Saturday, December 31, 2005

Last Post of 2005!

I am grateful:
that I can go purchase a new pair of shoes when I am feeling a bit blue (so I did... they are much cuter than that picture makes them look)
that I have completed another sober year
that I have another sober year to look forward to
that my major stress at work will be over some time
that I will probably take a vacation to a beach somewhere warm when it is over
that my old friend posted a comment on my blog tonight

I am grateful that there is a fellowship of Alcholics Anonymous. I am grateful for the bloggers I have come in contact with. I think that is so so so so cool.

I am grateful for all the groups I have been a member of over the years. I am grateful for all the lovely people I have come to know and love in AA - whether or not they stayed sober or remained my friend.

I am grateful for my family. I wish my kids would get back from Yellowstone, I miss them!

I am grateful for my great niece who was born on my birthday and they named her MARY! She will be baptised tomorrow.

I am grateful that I can be a real member of my church today. There was a time when that was the last place on earth I wanted to be. Tonight, they read the name of one of my AA acquaintances in the list of the sick. I started crying when I heard that. I knew he was sick, but I guess I didn't want to believe he was THAT sick.

Happy New Year Everyone.

Are you done?

I know it is hard to give up all of the good times. The vomiting, the blackouts, the waking up finding you have wet the bed, the mornings finding that everyone is angry with you and you haven't any idea of why, the sleeping with people you shouldn't, the "forgetting" to come home, and so many more things that make up the constellation of "good times" for an alcoholic.

I have always said that it would be worth it if all I got out of sobriety was never waking up with that awful awful thought: What the hell did I do last night - and who knows? I have not woken up that way once since I have been sober.

You say "yes, I am willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along wihtout liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?"

Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most saisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.

Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 152

May 2006 be a sober year for who wish for sobriety.

Last insomnia of 2005!

I woke up at 1:00 a.m. with my brain a little bit too active. I am thinking of all the things I need to get done this weekend. And the irony is that losing sleep will make me less able to get it all done. Which makes me feel more restless and wide awake.

I have had intermittent insomnia for most of my life. When I was still drinking I had it terribly. A drink would fix it up though. My thinking was so wacked back then that I would tell myself that even the President of the United States slept at night! As if I had so many important things to think about that I might need to stay awake 24/7 just to think about them all! I was a housewife for God's sake!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I Love Thursdays

I got back from a wonderful meeting at my home group, followed by pizza with great AA fellows. Well, they are all women, but they are fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Anytime you can sit between your sponsor and your sponsee, you know everything is just A-OK. I am plugged into Alcholics Anonymous, and I know that all is well.

Today at work I was having such anxiety I spoke to my boss about it. He, being a psychiatrist, just said "hmmm. yes, I know." But later I talked with the director of nursing and she, being a psych nurse, actually talked to me. She said that my anxiety is understandable, but really not appropriate. She said I am like a conductor of an orchestra. I can conduct, that is my job. If someone isn't playing their instrument, that isn't my responsibility. Oh! That makes sense!

I need to keep this imagery foremost in my brain. I have a lot of work to get done and being anxious is just getting in the way.

Thank God for meetings, my sponsor, my sponsee, some wonderful people I work with, learning in AA how to reach out to others when I need help, learning in AA how to reach out to others when they need help, and learning how to reach out to others to help them when I need to just forget about myself for 5 minutes.


Please be gentle with me. I am new and inexperienced.

Thanks for the invite dAAve. I have no idea how to do this. But here it is, my maiden attempt at HNT.

And now I shall go out for my run. And I will thank God I can. Then I shall go to work. And I will thank God I can. I will also thank God that I didn't get rid of all my clothes when they were too big, just most of them. Because I have a couple pairs of pants and a couple of skirts I can still squeeze on this ever enlarging body. 4 months without any extreme exercise was too long. But now I can exercise again and I can be very very grateful that I can.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I'm a little bit older now, but I am still cute.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


This is Minerva. She is a little bit older now, but she is still cute.


Yesterday I went to my old home group. It was good to be there. It was good to see some old friends. It was a wonderful surprise to see Andy walk in the door. He moved away almost 9 years ago. I have known him since he got sober - which is now almost 21 years ago. He was my boyfriend for a short while, then we managed to become very good friends after the romance didn't work. I drove to Tucson last June to pass on my 20 year chip to him.

In the last few years he has been increasingly bitter and angry, but I have always been able to deflect that and get to the human side of him. Yesterday was different. I stood and cried. We have always been polar opposites politically, but we have always been able to have lively and respectful debate and continue to be friends. Yesterday he attacked me. I was not prepared for that. I told him I would not argue with him and clearly he knew that I did not agree with him. We ended up having a cup of coffee, some fairly superficial conversation, and made a plan to go see "Brokeback Mountain" last night.

He called in the afternoon and left a message saying that he was going to take his mother out for dinner and he would catch me on his next trip to Denver. I am sad to say I was very relieved.

This is really the first time I have had an AA relationship be impacted by external things like politics. It makes me so sad.

I am a political junkie. I always have cable news on. I read a lot. But I am not going to tell you where I stand on anything polital because it doesn't have anything to do with AA. (Besides, I have another blog where I am not identified as an AA member and I trot out my political views.) The wisdom of the AA Traditions is incredible. The Tenth Tradition is so important.

I hope this doesn't sound like self-pity. I am just so sad. I just love Andy.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Gifts

I rode my bike this morning for the first time since my accident! 4 months and 6 days without a bike ride is a long time. It was so good to get on my bike. Well, actually, I dragged out my old clunky mountain bike (it was like driving your grandfather's Oldsmobile) because I am still a bit afraid of my street bike. I rode down to the park just a few miles from here and took a few pictures and just sat for a few minutes in the beautiful Christmas sunshine. What a Christmas gift.

Another gift: my 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren were all here with me yesterday. They spent a sober day with their mother. There was a time when not only had I lost custody of my children, but there was a restraining order prohibiting me from contacting them. One of my daughters called this morning to wish me a Merry Christmas and tell me what a great time they all had yesterday.

More gifts: I will be going to J & C's for Christmas dinner today. I am sure it will be a wonderful dinner because it will be with wonderful AA members.

My sponsor loved the hand knit socks I gave her for Christmas. I am so grateful to have such an incredible woman in my life.

Yesterday, sitting in the meeting, I realized that I have made a home on this side of town... 11 years later. There are so many good members of that group who have known me as part of that group since they got sober. I love my old group (on the other side of town) with people I have known since I got sober, but I feel almost as warm about the people I have known only these last 11 years.

Minerva (my cat) did not hiss at my grandchildren once yesterday - that is a big fat miracle!

And to the sober blogging community: you guys are the best! I have felt embraced by you in the last month or so and I can't tell you what it means to me. I love reading your blogs, and so look forward to the comments you post on mine. Thanks and warm wishes to all of you!

Love on Christmas from Mary Christine.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone.
I am on my way out the door to a meeting. I am happy to be going to a meeting this morning. I am happy that I decided to leave work WAY early yesterday and got my stuff done. I am happy that today will be about getting a run in, getting my nails done, cooking a little, spending a lot of family time. Playing my new RISK! game!

Here are some staying sober tips for Christmas:
Go to meetings, you may find someone who really needs what only you have to offer.
Don't go anywhere you can't leave (be able to walk away or drive away, but don't come with someone else and be dependent upon them being able to leave at the moment you are uncomfortable.)
If you are at an event where alcohol is being served, have a glass, can, or cup in your hand at all times. That way you will not be offered a drink as often, and you will always know what is in your drink.
Get "prayed up" before you go anywhere that may be tempting, upsetting, or you may have expectations about.
Read page 101 of the big book, and really ask yourself the questions posed there, then follow the directions on page 102.

"Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed."
God Bless You. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Yesterday's Run

These are pictures from my run yesterday. The sunrise was absolutely incredible. My whole little corner of the world was bathed in a pink glow.

Maybe I should explain why I am so enamored of running... Four years ago today, I had my first date with a man from my home group. He was sober for a little over 2 years and I was thrilled to go out with him. I had known him since he started going to my group. From the moment I set my eyes on him, I was just crazy about him. But it is extremely unethical for people with long term sobriety to be dating newcomers, so I behaved myself. (Although in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have dated him with even 2 years of sobriety.)

We developed a wonderful relationship. We had so much fun. He is a cowboy from the mountains of Colorado. We took trips, we panned for gold, we went away to the mountains with bunches of other crazy sober folks and had paint ball wars, we went to rodeos, state fairs, and concerts. I started listening to country music (which I still do today). I bought cowboy boots and wranglers (?!?!) My kids loved him. His family loved me. After about a year, we started talking about getting married.

At about this time, he got into an argument with his brother, and really showed him! He got drunk! He had just gotten his three year chip, and he was drunk. He tried to get sober again. He tried repeatedly. We put the marriage plans on hold, but kept seeing each other. He promised me I would never see him drunk. For almost a year he kept his promise.

