Saturday, June 30, 2007

Last Saturday in June

This is a recycled photo from a bike ride about this time last year. I ran past this spot this morning on my 8.5 mile run. It was WAY too hot for an eight and a half mile run. If I had gone earlier instead of going to my 6:30 meeting, it would have been OK... but no, I want it ALL!

Last night I had a busy night on the phone. I don't know why I am sharing this, but I am. I was talking on my cell phone with the man I have been dating (but not talking about) who has recently moved away. While I talked with him, my land line rang, it was the man I dated last summer (and regretted talking about here). I got off the phone with man #1, and called back man #2. We talked for over an hour, and my call waiting beeped - it was a man I dated for over 10 years - from the late 80s into the late 90s... on and off (like I was married to someone else for a while during that period)... anyway, after I got off the phone with man #2, I called Mr. Ed. Ed and I talked for a while. He said we should get together some time soon before we pass away... he is so funny. But not that funny because he just turned 68 years old this month and has had a stroke. When I got off the phone with Ed, my cell phone rang - it was man #1 again. We talked for a while and got to wish each other "sweet dreams".

Who cares? Well, apparently I do. I am grateful that I am still friends with nearly all my former loves. One of the women I work with calls me a "dangler", she says that none of my relationships are ever really over... they dangle. I think that is because I have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable... the romantic relationship may need to end, but I always hope that we can remain friendly. And if we are both in AA, and most of my b.f.s have been in AA, I really hope we can remain able to be happy to see each other when we run into each other.

Life is too short and the world is too small to hold grudges or have people I want to avoid.

"But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut outselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 66

Quick Note

I am off to a 6:30 meeting - and don't have time to do a "real" post - until after the meeting. But I want to tell you all that I cannot post a comment on anyone's blog. Not even my own. So I have read your blogs, I just can't comment. I hope this gets resolved soon.

"Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 102

Friday, June 29, 2007

Lazy Friday

I don't feel like running this morning! I don't feel like riding my bike either. I guess I could feel happy that I do actually feel like taking a bath and getting ready for work, and that is probably exactly what I will do. This laziness is an unusual feeling for me, and I don't much like it. Aha! I know! I will try to get to work a bit early, so I can go for a swim on my way to the 5:30 meeting tonight. There, thanks for helping me think this one through.

Last night at the 5:30, two of my recently former sponsees raised their hands. One was sitting next to me, she has reached out to me and I have been happy to have been there to support her. The other was sitting across the room. She has not reached out to me, which is fine, but she had also been speaking ill of me (me! ME! Of all people!) in AA meetings prior to starting drinking again. I hope she can get sober, and I really hope she can find someone else to work with her.

I was on the phone too late last night. A day that lasts from 3:15 a.m. til 10:30 p.m. is much too long for me! I am a little tired today, but I am sure I will get going, once I get going.

"Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 57

p.s., I have been having a hard time posting comments, so if it looks like I haven't been around for a day or two, this is why. Is anyone else getting stuck with endless popup "do you want to display non-secure items?" that won't go away?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It works every single day

What they told me when I showed up in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous:
  • Don't drink
  • Don't think
  • Go to meetings
  • Read the big book
  • Get a sponsor.

By the Grace of a Loving God, it's still working.

"It works it really does." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 88

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bike to Work Day

Today is Bike to Work Day and I am the coordinator of the event at my workplace. I need to get out of here - pronto! And get to work and meet and greet the bikers. I really enjoy this event.

Yesterday I went to visit my friend Larry who is in the hospital. It was lovely to sit with him for a couple of hours. His dinner came and he joked about how he has always wanted to take me out for a romantic dinner - too bad I would just have to sit and watch him eat. The nurses heard this and got me a dinner too, and closed the curtain in the room so that we could have some "ambiance". It was really cute. His heart is really not doing so well, and that is so scary.

While I was sitting with Larry, my phone rang. It was one of my recently former sponsees. She was in crisis. But the good news is, she is finally being honest with me about her drug use. She was hysterically crying and asking me what she should tell people. I suggested she try telling the truth. I pray she will be able to stop.

I am grateful that there are people who are happy to see me today. I am grateful that my former sponsee knew that she could call me, and then she did. I am especially grateful that I get to take this body and put it on a bicycle this morning!

"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Good Tuesday Morning

I am feeling rather dull this morning - I have no great ideas to write about today. I checked my site meter for recent searches, and imagine my amazement to find a search for "pod people in alcoholics anonymous." And somehow my blog was on the first page of results for that search: 'alcoholic' + 'anonymous' are in my blog name. 'pod' comes up every time I have written about my iPod. But I wonder, what the heck was that person looking for?

Last night, I met with a sponsee after work, and then drove over to an information meeting about a program I have always wanted to do. I don't know how much to write about it. It is a 4 year program of bible study. I signed on the dotted line, and wrote a check! I am so very excited about this. It doesn't start until August, but I will have homework to do before then.

