Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Big Book

This is the big book someone gave me at my first meeting on July 24, 1984. It is a 3rd edition. None of the pages are attached to the binding anymore. I love that book. If I could have a wish for everyone who comes to AA, it might be: May your big book fall apart, may all the pages be so highlighted and underlined that you are barely able to read them, may you have so many momentos of your sobriety tucked away in the book that it is difficult to close, may you treasure this book until the day you die - sober.

I don't need to tell you, but I will anyway: if you stick to that book, do what it says, and teach others to do what it says, you will have a life beyond your wildest dreams. A good life.

It is snowing. I am actually relieved because I was planning to run this morning for the third day in a row which is hard on this old lady's body. The rest of my week is wacked! My daughters turn 28 tomorrow, so I am making dinner for them. They asked for pizza. Of all the things I can cook, they always ask for pizza. Oh well. It is good. I think I will make seviche for an appetizer. yummmmy.

Have a happy Wednesday everyone.

"I've seen this in the 'AA Grapevine' a lot of times, and I've had people say it to me personally, and I've heard people get up in meetings and make the same statement: The statement is, 'I came into AA solely for the purpose of sobriety, but it has been through AA that I have found God.' I feel that is about the most wonderful thing that a person can do." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (3rd ed.) p. 192

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

God's Mosaic

Last night when I got home from work and my 5:30 meeting, I had a phone message from my son-in-law. He and my daughter are no longer together. He has just gotten out of rehab - 3 months at the VA hospital. I am trying to be supportive of him without getting into the middle of the mess between he and my daughter, so actually I wasn't happy to see his number on my caller ID. I listened to his message, all about how great he feels and how good his life is today, and I sort of mentally rolled my eyes. You know the way someone with 90 days sounds... full of himself. Anyway, then he changed my mind about this when he said "my life is good, and a lot of it is because of you, thank you, I appreciate it."

At the meeting last night, I looked at the 3 new guys there who had raised their hands. I used to look at new guys with a lot of skepticism, I am now ashamed to say. But now I look and see someone's son or daughter, someone's wife or husband, someone's father or mother. Someone who would make a difference to their family and hosts of others in and out of AA, if only they could get sober.

I am humbled to get to be a part of this. I used to think I had to say something wise and wonderful. Now I realize that maybe all I need to do is smile. Maybe all I need to do is pat someone on the back, remember their name, and let them know that someone cares. Perhaps when I take another AA member out for a cup of coffee, a pizza, or a hot fudge sundae, I am doing 12 step work, even though it just feels like a social visit. Maybe God gets to use me this way. Maybe I get to be an example of living sober, with every breath I take. I find this very humbling. I can't believe that I get to be a piece, albeit a small one, of this mosaic of life. I am so grateful.

"Punishment never heals. Only love can heal." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 98
P.S. - why do I have to do word verification to publish this post?!?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Mahvellous Monday

I set my alarm this morning so that I could be sure to have time to do all that I like to do in the morning and also maybe get to work on time. I do not like waking to the sound of an alarm, but I need to get some discipline in my mornings. I normally get up whenever I wake up, make some coffee, sit down and read and pray for about a half hour, spend about an hour checking my e-mail, reading blogs, and posting on my blog, then most days I get out and run, and THEN, I get back home and start getting ready for work.

I bought a book about training for a marathon yesterday. I am going to take a step back in my mileage. I am also going to start running 4 days a week instead of 5. But I am going to be more disciplined about my runs, meaning I am not going to head out and run as long as I feel like running. I am going to head out with a plan and stick to it. So this morning, as soon as it is a little bit light out, I will run 3 miles.

Last night, I was watching the "red carpet" pre-awards show thing when Mr. Former Sweetie-Man called. We watched the show together and talked on the phone. We do this rather frequently. Anyway, I was so delighted as rail thin, after rail thin, after rail thin woman appeared on the red carpet, and he kept saying "she is too skinny," "she is too skinny," "she is nothing but skin and bones," etc.

With my half-marathon training in full swing, I will not be losing any more weight for a while. I need to accept this. I really had hoped to get down another size before summer, but that aint happenin'. I need to be OK with that. You cannot believe how hungry you can get when you are running 20 + miles a week.

I better get to it!

