Saturday, March 31, 2007

I feel awful

I don't know whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual. Likely all three. Physically, I have not been able to sleep for four nights now, I also have a sore throat and feel crappy, but who wouldn't on no sleep? That makes me crazy. Mentally - depression causes insomnia - so which comes first? Spiritually, I spoke for 30 minutes yesterday at a meeting and someone close to me told me last night that I didn't not mention "God" once. I nearly died when I heard that, at first I denied it, but then I realized he was telling me the truth... and it is both concerning and out of character.

Having my daughter here is both wonderful and awful. I have lived alone for a very long time. Today we hung out a bit, it was nice. I drove her to an NA meeting and picked her up. Then we washed the car, went to the grocery store to buy stuff for the food bank, and hung out here for a bit before I went to church. She is off to another NA meeting (Thank you God!) tonight. She is clean 11 days and sober 5 days.

After the meeting this morning, one of my friends cornered me and asked me, in the meaningful way, not the polite way - "how ARE you?" I told him "not good." And bless his heart, he put his arms around me, told me he loved me and told me to call him if I wanted. Of course, I have not called him.

Anyway, this is probably temporary. I pray I will get some sleep tonight. But before you start worrying too much about me (as if!) I am still doing what I am supposed to do. Went to a meeting this morning, then for a 6 mile run, spent time with both of my daughters, went to church, ate a good dinner... and now I will prepare to get to bed. Although I feel like crap, I am not laying in bed under the covers. Just thought you should know...

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

Friday, March 30, 2007


If you put the the last three nights' sleep together, I don't think I have gotten even one night's sleep. I am tired and I am speaking at a meeting at 6:30 a.m. I hope I can make some sense.

Yesterday morning I got a call from the local blood bank where I regularly donate blood. When I heard who it was my first thought was "I have some dread disease!" But they called to tell me I am eligible to donate again and asked me if I would donate yesterday because they were in dire need. They told me my blood is special for a couple of reasons and that it is blood that they can give to babies and people with compromised immune systems. So I drove to the donation center and gave blood. I am so grateful I can do this today.

My daughter seems to be doing well, she is going to meetings, is intending to ask someone to be her sponsor today, and does not have, or want, her cell phone. I never would have known what that meant before watching her with that damn phone. It is the most effective tool of her disease.

I better get ready for the meeting. Happy Friday everyone.

"Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hurry, hurry, hurry!

This is the first time in about a year and a half that I have forgotten about HNT. I pulled this photo from the spares... I have so many photos I have taken for HNT and never used, this is one of them. It was taken one morning while driving home from a run.

My daughter left rehab after less than 24 hours. The good thing is she walked from there, with nothing but the clothes on her back, and found a ride to an NA meeting. I picked her up from there.

I got to sit in my car and watch my daughter and the others file out of the room, and silently watched the love in the action of giving a newcomer your phone number, talking to her, telling her a bit of your story, putting your arms around her and telling her to keep coming back. I was sitting in my car with tears in my eyes. It was truly miraculous. We do this stuff every day and I don't think we have any idea what it means to a newcomer or their families. It was a revelation to watch this.

And now I am off to church for my 5 a.m. regular time. This is, by far, the best time of my week!

"If you still think you are strong enough to beat the game alone, that is your affair. But if you really and truly want to quit drinking liquor for good and all, and sincerely feel that you must have some help, we know that we have an answer for you. It never fails, if you go about it with one half the zeal you have been in the habit of showing when you were getting another drink. Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 181 (Dr. Bob's Nightmare)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


1. Candy Striper at a Nursing Home in 1965 (no one under 50 probably even knows what the hell I am talking about here)
2. 1968 - Yankee Doodle Burgers, I was the burger gal for about 3 days until the day came and I was too drunk to get to work, and showed up there later anyway - to eat a burger. Bad judgment? me?
3. 1969 - Chandler's Shoes - I was the handbag gal, it was fun. Until they actually expected me to show up on the day after Thanksgiving! I didn't show up.
4. 1970 - Montgomery Ward Catalog Sales - I called catalog customers and told them about "our July Blanket and Pillow Sale" - I don't think I made it to August.
5. 1970 - Painter Carpets - I was a customer service rep, and got fired in short order.
6. 1970 - Cleaned new apartments - I HATED that job.
7. 1970 - Cashier at K-Mart at Christmas time. On Christmas Eve, I called a customer a fucking asshole and walked out of the store - got to the parking lot and thought "now what, here I am in the parking lot, with a green smock on, no purse, no keys, etc." But security came and got me!
8. 1971 - Fabrini's Flowers. I was an assistant floral designer. I loved that job, but got fired after the rush of Easter, Mother's Day, and proms.
9. 1971 - Sorority House - women's retail. yuck. got fired after my friend shoplifted there. Geez!
10. 1971 - Foyer's - women's retail. Got fired after being repeatedly warned by my boss, Mr. Zimmerman, that I had to be "cognizant" of the customers.
11. 1971 - Abco Employment Agency - Times were so good back then that I was actully hired by an employment agency to make phone calls to see if anyone was looking for a job! I ended up with a good job out of that....
12. 1971 - 1973 Thomas and Betts, electrical supplies - I started as a switchboard operator and ended up as a customer service rep.
13. 1973 United States Postal Service - Window Clerk. I lasted 9 months, was about to get fired when I quit. One Saturday morning, the PO didn't open because I didn't show. When I finally came in, I was helping a customer with postage to Taiwan when I passed out! I was still drunk - they called an ambulance!
14. 1973-1975 Thomas and Betts, electrical supplies - when they were called for a reference as I was leaving the PO, my old boss came to the PO to offer me my old job back! They loved me!
15. 1975 Some Restaurant. I decided I wanted to be a waitress, and lasted 3 days. I was hired on a Friday, came back on Monday and asked for the man who hired me - he was killed over the weekend in a freak accident and no one even knew he hired me.... I should have left right then.
16. 1975 - 1976 Allstate Insurance home office, Northbrook, IL. I did a job that no one knew what it was, not even my boss, and when I went on maternity leave, they didn't replace me - and I never came back.
17. 1976 - 1981 My brother's company, Raton, New Mexico. I did various work for him when I needed extra money when my kids were little.
18. 1985 My brother's company, Denver, CO. I was newly sober and got a job as his Administrative Assistant. One day he got so mad at me, he tore a door off its hinges. That lasted about 9 months.
19. 1985- 1989 - a multinational insurance brokerage. I started as a temp., and got licensed as an insurance agent. Worked small accounts first, and ended up as an Account Executive -working the professional liability dept... I had 1500 accounts - all lawyers... I lost my mind! Really.
20. 1989 - 1993 - On disability for depression. Oh, please Dear Lord, I never want to repeat days that dark and hopeless.... but I was sober.
21. 1993 - 1994- Decided I HAD to work - got a job for $5.65 an hour at a large hospital, assembling medical records... I loved that job.
22. 1994- present - Psychiatric hospital - started as an administrative assistant in the medical records dept., went to school... got my bachelor's in Health Information Management, ended up as the director of the medical records dept. Continued in school, got my masters degree in Health Services Administration... ended up in my current job...
----there are more jobs that I have remembered as I have been writing... but I don't want to re-number this.--- And, by writing this, I really get an overwhelming gratitude for what God has been able to accomplish in my life. You can see where my self-directed activities got me. After about 10 years of sobriety, in 1994, I really surrendered and my life really turned around. Thank You God!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

