Thursday, May 31, 2007

donAAting blood

People forget to donate blood in the summer months, so there is usually a shortage. They called me the other day and asked if I would please come in and donate. I was happy to. It is such a small thing, but such an important thing.

I learned how to do things that are not all about ME! ME! ME! in AA. Thank God. When I think about myself 24 hours a day, I can count on 24 hours of unhappiness.

"We had not prayed rightly. We had always said, 'Grant me my wishes,' instead of 'Thy will be done.' The love of God and man we understood not at all. Therefore we remained self-deceived, and so incapable of receiving enough grace to restore us to sanity." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 295

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Late Spring Morning

My Don Juan climbing rose - Which I planted earlier this month. It is doing so well, every day there is new growth. I love roses. I used to wear rose perfume every day - until I started working with a woman who made me sick every day with her perfume. Then I realized that perfume and the workplace are a very poor mix.
As soon as it gets light outside, I am going to drive to a nearby lake and take a run or two around it. I am tired of running the hills around my house - it was very good training for the half-marathon, but I don't need to do hills right now. It would be nice to take a flat run for a change.
I got fired by my neediest sponsee on Monday night. She got angry when she saw me at a meeting after I had told her I was spending the day with my daughter. My daughter had a change of plans and I didn't feel compelled to notify my sponsee that I had a moment of unexpected free time. I cannot imagine the entitled attitude that some women seem to get when they ask you to sponsor them. I am honored that my sponsor is willing to share her experience, strength, and hope with me - I would never claim some ownership of her time or attention... but that is me! I did talk with my sponsor about this situation and she TOLD me that I must not sponsor anybody new. I am sponsoring too many people now, and I think I have ventured into ego trip territory. I will heed the advice of my wonderful sponsor and tell the next person "no."
"If we really depended upon God, we couldn't very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care. These were the new attitudes that finally brought many of us an inner strength and peace that couldnot be deeply shaken by the shortcomings of others or by any calamity not of our own making." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 116

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Goin' for a bike ride

I am going to take a quick bike ride before I go to work this morning. It is a beautiful morning, the birds are singing, there are a few pink clouds over the mountains, and it should be a lovely morning for a ride. I am not riding to work because it is supposed to rain later on and never get much warmer than it is now (51 degrees).

I just heard a story on the news about a "recovering alcoholic, convicted of attempted murder" who held police off for 14 hours, then killed himself, a woman, and raped a child. Why? oh Why? is he referred to as a "recovering alcoholic?"

"Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us. We no longer live in a a completely hostile world. We are no longer lost and frightened and purposeless. The moment we catch even a glimpse of God's will, the moment we begin to see truth, justice, and love as the real and eternal things in life, we are no longer deeply distrubed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds us in purely human affairs. We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 105

Monday, May 28, 2007

I'm over myself

Amazingly enough, this morning I feel all better. It is amazing what happens when I do what I am supposed to be doing, and stop thinking about myself 24 hours a day!

Yesterday I went to a 5:30 meeting. As 5:30 approached and no one had stepped up to chair the meeting, my friend L. asked me to chair. I dislike chairing meetings, so I asked him to chair. Well, L. has worsening-by-the-day dementia and I know damn well he can't chair the meeting, so I suggested we co-chair the meeting. We both sat at the little desk at the front of the room and we took turns with all the meeting chair duties. Was I worried about myself in that hour? nope, I don't think so!

After the meeting, a woman (C.) asked me to go with her to visit our friend R. who is in the hospital. I thought it would be a nice opportunity to visit with C. on the way to and from the hospital, and I knew it would be nice to see R., I have been worried about him. We weren't in the room with R. for 5 minutes before he had a major crisis, I mean MAJOR, and they called a code on him. C. is an RN, so she just rolled up her sleeves, got some latex gloves and went to work. I stood in the corner of a very small room that suddenly had about 15 medical personnel in it, and tried not to get in the way. I figured my major duty was to pray. I stayed for a couple of hours, by then his family had come, and he was moved to ICU. So I came home. I really don't know if he lived through the night. God bless him. He is sober about 6 months, comes to meetings with the O2 tank, and is just an absolute sweetheart. In fact, in the middle of this, he somehow looked up and said "sorry Mary, I hope I didn't get any blood on you." I just smiled and said "not a drop, and don't be sorry."

When I was new in sobriety, one of my friends was in the hospital and I was asked to go visit her. I said "I don't do hospitals, they freak me out." I was told in no uncertain terms that if I was to stay sober I would learn how to "do" hospitals and think of someone other than myself. Thank God for those folks who didn't listen to my crap and just nod, they took the time and the risk to tell me the truth.

I have to get out of here for the 6:30 a.m. meeting. Have a good Memorial Day everyone.

"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 place in our hands." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 13

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Peaceful Pentecost Sunday

Yes, I just got home from church. It was wonderful. On the way out of the door, I hugged the Pastor and told him how glad I am that he is there and how grateful I am for him. One more of the things that would or could never have happened 23 years ago when I was deep in my disease.

