Sunday, December 13, 2009

Howdy!


Steve E. suggested I take a few moments to say Howdy and I try to follow suggestions from the "oldtimers" so HOWDY! ... All is well in my world....One thing that's great in my world is, it is small. I remember when I first got to AA everything seemed so BIG! and BIG meant overwhelming. Gradually, through a program of action, things seem small today. All I have is what is right in front of me. I need to keep that especially clear during this holiday season.

So I think I will hit a church service this morning...maybe even 2 (i'm trying to decide between 2 churches if I decide to become a church person). Then decorate the Christmas tree..joy...then pay the bills..not so much joy......and gather paperwork for a refinace....really not joy but will lead to peace.....a little online shopping.....then make the chicken soup for dinner....a typical day if you swap out church for AA meeting....

so Howdy to y'all! xo

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Grandmother's Lamp

This was my grandmother's lamp. When she died, my aunt asked me if there were any of her possessions I particularly wanted and this was it. I always loved this lamp and it reminded me of the fond memories I have of going to Grandma's house when I was a child. Grandma's house was the place of unconditional love. It was the only place of unconditional love that I was aware of at the time. It represented all of my instinctual needs being met. My desire for love and affection, security and survival, power and control. The lamp was upstairs, first in my aunt's bedroom and then in the hallway. Upstairs where the bedrooms were, which were pretty and soft. Unlike our bedrooms at home, which were small, undecorated, cold and crowded. The tv room was upstairs too where I could snuggle with my Grandma and watch her stories or have a lunch of grilled cheese and ginger ale while she took a break from ironing and watch Hollywood Squares. Grandma's house was also the place where I did not have to compete for attention. 2 weeks of every summer I got to go and be the only child, away from my two brothers. Not that I was doted upon but I was included. It was simple things, we did laundry on Mondays through an old wringer washer and hung on the line, ironing on Tuesdays while my Grandmother talked on the phone to her sisters, dusted on Wednesdays, listening to the soundtrack from Sound of Music (the Broadway production with Mary Martin, mind you), vacumed on Thursdays (though we carpet swept every day), grocery shopped on Fridays (at the Giant Eagle and Kroger because one had good bread and one had the sales). We picked lettuce from the garden and made dinner and then went for frozen custard. Sometimes I got to help in the hospital gift shop where she volunteered. Sometimes I got to swim at the community pool. It was just me and Grandma until Grandpa came home from work with his silly jokes. We went to Serbian Church on Sundays and it smelled good and was safe. Then my parents would come to get me and we'd have a big Sunday dinner that always started with homemade chicken noodle soup with the best noodles you have ever tasted. I hated to leave, to the point of attempting to run away from home at the age of about 6 or 7, packing my mother's white round American Touristor hard suitcase with a package of american cheese, by sitting in our apartment stairwell for an hour or so because my parents wouldn't let me stay longer.

If you look closely the top of the lamp no longer matches the bottom. Its design is pretty close for 60-70 years later but the glass is different, frosted not milky. The lamp reminds me of something different now. It was shipped to me from Pennsylvania and remained intact. It remained intact for about 1 1/2 years in our small condo. It survived our move across the river to our new home. But one day, during a simple little pillow fight, well you can guess it. My children broke the lamp. It was not done intentionally. They weren't even really fighting. They were fooling around in the living room as children do, they were laughing and joyous, they were middle school age, and a pillow went soaring across room, somebody ducked and the lamp crashed to the floor and it was unfixable. What I did to those children after that is unforgivable. I didn't beat them or anything. Did not cause physical pain but I screamed at them like I have never screamed before. I cried and swore. I was on my knees. I was inconsolable. I banished them to their rooms. I would not talk to them. The look on my son's face is one I will never forget. My daughter was upset, perhaps not as devastated by my reaction as my son because she was just that much older that disdain for me had entered her psyche. I'm not sure if I had glass in hand at that moment in time, I probably did, I usually did, but I was certainly in the throws of active alcoholism. I don't remember how much time passed, a few hours or a few days, I did apologize for my overreaction and explained why the lamp was important to me, or at least I think I did. I had grounded them, I don't remember for how long. I made them write me letters of apology. My son's was poignant. My daughter's less so. But they certainly learned their lesson. Though what that lesson was I'm not sure. I think the lesson they probably learned the most was that Mom loved the lamp more than she loved them. I can't forgive myself for that. I should not say can't though. I haven't. I hope to.

My selfish desire to have that pretty lamp and its memories overrode my love for them. I was dishonest when I let them believe that their normal childhood behavior was bad. I was self seeking when I wanted to feel better by acting out and making them feel bad. By making them jump through hoops to earn my love back. My fear, the real truth, was that I was not loved, by my parents or my children. That the lamp and everything it represented to me was gone. I owe my children an amends for this. This had nothing to do with the lamp or them. It was simply about an emptiness which was being filled by the lamp...when it could have been filled by a Higher Power. I am grateful it is now.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Dad Would Have Been 70 today

Today would have been my Dad's 70th birthday. He was only 58 when Non Hodgkins Lymphoma took his life. I am very grateful that I was able to get to the hospital in time to have had some last meaningful words with him and stay at his bedside for the last week of his life. When he died, I felt like the safety net had been ripped from under me. But I think I was wrong about that. I miss him and am sad for how young he was...and how life dramatically changed for our family after he died. But at the same time I know that his presence in my life both before and after his death was a gift. And I am grateful to receive it. And now I'm not sure if I'm even talking about my Dad.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So, the Spirit moved me.....

While on a walk, which I was trying to do in silent meditation, the thought occurred to me how many of us are looking for relief. When I was three months sober, I had a reservation. I was going camping with my girlfriends. I had excused myself from our gatherings thus far because wine had always been a part of them, at least for me. But I didn't want to avoid our annual camping trip and thought that I was ready to engage without drinking and that if need be I could "come out" to them as an alcoholic. BUT...I knew one of them would be bringing pot and I thought maybe, just maybe, I would partake. That wouldn't be breaking my newfound resolve, would it? I didn't think about it much, it was just in the back of my mind. I didn't talk to anyone about it, least of all my sponser. It was just there. A way out. I was looking for a way out of sobriety. Sobriety seemed so BIG then. I was looking for relief. And that's what many of us are looking for...relief. Relief seeking missles.

I find my relief now in Steps 10, 11 & 12 on a daily basis.

I didn't smoke the pot. Thankfully, a Higher Power stepped in. My friend who brought the pot smoked it in secret because she didn't want to share that she smoked pot with another woman who had joined us. So I was by the fire with that woman and another, while the others snuck behind a tent to get high with no announcement. And the fact that I wasn't drinking came up in our campfire discussion and I shared my disease with them and they were very supportive. As I excused myself to use the restroom, I passed my other friends behind the tent. I didn't stop and my reservation was gone and when I got home I discussed it with my sponser who smiled knowingly. I had wanted relief from the bigness of staying sober...the rest of my life.

