Thursday, April 30, 2009

Later that day....

So I went to the meeting this morning and on the way thinking about how if she was there what I was going to do..and if she wasn't there who I would talk to, if anyone. I had called my sponser last night but she wasn't available. Guess who was sitting in the meeting when I arrived??? At a meeting she NEVER goes guessed it my sponser! And then the person who started the meeting today read from page 417...acceptance is the answer. And I talked to my sponser...and I also talked to another member of the group later....point being I was asking for help.

Do you think her phone was disconnected for a reason? I do. As my sponser put it, by confronting her alone (really bad idea) and giving her the opportunity to put it back and then not saying anything I am now taking on the problem and not the solution. My sponser's suggestion is to put it to the group (without mentioning names). In fact, there may very well be others who have done the same thing. I am sure of it, it just makes logical sense. I just happened to see this one. The other person I spoke with, who is a member of the group...(my sponser isn't) took it a step further and suggested that it be brought to the business meeting this Saturday. That a newcomer to the meeting doesn't need to hear this stuff. Is it a coincindence that it is a business meeting this Saturday? I think that is the first reaction to acceptance is that it can give me the justification to do nothing. I also heard this morning that I have to accept that there is a problem and once I have I can work for a solution. As a member of the group I am responsible to bring this out...this person is a keyholder as's that for really complicating matters? I think my original thought was to let her know her "secret" was out in the open and give her the opportunity to do the right thing. But the risk in that is that some people are incapable of being honest with themselves....doesn't mean forever....and that can threaten the group....and the Tradition One states that "our common welfare should come first...personal recovery depends on AA unity." If I keep this to myself or to herself...that is our personal recovery...this is a group issue revolving around the space where our group meets. We could lose this space. This is not a matter for Me to decide how to handle or Her to decide. The next right to give it to the group. And ultimately to God. And to know that this has been placed before me for a purpose. What that is, I have no idea.....but I KNOW. And that is enough.

I really appreciate your comments on this one. I need the push...and the validation....Jess's point is right on...I am struggling with the issue of what people will think of ME when I bring this up....and it has nothing to do with me. As long as I can approach it with kindness, love, tolerance, and honesty...I am doing the right thing.

If I was drinking I could just drink this away...and do nothing. That is what I'd really like to nothing...truth be told. I wish I hadn't seen it. What I don't know doesn't hurt me. That is very very wrong. What I don't know hurts me more than I will ever know. Doing nothing is not an option for me anymore. I must Let Go and Let God and that is doing something.
Our morning meeting meets in a really nice space. We have cushy chairs, usually artwork to look at, windows to look out of and the church also has a bookstore/giftshop that we can browse. The two rooms are connected by an open doorway. Amazing that they let a bunch of drunks even meet here. I attend this church and have volunteered in their bookshop as servicework and when present I can let people buy stuff after the meeting should they want something. It usually doesn't happen but when it does, its good for the church and good for the meeting.

So yesterday someone wanted to buy something so I was in the bookshop after the meeting, and I was talkiing to someone else...and I saw someone from the group put a bracelet in her pocket. And I froze. Not anything expensive..its $3.98...but geez....I did ask her if she wanted to buy something but I did not go so far as to say, how about that thing in your pocket. This person has been sober for over 2 years....a rough girl....but she espouses her recovery yet she has been known to nod off in meetings. Let's just say its been an issue. Last week someone simply asked her if she was okay...and she railed at them for accusing her of drinking. It wasn't fear that stopped me from confronting her, I don't think. Well, yes it probably was. But not of her specifically, just rocking the boat. Being "the one" to do it. I don't want to be "the one". So my first gut reaction was to do nothing.

I sat with it all day and it didn't sit well. Our group has this beautiful space and someone is threatening it and not honoring it. How amazing that the church has trusted a group of people so often not trusted. To just let it go, is to do the same thing. And as a chairperson of the group on Mondays and a volunteer of the bookshop, I place myself at an even higher standard. But then again, I don't want to create conflict. I know that she is acting out her disease. But to ignore it is not helping her either. I'm going to have to say something..but I will start with her. I will give her the opportunity to return it before bringing it to anyone's attention. I don't know if that's enough. But its a beginning. I just don't want to jeopordize our space or the integrity of the group. Of course the number I have for her has been disconnected but I know she put a new number in the phone list. If she's at the meeting, I will pull her aside. If not I will call her. Okay, there I said it. It is done.

