Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflections on 2007

What a year it has been! Another sober 365 days. Added to a total of 8,560 sober days, all strung together. I am grateful for each and every one of them.

The most momentous things about 2007?

My son came home from Iraq. Safe and sound. Healthy and happy. We can all see how this has changed him, but it is slight and not terrible.

I completed two half-marathons. This was a huge accomplishment for a woman in her 56th year.

I completed my fourth triathlon, which is fun.

My daughter entered NA for real. Regardless of what has happened in the last year, she is miles ahead of where she was a year (or two) ago.

I made a commitment to go to my church each Thursday morning from 5 to 6 a.m., I have not yet missed a day. I was a minute or two late last week when the snow was much worse than I realized.

I started a four year biblical study program. I LOVE this. I feel like it has lifted a veil so that I can now understand things I didn't before.

I got to meet some bloggers! In 2007, I met Lash, Daave, Scott, Pammie, and a host of other Houstonians. What a blessing this was! (and I could type in the links to their blogs without looking, I know them by heart! - must be because I *heart* them)

I am down to three sponsees, and they are all women I love - they are all serious about being sober and are willing to do what it takes.

There are friends in my life who were just acquaintances a year ago, and some of them have added to my life immensely.

I inquired about going back to school, and instead got an offer to teach at the university that years ago I couldn't even imagine attending! Now I have two degrees from that university and I will teach there!

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks to the Grace of Loving God, these blessings are in my life. This from the wreckage of a life as an active alcoholic. All I had to do was admit complete defeat, and in exchange, I have been given a life I could not have even imagined!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday Morning

It's Sunday morning, I woke up too early. Could it have something to do with the fact that I went to bed at 8:00 last night? nah. I was watching a great football game and falling asleep on the couch, so I just went to bed. I am chronically tired right now.

It is because I am not getting my exercise. I am working too much. It is too cold, snowy, and icy outside. The gym is about to be too crowded. This time of the year is a challenge for me every year. I like winter - for about a month, and now that month is over - unfortunately, we still have three more months of winter.

I thought it was interesting yesterday that I just mentioned that "I have a thing about being late to meetings" and that spawned a bunch of comments about being late to meetings. I really don't care if other people are late - that is their thing. I just don't like walking into a meeting already in full swing. I don't even do it at work... and it is totally acceptable to do so at my workplace.

I am beginning to think that I have said every thing I ever had to say on this blog. I am extremely uninspired. I have three loyal readers in Houston and one in Denver - that is the main reason I am still blogging. I have more hits than ever, but that is mostly readership from searches for crazy shit ('hand sanitizer drunk' is one of the most recent). I am not going to stop blogging any time soon, but I feel that my writing is getting more and more inane by the day. I am tired and worn out and haven't been doing the stuff I need to be doing, so perhaps I will get inspired again after I start doing the stuff I need to be doing.

I am going out today to the Ethiopian Restaurant with my daughter. We both love the restaurant and seldom eat there. We decided we really want to eat there before we both get our noses back to the grindstone of diet and exercise after the first of the year. I am greatly looking forward to this meal today.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday Morning

I didn't wake up until 6:30 this morning! I thought about going to the 6:30 meeting and being a half-hour late, but I have a thing about being late to meetings. So, I decided to drive the 20 miles to my old home group that meets at 7:30 a.m. It was good to be there.

I got to see the man who took me to my first meeting in 1984. We both marvel at the fact that we are both still sober, all these years later. And we both laugh about something we realized maybe 15 years ago - the longer you stay sober, the older you get. hmmmm.

I was going to run when I got home, but the sidewalks are still covered with snow and ice. Perhaps I will get to the gym later. I need to go into work for a while. Hopefully I can get a bunch of work done on a Saturday, because it is just not getting done during the week.

I am still tired. I am too old to be working as hard as I have been. But I have potatoes frying on the stove and soon I will have two eggs frying alongside them. I will eat a nice Saturday morning breakfast.

Have a great sober day everyone.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Morning

I am glad it is Friday even though I will only have worked three days this week. I am tired. I went to bed at 7 o'clock last night, but the phone kept ringing, so I didn't get to sleep until 9 o'clock. I am not complaining about friends calling, it is wonderful to have people in my life.

The wind-chill is -10 degrees. Minus Ten Degrees. It is friggin' cold. We got a lot of snow yesterday and my back hurts from shoveling it. I haven't run since last Saturday. I am going to go to church this morning... yes, I am adding a Friday morning church-going to this week.

I will go to a meeting on my way home from work. I am blessed to have all this stuff to do today. I wouldn't mind staying home in my jammies though.

"We are privileged to communicate with each other to a degree and in a manner not very often surpassed among our nonalcoholic friends in the world around us." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 231

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Snowing Ferociously

I don't have much time to post because it is snowing like crazy, and I need to be at church in less than an hour.... still have to bathe, wash my hair, dress, put on make-up, blow dry the hair, etc. And drive for a long time in snow. In the dark. And I am tired.

Last night, I hopped into bed and truly thanked God for a warm bed, a nice clean house, nice clean pajamas, sheets, and a life that lets me go to sleep virtually the moment my head hits the pillow. This morning I woke up to the alarm - I set it for only one morning a week, Thursday, because I have committed to be at church at 5 a.m. each Thursday - and on This Thursday morning I was still tired. I still am tired. I will come back home and go back to bed this morning. I will sleep for a couple of hours and still make it to work at a reasonable hour.

So this morning, although I am extremely tired - I can barely keep my eyes open - I am so grateful that I can come back home and go back to bed for a couple of hours. I am also eternally grateful that I bought, what I thought was a crazy purchase a few years ago, a heated mattress pad. It is like getting into the warm comfort of a water bed -without all the squishiness of an actual water bed. It is my bed, only warm.... which is heavenly on a cold morning or night.

"We of AA obey spiritual principles, at first because we must, then because we ought to, and ultimately because we love the kind of life such obedience brings. Great suffering and great love are AA's disciplinarians; we need no others." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 27

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Today would have been my father's 96th birthday! Happy Birthday Dad!

I had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. When I got home from church, I shoveled snow - a lot of snow. Then I put on my pajamas and lounged all day. It was a wonderful, luxurious day. I never get to do that. A friend came over last night for a piece of pumpkin pie, and I didn't even change out of my jammies for that!

It is now 7 degrees, and there is close to a foot of snow on the ground. I will dress as warmly as I can and get to work. I have a big day. I wish I could stay home, but that is not what I get to do today.

I am grateful this is my 24th season of holidays spent sober. I remember how treacherous those first couple felt. It is immensely more wonderful to experience the "special" days sober. And really, when you are sober, every day is special. After realizing that, life gets really good!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day


Okay- I originally had a picture of my Christmas tree here, but while I was writing this, I saw the above scene out my window - sitting right at my computer. I couldn't help but take a picture, I thought the first one, with the woman yanking with all her might on the dog, was funny. But I thought it was only fair to include the second one, to show the dog did finally get the idea.

This morning I woke at 3 a.m. and was disappointed when I looked out the window and saw no snow. As I was doing my morning meditation, I heard a noise that sounded like ice pellets hitting the side of the house. By the time I was done with my prayer and meditation, the snow was falling at a great rate and there was already snow accumulated on the ground.

There is an "alkathon" at a nearby club, so I left the house before 5:00 a.m. The snow was blinding and there were no tracks in the fallen snow.... for benefit of those from southern climes, this means you can't really tell where the road is. The ride to the club was scary! I thought about going back home to my warm bed, but then I remembered that I told a few folks I would be there early this morning.

When I made that last turn on the way and saw the club lit up and lots of cars there, I very nearly cried with relief and joy. People hugged me and wished me a Merry Christmas, and I was ushered straight into a wonderful meeting. After that meeting was over, I went to the next meeting, and that was another wonderful meeting. By then it was light outside and I could see that there were many inches of snow - and I had my velvet and satin heels on! Oh well, my shoes and feet (and legs) got very wet this morning! A man I adore cleaned the snow off my car, and it made my heart melt... how gentlemanly!

I went to church after the meeting. It was truly scary to drive there. I am certain I was the only woman (or man) wearing high heels this morning! Usually on Christmas morning I have to resign myself to sit somewhere else than where I normally sit because there are so many people there, and I try to be as courteous and welcoming as I can be. However, this morning, the church was not at all packed. Not even as full as a regular Sunday!