If you have decided you want what we have...

And are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps. -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58

I am lately struck by the number of people who seem to "want what we have." But when pressed, they have absolutely no willingness to do anything to get it. They want to get recovery "from" someone, as if it were contagious. It is what I used to hear called "an inside job." It is a contract between you and God, and it requires your cooperation, participation, and a whole lot of action.

I am so fortunate that I got sober when and where I did. There were a bunch of rude bastards around who were pretty blunt about what a person needed to do. They would tell a new person to sit down and shut the f*** up. They told us to take the cotton out of our ears and put it in our mouths. They told us to show up at a meeting every single day - on time. And to sit through the meeting, listening intently, not getting up for coffee, or to go to the bathroom, or to talk to someone. It was not OK to have side conversations or cross talk. We were expected to stay until the meeting was over, and then stick around and talk with other alcoholics afterward. We were expected to go on 12 step calls, and did frequently. We were expected to start in service by cleaning ash trays and washing coffee cups. After a while, we could "graduate" to being part of the AA service structure.

This may sound like a bunch of control freaks and like it is too many "rules." But it saved my life, and the lives of many others. We alcoholics are undisciplined. We need to have discipline in our lives if we expect to stay sober. It starts with simple little things, like being somewhere every day, on time, and doing what we are told to do.

From this, we stay sober, one day at a time, and the days turn into months, years, and decades. We learn that we can show up for a job on time, and stay there all day, and not get into huge interpersonal difficulties while we are there! We learn that we can get along with our families, even when they are being difficult. We learn that we can love people, even when they are seemingly unlovable.

In other words, from a few simple actions, we learn how to live our lives in a way that is meaningful and rewarding. Those old, rude jerks taught me how to live in a way that has been profoundly wonderful!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Morning

I love Monday Morning. It is already 48 degrees outside, an hour before sunrise. After I write this, I will lace on my running shoes, and head out for a nice sunrise run. I have a meeting with my boss this morning, and I believe that is all that is on my calendar for today. Maybe I will be able to clean up some loose ends at work. That would be good. Then tonight, a 5:30 meeting. All in all, this sounds like a great day. Any of this could change at a moment's notice, as we all know....

Yesterday morning, I was heading out for a bike ride when the phone rang. It was my daughter and she was a mess and asking if I could pick her up and could she please spend the day here. Obviously, I took off my bike shoes, my bike shorts, etc., threw on a pair of jeans and went and got her. We spent a lovely day together. We barbequed steaks, and even went to an AA meeting together! I pray she can get done today what she needs to get done, and get herself into rehab. She is definitely not on drugs right now. But she decided to go to the bar on Saturday night and got another lesson in her alcoholism... which doesn't SEEM like a big problem when she is using. Her boyfriend was HORRIFIED at her behavior when drinking. He, having no close personal experience with alcoholism, told me, "she shouldn't even have ONE drink." How cute.

Life seems full of endless possibilities today. I am grateful that I am sober so that I can see the possibilities and actually get to experience life.

"All AA progress can be reckoned in terms of just two words: humility and responsibility. Our whole spiritual development can be accurately measured by our degree of adherence to these magnificent standards." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 271

Sunday, March 25, 2007

7 songs I like to run to:

I would feel silly writing about seven songs I am "into." I am too old to be "into" anything, I think. I could be wrong though. I got tagged, but I think this meme has been about for a few days and so anyone who wishes to, may consider themselves tagged by me, but I believe anyone who wanted to participate has... again, I could be wrong... So, these are songs that are on my iPod and I find motivating to run to.