My therapist said people react to situations with a fight, flight or freeze response. My reaction is usually fight...I find it interesting that I froze in this one. I wonder what that means.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Verge of Tears

Its more hormonal than anything else I think but I've had good practice at living in the moment this week. If I stay in the moment, and not think of what has been or what might be....then I'm fine....but get me alone...thinking about relationships, talking about them, listening to others talk about theirs, I'm a mess. And its not easy to avoid, particularly when one is working on one's fourth step.

I had a great weekend with my kids...full of shared moments. I probably talked more to my son this weekend than I have in 3 months...and my daughter was home for awhile so I had them both together. Really husband was away so we didn't have that dynamic in there so it was very peaceful for me anyway.

Anyway, apparantly I missed a great speaker at the Big Book Step Study meeting Saturday morning which got my step study sponser all riled up. As I posted earlier, I was stalled on my fourth, though I restarted this week. She called and wanted to meet. Usually she just meets me about 10 minutes before a meeting on the fly. I honestly am not comfortable with her yet though I trust her with the process. Anyway, after hearing this speaker she has rededicated herself to sponsering me. So she says, I think you should go to at least one BBSS meeting a week and work on your writing every day. I think that too but it was interesting having her say it. I think it will help motivate me. I think it was also interesting that we were both in the same place without having talked about it. Maybe its that Higher Power thingy:)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I had a great conversation with a friend last night. We are very different. She has clear boundries and her difficulties come in defending them. I have difficulties erecting them and then feel overstretched. violated or rejected. But I'm getting better....for instance...
When my brother and I were talking before his visit at Easter..he asked that I get his kids the candy for their Easter baskets. I said no, that's where I have to put up a boundry and I literally said boundry. He got it.
A newly sober guy from the meeting shared how he wanted to visit his son but was afraid if he took the train he wouldn't get there. I was ready to skip work for the day and offer to take him. I didn't.
Another guy has been given notice that he must leave the sober house he's in cause the landlord is going in a different direction. He has to move in with his active mother. I really would love to offer him my daughter's room while she's at school. I didn't.
Basically, concerning the last 2, I am getting much better at understanding that my presence at a meeting is enough....that it is not my responsibility to reach out to EVERY single struggling person I see and hear....I do what I can and leave the rest to prayer and that is good enough.
The good enough part probably comes from the punishment/beatings I received as a I continue to feel that I don't deserve the good things yet continue to strive to be good, to avoid punishment now in the form of approval/disapproval.
My boundries do not have to be as clear and firm as my friend's but the understanding that I need them..and can gently erect a huge step for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not a Bad Day

I went to my morning meeting this morning to help celebrate a 6 month anniversary...and I'm glad she got me there. It was a great meeting. Really grateful to have started my day there.

Last night I was honored to be asked to give my friend her 4 year medallion. That's the one we got at Bill W.'s gravesite, if I didn't write about it let me know. I never imagined almost 2 years ago, when I thought my world was over, when I thought I was the biggest loser on earth, the weakest link, the grossest most disgusting woman, wife, mother...that I would find such a dear friend. She got me right from the very start and gave it right back. And although we are very different and from very different backgrounds she is probably one of my closest friends right now and I think I was finally able to tell her that last night when I presented her with the medallion.

I am trying very hard to come at my mother with loving kindness and tolerance but it is very difficult. I left her place yesterday with such made me want a cigarette, which I haven't had since March 3rd, that made me think of a drink because I knew that that's what the cigarette was substituting for. So I just concentrated on my breath for the ride home and prayed to get through it. Had something to eat cause I had skipped lunch, did a centering prayer sit and then went to the coffee shop to continue to write my fourth step. It helped...but I was really grateful when another alcoholic showed up....drunk....not that I was grateful she was drunk...but I was grateful to be given the opportunity to get her to the meeting. I had stayed sober and now I had an opportunity to help another alcoholic achieve sobriety. That's what its all about.

My mother...well, suffice it to say that I am going to have to upset her...which I've been trying not to do..but her compulsive buying and hoarding is now resulting in collection notices and frankly she's running out of space in her apartment. But here's an idea! She lives in an assisted living facility and we pay a lot of money for that. How about I ask someone there for help? Someone with experience in these matters. Now where did I learn that??

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Baby's no Baby

My 18 year old is 6'3" tall and I am about to send him off with three of his buddies for a road trip to Montreal. We know why they are going to Montreal don't we? But its Spring Break..everyone is doing SOMETHING and they have come up with this brainstorm. I am trying not to be full of fear and my first reaction to this was ABSOLUTELY NOT! After all, I went to Ft. Lauderdale my senior year and I know what that was about. I always said I was not going to be as stupid as my parents.

