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 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 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


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 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 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 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 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 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.