Thursday, May 29, 2008

B12 Deficiency

Okay, I'm a little freaked out. I guess I thought I skated by this alcoholism thing with no long lasting physical repurcussions. But I was wrong. The bloodwork I had yesterday shows that I have an anemic B12 deficiency. See here: This explains the fatigue I have as well as some other symptoms. I think diet has very little to do with it because I am not lacking for food. I will get a shot a week for the next month and then monthly after that for the rest of my life. WOW! The rest of my life. That's screwed up. I don't need to tell you that this is coming just a little to close to my mother. She got B12 shots. I didn't understand why. Know I know. She ended up with Korsakoff's Psychosis which is permanent. I won't.

But I need to be grateful about this. Grateful that I am a RECOVERING alcoholic. Because I am recovering I take care of my physical, mental and spiritual malady through the program of Alcoholics Annonymous. I don't drink. Because of AA, I now see a therapist to help with the underlying emotional/mental issues. My therapist sent me to a neuropharmacologist to discuss the anitdepressant I take and whether I needed it or not, physical. She sent me to a nutrionist who ordered the bloodwork checking for B12, physical. And wala! I am diagnosed. This never would have happened if I was still drinking. And if I was still drinking it is pretty apparant to me that I WOULD have ended up just like my mother.
But the gratitude doesn't really help with the emotions I am feeling right now. A combination of relief and regret. Relief that I will be getting the treatment I need that will help with some of the physical symptoms I have been experiencing. Maybe I will get out to the garden after all. Maybe I am not really slothful, but physically incapable. But regret that I have done this to myself. I know, I don't have to tell me. This is where the spiritual aspect of this program comes in. And so I thank God for my sobriety which helps me to take care of myself which in turn allows me to help others.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I need coffee! I am getting bloodwork this morning so I can't have any coffee until afterwards. This test was scheduled a long time ago and I just never went in to do it. My cholesteral is borderline and she checks my sugar as well due to diabeties being in the family. Now I am seeing a nutritionist who wants to check my iron, B12 and something else. Its kind of a pain and this is the stuff I used to shrink from. But I am trying to take care of me these days. So I'll naturally wake up, without the caffeine stimulant for one day..should make for an interesting morning meeting. Maybe I'll find out I don't need the caffeine...okay let's not get crazy here.

My daughter is on her way to London as we speak. She will be staying with a friend for 5 days and then heading off to visit another friend in Dubai for 8 days. This is the result of going to a big university and making friends from all over the world. She was very excited and I am excited for her. She set me up with a webcam so she can call me and I can see her. She is very excited about seeing the sites of London, to her Notting Hill of the movie, she's going on some big ferris wheel (she who is afraid of heights) and whatever else she can get her friend who sort of disdains the tourist stuff to show her. He will show her the offbeaten path stuff which is probably more interesting anyway. Of course we have been teasing her about the cultural stereotypes we have about Muslim countries asking her if she's packed her burka and the like. I know Dubai is a very modern city but she is so naive and we just want her to be respectful. I am sure she will be and her friend will take care of her. This letting go stuff can be tough when it comes to your kids.
Anyway, I am just so grateful that I can have this relationship with my daughter that I was unable to have with my mother. I cannot heal my relationship with my mother due to her illness so according to my therapist I am grieving. I tried one last time to get her to talk about her life. I asked her what she felt like when she discovered she was pregnant with me. She claimed not to was so long ago...but then she proceed to talk about the lionel trains her father had for her brother. So things we remember, feelings we don't.
Well, got to start my day....still want coffee and now I'm hungry too!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

11th Step

I'm actually on my 8th step, can't quite get my list together, you know. Anything that requires writing sort of bogs me down. I owe some letters to my therapist too, though she would say I owe nothing, but the fact that she suggested it makes me feel like its on the list.

