Monday, March 31, 2008

On the Beam

My 11th Step & Centering Prayer retreat was probably one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Very personal yet with a group of committed people, mostly alcoholics but a few other 12 step programs as well. And of course the 4 other women from the meetings I attend whose friendship I cherish and our bond is now stronger than ever. Our plan is to start our own prayer group and possibly even an 11th step meeting as there are none in our area. I feel my relationship with my Higher Power has been strengthend and my ability to practice my newfound faith has been formed. I was able to consult with a priest and even though I haven't had too high opinion of priests and religion in general, I'm ready to follow this guy anywhere. Sharing in the Eucharist was emotional. He was wonderful. Sadly for me his ministry is strictly retreat work so he no longer has a parish. If I'm going to follow I'll have a lot of traveling to do. You know, I have been praying throughout this nine 1/2 months even when I didn't understand what that meant and when it clicked and I did Come to Believe, I felt awkward getting on my knees and never really felt the need to. This was not something that came naturally to me or something I grew up with. But I did this weekend. And FOR ME, Centering Prayer is yet another way to pray and meditate at the same time. Truly transforming and here I am at work dealing with the same situation but so much more at peace with it. Crazy stuff. If you're interested you can go to to learn more. Keep in mind, as explained in our retreat, that because the founder of this outreach program is a Catholic monk he is coming at this from his unique prospective. But from a 12 step prospective it works just as well. But you may have to do a bit of translating for your own Higher Power. Just as some of us need to do with the Big Book as written in the 30's but a bunch of men. Different world, same principles. Same here, different faith, same principles.

Speaking of crazy stuff, as I was packing to leave, I was going through the drawers of the desk to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. I didn't use the drawers but just in case, I checked anyway. And what do I find in the top desk drawer??? A nip of Jim Beam!! I slammed the drawer shut! Recoiled as if from a hot flame. Yes the Big Book really is How it Works. I was going to leave it there but my first thought was what if they thought is was mine, LOL!! Didn't want that. Then once I got over my own selfish thoughts I thought, what about the next person who gets this room? What if they are struggling and can't recoil?? So I simply threw it away. Grateful I didn't check the drawers when I got there. Yipes! What a thing to find at a recovery retreat. The prior night at our meeting the speaker had shared that her last drunk was during a prayer (not recovery)retreat. She had been sober but not really working a program. She had accidently drunk a sip of the wine during the Eucharist and promptly went across the street to the liquor store. I told her what I had found and said had that been then, you wouldn't have had to go across the street. So anyway, a bit frightening but good experience. I did not feel tempted in the least. Thank God. Not sure if that quite topped the used men''s underwear another woman found upon checkin. Could have been a problem for the sex addicts in attendence. Maybe from a previous retreat?? Anyway, doesn't look like the monks are so good an cleaning up.....

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Centering Prayer and the 12 Steps
March 28-30, 2008

Supper @ 6,
Housekeeping & Overview,
Workshop: Paradigm Shifts
12 Step Meeting
Introduction to the method and Centering Prayer session
Retire in Silence

Breakfast in silence
Conference 1 & 2 (Don't know what this will be)
Lunch in silence
Open Time and optional soulfriending
Conference 3
Conference 4
Supper with conversation (I'm sure I'll be bursting)
Workshop: Emotional Sobriety
12 Step Meeting

Breakfast in silence
View Keating video: A Daily Practice of Transformation & CP Reaching Out to the World
Spiritual Talk on Forgiveness
Closure Circle

I Should be Working

Okay, I'm not now. I'm home but the last two posts were while I was at work. Three in one day! Should make up for not posting in a week. Anyway, pretty much since I got sober 9 months ago, much of time at work is spent checking in with my online group, reading and posting. And checking in here at blogdom though I haven't been doing that as much of late. Not so fair to my boss. In fact when I was at a roundup last month I became infuriated that he had the audacity to call me on my cell phone on a Saturday. He needed a password to get into the DOR site to pay his corporate taxes. Not only that he called my house like 10 times in a panic about where I was disturbing my family. Not that I had it or even knew where it was, (it didn't exist, I have nothing to do with his bookkeeping, I had gotten one for a client and he got mixed up.). He gets flustered and needs someone else to do the thinking for him and that is usually me. I'm the detail guy. Later at the roundup someone asked me about my online group and I told them how I check in while I'm at work to keep my sanity and then it struck me. I am doing this on his time. I get angry that he crossed my boundry yet I cross his every day.

It is very clear to me that I am going to need to leave my job. I am a paralegal and my boss is heading in a different direction. The law is falling to the wayside and he is pursuing strategic planning for businesses and wealthy clients. I just have no interest. I can handle the legal stuff and I like it but I could care less about building a business or an individuals estate. And my employer's personality is toxic to someone who is trying to get well. Me. Anyway, just needed to get that out.