But on August 18, 2003 he showed up at my house drunk. I could not get him to leave. He is 6'5" and extremely buff (yummy) and it occurred to me that what physically attracted me to him in the beginning was now something very frightening. I told him to sleep it off in my family room (away from me) and he went down there and camped out on the sofa. It was a terrible 36 or so hours until he finally left. He ruined my coffee table by spilling water (or some other clear liquid) on it and leaving it there. Anyway, he did finally leave. And when he left I asked him to leave the remote for my garage door opener and the key to the front door. And that was that. I thought I was going to die.

What has this got to do with running? Well, I decided the next day that if I did not do something drastic, I didn't know how I would get through the heartbreak. So I started running. I had while I was in my 20s and 30s, but I skipped running entirely in my 40s, and here I was in my 50s! The first day I could run for only 5 minutes, and it was downhill! After a while, I worked up to 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I knew I could do a slow mile. Then a mile and a half, two miles, and 3 miles. I did my first triathlon in August 2004, my second (with my daughter!) in 2005, and both my daughters have said they will do the 2006 one with me.

It has been a huge help to my mental health to run, and bike, and swim. When I broke a rib in a bike accident in August (two years from the day that my drunken beloved left my house), I thought maybe I was washed up. I am so thrilled to be able to run again. I am just thrilled!

My beloved is still drunk. He has gotten sober for as long as 30 days and that is it. I don't think he has drawn a sober breath for at least 6 months now. I have seen him only 2 times since August 2003. He looks horrible. He is skinny and emaciated. I pray for him every day. He made good connections in AA and those people still keep in touch with him. In fact, he works for an AA member.

Another alcoholic legacy....

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fifty-Six Degrees!

It is 56 degrees outside. And the days are getting longer now! Woo Hoo! I am going to head out for a run. I might even try to do 2.5 miles. This is freaking exciting!

Today at work I have only one meeting. I may be able to shut my door and get some work done. Tonight I have my home group. My sponsor will be there and we will probably go have dinner after the meeting. But I really want some more borscht. I might even eat that stuff for breakfast. It was so good.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What I made for dinner

This is what I made for dinner tonight. I am so sick of candy, cookies, pies, etc., that what I really felt I had to have tonight was BORSCHT! So I bought the makings on the way home from work and cooked it up and let it simmer while I made evil toffee (see below). Oh those veggies were so good. Beet soup is the anti-candy.

Lighten up!

This is the toffee that I am sick to death of making. I made yet another batch tonight because I keep finding more people I need to give some to. This is the last batch. I hope never to see any more almond toffee!

Lighten up! That's what my sponsor told me. She said I am a very serious person. Actually I think a better adjective might be "grim". At least right now. Now, if you met me, you would think I am a riot. I am a very funny person. But the last couple of weeks have me so stressed out about work and I am beginning to get totally overwhelmed with Christmas - and I am getting a bit too serious on a regular basis. Take this morning's post for instance. I was feeling grim this morning. Well, shee - up at 3:30 a.m. so that I could make almond toffee and meringue cookies. Was too busy to run even though it was WARM (65 degrees this afternoon!)

Experience, Strength, and Hope

That's all I have to share. My experience, strength, and hope. As AA members, we are all in the same boat. The boat of trying to stay sober, one day at a time. There isn't a hierarchy of AA members. There isn't a magic day when you are cured and therefore become a counselor to all the poor unfortunates who come through the door.

Around the country, there are some differences in the way things are done within AA. One that I find varies widely is the stating of your sobriety date. Where I live, it is considered boastful to talk about how long you have been sober. I have also found that people stop listening to you when they find out you have been sober for over 20 years - because they think you have somehow graduated to that higher level of recovery that they can't relate to. So I generally keep my mouth shut about how long I have been sober.

But just for the record, I will state that I went to my first AA meeting on July 24, 1984, and I have not had a drink since then. Words cannot begin to convey what that means to me.

I can assure you that MY best efforts did not achieve this. My best efforts would have had me drunk within my first year. The fact that I am sitting here this morning, at the age of 54, in a nice clean house (that I own), writing on a nice computer, about my decades of sobriety is strictly due to the Grace of a loving God. Yes, there was and is "work" to do. But it pales in comparison to what I have been so freely given. In my wildest imaginings, I could not have dreamed up the life I have today. A little bit of going to meetings, working with others, doing some steps, helping others do some steps... that is like paying 2 cents and getting 2 million dollars.

My intention is to stay sober for the rest of my life. But I can only take care of today. I could be drunk tomorrow. But as long as tomorrow finds me taking care of that day, I should be fine.

I am so grateful for a loving God who has blessed me so abundantly. I am so grateful for AA and the wonderful friends I have had over the years. I have other non-alcoholic friends and the quality of those relationships just pales in comparison with my AA friendships. A new thing in my life is this blog and the wonderful AA bloggers I have come across. I find this so exciting. I am so grateful for the AA way of life. What a gift. Every sober day is a priceless gift.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

31 Degrees!

Gosh! It is 31 degrees outside and I am going to get out there while the gettin's good and run. It is almost not freezing! This is practically a heat wave!

I am so grateful that it is a new day. I have a Christmas lunch to attend at the department I worked in for 8 years (started as administrative assistant and left as the department director). I am really grateful to them for inviting me, I have nothing to do with that department anymore and haven't for over 3 years - I am glad they still consider me at least partially a member of their department. It will be nice.

I need to run to REI and get my son the mittens he wants. Who ever heard of paying $100. for a pair of mittens!?!? But I am so glad that I can do that. There were so many years that Christmas was so painful for me because I couldn't afford to get my kids the things they wanted.

I could go on and on but the Colorado sunrise is calling to me "Mary, Mary, come out and run!"

Monday, December 19, 2005

A day

I had a day today. It was challenging. I tried to start it over several times. I closed my office door TWICE and called my sponsor. Sheesh. Thank God I am not one of those folks with over 20 years of sobriety who thinks she no longer needs a sponsor! As it is, I am a person with a little over 21 years who needs her sponsor and I thank God for her every day. When she told me today that I could start my day over again, I told her I had already started it several times, they were all bad days and I was only compounding the problem. Luckily for me, she also thought this was funny.

My sponsee came over tonight and after I listened to her - I felt better. This is the way it works for me. When I get out of my own self for even a minute, I feel better. She is in a good place right now and I am not so good. She also listened to me, which was sweet. She and her partner invited me over for Christmas dinner. (My kids come over on Christmas Eve and spend Christmas Day with their dad.) She said they are having a "lesbian dinner" and I asked what that was. When she said it was steak and baked potatoes, I was shocked! and asked her if she thought I was a secret lesbian because I LOVE steak and baked potatoes. She laughed her ass off at that!

My father's big book

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday Afternoon

My neighbor just came over and brought me a Christmas present. That is so nice. I think I will give her the pair of hand knit socks that I didn't know exactly who was going to get.

I have never lived anywhere long enough to get to be friends with neighbors before now. It is a real challenge for me to stay in the same place this long. I have lived in this house for 4.25 years. This is longer than I have lived anywhere since I left my parents' home in 1970. I have now been employed at the same place for over 11 years. That is a super huge challenge. Prior to getting sober I never worked in one place for longer than a year and a half.

This stuff is important for me. I am sure it isn't important to everyone. But to me, this steadiness, and this consistency are good. This morning I stood in church (a place that I would not have been caught dead in earlier in my life) and realized that I fit there. I am a member in good standing of my church. Holy Cow (sorry). There were people from work there and I got to talk to them on the way out. Which means, I am a member of my community. I live here, I work here, I go to meetings here, and I go to church here. Oh and I go to the gym here... saw a doctor from work at the gym today. Fun.

I am looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Cookie Day

Oh my. It is dangerous out there. I just went to the grocery store and it is cold, snowing, icy, and road ragey. The road rage is the worst part. There was an incident in the parking lot, there was an incident on my own street (and it is a cul de sac) on the way out of here.

I need to drive 35 miles (each way) to my daughter's house and pick up my granddaughters. We are making cookies today.

I am grateful for a good car.
I am grateful for heated seats.
I am grateful for the meeting this morning.
I am grateful for pretty snow even if it is hazardous.
I am grateful for 15 degrees, that is 15 more than zero.

And I am sober today - what more could I ask?

Friday, December 16, 2005

First Things First

JJ - I understand about placing the important things in a position of prominance on the family Christmas tree.

Tonight I was able to write all my Christmas cards and wrap all the presents I have bought to date.... I still have more shopping to do. Having accomplished these major milestones, I can now go to bed and sleep soundly.

Eleven Degrees

No running for Mary Christine this morning. It is too freaking cold outside. I hope to get to work early so I can leave early. There is a part of me that is dreading going to work today. I got a bunch of frantic calls yesterday while I was off. I called in to find out what was going on and it is something I have never dealt with before and I am not particularly looking forward to it. Often times these things that cause anxiety are my greatest lessons and cause the exhilaration of discovery and triumph! That is, as long as I put one foot in front of the other and walk through them and don't try to avoid them.