But ultimately, he's a man now. He's about to go off to college. He's 18. He can serve our country if he chooses. So I suppose I can let go and trust his judgement. I can warn him that he has a lot to lose, to be smart, to be safe and trust God. That's for me....he's not quite there yet. He has promised to check in frequently...understands that my concerns have nothing to do with trust and everything to do with fear. He can tolerate that. I told him last night that I missed the boy who used to nap in the crook of my knee. That would be an interesting picture now.

I guess I'm beginning the feelings of empty nest syndrome...I just need to look up because if there is an empty nest there are birds soaring......and that's a beautiful thing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Heard at a Meeting

"Alcohol is not my problem just like 500 foot cliffs are not my problem. They become my problem when I jump off of them and alcohol becomes my problem when I take the first drink."

I love that!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

London Calling

So its done...wrote the deposit check last husband and I are going to Ireland and London in October. October 21-26 to be exact. Ironically it is billed as an Ireland Pub Tour. My friend's partner, she's AA, he's not, goes on this every other year and this year his roommate dropped out and C decided she wanted to go...but was anxious about the pub factor. I suggested to her that while everyone was in pubs, she could be shopping, visiting churches, checking out AA meetings, etc. then in the converstation said I'd love to do something like that...and my husband could do the pubs with her its a date. I have no idea how we'll pay for it, but I figure if I'm throwing 10's of thousands at colleges (my son begins in Sept, my daugher will be a junior) then I can throw a couple my way. At this point its all monopoly money now. Actually the trip is very more than I've spent on a summer rental...which we will do without this year.

We start in Cork City, Ireland. Do some siteseeing there and our trip happens to be at the same time as the Cork City Jazz Festival so we'll get to enjoy that for anight. Irish and Jazz, who'd a thunk it? Then we go London...hear that you Brits out there?!....the trip culminates is seeing our beloved New England Patriots play American football in Wembley stadium but we'll have a few days to tour as well. The trip is only 2 days Ireland and 3 London and I'm not going to plan at all because its a motor coach trip so things will be planned out..there will be 30 of us...and it will be a nice introduction and there is free time so I hope maybe to get some AA in and I do believe I have some guides for that!!

My husband is full of fear. He does not like to fly and he does not like being out of control. This trip requires flying and it is already planned. We're just another bozo on the bus. We had a huge fight yesterday morning, not about the trip though I think the fear surrounding it probably caused it. We were supposed to be taking a pleasant walk...and instead he's was very concerned with whether I was keeping in step with him....I was going to fast, I was going to slow, I wasn't talking enough, it was extremely hard to deal with. He likes to "reprimand" me on the street too....real nice. I won't be walking with him again anytime soon. I did end of saying to him that if he didn't get help, in perhaps the form of Al Anon we were not going to make it. Of course this was through tears....but maybe he'll get the message. We let it go to get togehter with these friends last night to discuss the trip and his fear was a topic of discussion. My friend promised to comfort him so that made him feel better. I suggested therapy....and maybe the fear of flying with be the just the push to get my husband through the door to ask for help. He seemed more receptive..without it..I'm not sure where we are going. I stopped seeing my therapist because as she put it, our sessions always end if only B would do couples seemed no point in my continuing alone.

Anyway..that's where we're going....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where I've Been

I went on a retreat here at the Garrison Institute at the end of March. It was a silent retreat...I only went for the weekend which was the tail end of a 10 silent retreat for others. It was a beautiful location, restored monastary on the Hudson River. The food was outrageously good, the accomdations pleasant, even a hot tub in the communal bathroom. Thomas Keating was the speaker for the it was wonderful to get deeper insight into the practice of Centering Prayer from the spiritual leader of the practive. This was not an AA retreat at all but I'll tell you, Thomas Keating quoted Bill W. so how's that for inspriration! Since Garrison, NY is about 4 1/2 hours from my home I ordered the CD The Comtemplative Dimension of the 12 Steps for the ride and had my own little mini retreat on the way to/from which helped to segue me into the monastary and then home. It was really a wonderful experience and one I hope to replicate. Last year I went on a silent retreat with a few friends. I must say that going alone was a completely different experience. Complete solitude, no shared glances or knowing smiles. The schedule was something like this:

wake up
30 minute sit...stretch....30 minute sit
session with Father Keating
30 minute sit...stretch...30 minute sit
1 1/2 hour of walk around, read, nap, whatever
30 minute sit...stretch....30 minute sit
session nwith Father Keating
30 minute sit...stretch....30 minute sit
session with Father Keating