I am also grateful that I am less than half way through a three day weekend. I still have plenty to do. I still have a headache. It might be from all the tears that seem to keep springing from my eyes. Hey, maybe I will do what I frequently do on the weekends and write a big long self-disclosing post when I have this delusional belief that no one reads my blog. Let me be quick to say that I AM grateful for anyone who does read my blog. Thank You.

It would be reasonable for you to wonder why it is that I am crying. There are many reasons, mostly to do with people I care about. The number one thing that is disturbing me these days is the fact that my only son has several more months to serve in Iraq. I seem to have lost my ability to cope with this. It being Memorial Day weekend really does not help. I cannot turn on the television set because it is too much for me to bear. He was on leave in Australia for several weeks, and I think just having a two week reprieve from having that worry hanging over my head made the weight of its presence so much more unbearable now. I have faith that I will get used to it again and cope again with it. But for now... not so good. (and the fact that I do not feel free to talk about this because people use it as a platform from which to launch their political vitriol does not help!)

I have been at my workplace for nearly 13 years. In those years, I have seen many people I have grown to care about leave. I have seen a few die. In my current incarnation, I am rather isolated. I sit in my office and analyze - it is my job. However, I need human contact. In the last several years, I have become very close to two women - they both gave notice two weeks ago. There is no one else in the organization I am close to anymore. Thank God my daughter works in the same building. But as for workie girlfriends... no mas.

Then, on Thursday night, the man I am dating (but not talking about) called to tell me he is moving. I had been dealing with this fairly well. We had dinner on Friday night and I saw him craning his neck to look at something behind me... it was a TV set in the bar part of the restaurant which had a baseball game on. Then the spring of involuntary tears flowed again down my face. I do not normally watch baseball, but when we started seeing each other last year, much of our courtship involved baseball in one way or another - so to me it is all about him. I was talking with him on the phone yesterday and he said "do you have a cold?" because I was crying again. When I saw him yesterday I cried again. He is touched by this, but he has always marveled at the frequency of my crying, so he isn't overly upset by my tears (and believe me, this is a good thing.)

People change, grow, move on, and move away. Somehow in my second decade of sobriety I started being really consistent. I never was before. But since 1994, I have had the same job. I have had attended the same AA groups, I have attended the same church since 1998. I have lived in the same home since 2001... I have had the same phone number since 1998. I have had the same cellular phone number since 1997! But in that time, people have come and gone into and out of my life. Even my sponsor moved last year!

When I was drinking, people were basically scenery to me. They were props in the drama of my life. They were definintely interchangable. When one left, there was always another to replace them, I never spent any time suffering over it. Since I came to my first meeting on July 24, 1984, I have learned to love people. I care about them. I care about their well-being. I have joy in my heart when I see them. I still regularly see the man who took me to my first meeting. I still regularly converse via e-mail with the woman who was my first sponsor (she now lives outside of London).

This is the good news. I actually care deeply about people who are in my life. I care deeply about some of the bloggers I have come to know over the last almost 2 years. Thank God I have the ability to care, but with it comes pain as well as joy.

Happy Sunday everyone.

"Only God is unchanging, only He has all the truth there is." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 76 (the book opened to this page, cool)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ten things you don't want to know about me...

Christine tagged me to do this. As I sit here and start this, I have not a clue of anything you don't want to know about me... I'm honored you take the time to read my blog and DO want to know anything about me.

1. I get migraine headaches... I have one now.
2. I love the sound of birds singing in the pre-dawn morning.
3. I have post-traumatic stress from having three small children within two and a half years, and I have great difficulty being around small children - even my very own beloved grandchildren.
4. I was attacked by guard dogs when I was 5, I am*mostly* over my fear of dogs, but it can come up unexpectedly.
5. Running has helped me with my fear of dogs and of people.
6. I sometimes close my curtain when I see my neighbor and her husband outside, she used to be my close friend, and then HE came along, and although I am truly happy for them, it sometimes makes me want to gag to see them holding hands, riding a bicycle built for two, calling each other "honey" and acting like adolescents. Sorry. I am working on this.
7. I have a serious history with debilitating major depression. My diagnosis now reads - (296.36) major depressive disorder, recurrent, in full remission. I think maybe it isn't in full remission right now.
8. I knit in AA meetings. Some people think this is wonderful, others think I ought to put my needles away and act like other people.
9. I give away 99.9% of what I knit in meetings, and the recipients do NOT think I ought to stop knitting.
10. I am more grateful than words can say for the program and the people of Alcoholics Anonymous. You guys embraced me when I was pretty unembracable and loved me until I could love myself, you brought me back to God and eventually the religion of my youth. The steps have removed lifetime problems - not solved, not "worked out" - they were erased!
(11. Every morning I have to type in a Word Verification to publish my blog, and every morning, it takes me 2 to 3 tries to get it right. I cannot read those twisting bizarre letters!- okay, now I am on try #4)
Post script: I am glad you mentioned that you don't have to do word verification to post.... I have just checked this out and it seems Blogger has identified this blog as a spam blog and that is why I have to do WV. I have sent them an e-mail to identify to them I am an actual human being. I hope I pass the test!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Morning

I seem to be climbing out of the deep dark abyss I fell into sometime on Tuesday afternoon. I expected a crash after the race, but this was a lot more than I expected.