People seek relief through medications...or I should say..the misuse of medications. I could too. Percoset, Xanax, whatever....I could manufacture some pain very easily...and I have, when I was drinking. If they are, they are not in the same ballgame as I am. I seek my relief in Steps 10, 11 & 12. I was on antidepressants when I got sober and I am not opining on the use of antidepressants. I believe that there are people who legitamately need them, who are incapcitated without them. I wasn't one of them. I got on antidepressants when I was entering the incomprehensible demoralization of alcoholism. I didn't know it then. I heard recently someone talk about that invisible line that we cross from hard drinker into alcoholism. He said he was drunk when he crossed it. I think I was too. My life was simply unmanageable, I didn't know why, and when my primary care phycisian asked me how I was I burst into tears. She suggested antidepressants and I jumped. (Of course I was not honest with her about the amount I drank.) And they worked for a time..even naturally cut back on my drinking for a very short period of time. I thought they were the answers to all my problems. But alcoholic I am and my excessive drinking quickly resurfaced with a vengenance. When I stopped drinking, I was afraid to go off them. Afraid without them I would drink again...but amazingly...that didn't happen. I got my relief from Steps, 10, 11 & 12.

People seek relief through sex. I could too, and I'm not talking about with my husband...or yes, it could be even with my husband. If they are they are not in the same ballgame as I am. I seek my relief in Steps 10, 11 & 12. And on and on it could go, food, gambling, shopping, and more. These are no longer the things I rely on to provide relief. Is that always the case? Absolutely not. I am not a saint. And I forget. And then I find myself feeling frustrated, sad, angry, whatever. And if I take a rigorously honest look at myself, when those feelings arise, I can say I was NOT practicing Steps 10, 11 & 12.

That is why I can say I am grateful to be an alcoholic. Without suffering this disease, Steps 10, 11 & 12 never would have entered my life. My relief from day to day life, Life 101 if you will, would have come from all those outside sources and then some. Because I have this disease which I must treat on a daily basis, I have been given a design for living, through Steps 10, 11 & 12. Thank You.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Letting Go

Well its been a month since I last posted. It was sporadic before that. I think the time has come to let go of the blog. Not completely. It will still be here. Maybe in the future someone like me will spend their first day of sobriety searching the internet for help and stumble upon my story. So I will leave it up but I didn't want to leave without thanking all of you bloggers out there who inspired me, guided me, taught me, redirected me and last but not least made me laugh. Writing about myself and my thoughts has been instrumental in helping me get and stay sober. And reading your stories has as well. I won't be gone for long I am sure. I am writing now...and in other venues (most importantly being my fourth step again)...I know that I cannot leave that which I know is critical. I must be vigilant about expressing myself. It was that lack of self expression that was one of those underlying conditions we talk about. So vigilance. Life is good and full...thank you God.

and finally, Let's Stay Sober Out There....xo, Kathy Lynne

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Sister, Who's a Sister, But I Don't Call Her Sister

This is Sister Maurice (on the right) not with her sister but with her dear friend Sister Rose (who is not her sister but is a Sister). Got That? They've been friends for 50 years...amazing. The retreat at the Wilson House was very nice. Met some nice people. I loved Sister Maurice..she knows what she's talking about, she's clear, down to earth, she's very funny, she's kind, old school and reminds me of my grandmother but with a sense of humor. What evoked the most emotional response from me was her discussion on self worth and self esteem. Self esteem is our perception of self worth. Self worth never changes..it is given to us. We are a child of the universe, no less than the moon and the stars. I think this weekend revealed to me that I do not value my self worth. I have never in my life thought of myself as having low self esteem but since her discussion brought up a lot of emotion for me I think I need to look at that. I think perhaps I have been confusing humility with self esteem. Most of the time I honestly just don't think I'm worth it. But that's not being humble that's devaluing my self worth. The only way for me to reflect my self worth and improve my self esteem, I must continue to work on my relationship with my Higher Power. So as long as I'm working my Step 11 on a daily basis, I should be okay.

The other big takeaway for me was her note that peace at any price is not love and that we must break the silence. Silence signifies acceptance. That will be a tough one but she gave us some concrete tools to break the silence and to handle what's "pitched" at us. I haven't tried it yet but I have passed it on. I also really enjoyed hearing Sister Rose's story as a member of Al-Anon. Other than the few al anon blogs I read here, this was the first time I heard someone's story (who is not an alcoholic) and it gave me a much needed perspective on how my husband must have felt and maybe still feels. It'd be cool if he wanted or was willing to check out AlAnon but I don't see that happening in the near future but it certainly helped me. And it is all about me.

This weekend I go on another retreat of sorts. Camping with the girls. We'll go up north to a really nice lake and state campground. Kayak and Cook...really looking forward to it. It's supposed to be sunny and nice...the last hurrah of the summer. My friends are not alcoholic but they've been very supportive in my journey and though I'm sure they'll be drinkiing wine I'm sure they won't be drinking as much as I was when I was active.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Great Joy

I am getting used to my empty nest. Truth be told I like it. But what I also really enjoy is hearing the neighborhood children play. My husband and I are surrounded by young families with lots of children. They play most frequently in my neighbor's yard. Our yards abutt each other, there are no fences or separation and we long ago told them not to worry about their young children being mindful of boundries. Our yard's just sitting there not getting much use...ball playing days are over....sigh...so the children frequently use our yard as second base, etc. To the point when my nephew was visiting and my son took him out to toss the ball, little Rosie asked my son to please go away, what was he doing in her yard. He explained that it was his yard..but we're not sure if she understood.

We have a huge, wild forsythia in the back..very overgrown...just enough so that the neighborhood boys have built a secret hideaway fort. I fondly remember playing in the woods across the street when we were growing up...my forsythia is as close to the woods as these kids are going to get. But nothing gives me greater joy that to overhear those boys plot and plan while I sit reading on my deck. Then to hear them called for supper......it gives me hope. Some things never change.

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is where I'll be this weekend. Another retreat at the Wilson House in Vermont. This time hosted by Sister Maurice. I've heard wonderful things about her so I'm looking forward to strengthening my spiritual practice. One thing I know is that I have no mental defense against the first drink. My defense is spiritual in nature and the more conscious contact I practice the better my chances are of staying sober.

I am going with my friend that I wrote about yesterday. I appreciate all of your comments. It helped to firm my resolve of what the right thing to do or not do was. This trip was not meant to be...but my husband and I will enjoy a different trip in the spring. And as far as the money goes, its out of my hands. If I get it back I will be very grateful but if I don't I will chalk it up to experience and a lesson learned. I could never accept the money from my friend. And just to clarify, she didn't lure me into this trip under false pretenses. She was where she was and I knew where she was. So I went into this with full knowledge and understanding. My post yesterday was more about where I sometimes go in my head and how grateful I am that I don't have to stay there anymore. I'll let y'all know if and when the money comes back. I did receive an email that he was "almost positive" they'd found replacements for us. It's the "almost" that gets me. Keeps me in limbo which is where I was yesterday. Today I am not in limbo.

Lastly, I leave you with my favorite image from 9/11/01. It symbolizes the devastation of that day as well as the hope. The incredible loss of innocent victims. The bravery and service of our firefighters, the passengers of Flight 93, and our country as a whole. To quote Charles Dickens..It was the best of times, It was the worst of times.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Taking a Trip, Not Taking a Trip


So I've got this dilemma. And I just now looked at my part in it and I feel much better. A friend was planning to join her boyfriend on a trip to Ireland/London in October. She had concerns because the theme of the trip was pub hopping. In our conversation about the trip, I said wouldn't it be fun if my husband and I went. She and I could veer off the pub parts of the trip to do meetings/siteseeing and my husband would have enjoyed having a friend to explore pubs with. Not to mention finally getting overseas and seeing the world. I loved how the trip was planned and I didn't have to do anything but pay my money and pack my suitcase. Easy. Well, not so easy after all. My friend and her partner broke up after 10 years. It had been coming on her part for a long time and she finally was able to make the decision. That's what sobriety will do to you not to mention meeting someone else. Make you stronger.