My birthday was fabulous. On my way to get a manicure yesterday (my little treat for myself) I decided to stop at Safeway and get the stuff to make pizza. The kids were so glad I decided to make it myself. I told them they were responsible for dessert and I didn't care what they got. My son brought a huge bag full of dilly bars from Dairy Queen. What fun!

So I am off to face my day. I will suit up and show up and leave the results to God.

And be incredibly grateful for this way of life.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

December 15

What a lot of gratitude I have today! I took a day of vacation so that I could just goof off on my birthday. It is nice. I went to a 6:30 a.m. meeting. I got to see Holly who is one day younger than I. She will be 54 tomorrow. She is about to graduate from college, and thanked me profusely in the meeting for showing her by example that it was possible to accomplish this at our advanced age. She, however, is graduating Summa Cum Laude - I was a mere Magna Cum Laude.

I went swimming after the meeting. I am so grateful to be able to swim and run again after my bike accident. There were three months when I could not do much. I gained weight which I hope to lose soon (there is a brand new brown wool pin striped suit sitting in my closet mocking me every morning - I only wore it twice before the pants got too tight!) Some day I will get back on my bike, but I have not tried that yet. I think it will be a challenge to ride again.

My kids are coming over tonight. I hope to get a nice picture of all of us. I can't help but think about next year (yeah, one day at a time) when my son will be in Iraq. Just writing that makes the bottom fall from my guts. I really have been trying to stay in today with this... I can't afford to think about it too much. But I do think about it. I am so proud that such a good man is my son. He astounds me.

Here's a question... I have always cooked a nice dinner for my kids on my birthday - mainly because I LOVE to cook. I told them I didn't want to do that this year and what I would really like is to order pizza (further delaying the wearing of my brown suit). But now that I am taking the day off, I am wondering if I should make my world famous homemade pizza.... Any thoughts? Should the birthday mom and nana make dinner?

I just think you bloggers are the best! Thanks!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The 33rd Anniversary of my 21st Birthday

Thirty-three years ago tonight, I was drinking beer in my apartment, getting ready for it to be late enough to go out on the town because the next day was my 21st birthday. My friend Maureen and I sat on the steps of Vince's County Line Inn (very tony establishment) and waited for it to be midnight. At midnight, we walked into the bar and ordered a beer. The bartender asked for ID, and I asked him what time it was. He said "exactly midnight" and the celebrations began!

I can assure you that Vince's County Line Inn was not a popular spot for young women to celebrate their birthdays. Which made me and Maureen extremely popular with the middle-aged and elderly gents at the bar. They let us tend bar, we danced on the bar to "Holly Jolly Christmas", and then it really went down hill.

As the dawn broke on my 21st birthday, I woke to the sound of a rooster crowing (when you live in Chicago you know something has gone seriously wrong if you wake to the sound of a rooster). I looked around at the shabby farmhouse, and the several men who were with me. I was horrified. I quickly threw on my clothes and drove to work!


And today I am happily sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. My three adult children and two grandchildren are coming over tomorrow night to celebrate my birthday. I won't need to sit on the steps of a bar and I won't do anything that shames me.

I decided today to take a day of vacation tomorrow. I am glad I can do that. I might go to a meeting in the morning - if I wake up in time. I might go swimming, if I feel like it. I might wrap Christmas presents, and I might buy some more presents. I don't have to do one single thing.

Thank you God for this peaceful, quiet, satisfying, loving life I have today. And thank you for AA, my family, friends, and wonderful bloggers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good Self Care

I am going to do a gratitude list of sorts here. I have been struggling a bit lately and a gratitude list would be a good idea...

I am so grateful to a loving God who brought me to this place that I had absolutely no clue even existed. I am sober! I am a neighbor among neighbors, a friend among friends, a worker among workers, and an AA members among AA members, etc. I am a participating member of my family.

I think this blog is a lifesaver. I have absolutely loved reading the blogs of the other sober bloggers. What a wonderful thing. And to have people read my blog, I cannot begin to describe what an honor I think that is!

I am grateful that I got to go out on a beautiful 41 degree morning this morning and ran a 2 mile route I did on "easy" days before I broke a rib. I am grateful that I could show up for work at 9:00 a.m. I am grateful that I have an office with a door at work. And that I closed it this morning and called my sponsor.

I am so grateful for my sponsor, that is another thing that words can't begin to describe. She stressed to me that I need to take time for good self care. She was formerly an executive in healthcare so she understands the pressure I am under right now. She knows that there is not much I can do about it but just push through and get to the other side of it. She commended me on my getting back to running.

I am so grateful for the sponsee I am currently actively working with. I am humbled by the experience of being her sponsor. She brought me a birthday present last night. It was some nice body butter that I had borrowed and admired after the meeting last Thursday.

I am grateful that one of my colleagues took me out for lunch today for an early birthday present. I am grateful for wonderful Thai food... especially red bean ice cream!

I am grateful that I got about 8 hour's worth of work done today between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. I am grateful for a vending machine at the post office where I was able to purchase my Christmas stamps after work. And especially to the woman who was so willing to trade me crisp dollar bills for the soggy, crumbly dollar bills the machine was rejecting!

I am grateful that I get to experience another birthday. On Thursday I will be 54 years old. I didn't even think I would live to 30.

And, I am grateful for my neighbor who just pulled in her driveway. We have been trying to catch up with each other all week, so I bet my phone is about to ring. Imagine being friends with my neighbor!

Thanks to all you wonderful bloggers. What a wonderful, world-wide fellowship.

AA Christmas Carol

Uptight before Christmas, all through these rooms
alcoholics were stricken with holiday gloom.
They prayed, "Santa, please make us happy, joyous &
free, bring us candy and presents and serenity."

Greed filled their minds and envy their hearts and
someone said, "It's time for the meeting to start!"
"Does anyone have a topic for discussion tonight?"
Every face in the place turned wintery white!
They lost all self-seeking, self-pity and self-will
when down through the chimney came the ghost of St. Bill!
He chuckled and said as he sat himself down
"Call the White House and tell'em there's a new Dubya in town."
Then he looked through a big book and said with a tear,
"Wow! No one rewrote this after all these years!
Clean house, help your neighbor, be loving and kind,
and don't take the first drink one day at a time.

How could a message as simple as this
be realized, analyzed and intellectually dismissed?
here lies the reason this ghost has arrived:
to re-give a gift that has saved all your lives!"
Then he set up a big screen and a DVD
so every lost soul in the meeting could see.
He played a movie of drunks at their best and their worst,
what is and what was, when blessed and cursed.

There were scenes of a housewife passed out at a bar,
a respectable businessman wrecking his car,
a fight in a kitchen, a fight in bed, a fight
at a reception between newlyweds.
An empty bottle, a desperate man alone in
a motel with a gun in his hands.
He puts down the gun and picks up the phone
and whimpers and blubbers, "Honey, let me come home."
She hangs up as she tells him, "Don't call here anymore."
He reaches for the phone book and falls to the floor.
Somehow that phone book seems to capture his gaze:
it's open to a number under the "A"'s.
Then all of the people in the movie converged
on the poor side of town in the basement of a church.
Driven together in a willing herd
to hear of hope and deliver the word.

The ghost of Bill W. turned off the TV and said,
"The first word of the first step is 'we'.
I suggest you start there and see where you go.
Be thorough and fearless, and please-take it slow!
Let faith set the tone, let love make the mood
and as for a about 'gratitude?

Just don't drink, go to meetings and pray
and be glad you're alive and sober today.
Be a good woman, be a good man
and be of service whenever you can.
Be a good mother, be a good dad
and try to be good to your kids
even when they're bad.
Be a good husband, be a good wife...
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good life!"

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday Morning

It is 6:30 a.m., and still dark outside! We are nearing the darkest day of the year, and then I always consider it practically springtime when the days start getting longer. I am not going to work out this morning because I managed to get two good workouts in over the weekend. I managed to run 2 miles on Saturday... I have not been able to run more than a mile and a half since I broke a rib in August. Maybe by the first of the year I will be able to run 3 miles several times a week as I did before the injury.

I didn't blog yesterday. I am trying to not be such a nut case about blogging. I put up my Christmas tree, finished the Christmas stocking for my granddaughter, finished up another pair of socks I had started and forgotten, and then started on a new pair of socks. It was a productive and extremely quiet day. At some point in late afternoon, I realized I had spoken to only one person all day. I had asked the woman in the next lane at the pool how far she swims - she is often there when I get there and still there swimming away when I leave. I called my daughter, she was at work, so I spoke to her husband. I told him I put up my Christmas tree and he said "All by YOURSELF?!?" Yes, Bob, all by myself. I live alone. By myself.

I think next year I may get rid of all of my newer Christmas decorations. They were all purchased by my former boyfriend. Putting them up really highlights to me how much I miss him. I heard on Saturday after the meeting that his drinking is now so bad that he hasn't shown up for work for over a week. God Bless Him. He called me some time over the weekend and left a drunken message "Merry Christmas Mary." I had to listen to it several times to even figure out what he was saying.