The man I have been dating (but not talking about) called last night to tell me he has taken a job in another city and will be moving. Gee.

I am heading out of here for a 6:30 a.m. meeting. I need to sit for an hour in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I will probably go to the 5:30 meeting tonight after work too. Last night a sponsee wanted to have dinner with me, so I did that instead of going to my usual Thursday night meeting. I am grateful for her and the ability to sit and share with another woman in AA.

"We sit in AA meetings and listen, not only to receive something ourselves, but to give the reassurance and support which our presence can bring. If our turn comes to speak at a meeting, we again try to carry AA's message. Whether our audience is one or many, it is still Twelfth Step work." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 110

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grateful List For my friend Daave

Today I am grateful:
  • for the new bud on my new rose bush (see above)
  • that wrinkles do not hurt
  • for friends who call
  • for friends who answer the phone when I call
  • for a friend who loaned me a CD of Bill Wilson speaking on the day Dr. Bob died - I hadn't heard it before yesterday
  • that we mostly haven't "loused this thing up" as Dr. Bob warned Bill
  • that I get to go to my church this morning and spend an hour in silent prayer
  • for knowing that "feelings aren't facts" and I am just suffering from post-race let down - I will bounce back.

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday Morning

It is 40 degrees outside. I woke up and thought I would run, but I looked at my books and they strongly urge me to let my body heal. I feel like a slacker. Perhaps I will take a walk.

I got a post card yesterday from my son. He sent it while he was on leave in Sydney. He is back to Iraq now. I am having nightmares about him. I feel like I am going through the whole thing over again. I was so frightened when he first got over there, and then I came to accept it as the reality of each day. Now I feel frightened again... almost panic stricken. I will hope to come back to the level of acceptance I had before. Being panic stricken is not a feeling I like to have.

Okay, I think I shall go take a walk and get ready for another day.

"Like most people, we have found that we can take our big lumps as they come. But also like others, we often discover a greater challenge in the lesser and more continuous problems of life. Our answer is in still more spiritual development. Only by this means can we improve our chances for really happy and useful living." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 114

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This is what I looked like...

At the end of 13.1 miles. he he.

I am still on a pink cloud from that race. I really need to write about all I learned...but aren't you lucky because I won't bore you with it here!

Yesterday I had an iced latte from Starbucks at noon. I guess that is too late in the day for me to consume caffeine because I barely slept last night until about 4 a.m., and then I slept like a rock until 6. I am running way late and haven't even run this morning. I feel rather sluggish. I have a meeting with my boss this morning and I need to be sharp! sharp! sharp!

Maybe running 13.1 miles wipes everything out of your mind and that is why I am feeling so happy. I don't know. I just don't seem to have much to say. I am sure I will tomorrow...

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

Monday, May 21, 2007

+1 day

One day postpartum (as Scott described it) or post race. I thought I would need to stay home from work today, but I am fine and will be happy to go to work. I may very well wear my medal - what a ham I am! I will be limping along, but I will have a smile on my face.

"True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 125

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I did it!

I ran 13.1 miles to get that medal! And it was worth every step of it. The race was wonderful. I decided from the start that I was going to enjoy the day, not get stressed, and not get competitive. I ran as fast or slow as I felt like, I stopped to go to the bathroom once, I stopped and talked to my friend Holly who cheering for me at mile 9 - just when I was feeling weak. I left Holly feeling wonderful. My time was definitely not good, but it IS my personal best for a half-marathon - since I have not done one before.

My daughter enjoyed the race too, which I feel very happy about since she didn't train at all. She just called to see how it was for me to walk up my stairs in my house... ow! Holy Cow, I am really hurting, and she is too. But it is a marvelous kind of hurting - from doing something I have always dreamed of doing, and trained for 5 months to do. I just hope I don't lose any toenails, but I am afraid I might.

Thank you all you sober men and women who surround me and hold me up when I am flagging. Even when you are not there physically, you are still there with me spiritually. Can you imagine a drunk Mary Christine at the age of 55? I would be a terminally old woman, not a woman who actually beat her 28 year old daughter by about 15 minutes in a half-marathon. Life is good.

"Everybody 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

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Day Before

We went to the expo yesterday afternoon and got our race packets. I am so frickin' excited! I won't be posting again until tomorrow after the race. Please say a prayer for me if you have a second and are so inclined. Thank you.