So now the allure of the trip is tainted. We don't know anyone else going except for the jilted lover. She's definately not going. He's devastated and we don't really know him either. Going now would be very uncomfortable. And my husband was never fully on board in the first place. He has a fear of flying (well not flying exactly but he's claustrophobic). We talked it over and felt that for this kind of money and this kind of trip, we don't want to be uncomfortable and would prefer waiting until the spring when our daughter studies abroad in Germany. We could incorporate a visit with her with our desire to travel. But we've got a $1,200 deposit into this. Supposedly there were people on a waiting list but we still haven't got our money back. I'm a few emails into it...the possilbility of getting it back hasn't been ruled out so I'm hoping and praying. Trying to think positive. I'm trying not to focus on the money but its hard. If we don't get it back a trip in the spring may be impossible. And if we aren't going to get it back should we go anyway? We'd have to come up with even more money to take a trip we don't want to take. Maybe we should just make the best of it.

When my friend first made this decision, she said she'd cover our losses if it came to that. I told her not to let our participation in the trip affect her decision, we'd cross that bridge when we came to it and I meant it. Seemed like the right thing to do. Now that the decision has been made, I want my money back wherever it comes from. I'm an innocent bystander. Collateral damage. Is it fair for me to want my friend to cover this if we don't get our deposit back? It was her decision after all and she encouraged me to do this trip. And now that we're at the bridge there is no mention of it. Well, last night she said she'd sell a kidney to get my money back to me. I don't want that. It's a wait and see moment and its hard to wait. But I'm doing my best to do the right thing.

My part..I acted impulsively. I knew this relationship was on shaky ground but my desire to go on a trip with my friend (and not my husband alone) outweighed the concerns. My excitement at doing something I've wanted to do for awhile combined with the possibility of meeting some online friends totally overrode reason. I steamrolled my husband into taking this trip when he was ambivalent. I knew the relationship was on shaky ground. It's like putting your money into a failing bank. That's what I did. I have to keep my focus on my part and not the part of others. Their motives and behaviors have nothing to do with me. So when the fear crops up, the resentment creeps on the sidelines...she should have, he could...if it were me, I would....I've got to stay where I am. I did and now what.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happiness

I don't know how to write this without sounding, well.... jealous. And I'm not jealous but I do feel uncomfortable. And I've had trouble figuring out why. So jealousy could be the cause but I don't think so. There is a small group of women that I have become friendly with in AA. They are the ones I socialize with, go on retreats, have tea, etc. outside of the rooms. They are all going through enormous change....one is my sponser who ended her 17 yr marriage, the other a close friend who ended her 10 yr relationship, another friend is having all kinds of job, home and relationship changes as well, and one is talking about moving up north where she'll feel more tapped into her community. I only share the major part of their specific issues to exemplify that these are major changes I'm talking about. And while other men are involved in the relationship issues they are not the causes of them. I appreciate that they consider me a friend as well as a fellow AA member that they can talk to through these things. On the other hand, my world has not changed with the exception of the empty nest. I guess maybe the issue is that I can't identify. I have the same marriage, the same home, the same job, the same weight, etc. The only thing that isn't the same is that I am sober.

What I need to keep up front is that they have all been sober much longer than me...I can't have their sobriety and the life choices that come along with that...I can't hurry up, I can't have 20 yrs when I have 2 yrs, I can't change things I'm not ready or even know if they need changing....I can only be where I am. But I guess I feel like I'm being left behind. That's not reality though. That's the twisted thinking in my head. So I'm happy in my calm peaceful way...trying to stay a steady course and leave drama behind. But doing that around giddy romance can be difficult.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Baby


Yesterday was my son's 19th birthday. We moved him into his college dorm on Tuesday. I was very thankful that he was willing for us to come back to take him to breakfast for his birthday. Usually we do dinner but it was a good compromise. The last year has been a rough one for me emotionally with him. He has a lot of disdain for me and while I know some of it is developmental and a part of separating, I also know that a lot of it has to do with my alcoholism. I have not made my amends to him yet. In the last few months it became very important to me to make my amends to him before he left. I saw behaviours of his that I hoped the amends would perhaps soften. And at the very least, it would not be hanging over my head, this most important of amends.

I started to prepare, talking it over with my sponser, but there never seemed to be an opportunity. Honestly, he hasn't been around much between his work schedule, soccer schedule and time with his friends. He joked that he was preparing us for when he left. When the time did present itself he was so focused on what he needed to do to get to college, I began to feel that my reasons for making amends to him were more about me than about him. That if I was focused strictly on his needs I would allow him to process leaving home and start this new chapter in his life without the burden of whatever that amends conversation would bring. I know for sure it would bring tears from me as much as I would try not to and this is a young man that does not suffer tears or emotion well. So maybe I chickened out or maybe I have finally become willing to more thoughtfully approach situations that used to baffle me. Not act from my own self-centered needs and wants. My M-O, as many alcoholics, is to want something done NOW. Immediate gratification. Another opportunity will present itself, and it will be the right time. He will be settled into his new life and I will be ready. So I think in the end, in examining my motives, I am fairly certain that I was not acting out of fear (though to be honest it was there), but I was more taking the self (my self) out of the equation and thinking about what was best for my son. That's what mother's do. But that is not to say that I am not going to make my amends at the next opportunity. It will happen and the sooner the better.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I thought I had an Epiphany

So just to carry on from yesterday...in my full moon musings....I had come to the conclusion that even though I felt shaky that ultimately, and I do believe this is true, my life is between me and God. When I experience difficulties, while it may help and be nice to go to a sponser, a trusted friend, a therapist, a meeting, etc., ultimately I must be with God to take the next step. Then...last night we read in Step Five of the 12 x12...
The second difficulty is this: what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken. Lacking both practice and humility, they had deluded themselves and were able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them. It is worth noting that people of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God. Surely, then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders in this fashion. While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.
And its true, that's exactly where I was going with it, rationalization, wishful thinking, delusion and arrant nonsense. Epiphany, Shmiphany. You get what you need. It's very true.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Golden Key

According to Emmet Fox, the Golden Key is the means to help solve all kinds of problems and overcome all sorts of handicaps. It is simply this...."Stop thinking about the difficulty, whatever it is, and think about God instead." He says that all that is essential is to have an open mind and sufficient faith. That's where I think I am getting stuck. I've got the open mind...definately..but sufficient faith? I'm not so sure.

I wondered at the full moon last night, after a lengthy "conversation" with my husband in which halfway through I began to practice the Golden Key. God is with me, I kept repeating to myself trying to replace the thoughts and feelings I was having towards him. Not necessarily about the subject at hand, but as a good alcoholic I went way beyond that, more of whether or not I could live the rest of my life with this man. I stopped the thought and replaced it, I did. It helped. But I guess where I wonder about sufficiency is that, for me, part of coming to believe was accepting that I did not understand the "God of my understanding." I could not define my Higher Power, just that It Is. Be Still and Know that I Am. And I feel a certain serenity and peace most of the time with that. But is not understanding and just accepting enough? It feels shaky. I think of Ted Kennedy who had enormous faith, one whose life did not always adhere to the principles of that faith, yet he held on and managed to live a redemptive life that did a lot of good for alot of people. He perservered. He seemed to garner strength and courage from his faith. I don't feel strong and courageous. And I don't feel that my convictions are firm. I accept but I'm not sure I trust. But I'm open. I'll try it.

