Monday, July 31, 2006

Last Day of July

I can't get the picture I want posted... so I guess I will forgo the picture I have for today. darnit.

My son truly leaves on a ship today. We had a nice chat on the phone yesterday and then I will not hear from him for the duration of the ship ride (sorry, I am sure I am not using the proper terminology) which should take about 32 days. I have a blue star in my front window. I wonder how many people even know what that signifies. I remember them from the 60's, when people who had a family member in Vietnam had them in their windows. I need to order a real blue star flag - but for now I have one I downloaded from the American Legion. I am proud of my son. The picture is of my front porch, with the blue star in the front window.

I will take a quick 2 mile run this morning. It is the last week before the race, so I get to "taper" this week. Which means no more huge work outs. I am kind of glad. Then I will get off to work. I am in the middle of a project that I really enjoy.

It is nice to wake up and look forward to the day ahead. And thank God for it.

"Give God the gift of a thankful heart. Try to see causes of thankfulness in your everyday life. When life seems hard and troubles crowd, then look for some reasons for thankfulness. There is nearly always something you can be thankful for. The offering of thanksgiving is indeed a sweet incense going up to God throughout a busy day. Seek diligently for something to be glad and thankful about. You will acquire in time the habit of being constantly grateful to God for all His blessings. Each new day some new cause for joy and gratitude will spring to your mind and you will thank God sincerely." -- Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Meditation for the Day, July 31.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Morning

It is a beautiful Sunday Morning. I thought I would do my last big training work-out this morning, but my knees hurt (EEK!) I took some ibuprofen and will see if that will get rid of the pain, but my thought right now is that I better take it easy. All I (k)need is knee trouble one week before the race. There is the slight chance that I am over-training at this point. (an alcoholic going to extremes? say it isn't so!)

Yesterday my daughter actually came to the meeting where I was celebrating my birthday. What a wonderful thing to see that little blonde walk in the door (and I think some men in the group would agree with that sentiment, but for entirely different reasons!) My friend Terry was there and shared that she remembered Megan when she was 5 years old and was tagging along with me and the other two kids to meetings. That felt very very special to me, and to Megan too.

Then we went out to the reservoir and swam for a half hour and took a 12 mile bike ride. It was fun. I think she is going to be ready for the triathlon next week! Her husband had lunch ready for us when we got back to her house, so I got to have lunch with my daughter, son-in-law, and little grandbabies. It was very lovely.

I stayed up way too late with Mr. Sweetie Man last night and I am tired. I set up my tivo to record my favorite Sunday Morning news show and I may go back to bed. Maybe the ibuprofen can work better while I am sleeping?

"There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God's kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of our own Creator." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 98
p.s. I like the pink font, how about you?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saturday Morning

And I am heading out to the Morning After. Right now I wish I had not put my name on the calendar. I would just like to go to the meeting, but not celebrate my birthday one more time. I am sure it will be fine, but I would rather just blend in today... don't want to be the center of attention, I just want to be one of the gang.

At the Thursday night meeting, a man shared that he used to be afraid of me when he was new, but now he isn't. When my sponsee shared she just said "Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid." I thought that was pretty funny.

After this morning's meeting, I am going out to get my daughter (who got a job this week, yipppeee!) and we are going to do our last open water swim and bike ride in preparation for the triathlon. I hope she shows up today (she didn't last week.) I will have a nice time even if she doesn't, but it is so much more fun to do this stuff with my beautiful daughter. The other twin is taking motorcycle classes all weekend. God help me. One son in Iraq, one daughter on crystal meth, and the other one on a motorcycle.

Maybe today I will take some pictures of the lake, the daughter, the day. I hope you all have a very nice Saturday.