I am off to a 6:30 a.m. meeting now. It will be good to sit still and be quiet for an hour. Then the day begins... I had hoped that it would be a quiet day, full of nothing. However, I have many things to get done before the race, so I will be pretty much running around all day. I will be hydrating and taking in lots of carbs... yippppeee!!! Trying to stuff all the glycogen I can into each and every cell of mine.

Thanks so much for all the well-wishes and support. I really really appreciate it. I am pretty much a one topic person this morning, so that's enough out of me!

"Change is characteristic of all growth. From drinking to sobriety, from dishonesty to honesty, from conflict to serenity, from hate to love, from childish dependence to adult responsibility -- of this and infinitely more represent change for the better....
Only God is unchanging; only He has all the truth there is." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 76

Friday, May 18, 2007

2 Days

Until my race. Woo Hoo! I am so excited! I am as ready as I am going to be... all my training is done. I will find out how effective it was on Sunday. And no matter what, when I finish, I will have recorded my best time ever and my personal record for a half-marathon!

Last night at the 5:30 meeting, there was almost a fight. A particularly obnoxious man was telling off one of my sponsees during the meeting, and she told him to knock it off, someone else entered the fray, and the chair put an end to it quickly. The obnoxious man called the chair a few nasty names, but it did end. I was really grateful we had someone with years (decades) 0f sobriety chairing the meeting, she was magnificent in her calm handling of a difficult situation. It could have been even more ugly. We are not only people who normally would not mix, but we are often people with a host of problems other than alcoholism - in various degrees of addressing those problems - or not. The obnoxious man is sober over 30 years, so I just imagine what he would be like if he were drinking, and I pray for him and thank God that he is sober. He lost his wife about ten years ago, and he has never really been the same since.

So last night in my written 10th step inventory, I got to count the fact that I kept my big mouth shut during this incident on the positive side of the ledger. I used to never pass by an opportunity to "enter the fray."

I am extremely grateful that I get to be a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous and I no longer have unrealistic expectations of its members. We are sick people. Some of us are miracles of mental health, some others are not doing so well today, but if they don't pick up a drink there is always hope. God is Good!

"These are the growing pains of infancy, and we actually thrive on them. Surmounting such problems, in AA's rather rugged school of life, is a healthy exercise." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 143

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ready for the rAAce

There's my zipped pocket on my shirt, my "gu," and my super deluxe Garmin Forerunner 305.... and the abysmal time I recorded on it yesterday.

Thank God for the recovery we get to experience in Alcoholics Anonymous. Left to my own devices, I would be sitting in a bar, drunk on my ass, and smoking many menthol cigarettes.

"We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health. But we have seen remarkable transformations in our bodies. Hardly one of our crowd now shows any mark of dissipation." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 133

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Four Days

Until the race. I bought a new shirt and hat yesterday! The shirt has a little zipped pocket on the hem... but I might just wear another shirt I like better -without a pocket. The woman at the running store (who is one of the race organizers) said that all I need to have with me is my car key, driver's license, and some money - and I can stash those in my bra. I don't need to carry gel because they will be giving it away at every aid station (every 2 miles).

I cancelled all the rest of my appointments with sponsees for this week. I need to do very little other than work, eat, go to church twice, and SLEEP. One sponsee I expected to feel hurt and maybe resentful surprised me when she said that I was a good role model because I had good boundaries and was doing good self care. And I thought I was just being incredibly self-centered!

I was going to take a quick run this morning, but my back hurts and I slept later than I wanted. So I will go to work and take a quick run after I get home. It will be good to get out in the afternoon heat since it is supposed to get up in the 80s on Sunday, which is not something anyone around here is used to. Thank You for listening to this endless race-talk.

Oh, and I was looking through my site meter this morning, and found someone got to my blog by searching "fast anonymity." This person was from a middle-eastern country because google's English was interspersed with Arabic (I assume). I copied what I think is "Anonymous Alcoholic" in Arabic: ترجم هذه الصفحة (OH MY GOODNESS! I just clicked on this link, and it is my very own blog translated into Arabic! Holy Cow!)

"We know that if we rebel against doing that which is reasonably possible for us, then we will be penalized. And we will be equally penalized if we presume in ourselves a perfection that simply is not there." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 159

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

5 Days

Until my half-marathon. I am getting quite nervous. I still don't know what I am wearing - which is a big mistake to make. I have run with a jacket for all of these months of training... I forgot that on May 20 it is likely to be at least in the 60s and I need to wear a singlet, no jacket, and a pair of compression shorts (with no pocket). So I have no pocket to put my car key and my gel in. I can stick them in my bra, but that probably isn't the most comfortable thing to do. I hope to figure this out today.