I'm trying to stay sober and trying to do the right thing. I should be focusing on my work when I am at work but I am just not interested anymore. And there is less and less legal work to do and more and more "strategic planning." Sounds like I need my own strategic plan.


It's a miracle. My son just called. He left his cleats at home and needs them for lacrosse after school. So I have to go ALL THE WAY home to get them and bring them back to him. Not really a big deal. But when I said okay he said thank you. This is HUGE. This kid never says thank you. At least not to me.

He's had a rough 17th year. He was in an accident 2 weeks after getting his license running head onto a telephone pole. He had a passenger which was a violation of his junior license. The cop gave him a break and only issued a warning and to keep it off the radar we did not claim the accident so he had to pay for the repairs and medical bills for himself and the kid who was in the car with him. Then there was the infamous egg throwing incident, (he was charged with A & B with a dangerous weapon, a felony). And recently he lost his license because he got a speeding ticket in October and lost all appeals. The new JOL laws in MA have stringent consequences, a 90 day suspension as well as retraining classes and finanical repurcussions.

This is a good kid. So far no troubles with drugs or alcohol, (BTW, the girl he hit with the egg was arrested for possession with intent to sell recently. Not that it excuses his behavior but it does explain why she did not respond to the DA causing the case to drag on.), he is an honors, college bound student, an athlete, has a good job and he has a great wit. But kindness or consideration is not a trait I would have used to describe him. Perhaps a bit of humility has entered his psyche. Perhaps my prayers are being answered. Perhaps having a sober mom is helping.

Thank you God!


I have an opportunity tonight to go greet some soldiers who will stop at a local air base to refuel before either leaving for Iraq or coming home. They have either already left their families or haven't reached them yet. The plane lands at 11:20 pm and departs at 12:50 am. This is something I never could have done when drinking. And while it is late for me, between an afternoon nap and some coffee I should be able to handle it. Hard to whine about sleep when these men and women are sacrificing so much. I can't remember if I wrote about this before. I had had an opportunity to do this last month and the woman I was supposed to go with left without me because I was a few minutes late. Imagine that! Apparently she was anxious to get there. Anyway, I told my ride this time I would go if she promised not to leave without me!! Does that mean I still have a resentment?? LOL!

I am very much looking forward to this. Its a nonpartisan, nonpolitical way to show the troops that no matter what we care. And its an example of how I am getting outside of myself. This morning we were talking about loss. We have all experienced so much loss. I have been dealing with the loss of my father recently even though it occurred 10 years ago. But the biggest and best loss is what this program is all about. Its the loss of self. And once we are able to lose our self we are able to connect with our spirit. And our spirit is what carries us.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

During a step meeting last week, a woman whom I greatly respect shared how angry she is with her husband for dying. She has over 40 years of sobriety and was married for longer than that. She has had to make alot of changes in her life. She was talking about the bereavement group she attends and shared her pain. She helped me so much because it was at that moment that I realized how angry I am at my father for dying almost 10 years ago. He was only 58 and had non hodgkins lymphoma. Was trying to get well enough for a stem cell transplant but didn't make it. I was shocked. Even though I knew he could die I never really thought it would happen. Even though I had sooo many issues with him, I never thought he wouldn't be in my life to debate, look up to, defy, prove myself to and on and on. This picture was taken 2 months before he died. He doesn't look like he's going to die does he?

And now I just had a beautiful weekend with my family and my brothers family. I was sober. Essentially, I am left with taking care of things. My mother couldn't. So now I take care of her. My Dad always did that. He was the HEAD HONCHO and now he's gone. My brothers can't or won't. I think can't is more like it. My mother can't. And I don' t like it. I do it but I don't like it. I don't want to. I want my Dad back to take care of me and us. To be in charge of the clan. But that is my charge now.

Thankfully, now that I am sober, I am able a little better. And I understand that it is not really me doing the taking care of. I have turned that over. And that is why we were able to have a beautiful weekend. The kids played and were just so excited for the Easter bunny. I did most of the cooking but because I was sober I was able to accept help and to have company in the kitchen. I can accept my mother for who she is not what I want her to be. I can pray for my brother who I can see is struggling with many of the same defects that I have. I can enjoy my sister in law who I felt very hurt by and now realize that it was only my own wall that caused the hurt. I can love my husband and children unconditionally and when that becomes troublesome I can pray.