"We saw we needn't always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility. It could come quite as much from our voluntary reaching for it as it could from unremitting suffering. A great turning point in our lives came when we sought for humility as something we really wanted, rather than as something we must have. It makred the time when we could commence to see the full implication of Step Seven: "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 75

Friday, July 28, 2006

301st Post

Why is blogger in Italian today? Honestly, why? It is freaking me out! The commenti, visualizza blog, modello, impostazioni, etc. Why?
---- note: Somehow my language setting got changed to Italian. Do you know how hard it is to figure out how to change the language when everything is written in a language you don't understand? But I figured it out. Just didn't want you all to think I am delusional....---

This is my 301st post. I just started this blog on a lark - to communicate with another blogger I had found on my other blog - who I discovered was a recovering alcoholic - and I didn't want to put the fact that I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous on the blog that is all about politics, religion, etc.... all the stuff I am real careful about because of the tenth tradition. So I started an anonymous blog... just to be an alcoholic. Wow. I thought I would take it off after a couple of days. Little did I know this would be one of the coolest things to happen to my sobriety. I love sober bloggers and blogging and the whole thing. Thanks y'all. Oh, and I haven't posted anything on my 'other' blog for probably six months. Who cares about all that stuff when there is AA to talk about?

I just ran 3 miles in 31:20. I am tired of training. I am heading into my taper week, so my big training is done after Sunday. Then the race is next Sunday. I am really looking forward to it.

Last night my sponsee and her partner took me out for dinner. I had a huge steak and baked potato, etc. Yummy. It was nice to see them. It was nice to be at the meeting and kind of process a little bit more about Noel's death. People are really shook up about it. I haven't written about the circumstances and probably won't... but it was very upsetting to very many people. There are lots of people who wonder why they stood by and watched this train wreck in process. I believe everybody did all that they could to help everybody involved, but sometimes it just isn't enough. You cannot get someone sober. You cannot keep someone sober.

I am going to be SO late for work today. I was up half the night, and fell back to sleep at about 4. So I didn't wake up this morning until 5:30. That is far too late for me to get a 3 mile run done, and get ready for work on time.

"A clear light seems to fall upon us all - when we open our eyes. Since our blindness is caused by our own defects, we must first deeply realize what they are. Constructive meditation is the first requirement for each new step in our spiritual growth." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 10

Thursday, July 27, 2006


It is Thursday and I can't post my half-nAAked picture because blogger isn't working right! Sheesh! Hopefully I will get it later on in the day.

Took a bike ride this morning in a thunderstorm. That was exciting. It was actually quite fun to ride through the rain, it brought back memories of my childhood. Riding while there is lightening, however, is not very intelligent.

I couldn't post at home, so I am at work. Therefore my "reading" for today will be a trifle bizarre:

"In most cultures, alcohol is the most frequently used brain depressant and a cause of considerable morbidity and mortality. At some time in ther lives, as many as 90% of adults in the United States have had some experience with alcohol, and a substantial number (60% of males and 30% of females) have had one or more alcohol-related adverse life events (e.g., driving after consuming too much alcohol, missing school or work due to a hangover). Fortunately, most individuals learn from these experiences to moderate their drinking and do not develop Alcohol Dependence or Abuse." -- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, p. 194

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Into my 23rd year...

I am sitting here with a beautiful morning breeze wafting through my lace curtains. I love it when that happens, and it hasn't happened for a while. It rained like mad last night which is wonderful. It cooled things off and we needed the moisture desperately.

Daave wrote about not having anything new to be grateful for today, but then came to the conclusion that being grateful for the same things day after day is really OK (I hope I haven't taken too much license with what you wrote Daave). I feel like I have nothing much to write about today. It has been such a dramatic week. I am a little tired from it all.

So, I am just into my 23rd year of sobriety. It is an average Wednesday morning. I will go to work a little bit early so that I can leave early and take a bike ride and swim with my daughter. In my early sobriety I had to learn how to live through the average and "boring" moments and days without creating drama. I learned to be satisfied with the simple pleasures of life - like the breeze coming through the lace curtains.

"How wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 128-129

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Thank You!

What a wonderful bloggerific birthday I had yesterday. You sober bloggers are incredibly wonderul! I saved the cards that I got and will treasure them. What a great party!

I went to a meeting at 6:30 a.m., and picked up my 22 year chip. It was a nice meeting. It was quite low-key since a member of that group died last week and the funeral was yesterday at 11:00 a.m. Noel was on everyone's mind. It was a nice AA funeral. We all stood and said the 3rd step prayer, we held hands and said the Lord's Prayer - and laughed after most of us forgot where we were and said "keep coming back, it works!" His oldest daughter thanked everyone in AA for giving her dad the best years of his life. I wish he could have stayed in AA and stayed alive, but we don't all do that.