One of the most amazing things to me about this journey is that I can walk right into a church and talk with people. I don't feel that I have to make excuses or tell "white lies" about my life. I feel just fine to sit and talk with the church ladies and gents. I guess there is no huge discrepancy between my values and my actions today - and that my friends - is indeed a miracle! Only by the Grace of a loving God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous (and lots of time) could this have ever happened. And please don't think I think I am perfect, because I am far from - but I am moving in a positive direction.

So now I shall go outside on a beautiful cool summer (it is really summer now dAAve!) morning and run - and then get to work. Life is so incredibly good.

"It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. 'How can I best serve Thee - Thy will (not mine) be done.' These are thoughts which must go with us constantly." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 85

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday AM

I had such a busy weekend and I have such a headache this morning - I really wish I could go back to bed. But instead I will go out and bravely face the world.

I am down to 3 sponsees right now. I think this is a "managable" number. I met with two of them yesterday and I am meeting another tonight. I actually look forward to all of these meetings and don't dread any of them. I am grateful for these women, I love all three of them. I am grateful for this attitude. A while back, I had 6 sponsees, and three of them were so needy, it really felt like a burden. Then I felt guilty for feeling that way.

My son called yesterday from Iraq. It is the first time I have talked to him since the end of April. It was so very good to hear his voice. We talked about his homecoming - which is just a little over a month away. I had a lump in my throat the entire time we were on the phone. When we hung up, I sobbed like a baby. You know, I have not heard him complain once since he has been over there. I know it is difficult. The temperatures get into the 130's in the daytime, and that is just one of the many challenges... there are many. He just says "it is character building." God bless him. I cannot wait to see him, and touch him, and feed him some good mama food. (he has requested lasagna and spaghetti.)

Oh! And I won FIRST PLACE for my lemon meringue pie last week!

"This brought me to the good healthy realization that there were plenty of situations left in the world over which I had no personal power -- that if I was so ready to admit that to be the case with alcohol, so I must make the same admission with respect to much else. I would have to be still and know that He, not I, was God." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 114

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Summer of Love

Yesterday Scott W. wrote about being grateful he missed being in San Francisco for the "Summer of Love". I told him that I might write about my experience that summer. I think I will do that today - it is, after all, Sunday when I write these long old posts. (Even though I want to get out and run before it gets too hot.)

In June 1967, I was 15 years old and in Chicago. Spending my summer at the St. Vincent de Paul Home on LaSalle Avenue. It was a lovely old building which housed student nurses and unwed mothers. Guess which group I was with. I was 15 years old and pregnant - which at that time was a big fat scandal. You just did not do things like that! But I did.

It was the first time in my life I had a serious consequence for irresponsible behavior. The summer before, in 1966, at the age of 14, I had picked up my first drink. Within 4 months I was pregnant. I was "in love" with my first boyfriend and was sure we would be married as soon as we were out of high school, and although that sounds stupid, I was at least smart enough to know that there was no way on God's green earth that I was going to be able to care for a baby. So I went away (quietly and secretly) to the St. Vincent home so the nuns could get me through my pregnancy and arrange for the adoption of my baby.

Being at that lovely old building, with the other girls, and the wonderful nuns was one of the best experiences of my life. I loved being there. We stood in the halls and prayed before every meal and before bed, we went to Mass every morning, we prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I spent a lot of time learning how to knit while I was there. I sat on the bed in my room and listened to the radio. So, the "summer of love" was on the radio. I loved the Beatles, but at first did not understand "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band." It was a hot summer in Chicago and I remember the fans always blowing - no such thing as air conditioning in a building that old in those days.

I was sure my life was reformed. I was sure I wasn't going to drink or have sex once I got out of there. But I don't need to tell you how wrong I was.

On August 15, 1967 - nearly 40 years ago, I gave birth to a little baby girl. I named her Mary Catherine - after a beautiful nun from St. Vincent's. I never got to hold her. They took her from me and never let me touch her. I still can't write that without crying. Part of the deal at the hospital was that we were supposed to be able to hold our baby at least once. But the nurses were not enamored of unwed mothers... they told me they did not have time to bring the baby to me - they had "real" mothers to take care of.

My heart was broken. And to add to my misery, I had to go back home. My time at St. Vincent's was over. I had to go back home to my family and my school and my friends. I had left there a little girl - with a little girl's body. I came back a very depressed young woman, with a full-grown woman's body.

When I got back to the "real" world, my friends had gone from being little preppy types to being "hippies". Talk about culture shock! But it took less than a month for me to not only start drinking and having sex again, but also I began using drugs -- and I sure understood Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band then! I was part of the scene, man. I discovered that my true love had been a very busy young man while I was gone, and we broke up. I was so depressed I don't know how I lived through that time. But I did live through that time... as you know.

Addendum to the story: When I was sober a couple of years, I tried to find my daughter and found out that she was looking for me. We corresponded for a while and then she flew from Chicago to Denver to meet me when she was 20 years old. When she got off the plane, we just stared at each other. We could not stop looking at each other. To see someone who is that closely related to you - who you have never met before is an unbelievable experience. The amazing thing was, we didn't know how to relate to each other and so we met just that once. We kept in touch for a while, but I have not been able to locate her since 1990. She was just starting to drink heavily then. I pray she is OK. I pray we will find each other again.