OK, I better stop this, it is too sad. I will go get on with my life. And thank God for my sobriety and the wonderful life I have today.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Blasts from the Past

Tonight I sat down to start knitting a new pair of socks. The phone rang. It was from NYC... I could see by the caller ID. I thought it was my sister even though I knew it wasn't her number. But it wasn't my sister, it was a wonderful surprise.

It was my friend Chris from high school. We talked for 2 hours. I haven't talked to him for over 2 years. Chris reminded me of how much my life has changed. When you have been sober for a long time, it is like a breath of fresh air to speak with someone who actually knew you when you were a drunk. Thank God I made amends to him when I was newly sober - I hadn't spoken to him for years then, but managed to find him to make amends. We have stayed in touch since then... not frequent, but fairly consistently. We laughed about how old we are getting, and he said when he talks to me he still sees a 16 year old getting high and dancing at the club. I told him I still see him in his striped bell-bottoms!

This morning I went to my old home group. I love to go there and see people I have known for decades. When I was talking to a couple of my old friends after the meeting, it became evident to me that I am more stressed out than I thought. I had to be told a couple of times that people were joking... I am about as serious as a heart attack right now and that is not good.

Even at the yarn shop, the owner encouraged me to stay and knit for a while - for therapy. She has known me for about 15 years and we have become friends. With her encouragement, I bought yarn to make a pair of socks because that is my favorite thing to knit. But I did not stay to knit because I had so very many things to get done today. I intended to knit tonight, but I got the phone call from my old friend. I am so glad he called.

Friday, December 09, 2005

need more blogging help (please?)

I burnt my thumb tonight while making peanut brittle. I got a big splotch of 275 degee candy on my thumb and when I washed it off, the skin came off with it. Yuck! and Ow! I have an ice pack on it now. It is not easy to type while icing your thumb. But this blog is so vital to the continued existence of the earth that I thought I better make the supreme sacrifice and blog through the pain!

My daughter came over tonight and helped me make our annual almond toffee and peanut brittle. She took generous portions with her for the snowshoe trip she and my son are making this weekend. They will eat toffee and peanut brittle in the yurt at night.

Here is my plea for help...
I would really like my blog to include links to the blogs of my newfound friends. I hate to admit it, but I have no idea of how to do this. I tried it the other night, but instead of having a nice looking link, I had "http://www..... bla bla bla" Can someone please help me with this?


Thursday, December 08, 2005

sober fibers

(This is a picture of the view from my home group taken earlier in the year when it was still light during the meeting.) Tonight I went to my home group. It was a woman I sponsor's 10th AA anniversary. It was so good to be there and watch this woman get a ten year chip. What a thrill to watch the smile on her face and hear her talk. What a miracle this program is. After the meeting, my sponsor, my sponsee, and I went out for tacos (well, actually I orininally ordered a seviche tostada, but it was so cold, I got that wrapped to bring home and got two shredded beef tacos, yummy.)

I like to think of us alcoholics as fibers. Individually, we are weak, flimsy, strands of fiber. But put us together, bound by the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, we are like a very strong rope. We just have to stay in unity with the rest of the rope!

My sponsor got sober in 1973. She is still sober, by the Grace of God. I have been sober since 1984, by the Grace of God. My sponsee got sober in 1995, she is still sober, by the Grace of God.

What a wonderful safe feeling to be in the middle of these two incredible women I love so much. I feel that I am safe in the loving arms of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Welcome to all the current and future fibers of Alcoholics Anonymous. And thank you to the people who have taken the time to read this blog. I think it is such an honor to have you take your time to read this. And to comment - what a wonderful thing to read comments and connect to others. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Another Alcoholic Legacy

I need to be at church tomorrow at 6:30 a.m., and I have to work all day (outrageous!), then my sponsee is celebrating her 10th anniversary/birthday at my home group tomorrow night. It will be a busy day with perhaps no time for blogging.

I have been thinking about my dad today. My dad was a wonderful man. He was 40 years old when I was born, and he was quite ill. He was terribly afflicted with alcoholism and had a host of other health problems. He had his first heart attack when I was 3 years old. So many of my early memories involve my father being whisked away by ambulances, and the following death watch.

On April 15, 1965, a man came to visit at our home. I asked my mother who he was and she said he was from Alcoholics Anonymous. I said "Dad is not an alcoholic!", she said "if he isn't, I don't know who is!" Amazing that 40 years later I can remember these words verbatim. In the years to come I got to experience first hand what it is like to have a parent throw his heart and soul into AA. Our family life was entirely transformed. It was glorious.

In 1971, my mother died after a short illness. My father was quick to remarry and I was so shocked when he married a woman who drank like a fish. He insisted that she was not alcoholic.

On July 15, 1975, I happened to phone my dad and was horrified to find that he was drunk! He taken an early retirement from work that very day after his physician had told him that his heart would only last 6 months tops, and that he should get his affairs in order. He decided to drink. Later he would only tell me "resentment really IS the number one offender."

He moved his wife back to the small town in Iowa that she was from. He went with her of course, thinking he would be dead in short order. He lived, and lived, and lived and lived. Year after year after year. And he could never get sober again. He lived the most miserable existence I could ever imagine. He lived in a lovely home, with every material thing he could ever want, but he lived in drunken misery. He told me he just couldn't listen to AA members when he would from time to time reach out for help. It all sounded so hollow to him, he had said the very same things once, and here he was drunk.

He died on August 28, 1993. I am so grateful that I got to be with him in his final months. I stayed by his side day after day. No one else in my family could stand it, but I could.

I could be with my father because of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I could be with my father because I learned how to love in Alcoholics Anonymous. I learned to love from the love so freely given to me by other alcoholics. I could be with my father because I learned how to hold someone when they dirty and sick by nursing other alcoholics through their illnesses. I learned in Alcoholics Anonymous to be still, shut up, and just love.

I have often said that if this was all I ever got out of being sober, it would be worth it. Of course, that is not all I have gotten from being sober. What a miracle it is that we get to be part of the world, our families, our neighborhoods, and the workplace again. I love to sit in AA meetings and think of the people who aren't hurting today because their wives, husbands, sons, daughters, lovers, friends, neighbors, etc., are sitting sober in an AA meeting. All the pain that isn't happening when we get sober. All the people we aren't hurting. What a miracle.

A Smoking Dream

How peculiar. I had a smoking dream last night. I have had them before, but this one was odd and different. In the past, I have had dreams that somehow I am "getting away" with smoking one or two cigarrettes a day.

In this dream, I was in a motel room and my sister was visiting - which is extremely odd since she lives in NYC. She was smoking Marlboro cigarettes, as she does. She left the room and left a cigarrette buring in the ash tray. So, I did what anyone would do, right? I stuck the cigarrette in my mouth and took two very long hits on it. Then I smashed the remainder of the butt into the ash tray.

I got up and in disgust, looked at the mirror. There was smoke still coming out of my mouth. I felt sick. I thought about the 14 years since I last smoked. I took a shower.

Then I woke up.

Isn't this the most Scintillating Blog in the Universe! Weather reports on a daily basis (it is up to 0 degrees now!), updates on my work-out schedule, pictures of my very exciting knitting, and now a dream report!

Thank you to anyone who has read this.......

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What's a yurt, you say?

This is a picture of a yurt, along with some other tent-like buildings. I also want to add a link to Colorado Yurt Company, but I am too rushed to bother with the HTML, so I am going to just put this link here...

Note: Higher Powered told me how to do this easily! This is too cool... Colorado Yurt

So grateful to be a blogger

I couldn't get any blogspots yesterday when I got home from work. I couldn't get mine, or anyones. It was fairly terrible! I was so happy this morning to go check out some of my newfound friends' blogs, and of course, get on my own!

It being Monday yesterday, my sponsee came over. She celebrated 10 years of sobriety on Sunday! I was actually able to find one of my old 10 year chips and pass it on to her. Happy Birthday Janine!!! Yeah! I am so grateful to be her sponsor.

I meant to go to the gym this morning, but I didn't wake up until 5:30! So I will venture out in a couple of minutes for a brisk morning run. It is 23 degrees which is a heck of a lot warmer than it ever got yesterday. I am glad I have all the gear I need to get out and safely run in cold weather. Most of the time I really enjoy a nice, crisp, winter run.

I have read about all the Christmas decorating you all are doing. Usually by this time of year, I have my house all decked out. For some reason I have not been motivated to do it yet this year. I have put the little electric candles in all my windows, and they look pretty at night, but that is all I have done. My neighbor across the street usually puts Martha Stewart to shame so I was flattered when I saw the little electric candles in all her windows on Sunday! Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery (or something like that).