"Faith is more than our greatest gift; its sharing with others is our greatest responsibility. May we of AA continually seek the wisdom and the willingness by which we may well fulfill that immense trust which the Giver of all perfect gifts has placed in our hands." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 13

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Afternoon

I didn't feel like writing this morning - or doing anything else for that matter. So, I went to a 6:30 a.m. meeting. I even felt disconnected at the meeting. Nothing made sense to me, and nothing was funny, even though everyone else was laughing uproariously (is that a word? apparently so, wordcheck likes it.) After the meeting, I talked with my friend Larry, who agreed that no one was making sense this morning. After talking to him I was relieved that I wasn't unique in my perceptions, and I also realized how profoundly tired I am.

So instead of running, I went down to the best book store in the Universe - The Tattered Cover. I spent an hour or so picking out and buying a couple of books I want to read. Then I came home and went for a leisurely bike ride instead of a run. I am now going to eat lunch, take a nap, and get ready to watch at least part of the Academy Awards.

A friend from the 5:30 meeting called me this morning just to tell me how much she admires the way I handle the stress of having a son at war. That was a wonderful affirmation. She is a sweetheart. The new woman who asked me to sponsor her last Sunday still hasn't called, but I have seen her at meetings and talked to her. She said that one day this week she felt that she just could not stand the stress in her life and that she HAD to drink. But then she said she thought about me, and realized that she does not HAVE to drink. She can stay sober. Wow. That really touched my heart. I guess there is a reason for all the sharing I do, even when I feel like everyone must be sick to death of hearing from me.

"The only real freedom a human being can ever know is doing what you ought to do because you want to do it." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (3rd ed.,) p. 553

Saturday, February 24, 2007

So Grateful to be a Sober Member of Alcoholics Anonymous

Last night I went to the 45th anniversary of a group that is known as the Lions Club Meeting. That is not really the name of the group, but that is what everyone calls it because it is held at the Lions Club. When I walked in it felt like heaven because I saw so many faces I had not seen for a long time. I got to sit next to the man who took me to my first meeting. It was a podium call-up meeting, and being all old-timers, they all knew how to keep their remarks short to allow more people the opportunity to share. It was awesome. About half-way through the meeting, I turned to my friend, and said "well, I guess we are newcomers here - I hope they'll let us have some cake!" It was a wonderful feeling to feel like I am just a newcomer to the program and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I thought of how much our friend in Montana would have enjoyed the meeting. The few remaining old guys from Sho-Gro were there... and mostly they reminisced about the old guys who have passed. Dick S.'s wife shared that Feb. 22 would have been his 50th AA anniversary. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house.

This morning, I went to my regular 6:30 a.m. meeting and saw a woman celebrate 5 years and another celebrate 10. I was grateful to be with young people who are having the same experience that the old folks were talking about last night. What a wonderful thing we keep passing from one drunk to another drunk... it keeps on going, and saving lives, and giving us a feeling of belonging, being loved, and accepted - many of us for the first time in our lives.

I woke up with a migraine this morning, I am going to eat some breakfast now and go back to bed. I hope I dream about the wonderful people in AA.

"There is no more 'aloneness' with that awful ache, so deep in the heart of every alcoholic that nothing, before, could ever reach it. That ache is gone and never need return again. Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved. In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys of the Kingdom." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, (3rd ed.) p. 312

Friday, February 23, 2007


It's Friday. It's going to be warm today for one last day before the next freaking snow storm. I intend to enjoy it. Even though I will be at work. I am doing better without the soda. Yesterday was really OK. The first day (Wednesday) was miserable.

I'm going out for a quick run now. Then to work. Then to either the 5:30 meeting on my way home from work or a meeting across town - depending on the weather. A group is celebrating its 40th anniversary tonight. I would dearly love to be there. It is one I attended regularly in my first couple of years of sobriety. Most of the old guys who used to be there are now gone to the big meeting in the sky, but there are still plenty of us 20-somethings, and 30-somethings to see. It was a Friday night speaker meeting, a whole lot of us would go there, and then head out for dinner. It was great fellowship. I am glad to report that I have found this same kind of fellowship at the 5:3o meeting I attend regularly now.

I am so grateful that I have had these years of sober experience. I have known and loved so many sober alcoholics. They have enriched my life in ways that I could not begin to describe. (oh, and last night my sober ex-husband - not the father of my children, but the one who now lives in Taiwan - sent me an e-mail with a picture of his current wife. whatever... we are weird people..)

"Learning how to live in the greatest peace, partnership, and brotherhood with all men and women, of whatever description, is a moving and fascinating adventure." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 145

Thursday, February 22, 2007

life without soda

At work, trying to work, without my ever-present diet pepsi, diet dr. pepper, or other caffeinated, carbonated beverage. I am giving it up for lent. This is killing me!!!!