What I know for sure and what I say to newcomers all the time, is that this is a practice, we hear and see it all the time in the pages of the Big Book...practice these principles... practice implies progress..and progress implies growth. The answers will come if our house is in order. Situations that used to baffle us will suddenly become clear. I was a drunk and now I am not. I practiced what I learned in AA, followed suggestions, and committed to the process of the 12 steps. I am a sober woman...I have to start there.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Invitation

The Invitation
Written by - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“ Yes .”

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments

Hard to believe that these are the thoughts expressed at a business university...its encouraging. Just emptied my nest and I am hoping to get back to blogging. I've missed it and I've missed my fellow bloggers. So I am hoping to make a gradual return..to this venue which has been critical to my sobriety. I need it and I have felt something missing in these last days of a hectic summer. But I'm sober, I''m grateful and I'm at peace.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The weekend was wonderful, although we decided that 3 days with Mom was probably one too many:) But we had a great time finding our way through NYC, getting pedicures and seeing the show. Hair was amazing. I teared up from the opening number of Aquarius with nostalgia and when they all got naked it wasn't really a shock but very integral to the theme and during a very emotional song so I was crying then too.....sometimes it seems all I do is cry. It was also a revelation that the song Let the Sun Shine wasn't really a joyful song but more of a plea. Again, very emotional. And Rent. What can I say about Rent? I have seen this show many, many times. I love the music and the message. I never saw the original Broadway production and seeing it with original cast members, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, was a HUGE difference. They ARE Mark and Roger. If this show travels to your area, do yourself a favor and go see it. The rest of the cast of this particular tour was very good as well.

Sadly while I was away I learned a friend of mine had passed away from breast cancer and her service was Saturday. She lived on the beach and was always very generous to our family, allowing us to park at her home to use the beach. I worked with her daughter and we partied together often back in our waitressing days. A friend who attended the memorial told me her daughter had just returned from our local hospital where she was hospitalized due to alcoholism. It sounds like she almost died from withdrawal seizures and had been confined to a wheelchair. My friend told her about me and my sobriety and she wants to talk to me. Maybe she is ready......I won't know but I can reach out to her and tell her my story and carry the message to her. It will be quite different from our middle of the night drunken phone calls when she lived in Key West.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shining, Streaming, Gleaming, Flaxen, Waxen
























Heading out for the weekend. Get to pick up my daughter at a friend's she's visiting in CT and then head to NYC to see the Broadway musical Hair. I am very grateful that my daughter wants to spend time with me and that we share a love of Broadway musicals. I have a particular fondness for the music of Hair as it was my very first album that I got for Christmas of my fourth grade year with my very first stereo. I listened to the album over and over. But I've never seen the show. Movie, yes, but not the show. I gave her these tickets for Christmas and for Mother's Day she invited me to the show instead of a friend. Not sure that would have happened if I was still drinking.

While in NYC we will dog sit for my nephew dog, Rooney, while my brother's family is on vacation. And we get a free place to stay. I know where the meetings are and my daughter and I will get to play city girls. Walking dogs, getting pedicures, seeing the show.

Then we will return home via Boston and see the musical RENT. Both of us are huge Rentheads and this show features the 2 actors who originated the main charachters of Roger and Mark.

No Day Like Today!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Call Your Sponser

I've also been grappling with sponsership. As I discovered, I think one of the underlying motivations in going through the steps again was to avoid this vital aspect of our program. I could justifiably say...No, I can't sponser yet, I'm not far enough along. And in Big Book Step Study this is true. Their group conscious states that you must have completed the process with a BBSS sponser. But in AA this is not true. I have been through the steps once and try to practice them daily, and while I obviously cannot share what I haven't got, I can share what I have. So I've stopped saying no and started saying yes. If they are willing I try to direct them to BBSS because I think that is a great way to go through the steps. But I also know that at 3 months sober I would have probably balked. My sponser actually had suggested I might like their approach way back in the beginning but I in no way wanted a different sponser. I wouldn't even go to the meeting to check it out. Another example of me not following a suggestion. So if my sponsees choose not to go, I can still take them through the BB and the steps, as my sponser did me, to the best of my ability right now and take it one day at a time. I am open with them about where I am and it seems to be working. As long as we are trudging, it's all good. And lest I forget, I of course discussed this with my sponser and my BBSS sponser.

It's a blessing to have someone ask for sponsership and its an honor. I am learning so much and having people call me for support and guidance is a miracle. I don't really feel worthy but I'm working on that. When someone pays me a compliment what am I saying about them if I tell them its not true? And again, the bottom line as always, trust and rely upon God. That third step prayer seems to be working for me and I am so grateful that it has incoporated into my being.

Monday, July 13, 2009

For Best Results, Follow Directions and Wear a Helmut

Hadn't realized so much time had passed without posting. I guess I did but honestly nothing so much has changed in terms of my last post. I am exactly there. Still grappling with the mess but very very grateful for this program and the tools it has given me. In looking over my fourth step I hadn't even put my son on it this go around so I attempted to do that. I had a hard time. All I could think of was what I had done to him. So my sponser suggested I start writing that up. Now that is a tough one....not tough to do...I've got A LOT of resentments towards myself...lots of things I hate about myself, I'm angry that I've done or not done, humilations I've caused myself. It never occurred to me to put myself there until now. Kind of thought it went without saying. WRONG! So yes, its easy to come up with that list...but then its also hard to take. So I have to take it in small bites as much as I'd like to be done yesterday with this writing. The best thing I've heard in a meeting recently was..."FOR BEST RESULTS, FOLLOW DIRECTIONS", so that's what I'm trying to do follow directions for the best result. And bottom line, if I trust and rely on God...all is well.

It's finally beautiful here in New England. Perfect. But we had soooooo much rain. And now its hard to get anything done cause we were stuck inside for so long.

My son lost a childhood friend in a skateboarding accident a week or so ago. WEAR A HELMUT. So sad..the boy hadn't even reached his 18th birthday. I can't even imagine. But I am grateful that I could be there for his parents and that I believe that God is everything and can share comfort in that.

I must have bumped the top of my head on something though I can't remember doing it. Again, very grateful that my lack of memory is not caused by a blackout but merely the fact that I'm a woman of a certain age:) Then again, I can go with this...maybe I don't remember bumping my head because I didn't and the sharp stabbing pain I am feeling on the top of my head is a brain tumor pushing up. And if that's the case, I hope I can go out like Farah Fawcett with dignity and grace...wonder how many people will come to my funeral. And if all my AA friends come, then the rest of my world will know and who cares anyway if I'm dead. Do you see? Fear, doubt and insecurity. I'm looking forward to remembering how I bumped my head or the pain simply going away...whichever comes first and with a little Tyelnol I can help that along.