My daughter is coming over on Friday night and we are making the almond toffee and peanut brittle that is our tradition. She is leaving on Saturday for a snow shoeing trip with her brother (my son). They will be staying in a yurt on Saturday night. I really worry about them. But I am so glad that 2 out of 3 of my children really love the outdoors and do all sorts of healthy activities.

I better get running...

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Wind is Howlin'

The wind is blowin'. I can hear grit/ice/dirt hitting my sky lights! It is really blowing, they say on the news that there are gusts up to 80 mph. I have heard that my route to work is a sheet of black ice. This is when I am very grateful that I don't have an 8:00 meeting this morning. I don't have any meetings at all today! Woo Hoo! I can leave for work after 8:00, maybe by then the roads will have improved, or at least there won't be so many people on them. Yikes. I just heard something substantial hit the side of my house. I can't believe I still have electricity.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sunday Morning

Wow. What a day. I am so excited that my Broncos are playing today. This is going to be a hard game. I sure hope we win. I HATED football when I was drinking. When I was sober for a couple years, I decided to sit down and watch a game. It happened to be the best game of football ever - I think. The Broncos at Cleveland, for the AFC Championship of 1986 - the game with the famous drive . I have been hooked on football ever since. OK. I have really tried to say nothing in this blog that has an "opinion on outside issues" and AA as a whole certainly doesn't have an opinion on the NFL, but ME personally, Mary Chrstine G., I LOVE the Broncos.

Yesterday I went out for lunch and Christmas shopping with my 26 year old twin daughters. What a joy. We had vietnamese coffee for dessert after our vietnamese lunch and it wasn't pretty. We all got so silly, we were laughing uncontrollably. One of the girls took a movie of us (laughing like jackasses) with her cell phone.

Once again, thank you to everyone who has visited this week. And double thanks go to the people who post comments. I am so grateful to you.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Look at What Happened Last Night!

I woke up at about 1:00 this morning and saw the snow falling in big fat flakes and was so excited I was up most of the night. I opened the drapes in my bedroom so that I could see the general whiteness through my lace curtains. Oh, it was so beautiful.

I was going to drive to my old home group across town this morning. When I saw the snow, I rethought that plan. I will either go tomorrow or go to the morning meeting on this side of town. I really feel the need to sit with my old cronies though.

Whenever I think of what I cannot do due to snow, I have to remember this though:

On my 22nd birthday, I was stood up by my date. This was in Chicago, and it being December 15, there was a blizzard. My date had a terrible car accident on the way to my house and was unable to call and tell me that, but I didn't know that until a day or two later. I was upset - to put it mildly. And I think the worst part was that I was waiting for him to bring booze, I was rapidly drinking all the booze I had in my apartment. As it got later and later and I hadn't heard from him, I decided to give up on him and go to the liquor store. There was so much snow that I couldn't get my car out of the parking lot. The snow was still falling - sideways. I did what any reasonable drunk would do - I decided to walk to the liquor store... in a blizzard, in the dark, in the cold. The liquor store was 2 miles away and I did manage to get there and back. When I have recalled this incident since I have been sober, the thing that really astounds me is the memory of what I bought at the liquor store. Having walked 2 miles in snow up to my knees and with some drifts higher than that, and with snow still falling, and wind still blowing, and having 2 miles ahead of me to walk home - what did I buy? A 12 pack of beer! What the hell was I thinking? I remember stumbling in the snow with a soaking wet carton with the precious 12 12 oz. cans.

So when I want to complain about being an old lady, I just remember that it is a miracle that I even lived to be 30 let alone living to this grandmotherly age.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Here's for you Kenny...

This is the finished product... and another one I am working on. They are felted Christmas Stockings for my granddaughters.

33 degrees

I think I'll stay inside! I loved the 18 degree run yesterday. The only part of me that was cold was my face. I thought to myself "my face hurts", and in my mind, my three older brothers exclaimed with glee "Its Killing Me!!" Later I told my daughter about my run, sharing the bit about my face hurting. Amazingly enough, she laughed and exclaimed with glee "Its Killing Me!!!" Generations of real cards.

This morning I woke up at 5:15 a.m. and before I looked at the clock, I hoped that it was time to get up. Because I wanted to get up and get going. It is a wonderful thing to want to get out of bed in the morning and get on with the day. My work is very exciting right now. It is incredibly stressful and just insanely intense, but it is right up my alley. This is what I do well.

Yesterday a colleague came into my office, gravely closed the door, and sat down to talk to me. I was really afraid for what kind of bad news she might be bringing. She told me that she had just turned in her resignation. I am happy for her, but unhappy for me. I actually cried when she told me. I am glad that our relationship is OK because 2 or 3 months ago, I got angry with her and actually stormed out of her office and slammed the door! I had to make amends the next day which was terrifying. I had NEVER in my 11 years at the hospital behaved in a way that I later needed to make amends for. Thankfully, she happily accepted my amends and we moved on from there.

I am so grateful for this way to live. I am grateful that I am grateful that I am going to work today. I am grateful that I have a way of taking care of problems as they arise. I am grateful that it is December 2, 2005.

Thanks for reading. What an honor.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

15 Degrees

It is 15 degrees and I am going to go outdoors and run. Oh my. I have all the gear I need to do this and I don't want to drive to the gym, get on the treadmill, take a shower, get dressed, put on my make-up and do my hair in public this morning!

I was out too late last night with my daughter. We went "Christmas" shopping. We both managed to purchase things for ourselves, but no presents for anyone else. We had wonderful burgers at 9:00 p.m. at Ted's Montana Grill. Oh my, they were yummy. That is so too late for me to eat dinner.

Tonight my home group meets. I haven't seen my sponsor for a couple of weeks because she has been out of town. Hopefully I will be able to talk a bunch of us into going out for pizza after the meeting.

Can anyone tell me how to get a picture onto my profile? I can put pictures into my posts, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to get a picture into my profile. When you are using a picture from your own computer, how do you do that? I know that I open the 'edit profile' thing and go to the add photo line, but it doesn't work!! I tried to put in the "address" of my picture in picassa, but it does not work. Help?

Thanks again for the fellowship. I have loved reading the blogs of the people who have left comments.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wednesday Morning

The sunrise is red/orange this morning. I hope that means what I have been taught it means... Red Sky in the Morning, Sailor take Warning. I would love to see some snow. There has been snow all around Denver, but not IN Denver.

I have back to back meetings all day today at work. I might have a long enough break at lunch time to get to the pool - swim laps, and then shower, dress, and re-do my hair. Maybe not.

Maybe I will quickly run to Target to get my granddaughters the Cabbage Patch Kids I am dying to buy for Christmas. Why am I DYING to buy a couple of ugly ass dolls? Because my daughters wanted them so bad when they were little, and I couldn't afford to buy them then. It brings me great joy to purchase things for my little grandbabies.

Incredibly grateful that I have two granddaughters who have never seen their grandmother drunk. They have never had to gingerly walk up and try to smell the breath for that gasoline odor that predicts big trouble ahead. Oh Thank GOD!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Feeling Good, Feeling Fine, How are you?

I guess if I keep saying how thrilled and grateful I am to have readers I will become boring and the readers will go away....

I feel I have to update my post on HALT. I said that I had seriously considered smoking cigarettes. I did not smoke any cigarettes. I didn't buy any, I didn't mooch any, I am not planning to. I don't really want to smoke. I was having a bad week and feeling a bit sorry for myself and the lying part of my mind that is out to get me started telling me "what difference would it make? You can't work out anyway. Maybe you would lose some weight. Maybe you would actually take breaks at work.... etc., etc." All pure crap, and I knew it. It was amazing to me that I would even consider such a thing. But I can be grateful for that today because I didn't need to act on it. I could just say "Wow.... this is stupid." And be grateful that I wasn't romancing a drink the way I was romancing a cigarette. But I took it as a warning sign.

In the last 2 years, I have trained for and finished two triathlons. I just can't even believe this is me saying that. I am going to be 54 years old on December 15. I smoked 2 packs a day for 25 years. I drank like a fish until I was 32 years old. I sat in bars and drank and smoked and for a very long time I thought that was the only way to live.

In 1999, at 15 years of sobriety, I had surgery on my neck. In technical terms, an anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion of C3-4 and C4-5. After that, I never thought I would do much of anything athletic again.

In 2003, I had a horrible break up with the man I wanted to marry. He was a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous when we met. After a year together, he started to drink again. For almost a year, he would get sober for a while and then drink again. I had hope every time that he would really get sober. When he showed up at my house drunk and I couldn't get him to leave for 2 days, it was truly over. That weekend I started running. I thought if I didn't do something drastic, I would just die. By August 2004, I actually completed a triathlon. It was so wonderful. In July 2005, I completed another triathlon and got my 26 year old daughter to do it with me!

On August 19, 2005 (two years to the day that the man showed up at my house drunk), I had a pretty bad bike accident and broke a rib. That rib has not wanted to heal and I haven't been able to do much of anything. It has been really hard for me to just sit still and not DO something, but I think I had something to learn.