I think it is funny that alcoholics can get to meetings and not think twice about it, but people can't get to church. Sad, really.

I am glad I am an alcoholic and have a place to go where everyone still shows up, and welcomes me. Today I am grateful to be an alcoholic - but don't quote me on that because I will normally give you a thousand reasons why I will not say that...

Love you all.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

I went to a lovely AA meeting this morning. There was not an empty seat in the place - Imagine that! Christmas Eve and a room full of sober alcoholics at 6:30 a.m.! It is a wonderful thing.

I shall spend the day getting ready for the big Christmas dinner I am making tonight for my family. Each year I try to be minimalist for this, but it never happens. I am so grateful for the huge roast of beef in my fridge, and the ability to make apple pie and pumpkin pie. The ice cream in the freezer. The broccoli! The salad! The cheese and crackers (and pepper jelly)! The Christmas candy. The way my kids go wacky over yorkshire pudding - which I will only make on Christmas Eve. The stockings hung by the chimney with care (and apparently St. Nicholas has already been here!) The Handel's Messiah CD which is playing now. Oh, memories of my childhood!

I have thought a lot this year about my childhood memories. I really had an atrocious childhood by any standards, except material. But I play Handel's Messiah, and I can practically hear my dad singing along. I spend time in the kitchen and I remember my mother's wonderful cooking, I can almost see her hands guiding mine. I put the big old fashioned colored lights on my Christmas tree and I remember the trees of the 50s and 60s and how beautiful they were and how magical they were to my childhood eyes. I will go to church either tonight or tomorrow morning and pray for my mother and my father, without resentment, without pain. I will just love them, and know that God does too.

What a wonderful freedom we are given in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Thank you to all of my friends, virtual and real. God Bless Us, Everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday Morning

I am heading out of here for a 6:30 meeting, followed by a meeting with a sponsee. I am tired and wish I could stay home, but I am sure I will be glad I got out once I get going.

My family and I celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. So, this is my last day to get everything ready. I am not nearly done, or in some things, I haven't even started. I haven't done my grocery shopping yet for our Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding dinner (why did I capitalize those words?) I haven't got a present for my son yet.

And I don't have much for anyone else either. It is very unlike me. I haven't had time, and I haven't had much money (I got hit with an unexpected tax bill this month that had to be paid RIGHT NOW!!!) So, I guess it will be a humble thing. For instance, the sponsee I am meeting with this morning gave me a Christmas gift yesterday. I have nothing for her. I am going to give her a card, and that is all. And I haven't given gifts to my sponsor or other sponsees either. This is unusual. But it is going to have to be OK. This December has been very unusual.

I better get going. Please, let's all try to stay calm today and remember that this is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ghosts

Tonight was my friend Annette's 31st AA Birthday. She asked me to come to the meeting and speak for her. I called earlier tonight and told her I couldn't make it due to horrible weather and terrible driving conditions. Then I thought about it. And I got into my car and drove the 10 or so miles to the meeting. She was happy to see me, and I was sure happy to see her.

The meeting hall was nearly empty. She said from the podium "that's all right, this hall is so full of ghosts, it's just fine." Then we recalled all the guys - they were mostly men - the guys. They would be lined up against the wall, the old guys. The sages. The wonderful old men who would cut you to the quick and you wouldn't even know you had been wounded.

I am so grateful for those old days. I am so grateful for those old guys. I am grateful for wonderful people like Annette. And my sponsor. And Annette's husband. And my sponsor's husband. They are all older than me, but not by much. It is scary to watch them get older.

But how blessed I have been to have had these wonderful people in my life! How blessed I am that they are still in my life. How grateful I am for the memories of the years in Alcoholics Anonymous. It is just miraculous.

To think of me - drunken Raton Mary - now a sober woman with a fabulous hairdo, a nice car in the parking lot, and a nice home waiting for me, talking at an AA meeting, at the behest of a wonderful friend, about my life as a sober woman.

I thought I would write this tonight. I hope to sleep semi-late tomorrow and then hit the 6:30 meeting. I might not have time to write - and once my day is in full gear, I won't be thinking about the wonderful meeting tonight. And I wanted to remember it. A snowy late December night in Denver, Colorado. A meeting at a hall that used to be crowded and smoky, and now is so full of memories, it really is resplendent with ghosts.

Friday December 21

This time last year, my entire city was under several feet of snow and it was still falling. I had fallen the day before on my driveway and thought I broke my tailbone. I didn't break it, but it took six months for it to heal... but I somehow trained and ran a half-marathon with that injury~

I was up half the night with a migraine last night. I went back to sleep and slept until 6:30, and I am very slow to get moving this morning. I am not going to run this morning. I am going to head out to work, and take a long lunch to do some Christmas shopping. I hope I will get the headache to leave by then. My migraines usually last for 3 days (yes, three DAYS), but I am hopeful that this one won't.

I will have four days off of work after today. I have some knitting to do, some gifts to wrap, a couple of last minute gifts to get, and I have a book to read. I hope I will get some peaceful time in these four days. It has been a hellish experience at work lately and I am extremely tired. I have a new feature on my face - bags under my eyes. I have never had them before.

No matter what is going on this year, I always remember that my son is living 2 miles away from me, in a safe and warm apartment, with a big four wheel drive vehicle and all the fancy-schmancy electronic equipment a young man so desires. Every morning I pray for all the men and women serving this country in far-away places, and their families. I am so grateful that, for now, my son is safe and near.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Loving them to death?

I am posting on Wednesday night instead of Thursday morning. Shock! Horror! I am feeling much better since I met my deadlines today. Phew. That is out of my life - at least for now. Writing for weeks at a time about suicides is bound to get to you, well, at least it got to me.

I went to a meeting this morning. It was a good meeting. A newcomer came to the meeting (late) and "shared" about someone saying something rude to her at another meeting. It seems the guy told her she probably ought to try to not drink at ALL. Imagine! After she talked, she got a bunch of validation from folks who told her that the guy should have minded his own business, and that he was sick to tell her what to do.

Miraculously, I kept my mouth shut! After the meeting, I talked with another fellow who sobered up in the same era I did. He agreed that we are being so "kind" to the newcomers, they are getting no freaking clue that AA is about not drinking. It is not about "slipping", and "keep coming back" just come back, it doesn't matter if you drink, etc.

Let me say - BULLSHIT.

Some people never make it back. I have been to many funerals of people who were sure they were going to make it back some day. And everyone reassured them that they would be "welcomed" when they came back... and that we don't kill our wounded, etc. Isn't that nice? Yes, it sounds nice. It doesn't sound nice to tell someone that perhaps they ought to try STAYING sober - no matter what.

I wonder how many people in prison thought they were having a "slip" and would come back when they felt like it? Probably a couple. I know a couple.

When I got sober, they told me to just not drink - even if my ass fell off. I thought that was just silly, who ever heard of someone's ass falling off? Well, when my ass fell off, I went to a meeting and didn't take a drink. That is how one stays sober. It is not about serenity and feeling great all the time. It is not about accepting everything in the world and loving everybody.

It is about living life - which is sometimes incredibly difficult - without taking a drink. Sometimes that isn't pretty. But it beats the hell out of the alternative.

And if you get through those ugly days without a drink, you get a chance at getting that serenity and happiness and love and peace and joy. But you don't get that overnight, and you don't get to will yourself into it. It is a result of not putting a drink of booze in your mouth and swallowing it. If you don't put it there, it won't get drunk. It is the result of living in a way congruent with values and morals - your own - which are probably evolving on a daily basis. That is good. It is a result of cleaning up the past and trusting God.

We need to tell the truth. We are doing no one any favors by sugar-coating a lethal, terminal, fatal disease.

So, that's what I have to say.

"If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees, you may have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do after he gets hurt some more." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 95

Wednesday

This is a challenging time for me at work right now. I am spending a lot of hours there, so it is coloring my outlook on life. Tomorrow, three deadlines will be over and perhaps I will see some peace. Today, obviously, are three looming deadlines. I should meet them. I will be glad. Good, bad, or indifferent, I just need for this to be over.