All right, that's it for today. I'll try not to let so much time pass again. But it is summer and the living is easy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Made a List

We were discussing Step 8 on Thursday night and I've been mulling this post ever since. As I have written here recently, I am currently writing my fourth step. This is not my first one. I began writing my original fourth step in my 3rd month of recovery. Taking the fifth step with my sponser around the 8th month. I remember discussing the rest of the steps with my sponser, moving on to 6 & 7, was I ready for 8 & 9, etc. She kept asking if I'd made my list. I thought I had (even though it was not in black and white) and I had begun making amends. I made an amends to my best friend and former roommate from high school, to my husband, to my daughter and then I stopped. I stopped because I began the process again. At some point, after attempting to sponser a couple of women and realizing that I wasn't confident in doing so (at least to my liking), I began the steps again, conceivably to get a better grasp. I understood that I had done a thorough and honest inventory but it was the best of my ability at 3 months sober and as I progressed through recovery I felt I could do a better job. And in doing so could perhaps do a better job at helping other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

As we discussed Step 8 Thursday it occurred to me that when my sponser and I had talked about making this list she kept suggesting I write it down. Made a list of all people I had harmed. I didn't do it. Me, who follows all suggestions! I had it in my head. I figured at some point I'd write it down but I didn't and I begain my amends without doing so. And then I stopped making my amends from my air brushed list because I was starting over. I now had a step study sponser with the blessing of my first sponser. We began at the beginning of the book reading it together, taking the third step together and now I'm writing my fourth step. It seemed reasonable to not continue with amends.

But I've been thinking. Is it possible that I started over, not necessarily for the supposedly altruistic motive of better carrying the message and becoming a good sponser, but more because I didn't want to make that list in the first place and continue on with the amends? The next person on the list in my head is my son. A tough cookie to talk to. One who doesn't necessarily want to hear it. One whose sole means of communication is one word responses and one word texts. Am I really simply trying to avoid that? And isn't it better to make that amends to the best of my ability whether or not I am there in the process? My son has a lot of pent up anger and resentment towards me. I am not doing him any favors by not addressing it. Some of it for sure is simply developmental, he's a teenager, just graduated, moving on and separating. Some of it has nothing to do with my alcoholism but simply Life 101 that kids tend to blame their parents for, we had to move out of town, financial matters. But some of it is a direct result of my alcoholism. Can't be easy coming home to your mother who's slurring and swaying or worse, snoring in complete pass out mode. Anyway, I talked about it at the meeting and I'll talk about it with my sponser. It's true what they say, more will be revealed. I had really convinced myself that becoming a better sponser was my motivation to going through the steps again.....and yes, that's part of it.....of course...but I cannot deny anymore that perhaps a bigger part of my motivation was FEAR...fear of making amends....and what they may or may not bring.

Pretty amazing how when your eyes are open to the presence of God, you can suddenly see. Sometimes it takes a hit over the head....it did in this instance. I had to be embarrassed by some woman making a public comment about my son's attitude towards me and my husband. My first reaction was anger and self pity. But thankfully, because I am in recovery, that didn't really even last the car ride home. I took an honest look at myself. The Step 8 meeting came right on the coattails and it became evident to me what was happening. Godsmack.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Step Sisters

My Tuesday night group is known as the stepsisters. Every single one of those women is a gift that I have received in sobriety. They are truly sisters in the deepest sense of that word. I really love them and they have helped me to learn to express that love. Something that has not been easy for me to do. I can feel it, write it, act it but to say it is like Fonzie trying to say he was s..s....s..orry..if you remember Happy Days. It's different now. And these women helped me, are helping me to get there. I am very blessed to have them in my life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top Ten Things That Annoy Me Today

It's just one of those days...

1. The woman who said my son's friends all talked about how mean he was to my husband and I. What the eff does she know and why would she share hurtful information in front of a group of people?

2. That when you get to the Dunkin Donuts window after placing your order, you have to tell your order again....not once, not twice..but three times.

3. Why would I want to go to family orientation at university on a day that my son is not attending? What would I be orienting to?

4. I sat on a wet cushion.

5. P does not come after K

6. Over the top thinking

7. The dentists appointment lady called. That's it, she called. Her voice annoys me.

8. Too many questions...and why am I responsible to know the answer?

9. Any other driver..

10. and finally, well not finally but the last thing I'll put down before I turn this all around............texting.....it takes me too long to find the letters on the phone..can't you just call and ask...much quicker.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Didn't Go

I'm not sure I made the right decision. I prayed about it. But I decided not to go to the funeral for N this afternoon. Lots of things played into this. I think the number one reason I didn't go is to refute the idea that I must go. That I had to be there. Not to mention that its a miserable day and we have yet another graduation party to attend for my son's friend. I don't think it would have been negligible whether I was there of not. And frankly, I wasn't a friend. I think when I was thinking about going I was thinking more about myself. What paying my respects would do for me. He was someone I saw at a meeting. I am sure there were lots of people there to offer support to his family who wouldn't know me from a hole in the wall. I suppose my presence would have offered support to other AAs in attendence. A show of strength. Or is it a see and be seen thing? I can offer my support at the meeting and I have. I can pray for N and his family that they find peace and strength and I have. I'm still not sure I've made the right decision but I guess it is because its the decision I made. R.I.P. N

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Prospect

I called her finally yesterday afternoon. Talked into her answering machine. Then she called me back and talked to my voicemail. Then I talked to hers. Remember when we didn't have voicemail? Then she did call me back and we had a nice talk until my battery died. She's 12 days sober. Going to a meeting a day. Making connections. Had a spiritual awakening in rehab. And as she says is either done or dead. I think she has clearly done Step 1. We'll talk again today. She's moving to another town but here's the kicker, the woman who went to her house with me also lives in that town. It's amazing how we're all connected in some way.

The funeral for our group member is tomorrow. He was only 36. I didn't really know him that well. We weren't "friends". But when he made it to our group and he shared, he helped me. Tremendously. He was rough and tough. He had tatoos all over his body and up his neck. He spoke of some of the terrible things he had done. But he also spoke of the deep love he had for his son and his wife. He had funny stories about fitting in with the soccer moms & dads. What his hopes and dreams were. How badly he wanted to be clean and sober. How badly he wanted to trust and rely on God. His life had not been an easy one and he had recently lost his father. I am just so so sorry that this man is one of the ones we have lost because his earnestness was plain to see. So was his frustration.


Not sure why some of us make it and some of us don't. I know the saying is there but for the Grace of God go I. I'm not sure that's it. That implies that God has favorites. Maybe it should be more like..there but for the Knowledge of the Grace of God go I. That wouldn't fit on a banner though:)

"If we want to undersand a person, we have to feel his feelings, suffer his sufferings, and enjoy his joy. The word "comprehend" is made up of the Latin roots cum, which means "with", and prehendere, which means "to grasp it or pick it up." To comprehend something means to pick it up and be one with it." Thich Nhat Hahn...Peace is Every Step p. 100