1. O Valencia, Decemberists
2. New Shoes, Paolo Nutini
3. Time is Tight, Booker T., and the MGs
4. Stop Drinking, Van Morrison
5. Tamacun, Rodrigo y Gabriela
6. Samba Pa Ti, Santana
7. Untitled Hymn, Chris Rice


I don't know why I am thinking of this at this moment, but I am. Last week I was at a meeting with one of my very new sponsees. Someone mentioned a (big yawn) acronym for fear, and I was amazed when my sponsee took out a piece of paper and a pen and wrote it down! Well, then I realized that not everyone has heard these things. So let me see how many I can come up with right now. Fear seems to be the big one:
False Evidence Appearing Real
Fuck Everything And Run
Face Everything And Recover
Frantic Efforts to Avoid Reality
Frantic Efforts to Avoid Rejection
Off the top of my head, that is it. And it is quite enough if you ask me! Oh, and did you know that if the initials do not spell a word, such as FEAR, or a famous acronym is SCUBA (self contained underwater breathing apparatus), it is not an acronym but an "initialism."

So, back to reality here... Yesterday my daughter called to let me know that her boyfriend is going to provide the money she needs to resolve the warrants and get into the rehab. She should be going into rehab on Monday. She called later to tell me that they (she and boyfriend) had gone through her apartment and destroyed all the pipes and syringes. Oh please dear Lord, let her get into rehab on Monday.

Yesterday was a beautiful rainy day. I went for a 7 mile run and felt great. There is something so nourishing to the soul in being outdoors in a cold spring rain. (I took the picture at left with my cell phone during my run... I thought it would be way prettier than it is.) After an hour, I actually had little puddles inside the pockets of my parka. In the afternoon another alcoholic came over and I cooked and we watched basketball and just lounged around. It was so restful and just the thing I needed.

This morning, I am off to church since I didn't go last night. My daughters may or may not be coming over for dinner today. I am looking forward to a nice day, regardless of what it brings.
"It is when we try to make our will conform with God's that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God's intention for us. To make this increasibly possible is the purpose of AA's Twelve Steps, and Step Three opens the door." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 40

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rainy Saturday

It is pouring rain outside, which is wonderful. This spring is a revelation to me in every single way. I have truly never enjoyed a spring so very much.

My daughter did not get into rehab yesterday. She did show up, but they wouldn't let her in due to warrants. Her name will remain on the top of the list (for how long I don't know) while she hopefully gets this straightened out. I could write paragraphs about this, but the bottom line is - she still has to do more footwork to get in there. I pray she has the willingness.

Yes, this is difficult. She is a wonderful, loving, creative, intelligent, talented, athletic, and, of course, beautiful young woman. But right now, her whole person is overtaken by her disease. It is difficult to be a person in her life right now. But I am a person in her life, and I love her with all of my heart. So all I can do is be there to the extent that I can without adversely affecting my life and the lives of the other people in our family.

And I must never forget my own disease. It would love for me to forget, so that it could pry a finger hold back into my soul. I must take care of myself. I will get to a meeting this morning at 6:30 a.m., and get out for a run later, if it stops raining. I will talk on the phone with lots of alcoholics today and probably get to a meeting later on this evening.

Life is good. There is green everwhere outside and it is raining. It shows me that even in the dead of winter, there is life underground, waiting for its chance to re-emerge in the spring.

"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." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 51

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday is a Good Day

When I was married to the father of my children, we would sing a song each Friday morning.... "today is FRI-day, and that's a GOOD day!" Bits of random memory, I am sure they will be with me for all my remaining days...

Today my little girl is supposed to go into rehab, where she will stay for 6 months. She got the phone call yesterday. Her daughters will be well cared-for, the older one with her grandfather (the ex who used to sing about Friday mornings with me), and the younger one with her father (who got out of rehab a month ago, and is doing really well.) I pray my daughter can go through with this. I will be so relieved once I don't get a teary phone call later today telling me why she didn't show up... etc. In the first 30 days of this program, they have no contact with anyone outside of the program. I am somewhat ashamed to say that her sister and I kind of look forward to no phone calls from her for an entire 30 days. Any spare prayers would be greatly appreciated for my Megan.

I have been doing research at work on alcohol and suicide. It is grim. grim, grim, grim. I have a project due on April 14, and I will be very happy when it is over. I had a dream last night about someone hanging themselves in my dining room.

Today is the due date for 4 other projects that have consumed my life for the last couple of months. Three of them involve clicking a "submit" button today. I cannot wait until that is done! Then it is party time!

I am not running today. I ran 5 miles on Wednesday evening and ended up in terrible, terrible pain. Yesterday I did some research on hip pain in runners and it scared the bejesus out of me. I went to the pool last night before the 5:30 meeting and was thrilled that I was able to swim a half mile with no pain at all. I feel much better today, and I am sure I don't have the injury I thought I had yesterday. But I am taking a couple of days off anyway. I do not want to destroy my chance of finishing my half-marathon because of overtraining.

I am a chatty cathy today, huh?

My wish for you all today? A sober day. That is the greatest miracle of all for an alcoholic. In case you think I am short-sighted, let me explain.... if you are an alcoholic and you stay sober today, you have a chance at everything worthwhile in life. If you are an alcoholic and do not stay sober today, you have a chance at nothing worthwhile.

"We perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 21

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ask Him in the morning...

And Thank Him at night....

Simple advice I heeded when I was new, and I continue to this day. I do not have the power to stay sober, it is only by the Grace of God.

I am off to my 5:00 a.m. "commitment" at church. I thought I was doing this as a bit of a sacrificial act, but it turns out it is a joy. It is, by far, the best hour of each week. To sit in quiet prayer for a solid hour - I am committed to the hour, so there is no question of time. I love this and I believe it is changing my life.

"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

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Springtime in the Rockies

Happy First Day of Spring. With each season's arrival, I say it is "my favorite," knowing that it can't be. I love them all.