Yesterday I got to have lunch with my old friend who now lives in Montana. It was great to see him. We sat in a restaurant for an hour and a half and visited. It is nice to be with a person who knows your ancient history and loves you. I told him how overwhelmed I am with the number of new women I am sponsoring and he suggested that I get them all together at one time and read the big book - all of us - once a week. This would technically work since they are all on the first or second step right now. I think people need the one on one attention that a sponsor provides, but they also need the camaraderie of their peers. I notice that these people don't hang out with one another which is really really sad.... anyway.... does anyone have any thoughts on this?

This is going to be one long ass post... sorry. So, I have always said that if you are sponsoring more than 2 or 3 people, it is nothing but an ego trip. My sponsor has agreed with me. Now I am sponsoring five women, four of whom are in their first 90 days of sobriety. I don't know how this has happened to me. I have an idea though. (after "the man" criticized me for cussing in meetings, I have really toned it down, and I have also become a lot more careful about what I share in meetings, which I think is a negative thing, but is attracting more and more people to me. DRAT! I think I used to cuss and tell outrageous stories to keep people away.) I am staying in frequent contact with my sponsor and talking to her about all of these relationships and she does not think this is an ego trip, but she sure worries about how busy and tired I am.

I am reading a book by Henri Nouwen, "The Return of the Prodigal Son." It is his reflection on the painting by Rembrandt of the same name. There is a lot in that little book, but one of the things that has struck me most profoundly is that most of us read that parable, or see that painting and identify with the prodigal. But it is enlightening to look at it through the eyes of the older brother or the father. I have BEEN the prodigal, I have been the older brother (metaphorically speaking, of course). I think it might be time to strive to be more like "the father." The forgiving one who loves unconditionally.

I am a 55 year old woman who has been sober for 22 years, 9 months, and 21 days. I think I need to revise my own ideas about who I am. I better stop writing this - I am getting carried away and probably convoluted... so on that note, how about one of my favorite jokes:

Did you hear about Descartes sitting at a cafe - the waiter asked him if he would care for more tea, to which Descartes replied, "I think not." and vanished!

"Faith is more than our greatest gift; its sharing with others is our greatest reponsibility. 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

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday Morning

You know, I always say I love Saturday Mornings - and I do. But I might like Monday Mornings second best. I am so glad to be going back to work today. And today I am having lunch with a bearded gentleman from Montana!

I had absolutely no down-time all weekend. I am exhausted. Mothers Day was not the best. Everyone was cranky - and I may have been the crankmeister. This may sound like an excuse, but I think these family traditional dinners are difficult because we all miss a certain soldier serving in Iraq. My son, their brother, their uncle. At first, it was a novelty and we could all feel brave or noble or something. Now it is getting very old, and I feel nothing but weary and sad.

Yesterday at church there was a little slide show behind the Priest as he gave his homily. One of the images was of a mother and her son in uniform. Her face was pressed into his chest. He might have been leaving, but I got the feeling he had just come back. She looked tired and tear-stained, but relieved and so grateful to be touching her son. That started my tears, and I cried through the rest of Mass.

By the time I got the voice mail last night from my dear friend, I thought -oh no! Tim is in town and I do not have one second to carve away to meet him! I called him back and he suggested lunch! Well, hells bells, I have time for lunch! Thank God for old friends. I am greatly looking forward to seeing him.

I better get out and run and get ready for work. I am so grateful that I have a job where I can escape myself for 8 to 10 hours a day! I would like to borrow Zane's line today : Now y'all be pretty, ya heah.

"Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. xxvi

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A week from now...

I will be at the start line of the half-marathon. And by 9:00 a.m., it will be over. And then I can stop training for a half-marathon and start training for the August triathlon! I am really weary from all this running. It will be great to add in bike riding and swimming.

Today is Mothers Day. 2 out of 3 of my kids will be coming over later. 100% of my 2 grandkids will be coming too. I am grateful to be a mother of three wonderful adults. My children are people I not only love, but I LIKE them - problems and all. I miss my son terribly and look forward to next year when he will be here with us.

I hope that my mother can see her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, because she really would be pleased. My mom died when I was 19. I was such a drunken mess at 19 and I know I was a disappointment to her. But, oh! how my life changed after I got sober and stayed sober, and I hope that she knows that.

I am being morbid this morning. I think I shall go paint my toenails! And get ready for church! And get ready for the kids coming over! They wanted to take me out, but I do not want to deal with a restaurant on Mothers Day! Heck no! I am going to grill salmon. Have a happy Sunday everyone.

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

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday Morning

I love Saturday morning. I am going to go to the 6:30 a.m. meeting, then come home and take a 5 mile run. I am tapering before my race. I will run very little in this last week before the half-marathon.
My son called on Thursday night from a country other than Iraq. He is on a well-deserved leave. He is having a wonderful vacation. We got to have a frank conversation for the first time since he has been gone. It was disconcerting, to put it mildly. Please God, get us through the next few months until he gets home.