I often think the experience of giving a child up for adoption was the single most life-altering event in my life. I once heard a woman describe it as being a ghost for the rest of your life. There is always something missing. There is always a huge unknown. Every time I say how many children I have, I am essentially lying. I raised 3. But I gave birth to 5. FIVE. One was given away, one was stillborn.

So that is my story of the "Summer of Love." Thank God I am sober today and my life is good. It is abundantly full of beautiful people I love and who love me, by the Grace and Perfect Mercy of God.

"We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 133

Saturday, June 23, 2007

AA Birthdays

Today is my friend C's 8th AA birthday. She is also my newest sponsee - new to me, not new to AA. She came around for years, literally years, raising her hand at almost every meeting. It seemed she could not stay sober to save her life, but then something happened and she got and stayed sober. Every morning in my prayers, I thank God for her. What a blessing to be able to be at the meeting where she celebrated her 8 years this morning.

I really didn't give her much of a chance back then when she was raising her hand. I wondered why on earth she kept coming back if she wasn't staying sober. But that shows you how much I know! I am so grateful there is a loving God in charge. If I were running the world, it would be not so nice of a place. But thanks to staying sober, I can stick around and watch what happens and hopefully learn from it. It is always good.

I am going to go out for a "brick" workout now. In training for a triathlon, you need to do workouts where you do more than one sport (which is called a brick, and I don't really know why). So today, I will ride my bike and after I am done with the bike ride, I will quickly change shoes, and go for a run. It is HARD to run after a long bike ride. But it is good.

"I'm happy, because I came to believe -- not only in God, but in the goodness in everyone." -- Came to Believe, p. 45

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Morning

That's a picture of my church at slightly before 5 a.m. when I get there each Thursday . I think it is so pretty.
And this is a picture of the corridor just inside the door... I love walking down that long corridor.

It is a beautiful Friday morning, it is cool outside, in the 60's. I can't decide whether to run or to ride my bike down to the lake for a quick swim. If I don't decide soon, the decision will be made for me because I won't have time for the bike ride and swim - and if I take even longer to decide, I won't have time for a run either!

The beginners meeting last night was just wonderful. There are so many newcomers to the 5:30 meeting, I am glad they decided to have a dedicated beginners meeting. I am also incredibly grateful that I started going to this group almost a year ago now. When my son left for Iraq last July, I was beside myself and did not know what to do. But thankfully, after 22 years of sobriety, I had a clue that perhaps I could start by adding more meetings to my schedule! There was a man from my 6:30 a.m. meeting who had always encouraged me to attend the 5:30 meeting, but I never did until last August. As soon as I went to that group, I found a new AA home (but I have not yet decided that it is my home group, that is saved for the group across town with the people I got sober with). I have been embraced into that group, and I have embraced them right back!
During the meeting, I will sit and look at each person in the room and truly look at their faces and remember their names. When I was sober about 10 years, I realized that I didn't know half the people's names in my meetings and I realized it was because I was incredibly self-centered! Me! Really! So now I concentrate on their faces and their names, so that I will see each person individually as a unique human being - not as scenery or extras so that I can have an AA meeting. I remember how much it meant to me when I was new that people remembered my name and welcomed me. Wow. For a drunk that is incredible stuff!
Have a fabulous sober Friday everyone.
"As active alcoholics, most of us are self-centered, and when we come into AA, our behavior can be still motivated by selfishness, self-seeking, self-pity, and self-centered fear. As we stay sober, however, we get released from 'the bondage of self,' as the Big Book puts it. We no longer have to be at the center of the universe. We learn a little humility. We give up the idea that the world must always respond promptly to our demands. We cease trying to run the show - ours and everybody else's. We stop playing God - and it turns out there is relief and freedom in that." -- Emotional Sobriety the Next Frontier, p. 39

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Baking when it is 95 degrees outside

Today there is a fundraiser at work and I volunteered to bake a pie. Of course, I didn't know it was going to be a blast furnace when I was baking the pie. I was talking with my friend Larry (thank you Blue Tooth technology) as I was baking and told him that although I was literally sweating over a hot stove there was nothing I would rather be doing. It was great. Now, I just hope I win a prize for those lemon meringue pies! Oh, and Larry gave me permission to turn on my central air. It has been blasting all night. I hope this house will cool off sometime soon - especially since the air conditioning is not working at my workplace.

The chicken lamp was added to the photo for the benefit of my friend Pam, who has an inexplicable fondness for chickens - and should compile a book of her chicken stories.

I am off to church. Happy and Sober Thursday everyone.

"Theology helps me in that many of its concepts cause me to believe that I live in a rational universe under a loving God, and that my own irrationality can be chipped away, little by little." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 294

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another Day

My daughter and granddaughters came over last night. The little ones are both taking karate. They came here straight from their class. It is so nice to see my daughter clean and sober. God willing, and the creeks don't rise, she will have 90 days in a week.