I think spring has special meaning for alcoholics. I have thought about this a lot in the last couple of weeks. The winter we just went through was so difficult, it challenged everything and everybody. As I shoveled snow through the winter, I would think of the rose bushes, lilacs, tulips, and crocuses underneath all the snow and ice. There came a time when I thought that all life was slipping away under the burden of a difficult winter. I was physically ailing from a fall, and all that shoveling. I started to believe that nothing could survive.

And yet, the grass is now green, there are buds on my trees and rose bushes. I have never been so surprised by the arrival of spring.

And so it is with us alcoholics. We go through a winter of the soul that seems no one could survive. And yet we do survive and thrive and in the end, we are grateful for the life threatening crises that brought us to our knees.

"Someone once remarked that pain is the touchstone of spiritual progress. How heartily we AAs can agree with him, for we know that the pains of alcoholism had to come before sobriety, and emotional turmoil before serenity." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 3

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Not feeling great

Although I have a lot of work with a 'drop dead' date of this friday, I think I am staying home today. I am just worthless. I am so tired and achy. My daughter was like this all last week, and I kept encouraging her to STAY HOME, get rest, get well. Perhaps I could listen to my own advice?

Here is what I will do (and thanks for reading as I process this)... I am going to go out and take a quick 3 mile run. I will see if that energizes me or if it kills me. If it kills me, obviously I cannot go to work. If it energizes me, obviously I will want to go to work! Any alcoholic will understand why I agonize over these things. Most of us called in 'sick' so many times when we were drinking, it is hard to call in truly sick without feeling like a liar. After 22 years you would think I would be over this, but I have a strong work ethic which normally serves me well, but in this case might be working against me.

I wanted to mention that my son called from Iraq on Sunday. I know many of you are praying for him, which I appreciate so much words can't say, and I feel that I should update you when I can. He sounds very tired and very old, but he says he is doing well. I am so proud of him for never once complaining about what must be a difficult assignment. God Bless Him.

"It is not to be expected that an alcoholic employee will receive a disproportionate amount of time and attention. He should not be made a favorite. The right kind of man, the kind who recovers, will not want this sort of thing. He will not impose. Far from it. He will work like the devil and thank you to his dying day." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 149

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday AM

Yesterday I meant to take it easy and do basically nothing. However, I was standing out in my front yard (wearing shorts, sandals, and a little shirt), talking with my neighbors and seemingly spontaneously started pruning the huge ash tree in my front yard. I took a lot of big branches off that tree, and then I had to cut them up. I am still not done cutting them small enough to go out with the trash on Wednesday. I asked my neighbors on the other side of my house if they would mind me taking out the two bushes on our shared property line. I didn't know if they were theirs or mine. One was mine, and one was theirs. Not only didn't they mind, but Mr. Neighbor got his ATV out of his garage while Mrs. Neighbor tied a rope around the bushes, and they yanked them out! It was neat to watch. Now I am committed to doing some landscaping this year, I have been talking about doing this for almost 6 years now! Oh, I cannot wait to plant a climbing rose on the corner of my house!

From all this work, I am too sore to get out and run this morning. Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows - this is some serious soreness.

Daughter and family came over for dinner last night. She is 3rd on the list now for the rehab. She is packing up her household, preparing to put all her stuff in storage. Some of you have asked why it is taking so long to get into rehab. This is not your average rehab. This is the Salvvation Arrmy (sorry to misspell, but I don't want to come up on searches for this) - it is a six month residential program for women. It does not cost anything, which is good since my daughter hasn't worked for a couple of years now. The women work all day long at a warehouse, and then come back at night for therapy, and travel out a few nights a week for AA and NA meetings. I know people who have worked there, and I have seen the women from the program come to meetings over the years. I think it is a good program, and I think it is just the kind of thing my daughter needs.

My body hurts so bad I am actually considering not going to work today. I have 4 huge projects due by the end of this week, so that may not be the best idea. But I would dearly love to soak in the tub for an hour and then go back to bed. (I don't think most 55 year old women ran 10 miles on Saturday and then played Paul Bunyan on Sunday - but I am glad I can do both of these things!)

"I have come to believe that my illness is spiritual as well as physical and mental, and I know that for help in the spiritual sphere I have to turn to a Higher Power." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, (3rd ed.) p. 473

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Beautiful (almost) Spring Sunday Morning

Crocuses in the garden
Buds on a lilac bush.
It is a beautiful day. I woke up somewhat late and decided not to hop straight out of bed and get to a meeting as I usually do. I am taking it slow this morning. Yesterday after the meeting, I went to the lake and ran 10 miles. Running 10 miles can make a person tired.
I am trying to be cheerful here, but I just feel dishonest. I am feeling creeped out because I just got slimed again by the very ill person who is commenting and e-mailing most of us. I think many of you can just dismiss him as a "nut" and delete, delete, delete - and report as spam. Part of this stage of my recovery is that I no longer can label people as "toxic" or "nuts" or whatever. I used to get away with that, but I can't any more. In this man's case, I may have to make an exception. His tirades are particularly hurtful to me because I am, I hope, not only spiritual (which I learned in AA), but because of AA, I have been able to return to my religion and that is as much a part of me as my legs or arms, or my heart. Believe me, it requires discipline not to write about it a lot, because as most of you know if you read this blog often, I spend a lot of time at my church and it is a very important part of my life. So I try to mention these things in a general way...
I don't write about my specific religion here because this blog is about AA. Many people get to this blog as a result of searches for info on AA. I feel an obligation to stick pretty close to traditions because of that (although I think perhaps the entire blog is a violation of the 11th tradition). The long form of the 11th tradition states:
"Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think AA ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as AA members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 567
Back to the 10th tradition, the long form of which is:
"No AA group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate AA, express any opinion on outside controversial issues - particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 567
If I had named my blog "Mary's excellent adventures" or some other thing and hadn't identified myself as an AA member and said that this blog was specifically about that, I don't think I would worry so much about this. But I did. So I feel I have to be careful, just in case I damage one alcoholic's tiny little chance to get to AA and stay sober.
Okay, I am being Ms. Buzz Kill.... I have possibly had too much coffee (2 cups!!!) and I haven't eaten yet. I will eat and later I will get out in the sunshine and take a bike ride. I love the fact that because of my adherence with some commandments, I get to take the day off!!!
"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. We try not to indulge in cynicism over the state of the nations, nor do we carry the world's troubles on our shoulders." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 132