As I sat in the back of the church, between John and Art, I looked at the backs of the heads of the people I love. A lot of people I love. These are my people. This is where I belong... not necessarily at a funeral... but with these sober alcoholics. I am so grateful for AA and the wild, wacky, wonderful people in it. And I have to tell you that there are some men in AA who break my heart when I see them in a suit. Some guys belong in a suit, but more of the guys I know in AA belong in tee-shirts, shorts, and hiking boots - and when they are wearing a suit, you KNOW it is NOT good news.

I got 24 Hour Fitness to give me a free pass for a week. There is one very close to my house. I have been a member of Bally's for 10 years, but if this free pass works out, I will probably switch to 24 Hour. This morning will be my first work-out there!

Thanks again for all of the positive attention yesterday!

"We have been considering so many problems that it may appear that AA consists mainly of racking dilemmas and troubleshooting. To a certain extent, that is true. We have been talking about problems because we are problem people who have found a way up and out, and who wish to share our knowledge of that way with all who can use it. For it is only by accepting and solving our problems that we can begin to get right with ourselves and with the world about us, and with Him who presides over us all." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 125

Monday, July 24, 2006

By the Grace of God and the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous,

Today I am celebrating 22 years of continous sobriety. Words cannot begin to convey my gratitude for this blessing.

22 years ago this morning, I picked up the phone book as I had every morning for a week or two, and looked up Alcoholics Anonymous, as I had every morning for a week or two. On July 24, 1984, I actually made that phone call. I talked to a young man on the phone, who quickly realized that he needed to find a woman to talk to me. In a few moments, a woman called me back. We talked for over an hour. She understood me! She had done the same kinds of things I had! After an hour on the phone, like "closing a deal", she asked me to go to a meeting with her. I told her I couldn't possibly go to a meeting! I had three small children and a husband! My husband was working late and I had no babysitter or car at home. She said she would get a babysitter, pay the babysitter, drive the babysitter to my house, drive me to the meeting, drive me back home, drive the babysitter back home, etc. I was left with NO EXCUSES! I knew I could think of something later, so I agreed to go to the meeting, knowing that I would call her later in the day and tell her my new excuse. But later in the day I started shaking, as I knew I would. And for some reason, I didn't take a drink - I just shook. And for some reason, by about 3:00 p.m., I knew I had to go to that meeting. And I did go to that meeting. And since that night, I have never had any doubt that being a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous is what I want most in the world.

There are tears of gratitude as I write that I did not have a drink of alcohol that day or any other day since. That is a miracle. I have done the steps - repeatedly, I have mostly always had a sponsor (I have had sponsors get drunk, etc.,) I have always gone to meetings, I have always worked with others to one degree or another... but I believe that it is the Grace of God that keeps me sober. Once again, I cannot say how grateful I am for a loving God and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I want to say that I started this blog in September 05 and since being "discovered" by Trudge in late November, you sober bloggers have added to my sobriety immensely. I love blogging! I love the exposure to the new people. I love the diversity of us! You guys have really been amazing. Thank you!

I need to get out of here to a meeting. I still have to wash my hair, curl it, put on make up, get dressed and be out of here in a half hour!

"Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of the past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you - until then." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Last Day of School (praise God)

I have school all day today, but it is my last day. Probably my last day of school ever, because I realize I just don't enjoy school as I did in the past. The University had talked to me about teaching there, I don't even think I want to do that!

Twenty-two years ago today I was getting ready for my last day of drinking. I didn't know it then though. I just thought it was another day. And there was nothing spectacular about it. I worried when I was newly sober because they used to say "if you can't remember your last drunk, you probably haven't had it." I could remember mine, but I didn't think it was dramatic or memorable enough. I was sober for a couple of years before I ever talked about my last day of drinking in a meeting. And for some reason, with a couple of years of perspective, I felt that last drunk was so sad, I couldn't talk about it without crying.

On July 23, 1984, I loaded my kids into the car and drove them to the public library. This hardly competes with the dramatic moments of my earlier years of drinking. But for some reason, on that day, I saw myself for the drunk I was. I realized I was endangering my kids lives by driving drunk with them in the car, and I was going to make an ass of myself and my kids by showing up at the library drunk. I then asked myself a question "why don't you take the kids to the library when you are sober?" and the answer to that question really shocked me. I realized that I was never sober, so the opportunity to do anything sober didn't even exist. I had settled into the life of a "functional" alcoholic. I drank in the morning to stop the shakes. I drank all day long. I drank at night when my husband got home from work, and then I drank some more after he went to bed.

