass the award on to 7 bloggers
10 random honest things about ME and it is all about ME:

1. While all my life I "prided" myself on honesty and spouted it all the time....held myself up as a tell it like it is person....this last year of sobriety it the ONLY time I have been truly honest. When I can't be...I shut up.

2. One of the things about honesty that really troubles me....if I haven't been honest with myself all of my life....how do I know I'm being honest with myself now?

3. I have periods of doubt aboout this Higher Power thing.

4. I talk about how busy I am but what I am most busy at is procrastination.

5. I don't like my mother.

6. I've seen my daughter stretch the truth in the same way that I did and I haven't talked to her about it.

7. I know money isn't everything but I wish I had it.

8. When I first started to drive, I used to hit lots of cars in parking lots, not on purpose and leave fake notes so people thought I was doing the "right" thing.

9. I'm a flirt and use my marriage as a shield.

10. I felt bad because I didn't make the list of many bloggers who passed this on.

So now I'm supposed to pass this on to 7 bloggers.....so here goes..

A Sober Woman of God
One Prayer Girl
It's a Brain Disease
In God's Hands
Stop, Drop and Recover
Hand in Hand with the Spirit of the Universe
Recovery Archive
Recovering Wino
Another Sober Alcoholic

I know there's more than seven...see number 10. And if you aren't on the list its cause my finger hurts so consider yourself awarded...xo

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

ouch


i can't really type too well. I chopped off a corner of my finger today. got 2 stiches and a tetnus shot...so...i'll be remiss in my posts for awhile this time for a real reason. if you could see all my backspaces just to get this out you'd understand. no comments either...but i'll be reading. xo

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Never Use Your Daughters Laptop when Blogging


I noticed that some of my comments on others' blogs were no longer showing my name...so I clicked on one and it brought me to...a blog my daughter apparently started and abandoned earlier this year. I can identify because back in the day I started lots of journals...in fact this is the first thing I have ever stuck with. So those mysterious comments you got were from me. I'm not sure how to fix this...I'm on my computer now so hopefully any comments you receive show up from me. Weird....

Anyway, had a great day of nothing yesterday. Woke up, went to the morning meeting which I chair on Fridays. Had a piece of banana creme pie that someone brought. Came home and read a bit then took a nap. Woke up, had some great French Toast my husband made with the leftover bread from yesterday. We all watched Journey to the Center of the Earth together. Brought me back to family movie night. I love my kids. Then...read a little more and took another nap. Caught up in the blogosphere on my daughters laptop..hence this cross identity issue. But I liked using the laptop cause I could stay on my comfy couch under the covers. Then I went to the Friday night women's meeting. Guess who spoke?? You guessed it, the "dour" soul who I had an issue with last week. Guess what? She's not so dour after all. And I identified with her story big time. It was a wonderful meeting and an opportunity for me to tell her that I appreciated getting to know her better and thank her for her story. Thank you God. Came home and attempted to watch Indiana Jones with the husband but I couldn't stay awake. I guess I was tired yesterday. And it felt good to do nothing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Morning After

Fifteen hours of cooking for a 1 hour meal and it was worth it. I did not drink in all of those 15 hours and in the past it would have been a sodden event. Dinner would not have been at 3...it would have been whenever. The turkey would not have looked the picture on the cover of Bon Appetit and tasted moist and delicious, it would have most likely been dry and forgotten. The gravy would have been store bought...and I would not have eaten much at all...and I would not have remembered the meal at all. I would not have been able to sit around the table with dessert talking and laughing..., I would not have been able to have a cup of tea with another alcoholic who was using me to hold her up for the day....I would not have been able to send my young adult children off to join their friends later without recrimination and guilt...I would not have been able to tolerate my mother.....I definately would not have been able to watch a movie with my husband. I would not have had the opportunity to see and hug friends at 7 in the morning to share thanks and experience, strenth and hope. I would not have had the opportunity to read and catch up with the sober blogging community of which I am so grateful to be a part of. Only half way down the list but I've got the whole weekend off.

I am so grateful that I do not have the lampshade on my head anymore. I am not hiding anymore. And I am not the butt of stories. And noone has to look for me anymore. I am present. Like that there turkey in my Thanksgiving post. A cute, funny picture but as I went through the day I kept thinking of it more as a metaphor. And this is a miracle. Of course there is no threat of getting my head chopped off and eaten. But that's besides the point:)
I picked up my daughter at school on Wednesday and thought that I would try to make my amends to her and suggested that we go to breakfast. As we sat there I kept waiting for an opening and thinking about how to begin. And then, as I am usually reminded every holiday for the last five years, my daughter described the Christmas when all hell broke loose because the roast started burning in the oven...smoke alarms were going off everywhere, the house was full of smoke. She and my son and husband were running around waving record albums at the detecters, my husband was trying to save the roast. Where was I? I was on our porch, smoking and drinking on the telephone. The door was closed so I had no idea what was going on. Finally I came in...they were all yelling at me...I was yelling at them for blaming me...and we had what was left of dinner. I don't remember it at all...I made a lot of drunk calls that day, don't remember the conversations...but when they called back I had to pretend that my slurred words on their answering machines were intentional...I passed out after dinner...upstairs, alone.
Anyway, that was the opening! And I admitted to my daughter for the first time that that had happened because I was drunk. And I made my amends to her for not being the mother she deserved. For embarrasing her in front of her friends, for dishonesty and all that goes with it. I told her this was part of my recovery and that I wanted her to have the opportunity to share what it had been like for her. She did not share. She listened quietly to what I had to say. I know she was uncomfortable...our family is not used to talking about feelings and emotions...we never discuss elephants.... but I could tell in her face and eyes that she heard me. I was disappointed that it did not turn into the heart to heart I had hoped to have but it was okay.
And then....we changed the subject and then....she began to talk to me about her relationships...her current boyfriend and the one who broke up with her who wants her back. The one who confuses her. She has NEVER talked to me about this stuff before. She trusted me. And therein lies the miracle. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grateful


I am grateful:

For my boss, who closed the office for Thanksgiving beginning today and through the weekend...paid!