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to dAAve!

Happy Birthday to Daave! I am so glad he lived through all the adventures of his life and is now a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he doesn't smoke either! I am also grateful that we get to be bloggers together out here in the blogosphere - he makes it a better place for sure.

"Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. LIfe will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 152

6 Weird Things About Me

I was tagged by a couple of you to do this 6 Weird Thing thing. I did this back in December, so this is a copy of that post.
1. I love statistics and my mind works in ways that no matter what I do, I find a way to quantify it.
2. I have given birth to triplets (fertilization totally unaided) (see #1 above, the chances of this happening are 1/8,000).
3. I once killed a bear with a Buick.
4. Having been a flighty individual early in life (pre-sobriety), now I tend to stick to things long after anyone else would have stopped - sometimes I remind myself of a cock roach - the creature that will be left on earth long after everything else is extinct.
5. I won a bubble-gum blowing contest in my childhood.
6. I need "foot-freedom" - would rather be barefoot than anything. My feet have to stick outside of the blankets at night...

Friday, March 16, 2007


Let me preface this by saying; this will probably be a long and serious post... we'll see... Maybe I should start by telling a bit of my story. When I got sober, I had three small children; a 7 year old boy and 5 year old twin girls. When I brought them to a meeting with me, an old man called them names and told them to shut the f*** up. That was the end of me bringing them to meetings with me, which I later realized was a great blessing. (my opinion: Little kids do not need to be sitting in AA meetings, and dragging them to meetings may spoil a later chance for them to come willingly to AA when they need to, because if they are your kid, odds are they will need to...but I digress.) So, every day I would wait for my husband to get home from work, and then I would head out the door to an AA meeting. After we separated, I would pay a babysitter, even though I was poverty-stricken, and go to AA meetings. Later in my sobriety, I went for a couple of years without a car, so that I could afford to pay my child support (because my ex got custody of the kids when I was sober about 5 years). I had a bicycle and rode it to AA meetings. When I could not ride my bike for whatever reason, I rode the bus. Occassionally, I would get a ride with another alcoholic, but most of the time, I just got myself to an AA meeting by whatever means available to me - and I was happy to do it.

So - I just don't understand when someone can't get to a meeting. Or is "too tired" to show up when they are supposed to.

In my mind, if you are not willing to go to any length to stay sober, you are not going to stay sober. Right now I seem to be surrounded by new people who don't seem willing to go an INCH to stay sober. They act like they are doing someone a favor by staying sober for a day, going to a meeting, or making a phone call. No Comprende!

When I got to AA, I wanted to be sober more than anything in the world. I still do. I consider my sobriety to be a gift from God, one that requires a little bit of care and feeding. I am more than happy to do a teensy bit of legwork in an effort to keep it.

I am so grateful that my bottom was my own bottom. I didn't have a judge, or social services, or a husband - or anyone telling me that it was my bottom. When I got to AA I was ready and willing to get sober. I was out of great ideas. I did what they told me to do. I have always appreciated the time that another alcoholic would spend with me. I have never felt that anyone owed me anything. I consider it a gift! That is why you will never hear me talk about "the work," or "working the program." I just call that cooperating a little bit with God.

I guess I sound old and maybe the AA equivalent to "back in the day, I walked to school 2 miles - uphill both ways." But it is my very own experience, strength, and hope - and that is all I have to share with anyone.

"The essence of all growth is a willingness to change for the better and then an unremitting willingness to shoulder whatever responsibility this entails." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 115

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Meetings, meetings, meetings...

Everything I need for a meeting - except for you!
(I took a bunch more photos yesterday and have them on my photo blog)
And now I am off to church!
"Regardless of worldly success or failure, regardless of pain or joy, regardless of sickness or health or even of death itself, a new life of endless possibilities can be lived if we are willing to continue our awakening, through the practice of AA's Twelve Steps." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 8

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I am heading out of here for a 6:30 a.m. meeting. I normally go to this meeting on the weekend, but not weekdays...because I am normally running on the weekdays...but I ran last night...because of the time change. The sponsee I normally meet with on Tuesday evening was back in town unexpectedly so I met with her instead of going to the 5:30 meeting... and I missed it the night before because I was at the ER... EEEEK! I just want some "normal" in my life again.

The run was wonderful. For the first time since my birthday (on December 15), I ran on a dirt trail at a lake. It really is different to not be on concrete or asphalt, wonderfully different. It was in the 70s, so I had shorts and a tank top on, which felt heavenly.

"The positive value of righteous indignation is theoretical - especially for alcoholics. It leaves every one of us open to the rationalization that we may be as angry as we like provided we can claim to be righteous about it." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 58

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Emergency Room

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening at a local emergency room. I will start by saying - everything is OK, thank God. My youngest granddaughter became very ill and my daughter took her to the ER. She had a high fever among other things and they thought she might have meningitis. They did a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to test the spinal fluid, and thankfully, that was fine. Little Madeline started perking up after IV fluids, but had an adverse drug reaction to the IV antibiotic... that was scary. She went back home last night and I will call in a bit to see how she is this morning.