I might have an extra sit in there...I can't remember now but it was intense. I am so grateful to have had the experience. The first night (Friday) I was so there at 3ish and had about 2 hours before a scheduled sit before dinner. Walked the grounds and found a great spot on the Hudson to read and enjoy the sun. Spring had come earlier it was warm...I slept with my window open the whole time...and you could smell flowers. Then the sit, then dinner, then a session with the retreat leader (Thomas Keating had not arrived yet). To go into the mediation hall where they held the sits and sessions you had to take off your shoes. I was wearing my easy to slip on and off puma sneakers. As I left to go to bed I grabbed them from the shelf and went up to my room without putting them back on. Decided to soak the drive off in the hottub for awhile and took a shower to avoid the morning rush....when I opened the door to my room I saw a pair of black converses by the door and thought I had the wrong room. Looked around saw my stuff and realized I had grabbed the wrong shoes. So I tiptoed downstairs, it was about 11 pm now, and found mine and returned the converses. The next day..just before the morning session...announcements....someone took the wrong pair of shoes...the converse owners raised his hand and said they had been returned. I couldn't speak to him but later I approached him...pointed to his shoes and gave him a namaste bow. How embarassing but then again, it made me smile and I like to smile.

The other kind of funny thing though annoying at the time was the guy who was sitting next to me. You can see me against the wall on the left in the first choir chair. I look kind of slumped and I had a green blanket over me. Well, the guy on the floor decided to lay down to do his meditation. They suggest that you keep your back straight...and NOT lay down..because why? Take a wild induce sleep and that he did. AND he snored, continously until he'd wake himself up. The first sit...I let it go...second sit....its a good discipline of returning to my sacred word.....third sit...I moved my seat. I thought to speak to him at the end of the retreat, gently suggest he sit upright for meditation. Maybe he didn't know he was sleeping. How would you know? But I didn't. A good lesson for me.

But all in all it was a wonderful experience but I must say I have not kept up my practice....and that is what I am working on now. And I am also working on not beating myself up about not keeping up my practice. I am here...and I am in consious contact every day....that is good enough. xo

Friday, April 17, 2009

Still Sober

Thanks, I needed that! Not sure why I needed a break but I did. Actually, in really looking at me, myself and I these last weeks, I think I realized that it was more of my meeting schedule that needed shaking up and not my writing schedule. Truth be told, I did not work a stitch on my fourth step. And leaving the blogging behind did not help me in that area. I thought maybe I had just lost my momentum, that because my ass wasn't on fire I was allowing my "busy" schedule to take over. This past weekend dealing with my Mom over Easter, reading the fourth step at my step meeting and talking to my sponser helped me to realize that really it was that I didn't want to deal with the feelings surrounding my mother. Yes I did my fourth step over a year ago and yes my mother was on it, but it was thorough and honest to the best of my ability at 4 months sober...I think I'm a little more insightful about my feelings now. So really it comes down to that four letter word FEAR. So yes, I need to write about this stuff, work it out. That is what's best for me.

What isn't best for me is sitting in a daily meeting at 7 am, just because that is what I have done for the last almost 2 years. I have been tired..meaning not getting enough sleep, in my case it provides too many opportunities to do 12th step work and it messes with my morning meditation time. One of my defects is the compulsion to help everybody...feel your pain......and I carry it with me. So at the morning meeting there is plenty of opportunity. The room is full of different levels of sobriety...newcomers, eager or kickin' and screaming, oldtimers, real and crusty, two steppers ( 1 & 12), three steppers (1, 2 & 3), chronic relapsers, and then, thank you God, the good old fashioned solution sharers, carrying the message. I try to be the last. But it is not always appreciated, that's okay I can take it but I need to be more discerning about who I bring it to and who I listen to. Anyway, daily? It was necessary for me in the beginning..I needed the consistancy...the family. But I don't think so anymore. And we'll give this schedule shake up a try and see if it doesn't help. I chair on Mondays so of course I'll go then...and then fill in when I can't make one of my evening meetings. That sounds like a plan.

And then of course, as my sponser has suggested, I will continue to pray on these bumps along the road. The bumps that cause me to feel unsettled, discontent, not really irritable, just edgy. These things are opportunities for growth, spiritual growth. I need to listen, make the necessary adjustments and continue along the path that leads to the road of Happy Destiny.

I know this blog, and your blogs, after a 3 week hiatus, were NOT something I could leave behind, not that I was planning to. For me, meditation, writing and service are necessary to staying sober.