Yesterday I took all my Christmas cards and gifts at work and put them on a conference table in my office that sits directly opposite my desk. This way I sit facing it all day long. It helps to look at the cards, some funny, some cute, some pretty - none religious because God forbid we should ever deign to recognize what Christmas is celebrating - and gifts, and remember that no matter what I feel like right now, people have cared enough to write my name on a card and send it to me. At home, my cards are on the 'bar' between my kitchen and dining room - probably where I spend most of my waking hours, so I can be reminded of those folks who cared enough to write my name and address on an envelope and send me a card. Some of the 'home' cards actually have pictures of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on them. I really like those!

I am going to a meeting this morning, so I better get a move on it. I keep remembering what someone told me a long time ago when I was about to lose my mind - 'they can kill you, but they can't eat you.' somehow that was comforting then, and it is comforting now.

"We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter." -- Twelve & Twelve, p. 105

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Running in the Dark

I am going to go out and run in the dark this morning. I need to get to work on time, I also need to get my exercise to keep some small semblance of sanity. I did sleep a full night, thankfully.

Things have gone from very bad to worse at work. It is extremely difficult to just show up today. I wish I could run away. But I won't. The idea of digging out of a huge hole of trouble is difficult for me. Since I got sober, I have scraped away at the surface dirt, to keep from digging a hole of trouble. I didn't dig this hole at work, but I am laboring intensively to keep the whole organization from caving in around it. Maybe it needs to implode. But I think about the people, the people. Not the stinking employees who created this mess, but the people who have no where else to go.

I keep thinking about "It's a Wonderful Life" and that bank examiner who showed up on Christmas Eve.

I will try to see what I can bring to the situation today. I need some time off, and some care for me. That is not going to happen. So I have to see how I can care for someone else today. And I need to remember that I am in the loving care of God, no matter how it feels right now.

"Believe more deeply. Hold your face up to the Light, even though for the moment you do not see." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 3

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Morning

I am running late this morning. Due to drinking Diet Pepsi yesterday afternoon and evening. As I did the day before. If I drink this evil concoction after about 1:00 p.m., I will go to sleep at a normal time, but then wake up at 1 or 2 and be awake for several hours. That has happened to me for the last two nights. I hope I will recall this after lunch today when I want some Diet Pepsi.

I gave this stuff up for lent last year and stayed off it until my son got home from Iraq in August. In all that excitement, I wasn't getting enough sleep, so a Diet Pepsi seemed like a good idea. But it didn't take long until I was back to my usual level of the stuff.

My system, once so used to abuse of every kind, now has little tolerance for any kind of tom-foolery. I cannot imagine smoking cigarettes, drinking booze, eating crap... I won't even drink milk other than organic milk these days.

Oh, how things change. And that is good. And now I better get ready for work.


"The foundation stone of freedom from fear is that of faith: a faith that, despite all worldly appearances to the contrary, causes me to believe that I live in a universe that makes sense. To me, this means a belief in a Creator who is all power, justice, and love; a God who intends for me a purpose, a meaning, and a destiny to grow, however little and haltingly, toward His own likeness and image. Before the coming of faith I had lived as an alien in a cosmos that too often seemed both hostile and cruel. In it there could be no inner security for me." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 51

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Disease and the Solution

Daave posted this link this morning. It is a short video from AA in the UK about the disease of alcoholism and AA. It moved me to tears.

I think one of the worst dangers about long term sobriety (and there are plenty, believe me) is the fact that we don't often think at a deep level about the desperation of that last drink. How horrifying our lives had become. We sometimes talk about these things in meetings, but really, how often do we really really remember what it was like to be shaking in bed, or puking, lying on the floor of the bathroom, when we were supposed to be cooking Christmas dinner? How often do I really remember what it was like to wake up in a motel room, with a strange man, when my children were at home -with a teenage babysitter - who was not intending to spend the night at my house?

When I hear people talk about how they don't want to hear "drunkalogues", it worries me. I want to hear them, and I want to tell my story as frequently as people will tolerate.

So, today I slept in. I am wearing satin pajamas, that have not once been urinated in. I am drinking a nice hot cup of coffee, straight coffee, no booze. It does not gag me. It is yummy. I am getting ready to use the new iPod my children got me for my birthday and go for a 5 mile run. Then later, I need to do some work (oh! woe is me! I have a job! I have responsibilities, and people trust me with high level duties that sometimes take more than 40 hours a week!) I need to send some Christmas cards - because I love many people and like to stay in touch with them. I need to go to Saks and return the $600.+ sweater my sister got me for my birthday and get something or somethingS more worthy, in my eyes, of that kind of money. I still have not done my Christmas shopping, but I will. I have some money for the purpose and I can do this.

I have this life today because I was desperate enough to call Alcoholics Anonymous on July 24, 1984. The day I thought my life was over. Wonderful, clean, healthy, happy men and women helped me and showed me they understood what it is like to drink like I did. What a miracle. I had no idea that my life was only beginning.

Thank you for listening.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Sorry for not posting earlier. I woke up at nearly 6, and wanted to get to the 6:30 meeting which left no time for posting.

Someone turned on the Christmas lights in the meeting room before the meeting. Someone else turned off the overhead lights, so we had a soft glow in our meeting this morning. Through the meeting, I looked at the slogans on the wall, lit with sparkly lights, and thought how pretty it looked (and that is why I took a cell phone photo after the meeting). It was a lovely meeting. I was grateful to be there amongst my friends. Especially a young man who told me I didn't even look 40 - let alone 56. Yes, thank God for friends - even if they are only learning about rigorous honesty!

I am so truly grateful today:
My son is home from Iraq. We will spend the day together.
I am no longer in a relationship that was hurting me.
I am a healthy woman.
I have been sober for 41% of my life.

I will get to spend the day with my kids. There was a time - in my sobriety - when not only had I lost custody of them, but there was a restraining order preventing me from contacting them. Oh, praise God I am not in that place today.

Life is so very good.

"Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your 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

Friday, December 14, 2007

My last day of being 55

Tomorrow I shall be 56 years old. That is good. Although I wish I had the face and body that were mine when I was 26, I would not wish to have the mind and the raging active alcoholism that tormented me every day. I would not wish to be 36 again, even though I was sober at that time. It was a difficult time. I liked being 46. And I think I shall like to be 56. I hope to run my first marathon in 2008, at the age of 56. At the age my mother was when she was dying. I sometimes think how happy she would be to see how very alive her daughters are.

Today I woke with joy in my heart, thank you God! I said a prayer of thanks for my warm and comfortable bed. I jumped out of bed with a wish to go to the gym and run 3 miles on the treadmill, just like I used to. I am even looking forward to going to work, and I have not felt that way for a very long time. I did my prayer and meditation and actually felt the connection instead of just going through the motions, thank you God!

I could tell you what has made this difference, but it would take too long today. Maybe I will tomorrow. But I will say this much, it has not been about me getting my way, or "things" turning around. It has been about me turning my thoughts to others, and changing my way of thinking. And, as always, it has made all the difference in the world.

Here are the little gifts I have knit for people at work. I will bring them to work today. Each one is a little hand knit bowl - for paper clips. Each one will include a little package of colored paper clips. Silly, but people like them. I gave away a few yesterday.

Have a happy sober Friday everyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Morning

It's early. It's not too cold though - 23 degrees at almost 4 a.m. is pretty warm. I am off to church, and that is good.

I met 2 deadlines yesterday which is such a relief I can't begin to say. Now I have a big deal today, and 2 more huge things have to be done by next weds. It will be OK - a lot of work, but OK. I will not work this weekend because my birthday is on Saturday and I would like to enjoy it with my family and not be running around like a nut. So if I have to run around like a nut M-F, I can deal with that, but not this weekend.

Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in a long time. As I was cooling down after running on the treadmill, I saw a sponsee I have been worried about. She was shocked when I tapped her on the shoulder and said hello. I was glad to see her and glad to talk with her.

I worry too much about women I sponsor. As the sponsorship relationship develops, I really grow to love these women. My sponsor loves me too, she tells me every time I talk to her!

I thank God for these priceless relationships in AA. They are unlike anything I have ever known outside the rooms.

"For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objectives and new-found faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding and love-without strings, without obligation-we acquire relationships that are unique and priceless." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 312"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday Morning

I dislike it when the national news and the local news share many of the same stories. When I was at a party on Saturday night, I was only blocks away from a shooting taking place at a church. I wish that when people got extremely mentally ill and delusional, they would pick something other than religion (and AA) about which to get delusional and paranoid.