The one shining moment in this (I always look for a shining moment, it must be from all the "mind-numbing" years in AA), was to watch my two daughters minister to the baby. I stood back and watched as they held her while some pretty gruesome things were being done. It was a wonderful moment - to realize that I am no longer "the one." I can take a back seat to these wonderful women, my daughters. It was not only a feeling of passing the baton, but also a tremendous swelling of love and pride in my daughters. They are both good women, no matter what their disposition may be.

I also have to say that I tried to engage this person who is harrassing all of us. I thought there were two people, but it turns out he is but one very disturbed individual. It was probably a mistake to try to enter a dialog with him. I had 6 very disturbing e-mails from him this morning. If it continues, I will report it as spam. I feel bad about the hurt and pain that must be behind that kind of vitriol.

We are supposed to have record-breaking high temperatures today. I am going to endeavor to get to work early and leave early to run in the afternoon sunshine before the 5:30 meeting. I am so grateful to be alive and sober today. I usually enjoy spring, but after the winter we have just experienced, I feel like the world is coming back to life! It is wonderful!

"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

Monday, March 12, 2007

Alcoholics are like that...

I got an e-mail from someone spewing hatred for AA - because it is thinly disguised Christianity, descendent of the Oxford Groups and is therefore the national religion of the US. Sheeesh! Then I saw on Daave's blog a commenter saying that AA is satan and he has been brought out of the hell of AA and saved by Jesus Christ. Kind of Polar Opposites, but they both hate AA. For supposedly opposite reasons, but I bet the real reason is that they both tried AA and didn't like it - for whatever reason. Probably someone criticized them... Alcoholics are like that! Someone said something bad about me, I think I will write an Expose!!! And send e-mails to everyone!!! And clog up people's blogs with long boring comments!!!

Thanks to AA, I get to live a clean, respectable life in a beautiful little carefully tended house. I have two diplomas sitting above my desk here - from my degrees which were worked for and attained in my "mind-numbing" sobriety. I have problems in my life - who doesn't? But I don't have to obsess on them. I don't have to be in despair over anything. I can put one foot in front of the other and try to live my life to the fullest, and to the happiest, and to the greatest good.

It is Monday, I get to go back to work this morning. I have a meeting with my boss at 10:00. And other meetings throughout the day. Then I have my favorite AA meeting of the week at 5:30. It is good stuff... and the weather is glorious! I am trying to "go with the flow" of the time change, because I dislike it - I could decide to be unhappy for the next three weeks to a month, but why bother - so last night I took the run I would have normally had this morning.

"We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 96

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Morning

I just got back from the 6:30 a.m. meeting. It was challenging to get there because it felt like 5:30 a.m. - I looked outside as we passed the basket at 7 a.m., and it was still dark!

My daughter has another serious infection. She visited the ER on Friday night. At first they didn't believe she is an IV drug user because she doesn't look like one. They finally believed her and told her she was the "best looking speed freak" they had ever seen. Now, THERE is a claim to fame. I just pray she can get into rehab soon.

After I dropped off my granddaughter yesterday afternoon, I ran 6.2 miles, came home and got cleaned up and spent the late afternoon/early evening at church. I am so grateful that I can do this today. I thought about the fact that I feel I belong there and what a miracle that is.

Thanks to the grace of a loving God, and the program and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, I get to live a life today that is beyond my wildest dreams. I have peace in my heart and a deep happiness in my soul. I did not have a drink yesterday and I don't want one today. These are all miracles.

"What is this power that AA possesses? This curative power? I don't know what it is. I suppose the doctor might say, 'this is psychosomatic medicine.' I suppose the psychiatrist might say, 'this is benevolent interpersonal relations.' I suppose others would say, 'this is group psychotherapy.' To me it is God." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (3rd ed.) p.352

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Almost Spring Morning

Look at what Olivia and I found in the garden last night when we got home! There are also crocuses up and in flower. Thank God. This is supposed to be a lovely weekend, with temperatures in the 60s.

I am so selfish and set in my ways, although it is nice for me to have my granddaughter here with me, I am thinking of what I would normally be doing. I miss my run today and my 6:30 meeting. Olivia is sick, so we probably won't be doing much, and maybe that is a good thing.

"Everbody knows that those in bad health, and those who seldom play, do not laugh much. So let each family play together or separately, as much as their circumstances warrant. We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 133

Friday, March 09, 2007

Last weekday with "normal" time

I really dislike the change to daylight savings time. It won't be getting light outside until almost 7 a.m. next week - and that is far too late to be heading out for a 4 or 5 mile run (that is, if I expect to get to work before 10 a.m.) It will all work out within a month or two, but that is a month or two when I need to be stepping up my mileage, in preparation for the half-marathon which is now less than 2 months away.

Last night another woman asked me to sponsor her. She is sober a few days, her sobriety date is March 4... I told her that is a GREAT sobriety date, you know, March Forth... she thought that was great... I hope she keeps the sobriety date because I hope she stays sober. I am now sponsoring 4 women, which is two over my limit. I think I am veering dangerously close to ego stroke-ville. On the other hand, I thank God for these women because they are helping me immensely.

Tonight I am going to pick up my granddaughter from my ex-husband's house and bring her to my house for an overnight. Since she moved in with him I haven't seen her much. This is probably due to the fact that I did not want to get on the phone and call him. But I did that yesterday and it was fine. We talked for about a half hour.