My presentations went well yesterday. The results are out of my hands, but I feel good about my part, and I am fine with that. I talked about this to one of my committees yesterday and they acted like they never heard such a concept. I guess in AA we get so used to living a certain way, we think everyone else does too.

Sponsee came over last night and we read about 1/4 of the Doctor's Opinion. That is some powerful stuff, especially when reading it with someone who has never read it before. I could see the lightbulb coming on across the dining room table. I love this!

"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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

I am very excited about going to church this morning and getting my ashes. I don't know exactly why I love Ash Wednesday so much, but I do.
At 9:30 I have to give two presentations - annual reports of committees I chair. I have recommendations from both of the committees and I pray that I can present them in such a way to convince the powers that be that we need to take action. Most likely I will not be able to do this though. I have been through this enough times to realize that I will be asked to go back to my committees and do more study, get more facts, etc. I hate to go back and tell them I was not successful. They never see it as my lack of success though. Thank God for the wonderfully supportive people with whom I work.

Tonight my new (but not newest) sponsee will come over and we will start our journey through the big book. I hope she will follow through with all twelve steps and the whole book. It usually takes close to a year. It is a wonderful process and it will be good for me.

Thanks to that bearded gentleman from the Big Sky Country for sharing this with me - back in the day when it seemed no one else could help. The day I beat up a clown. Yes, I really beat up a clown, and he weighed 300 lbs. Sitting around a table at an AA clubhouse, he called me a name I could not accept. I had close to 5 years of sobriety then, but I went into a rage blackout and attacked the clown. My friend pulled me off the clown, and unfortunately, I broke my friend's watch - and I hurt the 300 lb. clown. And surprisingly, the Club threw the clown out, but not me, which really shocked me. Was I ready to do a First Step on a more profound level that day? Yeah. And did God see fit to put my friend in my life to take my through the big book in a way I had never been before? (Even though I had been through the steps several times before then.) Yeah. I really credit that experience, as awful as it was, for saving my life. And yes, the clown did make amends to me, and I made amends to him, and when we see each other at meetings or funerals today, we warmly hug each other. There IS recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.

So today, instead of being an angry lunatic hanging out at an AA clubhouse, I am on my way to church, then I will head off to my office, give a couple of presentations, and then at the end of the day I will head home - meet a newly sober woman in AA and share what my friend shared with me. Wow! I LOVE sobriety!

AND I got an e-mail from my son today!

"Faith is more than our greatest gift; its sharing with others is our greatest responsibility. May we of AA continually seek the wisdom and the willingness by which we may well fulfill that immense trust which the Giver of all perfect gifts has placed in our hands." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 13

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday Predawn

I am grateful to be going back to work this morning. I am grateful that the streets and sidewalks are clear enough to get out and run now. I am only going to run 2 to 3 miles this morning. I have been so tired, I am afraid I am overtraining.

Peter's 5th birthday was wonderful last night. Every seat in the room was full, and there were numerous people standing. The roar of the laughter and even the Serenity and Lord's Prayers was wonderful! With that many people, even praying is loud! Due to the crappy weather, I have not been on that side of town for a while - it was great to see so many of my old friends. At one point, I looked around the room and counted at least 6 people who were there when I got there... 22 and a half years ago. They are still sober and so am I. Peter is a wonderful man who has always been serious about his sobriety. He takes a meeting to a prison once a week and he always talks about this as the highlight of his week. I am so blessed to have people like Peter in my life.

"We have been speaking to you of serious, sometimes tragic things. We have been dealing with alcohol in its worst aspect. But we aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 132

Monday, February 19, 2007


I may not work out as a sponsor for this new woman. She called yesterday morning and said she was having a breakdown and going to the doctor. She called after seeing the doctor and taking the medications the doc prescribed. Xanax for anxiety. hmmm. Well, my limitation here is that I am not a drug addict. I have no clue about whether this woman has anxiety - who doesn't with less than 2 weeks of sobriety? or whether she is drug seeking, or what the hell she is doing. I just told her that if she was up all night, I sure didn't see her at the 6:30 a.m. meeting. That maybe she could try running to a meeting, or to prayer instead of to a pill bottle. I keep thinking about the fact that her last "slip" was on prescription medications.

I am faced with my limitation in sponsoring her. I know about drinking and I know that I can't drink at all. Period. I work at a psychiatric hospital, and I know for sure that some people NEED psychotropic medications. I am the last person to tell someone that they shouldn't take something their doctor prescribed. But, with this woman? Maybe that is what someone should be telling her, but it probably isn't me.