I am heading out of here to the gym this morning to get a quick couple of miles in on the treadmill. It is too cold, snowy, and icy to run outdoors. I will be late to work, but I brought work home last night and got a couple hours worth of work done. Today is one of my many deadlines. I think I will have cleared this hurdle. Then a couple of more deadlines loom ahead, but some of the pressure will be off after today.

I have not been to a meeting since last Thursday and that is way too long. I like going to lots of meetings. It helps my frame of mind. I hope to get to one tomorrow.

"In 1941, a news clipping was called to our attention by a New York member. In an obituary notice from a local paper, there appeared these words: 'God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.' Never had we seen so much AA in so few words. With amazing speed the Serenity Prayer came into general use." -- AA Comes of Age, p. 196

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

PTSD

As I shoveled the snow in my driveway this morning I couldn't help but remember falling on this very driveway last December 20. It was an injury that stayed with me until June. I am seriously considering training for a marathon (26.2 miles) in 2008, I do not want to be injured!

The pressure is still on at work. But the power isn't. (Lack of power, that was our dilemma?) I am going to stay home until 8:30 or 9:00 this morning, in hopes that the power will be back on by the time I get there. It is cold and snowing like crazy... see above photo, taken in my back yard on this very morning.

I am grateful to be alive and sober this morning. I wanted to get to the step study this morning, but adding in a half hour of snow shoveling made that impossible. Tonight I meet with a sponsee, that will be good.

Have a great sober Tuesday everyone.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A day off is good.

Yesterday was wonderful. I went to church in the morning, went to a cookie-making party with some sober sisters, then came home and snuggled in on the sofa, with a warm wool afghan, and watched the Broncos kick some serious ass. My son, his friend, and my daughter came over after they went to the game, and they were cold and hungry! I made some pizza and we played Trivial Pursuit. How wonderful is a day off of work!

Now today I am back to the workplace and the pressure. I feel it already this morning when I try to plan my day, incorporating things I need to accomplish this week. It makes my stomach flip when I just think about it.

Thank God for all the tools I have today. I know it will be OK no matter what happens.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hurry, hurry, hurry!

I am running around like a nut today. I thought I had better take a second to post something.

I am off to a cookie making party with the sober ladies from my 6:30 a.m. group. I am very excited about going. I just whipped up some cookie dough, and I will bring it there with my cookie sheet and apron. I never thought I would ever be excited about such a thing, but I really really am.

First of all, it is nice to be included.
Second, it is nice to share activities outside of meetings with my sober sisters.

Last night I went to a party with people from work. These are things I don't usually attend, but the hostess is someone I just love. I had the best time! I was out until 1:15 in the morning! I never do that! And I drove through horrible weather conditions, an hour each way, to go to this thing. I met the wife of one of my favorite people from work, and I think she might have talked me into running a full marathon! Holy Cow. 26.2 miles. In San Diego! June 1. Can I run 26.2 miles? hmmmm. A lot to think about.

My joy seems to be back. Thank God!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Manic Saturday

This time on Saturday morning is usually my favorite time of the week. Maybe it is my favorite time of this week too, relative to the rest of the week, which has been challenging. I was going to go to the 6:30 meeting, then to church, and then to work... then to a party tonight... well, and then I wanted to get a manicure in there sometime. You will notice that a run is nowhere in that mix. You will not notice, however, that the waistband on the satin skirt I am wearing tonight is a bit snug. So, I decided that I have to get back on a regular running schedule because without running I will blow up like a hot air balloon - the process of which has already begun. So, I am running this morning too. Even though it is cold and snowy outside. I really don't want to, but I am sure once I get out there, I will be glad I did.

Yesterday I had to make a phone call I was dreading. I needed to drop one of my sponsees. I have no time for anything right now. The other three women I sponsor are already well established in their sobriety and not very needy - in other words, they can handle having a sponsor who is temporarily not very available. The fourth woman has recently gone out and really needs someone who has a lot of time and energy. She is worth a lot of time and energy - but I just don't have it right now. She was very sweet when I told her this, I hope that was genuine. I know it is hard to come back to AA after drinking, and the fear of rejection is strong. I so didn't want her to feel it was a rejection. She said she didn't.

My joy is missing right now. I know that is coming through in what I write. I am not going to be phony and try to sound happy right now because that would be dishonest. I am in the middle of a huge crisis at work. I need to get a lot of work done in a very short time. I will get as much as I can done. My job is very cyclical this way. There are times when there is virtually no pressure on me.... then there are times, such as this, where there is intense pressure and I need to work lots of hours. I have never been under the gun quite like I am right now. But I have a knack (probably born out of the crazy alcoholic life I lived for many years) of appearing calm, and being able to just get through things that send others to their corners crying. And I have a deep abiding faith that all will be well - no matter what happens.

"Such is the paradox of AA regeneration; strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one's old life as a condition for finding a new one." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 49

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday

I am so grateful that this work week is 4/5 over. Hopefully I can get some work done today. I will have to work this weekend, as well as do a million other things. I am feeling a tad overwhelmed, can you tell?

Yesterday at work the power was out. We are working with old infrastructure and there are frequently unexpected huge system failures. We had to get emergency generators for power. Who knows what today will bring. I still had plenty of work to do without power. It was kind of nice to work without the hum of all the things running. It was amazing that you could hear conversations that you normally wouldn't. Sometimes I really think about the changing sounds... we used to hear typewriters and phones ringing... now we have a steady buzz. buzz. buzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Last night I got to go to the meeting where my oldest sponsee celebrated her 12th AA birthday. What a miracle she is. She is a real alcoholic. And she is really sober. And she really puts the effort needed into it. She is serious about it. I am so grateful for her. And grateful to be part of her life, and grateful that she is grateful for me too! This is so good.

I gotta get to work because I am leaving early to get my hair done. I thought that waiting three months between hair appointments would be a good way to save money. I will NEVER do this again. I feel like a shaggy dog with multicolored hair. It is not a good thing to do, especially when going through trying times. It really helps when you can at least find something attractive in the mirror when you are having a bad day!

"Believe more deeply. Hold your face to the Light, even though for the moment you do not see." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 3

Thursday, December 06, 2007

So Sleepy...

I will be walking up this path to the front door of my church at 5:00 this morning. I love this special hour I get to spend in prayer each week. But this is the first Thursday since I started this in March that I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. Hopefully once I get out in the cold morning air I will wake up.

I can think of nothing to say this morning. Really, I am so tired, I don't know how I am going to do this.

"The prideful righteousness of 'good people' may often be just as destructive as the glaring sins of those who are supposdely not so good." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 107

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

800 Posts

Have I written every word I ever had to say yet? I guess not, I keep writing every day.... oh well.

Pammie called me yesterday and wanted me to let you know that her mom is quite ill and is in the hospital. Pam has been staying with her mom and has no internet access.

My computer must be on its lest leg, it has slowed to a virtual halt. PC or Mac - that is the question. If I am teaching and getting word documents from my students, will a mac work? That's my question.

Sorry to be so brief this morning. This is nearly impossible. As I type this paragraph, my computer is still working on displaying the last paragraph.

So I will get out for a run and get on with my day.

Have a great sober day everyone, OK?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Challenges

Just when I was totally freaked out at work, yesterday the freak out expanded exponentially. This is giving me a stomach ache. Thankfully last night I had my Bible class, and I actually forgot about work for a little while.

This morning I am going to an AA meeting on my way to work. At 10:00 I have a meeting at work of the best workgroup I have ever assembled, although the work isn't that pleasant, I sure enjoy the company... and they are smart! And hardworking! Wow!

Since I am sitting in my jammies, and I need to be at a meeting in 45 minutes, I think I better run.

Just want to say that although work is crazy and very very upsetting, I can draw close to my God and know that I will be OK - whether or not my workplace is OK. Whatever chaos is around me, whatever threats to my livelihood and others' homes - it will be fine. I have been through terrible times in sobriety and they were my greatest teachers.... I know that no matter what, as long as I am sober and stay close to God, I will be OK.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Pre-Dawn

This day is huge. I have so many things to do. I am going to get to work a little early so that I can get a good start. It pays to start calm. When I get anxious and hurried I get wacky. In the middle of the day, I am meeting with 2 or 3 other women at work to knit. I started knitting with one, and then there were two, and now others are joining us. It is a good way to calm down a frantic day.