That I get to pick up my daughter today.

That my husband vacumed yesterday.

All the shopping for Thanksgiving dinner is done and I can start cooking today....without wine.

That my son is enjoying and participating in his senior year of high school, something I never did.

For our President-Elect who has already begun and I already feel more secure.

For the fellowship of AA that rightsizes me when I make a mistake and teaches me valuable lessons on how to work my program and humility.

For the woman mentioned in the previous post....

For the ability to assist someone to recover from this disease and watch them emerge from the paralzying fear and remorse to hope and faith.

For the ability to tell someone in the midst of this disease that I did understand her drama...just wasn't going to participate in it....that it was the insanity of the disease whether she was drinking or not and that there was a solution should she choose to accept.

For the ability to pray for acceptance for myself and for others.

For my Tuesday Step Sisters....and the friendships beyond fellowship that I have been blessed to be a part of.

That because of AA I can practice my principles and can count among my friends for the first time, people of color, of different sexual orientation, and of different economic status.

That my husband is accepting of my desire to open our home to other alcoholics without one for Thanksgiving dinner...as long as it isn't Gary Busey.

That I shared that with my spiritual sponser and she is now grateful for Celebrity Rehab.

That because of this program I can work on being thankful that my mother will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner.

That my step study sponser and I will begin our work on Friday.

That by the time I came to believe, my sanity had already begun to be restored.

For the understanding that doubt can be a part of faith. Thank you T. , Mother Teresa, and Jesus.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How Not to Have a Resentment

art by www.cristiansaluas.com
We have a Friday night women's group called As Bill Sees It. I really liked the group. Some great solid women there, newcomers show up and women from a transitional detention house as well as some young girls from a halfway house come. The meeting was in a hospital and this one woman used to show up with a dog once in awhile. Noone ever told her not to though it was annoying to some. She said she used the dog therapeutically (I think she's a counsellor) and put a jacket on it to indicate that and I suppose to justify the dog's presence. Anyway, apparantly the dog peed on the rug and the hospital kicked us out. That's not the resentment though I feel bad for the women in the psych unit who will no longer get to come to this meeting.

So the meeting went for weeks without a location and we finally found one. A few of us met in a coffee shop to discuss options, a business meeting I suppose and there is this one woman. She used to be the treasurer of the group. She seems to me to be a dour and grim person. I have not once ever seen her smile. Her shares are incredibly boring and flat. But it usually did not affect me because it was in the meeting and a fairly large group. I did not have to interact with her. Anyway at the coffee shop, we were all just so very happy to see each other and to finally be doing something about the meeting. We discussed locations, conversations some of the women had with the hospital, etc. etc. Catching up on life and the whole time this woman was impatiently waiting for it all to stop. It seemed to me she couldn't stand the joy in the room. We had our business meeting came up with ideas and she was the one charged with negotitating with 2 places for the meeting. And then we didn't hear anything. I couldn't believe we put the fate of the meeting in her hands. But finally last night we had our meeting....at a local facility. Just a few of us because we haven't got the word out yet. They brought us to this lovely room. It's an old house and we were in the parlor, comfy chairs and couches, soft lighting. It was great. An attached dining room so that if the meeting gets bigger there is plenty of room. Everyone was so pleased. Then SHE shows up. All doom and gloom. She was very concerned...that the place had said we could use the room only if it wasn't in use...apparantly they rent it out...that we had actually contracted for this other room...a gym. It's not bad either and will be great if we get big but the other room is so comfortable. But she just could not get over it. I was jumping out of my skin. I swear to God that I wanted to stand up and shake her by the shoulders and say "snap out of it!" We had our meeting she chaired it and the speaker picked gratitude as the topic. It was a good meeting and this woman even shared how happy she was with her life, how content, etc. Hard to believe because she sure doesn't show it but whatever. She impatiently ended the meeting, early I might add, so that she could again tell us that she was concerned about the use of the room, ignored the fact that the facility was the one that brought us there even though she herself acknowledged that we could use it. I don't know, she just made me want to scream. I talked to another woman about it and she acknowledged it but also said that she was an elder of the group. Principles above personalities you know.

I'm not sure exactly why I feel this way. I feel compassion for most people but I don't really for her. She's just a grump. Dour. I used it before and that is the word that perfectly describes her. Definition: 1 : stern , harsh 2 : obstinate , unyielding 3 : gloomy , sullen. That's it exactly. If I try to look at my part in this, I suppose its because she doesn't like me. I want people to like me. So I guess it affects my emotional security. And I think she makes me feel guilty for feeling joyful. Like I'm doing something wrong. And I am sure that my impatience and feelings are all over my face. I don't think there was any eyerolling, I do try to restrain myself but I'll betcha she caught me at the coffee shop. I'll betcha I did it. I was really annoyed. It probably happend unconsciously. She was really spoiling the atmosphere and basically ruining a very nice evening with a very nice group of women. Of course she was sitting right next to me. I don't think I owe her an amends or anything. And in my share I did say I was insecure about how people felt about me and looked right at her. And I thanked her for her service to the group...in finding a place for us even if she doesn't really want it. But I do need to pray for her. And to try to exhibit kindness, not eye rolling and impatience.

Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. Mother Teresa

Thursday, November 20, 2008

12th step questions

If you haven't read Mary Christine's postings the last 12 days on the 12 steps please do. Her post today on the 12th step got me to thinking. I have worked with other alcoholics and am now currently sponsering 2 though I now believe I have no business doing so and am in the process of suggesting alternatives to them. I can be the best sober buddy right now, I think I do have a lot to offer, but I don't think I'm qualified to sponser at this point, taking someone through the steps I mean, in my humble opinion. I've looked at my motives and I don't think I'm trying to shirk my responsibility as a recovering alcoholic but that I realize I'm not quite there YET. I've been through the steps but I'm not sure I've got them enough to articulate them to someone else other than just spouting phrases out by rote. That's why I sought out the AWOL and now am in the process of doing a Big Book Step Study. Maybe I'm wrong but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I said yes to these 2 women more for the reason that "I'm just a girl who cain't say no". I am finding I am more involved in helping them work out their daily life than in taking them through the steps. I don't think that's how its supposed to be. The alcoholics that I've reached out to are those who show up at meetings. I do the usual...share my experience, give them my phone number, take their calls, make a few suggestions, give rides, etc. That's where I am right now.

So I guess my question is....what if you know a person outside of the meetings, who exhibits alcoholic behavior, whose lost their job because of it, who is not someone in your family or circle but happens to be an acquaintance. One is a gentleman who the people he works with claim he is an alcoholic whether by his own admission or not I don't know. Whether he has ever sought recovery or not I don't know. I don't really know him at all, just of him. The other was an aide at my mother's facility. She was my mother's favorite, had been there 6 years, the longest of any of the aides and was arrested on site for apparently stealing meds from another resident. She denies it. Is this the kind of person to reach out to in a 12th step call? I know back in the day that is how Dr. Bob and Bill found their prospects. These people have not asked for help but their lives have fallen apart. During meditation this morning it came to me that I could approach them with another alcoholic. Explain my story and offer to help if they so desired. Is that overstepping boundries? I just really am not sure. And if I'm not sure I do nothing until I talk it over with my sponser and in this case seek opinion from those with more experience.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Accountability vs. Sociability

This was shared in my online group and just in time for me. We had an issue in our morning group, someone's annonynmity was violated based upon what she had shared in a meeting. It was used against her out in the "real" world. I see this all the time and have been guilty of it myself..sharing just a little too much both in a meeting and outside. I went to school for social work and my profession is in the legal field. We are bound by the requirements of confidentiality. But the only requirement for membership in AA is a desire to stop drinking. "Whom you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here" is a fine principle but it is not a requirement and there are a lot of sick people out there with no boundries, no values, no sense. Principles and traditions are not requirements. So in the words of the Sargent back in Hill Street Blues days..."Let's be careful out there....
I attend meetings to stay sober and to carry the message—not the mess—to other alcoholics. An old Chinese proverb says, "Fellowship for the sake of friendship is chaos." I do not go to AA meetings to make friends… When this does happen, I count my blessings. But I go to meetings to remember what it was like, what happened and what it is like now. The chaos begins, when I/we forget "principles before personalities," or when I am letting my ego talk/share (Easing God Out). I/we can be getting ourselves, or others, caught up in the drama trauma, and not recovery. The A.A. prog ram has taught me that when I am in a meeting my sharing needs also to benefit the group. Is what I am conveying necessary for the "unity" of the group? Am I sharing my experience, strength and hope? We are to share in a general way—not every detail concerning the drama. For example: I am having a problem with a situation in my life that is causing me (name the feeling), and I am not reacting the way I use to (drinking). Too often, I hear, "Yesterday my boss got me so mad. He/she said blah, blah, blah. And I said blah, blah, blah back. Then, blah blah blah. I left there and drove home in my blah blah blah car. I am so blah, blah blah, and blah blah. 5 minutes or more later… blah, blah blah."

What is the point? If you cannot say what you need to say in 3-5 minutes get together with your sponsor or someone else before or after the meeting and discuss all the details—until you can get to the "underlying cause" of your problem. Another tool in recovery is writing about it until you can "uncover, discover and discard." If you think "the group" will get a lesson or kick out of your longer version of the story…sign up for the speakers list! We need speakers to carry the message. Thank you for letting me share!

Concerned member of AA Mission Viejo, CA

Ps. AA is not group therapy…group therapy is not AA… And DUI classes are neither…they are group detention!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's Good About Today


I think its time for a gratitude list:

1. For my daughter who calls me just because....

2. That her boyfriend is not coming for Thanksgiving after all taking the pressure off...

3. For my stepsisters group that I can return to tonight......

4. For early mornings....

5. For my husband who is just letting me be..most of the time..

6. For my son...who I pray will someday see me as a person, not just as a parent

7. For facebook...its fun

8. For recognizing H.A.L.T. and how doing something about it can change everything

9. That my sponsee agreed to begin the Big Book Step Study with another sponser.

10. That when my other sponsee called to tell me of the chaos in her life, I brought it back to Step 1 and told her that if she won't even read the Big Book there is not much I can do for her.

Okay, I'm ready to start the day now...have a good one!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Found 'em!

So yesterday, I write all my feelings out. And felt better. Our new meditation meeting is in the afternoon so I called the treasurer of the group to make sure she would be there to open up because I didn't have a key. We talked for awhile, she completely understood my unsettledness and suggested that I pray to Saint Anthony. Not being Catholic, I knew there was some Saint out there for lost things, you know, you see those newspaper ads all the time, but certainly hadn't thought of praying to one. Hadn't really prayed for my keys at all. So I don't know if this is a prayer but I shouted, "Saint Anthony please find my keys!" Which is a little different from the customary prayer which is something like "Tony, Tony, turn around. Something's lost and must be found." My friend said typically her mother would turn a St. Anthony statue to the wall and then invoke the prayer and she laughed at my plea and said she would say a prayer to St. Anthony as well. We hung up. I called my husband who was working and proceeded to do the housework that had been waiting for me all week. My husband and son treat our foyer like a closet..so I was hanging up jackets, putting away soccer stuff and the like. Now don't get me wrong, I had looked over and under all this stuff during the week. I know I did, I just didn't put it away. And I get to this one chair, which for some reason my son treats as a laundry hamper. There are jeans, tshirts, soccer socks, etc. I get to the bottom....and there they are! Not 10 minutes after I hung up with my friend. I know I looked there...I know I did. But WOW! So thank you to Saint Anthony and of course I had to google him this morning and I found this which was of particular interest to this alcoholic..