I am heading out of here for a quick run before work. Work is bound to be challenging today, but I will see what I can bring to it instead of what I can take. That seems to work really well.

"Dr. Bob did not need me for his spiritual instruction. He had already had more of that than I. What he did need, when we first met, was the deflation at depth and the understanding that only one drunk can give to another. What I needed was the humility of self-forgetfulness and the kinship with another human being of my own kind." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 212

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bikin' to work

I am biking to work today. It should be a nice day for a ride, even if a bit hot on the way home - and the way home is 95% uphill.

Yesterday after loudly proclaiming on my blog that I wasn't afraid to go to work - when I got to work, I wanted to run away in fear! There was some dreadful news, news that made my hands shake. News that had me walking my loop around the hospital, trying to calm down. But with God's help, I got through the day, and I believe everyone else did too.

After work, I went to the 5:30 meeting. I sat down at about 5:25 and watched people file in and sit down. I said hello to everyone and called them by name. I truly smiled when I saw them. I truly felt happy to see each and every one of them (well, there is one man I am not usually happy to see, but that is the exception, not the rule today). By 5:30 when the meeting started, I felt calm and peaceful, and so happy to be sitting in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, because it is there that I am at home.

I am so grateful that in AA I have learned to love. I have learned that loving is not about finding the right people who are deserving of your love. It is finding love in your heart for what ever people God has chosen to be in your life, and becoming the right person yourself.

"We must think deeply of all those sick ones still to come to AA. As they try to make their return to faith and to life, we want them to find everything in AA that we have found, and yet more, if that be possible. No care, no vigilance, no effort to preserve AA's constant effectiveness and spiritual strength will ever be too great to hold us in full readiness for the day of their homecoming." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 229

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday, Yay for Monday!

I am going to try something new in my routine this morning. I am packing up a gym bag and going to the gym to run on the dreadmill, then I will shower and get dressed there - and go to work. I need to work on some speed and I simply don't do it when I am out in nature, admiring all of God's handiwork. I used to come home after the gym and get ready for work here, but adding 12 to 14 miles to my odometer each day with gas prices as they are seems really foolish.

Yesterday we broke records for heat - it was 97 degrees. I sat here and poured sweat and refused to turn on my central air. I don't know why I installed it if I don't use it. I really don't like using it and I really don't like paying for it. I can hear you Houstonians chuckling. No, I would probably not make it in a hot place. I can deal with ice and snow better than I can heat.

I am looking forward to the day. I am always so grateful on Monday mornings, grateful for a life without fear for the most part; a life that I enjoy. For so much of my life Monday mornings were dreaded little deaths. I remember a scuba diving trip to the Florida Keys many many years ago - as we were heading out on the boat, on a glorious day, on the glorious ocean, I wondered why I couldn't feel that great every day. Why couldn't I feel that happy on a Monday morning? Well, now I do!

Have a happy and sober Monday everyone.

"Service, gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God's help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that in God's sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-contructed prisons, the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God's scheme of things -- these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 124

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Morning

I just got home from the 6:30 meeting and then breakfast with some of the women. It was nice. I was chatting with my friend Lee Ann who has recently celebrated a year of sobriety. She was considering registering for Ride the Rockies next year. I got all excited and told her she could definitely do it, and I am thinking about doing it too! Oh my. This would be a stretch. It is a week long bike ride through the mountains of Colorado. I mean, really, really, the mountains - pedaling your own self up and down the mountainous passes.

I am tired today. I had a huge day yesterday and I am beat. I am going to mow the lawn now and then probably take a nice nap. I have no plans for today which is wonderful. I might take a bike ride later on.

Oh, and Lash asked what a tri-suit is, briefly, it is a suit that you use for a triathlon - swimming, riding a bike, and running. There is no place to change your clothes between the three events, so you just wear one thing. I had a link to Danskin to show you what a tri-suit looks like, but I removed it because it had an e-bates pop up - and I HATE THAT!

"When you get right down to it, everyone who has done any amount of successful Twelfth Step work is bound to be the founder of a new life for other alcoholics." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 67

Saturday, June 16, 2007

We do what we do

Pam has some great, really great, chicken humor on her blog today. Daave has a video of a puppeteer dancing with 4 puppets to "YMCA". Lash has some weird photo of a bronze humpty dumpty on a wall. It is a good day in sober blog-land.

I feel rather boring today: I slept too late and didn't get to the 6:30 a.m. meeting this morning. I am heading out in a minute or two for my first open-water swim of the year, followed by a bike ride. This should be good, I begin my triathlon training in earnest. One of my neighbors got married in Las Vegas recently and they are having a reception type party this afternoon. And this evening, I supposedly have a date to go to a movie and dinner with an old beau.

And he is why I slept so late today. He called at 9:00 last night and "needed" to talk. He really did need to talk. So I asked him to come over and we took a long walk. It really was beautiful to walk at ten o'clock to about midnight on a beautiful summer night (the same streets I am so familiar with running at 5 or 6 a.m.) WHY, oh WHY, I want to know, why I nearly always start out as an exciting new girlfriend, and end up as a counselor, wiping tears off of sad devastated faces??? I guess it is my lot in life, but it is nothing I would have chosen for myself.