I ran 2 miles yesterday morning. It was good to get back out there. But I sure didn't feel like I did a week earlier (before my back injury) when running 7 miles just felt ordinary. 2 miles felt like a big deal yesterday. And today I am doing nothing.

I am still fighting depression. I just don't feel like myself. I want to feel like myself again. It is amazing to me how good my life is - when I get outside of it, like I am now, I want back in. I want to live my life the way it is. Good, sober, wholesome life.

Ask Him in the morning and thank Him at night...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

First Sunday in Advent


I am going to church this morning. I normally go on Saturday night, but last night I went to an AA function instead. I love Advent. The church is draped in purple, it is quiet, and dark, as we wait in joyful hope....

Yesterday I put up my Christmas tree. As I have not been in the best frame of mind this week, I started feeling bad that I was putting up the tree alone. Then I really reflected on Christmases past and what putting up the tree was like. In my childhood, my parents put up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. As well as wrapping all the gifts. In the mix there, my dad got drunk, and my mom got angry. My mother was an early prototype for Martha Stewart... our tree was always beautiful. But to get it that way was often a scene that sent me to my room crying and shaking in terror. When my kids were small, I let them do anything they wanted to our Christmas tree, and the results often looked like a bunch of little kids decorated it - which I think is just perfect!

So, yesterday as I was reflecting on these ancient history Christmases, I also remembered last year when my friends C., and H. came and helped me decorate my tree. Last year was so difficult with my son in Iraq. I had told them that I just couldn't bear the idea of having a Christmas with my son flying a helicopter over Iraq every day. They came, like the little AA angels they are, and we made a party of it. It was great fun.

Yesterday I didn't like the looks of any of my ornaments. So I went to Target and bought new ones. I bought many red bells (one of them is in the picture above) and glittery silver snowflakes for my tree. They were not expensive, so if I never want to use them again, I won't. My granddaughters are sure to drive everyone crazy when they realize those bells actually ring. Oh dear.

So, today perhaps I will get to knit, watch football, and admire my pretty Christmas tree and reflect on the wonderful meaning. And get to Thank God that I am sober today and am not creating bad memories for my children and grandchildren.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday Morning

I just got home from the 6:30 meeting where we celebrated two birthdays - one seven year, and one seventeen. It was good to be there. I got to talk with my friend R. for a while after the meeting which was really nice. He is the one and only "real life" person who has ever found my blog and known it was me. I generally don't tell people about it. Those I have told have absolutely no interest in it. It is almost like a secret life - except that it is real and true and I reveal here who I really am, sometimes to my regret.

I am excited today because it is cold and cloudy and it might snow. The mountains got clobbered with snow, and it is supposed to snow here. I hope it will. I have plenty of Christmas knitting to do and I have a cheesecake to bake. It is a good day to just be at home.

There is an AA event at R.'s house tonight. I am looking forward to going, and I am bringing the cheesecake to the event. It will be nice.

AND! I got to talk to Daave this morning. It was lovely to chat with him as I drove to the meeting.

I sometimes don't feel that great, this has been one of those weeks. I do suffer from chronic depression. Most of the time, the measures I take to keep the depression at bay work really well (diet, exercise, prayer, meditation). But when there is a change in these things, I usually suffer. Not being able to run all week has really messed with my ability to cope. And I have had a ton of things to cope with this week.

I am so grateful to be sober.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Winter Storm Warning

At this time of the year, I get excited about every snowflake. We are expecting more tonight. By the end of December last year, having already gotten 5 feet of snow in the last 10 days of the year, I was not excited about snow. But for now, I am.

Last night I received the packet of information for faculty of the University from which I graduated (both my bachelors and masters degrees). I will likely start teaching in January. I will retain my current job, this will be only part time teaching.

Fourteen years ago I was an unemployed homeless woman with a high school diploma. BUT I was 9 years sober, and there was hope, as long as I was sober. At 10 years of sobriety, I got a job, got a nice apartment, and started college - at the age of 43.

So here I am, these years later. Looking at the packet of information for faculty. Faculty. At the prestigious University I only dreamed of ever attending. The day I went there for my admission interview, I was so terrified, I thought sure they would find out who I really was, and they would never let me in. And now I will be teaching there.

God certainly can work miracles in our lives if we let him.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trying Times

These are trying times. Some of the reasons I have mentioned here, most I haven't. I try not to write very much about work, so I haven't written very much about work - but it is very trying right now. I am also having a relationship issue, which hurts very much. Hurting my back on Sunday affected my mood in 2 ways. 1. pain - it colors a person's world. 2. running is one of my major mental health measures - and now I can't run.

The good news? I am sober and have been through all of this before, so I know that I will be OK. I have lots of good friends who put up with me. I sponsor 4 beautiful women who are a joy in my life. My children will help me with things if I ever realize that I am not 20 years old anymore and actually need help from time to time.

By staying sober, by the Grace of God, one day at a time, for a little while, my life has changed dramatically. I have stable relationships. I am well-plugged into an AA community. I am well-plugged into my church community. I am even well-plugged into my work community. I have support everywhere I go. I just realized it was 2 years yesterday since Trudge found my blog and I got hooked into this blogging community. It is all good.

"Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 23

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chain Laws


The Chain Laws are in effect this morning. Does anyone know what that means? It just started snowing here and there is already quite a bit on the ground. It is pretty.

I am going to head out of here to a 6:30 meeting.

I am knitting cool things for Christmas gifts for people at work and I am actually excited about that.

This snow is so pretty!

I am out of here, man!

"My observation is that some people can get by with a certain amount of postponement, but few can live with outright rebellion." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 322

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another back injury

See that cute little tree with the pretty little lights? It's cute, isn't it? I really like it. I have two of them in front of my house. They were formerly on my deck, in the back of my house. They got to the front of my house by me picking them up and carrying them from the back to the front. Did I ask my 6'5" son, in the peak of health and fitness, to pick them up and move them for me? No, I did not think to do that. Some day I will learn. My back is killing me. And I can't run with a back like this, so it throws my world asunder.

I just erased two paragraphs of how tired and busy I am. As my friend Larry would say "fuggedaboudit!" Pain is a challenge and colors my world. This too shall pass....

"We have found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 7

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday Morning


It will be a big day at work. I brought work home with me so that I could get it all done over the weekend and waltz into work today without pressure. Guess what I never touched over the weekend? yep. my work. So it is very important that I get to work on time so that I can finish this project prior to the 10:00 meeting where it will be dissected, critiqued, and finalized.

Yesterday I did phase 2 of my Christmas decorations for my house. I moved two ponderosa pines in pots from my deck to my front yard, then wrapped them in Christmas lights. Oh, they are so pretty. And, oh, how I hurt my back!

Yesterday I also ran 7 miles. I ran a route I have never taken before. I actually ran from the town I live in to another town, which is a mountain resort-y town... which on Sunday morning is fairly sickening with the smell of restaurants cooking greasy breakfasts - yuck. It was pretty to run on a trail along a partially frozen creek ( wish the picture above was better, but it is a cell phone photo - I particularly wish you could hear the creek rushing under the ice).

So I will get on with my day and pray that I can keep my ego out of the way and just try to do the best job possible with whatever God puts in front of me today.

"The wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 88

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Spiritual Awakening

I am an alcoholic. I was unable to quit on my own. I got to Alcoholics Anonymous on July 24, 1984 and have not had a drink since. I have only wanted to have a drink on a couple of occasions since I got sober and still did not have a drink. I give the credit for this to a loving God who could do for me what I could not do for myself.

Someone (I forget who, sorry) yesterday suggested that you are doomed to drink again until you have had a spiritual awakening. This is my story and it is the story of many others. But I must say, it is not everyone's story.

One of my dearest friends in AA claims to be an atheist. Years ago, I was sure this would change in time, and I still am sure it will. However, she is now sober 17 years, and still ducks out of the meeting before the Lord's Prayer each day. And yet! she has not had a drink, nor has she had many cravings for a drink. The other wonderful thing about her is that she owns a liquor store, and works there. When I first met her, I was sure that she would either drink or she would get out of the liquor business. And yet! she continues to sit in a liquor store a couple of times a week and she has not had a drink, nor has she had many cravings for a drink. She sponsors people, she is very active in AA, she is someone everyone knows they can call - and she truly will "be there" for you. She has "been there" for me many times. She was particularly helpful in the year that my son was in Iraq... and although our politics are polar opposites, it never came up. I thank God for her. One time she told me that she doesn't believe in God, and I told her not to worry, God believes in her. I have since stopped saying things like that to her because they make her want to be sick.