A Sermon by Saint Anthony of Padua First Sunday after Pentecost Love

"God is love," we read today at the beginning of the Epistle. (I John
iv, 8) As love is the chief of all the virtues, we shall treat of it here at
some length in a special way . . . .

If God loved us to the point that he gave us his well-beloved Son, by
whom he made all things, we too should ourselves love one another. "I give you," he says, "a new commandment, that ye love one another (John xiii, 34)." . . .

We have, says St. Augustine, four objects to love. The first is above us:
it is God. The second is ourselves. The third is round about us: it is our
neighbor. The fourth is beneath us: it is our body. The rich man loved his body first and above everything. Of God, of his neighbor, of his soul, he had not a thought; that was why he was damned.

Our Body, says St. Bernard, should be to us like a sick person
entrusted to our care. We must refuse it many of the worthless things it wants; on the other hand, we must forcefully compel it to take the helpful remedies repugnant to it. We should treat it not as something belonging to us but as belonging to Him who bought it at so high a price, and whom we must glorify in our body (I Corinthians vi, 20).

We should love our body in the fourth and last place, not as the goal of
our life but as an indispensable instrument of it.

(Les Sermons de St. Antoine de Padoue pour L’annĂ©e Liturgique.
Translated by Abbe Paul Bayart, Paris, n.d.)
— From Lives of Saints, John J. Crawley & Co., 1954

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lost Keys


Can it really be about lost keys? I've looked everywhere and I cannot find my keys. Not in my purse, not at home, not at work, not in the car, not at my meetings, not seemingly anywhere. And my husband keeps "suggesting" that I backtrack. Well, that's helpful. I didn't think of that! My car key which is expensive to replace, my house key, my office key, the keys to two churches and my mother's keys, gone. Not to mention my very special Kathy keybob and my library card and store card swiper thingys. Thank God I didnt' drill a hole in my 1 year medallion as planned. I know that as soon as I replace all the keys, they will turn up and that pisses me off too.


Anyway, that's bugging me. Can you tell? I woke up yesterday morning at 3:30 am and couldn't fall back asleep because the damn keys were in my brain. But because I woke up early I did get my meditation in at home so that's a good thing. But the rest of the day went to pot. The morning meeting was wierd. Things were said that caused a lot of newcomers to approach me (as the chairperson that day) to ask if where they were sitting was okay, and did they share too much and should they sit somewhere else when they pass. I know the comments shared by some of the oldtimers were meant as a joke and they were talking about their experiences in other groups but people are so raw when they come in and any negative comment is taken personally. Then this one guy deliberately said something mean about another guy in his share which caused the other guy to be upset. To burning desire upset. Of course the offender and done a hit and run and left. I got a bit riled up. Mainly because I know stuff about the offender that I should not know. And what I know has taught me that 20 years of sobriety can mean nothing. And to be careful...because not everyone out there is selfless. And some are downright scuzzy. Anyway....I assured the newcomers, I talked to the guy who was upset, I talked to a few other people and tried to let it go.


Went to work and could not get through the day. I was just plum tired and couldn't stand watching the clock while listening to my jovial, intense, OCD boss and when he left for lunch I left for the day. Came home and couldn't sleep. Too much caffeine and thinking going on. I had a big fat Burger King meal, caught up on my TV shows....read my book....looked up words in my Big Book (my assignment from my new Step Study sponser) and of course did way too much thinking. I was alone from 1 pm to 10 pm cause my son and husband when to the big football game. Basically I wallowed. Maybe not quite the bitter morass of self pity but it was a morass all right. I'm going to have to look that word up now.


Take a wild guess where those thoughts brought me...am I really an alcoholic? Am I going overboard? Why did I "get it" and others don't? Does that mean they are "real" alcoholics and I'm not? I've done my steps, why do I feel the need to do them again more intensively? If I drink that vodka in the cabinet, can I still go on the Artwalk with my friends in the program? Will they still be my friends? Will they still want to hang out with me? How am I going to help this poor girl who is coming home on Sunday because her health insurance won't cover her rehab anymore? Is there anything wrong with thinking about that guy in my meeting...all the time? My sponser says obsessive thoughts are usually part of our disease...an escape. Are my thoughts obsessive? I cannot believe I have been sober for 17 months...do I want to stay that way? You betcha! Do I want to be "normal"? You betcha! I want my cake and eat it too. I want to drink AND have everything that sobriety has brought me. Is that possible? Not likely.
And then I prayed. And then I thought H.A.L.T. And then I checked my email and got an Easy Does It suggestion from Steve-a-roni. Exactly at the right time as these thoughts were coming to a crest. Welling up. And so I finally just went to bed and slept a nice sleep. Ready for the weekend. I don't have the answers to all of my questions but it feels better writing them all out like this. My feelings are still there. And my keys are still lost. But I am not going to drink. Is this what they call off the beam? Can losing your keys really bring this on because that's what it feels like. My name is Kathy and I am an alcoholic. I feel much better now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm Tired


That's about all I've got. Sometimes it all seems like just too much.

But I'm sober.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Young at Heart



If you haven't seen this movie go see it RIGHT NOW! Just beautiful, funny, heartwarming, poignant and inspirational.