Tomorrow will be my birthday. I really love my AA birthday. I am looking foward to it, even though I will be attending a funeral.

"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 remoreseful, 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." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. xxvi and xxvii

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Happy Saturday Training

I am about to head out of here - to drive 35 miles to my daughter's house, pick her up, drive to the reservoir, take a swim, take a bike ride, drive my daughter back home, and then drive home myself (35 more miles). I think I will take pictures and post them here, OK? We have only 2 weeks until the triathlon! Oh My Goodness! I am so excited!

"This seemed to prove that one alcoholic could affect another as no nonalcoholic could. It also indicated that strenuous work, one alcoholic with another, was vital to permanent recovery." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. xvi, xvii

p.s. My daughter did not make it... seems she was up all night with her 13 year old step-daughter... (can you say karma???). Anyway. I was so disappointed to be going alone, I cried for several miles on I-70. Pitiful. But I got to the park by 7:00 a.m., and swam with some other ladies training for the tri - then rode my bike - then ran 2 miles. I am pooped. And it is a good thing. I think if I had energy today, I might use it to have an emotional "bender" as Bill W. would have called it.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Another one

Last night at my Thursday night meeting I found out a man I have known in AA for years died on Wednesday. After the meeting, I asked his sponsor how he died and he only said that a 54 year old body and cocaine aren't a good combination. This man has been "in and out" for years and years. Someone said that he had ten years of sobriety at one point, but I have never seen him get more than a few months strung together. He leaves a wife and two daughters. And a sponsor whose heart is broken. I could go on with what he leaves, but I will skip it because it doesn't sound very loving or kind. Tornadoes, roaring through the lives of others...

Last week I found out a man who was a very good friend when I was in my 20s and early 30s drank himself to death. I haven't seen this man in over 20 years because when I left my marriage to my kids' dad, I walked away from all of our friends. I felt I needed to because they all drank. Of all of our group back then, I would have thought that Greg was the least likely to die in such a manner. He was probably the most "successful" - he was educated, intelligent, hysterically funny, charming, and handsome. Now he is dead.

My 22nd AA birthday is on Monday. I am going to celebrate my birthday at my home group (The Morning After) next Saturday morning. My name is on the calendar. Most of my good friends are going to be out of town and my sponsor no longer lives here, so it will be different. On Monday - my actual sobriety date - I will show up at Sunrise Serenity at 6:30 a.m. and just respond to the question - "is anyone celebrating a year or multiples thereof?" I will do that at the New Life Thursday night meeting as well.

I am sure by then I will not be feeling as glum as I am right now. This disease is so lethal. That makes me incredibly grateful to be sober, but if you hang around AA for a while, you will come to love many people - many of whom will tear your heart out when they self-destruct.

"The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 83

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Another day, another 3 miles...

Driving to the gym...
If you look closely at my watch, you can see my time for a three mile run this morning. 31:11! Woo Hoo! I am getting better.

Got to get out of here this morning... have meetings all day long...wish they were AA meetings, but they are not.

"People of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they ahve received from God. Surely, then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders. While the comment or advice of others may not be infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 274

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Statistics, Depression, and other obstacles

Thanks for all of your well-wishes and support yesterday for my Governing Body report. It did go well, but I did get asked the "deer in the headlights" question. After the meeting, I phoned my statistics instructor (see? it IS a good thing I am auditing the biostatistics class) and got her to help me answer the question. Later in the day I was able to e-mail this person who had asked the question and explain to her that I had run an "Independent Sample t Test" and found that the difference between our facility's number and the national mean was indeed statistically significant - and the p value of .004 would indicate that there was very little chance that the difference was due to random error! Isn't that freaking exciting?!?!?!

I am not working out this morning because I was up WAY too late with Mr. Sweetie Man last night.