Yesterday I got to hear my friend Larry's story at the 6:30 meeting. What a life he has had! It was good to be there. As I left, I opened my car windows, and opened the sun roof and drove to work - with the wind blowing in my hair. Really, how great is this? I get to go to an AA meeting on my way to work, I get to hear a friend of mine share his life story, I get to drive a nice car on a beautiful day. Life is good - if I will look for the good. If I look for the bad, believe me, I will find it.

I am greatly looking forward to this day.

"I find joy in my daily life, in being of service, in simply being. I have found rooms full of wonderful people, and for me ach and everyone of the Big Book's promises have come true." - - Alcoholics Anonymous (4th ed.), p. 475

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Friday Morning

My friend Larry, with the many tears (of mine) in his ears, is telling his story at 6:30 this morning. I must be there! He is a sweetheart, not to mention the fact that he has an incredible story.

My half-marathon is now only 9 days away. I bought a GPS thing yesterday and went out and timed a one mile run. My time is even worse than I thought! Oh well. I will just be a slow, chubby, old lady running a half-marathon. I have trained for 5 months to do this race and I will do it and I swear to you, I WILL enjoy it. I have to get the idea that I am competitive out of my head.

I am so busy between work and sponsoring people and training for this race. I am really ready for a weekend. It has been a really busy week. A good week. I am noticing that as I write my 10th step inventory at night, more and more I have nothing but positive things to write. Which is not to say that I don't have my character defects and occassional bad behavior, but thankfully it is not something that I have to write about EVERY day.

"It's a poor day indeed when we haven't done something right. As a matter of fact, the waking hours are usually well filled with things that are constructive. Good intentions, good thoughts, and good acts are there for us to see. Even when we have tried hard and failed, we may chalk that up as one of the greatest credits of all." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 93

Thursday, May 10, 2007

David Stone

Thanks Pam for this beautiful gift.

I am off to church now and in a super huge hurry! Have a great day everyone.

"We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 68

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

48 degrees

I am riding my bike to work today. I usually start riding my bike earlier in the year. I have been so focused on my marathon training, I have foregone a bunch of stuff I really like. With the price of gas as it is, I hope to ride my bike to work frequently this summer. I am in my "taper" period before my half-marathon, which means that I am barely running at all for the next 11 days - and then it is race day!

Several of you asked about the excessive crying of Monday night. I had an argument with the man I have been seeing since September (but not talking about). The argument wasn't that bad really. We got off the phone on good terms, but after we hung up, I started crying, and the rest is history. It has been years since I have cried like that. Some have suggested that I needed a good cry. I may have needed a good cry, but that cry was ridiculous!

I better get ready for my bike ride. Have a great and peaceful day everyone. And if I had one suggestion? Just be nice to each other. That's all. You don't need to memorize the big book, you don't need to be able to give us page numbers and exact quotes... just care about one another and try to encourage, lift up, and love!

"We blame little things in others and pass over great things in ourselves; we are quick enough in perceiving and weighing what we suffer from others, but we mind not what others suffer from us." -- Thomas A'Kempis, One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, May 9, p. 130

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


It seems a lot of us are talking about THE Newsweek article ostensibly about AA this week. There was a copy of it lying around the meeting room the other day. Great message for the newcomer. Someone tried to steer the meeting topic to it last night. It didn't work - there are so many new people in the room, I am sure most of them had no clue about the controversy.

So the Midtown Group in Washington DC is bad. So what? There are "bad" groups all over this country. There are many, many more good groups. Whenever you have self-governed groups of social misfits like many alcoholics, you are bound to have trouble now and then. We are alcoholics in various stages of recovery. You have the people who are only there for sex, the people who are only there to try to scam something, etc. If they are alcoholics and keep coming back, and doing the deal, they may eventually straighten out. And maybe not.

The important thing is: If you are alcoholic and want to stay sober in AA, you will either stay sober in whatever group you are in, you will find another group to go to - or you will get drunk. This is not rocket science. It is unfortunate that vulnerable newcomers get hurt by people in AA. But it has happened since the beginning of AA and probably always will. The real story is the incredible love that is showered upon newcomers and oldtimers and everyone in between at most AA groups all around the world - every single day. But who wants to write an article about that?

Last night I had an upsetting incident. I got home and cried. Then I cried some more, and then my crying seemed to feed my crying. I got on my knees and prayed. And still I cried. After a while, I realized I would need to call someone. The person I thought of was Larry, so I called Larry. He listened to me while I cried. He listened to me even though I had a hard time telling him what was wrong. He listened, and listened, and listened. He told me that when he sees me his heart is happy. He told me I am a kind person and a good person. He told me that whatever I was telling myself was not correct. And he told me that I would need to do some work and get with my sponsor. I told him I am already writing and working with my sponsor. This is what AA is about. One drunk helping another drunk. A simple voice on the other line, listening. The incredible love that we show one another, in the most simple ways.

I am forever grateful for Alcoholics Anonymous and all that has happened to me in it... good and bad. Because it is all good - I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and you can't get any better than that - if you are a drunk like me.