Anyway, we had our first 11th Step Meditation meeting yesterday and it went very well. 8 whole people showed up...well 6 in addition to myself and the other woman who put it together. Just from announcements. We did the usual AA stuff, preamble, serenity prayer, introductions. Then had someone read the st francis prayer, then read a bit of the 11th step, then 20 minutes of meditation, then a group reading of st francis, then a reading from the book Spiritual Awakening, then discussion. Four of the people there really appreciated the opportunity to practice the 11th step. One had a hard time with 20 minutes and the other wasn't sure if this was what she was looking for. I liked it though I have to admit I couldn't settle in. My mind was all over the place...I guess cause it was the first meeting. Apparantly I thought I had something to do with everything so I couldn't stop thinking about how the meeting was going, blah, blah, in 20 minutes I probably had 5 minutes of true prayer and meditation. But that's enough....anything is better that what I'd been doing when I was active which was NOTHING!.

Then today we read We Agnostics in my Big Book study group. Seems this weekend I must spend in contemplation of my relationship with God. I am so grateful that this program gives us our own understanding. I think for me that was key to coming to believe.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More Girls

So I guess this is the week that my Higher Power wants me to notice friendships. Wednesday another woman in the program invited me to the Red Sox game. It started out as a couples thing, which would have been scary but then her boyfriend couldn't come so she invited 2 other women and we all went into Boston to the game. It was really fun. Lots of silliness. The other 2 women really knew nothing about baseball so we had lots of splainin' to do. Manny was right in front of us and another fan and I fought over who he liked best since we both claimed to be his girlfriend. We sang Happy Birthday to her poor husband later. Lots of beer drinkin' going on too especially the guys sitting behind us who did not shut up for the entire game. Really didn't bother me except when I saw a Guiness walk by. That didn't bother me either except that I remembered that I liked Guiness. Or the idea of Guiness is more like it. But it was fun...and we had great meetings on the way to the game and on the way home.

This morning a friend I met online here, came to my morning meeting. That was very special and I hope she got as much out of that meeting as I did. We have helped each other stay sober through this forum and emails and it was nice to share that with the group. Some people are afraid of the internet and for me it has become a wonderful tool that I perhaps would not have gotten sober without. So not only have I discovered more meaning in the friendships I already had, I am establishing new friendships based upon the principles of this program and for that I will be forever grateful.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The girls

I just had an awesome weekend. My girlfriends treated me to a weekend at a lakehouse to celebrate my upcoming big 5-0. Two of them paint for the woman who owns the house so they got it for free. The girls provided all the food. All I had to bring was my kayak, my books and my soda pop! Might I recommend Izze Sparkling Fruit Juice. My favorites are grapefruit and blackberry. Anyway, despite a forecast for rain and clouds we had a beautiful sun filled weekend. Went out on the lake a lot, got my first massage (one of them is a massage therapist and Reiki master) and had some great conversations and of course lots of food. They got me a beautiful silver charm bracelet from Tiffany's as well as a gift certificate to our favorite book store. They know me so well and I was so deeply touched by their acknowledgements. Honestly, it wasn't until now that I could appreciate these friendships and I have been friend with these women for over 10 years. They have been so supportive this last year. I thought these were girls I would have to leave behind because I did a lot of my drinking with them. e all worked in a bar together while raising our kids and when we left we continued on the tradition in a book club as well as socially. What I found out was that they were not drinking like I did so that when I stopped, it opened up our relationships on a deeper level. I always felt like I didn't belong...that they were just tolerating me. That they didn't really like me. What I found out was that my drinking created a huge block to any meaningful relationship. It wasn't them, it was me. One of the girls is probably also an alcoholic. Untreated. She's been to AA a few years ago as a result of a DUI but she never surrendered. I am grateful that I can show her through example how this program works. I had to explain to the others that we work on attraction not promotion but I did leave my Big Book laying around the house just in case.

The massage was a less relaxing than I suspect its supposed to be. I am just too self conscious of my big fat body to let go. Plus I kept waiting to pass wind....thank God I didn't. I felt bad that I couldn't enjoy it more because it was such a thoughtful gift given with the best intentions.