Which leads me to another topic. I have had a few comments recently about the ridiculously early time that I wake up in the morning. I do not set the alarm, I just wake up when I wake up - with absolutely no danger whatsoever that I may be late for work. Sleeping until 6:00 a.m. (which I did this morning) is sleeping very very late for me. Early-morning waking is a feature of depression! I have had a life long battle with depression, which surprises a lot of people since I mostly seem really cheerful and upbeat. It is not the same thing as a bad mood or a down day. It is an illness. I am so grateful to say that it is currently under control and has been for the last several years. But it takes a lot of diligence for me to maintain a non-depressed life.

This is why I laughingly call myself "high maintenance". It is not bling and expensive cars that I need though. What I need is a good amount of sleep, regular meals of good food - no white stuff (sugar, pasta, white bread, etc.), daily alone time, daily social time, daily exercise (the more extreme the better!), daily writing, and constant attention to not drifting into illness.

Notice that I didn't throw meetings, daily prayer and meditation, and working with other alcoholics into that mix - even though I need them even more than any of that other stuff, because meetings, prayer, and other alcoholics are my lifeblood - they are what I need to stay alive. The other stuff I need in order to "feel" good. By the Grace of God, I don't need medications today. But if I did all that stuff, as well as the steps of AA, and still needed them, I would take them.

I just felt the need to clarify. I think I might sound a bit more virtuous than I really am when I talk about getting up at 4:00 a.m., and going out for a bike ride followed by a run, or a swim in a mountain lake, followed by a bike ride, etc. These are things I really enjoy and thank God they are the treatment for an illness I have.

"I used to be ashamed of my condition and so didn't talk about it. But nowadays I freely confess I am a depressive, and this has attracted other depressives to me. Working with them has helped a great deal." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 231

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Waiting for daylight

So I can get my bike out and take a quick bike ride, followed by a quick 2 mile run... then get ready and out of here for work. Yesterday I managed to run 3 miles in 31:46. For me, believe me, that is absolutely incredible.

This morning I am scheduled to give my annual report to the Hospital Governing Body. I get nervous about this. I used to get terrified, now I am only nervous. Someone always asks a question I can't answer and I feel like the proverbial deer in the headlights. People who have seen this happen to me tell me I don't appear flustered. In this circumstance I think it is important that I appear calm and self-assured, and very very knowledgable - even if I don't feel that way. By the Grace of God, most of the time I at least look like I am.

"To get completely away from our aversion to the idea of being humble, to gain a vision of humility as the avenue to true freedom of the human spirit, to be willing to work for humility as something to be desired for itself, takes most of us a long, long time. A whole lifetime geared to self-centeredness cannot be set in reverse all at once." -- As Bill Sees It

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hot Morning in Mid-July

21 years and 51 weeks of sobriety. Last night I spent a couple of hours looking at my old journals. I am searching for the journal of the year I got sober. I can find every one but that one. I am sure I pulled it aside at one point or another just to keep it safe, and so I would be able to find it! Ha! But it was very enlightening to look back at the years. I started keeping my journal electronically about 10 years ago and really haven't looked back at the old notebook ones since then.

Having written all of that, I guess I should continue to say more about it.... my impression was that no matter what was going on, and there was plenty of huge stuff, I was always grateful to be sober, and my sobriety was always the central point of my life. I think that is the only way I survived.

This morning I need to get out of here and get to the gym to run 3 miles on the treadmill. I didn't work out yesterday because I felt tired and sluggish and it was too freaking hot to even drive to the gym!

"The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear -- primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get somethign we demanded. Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration. Therefore, no peace was to be had unless we could find a means of reducing these demands. The difference between a demand and a simple request is plain to anyone." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 76

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Oh, and it is a bit hot here too.

My car's thermometer yesterday afternoon. Yikes.

Sunday A.M.

It was a great day yesterday. Got out of here at 6:00 (or so) drove to my daughter's on the other side of town and we got to the Reservoir before 8:00. We took a nice swim, followed by a nice bike ride. It was such a beautiful thing to see this daughter swimming. First of all, she was a champion swimmer when she was younger, so her swimming really IS a thing of beauty. Secondly, she has been so badly impacted by drugs and alcohol it was beautiful to see her doing something so healthy and wholesome. We stood in the early morning sunshine, laughing, the only people in the freezing cold lake, it was a memorable experience. I think both of my daughters really ARE going to be able to do the triathlon with me. That makes my heart swell with joy.