Okay, I am going to go put on my tri-suit for the first time this year and head on out of here. Have a sober Saturday everyone.

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

Friday, June 15, 2007

Waiting for daylight...

So I can go out for a run. I hope to get in a run and quickly bathe and get dressed and get to the 6:30 a.m. meeting. We shall see if this is possible.

It is nice to wake up and feel good. I got a good night's sleep last night - I went to bed just after posting the picture of my bedroom. There was no party next door last night and, indeed, I think there was no noise at all, at least none that woke me up.

I will get to two meetings today. Not because I "need" them, but because I want to go. I love Alcoholics Anonymous and the people in it and even if I really concentrated on it, in this lifetime I could not begin to repay what has been so freely given to me.

"I spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned to others who want and need it badly. I do it for four reasons:
1. Sense of duty.
2. It is a pleasure.
3. Because in so doing I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me.
4. Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for myself against a possible slip." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (3rd ed.), p. 181 (Doctor Bob's Nightmare)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Two posts in one day!

I know this isn't much of a photo, but to me it captures a mood. The mood is my bedroom. Even though it is still light outside, I can go to bed because those heavy dark moss green velvet drapes shut out the light - with the exception of the little bit of lace curtains I leave open... for air... and sound. I love to listen to the birds as they get ready for bed. I don't know why they sing so much just before dark, but I absolutely love to listen to that.

I bet if you added all the time I slept last night, it would be less than 2 hours. I am tired. I had a grande iced latte from Starbucks yesterday mid-morning and I guess I can't do that anymore. I also had a phone call from a former boyfriend just as I was going to bed - we talked for over an hour and I had plenty to think about when I got off the phone. My neighbors are also out of town and their 21 year old son had a bit of a party (not call the police worthy, but noisy anyway) last night. I don't understand a 21 year old who has a party at his parents house. When I was 21, I had been 3 years on my own. When my son was 21, he was already a veteran of a foreign war. When my daughters were 21, they had been on their own for quite a while. Where does he find other people who want to "party" at his parents' house?

So I should probably turn on the AC and shut my windows, but I so LOVE the sights and sounds. I guess I will turn it on at the first sniff of a party next door, and in the meantime enjoy it while I can.
"Then comes the acid test; can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions?" -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 88

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The creek is running high

But, by the Grace of a Loving God, I am not. Bike riding on a beautiful summer day is good enough for me!

"...I try to achieve a state of joyful gratitude. When such a brand of gratitude is repeatedly affirmed and pondered, it can finally displace the natural tendency to congratulate myself on whatever progress I may have been enabled to make in some areas of living." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 37

Ordinary Day

I was going to call this a weekday in ordinary time, which is what I thought it was in the liturgical year. However, I discovered that it is actually St. Anthony of Padua Day.

It just feels like an ordinary day to me. I am going to ride my bike to work today and hope to not find too many portions of the bike trail flooded. It rained a LOT yesterday.

Went to the doc yesterday, my pain problem is what I thought it was. My blood pressure is relatively low as I thought it was (100/70). I will find out in the next couple of days about my blood sugar, the doc and I both suspect that it is also low. While there, I went down the hall to see if I could get a mammogram without an appointment (thanks las for reminding me how very important this is), and they were able to get me in - after a quick 15 minutes or so wait.

Maybe the bike ride will energize me.

"The unity, the effectiveness, and even the survival of AA will always depend upon our continued willingness to give up some of our personal ambitions and desires for the common safety and welfare. Just as sacrifice means survival for the individual alcoholic, so does sacrifice mean unity and survival for the group and for AA's entire Fellowship." -- AA Comes of Age, pp. 287-288

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rainy Tuesday

It is a beautiful morning out there. My flowers are being watered by their heavenly caretaker. I was going to run this morning, but I have decided not to, and it is a good thing because it is almost 7 o'clock, and here I sit in my jammies, not kicking it in gear very quickly this morning.

Last night there were 49 people at the 5:30 meeting. I think about 20 of them raised their hands for being in their first 30 days. That meeting is very humbling. I find the opportunities and responsibilities from having that many new and hurting people in one room to be awesome... not as in 'awesome dude,' but as in awe-inspiring.

Here is a phenomena I have noticed over the years, but have noticed more recently. Those who have had periods of sobriety, gotten drunk, and then have come back seem to go off on these lectures about how tenuous sobriety is - with stern warnings about what can happen. Most of us have already heeded that warning years ago, and that is why we are sitting at a meeting - in no crisis, just sitting there on a perfectly nice sober day. I will sometimes ask someone returning "what happened?" and find the answers may vary in small details, but it is always the same. Sobriety Losing Its Priority (SLIP). They found a new boy/girl/friend. They got a new job, they went back to school... all these are great, but then they stopped going to meetings, they stopped calling their sponsors, they stopped praying. Anyway, I think it is much more helpful to hear how people DO stay sober than hearing how they DIDN'T stay sober.