Just came from the ER where my sponsee lies detoxing, again. I won't share what has happened except to say, she has gone to a lower floor on the elevator. I practiced my detachment yesterday...I brought her to the meeting and then said that she could call me when she was placed and someone else took her to the hospital. Her placement didn't work out and so she is back in the ER waiting....for help...I went and I comforted her, I prayed with her, I read her Step 1. Then I left. That was huge for me because I didn't want to really but I had to. For me and for her. She's in God's hands, she just has to realize that. I can do no more to help her with that.

I am leaving the AWOL. It just isn't what I was looking for but what helped me in that decision was attending a Big Book Step Study meeting yesterday morning. Now THAT, was it. In order to participate (speak) in the group you must have gone through the steps with a sponser from that meeting. The read a step from BB, yesterday was just a few paragraphs from Step 4 regarding FEAR. Then they have a speaker. Then they share. Otherwise you listen and let them know where you are in the process. What I was looking for was a deeper understanding of the steps. I've done them as outlined in the Big Book with the guidance of my sponser. I'm in the middle of Step 9 and try to do 10, 11 and 12 every day as well as Step 3 and 7. And my relationship with my sponser is step based and I respect and honor her guidance. This will only make me stronger. I talked to my sponser..she knows my new step study sponser..and endorses my decision. So there you go..I do not feel bad about leaving the AWOL and I am grateful that I can return to my Stepsisters group. What I feel bad about is abandoning my carpool buddy. She's not in my group in the AWOL but we drive back and forth together. I'll go this week to let her know and the faciltators...that will be hard but I think this is the right path for me. And I think I will better be able to guide someone else through the steps by doing it this way.

She likes me! She really, really likes me!

Thanks Gabriella.

When I started this blog, I honestly wasn't looking for feedback. I thought of it as an online journal like a diary. The diary I had never been able to write. And then I got a few comments and was helped tremendously. People here directed to me to AA both in their own writings and their suggestions to me. And once in AA I was able to stay sober and discover a new way of looking at and living my life. Almost 17 months now...whew! One thing about having a public journal is that it does temper some of what I write about. Not so much from the other bloggers because I would love to get those comments on issues I have having personnally but more because I don't know who else is reading. And its wierd to have people reading that I know in person. (but don't go away...okay?) But that helps me too because I realize that if I am uncomfortable in any way making something "public" then perhaps that is better information shared with my sponser, as much as I'd like to write about it. Maybe after I discuss it with her is a better time to write about it anyway. Even here in blogland, as much as I am helped by it, it is no replacement for face to face contact with other alcoholics. No replacement for meetings or the relationship that you get from sponsership both ways. And when I started this blog that was my intention. To do it on my own...work out my problems in writing so that I would never have to speak about them, god forbid, to another person. Now, because my AA life is so active, I sometimes fall behind here and don't get to post or read every day. And I am reminded of the blogging with obligation tag on my sidebar. When it becomes an obligation it no longer becomes helpful to me.

That following thingy has also had me thinking...mainly because a few other bloggers wrote about it. I didn't put it up there and I didn't sign up to follow except for a couple when it first came out. I didn't put it up because it's just another complicated thingy to figure out, I didn't want to stroke my already big ego and I know who follows by their comments. And if they don't comment, that's okay too. My primary purpose is to stay sober and help another alcoholic achieve sobriety. I don't necessarily have to hear about it. Maybe they don't want to announce themselves. I didn't sign up because all you have to do is read my sidebar to see who I follow and I try to comment when moved so they know I'm around. It's a give and take community and when I started I know it was more about take but now its more about give to me. I think that's a nice switch.

So I'd like to award this lovely acknowledgement to a few blogs too...

Michael
because he makes me laugh, makes me think (too hard sometimes) and though I can't follow all of his stories and escapades, he has a wonderful heart.

Danny S.
because he challenges and takes no prisoners, and because years ago when I first started thinking i had a problem he was a contributor to one of the yahoo groups I lurked on...and now thanks to Molly I found him in blogland.

Irish Friend
because she is the sponser of all sponsers. Her blog is a wonderful resource when I can't find my sponser and she's helped me to stay sober.

Molly
because I know in "real" life, we'd hang out and drink tea.

Fireman John
because although I don't always agree with him, I learn from him.

Banana Girl
because I find her inspiring and I aspire to become a Sober Woman of God.

The rest of you already got one so don't think you're being left out...xo

Thursday, November 6, 2008

God's Will

Funny how things work...I was just thinking of God's will this morning. Read a post over at Attitude of Gratitute that got me started... and wouldn't you know, received this from a friend via email. Archie posted something that got me to my first meeting..you guys probably already know the mechanic story, but if you don't you can look back here.. and now here he is helping me to understand...these online blogs, groups and relationships have added so much to my recovery...not sure I would be here without it.

It is important for us to listen as well as talk when we pray.

GOD'S WILL

God's will most often happens in spite of us, not because of us.
We may try to second guess what God has in mind for us,
looking, searching, hyper vigilant to seek God's will as though
it were a buried treasure, hidden beyond our reach.
If we find it,we win the prize. But if we're not careful, we miss out.
That's not how it works.
We may believe that we have to walk on eggshells, saying, thinking, and feeling the right thing, while forcing ourselves somehow to be in the right place at the right time to find God'swill.
But that's not true. God's will for us is not hidden like a buried treasure.
We do not have to control or force it.
We do not have to walk oneggshells in order to have it happen.
It is right there inside and around us.
It is happening, right now.
Sometimes, it is quiet and uneventful and
includes the daily disciplines of responsibility and learning to take care of ourselves.
Sometimes, it is healing us when we're in circumstances that trigger
old grieving and unfinished business.
Some times it is grand. We do have a part.
We have responsibilities, including caring for ourselves.
But we do not have to control God's will for us.
We are being taken care of. We are protected.
And the Power caring for and protecting us loves us very much.
If it is a quiet day, trust the stillness.
If it is a day of action, trust the activity.
If it is time to wait, trust the pause.
If it is time to receive that which we have been waiting for,
trust that it will happen clearly and with power, and receive the gift in joy.
Today, I will trust that God's will is happening, as it needs to in my life.
I will not make myself anxious and upset by searching vigorously for God's will,
taking unnecessary actions to control the course of my destiny or
wondering if God's will has passed me by and I have missed it.
A.S.A.P.Always Say A Prayer

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our Lives are Singular but our Destiny is Shared


Of all the inspiring messages I heard in Barack Obama's speech last night and on the campaign trail this one from last night resonated with me. I can't help but think how much that is true in AA as well. We come in broken people from all different walks of life but because of our similarities we have a way to recover from this disease. And the solution relies on our spiritual condition. And for me, knowing that my destiny is shared with my fellow man, my fellow alcoholic, helps me to stay sober and become the person that I was meant to be.