At the 5:30 meeting last night, a woman with 20 days who doesn't believe in God asked me to sponsor her. And for some reason, I said yes. I don't know why I am suddenly attracting these women, but there must be a reason.

Today is my friend Peter's 5th AA birthday. Peter is the other shadow in my profile photo. I will drive up to my old homegroup tonight for his birthday meeting. Thank God for the people who are serious about this program and stay sober.

"Today I practice being just another alcoholic in the worldwide Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous." -- Daily Reflections, p.58

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Peaceful Sunday

I think I sounded somewhat manic in my post yesterday. Believe me, I am not manic. I am just a bit of an overachiever. I had a lot planned yesterday because I wanted to have a day of rest today... and sure enough, I have a day of rest today. I painted my bathroom a very pale blue/green (after I ran 7 miles and met with my new sponsee) . It is pretty. I bought new towels - I think it looks nice.
My ex-husband got an e-mail from my son yesterday. He has been working every single day and hasn't had a moment to himself. He said he will call everyone this week. I miss him so much. I try not to worry, but I am a mom, and he is at war, and frankly I would be a little bit nuts if I didn't worry some. I just try not to let it consume my life.
Today as I was getting ready for the 6:30 a.m. meeting, I thought about my first sponsor. She met her husband and moved to England 10 years ago. Her husband is a drinker, and after a few years, my friend became a drinker again too. Let me be quick to add that she stopped attending meetings long before this. We are not in contact very much anymore. The last time I talked to her, she said she was going to quit drinking, because she had just had a heart attack. I can tell from the couple of e-mails I have gotten from her, that she has not been successful at quitting drinking. But when I spoke with her, she told me that she really started drinking heavily when her son was in Iraq. I am so grateful that instead of drinking, I have become even more involved in AA and everything I am supposed to be doing to maintain some semblance of sanity... and it is working. I will be forever grateful to my friend because she twelve stepped me through my first couple of months of sobriety. I am so sad about her and I pray for her. God Bless all of Us Alcoholics. What a dreadful disease we have. But by the Grace of a Loving God, we get to live good lives when we surrender...
"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

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Morning

Normally on a Saturday morning, I feel free and happy. This morning I just feel pressure. It feels like I have too much to do. This morning I am going to go to a 6:30 meeting, and then get my Saturday morning run in. These are a couple of the highlights of my week. Then, I want to go to Macy's and see if I can get a set of towels that will look good with the color of paint I have tentatively chosen for my bathroom... if I can, I will buy them and then go to Lowe's and purchase paint. My new sponsee wants to get together today to talk about her first step... I told her I would find an hour for her. My house needs some basic dusting and vacuuming before I start painting. I will need a nap somewhere in there because I have been awake since 3 a.m., and then I have church at 5:00 p.m. Then begins the Sabbath, and I really try to rest on Sunday. --- as you can see, something's got to give in this plan, and I am not clear yet what it is... I bet by the time I go to my meeting and run for an hour, I will know what it is (but the meeting and the run are the non-negotiables.)

I have not heard from my son now for nearly a month. It will be four weeks on Monday. It has been a long four weeks. I hope I will hear from him this weekend.

"When the newcomer approached the oldtimer, envying his accomplishments and many years of sobriety, the oldtimer slapped down his hand like a gavel and said, 'I'll trade you even! My thirty years for your thirty days - right now!' He knew what the newcomer had yet to find out: that true happiness is found in the journey, not the destination." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 511

Friday, February 16, 2007

Now Wind

Gusts of 100 miles per hour. All night long. It is hard to sleep through that, but I did sleep most of the night.

Yesterday morning on the way out of here to the gym, I first fell down the stairs - which I deserved for walking around without any lights on, and fortunately I did not get hurt. Then I realized my iPod was dead, and I am not running without my iPod. So, I went to a 6:30 a.m. AA meeting instead. It was wonderful. The roads were so bad, there were only like 6 people there, and it was a really good meeting. After work, I went to the gym for a quick 3 mile run, and then to my 5:30 meeting, with hair dripping sweat - sweet! It was also a good meeting. I was happy to see my new sponsee there because she is not going to very many meetings.

It is Friday. It is a three day weekend. I might paint my bathroom this weekend. And then again, I might not.

I am running late, I better get out of here.

"The problem of resolving fear has two aspects. We shall have to try for all the freedom from fear that is possible for us to attain. Then we shall need to find both the courage and the grace to deal constructively with whatever fears remain." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 61

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Makes a person feel dull and uninspired. I have had it with snow, ice, clouds, temperatures in the single digits, and not being able to step outside in the morning and start running. And here it is Thursday and I can't decide what picture to post because I have taken a bunch, but I am not in love with any of them.