One guy came back and told this little story: The morning meeting was on his way to work. When he first stopped going to meetings he would look at the cars in the parking lot as he drove by, noting who was there, and think about what he was missing inside. After a while, he didn't care whose car was there, he didn't miss what was going on inside. After a little while longer, he would drive by, and angrily think "f*** you people!" I think only an alcoholic would understand this kind of twisted thinking - but I sure do.

I better get ready for work. Have a great and sober day everyone.

"Our chief responsibility to the newcomer is an adequate presentation of the program. If he does nothing or argues, we do nothing but maintain our own sobriety. If he starts to move ahead, even a little, with an open mind, we then break our necks to help in every way we can." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 105

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back to Work

I took a hike and a trail run yesterday morning. It really was wonderful. There were wildflowers everywhere and the yucca are in bloom. It was good to do something that deviates from my normal routine - though this may very well now become my normal Sunday routine.

I really do love Monday Mornings. I look forward to getting back in my office and seeing what is going on. I recall times in my life when I dreaded Monday morning all weekend - enough to ruin my weekend. I am glad my life is not like that today.
I had a quiet weekend. I slept a lot. I still don't feel particularly well. I went to a few meeetings, rode my bike a little, hiked a little, ran a little, visited a little with someone dear to me, and worked in my yard a little. It was very quiet and peaceful and I am grateful for times like these.
"I also come to AA for the shock of self-recognition. When I hear your stories, I see myself. When I can see myself, I know that I need to be healed, restored, built up and lifted up. I come for the antidote to my own peculiar brand of arrogance, egotism, and pride. This antidote isn't a vaccine but a medicine I require in order to survive these poisons that live inside me. Meetings are where I get this medicine. And you enourage me. I am made brave - that's what 'encourage' means, after all - so that I can risk little experiments at being better." -- Emotional Sobriety The Next Frontier, p. 106

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Morning

And time for one of my long winded posts. In a minute, as soon as the motrin kicks in, I am going to head out of here to hike up Green Mountain and once I get to the flat part on top, I am going to run. It should be great fun.

Let me preface this next topic by saying that this is NOT political. Really. I am talking about MY reaction to something. Yesterday, I was dinking around with my site meter, and looked at a search that someone found me by, and found a whole host of articles, blog entries, and youtube videos about the President drinking again. There was a spate of articles yesterday apparently because he drank a non-alcoholic beer at the G8 summit - there were photos. That gave me a bit of a chill.... but then there were videos of a President Bush slurring his words and sounding extremely inebriated. Those brought back some of the worst feelings I have had in my life. I sat here in disbelief and in fact, I am hoping against hope that the videos were slowed down so that it would appear that his speech was slurred and drunken sounding. (I would also imagine that if all of my waking moments were filmed, I might appear to be insanely drunk at times, or at least just insane - and I can assure you I have not touched a drop of alcohol since July 24, 1984.)

Growing up in an alcoholic home is extremely traumatic - I know I don't have to tell anyone that. My father was a terrible, terrible alcoholic. My mother was also an alcoholic, but a binge drinker, so I wasn't subject to much trauma around her drinking. My father, on the other hand, was a daily drinker, and didn't go to bars. He stayed at home and got drunk every single day of my life until one day in April of 1965 when 2 men came to our home to talk to him. Those two men were members of Alcoholics Anonymous. My father got sober that day and stayed that way for 10 years. Our family life was completely transformed. My father was a wonderful, kind, intelligent, funny, soft-spoken man I loved and admired greatly - when he was sober.

Then came July 17, 1975 - I called my Dad in the middle of the afternoon for some reason and he answered the phone DRUNK! After 10 years of sobriety! He never did talk much about how this happened, but he did tell me after I got sober "resentment really IS the number one offender." His visits to my home became nightmarish events.... recalling so many horrible moments from my childhood. Going out for dinner with him was like russian roullette, you never knew what you were going to end up with. Even after I started drinking, I still found his drinking so upsetting. At least I didn't fall down in the street, pass out in my soup, hit my head on the toilet, etc., etc., etc.....

Since I have been in AA, I think my father has been my greatest teacher. He never did sober up again, and he lived for another 17 horrible painful degrading years. I do not ever want to do what he did. I do not ever want to put my children and grandchildren through that. I do not want to put myself through it either!

So, seeing this President - like him or not, he is the leader of the free world - appearing to be drunk was a nightmare right out of the primordial ooze of my psyche.

And also a reminder of the fact that we are all only sober today. Long term sobriety is good, I like it a lot, but we all know people who have started drinking after long periods of sobriety - it CAN and DOES happen. I have a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition. The big book warns that if we fail to enlarge our spiritual life, we will drink again, and with us, to drink is to die.

Let's all stay sober today, Okay?

"The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife, he remarked, 'Don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grant the wind stopped blowin?" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 82

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Riding my Bike to the Meeting

Once again, I will get to ride my bike to the meeting this fine Saturday morning. It is a wonderful thing that I get to do this.