AMERICAN PRAYER



We danced to this Monday night in a Sacred Circle and I had to listen to it this morning and tears are running down my face as they did last night as I watched the crowd in Grant's Park. I am proud to be an American and I wouldn't know that were I not a grateful, recovering, alcoholic. I cannot even imagine what it must feel like to be an African American today. But I think I have a taste of it. Today, we are Americans, not white, not black, not straight, not gay, not male, not female, not red nor blue, we are Americans.

postscript: Actually, maybe I can imagine. One of my friends from the morning meeting is African American and attended with her daughter today. Tears streaming down her face and speechless. Overwhelmed with emotion. I can identify and fills me with gratitude. My aunt in Georgia just sent this to me...

Rosa sat so Martin could walk
Martin walked so Obama could run
Obama ran so our children could fly

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Deviled Eggs

Regular readers may remember the trauma of last Halloween. Glad this year we could smile. They are still on probation and we were a bit worried the photo would make the paper and perhaps cause trouble. Thankfully it did not but I couldn't resist sharing here.
Very, very heartened to see the line wrapped around the block this morning as I went to vote. Actually had a tear in my eye as I colored in the circle. Very exciting, so grateful that my children get to participate in their first election where there is so much at stake and so much citizen participation. Rock on!

Monday, November 3, 2008

VOTE!



If you hear this message, wherever you stand
I'm calling every woman, calling every man
We're the generation We can't afford to wait
The future started yesterday and we're already late
We've been looking for a song to sing
Searched for a melody
Searched for someone to lead
We've been looking for the world to change
If you feel the same
Then go on and say
If you're out there
Sing along with me
If you're out there
I'm dying to believe that you're out there
Stand up and say it loud
If you're out there
Tomorrow's starting now
Now, now
No more broken promises
No more call to war
Unless it's love and peace that we're really fighting for
We can destroy hunger We can conquer hate
Put down the arms and raise your voice
We're joining hands today
Oh I was looking for a song to sing
I searched for a leader
But the leader was me
We were looking for the world to change
We can be heroes
Just go on and say
If you're out there
Sing along with me
If you're out there
I'm dying to believe that you're out there
Stand up and say it loud
If you're out there
Tomorrow's starting now
Now, now Oh now, now
If you're ready we can shake the world
Believe again It starts within
We don't have to wait for destiny
We should be the change that we want to see
If you're out there Ooooh
If you're out there And you're ready now
Say it loud Scream it out
If you're out there
Sing along with me
If you're out there
I'm dying to believe that you're out there
Stand up and say it loud
If you're out there
Tomorrow's starting now
If you're out there
If you're out there
If you're out there
If you hear this message, wherever you stand
I'm calling every woman, calling every man
We're the generation
We can't afford to wait
The future started yesterday and we're already late


Love is Patient and Kind.



I made my amends to my husband yesterday. Saturday was our 22nd wedding anniversary. We hadn't done anything special as we had to attend a funeral and then an auction for our son's senior class. After the auction we went out "for drinks" with another couple who we have known for sometime as our boys have been friends since nursery school. Of course I wasn't drinking and I just said I didn't drink anymore because it wasn't good for me. That led to a discussion of our youth and our various experiences with drugs and alcohol and how we reconciled that with our kids. My husband brought up how I had shared with our children the time when he was 17 and had driven his cadillac into a house. And he was upset that I had told them that. He said I believed in transparancy with our kids (I don't) and he didn't think we should share everything with them. I think I brought it up. and I'm sure I was drinking at the time, to retaliate for something he had said about my driving. You know like, " oh yeah, well let me tell you about the time...." On the way home, I told him that I shouldn't have shared that story with our children and we had a brief discussion about it. I apologized, told him that I didn't believe in transparancy and that I hadn't told the kids he was drunk at the time (though I would think it could be inferred). He was happy with that.

But yesterday morning, upon awakening, I thought, this seems like the time. So I took him to brunch for our belated anniversary celebration with the intention of making my amends. It was tough to start the conversation. But I did. I explained that this was part of my recovery and while I couldn't apologize for every instance I could share that because I was drinking I said and did things to him that were not fair, were mean-spirited, and were ill advised. I shared that because I was drinking I felt less than and in order to feel better I said and did things that knocked him down. Because I couldn't stop drinking I didn't come home when I should as a wife and mother and did things that were against my values. I came up with examples and said it would not be possible for me to identify everything because after 22 years of marriage and 4 years of dating, there were far too many. The examples I did put forward, he didn't even remember! But he got the point. I also took the responsibility for my part in our lack of intimacy. That it must not have been pleasant to come home to a sloppy, drunk wife. All in all I think it went well. We did not have the heart to heart I would have liked. He's one of those guys that has trouble expressing emotion or even identifying them. In fact he said, okay but now we will have menopause to deal with.. meaning, maybe its not going to get better in our relationship. But my side of the street in clean. Maybe now he will get the advantage of me practicing these principles in all my affairs. But I am not wearing rose colored glasses. His side of the street, not so clean, but that is none of my concern. I can't change that, or react to it. I have done my part and it feels infinitely better to have done so. Like maybe I'm not so bad after all.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's a New Day