When I got back to my phone, I had a message from Big Sky Maack. We were able to get together for lunch. I got to meet the Mrs., and it was a wonderful thing to meet the woman who has made my friend so happy. J. and his family also were there. I haven't seen J. in probably 16 years. It was nice to just sort of pick up where we left off, which is something I think we are good at in AA. It was an enjoyable afternoon.

When I got home from lunch, I decided to take a late afternoon nap. I slept so deeply that I had a terrible nightmare. The kind where you wake up in a panic. It was awful. It was too late for me to go to church as I usually do on Saturday evening, so I mulled over my options. I was so thrilled to consider the impact of the law that just passed on July 1. There is no smoking in any public building anywhere in the state, which means there is no such thing as a "smoking" meeting in Colorado. I went to my old-old homegroup for a 7 o'clock meeting, which I haven't been able to stand for years because of the smoke. It was nice to be there.

Well, I better get dressed and ready for church this morning... but first, my favorite reading from the "Twenty-Four Hours a Day" book is today's reading... here it is:

"We can believe that God is in His heaven and that He has purpose for our lives, which will eventually work out as long as we try to live the way we believe He wants us to live. It has been said that we should 'wear the world like a loose garment.' That means that nothing should seriously upset us because we have a deep and abiding faith that God will always take care of us. To us that means not to be too upset by the surface wrongness of things, but to feel deeply secure in the fundamental goodness and purpose in the universe."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Morning Meeting

I slept a little bit later than normal so I am in a super hurry to get out of here. I hope to see Motorcycle Mike and my old friend Big Sky Maack at a meeting at 6:45.
Update: I got to meet Motorcycle Mike! but Big Sky Maack was not able to attend. It was a great meeting and really great to meet Mike. Luckily, he was the greeter, I would have never recognized him. They should have a great time on their motorcycle ride this weekend.

"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 satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowhip, and so will you." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 152

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Waterton Canyon

Me and my shadow. I don't know why I like shadow pictures so much when they really distort the body and make me look like I have a pin head (even though it is helmeted) on top of a huge (lumpy) body. Body Dysmorphic Disorder anyone?
We always stop at this bridge on the way up... somehow on the way DOWN, there is no need to stop.
I love this trail... it is 6 miles uphill, then you turn around and go like a bat out of hell downhill for 6 miles.
Crappy picture of 2 mountain goats.

"I don't think happiness or unhappiness is the point. How do we meet the problems we face? How do we best learn from them and transmit what we have learned to others, if they would recieve the knowledge?... When pain comes, we are expected to learn from it willingly, and help others to learn. When happiness comes, we accept it as a gift, and thank God for it." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 306

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Weds. A.M.

I'm doing OK. Really. I am very busy at work. I am, thankfully, at the point in my triathlon training where I need to be working the hardest. And I got to see my sweetheart last night for the first time in nearly 2 weeks. It was so nice to see him, sitting on the sofa like a couple of teenagers. He told me a story that had me laughing so hard and for so long. Laughter is a little miracle. It releases so much tension in the body.

Tonight I am taking a bike ride with my friend the Rec Therapist. I think I should be able to keep up with her. I may or may not take a swim on the way to the bike ride.

"It may surprise you that you will almost never hear an AA speaker sound self-pitying about being deprived of alcohol. Identifying with the speaker's past may not be as important as getting an impression of his or her present life. The speaker usually has found, or is reaching for, some contentment, peace of mind, solutions to problems, zest for living, and a kind of health of the spirit which you, too, want. If so, hang around. Those qualities are contagious in AA." -- Living Sober, p. 80

(thanks Scott W. for reminding me of this wonderful book)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday Morning

Yesterday was one of the more challenging days. It was very difficult to say goodbye to my son.

This morning I will get to the gym and run three miles on the treadmill. I will come back home and get dressed for work and get out of here and go put in a full, productive day at work. My sweetheart may be coming over tonight. One foot in front of the other...

"Self-pity is one of the most unhappy and consuming defects that we know. It is a bar to all spiritual progress and can cut off all effective communication with our fellows because of its inordinate demands for attention and sympathy. It is a maudlin form of martyrdom, which we can ill afford.