This wandered to places I had no idea. But as I sat looking at the full moon tonight, the same full moon I looked upon when my Dad died, I just needed to talk about the anger I feel. The burden. But the anger is becoming replaced with sadness and acceptance. And perhaps someday it will be replaced with something better. I'm growing up it seems.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Total Crap TV

Frankly, I'm a bit sick of all the self reflection. Between meetings, phone calls, writing, reading, therapy and all that comes with that, I get so I just don't want to think about me anymore. My sobriety, my spirituality, my past, my future, my motives, my honesty, blah, blah, blah. I know the program has us reaching out to other alcoholics but then what do I have to share but MY experience, strength and hope. There I am again. So sometimes a break is just necessary and I can get that from reality TV. Big Brother for example. My family cannot understand why I watch that show and they are right it is horrible full of horrible people. Total crap TV. Although as I have shared these thoughts at a meeting I've met other like me. Big Brother addicts. I don't think about myself when I am watching. I'm usually just gasping at the stupidity. I like that for a change. When my Mom was in ICU for those months my brother and I watched that show Joe Millionaire. Really, really bad. WE loved it. So I don't know what this says about me. Like I said, I'm tired of reflecting upon myself. Maybe I'm experiencing growing pains.

Doesn't mean I'm going to stop.

No way.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

So here I am at 9 months, yes I celebrated on March 11th but due to my sporadic blogging of late I did not get to celebrate here in blogdom. My life in the last nine months have been nothing BUT change. I have given birth to myself. I think differently, I have a spiritual connection that I never had, and I am sober. My priorities have shifted. My family might say the shift is not so great. They are happy I am sober and very supportive but they notice that the house, their meals, their laundry, the bills, etc. are not my overwhelming concern anymore. My poor husband is still asking what's for dinner and my answer is usually whatever you can find, I've got to go to my meeting. My son keeps looking for clean laundry and my answer is usually, I want your future wife to like me, do it yourself. And so on. But in the long run, our family is the stronger for it and my children are learning what is most important by my example. I know that my focus is where it should be and where it needs to stay. My sobriety and my relationship with God. This means the day to day details of life sometimes get overlooked. However, I am making progress in this area as well. I actually went grocery shopping yesterday and planned for future meals! Progress. Have to be careful that I don't use my sobriety to cover for some of defects like procrastination (a five sylable word for sloth according to the 12 x 12), selfishness, pride and to "hide" in AA. But "real" life and concerns are coming back and getting incorporated into my new life. Just trying to do the next right thing. I heard someone say recently that AA was not his whole life but it made his life whole. Right now I'm in the middle. AA is a huge part of my life right now, meetings, roundups, retreats, phone calls, readings, postings, and last but not least praying. And my life is not whole just yet but I can see a light where the 2 shall meet and I feel certain that I am on my way to life will becoming whole. It gets closer and closer with each day.

So yes my life is all about change now. When I was drinking I wanted nothing to do with change. I was very comfortable and felt safe in my routines. I never thought of a life without alcohol. Didn't want it and didn't think it was possible. What problem? I would say to myself over and over again and promise my husband, I will not drink today, and continue to say so as I drove home from work, walked through the front door, opened the cabinet, opened the wine, poured it and drank it and finished it. And the next morning I'd be suprised. How did that happen? It never changed. I was unwilling. I was dishonest. I could not open my mind to the possiblity of life without alcohol. So something happened to change that and I am sure it wasn't me. I wasn't "struck sober" as a struggling woman keeps asking me. Once the grain of possiblity entered my brain, it was and still is alot of work. But it was a possiblity of a future, of hope, of life that was and is worth working for. I am just so darned grateful. Peace to you all.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Anonymous said...
It's one thing to expose yourself on a blog, but to talk about someone else, the "sick and suffereing alcoholic" you discuss here, and what happened at an AA meeting and take her inventory and put her down, as if you, who was given an unmerited gift, is somehow now a notch above her now, is just not right. It is gossip. She has as much right as anyone to go to an AA meeting and feel safe, not to be exposed on a public board and as much as you believe it is private, it is not. It happens too often in the rooms of AA now also, people telling other people's stories who aren't even sitting in the room, and now here on the internet for all to see. If she ever gets sober, let her tell her own story herself. Talk to your sponsor in private if you need to discuss someone.

This is a comment someone made just recently to a post I had last month about a 12th step experience I had which by the way did not occur IN a meeting but outside the meeting. Kind of felt like a punch in the gut. I think that very well have been the intent. In rereading my post and in the reality of the experience, I in no way felt I was "taking her inventory" or "putting her down" or in any way feel a "notch above her". I have no illusions that I am exactly like her. And not only that she is my friend and I care very much for her. I am invested in her recovery as I am invested in mine. Her story is part of my story and that's why I wrote about it. It was something that had affected me deeply. We are getting sober together. But the point is well taken that this blog is a public forum not my private journal. I have thought of my blog as my journal and have been warned to be careful of my boundries. I think that's part of why I haven't been blogging so much lately. Not exactly sure where those boundries are.

