Friday, May 29, 2009


"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 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


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


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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


My son is graduating on June 7th. One of the parents of his friends is having a dinner for a group of them and the parents and is putting on a sort of roast. So I have been tasked with going through pictures so that she can put together a montage of my son. I went through a few boxes and it was a melancholy experience.

I can see how happy my children were growing up. I can be assured that they were loved by me, their father, their grandparents, their great grandparents and their uncles. I could laugh at their cuteness and expressions. I could marvel at how thin I was yet how unhappy I was with my appearance. I've always been unhappy with my appearance. Whether I'm a size 6 or a size 16. I look in the pictures and I don't look like an alcoholic. I can see the progression of my mother's disease. I can see the progression of my father's cancer. Rapid progression. I lament his loss and I see how much he loved my children and how much they loved him. I miss him. I see my mother looking young and giving my children a bath. She can't do that anymore. Well, at 18 & 20 they wouldn't let her, ha ha, but she can't dote anymore. My husband and I look happy, we look together. Why do we fight so much?

I want to go back and cherish those moments in their moment but I can only do so now. I want to go back and not be drunk or hungover but I can only stay sober now.

Monday, May 4, 2009

More Answers

So I make the coffee on Monday mornings. I may have written about this before. I have to get there no later than 6 am to ensure that the coffee is ready in time...should really get there before six so it can be ready by 630 for the early arrivers. Every other day we make it post meeting and set a timer but we can't for Monday because of church. For the third or fourth time there was not enough coffee. We have someone who buys supplies and she keeps it in her car but because our group meets 6 mornings a week it is a tough job to stay on top of. I know because I've done it. The Saturday chairperson should really check before he leaves to ensure supplies are there for the Monday. I meant to request this at the business meeting but as you know I was occupied with another "problem". Anyway, I was moaning and groaning about it after the meeting. Everyone had done me wrong. Had to send someone out, and wait for them to return, to make the coffee for tomorrow. As I was focusing on the problem and it was getting larger...developing a resentment against the Sat. Chairperson, someone suggested that I put a can in my car so that in the event there is not enough coffee for Mondays or to leave for Tuesday..I've got it. Brilliant!
Someday I pray that these simple solutions that do not involve resentment, anger, frustration, fear, or just simple annoyance will become second nature to me. But until then, I will depend upon my fellowship to show me the way.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"A Non-Toothache is Very Pleasant"

I am reading this book and it is changing my life....I will be seeing Thich Nhat Hanh in October (thanks Molly) and have listened to him on CD (thanks again Molly) and everytime I think or hear the word "happy", I hear his voice, "you will be very happy".

My lack of mindfulness the other day caused me to almost run a pedestrian over. He wasn't really a pedestrian, he was doing landscaping on the rotary in my town..standing on the brick (where we are not supposed to drive) blowing leaves, etc. He couldn't hear my car because of that and the fact that I drive a Prius, that when in battery mode is silent. I was maneuvering the circle, attempting to make a call, something on the radio, etc. Never even saw him until I was about 2 inches from him. I slammed my brakes, he looked up...and I was horrified. Apologized profusely, he was very gracious and I continued on my way....shook up. Needless to say this was the same day that I experienced the shoplifting incident. Or was it???

In the BB story Acceptance is the Answer,,,,as I discussed in an earlier says "if you focus on the problem the problem increases..if you focus on the answer, the answer increases." I believe by writing, by asking for help, by praying, I focused on the answer and I believe the answer came. When I sat alone with it, for that first day...I was focusing on the problem and almost killed someone (well , that may be a bit of exaggeration but you get my point.)

I consulted 2 elders of the group, just as the business meeting was commencing Saturday. And one of them said..."How do you know?" "You cannot judge." "How do you know she did not pay for it later?" "How do you know she did not put it back?" I cannot know this unless I ask her and that would have to be done very delicately, since I did not do it in that moment. It is not uncommon for people to leave notes for the bookstore manager about purchases they intend to make or return to pay for something. I have done it as has this elder I consulted. She asked..if it had been me..what would you have thought? I would not have assumed shoplifting. So yes, I was judging. She also suggested that I not blur the line between my membership of the AA group and my role as volunteer of the bookshop. In other words, sure if someone approaches me and asks if they can pay for something because they know I can ring it up, do it...but to actually announce, the book store is open for business after the blurring the line.

I am very grateful for this. I have been asking, yes do the the next right thing but HOW do I know what is right? And the answer will know. It will feel right. This feels right.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Bottom Line

And then...God is either everything or he is nothing. Either I believe it or I don't. I believe it. But I have to say put to practical daily purposes, I'm still trying to figure things out. Went to a step meeting last night and we did Tradition's that for timing. I was having this discussion with a woman at the meeting and discussing acceptance and how I'm still in kindergarden...I'm asking why....(oh yes, I know, the answers will come if my house is in order)....and I go to use her bathroom. She has a book in there...and there is a says...Father, please help me to stop trying to understand (or something like that). I always say, I came to believe...Step 2...when I stoped trying to understand What God was and just accepted that He was. Now I'm at the everything or nothing phase. I'm still trying to plan...if I do this, that will happen, if I do that, this could happen, or maybe something else will happen. I should do this because of that, and if I do that, I'm not in line with what that said. and on and on it goes and where she'll stop nobody knows. Sometimes when I'm not sure about something, or faced with a problem...I think to myself..."oh, this is where I'm supposed to pray". Does that count as praying? I don't think it does but its closer. I'm pretty good at sitting in silence and solitude....but am I listening. Maybe not quite so much.

I had a light bulb moment last night. I went back and reread the whole story in the back of book...Acceptance is the Answer or in the older book, like I have..Doctor, Addict, Doctor. I hadn't read the whole thing in a long time. Let's put it this way, I started at the stories and haven't read them since. There's a line in there....If you focus on what's good today, then the good will increase, if you focus on the bad the bad will increase. If you focus on the problem, the problem increases, if you focus on the answer the answer increases. Geez, do you think THAT'S where they got the name for our morning meeting, "What's Good About Today?". And then what is the answer, the answer is acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. And what am I accepting, that either God is everything or he is nothing. And if I am accepting that he is everything then that is Always where my answer lies. And if I continue to focus on that my belief will increase because that is my answer. And around and around and around she goes, but I think this time we know where she's stopping.....In God's Hands. xo