Anyway it was fantastic. Got home and took yesterday off not to recover from a hangover but to catch up on some things at home and get a mental health day from the boss. Of course here I am blogging on his time...but its the only way I can get through the day and give him some quality time. Or am I rationalizing a defect of charachter. I'm not going there, this was a postive post and I'm sticking to it......xo

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Didn't Get the Job

Oh the message yesterday...they are going in a different direction...yeah, like someone who knows what the heck their doing! LOL!! I guess it was just meant for me to go through the process not necessarily do THIS job. I learned alot about myself in the interview. I learned I really do want to work in the field of recovery...its more than just the pink cloud talking (and my cloud ain't so pink anymore, more like maroon)...but now I need to learn how. But, my resume is updated so I can use it when I need to....I am going to call them back to ask for suggestions on jobs I AM qualified for, more entry level stuff, and what higher education they they think I need. I'm sure they want someone with more time under their belt. I think the job description said at least 2 years of continuous sobriety was preferred. I have learned that I am going to have to figure out a way to continue to work with my current employer and NOT go crazy. Principles not personalities. Tough to do....

Funny, I hadn't heard from them and so in the five minutes I had at home this afternoon, I whipped off a Thank you for the interview letter and sent it before I could have second thoughts. And then when I got home later I had the message. Seems we were on the same wavelength. Thank you God.

Monday, May 12, 2008

11 Months Sober Yesterday

Funny, I had kind of forgotten about it until I logged onto my blog and saw the date and thanks to those of you who also noticed. That meant alot. God Willing, I got my last monthly chip this morning. It felt good to be at the meeting and I sat next to the woman who urged me to get that first 24 hour chip. I think I'm going to sit next to her all the time. She sits outside the circle and I think thats what I need to do more of. Less talking and more listening. On the other side of me was the woman who had suggested I apply for the counseling job. She asked me if I had heard anything which I haven't yet. But she did tell me that they said they liked me, that I had good things to say and that the interview went well. That was good to hear because I thought it went well too. Felt like maybe I do have something to offer despite my lack of experience, (other than personal) in the field. So there's still hope. I guess its time to do a little follow up.

I didn't go to many meetings this weekend. Friday night I hadn't planned to go because I was supposed to go to a party but then I cancelled that. I just wanted to grocery shop. It felt good to be doing something normal. Then I didn't go to my Saturday morning meeting because I wanted to sleep late and just get up and do laundry. I missed the meetings but I feel like its time to get some of the mundane tasks back into my life and to do that I need to make time. I used to drink while doing these things and so I've slacked off there in the interest of self preservation. This weekend it felt good to be taking care of my family instead of just me, me, me. I know taking care of me is indirectly taking care of them and I can't lose sight of that. It's all about balance I guess and I'm still figuring that part out. And yesterday I missed the Big Book meeting because well, there was a lot to do. Why do I feel like I need to call in when I am going to miss a meeting??
I had a really nice day yesterday. The most special part was that my daughter suprised me showing up at the restauarant where my husband and I were taking my mother for brunch. She had said she couldn't come for mothers day because of finals and I didn't expect her. My son had to work. I was totally okay with it. I've been telling them the trip to Albuquerque covers the whole enchilada, no pun intended. But there she was standing at the hostess station when we walked in. She wanted to be with me. Really felt nice. I woke up to my son and 2 of his friends crashed on the living room floor having survived their junior prom. He feels comfortable bringing his friends home in the middle of the night. That feels nice too. He's 17 so maybe he couldn't bring himself to say Happy Mother's Day first thing, but when he remembered he did. I really don't need stuff and I am grateful my kids know that although apparantly they got me a webcam too that didn't come in on time. WTF am I going to do with that? But I'm sure they'll tell me.