"The remedy? Well, let's have a hard look at ourselves, and a still harder one at AA's Twelve Steps to recovery. When we see how many of our fellow AAs have used the Steps to transcend great pain and adversity, we shall be inspired to try these life-giving principles for ourselves." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 238

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday Afternoon

Thanks for the nice comments yesterday and today. I hope that in time I will stop this and get back to being myself. For now, I am having a hard time with my son leaving. A son going to war is not something I would wish on anyone. He is leaving tomorrow.

Tonight we are having lasagna. This is his traditional birthday menu. Ever since he was 4 years old and able to articulate what he wanted for dinner, it has always been lasagna for his birthday. I thought that in the 26 intervening years he might have changed his mind, but he hasn't. No, it isn't his birthday, but he won't be home in August when it is his birthday, so I thought I would jump the gun and celebrate a little early.

I did go to school today. I was blown away by the support I got from my instructor. She told me not to worry about the assignments I didn't get done. I am, after all, not even getting a grade in the class. But it goes so against my grain to not do something I commit to do. (because that is old behavior for me.) I told her this today and she just smiled and said "I know". Thank God she was one of my instructors in graduate school and does know me.

I got a wonderful long e-mail from my sweetie today. I thought that maybe my absence during my son's presence would be the end of the budding relationship, but apparently not. That is nice to know.

I ran 3 miles this morning before school. I don't know why I have to tell you all my work-out schedule, but I think it makes me more accountable for my training. My triathlon is in 4 weeks. That means 3 more weeks of training and the last week is to taper and rest up and get ready. I think I might actually be ready this year. I am very excited about it.

I also think it is fairly amusing that most of you probably think I am just a regular old jock. But that is so not the case. I will have to write about this journey because it is really something. A few years ago I weighed over 200 lbs., and could barely do anything because of my incredibly bad neck, and then the surgery to fix it. Yesterday I went to Ann Taylor and Talbots just to try on size 10 pants, because I knew I could fit into them... and sure 'nuff - I DID! (and yet, I didn't buy any... wow... I am really getting better!)

"So to you out there - who may soon be with us - we say "Good luck and God bless you!" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 121

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Coping Mechanisms

I have just had the best bike ride of 10 miles, followed by a run of 2 miles - I did the run in 20 minutes and 57 seconds. All of this in the rain. It is a glorious morning.

I went to the Morning After Group of Alcoholics Anonymous this morning. It was good to be there. My friend Otis was celebrating 16 years of sobriety. He has not been to a meeting in probably a year, so his birthday was actually in January - this is the first meeting he has hit since the first of the year. Wow. I don't know how you do that, and I don't intend to ever find out. He said he would keep coming back now. I hope, for his sake, that he does.

I am going far more mental about my son leaving than I ever thought I would. Intellectually, I knew this would be difficult, but I thought I would be able to muddle through, one day at a time - using the kit of spiritual tools I have at my disposal. And it just reinforces what I know - which is - that what I know won't help me. This is not an intellectual exercise. So I will just keep putting one foot in front of the other, suiting up and showing up, and trying to turn my thoughts to others, and keep the faith that God will hold me (and all I love) in the palm of his hand. But I must say there have been times when I have been so overwrought I have felt like I was going to jump out of my skin.

I may have to drop the biostatistics class I am auditing. I had to write the instructor yesterday and tell her that there is no way on God's Green Earth I am going to spend the last two days my son is here working on statistics homework... for a class I am not even getting a grade on. And whether I will show up tomorrow for the class remains to be seen. I just don't feel that I have much mental function left in me right now. But it is terrible for my self-esteem to quit something I said I was going to do.

Anyway, this is my way of telling on myself. I have found it is absolutely essential for me to be honest. When I tell you I am feeling fine, that is the truth, and when I am not doing so well... that is what I am going to tell you. I think it is incredibly unfair for people with long-term sobriety to give newer people the impression that there will be no problems in life as you stay sober. It simply isn't true. We do get *better* at living through these things without a drink in our hands, but sometimes it just is hard. And right now, I am having a hard time. But I am doing what I am supposed to be doing...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Morning

I am tired this morning. I didn't sleep well last night. My kids were out half the night and I had to calm myself and tell myself over and over that they are adults. Adults. Adults. They finally got home at 2:30 a.m. It is none of my business what they were doing.