I better head out of here for my run.. have a great Friday everyone.

"To me, AA is within the reach of every alcohohlic, because it can be achieved in any walk of life and because the achievement is not ours but God's. I feel that there is no situation too difficult, none too desperate, no unhappiness too great to be overcome in this great fellowship - Alcoholics Anonymous." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (3rd ed.) p. 395

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Shoes

Lacing up in the darkness, for a nice, early morning run.

But now I am off to church for my hour of silence. YAY.

"I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through, and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray. William D. Silkworth, MD" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. xxx

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pre-Dawn Run

What a glorious morning! I can't believe how wonderful it is to run on dry sidewalks and pavement. I have a meeting this morning at 8, so I needed to be out running long before it was light. It really was wonderful. The first mile is straight up hill, which is difficult, but the payoff is getting to the top, just as dawn is breaking on the plains past the Denver skyline - and I get to run one mile downhill, and then another couple up and down.

I really have to get to work. I am grateful to be an alive, sober, healthy, happy woman today.

"Then we can be set free to live and love; we may then be able to twelfth-step ourselves, as well as others, into emotional sobriety." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 288

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

March forth on March sixth

Sorry to be using my March 4th joke today (lame as it is) but on the 4th I was a little bit too upset to even be thinking of a pun. Today I look out my window and see green grass, tulip leaves sprouting out of the ground, and buds on the trees. I went out and took pictures of both, but liked the starkness of the aspen branches against the morning sky. There are buds all over that tree! There is life after this long, long winter!
Yesterday, after much prayer, I finally met a person for lunch and had a conversation that I needed to have for a long time, but never could muster the strength to do it. After my misery on Sunday, I got the "courage" to take the action I needed to take. Today I woke up feeling lighter and free. Thank God for this program teaching me to take action and teaching me how to admit when I am wrong and quickly make amends. Also this program taught me that when I am feeling bad there is a reason for it and I better get to the bottom of it before that feeling bad turns into taking a drink. I am so grateful that I have a sponsor who helps me with sorting this stuff out before I take action. (I know I am being a bit cryptic here, I hope not too much so.)
So today is beautiful. I am on a new running schedule and this is not a running day, and I really regret it. I wish I was out there. I will be tomorrow.
I finalized my plans for my trip to Texas yesterday. I will be in touch with some Houstonians about that!
"How many of us would presume to declare, 'Well, I'm sober and I'm happy. What more can I want or do? I'm fine the way I am.' We know thst the price of such self-satisfaction is an inevitable back-slide, punctuated at some point by a very rude awakening. We have to grow or else deterioriate. For us, the status quo can only be for today, never for tomorrow. Change we must; we cannot stand still." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 25

Monday, March 05, 2007

A New Day

Yay. It is Monday. It is relatively warm outside (in the low thirties). I am going to get out and run as soon as it is light. And then I am going to go to work, where I can be productive and be in my little domain, my pretty office. Since it is warming up, I will wear a skirt and heels today, which always cheers me up. I just checked my PDA and it says "no appointments today," I LOVE it when that happens. I will go to the 5:30 meeting after work, Monday night is usually a huge and very good meeting.

I had a wee bit of a hard day yesterday. In all, it was a good day, but I had lots of stuff going around in my mind. Uncomfortable stuff. I talked to a lot of people. I needed to. I wrote about it here on my blog too. Today the discomfort has passed, Thank God. "This too shall pass" is a wonderful thing that we forget when we are in the middle of something, whether it is a gloriously pleasant thing or a horribly unpleasant thing... we tend to think everything is going to last forever, which it doesn't. So today is a new day and I am greatly looking forward to it, and grateful for it and whatever it may bring.

"As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow, or the hereafter. We were reborn." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Morning Fellowship

I just got home from breakfast, after a meeting of my old home group. It is the first time I have made it up there in 2007! I really needed to be there this morning. Once again, I sat and looked around the room at all of the people who I have known for so long. People who know my story from day 1. Day 1. It was my friend Janet's 27th birthday (yes, 27 years sober.) It was nice to see that everyone who shared talked about what a pain in the ass she is, how difficult to get along with she is, and some folks even called her a bitch. But no one denied that she is sober, has been for a long time, is an absolute miracle, and has helped a lot of people over the years. I am glad that we can talk like this to each other. I am really, really glad.

Yesterday I did run my 10 miles and it actually felt really good. I managed to have a full day after the run too, which was nice because the big runs tend to wipe me out. Maybe all this training is actually working.

Last night was my 6:30 a.m. group's monthly Night Watch. It was at Jack's house. Jack was celebrating 34 years of sobriety. A lot, a lot, a lot of people showed up at his house. It was a nice event. After that, I went over to someone else's house and he went out on a limb and told me that my cussing really detracts from my message at meetings. He also told me that I probably share a bit too much personal stuff in meetings. I told him that I appreciate him telling me this stuff, because that is what friends are for - especially friends in this fellowship. I would truly like to stop cussing because I cuss like a sailor and I think it IS detracting from my message. I would not, however, like to stop sharing personal stuff in meetings because I can't tell you how many times I have realized that it was the hand of God that had me say something that seemed maybe wacky in a meeting. Then I later find out that it was something someone else (usually a new woman) needed to hear. It is not about ME and sounding good, and looking good, and protecting my precious image... it is about carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. And furthermore, no one has to agree with me on this one. My sponsor does and that is all that matters to me.