Just in the last week, I have started swimming and running again. I am so grateful for this. In my first 7 years of sobriety, I drank coffee and smoked cigarettes all day long. I think it was important for me to do that. But now I feel it is important for me to do something else. I am so very grateful that I can.

Thanks for listening to this rambling old thing...


I am so pleased by having readers and comments! I guess it is like the couple of times I have sat in the meeting place - me and the big book - and no other drunks. It is not all that fun. But when the other drunks show up it is magic. The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is unlike any other I have ever known. It is wonderful. Thank you to all of you who have been so kind to leave comments.

It is 5:00 a.m. in Denver. It is 21 degrees outside. I am not going to go out and run because I just can't deal with that kind of cold right now. It has been so warm here I am not used to the cold yet. I am going to go to the gym and run on the treadmill... and then go to work. I better get going!

Monday, November 28, 2005

What Excitement!

My blog has been found by another recovering alcoholic,
Trudging, who referred to me in her blog - and I have had some visitors and commenters. This is incredibly exciting to me.

Tonight my sponsee came over as she does on Monday nights. We went through the 6th and 7th steps. What a wonderful way to spend an evening after a long day at work. I am so grateful that this woman is in my life. She came over for Thanksgiving dinner with another AA member. We had a lovely time.

My sponsor is stuck in Nebraska due to weather. I hope she and her husband will be able to get home tomorrow. It is so windy and cold outside, but hard to think about the snow on the plains when it is dry here in Denver.

Thanks to all the commenters. It really has made my day!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Saturday Morning

This is the third time I have titled a post "Saturday Morning." I love Saturday Morning. I went to a 6:30 a.m. meeting this morning. It was nice. There was a man who was celebrating 6 months of sobriety. There were also two men who were celebrating 15 years of sobriety. It was cool to listen to their stories. They were so similar even though they wouldn't meet each other until they were sober.

There they both were, the day before Thanksgiving, 1990. They both got drunk. Nothing unusual about that for either of them. One got back to work and found a note from a co-worker that brought him to tears and got him to check into a treatment center. The other one woke up the next morning not knowing how he got home, but knowing that he drove. Nothing unusual about that either, but for some reason, that was the last time he did that.

They both ended up in the same home group. It is a good group. 6:30 a.m. is a great time for an AA meeting. Most everyone has just woken up, showered, dressed and hopped in their car to drive to the meeting. Most everyone still smells good. Most everyone has not yet gotten into any problems with anyone. The day is ahead. Nothing but possibilities. A blank slate. A good thing. Saturday particularly so.

I have been awake since 3:30 a.m., so it is about time for my nap. And I gotta love a day when I can take a nap!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Another Alcoholic Legacy

This man is George Best. He died this morning. He was a stellar footballer... aka soccer player. He was unfortunately also an alcoholic. How sad that this awful disease claims another beautiful person.

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

These are things a recovering alcoholic should avoid. Never get too
You see? It spells HALT. And when I get too much of any of these things, I need to halt and back up and take care of myself.

Tonight? I am not hungry - quite the opposite. I am not angry. I am a bit lonely - being single sometimes seems like an impossible thing for a woman married most of her adult life. I am extremely tired and I think therein lies the problem.

I didn't go out tonight because I am tired. I would have liked to go to a meeting and get out amoungst 'em. Be with other alcoholics and get out of myself. However, I came home because I am extremely tired and have vowed to take it easy this weekend.

I often jokingly refer to myself as "high maintenance." It is a joke because that doesn't mean I need bling or manolos or jaguars or expensive nights on the town. It means I need a lot of sleep. Regular meals - of a nutritious nature - not too much white stuff (flour, sugar, etc.) I need to exercise regularly. I need to have at least an hour a day alone to get centered. I need to have conversations with people. I need contact with other alcoholics. I need regular AA meetings. I need to spend time each morning in quiet meditation. This is a lot to need. But the price to pay if I am not getting these things could be my very life.

This week I have actually considered smoking cigarettes. It has been 14 years since I have smoked. I smoked 2 packs a day for 25 years. The fact that I haven't smoked for 14 years is incredible. But, intellectually, this week it has seemed like it might be a viable option. I am stressed out. I am gaining a bit of weight (since I can't run due to injuries), my work is crazy. Wouldn't a ciggie break every now and then be nice?

Probably not!

Perhaps by the end of the weekend, I will have regrouped to the point where I see the insanity of what I have just written. Intellectually, I know it is insane. But somehow it makes sense.

Monday, November 21, 2005

What is an alcoholic?

This is from Alcoholics Anonymous, p. xxvi, 'The Doctor's Opinion':

"Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks - drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery."

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I asked this before. Comments PLEASE! And a couple of you obliged. And I was encouraged to keep going. It was nice.

I see that people visit and that makes me happy. I keep posting for them. However, I would sure like to hear from someone.

So, today: I am about to plant myself on my sofa and watch football games on TV. I went to a meeting this morning. It was wonderful. It was a meeting of my old homegroup, so I got to see some folks who just make my heart happy.

I wasn't always so sappy. I used to have problems all the time. I used to be mad at people almost all the time. I am very grateful that my life is not like that today. Not that it is perfect, it is far from that, but I am not in a state of agitation and anger most of the time.

Comments? (please?)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blind Alcoholics Appropriately Leading the Blind Alcoholics

I am still on the same topic I wrote about earlier today. I am disturbed by my friend's approach to getting sober. He is sober 90 days - which is wonderful - but instead of hanging around with others who are sober 90 days, 60 days, 30 days, 1 year, etc.... he is hanging around with folks with 20+ years of sobriety.

I am so so so so fortunate that when I got sober, my homegroup was based at a club. It was a club with a terrible reputation. The people with one or two years of sobriety were the senior statesmen. We were all new and we were all crazy. We were all in the same boat. On the occassion when someone with more than a couple of years came to a meeting there, we listened with all the earnestness we could muster, but we still hung out with each other.

This group had a terrible reputation because there was no "good" sobriety there. There was no "long term" sobriety there. We were all newcomers and our behavior was not always (always? ha! it was virtually NEVER) exemplary!

But I must say, that these days when I get across town to the current incarnation of my old home group, those same people are sitting there. They have gray hair and wrinkles, they are talking about their grandchildren and their retirement accounts. Most of them have stayed sober since those crazy days in the 80s when we were all getting sober together. In the same boat. The Blind Leading the Blind... appropriately.

Those oldsters I later came to know and love are now mostly all dead. Thank God I have some peers to still hang out with.


A friend in AA called me this morning. We had a lovely conversation - each of us on our way to work - on our cell phones. This young man is sober 90 days.

He was expressing dismay at the failings of several AA members who are sober for a long time. I tried to talk to him about "the sin of hating sinners," but I don't think he heard what I was saying.

Gosh, as a person (fully human, fully fallible) who is sober 21+ years, it is scary to hear this kind of talk. As AA members, we are alcoholics. As alcoholics, we are ALL one drink away from a drunk. None of us is sober on yesterday's sobriety. None of us.

Some days are good and some days not so good. I may not look like a person who has anything someone else wants some days. And then some days are stellar!

The good news is that even on bad days, I don't have to pick up a drink. My friend said he wanted more than that - he wants full recovery. I agree... that is wonderful. However, the most important component of recovery is to not drink.

In order to not drink, I need to not get too caught up in others failings... no matter who they are. It sounds kind of circular, doesn't it? But it isn't.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Gratitude Month

November tends to be Gratitude Month in AA. The Thanksgiving holiday is just a natural for AA members who always try to be cognizant of the gifts of each day. Now, living one day at a time, I am aware that it is not Thanksgiving today, but I am greatly looking forward to it.

My friend is coming through town tomorrow and I am so sad that I can't get away from work to see him. I think it has been about 10 years since I have seen him. We were very close at one time. He took me through the big book at a time when I needed help desperately. I now share that with others. What we give in AA never stops giving to untold others. It is a chain that is wonderful.

I like to think of it as a rope. I am just one little fiber among 2 million fibers, and together we make a strong, unbreakable rope. Each of us alone is just a tiny and weak piece.

Thanks and love to all those current and future fibers of Alcoholics Anonymous!

Friday, November 04, 2005

My Big Book

Isn't that beautiful?
That is the big book given to me on July 24, 1984, after my first meeting. It has been well-used, well-worn, and well-loved. It has made me quite a bit weller than I was in 1984. And I thank God and the fellowhip of Alcoholics Anonymous that I have not had a drink since that July day in 1984.

My dear old friend who took me through the big book for the first time has been in touch. I gave him the address of this blog, I hope he visits. I really hope he leaves a comment...

Monday, October 31, 2005


This post may be somewhat disjointed. I will be up and down answering the door and doling out candy - the little children of the neighborhood keep tap, tap, tapping at my door. It is fun to go see their little costumes and know how very scary they find their little witch and darth vader costumes, etc.