Yesterday was a tough one. One of my sponsees went back out. I knew it. Hadn't heard from her in 2 days. She called me Thursday night, high. She came to the morning meeting, high. It was very painful. In fact watching her in the meeting, nodding off, just brought me to tears. And I was chairing the meeting. So that was awkward. It was an involuntary reaction and I'm not sure if it was due to my sadness for her or my own internal struggle with my powerlessness to help her. It has been suggested to me that I emotionally detach. And I think that is what I need to do. But how? I've known this girl for over a year now and have attempted to sponser her for the last month or so. I know my feelings are maternal in nature. She's had a tough life. She's got PTSD and depression which are hard to overcome. And yes, I want to fix it. It's not that I want to be the one, I know this is God's work. But I guess I just want to see it happen so bad. I want her to have the life she deserves. I want her to have what I have. She wants it too, that's why she's asked me to sponser her, but it seems the problem is that she is not willing to go to any and all lengths. And I need to continue to help her but conditionally. I can get her to meetings. But I'm not going to help her get her stuff out of the sober house. I can get her to detox, but I'm not going to take her shopping. This was posted in my online group and I thought I'd share it here.

Interesting unofficial addendum to the sponsorship pamphlet that has been passed around for quite awhile.
1. I will not help you to stay and wallow in limbo.
2. I will help you to grow, to become more productive, by your definition.
3. I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself,more excited, less sensitive, more free to become the authority for your own living.
4. I cannot give you dreams or "fix you up" simply because I cannot.
5. I cannot give you growth, or grow for you. You must grow for yourself by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.
6. I cannot take away your loneliness or your pain.
7. I cannot sense your world for you, evaluate your goals for you, tell you what is best for your world; because you have your own world in which you must live.
8. I cannot convince you of the necessity to make the vital decision of choosing the frightening uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of remaining static.
9. I want to be with you and know you as a rich and growing friend; yet I cannot get close to you when you choose not to grow.
10. When I begin to care for you out of pity or when I begin to lose faith in you, then I am inhibiting both you and me.
11. You must know and understand my help is conditional. I will be with you and "hang in there" with you so long as I continue to get even the slightest hint that you are still trying to grow.
12. If you can accept this, then perhaps we can help each other to become what God meant us to be, mature adults, leaving childishness forever to the little children
of the world.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phew! Glad that's over!


Pasta party was a success. They came, they ate, they left. My foyer was filled with smelly sneakers. Another mother came to help and my husband did the cleanup. I had soooooo much food left over. We'll be eating pasta for a week. But even more than that, I called a woman from my morning meeting, a single mom, struggling, with 3 boys and the neighborhood hangout. I was able to bring her a tray of Baked Ziti and a pot of Chicken & Broccoli with Cavetelli. That felt good. She recently started working again but they are taking so much out for insurance and stuff that her take home is nothing. She'll be fine in January but while they play catchup she's going to fall behind. But she brought it to the meeting and because the fellowship is what it is...she's getting the help she needs. I love that.


Did my speaker gig this morning. Brought one of my sponsees with me. ( I love saying that but it feels so wierd. I've got sponsees?) So got to hear more of her story. She said something funny at the meeting. She was an addict and had 3 1/2 years clean, so that means she's not an alcoholic. Yeah, I wasn't an alcoholic because I didn't go to AA. We know where that goes. Anyway I told my story..gosh I had butterflies and the room was big...I got a beautiful introduction from the chairperson who I met through my blog...seems she credits me with getting to AA....and we all know it wasn't me...it was something much Higher..She got me all choked up but I started and of course I went on way too long...but its hard to get everything in to explain where I was and how I got here. But what I wanted to share here is how much this forum helped me. On that first day of sobriety, I spent the day on the internet, trying to figure out how I was going to do this. I had surrendered. Complete and utter defeat to alcohol, but still thought I could fix it. As I surfed the net I came upon Red Headed Gal's blog. She hasn't posted in awhile and she will always be in my prayers. I read her blog from her first post and identified with everything. Stopping and starting again. Am I an alcoholic? Life circumstances. Everything. That led me to the rest of you. Decided to start my own blog on Day 2. Journaling had never been something I did. Wanted to, started one many times, never followed through. I guess the keyboard method works well for me. Judith I think was one of the first to find me as well as Irish Friend and johno. They encouraged me and gave me direction. Scout, who I miss and also pray for, is the one who after my writing for 2 weeks, about the program I was creating for myself, a little of this, a little of that, said.."Do you even go to meetings?" And nope, I didn't. I thought I'd take a teaspoon of AA, a dash of Smart Recovery, a tablespoon of journaling, read my yahoo group (of course, not actually participate), read blogs, and read the book Living Sober and that would be enough. I didn't want to actually talk to people, live and in person. Didn't want them to see me. That helped me not drink for about 2 weeks and then somehow I found myself at an AA meeting and thankfully to real sobriety. I met a woman there who directed me to the next meeting. I have been listening and following directions ever since. I didn't do 90 in 90. I did 180 in 90. And kept going. I read the Big Book. I found a sponser. I shared. I reached out my hand. Did roundups, retreats and above all as I went through the steps, had a spiritual awakening and learned that I had a Higher Power who is with me every day. Just like it says in the Big Book. Imagine that?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm so busy doing things I'm Getting nothing done

This has been what I've been saying when people aske me how I am and I need to stop. I am busy, yes. But I am getting things done, just perhaps not to my own, flawed satisfaction. And even as I write, I was about to go into a litany of things I've done since I last wrote to prove that I'm busy all the while thinking about what's ahead of me. I'll spare you.