But I felt bad. I really like the man who told me these things and I really respect him. I cried. I really cried. When I woke up this morning, I realized that I needed to drive across town and be with my "peeps". Thank God I got to sit with Thomas and Richard and Jim at breakfast. I asked them about this stuff, and then I listened. I have known them since I got sober. They have been sober longer than me, and I respect them. They, of course, think the guy who told me this stuff is full of s***. They wondered why he is so concerned with what I am doing in meetings... I know the answer to that, but it isn't important.

Anyway, as I sat there, I realized that part of the problem is the fact that my sobriety is bimodal. For my first ten years, I was pretty dysfunctional. I was staying sober, living from hand to mouth, living a pretty immoral life, not involved in my church, pretty difficult to get along with... hell, I was known to throw coffee at people in fits of rage at meetings, and as you know, I once beat up a clown for God's sake! BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, I did stay sober. And after about 10 years, 10 years of working the steps on an annual basis, my life really changed. I went back to school. I went back to church. I got a job that I still have. I went from being a punk to being a respected member of my community.

The people on THIS side of town know me only as the "respectable" woman they have never seen angry or in a rage. They have never known me to sleep around because I don't do that anymore. They have never known the unemployed, unemployable totally dysfunctional woman that I was. I think their expectations of me may be a little bit high.

And that is OK. They can learn how to deal with expectations. I am very clear on the fact that my feet are made of clay. I am fully fallible alcoholic! And I am sober by the Grace of God today. And for that I am grateful!

"We hope no one will consider these self-revealing accounts in bad taste. Our hope is that many alcoholic men and women, desperately in need, will see these pages, and we believe that it is only by fully disclosing ourselves and our problems that they will be persuaded to say, 'Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing.'" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 29

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The way you live

Last Friday at the meeting, I was reminded of some of the pithy little sayings some of those old (now deceased) guys used to have. So, here is one: "The way you live makes so much noise, no one can hear what you say." Here's another: "If you are feeling guilty, it's probably because you are." And another: "We alcoholics say we are people-pleasers, but we have not done a very good job of pleasing anyone but ourselves." OK. These are just some things I haven't heard for a while, and I remembered last week.

Last night a couple of very cool things happened. First of all, a sponsee celebrated 30 days. I got to give her the little red chip. Later, when I got home, I decided to call the newest sponsee because I haven't seen her or heard from her. I would generally not call, but I decided to last night. She was so glad I called because she is in Seattle, she got fired from her job, she doesn't have any phone numbers with her, is generally a mess - but is sober and going to meetings. And now she has my phone number with her!

I am going to head out of here and go to my Saturday Morning meeting - which I love - and then try to run 10 miles. I haven't run since Tuesday, and I have to say, I don't have my usual aches and pains this morning. But any runner knows that the pain just goes with the territory. I feel great this morning though and I am looking forward to getting out there and getting in the zone that is running.

Yesterday at work was a good, but very challenging day. I really can't talk about it here, but I wish I could. I did talk with Daave and Hayden for a while yesterday morning, which was really nice. I need to finalize my plans for my trip to Texas... Galveston for my nephew's wedding. But I am going to stay an extra day so that I can meet my friends in Houston. I am very excited about this.

"Moments of perception can build into a lifetime of spiritual serenity, as I have excellent reason to know. Roots of reality, supplanting the neurotic underbrush, will hold fast despite the high winds of the forces which would destroy us, or which we would use to destroy ourselves." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 173

Friday, March 02, 2007

End of a Busy Week

This has been a good week, but it has also not been so good. I have been so busy, which is good. But I haven't been to a meeting since Tuesday, I haven't run since Tuesday, and I haven't tanned since Tuesday. There has just been too much to do to even squeeze these things into my schedule. I had planned to run this morning, but again, snow is falling. I will swim tonight after work and before the 5:30 meeting. Tomorrow will be my long run.

Yesterday was the 28th birthday of my twin daughters. It was a nice celebration. Last year my problem child showed up so high that her twin sister finally lost patience with her. It was a sad day because no matter what, those girls always stuck together. Yesterday she was not observably high and for that I am very grateful. She is 8th on a waiting list for rehab. I pray she gets into this program and stays in it. It is a 6 month program, and over the years in AA, I have seen many ladies who have gotten sober there.

Sitting in church for an hour was wonderful yesterday morning. My church sits on a hill which overlooks the front range of the rocky mountains. Yesterday was so beautiful. It was cold and windy and the snow was blowing. The streets were glare ice and it was quite a challenge to get there on time. But once I got there, walking into my beautiful church in the dark, with the snow lit by the moon, was really inspirational. The hour went so quickly. I am looking forward to doing this weekly for a year.

I really hope this snow stops. I need to get my running back on track.

"Bill was very, very grateful that he had been released from this terrible thing and he had given God the credit for having done it, and he's so grateful about it he wants to tell other people about it. That sentence, 'The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep telling people about it,' has been sort of a golden text for the AA program and for me." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 191

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Twelve Beads

I got these from my friend Gwen this week. They are not only beautiful and meaningful, but it was so loving of Gwen to take the time to make these and send them to me. I thank God for the wonderfully talented and giving people in this beautiful fellowship, like Gwen, the rest of you wonderful bloggers and all the people I have known through the years. I have not a doubt in my mind that I would not be sober without you all.

I have committed to a time slot at my church to sit in quiet prayer. For the next year, beginning this morning, I will be at my church from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. each Thursday morning. I am so excited about this. I will, of course, be posting very early on Thursday mornings because I have to be out of here by 4:35.

Life sure does change if you stay sober, one day at time.

"We think it no concern of ours what religious bodies our members identify themselves with as individuals. This should be an entirely personal affair which each one decides for himself in the light of past associations, or his present choice. Not all of us join religious bodies, but most of us favor such memberships." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 28