What also was good was that I took my mom out to brunch and wanted to. I have a hard time being with her. She is just a different person....and I don't like it much. Not that I much ever did. Everyone else likes her but I usually don't. I think because I see what she doesn't show. Here is a woman who was very simple and wore a only a gold band for her entire life and now she's got a gaudy ring on every finger. Not to mention the pins all over her shirt...yet she can't figure out how to comb her hair. But I'm getting to acceptance and just the fact that I wanted to take her out and that we had a really nice brunch is progress. That we can joke about her memory loss. She decides what she wants at least 10 times while we wait to place our order. Its always the same thing though like its a brand new decision. We tell her its a good choice every time. Finally she closes the menu and then asks a few minutes later, have I decided what I want? We tell her to take a rest and we will remember her order for her. I called my brother to remind him to call her...instead of resenting the fact that he wouldn't. That's progress. I didn't feel guilty like I should be doing more than just taking her to brunch. She's got so much stuff I cannot add to it. Part of her thing is the compulsion to hoard. When she first was sick it was oyster crackers. She had boxes and boxes of them she would save from meals. She got over that and now its food. Looks like boxes of chocolates and honey dew melons are the latest. She's also into knickknacks, books....every surface of her room is covered. This is a woman who was all about beige and spare. Talk about a psychic change. But I did a lot of letting go this weekend and it was good to see that. One thing that gets me though still. Even though I've inventoried it and shared it in my fifth step. When I invite her to a sporting event of my son's, she always replies that she did her time with my 2 brothers. Adamently. I don't care whether she goes or not, but she is full of it. My brothers and I don't remember her attending anything of ours. Unless she was invisible and that is possible. I'm not sure who's got the faulty memory here but it really ticks me off and I want to say something but I don't. Good thing tomorrow is therapy and sponser day!
Maybe too because I wasn't at meetings this weekend, alot of stuff was coming up with my husband. I really need to work on this. More later. Have a good day everyone!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Have a Great Day

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy.
They just promised it would be worth it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My posse

For quite some time now I have been giving rides to a few girls on a regular basis. It was one way I found that I could be of service very early one. One woman celebrated her year when I celebrated my 30 days and we bonded over that. She needed rides because she didn't have a car and had a huge fear of driving. Over this past year I have seen her get a job, move to a new house, grow spiritually and now finally she got a car and she is driving. It's huge for her. I also give rides to a few girls from a local sober house. Same thing, both of them have gotten jobs and one now has her car and license back and the other girl has her car but is learning to drive stick shift. I miss them. They don't need me anymore....We had some good meetings in my car and good heart to hearts. I am so grateful for the relationships I have built with them and though I miss them, I am now getting to know them on a completely different level. And they have no idea how much they helped me...even though I moaned and groaned sometimes about going out of my way or wanting to sleep in, they got me to meetings I wouldn't have gone to otherwise, would have pulled up the sheets over my head. And hearing their problems and helping them through them has helped me through mine. I feel like I do when I watch my daughter thrive in her freshman year at college. My girls are growing up and I am so grateful to have been a small part of it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

11th Step Meeting

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

Those of us who attended the retreat last month really wanted to carry on our 11th step practice in an AA group setting. In our area there are no 11th step meetings and in fact there are no meetings on Saturday afternoons. When I first felt the need for a meeting it was a Saturday afternoon and I had to travel an hour to get to a meeting which I never found. Anyway, the facilitators of the retreat were kind enough to share some formats of 11th step meetings and suggestions on how to get one started. We have worked with the church where we began our Centering Prayer sessions and wala! we've got an 11th step meeting beginning this week. Our first meeting will just be the founders so we can do a runthrough of the format and take care of business but then we open it up. It's very exciting.

Oh yeah and I've got an interview on Wednesday!

WTF! Don't they know I'm an idiot! Well, when they see my resume they will. I've got absolutely no experience and they seem to be hanging their hat on my BA in psychology with a concentration in social work which I got over 23 years ago..... meanwhile my boss gave me a lecture today on ethics and how the ends do not justify the means.....and interesting conversation but this man needs to be teaching not practicing law. He needs willing students not employees held hostage.

I am thankful for the openness, honesty and willingness that have allowed me to live this new sober life.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


To return to my original area of study in social services to obtain a
position that utilizes my education, professional skills and experiences and
expands into the field of recovery from substance abuse.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement, it really helped. I spent yesterday on my resume. A few months ago one of the girls I give rides to asked for some help with her resume and I could not find mine anywhere. I hadn't used it in 8 years so I figured it was tucked away somewhere and it wasn't on my computer because we had long ago crashed.....And don't you know that the first place I looked yesterday in a nice file right up front, there it was.......

Talked to my husband about going for it. He was good to talk to though frustrating at times because he doesn't listen to me and I can perceive him as being negative. The conversation would be going well but I could feel myself slipping into old patterns and it turned the conversation every time....but the good news was I could backpedal....turn it back.....What was hard is that he does have a lot of experience finding jobs and it was difficult for him to understand that I wasn't looking for a job, marketing myself if you was this job...that fell in my lap and that I was merely submitting my resume and turning it over to God.