Friday, June 12, 2009

Relief


We were discussing this morning how some people are experiencing the obsession to drink or use. Staying sober but struggling. Just coming back. We also talked about our alcoholic thinking twisting things around. Seems to me, that what we are really looking for is relief. Once the obsession to drink has been lifted, its gone, IMHO. What we are really looking for is relief and our alcoholic minds tells us we will find it in a drink. And if we are deluded into believing that and take that drink, we trigger the dreaded phenomenon of craving and then all bets are off and my choices are limited. I'm 51 years old. With the exception of early childhood and the last 2 years, I used alcohol to make my life bearable. It was the answer to good times and bad times. Even worse, I had no control over it. I have a disease and I wasn't treating it. And soon what I was using to make life bearable began to make my life unbearable When I experience these things now, I still need relief and I have learned new ways to achieve them. I can go to a meeting, I can talk to another alcoholic preferably my sponser, I can be of service, I can write it out, I can PRAY.....my sobriety is contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition which I acquired through the 12 steps. All of these things are where I find my relief now. how I stay tight. Life still happens. Teenage boys still get in trouble with the police, husbands still don't behave the way I'd like, daughters are still self centered, bosses are still delusional, moms are still dependent and so on....life goes on...nothing changes if nothing changes. The only thing that has changed in my life equation is ME. And because of that everything has changed. Thank God for that because many of us lose our lives. I'm not ready yet.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm just very grateful that I am sober today and that the chains of alcohol no longer bind me. I am grateful for Alcoholics Annonymous and the many people who helped me to achieve sobriety. I really don't have anything more to say. It's very early in the morning. I am going to do a prayer sit. Then I'll go to my morning meeting. I keep thinking they won't remember its my anniversary and I'll have to tell someone so they will pass a card. Actually I won't, I can just wait until they do the chip presentation at the end and not get a card. See how my mind works? Gospodi Pomiluj! Then I go to work. I have to go to my Mom's this afternoon and do another food clearout. Then another prayer sit, this time with people. Then my book club. We read a great book..Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I thought it was very thoughtful that when my birthday passed a couple of weeks ago one of my friend noted that I had a sober anniversary coming up as well. That's pretty impressive from someone who isn't an alcoholic to remember. She's a good friend. I bet my husband will have no idea and I'm not going to tell him. Should I?

Anyway..I'm about to enter the terrible twos....WATCH OUT! xo

ps..so yes I did go to my morning meeting and with great joy comes great sadness. Yes, they remembered and had a card for me. And many people wished me well and my heart was full. Even the guy who chaired the meeting who has never made eye contact with me or said hello gave me a hug...I was honored. Last year when I celebrated my first year a woman who had been an example to me in that group and encouraged me through those first days but had moved away just happened to be in town for a wedding and was there for my anniversary. It was one of those signs we get that if we're not awake we don't see. This year, a fellow who I had come to care about and had disappeared for a few months (and we know what that means), whom I was very worried about and praying for, showed up sober and alive. I am so grateful. And sadly, we learned the news that a member of our group died last night. He'd always struggled but his heart was good and he wanted it. I heard recently from an oldtimer that this program is not for people who need it. It's not for people who even want it. It's for people who DO it. All in one meeting....life and death, joy and sadness, beginnings and endings...the road to Happy Destiny is bumpy but I am so grateful to be trudging it.

pps..the prospect I wrote about a few weeks ago..showed up in church this week 7 days sober. I wasn't there but the church ladies were overjoyed and contacted me. Time for another 12th step call....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ups and Downs

What a rollercoaster ride the last week has been!

My son graduated high school!

My son was identified in facebook party photos (trespassing, underage drinking) annonymously sent to the police.

The principal negotiated with the police to wait until after graduation!

My son is drinking.

The owners are not going to press charges for trespassing!

The police need to save face and may pursue the underage drinking.

My son went to the prom with his beautiful girlfriend!

My son's foot is the size of a football due to an infection.

My daughter joyfully came home for the graduation cake in hand!

My daughter left vowing to never visit again because she couldn't find her bathing suit.

I am feeling incredibly proud of the tall young man I gave birth to!

I am feeling incredibly melancholy that time has passed so quickly.

My son loves his graduation gift of skydiving and cash!

My daughter feels slighted for the laptop she was given 2 years ago.

I chaperoned the all night senior celebration event and my son was glad I was there!

I was up all night and exhausted.

My cousin visited from Virginia and we had a great visit!

My 89 yr old great uncle passed away after a 3 year battle with leukemia.

My boss graciously gave me time off to deal with this stuff!

I still have to work.

Got the house organized in time for company!

I haven't had time to pay my bills.

I could go on and on....but I won't. I will just be grateful that I am sober today. That I know what to do during the highs and the lows. I may not always remember on the spot but I get there. Thanks to this program. Today marks 2 years since I last drank. That day began with a decision to never drink again. A decision I could not keep because I am an alcoholic. What I did that day is the epitiome of the doctor's opinion. I rationalized and self justified a trip to the store to buy alcohol so that I could quench the obsession. And once I had one I could not stop drinking for that day until I passed out after the Soprano's finale. I still wake up in the morning making a decision. But the decision is no longer that I will never drink again. The decision is to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him. And it has worked. Thank You.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thank you Mr. Comment-a-roni...

Reading the blogs here is how my "journey to recovery" started actually. I didn't have the nerve to make comments then...and I find I am commenting less now as I pack more into the stream of life...but I am still here, still sober, still reading. And though I may not always comment, I do when I think I can help or comfort. And add my 2 cents or question to flesh out this miraculous program we have. This God given new life. And I read and am inspired, by all on my bloglist as well as those of you who aren't and I just visit now and again through your friend, let it be said. And I carry this fellowship with me wherever I go. I am blessed for this opportunity to carry the message.

Inspired by Mr. a-Roni's blog, I went back and looked at my first 2 weeks...I started posting on Day 2 after spending Day 1 reading Red Headed Gal's blog....and Scout (does she know how much she helped me?) was my first welcome...and she was also my first challenge...."are you even going to meetings?", she asked I think on Day 4...no I wasn't but that comment resonated in my head until I finally did "try" a meeting on Day 13...the encouraging comments and suggestions in the first 2 weeks from Irish Friend of Bill, johno, shadow, Judith and Kenny were comforting and helped me ease into this program, helped me to understand and want a program of recovery, one in which I did not have to rely on myself. I couldn't rely on myself. I was very unreliable. And they led me to the rest of you who I continue to rely on, on a daily basis. So thank you. And now I think I'll go over to Top 100 Sober Blogs which is apparently over 200 now, and see if I can find someone in their first 2 weeks.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Postscript

"If he does not want to stop drinking, don't waste time trying to persuade him. " pg 90

Yesterday I got the update that the woman I was writing about yesterday checked herself out of the hospital...the doctor was an idiot...and was drinking by 5 am. I had a premonition that based upon the description I had from the church ladies who she might be. So I called another alcoholic and we paid a call on her yesterday afternoon. Before we went I read the chapter on Working with Others. I called my sponser as well as another woman who I had hoped would join us, she couldn't. When we got there I could see her moving around inside and we approached the door where she met us, pocketbook in hand. She was who I had remembered from my Tuesday night group, someone who struggled. I asked her if she remembered me and introduced her to my friend. Told her the ladies at the church had asked us to check in with her and asked if we could come inside to talk. She assured us she was "much better" than yesterday and that a cab was coming any minute. I asked her if we could leave our phone numbers in case she wanted to talk later...she said she had them on a list. She was shaky and restless. Whether she was really getting a cab or just trying to get rid of us is not the point. If she was waiting for a cab we all know where she was going. And that was that. She had been very receptive to the church ladies but not receptive to us. Why is that? Because she knew that we were alcoholics just like her. She knew what we were bringing her, a solution...not a lap.....IF she wanted to stop drinking. Thing is, apparently she doesn't. "If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him." pg 90

But what matters is that we tried to carry the message and it was carried. "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics." pg 89 If nothing else, my friend and I stayed sober yesterday. It's funny how God works. My friend had called me the night before to talk. She was struggling. I've written about her here before. And its amazing and the Grace of God that she has 9 months now and has completed the steps. She exclaimed at one point in our converstation "I need another alcoholic to work with!" I didn't make the connection at that time. The situation was already being handled by the church people. I had let go. But yesterday when I thought about trying a 12th step I thought of my friend and called her. "You wanted one, I got one," I said. So we went. And though our prospect closed the door, my friend and I had a sandwich together and talked. We made our connection. We stayed sober. And that's How It Works.

"Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy." pg 96

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I got a call last night from the minister at the church where I practice Centering Prayer and where we hold our 11th Step Saturday meetings. One of her parishiners had been on a 3 week binge, just discharged from the local hospital and 2 church ladies had been sitting with her all day while her boyfriend was working. He had apparently sent an SOS to the church. She was looking for someone to relieve them. By the time I got the message and called her back, she already had enlisted 2 other church members (I cant figure out how to spell parishiner) one of whom described himself as an "AA Alum", to get her to a meeting.

My first instinct was to run out and rescue everyone. Which I didn't. And which I couldn't as I had no vehicle anyway. I offered to go (cause I forgot I didn't have my vehicle) and bring other AA members with me but it seemed they had it covered. I explained that there is no such thing as an AA alum but maybe those were just the terms he was using for non AA members. On top of that, his wife is the Secretary at my son's school so once I heard that I didn't want to break my annonymity with her. Although if she's married to a member of AA what the heck am I worried about?

Anyway, I spoke with the minister and another member, made some suggestions and left it that they could call me if they needed me. I sat with that all night as to whether that was enough. Because for me, I always feel like what I do is not good enough. Should do more. Should have been a good AA member and took matters into my own hands, rallied the AA troops and descended upon this woman's home, kicked out the well meaning church people and did a 12th step call, bring her to a meeting, pound some AA into her head. But what I did instead was make suggestions, offer support and say a prayer. I think that was enough. I think.

My problem here is my ego. If I had been there I could have fixed everything because I am me. What do They think of me that I didn't rush there? It's also my fear. What will happen if I do go and she doesn't respond? Or I see someone I know? What if I fail? Blah, blah, blah. Fear, doubt, and insecurity. Which is why I can't settle for that I did enough for one night. Today is a new day. I followed up and what happened was that they brought her to the hospital. I'm still here and she's where she is supposed to be. And that 12th step call can still happen.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Had a great weekend on Cape Cod even though the weather wasn't too great. My son had a soccer tournament and his team took the championship for the first time. Sat on this beach for the glimmer of sunshine we had on Saturday and it was just like this, empty which was nice considering it was a holiday weekend. Started my day Saturday at a 7 am AA meeting I found. It was quite the place. They had a whole small cottage dedicated to AA with meetings throughout the day. Very comfortable. I was only able to make the one due to the game schedule but I am so grateful I did. I managed to raise my hand and speak briefly and that kept me sober for the weekend. Later as I stood in Dunkin Donuts getting breakfast for the menfolk back at the motel, I heard my name called out. I turned around and didn't recognize anyone and then a man tapped me on the shoulder and said he had seen me that morning. How cool is that?!

Really helped to have that under my belt during the family cookout that evening. It was all about the beer & wine and Sambuca for the parents. I drank my herbal tea and had a soda with my burger. 2 other women saw me drinking tea and joined me which was nice. I wasn't the only nondrinker there. Not sure about alcoholic. I think there may have been a couple. They don't know they have a disease though. The hostess and a parent of one my son's friends kept asking me if I was sure I didn't want some wine. I said I was quite content. She tipped her glass and remarked that she really shouldn't be drinking red wine cause it didn't agree with her. I told her that I had had many disagreements with red wine and that was why I wasn't drinking. She kinda got it then. and stopped asking me if I wanted a drink. Then proceeded to spend the rest of the evening saying how she shouldn't have. I think I ruined her drinking for the evening. Maybe not a bad thing.

I am just so very grateful that AA is wherever I am. I can find a meeting, they are all over the world, I can go on the internet..you are all here, I can open my Big Book and other related literature, and strengthen my program. Above all else, I can pray no matter where I am. At a game, in the car, in a crummy motel, at a cookout, on the beach, at a resteraunt, no matter where life takes me, AA and my Higher Power are there.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Listening For God


I think what trips up a lot of us when we fist start coming to believe..or at least it was true for me..I pray and then wait for something to happen. Wait for instructions on what to do. I've spent a lot of time these last 2 years running around to sponsers, oldtimers, and others with my situations looking for direction. First do this, and then do that. They usually say to pray on it. And I'll pray and wait. And nothing. I don't "hear" anything. But then again I'm expecting one thing and getting another.

I think its the fear, doubt and insecurity that gets in the way of our ability to listen. I"m not sure its actually something we need to "listen" for but as we continue prayer and meditation and get closer to God we get washed with grace and then we can act in harmony. Does that make sense? I get there sometimes. I haven't "heard" anything but I feel alot. It feels cleansing. Like being washed. I can sense peace and serenity and when I am there..I'm doing the right thing. When I'm not...more praying till I get there. By george.......

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Poor Husband



I don't know why it is. Our history. I feel safe. I can unleash my fears, doubts and insecurities and then hide in our dysfunction. Which of course leaves me feeling restless, irritable and discontent and the whole cycle starts again. And of course he's got his own stuff and pushes the buttons both intentionally and unintentionally. But the thing is, I can be a very nice person..notice I said I can be....I am kind, tolerant, patient, thoughtful, empathetic, open minded and loving with everyone ELSE but my husband. The Dunkin Donuts clerk gets more respect from me than my husband does. The obnoxious a*hole at a meeting does too. I feel really bad about this and I'm working on the causes and conditions. I hope and will continue to pray that I can get to a place where he can receive the benefits of my recovery. I have to trust and rely on God that this will come. Until then, I MUST make a conscious effort to restrain my natural impulses. I haven't. But I made a huge step this morning. I apologized. I said all of the above to him. I'd made an amends to him before but this was different. Because this had more to do with now than the past. Every morning when I ask God to direct my thinking...I need to be specific with regards to this man I have been married to for 22 years.

I was thinking this morning that my whole life up to 2 years ago was that paragraph in More About Alcoholism. I had no idea I was an alcoholic for a very long time. In my early 20's I had a moment of clarity when I thought maybe my problems were related to alcohol and I went to an AA meeting. Then I thought maybe it was about God and I kneeled in the back of a church and cried. But I didn't find an answer. So I dropped out of college and got a job. I changed bedrooms in my house. ( a very small geographic cure:), I got my own apartment, I went back to school, I changed jobs, I got married, I had children, I moved again. None of these things changed what was fundamentally wrong. And my drinking increased to the point, Thank You God, where it finally became very clear what my problem was. It was slapping me in the face. I am ever so grateful that while I was blind I didn't kill anyone.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hassocks

You say potaytoe and I say potahtoe. My poor husband. I was looking for my phone this morning and he said its on the hassock. My reaction....YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT THAT WORD! ITS OTTOMAN G* DAMMIT! YOU SAID IT ON PURPOSE, I KNOW YOU DID. He was a tad perplexed. I stopped...I breathed...I said, did you say it on purpose because you knew I didn't like that word, because that's one thing? (and its not unusual for him to say things to "get" to me.) Or did you just say it. He said, I just said it. That's the word I use. Its the first one that comes to mind what am I supposed to call it. I said, that word is just all wrapped up in the ugly little round plastic brown"hassocks" we used to have when I was growing up. And its all wrapped up in how I feel about growing up and my parents. I think of them (hassocks not my parents) as ottomans now. My pretty paisley & leather large ottoman that we practically use for a table in the living room and my little tufted fringed green and black ottoman in the foyer. They are ottomans not hassocks. Of course when I looked up hassocks on google for a picture, all I could find were ottomans. This was a close as I could come to what I remember a hassock being and it definatly didn't have any nice wooden feet on it. I'd call this an ottoman. But picture it small, round with no feet and an ugly tan color. Anyway...on edge lately? :)

What I am grateful for is that I could stop. In the past this would have turned into a day long resentment for me. I understand now that my feelings were aroused my how I feel about my parents, my relationship with my husband and had nothing to do with the word hassock. I was able to tell my husband that instead of ranting at him. Find out what his motivations were instead of assuming it was to hurt me. Talk about it and then request very nicely that he NOT say that word again. He will. And that's okay too. I'm over it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dad

I am grateful for the memories my Dad shared of growing up.