"It all went on a little care about golf-score size. The cover read: 'Middleton Group #1. Rule #62.' Once the card was unfolded, a single pungent sentence leaped to the eye: ' Don't take yourself too damn seriously.'" -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 149

Monday, May 07, 2007

Good Morning World

I did get to take a picture of my front porch yesterday after the ice melted. I hope it warms up soon, it is only 37 degrees now and I would like to run, but that is 7 degrees warmer than it was yesterday when I got up.

What I learned from my vacation: Thank God I have a job. Thank God I have a job that engages my brain. Thank God I have a job where I really like a lot of people. Thank God I have a job where people really like me. All I have wanted to do for the last week is sleep.

I had an OK time in Galveston - some of it good, some of it not so good. I had a freaking fabulous time in Houston. I loved meeting my sober blogging pals. I loved sitting at Starbuck's and Barnaby's and in meetings with Daave, Scott, Pam, Zane, Ricky!!! and so many others. The trip to Houston really made my trip worthwhile.

The first day I was home, I did lots of stuff that needed to be done (turning on my sprinkler system for instance), but after that, I slept. Then I slept some more. Then I took a nap. Then I went to bed. Then after that I snoozed for a while. This is NOT good for a person's self esteem, I can tell you that. So I am glad I am going back to work, although I am concerned about staying awake all day!

I spent yesterday with my 39 days clean and sober daughter. Who has probably gained 39 pounds in 39 days. God bless her. She is doing well. She got a job and starts on Wednesday. It is a decent job and I think she will do well there. She will work in the plumbing department of a "DIY" type store - some other blog called DIY "Destroy It Yourself" haha. Her last career was in auto parts, so I know she has the capacity to learn all about plumbing - and that is good.

So now I shall go out and take this slow old body for a run! and then go to work! yay!

"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

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Colorado May Morning

This morning as I woke up, I thought I would put my flag out on my front porch and take a picture of the flag and the flowers and the porch (those who have read this blog for a while understand that I love my front porch in the summer). However, instead my little world is coated with ice this morning. So I am posting a picture of my back deck (which I don't like nearly as much as the front porch) and the flowers that are now incased in friggin' ice. Oh well, another $100. or so on flowers that are now ruined. I lost my sunglasses last week - another $130. gone.

Okay. On the positive side. Last night I heard the story of a man I knew even before he got sober 13 years ago. He is the husband of an AA acquaintance. What a story! Holy cow. Arrested for "murder one" with the Charles Manson group - because he was living with them! Obviously, he was cleared of that, or I certainly wouldn't have been listening to his story in an AA meeting in Colorado.

Went to my morning group's monthly night watch dinner last night. I made a strawberry pie. There was literally a line of people with plates to get a piece of this pie. It was gone within 5 minutes and made me feel appreciated. Several people asked me to bring two of them next month. (I probably won't do that.) It was nice to sit and be part of this fellowship. One of the benefits of being older is that men now look forward to introducing me to their wives! That did not used to be the case.

I am going to church this morning since I didn't go last night. I am grateful that gas is *only* $3.00 a gallon and I can still afford to drive to my church which isn't very close to my house. Someday I may need to walk to the church that is only a mile away. That is something I wouldn't like.

I am just a ray of sunshine this morning, aren't I? I will probably be better later on - I should wait til then to write something, but I won't.

"...we are so aware that God will not desert us when the chips are down; indeed, He did not when we were drinking. And so it should be with the remainder of life." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 221

Saturday, May 05, 2007


I am feeling dizzy this morning. I am going on an organized run, and I don't want to go. I really don't feel well. But I am reminded of what my high school sociology teacher wrote in my year book "If dizzy dames are what make this world go around, you must make it rotate five times faster." That was AFTER he asked me to run away to California with him on his motorcycle. I have often wondered what would have happened if I said yes. Of course, back then, I thought it was a fun flirtation... now it would be considered sexual assault by one in a position of trust... he would go to prison for 10 years and then be a sex offender for life - unable to live anywhere but under a bridge.

I really am dizzy and have a headache. But I will go on this run anyway. I will give an update about whether I feel worse or better afterwards.
The run was miserable. I felt like crap. I intended to run 6 miles, but got to the 2 mile mark and was CRYING like a baby, and decided to head back. I am so freaking slow. Slower than any other runner (but faster than the walkers). An Angel named Lana ran back with me. I got to talk with a bunch of experienced marathoners after the run, and I am re-encouraged. It doesn't matter how fast or slow I am, what matters is that I am out there doing it. (another thought: when you run with a running club, they just MIGHT be the fast runners.) They assured me that I will NOT be the last finisher.
Have a great weekend everybody.

"Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 98

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday Morning

I am finally acclimating to being on vacation - just in time to go back to work! I slept until 7:30 this morning. It was nice, but really after a week or so off work, I realize (again) that I really need the structure and socialization that my workplace provides. I will be happy to get back to work on Monday.