He's also concerned for the money as its a one third paycut...but that is on a hourly basis. Since its a full time postion and I work partime it only comes to a 1K paycut annually which I bet I could find that much waste in our budget. Though not from alcohol or cigarettes anymore!

Now I just need to call my sponser today..I hate talking on the phone but I do want to get her perspective on this.

I guess what I need to remember is to stay in today. Today I'm just preparing for submitting my resume......I don't need to plan for the interview, for accepting the job, for quitting my current job, for being qualified for the job, for group sessions with the women, for quitting that job when I don't like it or am over my head, for looking for another job either in recovery or the legal field when it doesn't work out and on and on. I could go there and my husband is leading the way......but it is just today and today, upon awakening, I have considered my plans for the day, I have asked God to direct my thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions I can employ my mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave me a brain to use. My thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when my thinking is cleared of wrong motives. p. 86

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What To Do?

Well I'm at a turning point. Sometime at the beginning of the year I came to believe that I wanted to so something more with my life than be a lawyer's assistant. When I became a paralegal it also was a turning point for me and I loved the work. If I'm honest with myself, part of it was that it was a professional position over that of waitress and before that retail. I had images of chasing Jimmy Smits up the courthouse stairs in my neat suit and briefcase. (LA Law for those of you unfamiliar) Well, that didn't come true but it did lead to the position I am in now which I found challenging, interesting and stimulating for a good part of the last 8 years. When my boss interviewed me 8 1/2 years ago he asked what I hoped to accomplish in the job and I told him I hoped to become indispensible. Be careful what you wish for. As time as progressed the job is no longer what I loved in the beginning and I am more involved with the personality of my boss which while I find it challenging, I do not find it interesting or stimulating but frustrating and boring.

As I have progressed through recovery I have realized that my instincts back in the day, for a career in social work, are coming back. I drank those away. I think again if I am honest with myself, when I left that dream I knew that I was too messed up to help other people. So I turned to retail where the commodity of my mistakes would not be someone's life just maybe a rack of dresses. That and the fact that I partied my way out of school and failed to get my BSW.

Increasingly I have wanted to work in the field of recovery. They say do what you love and love what you do. Do what you are passionate about. Well, recovery has become what I am passionate about. I have had thoughts of writing, thoughts of running a sober house, and others. My sponser and my therapist say this is common in early recovery and to take it slow so I have. No major changes in the first year. I have kept it to thoughts....about going back to school, about volunteering my services...getting my feet wet before taking any action. I guess you could say I'm in research mode. Yesterday I spoke at the Office of Community Corrections to a group of women in transition from prison to freedom. I have met some of them already because they frequently attend our Friday night women's group. But this time it was all of them. Scary stuff. As I spoke the blotches started out small then spread throughout my chest and face. I know because the Director sitting next to me was nice enough to point it out at the end of my share. One of the women in my morning meeting is a counselor there and had asked for speakers and was directed to me. I agreed because I don't usually say no but I also thought it would be an opportunity to check out the facility.

Well don't you know as I was leaving they asked me what my education was, what I was currently doing and would I be interested in a job. Whoa! Funny how God works isn't it? I was honest with her and told her that yes, I have been thinking about heading in this direction. That no, I have absolutely no experience. That it would be extremely difficult to extricate myself from my current position. That this opportunity might be hitting me a bit too soon. She was honest and said that the money was not good, I be taking a 1/3 paycut, but that these women really need our help and it was a good environment to work. Her advice to me was to put my resume together, submit it and let God do the rest.

Talked to my husband, he thinks I would be jumping in unfamiliar waters, that I should ease into it as originally planed by voluteer work and classes not to mention that we have one in college and one on the way so taking a paycut is not the best of plans (but wouldn't we get more financial aid??). I need to talk to my sponser and therapist as well. In the meantime I am going to turn my house upside down to look for my resume. In a way I am very excited. But I am also very unsure. Scary stuff.....if I was running the show I'd go to school, and give it some time to figure out what and where I want to work. But I'm not running the show and this has fallen in my lap.

What to do? What to do?