I took yesterday and just stayed in bed for a large portion of it. I made several doctor's appointments because I think there are some things I need to address. One appointment is next week and two more are in the first week of July. Hopefully I will get back on track.

I dragged myself out of bed and got to the 5:30 meeting last night. Afterwards a bunch of us went to Chili's for dinner. It was so reassuring to sit with a bunch of sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous and laugh and talk and eat. There really are not many things better than that! One of the women is someone I sponsored years ago, she is back again, I hope she can find a way to stick around this time.

Have a sober day everyone.

Today is JJ's 3rd Birthday, go over and wish her well!!!

"I believe that God found me, more than I found Him. It was similar to watching a child walk; he falls down again and again, but it is better not to try to help him until he comes to realize that he cannot do it alone - and extends his hand. I had gotten myself into a position where I had no other place to turn; I was at a point of almost complete despair. Then, and only then, did I honestly and simply ask God to help me. He came to me instantly, and I could feel His presence, even as I do this moment." Came to Believe, p. 24

Friday, June 08, 2007

I feel crappy.

I came home from the 6:30 a.m. meeting and called work - told them I have no appointments or meetings today, and I am going to take the day to go back to bed and try to get feeling better. I haven't felt well all week (or maybe longer.)

This morning our speaker was a fellow who sobered up over 30 years ago in Chicago... at the VA hospital, with cirrhosis. They did not expect him to live, he came to AA originally to warn us all about what alcohol can do! (Talk about singing to the choir!) Somehow, he stuck around to listen, and got sober, and stayed sober, and now has a beautiful life. He is one of those extremely intelligent drunks, had been a college professor who ended up on skid row.

So, can someone tell me WHY I care about Paris Hilton getting out of jail yesterday? I don't know or even care if she is an alcoholic. As far as I am concerned, I see no reason why anyone cares at all about her, why on earth is she a story? She is rich. That is it. I don't think she is particularly pretty, I know she isn't talented, she has NO charm, she is certainly not a philanthropist or even an intellectual. And furthermore, I don't even think she got off lightly... I think her 3 days in jail (counted as 5) was probably actually a heavy-duty sentence for what she was charged with.

Maybe it is because I don't feel well that I am so grumpy about this. But at this very moment, there are people starving, there are children being beaten to death by the people who should be caring for them, there are young, intelligent, worthwhile men and women dying from alcoholism without knowing there is a solution, there are brave men and women in uniform losing their lives on foreign soil, there are so many tragedies and injustices every single day in the world... and we are all worried about some snotty little rich girl getting cupcakes delivered to her mansion? I wish she could just stay in jail for a while, if only so I wouldn't have to hear about her.

hmmmm. grumpy? me?

I am going back to bed.

"Day by day, we try to move a little toward God's perfection. So we need not be consumed by maudlin guilt for failure to achieve His likeness and image by Thursday next. Progress is our aim, and His perfection is the beacon, light-years away, that draws us on." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 15

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Last night after work I went out to my garden and picked some peonies... and then picked a few iris, just to mix it up a little. Oh, the peonies smell so good. I am grateful for these and many other blessings this morning - like you bloggers.

"Still more wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be especially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. " -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 124

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Early June

Some Flowers. It is a glorious morning out there. I kind of wish I was riding my bike to work again today. But I would have to wear the same clothes I wore yesterday (they are still hanging in my office) and I just heard that we are expecting a windstorm with gusts as high as 90 mph this afternoon. Not a good day to ride a bike I suppose.

What has happened to our blogging community? I am dismayed to find that I have a larger readership on my fitness blog than I do here. I just started that blog, and I am hardly a jock like most of that community. I have noticed that where we all used to get 10 or 15 or even 20 comments on a post, now there are 4, or 6, or 8 comments. I guess people move on and change, and some of us even get drunk. I miss the "good old days" when we all moved around like a herd from blog to blog, we mostly all posted daily, we all left comments, etc.

I have not much to say today... just grateful to be sober. Grateful for beautiful early June sights and sounds. Grateful for a loving God who has done for me what I could never have done for myself.

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

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My own personal Bike to Work Day

I have committed to ride my bike to work at least once a week for the summer. Gas prices of $3.25 a gallon greatly help me in this resolve. I truly enjoy riding my bike, and there is nothing better than an early morning bike ride, unless you combine that with a quick swim in a nearby lake - which I will do later this summer. I have decided to take 2 weeks to a month off of running, my body needs some serious healing.

Last night at the meeting, there were 48 people and at least 24 of them were in their first 90 days of sobriety. It was interesting because the topic was about whether or not to go to places where there will be drinking. My personal view is that I avoid those places, I don't enjoy them anyway, and I don't like to play with fire. Although I have been sober 22 years, 10 months and 13 days, I can get drunk today just like anyone else. I have seen so many people fool themselves with this stuff. I don't think most folks agree with my perspective on this, but I am fine with that.

Being sober is the most important thing in my life. Why would I play around with that? Or as my friend Larry says, I don't keep snakes in my silverware drawer. I really love that!