Last night on my way to the 5:30 meeting, I decided I really didn't want to go to the meeting (I had already been to one meeting earlier in the day) and instead I called my oldest sponsee and asked her if she would like to have dinner with me. We went out and had big steak dinners, it was lovely. I was starved after a day of running around starting at 4:30 a.m.!

Tomorrow I am participating in a free run sponsored by the marathon folks. The half-marathon is only a little over 2 weeks away. Saturday's run will be my last long run before the race.... and I think the race will be my last long run for a loooooong time. I am so done with running. I cannot wait to train for the triathlon - I will concentrate on biking and swimming for a while, and then I will have to throw in some running again eventually.

Today I will work in my yard and then go to a meeting tonight... I will finish the book I have been reading all week. It is a good one. I am boring today. Sorry. I even looked through my site meter to see if there were any interesting searches that landed someone at my blog. The only one even slightly interesting was "why do alcoholics think everyone is nice?" I don't even get that one... I think, as a group, we are pretty distrustful and don't think anyone is nice... until we get a little nicer and trustworthy ourselves.

"How did I eliminate my problems? I mean, I had so many problems for such a long time. Where did they go? The short (but somewhat mysterious) answer is: the Third Step swept them away. I turned my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him." -- Jim P., Santa Monica, CA - AA Grapevine, May 2007, p. 53

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Off to church

My feet relaxing on a Galveston, TX beach.

I am off to church for my Thursday morning committment. The difference with being on vacation is that today I can come back home and go back to sleep if I feel like it!

Yesterday my neighbor and I took our annual trek to the garden store and got a load of flowers. It is so lovely to see flowers around... expect to see pictures soon and all summer long.
It is both too early and too late for me to write much of anything here. I am still mainly asleep, and yet, I need to be out of here in 15 minutes, so I better go. Thank God I am sober. Thank God you are too.
"Once an alcoholic fully realizes that he cannot get well alone, he will somehow find a way to get well and stay well in the company of others. It has been that way from the beginning of AA and probably always will be so." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 312

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday Morning

I am debating riding my bike to the meeting this morning. I have about 4 minutes to make up my mind. It is only 41 degrees outside, and it is very wet, due to soaking rainstorms yesterday. Doesn't sound very appealing, does it?

I had a wonderful day of vacation yesterday. Went to a meeting first thing, then had a visitor, then mowed my lawn, fired up my sprinkler system for summer, and took a 10 and a half mile run. The run was good, but very difficult. At least 5 miles of it is uphill, seriously uphill. I am sure I will be glad of these training runs when I am running the half-marathon in 18 days (eeeek!) Today I get to go pick up my wrist watch! It has been getting a new watchband installed for the last 4 weeks. At Tiffany's, it is a major event to get a new watchband.

At the meeting yesterday, a man who has recently returned to AA after a year and a half spell of drinking went on a tirade about the quality of sharing in AA meetings. He didn't like something someone said to someone else. Someone COULD tell him that his knowing it all might have been what led him to leave AA before, but no one did. Personally, I believe we kill people with kindness... it would have been a far kinder thing to tell him to mind his own business than to smile indulgently as we listened to him. It is more satisfying to me to smile indulgently, but it is not helpful to anyone. I just told him there was no waste in God's economy, and if someone said something that he thought was unkind, it was probably just the thing SOMEONE else needed to hear. (and I have, by spending 15 minutes writing this, made my decision NOT to ride my bike to the meeting today!)

"Though many theologians hold that sudden spiritual experiences amount to a special distinction, if not a divine appointment of some sort, I question this view. Every human being, no matter what his attributes for good or evil, is a part of the divine spriritual economy. Therefore, each of us has his place, and I cannot see that God intends to exalt one over another." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 168

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

There's no place like home...

(magnolia tree outside of Daave's terrace.)
I am back at my own computer this morning, in my own home, drinking my own coffee, watching my own CNN, looking out my own window.... It is good to be home.

I had the most astounding time in Houston. Meeting my fellow bloggers was incredibly wonderful. I attended two meetings at "Lambda", and they were both really great meetings. I will forever be grateful to Daave for driving me around and being such a gracious host. Meeting Scott and Pam, Ricky!!! and Zane, and so many others was just really the highlight of my trip. I am really blown away by the experience. I could write and write about it, but I am pretty sure it would sound like nothing but over-the-top hyperbole - but it is how I feel. This experience definitely goes into the treasure box of memories to cherish.

Now I have four more days off work, to bum around, get my garden and lawn dressed up for summer, get a few naps in, some good long runs, a bike ride or two, and whatever else I fancy!

I got home to many frantic phone messages from work yesterday. Many frantic e-mails too. In the old days, I would be back at work today - because they NEED me. But nowadays - I am on vacation and I am staying on vacation. I NEED a vacation.

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