I am going to drive to the gym and run on the dreadmill. Then I will come home and prepare to go to work. It has been a hard week at work.

Here's my picture - I took it last night. It is a boring written 10th step inventory. I do it at night as I go to bed.
My prayer for today? Please God, Please, let this weather end soon. I need to be outside in your sunshine. I need to run and breathe and thank you for my health and fresh air. I need to exult in your creation. Thank you.

"When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afriad? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? We we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 86

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Here is a picture I took last spring of a rose bush I had just purchased. The same bush is buried under the frozen tundra that is my back yard today, but I know there is life there and there will be fresh roses again.

At work we give each other flowers on Valentine's Day. I feel like a child, I await those flowers and I read each word on the cards, I really cherish them. I dislike not having a sweetheart on Valentine's Day, but it is OK.

"From experience, I've realized that I cannot go back and make a brand-new start. But through AA, I can start from now and make a brand-new end." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (4th ed.), p. 457
***late addendum***
For some reason, today after I read a comment from the guy from the Big Sky, I remembered a Valentine's Day long ago. I was at a meeting, crying because I didn't have a sweetie and didn't get any gifts for Valentine's Day. I didn't notice Denny B. get up and leave the meeting, but I sure did notice when he came back a few minutes later with a box of chocolates and a big heart shaped balloon. For me. I cried because it meant so much to me. Denny is now in the big meeting in the sky, and hopefully I am not so self-centered anymore. But I so cherish these memories. My life is full of sober memories. Memories of the wonderful souls in Alcoholics Anonymous. Can't hardly get any better than that!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Freezing Rain, Fog, Snow...

Another day to remember next summer when I think it is too hot, too sunny, too bright, too comfy.

Sponsoring a new person in AA is really an amazing experience. I haven't sponsored anyone in their first weeks or months in a couple of years. It is amazing how many major mood changes can occur in a day! I am so grateful that I am not there anymore, and I am grateful for the reminder, and I am grateful to have this young woman in my life. Tonight a sponsee with 11 years comes over, and we are very comfortable with each other, I have been her sponsor for years. Tomorrow night, my new sponsee is scheduled to come over. This should be interesting. I am grateful to a loving God for what he has provided.

I better get a move on. There is big stuff going on at work, I need to be there on time, and the roads are covered with a sheet of ice. This should be interesting.

"Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 97

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday Morning

It's a warm Monday Morning and I am looking forward to getting out for a quick 3 mile run before work. That 13.1 mile run on Saturday really wiped me out for the weekend. I was grateful that I had nothing planned, so I really just kicked back, which was nice.

Yesterday I was out on my front lawn redistributing snow - so it would melt faster - and a neighbor came over and started talking to me about my church. She has decided to go back to church and wanted to talk to me about it, which was nice. She told me she had not been confirmed as a child and wants to be confirmed. Then, she really shocked me, and asked me if I would be her sponsor for confirmation! What a wonderful honor, I am thrilled. And somewhat encouraged - my behavior around the neighborhood must be OK, which is very important to me.

It is important to me because I feel that as a sober person, I have a responsibility to be a good neighbor, a good worker, and good driver, and generally a good person of my community. We have probably all heard at meetings "we may be the only big book another person ever sees," and I have had experiences where I have been identified as an AA member without even realizing it at the time. As a person who has attended AA meetings all over this city, nearly every day, for over 22 years, I have been seen at lots of meetings, and I am not likely to remember every person who has ever seen me at a meeting. It is important that I not act like a jackass (which comes so naturally to me) and instead realize that I may be acting as an Ambassador of AA. And what an honor that is!

"In AA, and in many religious approaches, alcoholics find a great deal more of what they merely glimpsed and felt while trying to grope their way toward God in alcohol." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 323

Sunday, February 11, 2007

500th Post

This is my 500th post on this blog. And to think I started this blog just to communicate with one blogger - I wanted to talk about AA and my alcoholism - and didn't want to do that on my "other" blog. I intended to delete this blog in a day or two but instead I just kept going... and going... and going.... And, I have posted on my "other" blog only once in the last year. And this blog and the wonderful people I have met (some in person, some on the phone, and some only through e-mails, their blogs and comments) means more to me than words can say.