Anyway, I think the comment may be more of a reflection on "annonymous" than anything else. And I may stop allowing annonymous comments. Not that I get many. I just don't like the feeling of not being able to respond directly and not knowing where its coming from. Not nice and nice matters. I'm all for being right sized but there is a way to do it. This comment just reminded me of those negative folks who sit around in meetings and talk about the newcomers like they are pigeons who shit all over them. But maybe I am way off base. That's why I am posting this here. I'd like to hear what you think.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Yet again she helps me: "I find it is easy to give a plate of rice to a hungry person, to furnish a bed to a person who has no bed, but to console or to remove bitterness, anger and lonliness that comes from being spiritually deprived, that takes a long time."

We had a situation after our morning group yesterday. A man who supposedly had longterm sobriety, who claimed spiritual fitenss and Christian values became agressive with another man from the group after the meeting. As I was driving away, it became violent and I felt myslef driving my car to the brink of where they were sparring, sounding my horn and slamming the brakes. Myself and the two other women in the car broke up the fight and called the police. I stood between the 2 men mainly to stop one from hitting the other, (kept my back to the agressor) and facing the other trying to get him to walk away...I felt no fear, in fact I felt at peace. In looking back I honestly feel that God was with me. There was no thinking
involved. There was noone else there to stop this agressive action. I am grateful I had the opportunity to stop this but at the same time, on the next day I am filled with both anxiety and a bit of anger. Anxiety because the agressive person was in the meeting this morning. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Right? I understand now, that he is a sick and suffering alcoholic, and that what he shares in meetings is not necessarily the truth but I am really grappling with the feeling of betrayal. Obviously he cannot share what he has not got. As someone who is just learning to speak my truth, who is dependent upon the honesty of my fellows because I count on their experience to help me stay sober, I have a bit of anger at realizing this guy has been full of sh*t. He has not been speaking his truth. He has not been sober. He has been lieing. He has been using the principles AGAINST personalities.
I became overwhelmed at the meeting this morning. I did not feel safe. Probably feelings that I had held in from yesterday. I am not resentful just saddened and fearful. I don't want to be cynical or distrusting. But at the same time, I need to protect myself. Not physically, but emotionally. I am anxious to hear how those of you with longterm sobriety see this and how you understand the traditions in handling this situation. The group will be having a group consciousness meeting tomorrow to discuss the matter. Some of the men in the group were going to try to do a 12th step on the agressor and try to get him to a detox. In the brief discussion we had after the meeting today, I expressed my concern regarding Tradition 3. But I was also reminded of Tradition 1, regarding our COMMON welfare. I began to feel safe again. Thank God for the traditions. I know the group will make a decision as to what is best, I Know AA has provided an outline of suggestions as to how to handle situations such as these, I know that there are people in that group I CAN trust and therefore I will continue to feel safe. I UNDERSTAND that sick and suffering alcoholics are just that, sick and suffering and that my sobriety depends upon helping them.
After the altercation yesterday, the other man was taken to the hospital. As I drove to work, I realized that noone really knew that he was there and that he may need a ride back to his car. So, again, I was guided to the hospital. I spent time with him in the ER while they tried to determine his injuries. His head had been slammed to the pavement. He is not someone I would have ever talked to after the meeting. We prayed and discussed how AA has changed our lives. He kept saying what a wonderful experience this was. He held no malice to the person who had done this. He tried to understand it as did I. Noone else ever came. He did not need a ride back as they admitted him because of dizzieness and hearing loss so I was able to leave and share with others who are his friends so that they can follow up with him. I understand people have been calling him and checking in so I feel my work is done. He spent the night in ICU. This has been a very enlightening experience but I must really say that I truly felt my Higher Power at work and I am very thankful for His care and protection.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Matt Nathanson - Car Crash


I'm wide awake and so alive
ringing like a bell
tell this is paradise
not some place I fell
cause I keep falling down
I want to feel the car crash
I want to feel it capsize
I want to feel the bomb drop, the earth stop 'till I'm satisfied
I want to feel the car crash
'cause I'm dieing on the inside
I want to let go and know that I'll be alright, alright
just push me till I have to fly
I've shed my skins, my scars
take me deep out past the lights
where nothing dims these stars
nothing dims these stars
I want to feel the car crash
I want to feel it capsize
I want to feel the bomb drop, the earth stop 'till I'm satisfied
I want to feel the car crash
'cause I'm dieing on the inside
I want to let go and know that I'll be alright, alright
it's all right
it's all wrong
I'm wide awake and so alive
I want to feel the car crash
I want to feel it capsize
I want to feel the bomb drop, the earth stop 'till I'm satisfied
I want to feel the car crash
'cause I'm dieing on the inside
I want to let go and know that I'll be alright, alright
'cause I'm open wide
so wide
so wide