The Broncos first pre-season game is 5 weeks from tonight! August 11!

"We had a new employer. Being all powerful, he provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63

Thursday, July 06, 2006

hAAnging on for dear life...

One step at a time... on the treadmill of happy destiny. I am getting ready for my August 6th triathlon. I did my 3 miles this morning in 32 minutes, 12 seconds. I am happy with that.

"Honesty with ourselves and others gets us sober, but it is tolerance that keeps us that way." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 312

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Back to Work... again

One of four pizzas I made yesterday.

I am feeling rather uninspired this morning. I am glad to be going to work. I woke up too late to exercise.

"Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. xxi

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

This is a picture from my bike ride this morning. It was a glorious 10 mile bike ride, followed by a 1 mile run. Anyone who has ever done a triathlon knows that wobbly feeling of getting off a bike and trying to run. But I did it this morning. It was only a mile, but I am very happy with that.

I am also happy about the fact that my entire family will be here later today. All my kids and grandkids. We are having pizza and will see where we can catch some fireworks.

I want to wish all my sober friends a very Happy Independence Day. I think this day holds special meaning to us. We who have been enslaved by prisons of our own device for so many years have admitted utter defeat and have finally been freed.

"The more we become willing to depend upon a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are. Therefore, dependence as AA practices it is really a means of gaining true independence of the spirit." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 37

Monday, July 03, 2006

Back to Work

Going back to work today after a week and a half. I am glad. I have truly enjoyed my vacation, but I know I need to have some structure in my life and work provides that. Last week I had exactly one chore I wanted to get done (get the oil changed in my car) and I didn't do it until Saturday!

I managed to run 3 miles this morning which felt terrific. I may be ready for the triathlon in time after all. Yesterday I had a great bike ride. Tomorrow I will try to do both.

Last night we had another movie night. We watched "Freaky Friday" (I think my son might really really like Lindsay Lohan). Surprisingly, I really liked that movie too! It is really fun to watch youthful movies with my kids.

I was feeling so morbid yesterday morning - the mood lifted yesterday afternoon. You would think it would become habit after all these years to know just what to do, but in my case, it doesn't always just come. I finally realized that I needed to pick up the phone and call my sponsee and a couple of other folks who might need some cheering. So I did that. I also finished knitting a pair of socks for my sponsee - she really wanted this pair of socks I have been knitting. And, voile! when I turned my thoughts to others, I felt fine.

"When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 100

Sunday, July 02, 2006

July 2

Yesterday at the Morning After meeting, a man looked me in the eye and told me to thank my son for him - for going to Iraq. I started crying then. I have been feeling shakey and slightly sick since then. I don't know why that is what started it.

In the meeting, I was sitting next to Denny. Denny took me to my first meeting on July 24, 1984 (yes, I have a birthday coming up.) We were talking after the meeting and we laughed when we recalled that his sons used to babysit for my kids when I went to meetings with him in the early days. Right now I cannot imagine that I was ever 32 years old and that my son was 7 and the girls were 5. In many respects, I can remember my first day of sobriety as if it were yesterday, but when I think that I am now 54, my son is 29, my daughters are 27 - that is a long time ago.

I know that people want to have decades of sobriety. There is a lot of wonderful stuff that comes with that. Not the least of which is the decades of a pretty decent life lived. However, if anyone asked me, I would suggest to a newcomer or someone in their first couple of years to enjoy each moment. Enjoy your kids while they are young. Enjoy your friends in Alcoholics Anonymous. Do not wish your life away by wishing you had more years or more money or more anything.

"We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 133

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy New (fiscal) Year!

Saturday Morning. How I love Saturday Mornings. My son is downstairs sleeping. I am getting ready to head out to a meeting. He is going golfing with his dad today and then to their house for dinner tonight.

We had a wonderful time yesterday. He bought "Mean Girls" and we watched it. I don't know if it was just because I was in the company of my kids, but I thought that movie was hilarious. I really enjoyed it. But of course, I know that I really enjoyed just sitting with my kids watching a movie together, it probably wouldn't have mattered what movie it was.

"Still more wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be. Service, gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God's help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that in God's sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God's scheme of things -- these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes. True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 124, 125.