I will say this, one thing that I did accomplish was come to the realization that I need to do more than just a living amends as they call it to my children. Up to now, it was enough to just not be drinking and to share my milestones with them. I thought about the amends, sort of like a drive by. In the car, maybe I'd tell them I was sorry for not being the mother they deserved and for the pain and embarrassment I am sure I caused them. But the time never seemed right. But out of the blue, after talking to another alcoholic about her family, it occurred to me that I need to take each one out to lunch and make my amends and give them the opportunity to share how my drinking made them feel. So that's the plan. I will do the same thing with my husband. I've been postponing that one because I'm not sure I can make amends for everything. Still deciding if one particular behavior of mine will cause him harm or if I'm just being self serving. But I can still move forward and begin the amends and let God decide.

And being a sponser or I should say trying to be a sponser is a tough job but it is true, it has its rewards. And I do want to be that person that walks the talk so I will stick with it. I've given both my sponsees a set of Joe and Charlie CDs I made. I listened to them constantly early on and they helped me to understand and take the steps. I'm listening to them again. Found a speaker set on sponsership itself from Chris & Myer. Listened to the first one and it sounds like I should download the rest. They talked alot about old time sponsership and how it is getting away from the fellowship now.

Right now I'm just trying to be available to them, getting them to meetings and encouraging them to make other contacts in AA so that they have someone to talk to when I am not available. I have seen both of them do that which was exciting to see someone actually listen to you. And I listen and try to point out the step where they seem to be and how they can get to the next step. But to formally sit down and do them, is not how I did them with my sponser with the exception of Step 5 and I dont' want to shortchange them. I was a very motivated student. I kind of did the step myself and then after the fact would talk to my sponser about it and she'd point out what I might be missing or encourage me further. I'm not sure that would be enough for these girls.

Miss AddictedtoLove seems to be too wrapped up in her relationship to focus on sobriety though she's progressing. And MissKeepsComingBack is still trying to figure out if she's doing this for herself or to get past the next Court hurdle. I'm torn between trying to help them with life 101 and just simply getting through the steps. One of my defects is to become too empathetic to the point of losing myself. So I guess its all about balance. Work in progress.

Anyway, the 2 big things ahead of me is a pasta party on Wednesday for the varsity soccer team. Last game of the regular season. They made it to the playoffs and the parents gave my son, the keeper, a standing ovation when he came off the field last night. Very nice but he didn't even see it. He's a focused boy. This party would have been an occasion for huge quantities of alcohol for me. I would have popped a few while prepping with the thought that the boys would never notice. Maybe have a glass tucked away somewhere, worrying all the time whether another parent would show up. Then once they leave, which is pretty quick, the swoop the food, play a video game and go home, I would have downed quite a bit to recover from the "stress" of putting it all together. I am not that person anymore.

Thursday I get to speak at a meeting in another town. Scared to death of course, but I'm happy to do it. I think it will be a better way to recover from the pasta party than anything I used to do.
Have a great day!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

500 Days



WOW! Who'd a thunk it? Not me.
Seems like a milestone. 500 very different but sober filled days. 500 reasons to be grateful.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Letting Go

Last night, just before I fell asleep, I heard my father say my name. I haven't heard his voice for 10 years and it was clear as day to me. It was comforting yet at the same time disconcerting. As I shared about it this morning I realized that I don't need to read anything more into than what it was...my father who is always with me. After he died my mother kept his voice on the answering machine and I used to call it when I knew she wasn't there to hear him. I don't have to call the answering machine anymore.

I gave up buying the coffee supplies for my morning meeting. I realized that the reason I jump in to do EVERYTHING is because of my EGO. If I don't do it noone will. If someone else does it they won't do it right. I am expected to do it. This is all stuff in my own head. So I raised my hand yesterday and offered the job up...I already chair Fridays and update the members list for that group not to mention the other groups I'm involve in. I had a few people in mind that I thought could use the job..but lo and behold...this one guy (kind of a whack job, but no judgement) offered and my first reaction was "anyone but you!". And I said it out loud! Geeesh! Talk about putting your defects out on the carpet for everyone to see. But I'll let it go..its going to be tough. And I think I'll stop at Dunkin Donuts before the meeting from now on.

And I took on another sponsee. I can't say no when someone is looking for help. But as my sponser reminded me, I don't have to sponser her in the same way I sponser the other girl. And I really need to set my boundries with both of them. I have trouble with that. It is easy for me to put someone else before myself and my husband wishes it were him. I'm a work in progress. I'll get there. And it is amazing how sponsering another alcoholic really comes back to you. I am getting more and more grounded. It is becoming more clear to me what Steps 1, 2 and 3 mean. All that stuff you hear in meetings is really true...freaky.

The AWOL, well, its not bad but I'm not sure its going to be right for me. Last night we had to go around the room and share what we hoped to get out of the AWOL. Since I dont' even really know what an AWOL is, that was hard to do. I shared that I felt like I was at my first AA meeting. Everyone seems to know everyone else and I don't know anyone. I don't know what I'm in for. But that I'm looking for confirmation that I'm on the right path as far as the steps go and that I thought I could use more structure and I thought I might find it here. I also think it will help me as I begin to sponser others. A lot of people there had done this before, the facilitator had done 13....they all talked about how wonderful it was...how close they became to the people in the group...it was magical. I don't really want that experience. I have become very close to the people in my AA groups and I don't think I have room for more. I'm not looking for magic, just clarity. Anyway, I will remain open, honest and willing.

One of the reasons I think my head is swirling around with this stuff is that I haven't taken the time to write here recently. Yes I tried to post the other day and that got wiped out and it has made me feel disconnected. I am very grateful for this forum that allows me to share and work out my feelings in a way that we can't always do in the time we have to share at a meeting. And when I work it out here I can better share at a meeting because I've organized my thoughts. Anyway...

Let Go and Let God is my mantra for the day. xo