Yesterday I got to Clement Park and started to run, and I felt like crap. But I kept going... and going... and going... and I ran 13.1 miles!!!!! The distance of a half-marathon!!! I was slow, my average pace was over 11 minutes per mile, but I did it. I smiled when other runners would sprint past me on their one, two, or three mile runs... and thought: you go ahead, I am 55 years old, and I am going to run 13.1 miles today. In the last 10th of a mile, I had an emotional breakdown of sorts and just sobbed - and I didn't care who saw me. God is so good to me. I cannot believe the life I have today.

On July 24, 1984, I went to my first AA meeting. I desperately wanted to quit drinking, but I wasn't sure I wanted what you all had. I thought everyone was being phony and acting happy in order to impress ME (because it is all about me). But I kept going... and going... and going... and I realized that they were not acting, and soon I became one of those "phony" happy alcoholics and I still am! Today, 22 and a half years later, I realize that without AA and my sobriety, I would have nothing. Nothing. I would probably not be alive, and if I were, I would probably be an old hag at the bar with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, and with flesh that is years past being lovely on full display... trying to pick up young men.

Thanks to a loving God and Alcoholics Anonymous, today I am someone who can hold her head up in the world. I can go to church and not be concerned about the roof's integrity. I can go to work and be a "worker among workers", I can be a neighbor in my neighborhood, and I can be an AA member and a sponsor and a sponsee. These are the things I value and none of this is anything that I even aspired to!

"We have not once sought to be one in a family, to be a friend among friends, to be a worker among workers, to be a useful member of society. Always we tried to struggle to the top of the heap, or to hide underneath it. This self-centered behavior blocked a partnership relation with any one of those about us. Of true brotherhood we had small comprehension." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 53

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

Which ones? Hungry, not really. But I suddenly do want a whole boat load of sugar, because I had increased sugar intake for a couple of weeks and now I am cravey. It will pass.
Angry? nope.
Lonely? yes and no. I always want more attention than a person could ever need, but when it comes to actual invitations and real social occassions, I tend to pass, which leads me to the next item:
Tired: Yes. I am tired. I have a bit of insomnia, which is normal for me. But this bone-weary tiredness is not a bit normal for me. I hope to get restored this weekend.

These are things that a recovering alcoholic should avoid. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired... its acronym is HALT, which is appropriate. We need to stop when we are getting too any of these.

I am heading out of here this morning for a 6:30 meeting, followed by a run. I was hoping to get a long run in this morning. But I was out too late last night and only got a few hours of sleep. I want to see how far I can run, but I don't want to push it. I am so grateful it is Saturday, I can come home and take a nice long winter's nap.

"When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 116

Friday, February 09, 2007

Inspired but tired.

I went back to bed this morning and slept until after 7. That is just crazy. I don't know how I can be this tired. I didn't run this morning or yesterday morning. And that is OK. Tomorrow I will have a long weekend run. Today I get to wear a new sweater! My daughter and I went shopping at lunch time and bought a bunch of stuff at ridiculously low prices! I love it when that happens! And when your favorite color is green, you can frequently find clothing of your favorite color on the CLEARANCE RACK! Imagine!
Last night I was reminded again how wrong I can be. At the 5:30 meeting, I was trying my best to ignore whispering between a man I am interested in (that I have deliberately not talked about in my blog) and a woman sitting next to him. It was really pissing me off. (Yes, I do have green eyes, and a teensy bit of the green eyed monster.) I am grateful I didn't shoot them any dirty looks or do anything else inappropriate. After the meeting, I saw them talking, he nodded towards me, and she came over and told me she has six days sober, wants to work the steps, and needs a sponsor. Of course I will be her sponsor! I haven't sponsored anyone that new in years. It will be good for me.
I still have not heard from my son. This is a real "where the rubber hits the road" experience. I can talk all I want about letting go, trusting God, turning my thoughts to others, etc., but this is where the truth is borne out. I have some real shakey moments, where I feel like I am about to dissolve. I am so grateful that I have years of sober living to draw on. I really think we can draw on the experiences and know that we will be OK.
"Today my life is filled with miracles big and small, not one of which would ever have come to pass had I not found the door of Alcoholics Anonymous." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (4th ed.), p. 475

Thursday, February 08, 2007

new hAAt

I got this hat for being one of the first couple hundred people to register for this marathon. I think the hat is very cool. You can see from the picture that I am very very tired. I really am very very tired. Yesterday was a long day. Lots of work, lots of trying to let go of worrying about young men and women dying in helicopters. Let me just say that I respect my son and his adult decision to do what he is doing. He is truly doing what he wants to do. He may be "my baby boy", but I am keenly aware that he is a man. A grown man who I respect and love with all my heart. You cannot keep the people you love (particularly menfolk) safe. If it were up to mothers, all sons would be librarians, but not all men should be librarians. I so appreciate your prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

"Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 181

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Waiting for daylight

I want to get out there and hit the pavement and run, run, run. Real pavement. Real concrete sidewalks! A lot of the snow has melted since it has been so warm, and I am so grateful for regular things like dry streets and sidewalks. There are still dirty piles of snow everywhere, but they are melting.