So, what does this have to do with anything? I lose my judgment when I see how flawed it is. I just don't know what God has in mind for each of us.

None of us are the same, I believe that God created each of us in His image, but we are all different a bit. Each of us have our own gifts and challenges to bring to the table. Thank God for the diversity of us.

"The minute I figure I have got a perfectly clear pipeline to God, I have become egotistical enough to get into real trouble. Nobody can cause more needless grief than a power-driver who thinks he has got it straight from God." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 38

Saturday, November 24, 2007

13 degrees

It is very cold outside. 13 degrees fahrenheit. It's really kind of nice. I really enjoy the changing seasons.

I am going to my 6:30 a.m. meeting this morning. My kids are coming over later for a nice game of Risk. Actually one of my daughters doesn't understand why we want to play a game of world domination and get so competitive over little color coded continents. I love it. Some really fine childhood memories of mine involve games of Risk - the whole family sitting around a table, rolling dice, arguing over rules and strategies. I think it is a good time and 2/3 of my children do too!

At this meeting I may run into someone I have been avoiding. I hope I don't. But I need to not be avoiding people. I talked to my friend Holly for about an hour last night and she encouraged me to come to the meeting. I wish I were a stronger person, I would not need to avoid a person I love but need to not see anymore. In time, In time.

That is a good thing about long term sobriety. No matter what I am going through, I have deep faith that all will be well, it just may not feel really great right now.

"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." - July 16 reading from Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Friday, November 23, 2007

Seven Things

Furry Chocolates tagged me to list seven things facts I have learned in recovery. There was a list of rules to follow, and (surprise! surprise!) I am not following them.

1. Very few things are about me (I used to worry about what people thought of me until I realized how seldom they do.)

2. Recovery from alcoholism requires surrender - not more self-will.

3. I cannot improve my self-esteem by willpower. I must become a person worthy of esteem. (even at my lowest point, I knew I was intelligent - tricks like telling the mirror I am wonderful are not going to work!)

4. One of the best ways to feel better about myself is to help someone else.

5. Learning how to say "no" might be a big problem for others, but I have had to work diligently on learning how to say "yes".

6. If I am feeling guilty, it is probably because I am.

7. Sobriety is a miracle every day, no matter how many days you string together.

I am not tagging anyone else because I realize some of you don't like being tagged. Others have been tagged. Consider yourself tagged if you want to do this.

"Our entire AA program rests upon the principle of mutual trust. We trust God, we trust AA, and we trust each other." -- Twelve Concepts, p. 16

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Going to church this morning was really wonderful. I was concerned that my prayer partners wouldn't be there - it is easy to forget that today is Thursday, and I need to be at church at 5 a.m., even though it is Thanksgiving. But I was there, and they were there, and the people who are there from 4 to 5 were there, and the people who come at 6 and stay till 7 came.

I am now going to go back to bed for an hour or so. My children will be over at 9! We are having brunch here - then they will go to their dad's. Although I would like for them to stay here - I am so very grateful for the changes that have happened in my family in the last year.

A year ago my son was in Iraq. That is a special kind of heartache I wouldn't wish on anyone. I am so grateful he is home.

A year ago one of my daughters was using meth. She had just gotten into a car accident with my unrestrained, sitting in the front seat, 7 year old granddaughter -- who got an airbag in the face. She only had scrapes on her face, thank God, but she got to watch her mother being handcuffed and taken away. My daughter had a broken sternum and got to recouperate in jail.

A year ago, my "other" daughter and I were quite lonely for our family. This year we have them back. Praise God.

I may go down to the club later and have a Thanksgiving dinner... and I may not. I am going to just relax and do whatever I feel like. And that is a good thing.

Thank God I am sober today. I thank God you are sober today too. I thank God for the wonderful people I have come to know through blogging. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.

"How much better it would have been had I felt gratitude rather than self-satisfaction - gratitude that I had once suffered the pains of alcoholism, gratitude that a miracle of recovery had been worked upon me from above, gratitude for the privilege of serving my fellow alcoholics, and gratitude for those fraternal ties which bound me ever closer to them in a comradeship such as few societies of men have ever known." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 133

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Snow!

Two aspen trees - right beside my front porch. I wanted to take a picture of the snow, but not actually get dressed and put on shoes. So I stood in my pajamas and flip flops, in the little patch outside my front door with no snow (yet).

I love the changing of the seasons. Last night I woke up at about 1:00 a.m., and looked out the window and saw snow. I was so excited it took me a couple more hours to get back to sleep.

I am grateful this morning that I am a sober woman living in the free world. I am grateful that I am gainfully employed and that I am very busy. Due to unfortunate circumstances, my expertise is particularly needed and appreciated right now at work. I am glad that I can bring competence, compassion, and humor into a dark situation.

My first sober Thanksgiving was in 1984. I had no idea how I could stay sober on a holiday that had formerly meant drunken gluttony. I found that I could instead think of the real meaning of the holiday - to thank God for all we had. And I could try to bring some peace and joy into the lives of others. I could start right away by amazing my nephews by not drinking that day. My nephews stared at me all day - it was as though I was walking on my hands instead of my feet - they were astounded that Aunt Mary was not drinking! My kids did not have to worry about fights breaking out, and no one had to worry about whatever chicanery I was going to bring to the table (as it were) that day. Since then, Thanksgiving has been one of my favorite holidays. Not for the food (I don't even like turkey), but for the rich meaning of the day.

I am grateful to live in a country where our founding fathers dreamed up the idea of a national day of thanksgiving. What a place!

"Gratitude should go forward, rather than backward. In other words, if you carry the message to still others, you will be making the best possible repayment for the help given to you." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 29

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday before Thanksgiving

I like this week. I like Thanksgiving. I like the fact that I am not traveling for Thanksgiving. I like that so many people are on vacation at work - I can get a lot of work done this week! I like that it is supposed to snow later today!!!

Last night I met the sponsee who has recently been drinking at a meeting. It was a wonderful meeting and just the thing the doctor ordered - I think. A new woman brought up the topic of "what are the rules around here?" There was an altercation at a meeting last week and she was very upset about it. Oh, how I remember when I was new and I thought that "they" ought to kick this guy and that guy out of AA. Who "they" was, I had no idea, but "they" needed to fix a lot of stuff about AA!

Someone suggested to me at that time that I read the traditions in the 12 & 12 - so I did. I learned that AA is "benign anarchy" and I came to love it! I later realized that we are all a bunch of drunks and sometimes we behave like a bunch of drunks. Imagine that!

So, last night at the meeting, a few of us talked about AA meeting etiquette. It was great. We got a chance to say that one person talks at a time. That we don't argue with each other during the meeting. That we should not give advice unless asked. That we share our own experience, strength, and hope - and there is not much to argue about there! We even got a chance to say that it is a good idea to get to the meeting on time, and stay until it is over. AND not get up 45 times to go to the bathroom or get coffee, or whatever, during the meeting! I swear I learned how to sit still for an hour by sitting in AA meetings. I was told that I could hold my pee until the meeting was over. Seriously.

It was great that this newly sober again woman was at this meeting. She is really mad at AA for supposedly failing her. It is hard for me to listen to. I tell her it is up to her to stop drinking. We can be there to help, but we cannot do it for her. But I want to hang up the phone and tell her to get screwed. Really, I do.

I really thank God that I was done drinking when I got to AA. That I was ready to listen to things I didn't want to hear. That I was willing to listen to people who didn't look like me or act like me, or wear the finest clothes or drive the nicest cars - or use the nicest language. I was willing to get on my knees and ask a Higher Power to help me - when I thought that Higher Power had turned his back on me so many years before.

And in exchange for "humbling" myself in this way? I have gotten a life grander than anything I ever imagined. Just another AA paradox...

"We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 68

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Morning

This is my now four year old granddaughter - with her princess adorned ice cream cake.... the center of attention, the recipient of great love, and a precious little girl.

I am grateful that I get to be a part of my family today. It is indeed miraculous. I get to watch my daughter's disease affect her family - especially her children. I get to watch what I must have looked like at her age... drunk or sober. I was consumed with selfishness.

I thank God these children have a very actively involved extended family. And I know that God has no grandchildren.