Normally on Monday night a sponsee comes over and we read the big book together (of course, we are following directions as we go). She is an artist and is currently at an art show, so she won't be here tonight. I miss having her here. I really look forward to Monday nights when she comes over. She is sober almost 10 years and just a remarkable woman and a good AA member. I am humbled by sponsoring her.

When I told my sponsor that I was humbled by sponsoring this woman, she told me that she understands. That is how she feels about me. Aw, Gee. That is so nice. I talked with her for a long time late this afternoon. My sponsor, that is. She is also a wonderful woman. She has been sober for 34 years and is so real and so wise. She has been my sponsor for 11 years. I am so grateful to have a sponsor for that long. Prior to finding her, I had many sponsors. I think it is important to have a sponsor, otherwise, I am out there "rowing my own boat," which is never a good idea.

Just writing that reminds me of a guy I knew when I lived in Washington. He used to say (and probably still does) that "if you don't have a sponsor and you don't have a home group, you might be in something, but it probably isn't AA." I just loved that guy! I think he was right.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saturday Morning

It is Saturday Morning. The sun has not yet risen. Today my daughter (26 years old) is joining me on my hike. I have had my prayer and meditation, am currently drinking my coffee, and am about to jump in the tub. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Grateful this isn't a hangover

Yesterday morning I woke up with a migraine. I get them occassionally. I have also had nausea with this one, which I don't usually get. I came home from work early yesterday and took to the sofa. I tried to watch Monday Night Football, but didn't even have the ability to focus on a football game. My head was pounding, I was fighting the urge to vomit, and I was shivering because I was so cold.

This reminded me of so many days I spent while I was still out there "having fun" and "enjoying life" - in other words, drinking alcoholically (sp?) I cannot even fathom the idea of getting this sick voluntarily!

When I think of the young woman I once was it makes me so sad. To think of a beautiful young woman (I can say that now about myself - past tense) spending entire days in bed, shaking, vomiting, waking up in a pool of urine, with a head hurting so bad I wished I could die. And then going and doing the same thing the next night. It is amazing. And so sad.

While I was suffering so terribly with this disease called alcoholism, I felt so much guilt, remorse, and shame. I didn't realize that I had no more control over the course of my illness than I have over gravity, or whether the sun will come up in the morning.

I just thank God that I found Alcoholics Anonymous and admitted I was powerless over alcohol and have not had to be that sick for over 21 years now. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I am a grateful member of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I went to meeting of my old home group yesterday morning. It was so glorious to be sitting there amongst the new and the old. It was my friend Fred's 34th AA anniversary (I call them birthdays). I was so glad I got to be there for that.

He said something that echoed something I haven't been able to articulate. He said it like a 75 year old truck driver, and I am not that, so I am sure I won't paraphrase exactly right.

He said "If you don't like our war stories, don't worry, just keep doing what your doing, and you will end up with war stories of your own."

As I sat there, I realized how safe I felt sitting in an AA meeting room full of sober alcholics. I looked around and there was Eddie. Eddie is from Philly and he was the hippest, slickest, and coolest back in the 80s when I met him. He needed to do a little more research, so he hasn't been sober that long, but he has got about 15 years now. Roland was sitting next to him. Roland has been sober 28 years and I have known him for about 15 years. Next to him was Elmer - who sobered up a few months before me, so I have known him for my entire sobriety. Terry was across the room. Terry got sober in October of 1983 - 9 months before I did. I have known her the entire time I have been sober in AA. And then there was Denny... he took me to my first meeting. He has stayed sober all this time too. He is sober about a year and a half more than me, so about 23.5 years now.

I used to wonder why guys with lots of sobriety would want to be with others with lots of sobriety. I thought it was snobbery. Gee Whiz, it is so far from snobbery. I just want to be one of the crowd. I don't want to stand out as someone who has been sober "a long time." I just want to be one of the group. I hate to be the one in the room who has been sober the longest.

I am happy to report that there is no danger of that happening at the Morning After group any time soon.

Thank you God!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Attraction rather than Promotion

For those of you who have followed this blog from its inception, you know that I have not been at all committed to the entire concept of an AA blog. I initially started it so that I could discuss AA matters without anonymity concerns with a fellow blogger who is also in AA. I thought it would be nice to post stories, etc. Or not. I don't know. I am on the fence about this whole thing.

Recently I have had comments from people who don't want to be in AA. I guess I am supposed to have hurt feelings and try to chase them down and convince them that AA is the only way for their salvation. I am reminded of what I heard when I was new... "AA isn't for those who need it, it is for those who want it."

I can only share my experience, strength, and hope. My story is that AA saved my life and indeed gave me everything that is worthwhile in my life. Period. That's my story. There is not anything to argue with there.

Our literature (specifically, the big book, Alcoholics Anonymous) says:

"If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!" (p. 31)

Further in the book, it admonishes members:
"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." (p. 96)

Yes, an opportunity to live and be happy. Not to earn anyone a merit badge for getting someone sober. Not to earn someone a bonus for bringin' 'em in the door.

AA has never claimed to be the only answer to alcoholism. Of course, I haven't seen any others that are very successful, but anyone can feel free to find another way.

I realize that our beloved big book was written in 1939. It offends many today. I would suggest that if it offends, perhaps the offendee isn't very desperate to recover from alcoholism. Maybe the person has a drinking problem that they can solve on their own. There really are people like that.

When I got to AA, I really didn't care if the book was written by men. They were alcoholics and understood my problem and that was all I cared about. I didn't care that the language was archaic, I found it charming. I didn't care that it wasn't written in "gender neutral" language, I know that when I read "he" and I am thinking about "me", it works. It works just fine.

It works just fine for people who want it. That's it. If you are still trying to poke holes in it, go ahead. If you are seriously alcoholic, the day may come when you embrace AA because it is a program that works. Sadly, that day may never come. Most alcoholics, I believe, die an alcoholic death. Some of us are so fortunate to be sober alcoholics. It is the most amazing thing on earth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tuesday Evening

I was on my way home from work tonight and stopped into a local meeting - 45 minutes late. A new lady was sharing... she is having difficulty. She has been in and out of AA for a number of years and says that it gets harder to get sober each time. I believe her and I hope that I never have to learn that lesson first hand. Please God.

At 10 minutes till 7:00 - they all looked at me and asked me to share. It seems everyone else had already talked (it was a small meeting). I started talking and realized that I was going to take the entire 10 minutes - which I considered to be quite rude... show up 45 minutes late, stay for 15 minutes, and talk for 10 of them! And to top it all off, I basically whined for 10 minutes.

I had a hard day at work. But I also had a victorious day at work. I had to give a presentation to Governing Body and it went well. I have been giving those presentations quarterly for 4 years now and it never gets easier, they are sometimes downright gruesome.

But what I mainly talked about was how sad I sometimes feel. My first sponsor recently called me on the phone and as we talked, I realized that she was getting drunk. Drunk during the course of a telephone conversation with her former sponsee. How sad. I felt profoundly sad. She has been my friend for over 21 years. And now she is drunk and it just makes me sad.

I have a former boyfriend who is drinking and calls occassionally. If it is after 9 p.m., I don't answer the phone if the caller ID says it is him. If it is before 9 p.m., I will sometimes answer the phone and talk to him. And for some reason, I get surprised as he gets drunk while we are talking on the phone. I profoundly miss the sober man I used to know, but he is gone.

After the meeting, I spoke with a woman and apologized for whining like that at a meeting where there were new people. She told me how much I mean to her. It was really amazing to me. She said that I am one of her heroes. Amazing. Me? A hero?

I am incredibly grateful to be sober, but I have this unrealistic wish that everyone else I come to know and love in Alcoholics Anonymous will stay sober. That is very unrealistic.

I just looked up at the bulletin board above my computer and noticed the picture of me and my first sponsor (now drunk) taken in 1986 or 1987. It was at a 4th of July party where we managed to set her roof on fire with fireworks. At that time, she was married to a millionaire, so this was quite the house. We managed to get the fire out and I don't believe he ever found out about it. In the picture, we have our arms around each others' shoulders, we are both sunburned, wearing sundresses, smiling for the camera. We laughingly called this photo "the geek sisters". I don't really remember why. It makes me want to cry to think about how much I miss my friend.

OK. I will stop now. I am tired and haven't eaten dinner... It is 8:00 p.m., and way too late for me to not have eaten. My blood sugar is probably dangerouly low which is not a good thing for this body.

Thanks to anyone who has stopped by and read this.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday Morning Hike

View of the front range of the Rocky Mountains from Green Mountain

View of Red Rocks Amphitheater from Green Mountain, Colorado
What the heck has this got to do with being sober? Everything. Today, on a Sunday morning, I woke up with energy and happiness enough to head outdoors and take a beautiful hike. It is a nice hike - only 2 minutes from my driveway to the mountain - and it doesn't feel intimidating on a Sunday morning. I have gone up there on week days when I have been alone and that is not the best feeling. I came around a bend once and came face to face with a big deer. Now, I know that deer aren't dangerous, but that rack looked very impressive when I was alone with this creature on a mountain.
I am a 53 year year old woman who likes to hike, bike, run, and swim for fun. For a really great time each summer I participate in a triathlon! When I was 32 years old I was a dying alcoholic. What a miracle that I get to live a healthy life today. Of course, when I came to AA, living a healthy life was not really high on my list of priorities. I just wanted to stop feeling the horrible way I felt.
But what I have gotten from Alcoholics Anonymous has been beyond my wildest expectations.
All I did was follow a few simple instructions:
Don't drink
Don't think
Go to meetings
Read the big book
Get a sponsor.
And most of all: Keep Coming Back.
As always, I welcome your comments....