Oh Lord of Mercy, I just heard there is another helicopter down in Bagdhad. I don't know how I can possibly not hear this stuff. I have tried to insulate myself so that I don't have the feelings I have right now. Sheer and utter terror. I will walk through it... Well, maybe I will run through it. (for anyone who doesn't know, my son is in the middle of a deployment to Iraq, where he flies a helicopter.) I am getting lots of practice at letting go and trusting God.

"Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 85-86

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Crime Scene Photo

I made a teeny snowman on Sunday afternoon, but it turns out its life was very short.

I don't know who did it! But I have an idea it was Mr. Sunshine. (my very funny daughter did the chalk outlines and called me outside to see it.)

Today I am going to try developing a better habit for the mornings I run. I am going to get up at 4:00, do all my reading, prayer, coffee, blogging, making breakfast, etc., and THEN go out for a run as soon as it is light out. Perhaps then I can get my run in (which seems to be my priority) AND get to work on time (which SHOULD be my priority.)

I didn't go to work yesterday because of my "stomach issues". I stayed in bed all day long and read half a book. Then I went to the tanning salon and a 5:30 meeting. I was sick, but I think I mostly I needed some serious down-time.

We are having some wonderfully warm weather. It is wonderful to see things come out from under the snow. There is still plenty of snow, but it is melting. I am greatly looking forward to my run this morning, it is already 48 degrees outside at 5:00 a.m.

"True leadership, we find, depends upon able example and not upon vain displays of power or glory." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 124

Monday, February 05, 2007

140 Proof

The folks on TV are talking about the "new" phenomena of people drinking hand sanitizer! It is 140 proof, and they are wondering WHY anyone would drink this horrible tasting and dangerous stuff! Why do alcoholics do anything they do? To non-alcoholic, sane people, it is beyond understanding I guess.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. On Sunday, I went through the day with only 3 hours of sleep under my belt. It made for a long day, especially with a football game that was disappointing (to me), rambunctious grandchildren, and a daughter who likes to talk a lot and makes not much sense - but appears to be clean for the moment! But today? when I need to get to work? I slept until 7:00. I seem to be having some stomach issues this morning (details are being left out in consideration of my friends who read this) so I will proceed with my bath and getting dressed, but if this doesn't clear, I am not going to work.

I am glad this is a planned day off from running. Yesterday I ran five miles through not only snow and ice, but now because of the warm weather - we have puddles! Big honking puddles. My feet were soaked by the time I was done yesterday. The weather forecast for the week is warm weather, followed by SNOW on Friday. Please God, let this snow melt before we get more.

"the most compelling part of AA, the part that made me want to try this sober thing, was the laughter, the pure joy of the laughter that I heard only from sober alcoholics." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 333

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sunday Morning

Night watch was wonderful last night. Before we went to Night Watch, we went to a 5:30 meeting. There was a drunk man there who is about to lose one or both of his feet from frostbite. He is homeless and fell asleep in a snowbank. Although he is homeless and beat up, I could see a young man under that filth, beard, and hair. I hope to God that he can recover. Last night he really wanted to. Two of the men took him to the hospital. I will be praying for him, and thanking God for men like the ones who took the time to load him into their car and care for him.

I am so grateful for the program and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Yesterday morning at the 6:30 meeting, I recalled a time in sobriety when I had a health scare. I drove straight from the doctor's office to church. As I sat in the church, I was planning my funeral! I was thinking the AA people would take about half the church, my work friends the other, and I decided they really needed more seating to contain all the people who would turn out to mourn my passing!!! (oh the grandiosity of alcoholics sometimes.) Then I recalled a time when I was 21 years old. In the ravages of alcoholism. I had decided to kill myself. I was writing a suicide note. What stopped me from carrying through my plan? When I realized that my body would not be found until my rent was late enough for my landlord to come into my apartment. What a dreadful thought. It still makes me shudder to think of that kind of aloneness, the aloneness that results from a life where you hurt everyone who loves you. What a difference a few years and being sober makes. Thank you God.