I am grateful that he shared his love of his hometown with me so that it felt like my hometown even though I never lived there.

I am grateful that he married my Mom.

I am grateful that he was a brilliant man and was given a full scholarship at MIT and managed to excel despite having a wife and baby at home.

I am grateful for his sense of humor.

I am grateful that we got to stay up past bedtime if we asked him a question..like.. Daddy, what's a molecule.

I am grateful for when he put his arm around me like he was proud.

I loved when he held my hand when I was a little girl.

I am grateful that he shared his last words with me and that I could comfort him...that I could assure him that I was happy, that Mom would be taken care of, that it WAS better late than never to pray to God.

I am grateful that he loved his parents despite their faults and passed that on to me.

I am grateful that he invested well so that there was money to take care of my mother.

I am grateful that he taught me how to critically think despite my best efforts not to.

I am grateful that he shared his coming to believe with me which gave me the freedom to believe.

I am grateful for the love that he showed my children and for the memories he gave them.

I am grateful for the thought that my last drink may have been his amend to me in order for him to transcend.

And 2 more for my Mom:

I am grateful that her low bottom became my higher bottom.

I am grateful that her short term memory loss allows me the freedom to not spend time with her, ie 2 minutes on Mother's Day is enough and any more than that is too much for me and allowing myself that does not hurt her.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Things HIdden

If you ever have an opportunity to hear Richard Rohr speak..do it. He really helps me to make sense of the difference between religon and spirituality. I attended a talk on this book yesterday with a friend and it was a good day. I'm looking forward to reading it.

In the interest of hidden things, as I continue on the process of listing my resentments I find myself in this limbo. As outlined in the Big Book, we list our resentments and how they affected us, self esteem, personal relationships, ambition, security, [fear], sex relations. Once we have done that we go back and look at our part. Well, I haven't got to the fourth column yet so I seem to be left with an unsettled feeling. It's not necessarily bad, but let's just say I'm not feeling as joy filled. So I thought, why not make a separate list...of the things about the people on my list that I am grateful for. I haven't discussed this with my sponser yet. I hope she doesn't give it a red light. It really has nothing to do with the inventory and it won't be in my notebook. But in this moment, because my Mother is the first on my list and because its Mother's Day....

I am grateful that my Mother gave birth to me.

I am grateful for the little pool parties when we were in the projects.

I am grateful for the Love/Peace dress she made me in the 6th grade.

I am grateful that she cooked our meals and washed our clothes.

I am grateful that she went back to school and set the example of change.

I am grateful that she saved all my board money and used it to help supply my apartment.

I am grateful that she got me my first credit card and watched over it because she worked in the credit department of the bank.

I am grateful for the beach house she rented for a few years.

I am grateful for all the Christmas's she made special.

I am grateful she helped me paint the pantry when we moved and I was pregnant.

I am grateful for the comfort she tried to offer when my heart was broken.

I am grateful for the care she took of my father when he was dying.

I don't know if this will help..but it feels necessary.

Friday, May 8, 2009

TGIF Musings

I went to a different meeting yesterday at noon. Different town, following a funeral. Really helped me to appreciate the meetings I go to as this particular meeting just didn't cut it for me. Too much talk about how it was....in fact I left with the idea..maybe controlled drinking is an option. Haven't tried it yet since coming to AA. Tried it plenty of times before but not with the AA knowledge. Just a reminder that I need to remain vigilant so that when these normal (for an alcoholic) notions attempt to take up residence in my head....I have a solution. Also a reminder that meeting makers might not make it if they don't. It's not about the meeting its about the solution.

The person I wrote about recently who got me all flamboozled approached me during the meeting this morning to purchase a necklace for her daughter who was celebrating 5 years. I took care of the transaction, got a few messages about how to pay for stuff or put stuff on hold and just felt that the whole incident has been taken care of...God has his ways.


Turned over my Monday chairperson position for the group. I've been doing it for almost a year..so its time...I'd been toying with the idea of asking this person and was afraid of burdening her. Monday's job is tougher because we have to make the coffee and get there super early. I've moaned about it here. She was thrilled to be asked and doing it early is no problem for her. It felt great to pass it on. The spirit of rotation is very important. I'll give her the can of coffee in the trunk suggestion for those Mondays when we are forgotten. And I'll still have my monthly job of keeping the phone and anniversary list updated. It's ALL good.


There's another person in that group who shared his analysis of why he feels so resentful and angry at the meeting. It was great. Well, it made me feel great because in all my self centeredness I've taken the glares and lack of aknowledgment personally. I knew intellectually that it had nothing to do with me, but truth be told my feelings were hurt. His analysis is that AA threatens his alcoholism. So he can be the friendly and engaged person outside of a meeting but when he gets to the meeting....I hate saying, his disease makes him do it, but that in essence is what it is. The message tells him he can't drink and he doesn't like it. Anyway, it was reassuring to know that he was relatively happy outside of the meeting cause people's feelings hang on me.


Anyway its a new day. The sun is out after about 4 days of gloom. Amazing how the sun and the moon (full last night I hear) can affect my moods and feelings. I felt so weighed down by the world yesterday and this morning I feel as light as a feather.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Assistant Principals

So apparantly my son was running late for school yesterday morning. It wasn't just an ordinary school day, he had to take his AP Calculus exam. So he parked on school grounds, on the side of the driveway in the gravel. This is not his custom but he sees others frequently parking there without consequences so he took his chances in order to get to the exam room on time. I'm sure it was a fire lane...or maybe its just because. But the assistant principal had him and 3 others (also taking exams), towed. $111 bucks, cash only (really $111.62 but the tow guy spotted me the $.62 cause he didn't have change for a five)..and I had to leave work because the towing company will only release the car to a registered owner.

My old reaction would have been one of extreme anger.....at my son. I probably would not have left work...made him wait for me to get out. I probably would have made him pay the fine..which these days is about 2 weeks pay for him. I would have wanted him to learn the lesson...don't park illegally (or in this case when its private property, where you have been told not to.) But that is not how I felt.

And I wasn't really angry at the principal either, though it could have developed into that. Instead, I just handled the situation, helped out my son and sent the principal an email saying it was a crappy thing to do, though stipulated that the car was parked where it should have been. He knows the kids are taking AP exams....so how about looking the other way for an hour or 2. I know, I know, fire lane stuff. What ifs......but this time, there was no fire...and they left immediately after the exam so the car would have been removed....its just so cold and non supportive. Maybe I have senioritis too.

And instead of letting the feelings fester in me, I faced the guy (well, via email) and told him what I thought. Not of him but the behavior. I acknowledged the wrongdoing but suggested there might have been another noncrappy way to handle it. It's over, its done....and I've let it go, except to write it here.....this is new for me.

Above it all, it was not something to drink about or dwell on. Life is good.