I am going to church this morning. I am in the middle of some pretty intense stuff that I have not been writing about. My audience has expanded to those who are hateful, so it is difficult to write about deep stuff - which I probably shouldn't write about anyway. I think the struggle is over, I think I have finally reached the point of surrender, and that is a good thing. So, going to church on my way to work is probably a good idea this morning.

"We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 85

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Birthday to Scott!

Daave, MC, and Scott - on a lovely April Day in Houston Texas. I just wish Pammie was in the picture - because she was there too! (I wonder how sorry she is that she doesn't get that lovely white blob over her face...)

Happy Happy Birthday Scott. Four years of continuous sobriety! Four years of being a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous! I am so glad I have gotten to meet you, and Daave, and Pammie and other bloggers. You have added immensely to my sober experience.

"Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends-this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives." Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 89

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Morning Meeting

I went to the 6:30 meeting this morning. For some reason, I sat like an old curmudgeon this morning and nearly everything pissed me off.

The meeting started with a woman who has not been sober very long - talking about going to a party tonight - where there will be lots of booze. And she is looking forward to showing everyone that she is sober! She is impervious to the temptations of booze!

And everyone said "oh, goodie goodie for you".

I said "the big book says we are neither cocky nor are we afraid." That if all the people who GOT sober in that meeting were still sober, we would have to hold the meeting at Mile High Stadium.

Maybe I have seen too many people go out recently. Maybe I am disturbed by the woman I sponsor who is lying again. She is drinking - and still going to meetings, and still talking to me. She is in her 60s, has a bad heart and a bad liver, I do not want to go to her funeral.

I am sober by the grace and perfect mercy of God. That's it. I am more grateful than words could begin to say. I wish everyone who got to AA was done drinking. I wish everyone who was done drinking could realize that they are out of good ideas. I wish everyone who was done drinking had already lost everything they needed out of their lives in order to stay sober. But that, unfortunately, is not always the case.

So I will go out and run this morning and by the time I have run 8 miles, I won't be worried and frustrated anymore. I will be a happy girl.

"If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that some day we will be immune to alcohol." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 33

Friday, November 16, 2007

Good Friday Morning




There is a beautiful sunrise brewing out there and I think I will get out and run in it! I will post a picture if I take a glorious one.
----------------------------------------------------------------
It was pink and gorgeous when I got outside. I got to see the sunrise, which was beautiful - and bright! At 3 miles, I saw the bird's nest. I thought it was so pretty. A little thing hidden by the leaves for 6 months, and now exposed.

I have no great wisdom today. I am just grateful to be alive and sober and part of God's beloved creation. I will go forth and try to live up to this glorious gift.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Morning

And I get to go to church to sit in silent prayer for an hour from 5 to 6 a.m.

Then I get to come home and go back to bed for an hour or so before I get up and quickly put my clothes back on and get out the door to work.

I get to go to my nice office today.

I get to crunch numbers this morning, figuring out means, standard deviations and confidence intervals ( I Like This!)

I get the chance to show if I have any recovery at a weekly meeting at 2:00 p.m. that weekly tests my serenity, peace, self-esteem, patience, and love.

I don't regularly meet with any of my sponsees on Thursday night, so I get to come straight home from work and do whatever the heck I feel like doing (and what I feel like doing might be to go to a meeting and dinner with my oldest sponsee!)

I have new glasses with a new prescription and I get to see better than I have for a while!

For all these things, I am grateful.... well, maybe not the 2:00 meeting at work. Some Thursdays I wish I could disappear just from about 1:30 to 3:30. Fall off the face of the earth.... but the rest of it? I am grateful, happy, and thankful!

"Can we actually carry the AA spirit into our daily work? Can we meet our newly recognized responsibilities to the world at large? And can we bring new purpose and devotion to the religion of our choice? Can we find a new joy of living in trying to do something about all these things?" -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 112

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Slipping

Today would have been one of my sponsees' first AA birthday. She called yesterday to tell me that she had been drinking for about a month. Drinking and going to meetings, and still calling me. She was so full of shame it was awful. She was so afraid to tell me that she was drinking.

I told her that she did what alcoholics do. We drink. I told her that I do not judge her and no one else has the right to judge her either. I told her she is an adult woman and I cannot force her to do anything, but I have attended enough funerals and I believe I will attend hers in short order if she continues to drink. She said she would go to a meeting and raise her hand. I will find out today if she did that. I pray she did. Literally, I pray she did. I pray for her every single day. She is such a beautiful person.

I told her that we are not able to keep ourselves sober. Only God can keep us sober. We have to cooperate a little, but that is about it.

That is why you will never ever hear me say....
Keep coming back, it works, IF YOU WORK IT.

Bullshit.

It just works. God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. If I was able to WORK to stay sober, I would have gotten sober years before I ruined my marriage, caused trauma to my children, and withstood years of alcoholic misery.

In surrendering to God, and allowing Him to work in my life, I have been able to do things I could never have dreamed. God has fashioned me into a woman I had no idea even existed.

I pray that this beautiful woman can surrender to God and allow Him to work in her life.

"The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 43

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yay! Back to Work!

No more mid-morning runs. No more mid morning, mid afternoon, and mid evening naps. No more snacking all the live long day.

I am back to work today! Yay!

I have enjoyed my vacation, but I am happy to be going back to work. I stopped into my office yesterday afternoon because I needed something. It looked so pretty. My desk chair was so comfortable.

If only I could just appreciate the job for what it is and not worry about what everyone else is doing, my work life would be much happier. In the last couple of months, I have watched someone else get promoted around me... the job I have been hanging around waiting for years for it to open, certain that I would get it. Then I applied for another job and didn't get that either.

My sponsor keeps saying a big change is around the corner for me. I thought it was nursing school. Then I thought it was teaching. Maybe the big change is in my own psyche.

"Happiness isn't having what you want, it is wanting what you have." (I don't know who to attribute this to, does anyone?)

Today I want what I have. I am so incredibly grateful for this life I have today.

"We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 105

Monday, November 12, 2007

The less I do...

The less I want to do. When I was a teenager, my uncle told me that if you want something done, ask the busiest person you know to do it. That made no sense to me then. But I have realized the truth in that as I have aged.

This is my last day of vacation. I am glad. I have enjoyed it immensely, but I have watched my energy level decrease by the day. Last night I went to bed at 7:30 - and slept until 5: 30 this morning. I miss my normal self who does so much and still has time to do some more.

I am now off to an AA meeting, then I will go to the gym, then I need to finish my homework for my class tonight.

"True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every AA meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 33

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Grateful Grandmother

This is a candid shot of my granddaughter taken yesterday on our hike. She was looking out at Denver and finding landmarks and thereby figuring out where her grandfather, her uncle, and her aunt all live.

This morning I went to a meeting where there was much reality. A woman's son had a serious car accident... the man next to me had fallen asleep at the wheel last night and gone off the road at 75 mph - and was there to talk about it... a man has separated from his wife of 30 years. And I know what I say next is what people don't understand about AA, and indeed, some even HATE AA for this... but we were all so very grateful. Her son lived! He is in serious condition, but he has a mom he can count on to be there today - that was not always the case. His truck didn't rollover - even though he was going so fast and he is alive and sober to be there today. He is sober - heartbroken, hurt, devastated, but sober. He has a chance if he remains sober. If he drinks, he loses all.

Today I will take a run, and then get ready for my son coming over for lunch. After he leaves, I need to finish my homework for Biblical School. The assignments are getting harder every week, and I am really spending a lot of time reading scripture... something I never realized how much I would enjoy.

Today is Veterans' Day. I am so grateful for all the men and women of the all volunteer armed services of the United States - who have been willing to put it all on the line for what they believe in. I am particularly grateful for my son, the fact that he is home, but also for who he is. He is a wonderful man, a veteran of a foreign war, who gladly went off to do what he thought was right. I am so proud.

"On the day that the calamity of Pearl Harbor fell upon our country, a great friend of AA was walking along a St. Louis street. Father Edward Dowling was not an alcoholic, but he had been one of the founders of the struggling AA group in his city. Because many of his usually sober friends had already taken to their bottles that they might blot out the implications of the Pearl Harbor disaster, Father Ed was anguished by the thought that his cherished AA group would probably do the same. Then a member, sober less than a year, stepped alongside and engaged Father Ed in a spirited conversation--mostly about AA. Father Ed saw, with relief, that his companion was perfectly sober. 'How is it that you have nothing to say about Pearl Harbor? How can you roll with a punch like that?' 'Well,' replied the yearling, 'each of us in AA has already had his own private Pearl Harbor. So why should we drunks crack up over this one?" -- As Bill Sees It, p. 71

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Morning

Oh! What a glorious thing it is! It's Saturday morning. It's going to be a beautiful November day. My granddaughter spent the night with me. We just ate breakfast and will soon take a hike up a nearby mountain.