"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

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday Morning

Well, here it is again, my favorite time of the week. Saturday morning, when all of the weekend is stretched out ahead of me, looking like a blank slate full of endless possibilities. Today is packed with planned activities. Tonight is my 6:30 a.m. group's monthly night watch potluck dinner. It is at Robert's house... he had a party on December 28, and no one came because of severe weather. Tonight, we should all pile over there. I am greatly looking forward to it. I think I will bake a chocolate cake, because I usually make a pie (I hate to be predictable and boring), and because I don't particularly like chocolate cake... but others tell me mine is great. Update*** The dang cake fell!!! It is concave. I am too lazy to make anything else, so I guess I will bring it, but this may RUIN my baker's reputation... and of course, there is a MAN I try to impress... he always goes straight to whatever I bring... He asks "What did you bring MC?" and I tell him... regardless of what it is, he eats it first... cheesecake, apple pie, it matters not. It brings me great amounts of secret joy! What will he do when it is a concave chocolate cake?

I thought I would be forced to use the dreadmill at the gym this morning. However, it was 20 degrees at 5:00 a.m., so by 8 or so when I go out to run, it should be nice enough to run outdoors! Yay! Another update *** I ran 6.2 miles outdoors today, it was GLORIOUS!

Tomorrow there is a big football game to watch. I have a preference about who wins, so it should be fun to watch. The party that someone got manipulated into saying they would have never materialized, so it looks like I will be at home for the game... that is OK. I LOVE PRINCE and cannot wait to see what he does at half time. Update No.3 *** My daughter and granddaughters are coming over.... I shall see who else I can recruit!
"God willing, we members of AA may never again have to deal with drinking, but we have to deal with sobriety every day. How do we do it? By learning - through practicing the Twelve Steps and through sharing at meetings - how to cope with the problems that we looked to booze to solve, back in our drinking days." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, (4th ed.) p. 559

Friday, February 02, 2007

Four things...

Shannon tagged me for 4 things about me:
Four Jobs I have Had In My Life: Insurance Broker, Medical Records Director, Cleaning Woman, Roofer.

Four movies I would watch over and over: Johnny Dangerously, Miss Congeniality, Fargo, Anything with Johnny Depp in it.

Four places I have lived: Mt. Prospect, IL, Pittsburgh, PA, Abbotsford, BC, Sedro Woolley, WA

Four TV shows I love to watch: Larry King Live, This Week with Geo. Stephanopolis, House, Seinfeld

Four places I have been on vacation: Vancouver Island, BC, East Hampton, NY, Key Largo, FL, Tucson, AZ

My favorite foods: Sushi, yogurt, cheesecake, steak

Four places I would rather be: A warm beach. Anywhere, well, anywhere clean.

Four people that you expect to answer this: I will make this voluntary, any takers?

Friday Morning

Here is the hematoma I got from donating blood yesterday. My daughter was sitting in the chair next to mine, about to donate blood for the first time, so I couldn't act like a baby when I saw this mess forming on my arm.

I am usually the first of my neighbors to shovel my snow, but this morning I see that my driveway and sidewalk are an anomaly in the 'hood - covered with snow, tire tracks , and foot prints, while everyone else has shoveled. I will shovel it on the way out of here this morning. I am SO DONE with this weather. We are expecting a high temperature of 7 degrees today! And my office is freezing. I am bringing a shawl to work every day. I look like a refugee of some sort.

I remember winter hangover mornings in Chicago. After finding my car, trying to scrape the ice off while trying not to vomit. I guess shoveling a bit of snow before pulling my clean car out of the garage isn't so bad.

"When I look back now, I think I stopped maturing at fifteen when I started to get drunk with the older guys. I wanted to feel at peace with myself and comfortable with other people. I never found it in drinking. The belonging I always wanted I have found in AA and in sobriety. I don't think about drinking. God is there. My sponsor is there. All the credit belongs to God. On my own I could not have quit. I know, I tried it." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 485 (4th ed.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

uh oh

These are not the legs of a Russian Weight Lifter. They are the legs of one Mary Christine. I think this is frightening. But I guess it beats flab... I guess.

I logged 90 miles in January, which I am thrilled about. I never ever thought I could run 90 miles in one month. I also registered for another half-marathon yesterday. This one is the Denver Marathon which is in October. Maybe by October, I will have recovered from the Colorado Colfax half-marathon in May, and the two triathlons in July and August.

I am donating blood at 10:30 this morning. I talked my daughter into joining me. I am a bad donor, I am squeamish, and half the time I feel sick afterwards... but they really really need blood due to the weather of the last month.

"The readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 87