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Thank you

I want to thank the couple of people who posted comments and encouraged me to keep going with this. One of them is already sober (thank God!) and one is trying to get sober and doesn't want to go to AA. I tried that route for nearly 3 years before I got sober. It was so incredibly painful. Every day I would swear that it was my last day of drinking and the next day I would be drunk again.

I knew I had plenty of will power. I could do just about anything I set my mind to. I could run 5 miles at 7,000 feet altitude with a hangover most mornings for God's sake! But for some reason (which I know a little bit more about now), I could absolutely not stop drinking. Or I could stop for a day or two and then be so elated with my success, I would need a drink to celebrate because surely I had this thing conquered! And then the cycle started all over again.

I finally called AA on the morning of July 24, 1984. I am humbled to say that I have not had a drink since that day. What a miracle. I don't say that I am a miracle... the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is the miracle. I am the blessed recipient of the miracle.

If you are new, keep coming back. If you don't know what to do, try it out. Give AA a call, or go to a meeting. There are no pledges to take, no papers to sign, no money to pay (other than throwing a dollar in the basket - if you want), there is no one in charge, it is a true democracy.

I just wish everyone could find what I have found in this program. My sobriety hasn't always been pretty, but it has always been real.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Feedback, please.

I am posting on this thing... the count of people who have viewed my profile continues to increase. And yet, I know of only one person who reads this. I don't know what the point is.

I would like to think that someone with a problem with alcohol would stumble across this and discover that there is Alcoholics Anonymous and that there is recovery from alcoholism. And that recovery from alcoholism is a wonderful thing. It is exciting, joyous, peaceful... really you could describe it with just about any adjective. When I was new, they told me that you could find anything you wanted in AA and I do believe that.

Someone sober as long as I am probably isn't the best person to have a blog about sobriety. A person newer in sobriety would probably be a lot more motivated to write a lot more and really do something with this.

Anyway, I am pleading for feedback. If you have read this and have any thoughts, please post them. Thank you in advance for that!

Friday, September 30, 2005

You've got to give it away to keep it

I am feeling a little bit blue and thought maybe writing about one of my favorite experiences would cheer me. For some reason, I have remembered this incident several times this week, even though it happened 11 years ago.

In the summer that I was to celebrate 10 years of sobriety, I decided to goof off as much as I could. I got caught up on all of my bills, and then quit my job! I had enough money to pay the rent for the summer, but would need to get "extra" money to pay for anything else - like food. When I needed some money, I worked as a Kelly temporary. Over the summer, I applied for several permanent jobs, including putting in an application with the state. I didn't really give it another thought.

It was late August, I was broke, and I really needed to get a "real" job. I was working as a temp and called my voice mail for messages during a break. Well, I had a doozie of a message! It was someone from the State - not only the State, but it was a hospital and the job was a job in my chosen field! I didn't even know that was possible when I applied for a generic state job.

When I got home from work, I returned the call and made arrangements to come in for an interview the next day. That was exciting, but I had a major problem. I had NO money. I am serious. I had NO money. I didn't have the bus fare to get to the interview, and I didn't have the couple of dollars to pay for a pair of pantyhose, and I really didn't know how I could get to the interview.

Being somewhat practiced in living by spiritual principles, I withdrew to my bedroom, and got real quiet and prayed. I told God my problem, and just waited quietly for some sort of answer. I had an intuitive thought (that is how I think God talks to me) and the thought was weird - it was "give something away." Oh, how I wanted to argue with that thought! I didn't have anything, that was what I was praying about!

I came out of my bedroom and into the kitchen. In the kitchen, I saw the half pint jars of peach jam I had made, all lined up in rows. Well, it occurred to me that I COULD give away a jar of peach jam. So I sheepishly walked downstairs to a neighbor's apartment. I was hoping he wouldn't be home so that I could anonymously leave a jar of peach jam on his doorstep. But he was home, and I felt foolish giving him a jar of peach jam. I was happy to see that he really seemed to appreciate it.

I walked back up to my apartment and thought - well, that was great, now what am I going to do? It was a hot day, so I changed into a pair of shorts. When I put them on, I reached into the pocket and there was a ten dollar bill. I quickly thanked God, and walked to the store for a pair of stockings and got the change I needed for bus fare.

Now, you may say that the ten dollar bill was in that pocket all the time and I would have found it anyway. I am not so sure I believe that. It really doesn't matter though. In my eyes, that ten spot was a gift from God. And he needed me to give something away before I could have it. It has always worked like that for me. I cannot horde my goods and have bounty. I have to give away what ever I have, whether it be spiritual or temporal.

Post Script to the story: I did get that job. It was a wonderful job where my boss was a terrific mentor to me. She encouraged me to go to school. I did get my bachelor's degree and I ended up as the director of the department in which I started as an administrative assistant. I continued in school and got a master's degree. I was promoted out of my beloved department, and got the job I actually dreamed of when I was new. I remain at the hospital still - over eleven years later. I love it there - even on bad days when I "hate" it, I really love it.

For the price of a jar of peach jam....

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Tenth Tradition

Hi Everyone, My name is Mary, I am an alcoholic.

I have just been doing a little bit of research on blogs. Specifically, looking at the blogs of others who listed "Alcoholics Anonymous" as one of their favorite books in their profiles.

Probably this goes back to my initial question of how public a blog is. I happen to think it is very public. Anyone can find it and read it. There is no encoding so that only your pals can read it, as far as I can tell, and besides, that would defeat the purpose of a blog. (I think.)

OK, here is the 10th Tradition in the short form from "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions"

Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

And here is the text from the Big Book, the long form of the traditions:

No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues - particuarly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.

Hence, in this blog, you will never be subject to my myriad opinions on politics or religion. There should never be discussion of these things in an AA forum. (Besides, I have another blog to trot out my opinions on those things!)

I do talk about these things at great length with my AA friends, but not when I am representing myself as an AA member to others. We tend to be quite intelligent people and we have wonderful thoughtful discussions of many things, the quality of which is just sublime!

This is sacrosant to me. All of the traditions are. They are there to protect our very lives as recovering alcoholics.

For those who have stopped by, thanks. I would LOVE to hear from you. I have changed my comments requirements so that you can leave an anonymous comment, it seemed appropriate considering the subject.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Legacy of an Alcoholic

I got a call the other night from someone that I didn't recognize on my caller ID. For some reason I picked up the phone anyway. It was the sister of an old friend (Missy) who died in 1998. We had a nice chat. I told her I think of Missy often and I told her how much Missy helped me. She paused and told me how much she appreciated me saying that because she feels like she can't even talk about her dead sister. People don't understand how she can mourn her own sister because Missy was such a mess.

She was afflicted with this terrible disease - alcoholism. When I was in my first couple of months of sobriety and felt that I needed to leave my husband, Missy took me and my children in. She let us live at her townhouse with her. I thought she was sober when she did that. Missy was not sober. She was far, far, far from sober. But she was able to share with me some of the mistakes she had made when she WAS sober. I have always remembered them. Her story has really stuck with me... she had stayed sober for 11 months and 3 weeks. She decided in her last week before her 1st anniversary that she wouldn't call anyone in AA just to see if they would call her. Well, they didn't call her, she got mad, she got drunk... she never got sober again... and she died a miserable death.

So, back to the present - I was able to tell her sister that Missy had helped me a lot, and that meant a lot to her sister. She called me back the next day to tell me that she had called her mother (Missy's mother) to tell her that she talked to me and I said that Missy had helped me. It seems that meant a lot to her mother too because no one has anything nice to say about Missy. I am just so blown away by the waste of a life that was so full of promise. She had everything at one time. She was intelligent, she was very attractive, she was funny as hell, she was kind-hearted. And yet, she left nothing but heartbreak for those who loved her. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to be her mother or sister and not even be able to talk about her because people don't understand how you can miss someone who was such a mess! I am glad I could at least tell them that Missy helped me. That is certainly not a big deal.

And from Missy's experience, I learned where self-defeating behaviors will get you - like trying to see if people will really call you. I have never "tested" the love of Alcoholics Anonymous. I don't want to mess with something that is so beautiful. I just try to see that my love is going outward and not check to see what is coming inward. And you know, there has never been a shortage of what love has come to me. I am so blessed.

If you are new in AA, please keep coming back. Give yourself a chance. As one of my old friends used to say "the best of everything is yours - one day at a time."