What a joy it is to live as a sober woman! My entire family was here last night for dinner. Then we realized that the Wizard of Oz was on television. We turned out the lights and watched the movie. The little one was so afraid of the Wicked Witch of the West... she ran to my son, her uncle, every time the witch was on... it was so dear.

So, I will give little Miss a bath and then bundle up for a hike up a mountain! Fun at Nana's!

"It is not always the quantity of good things that you do, it is also the quality that counts." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 11

Friday, November 09, 2007

Comment Moderation

I apologize to all but one... I have enabled "comment moderation". Our sexually abused, orphaned, bipolar disordered (manic phase), hyperreligious, delusional friend from down unda has crossed the line and I cannot have this stuff polluting my blog.

I am a Roman Catholic woman, my faith means more to me than anything. To distort the face and words of Jesus Christ to make a point about your loathing of AA is just more than I can bear.

I turn on electric lights every day. This does not mean I am "idol worshiping" Thomas Alva Edison. I just use what God enabled him to discover, or invent. I don't even think about it, and I certainly don't need to figure out what his beliefs were. I am thankful that God gave us intellect and we have been able to do many things with it.

I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I do not worship Bill Wilson. I just use what God enabled him to discover, or invent. I don't need to pick Bill Wilson apart. I thank God that he put Bill and Bob together when he did and they were able to find a way to recover from a "seemingly hopeless state of mind and body." Then they passed that on to others and now we have approximately 2 million recovering alcoholics.

Alcoholics Anonymous does not ever enter into religious debate. That does not mean its members are not religious. Many of us are deeply religious. But we of Alcoholics Anonymous are free to find our own paths. We are not the arbiters of anyone's religiosity or spirituality.

I know as I write this that I should not post it, but I will post it. I am a human being. I have been wounded by these cruel and idiotic comments on my blog. To cloak your hatred in supposed Christianity is so incredibly hurtful to me and gives us all a big fat black eye.

"Judge not, that you not be judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get." Matthew 7:1-2"

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Vacation Activities...

I went shopping yesterday! My sister had sent me a gift certificate, and there was a sale, and there was an additional 25% off sale items... so I got $601. worth of merchandise for $229., $29. of which I had to cough up. Oh, it was delightful! 2 pairs of shoes, 1 handbag, 1 sweater, 1 cashmere wrap, and 2 pairs of stockings!

Then I went to see a movie. The Movie (Bella) was good. Eduardo Verastegui is so good looking it is unbelievable.I am off to church now. Then I will go to a meeting. Then the rest of the day is free for me to take a run, take a nap, have lunch, have dinner, go to another movie, do what I want! I am loving this vacation.

"Thank you so much for your letter of criticism. I'm certain that had it not been for its strong critics, AA would have made slower process. ... The unreasonable ones have taught me, I hope, a little patience." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 326

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wonderful Wednesday

On Monday, I actually considered going back to work and forgoing this "waste of time, not going anywhere" vacation. Yesterday I had a great day, and frankly this morning I am enjoying sitting here in my jammies, drinking coffee, not worrying about being anywhere.

Yesterday morning I went to a meeting, then I went to church, then I came home and ran 3 miles, then I had lunch with a dear friend. I came home and took a 2 HOUR NAP! Then a sponsee came over, after she left I watched my fave TV show (House), and then I went to bed! It was a great day!

I haven't spoken to my sponsor about my big career decision yet. I think I have made my decision though. I think it is tempting to go back to square one with my career and start something new. That is what I like to do. I would like to start in an entirely new direction. However, I think it is more responsible to progress in the career I have already devoted most of my career to. I am good at it, I have the skills, knowledge, and ability - and I have creativity. I can bring all that into teaching others. (I talked about this briefly at the meeting yesterday, and afterwards a new woman came up to me and told me she didn't care WHAT I was teaching, she wanted to be in my class!)

Today I think I will go shopping. I still have a movie I would really like to see... either this afternoon or tonight. It is Bella and is supposed to be very special.

I am so glad I decided to just take this time to just be at home. It is good.

I am considering discontinuing my AA literature quote at the end of each post - it seems I pick the same quotes over and over.... any opinions?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Third Step is Forever...

Forever, since that day in July 1984, to this day, my life is in God's hands. When I have tried to pry it back it has been disastrous.

So, I sat on my dream of going to nursing school, not telling anyone - thinking it would go away. It hasn't gone away, but yesterday something else got inserted into the equation.

I had a call in to the director of the program at the University from which I graduated. Yesterday she called me back. She said she had been thinking about me and was going to call me anyway. She offered me a job teaching. I told her I would have to consider it and call her back, but it was very exciting.

I would rather go to nursing school. But the truth is - it would be far wiser for me to grow up and teach in my own field - in which I have considerable experience and knowledge. I still haven't made a decision, but I think I am leaning toward making the "wise" decision. I have always wanted to teach and it would increase my income quite a bit. (It is a program for adults, so it is nights and weekends - I would keep my current job and add this on.)

So, since I am on vacation - I am going to a meeting this morning, then to church, then I am going to go to a movie this afternoon, and this evening I have a sponsee coming over. Sounds like a great day to me! Hope you all have a great sober day!

"True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 46

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cool November Morning


Today is my first day of this week of vacation. Unfortunately, I have to go to court. My homeowner's association is suing someone who refuses to pay their dues ($100. a year!) and the president of the board has asked all of the board to show up for moral support. So I will go and be morally supportive (?) and hope this doesn't take all day. - and as you might guess, there is more to this story than just the $100. a year... but it isn't even worth the space to type it.

I hope that today I will get more information about the nursing school I hope to attend. On Friday I put in some phone calls and some requests for mailed information . I could conceivably get some answers today. I am still praying and still very very excited about the idea.

The picture above is from my run on Saturday morning. A cell phone photo barely begins to do it justice, but there it is anyway.

I don't seem to have much to say this morning. I am just feeling very happy and peaceful. I had a wonderful weekend, full of people I love. Night watch on Saturday was just wonderful, yesterday my son came over, and later someone came over and we sat on the sofa and watched a football game. My house is immaculately clean from all the preparations for Saturday. It is beautiful outside. I still have a lingering cough, but I am not sick like I was just a few days ago. Life is good.

"Such is the paradox of AA regeneration: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one's old life as a condition for finding a new one." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 49

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Standard Time

This is one of my favorite days of the year... It is 5:44 a.m., but feels like 6:44 a.m. to me. So, I can go out and run before church this morning! By noon, it will be time for a nap, and heck, I just might take one.

Night watch was spectacular! It really was a spectacle to see so many people in my tiny house. We ate almost all the food, which I have never seen happen at night watch - and believe me, there was a LOT of food. We only got three phone calls, 2 looking for meetings, and one real live 12 step call.

Do you know how risky it feels to be telling you all my dream? I hope that it will become reality, so I better start saying it out loud (or writing it out loud)...

I want to go to nursing school.

There is a program at the University where I got both my bachelor's and master's degrees - it is for people who are already working full time in healthcare, who have bachelor's degrees, but not in nursing... who want to get a bachelor's in nursing. It is a 2 year program... the classes are at night and the clinicals are on the weekends. I know it has to be expensive, this kind of wonderful program does not come cheap. What I don't know is if there is a wait list. As a woman 5 weeks away from her 56th birthday, I do not have the luxury of a year or two wait.

There are prerequisites, 2 of which I have already completed - Anatomy and Physiology I and Anatomy and Physiology II. I would need to take Chemistry and Microbiology before admittance. I could easily get that done before next summer.

So, I feel so excited just because I am moving forward on a dream. I thought I was too old. I thought my lot in life was cast. But I am going to put one foot in front of the other and move forward with this. If it is possible, it will happen. If it is not to be, it will not be. But I feel so very excited.

"We are privileged to communicate with each other to a degree and in a manner not very often surpassed among our nonalcoholic friends in the world around us." -- As Bill Sees It, p.231