"Prudence is rational concern without worry." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 91

Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday Morning

Yesterday after I got home from church, I stayed home all day! I only talked to 3 people on the phone. I didn't talk to my neighbors, I didn't go to a 5:30 meeting. I didn't do anything I usually do. I wanted to take a day to be really quiet, and I was. Last night I actually slept for nine hours, and today I feel ready to get back in there!

At the Thursday night meeting last week, a friend who has been sober for 30 years brought me a tape of some old guys I love. They are all now deceased. Annette and I did not know each other in the "old days", but we knew many of the same people. So, I have listened to this tape over and over and over again. It is just marvelous to listen to these old guys, sober so long, so wise, talking about going off to World War II, talking about their grandfather's mule, etc. It was a different time. I didn't realize until I listened to this tape how much things have changed since the sober folks of this generation have mostly gone. This tape was made in 1990, which seems like yesterday, but it is actully 17 years ago!

One of the most wonderful moments in the tape is at the end. They all say the Lord's Prayer together, and when they are done, they say "Keep coming back, it works." That's it. Keep coming back, it works. Not "IF you work it," not "it sucks if you don't," not "so work it cuz your worth it." Not any of that self-will stuff. Just "it works."

If our sobriety was really dependent on our "work" I think we would all be drunk. How much ability to "work" this thing do we have when we get to AA all shakey and scared - and yet still full of ourselves? Not much. But thanks to a loving God, we stick around and start doing what they tell us to do, and miracle of miracles, we stay sober for a day, a week, a month. Months turn to years, and years turn to decades. Decades turn into a sober and worthwhile lifetime. I could not "work" for this, I can cooperate with God's plan, but I cannot create it! Thanks to a loving God, I get to live sober today and that is indeed miraculous!

"The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that!" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 153

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday Morning

I hope you all don't mind if I write this in my curlers and underwear. I am waiting for the clothes I wore yesterday to get out of the dryer so I can put them on and go to church. I have other clothes, but I particularly liked the outfit I wore yesterday and would like to wear it again today. We are having an outdoor Mass this morning, so I won't be wearing a skirt or dress as I usually do... since I will be sitting on a blanket.

Yesterday was a day of great joy. I rode my bike to the meeting - which was so wonderful. To be on a bike, on the streets, before 6 a.m., riding to an AA meeting, well, it was just wonderful. At the meeting was a woman who has just gotten out of a 30 day treatment program. About a year ago, she had 8 or 9 years of sobriety, but she had "moved on" in her life and recovery and didn't come to our stinky meetings and hang out with a bunch of derelict alkies... so she became one again herself.

I spent the afternoon with someone really special and we got stuff ready for night watch. Went to the 5:30 meeting last night. It was my friend B.'s first time to speak. It was amazing to watch him and listen to him. He has never told his story before, and I could see the light come on for him - "WOW, I AM a REAL ALCOHOLIC!" I think it is a great idea for people in their first year to speak, it is an eye-opening experience. I am so glad I got to be there for that!

Night watch was so much fun. I laughed until I had a headache. And I ate enough for an army! We got tons of phone calls, but I think they were all just people looking for meetings. We usually get one or two calls in need of a 12 step, I am not sure, but I don't think we did last night.

It is a beautiful summer morning. It seems like the darkness of the last couple of weeks has lifted... at least for this moment... and I will gladly accept that and thank God for it.

"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Another Saturday Morning

I am going to ride my bike to the 6:30 a.m. meeting this morning. After the meeting, I am going to meet with a woman who has recently asked me to sponsor her. I am looking forward to getting to know her better, although I have been acquainted with her for 12 or so years.

Tonight is night watch. I will probably make a pie to bring. I don't know what kind though. I will see what kind of fruit looks good at the grocery store later on today. Night watch is probably the high-point of my social life each month. It really is a great thing, not only socially, but for AA. (our group has a 6 hour shift each month where we take the after hours calls for the local central office - and since it is on the first Saturday evening of each month, we have a pot luck dinner at a different member's house each month while we take phone calls - it is great fun.)

Have a great weekend everyone. - oh and Lounge Daddy tagged me to do something, I will do it later on today or tomorrow....

"During our drinking days, we imagined not-drinking as a grim, grey, joyless affair. Where would the fun be? The excitement? But we found out that drinking was the grey world; sobriety is in full color. Sobriety offers an abundance of laughter, friendship, the excitement of spiritual and emotional discoveries, and moments of just plain joy. As we grow up and grow out of self-pity and despair, we think no picture of emotional sobriety would be complete if iti didn't include the joy." -- Emotional Sobriety, the Next Frontier, p. 101

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Morning...

And I am heading out of here for the Friday Morning Speaker Meeting at 6:30 a.m. I like the format of the meeting, there is a speaker for 1/2 hour, and then they open it up. Some speakers go longer, some shorter, but it is good.

I talked to my sponsor yesterday and she strongly urged me to take a few days off work and come to the western slope to visit her next week. I will see if I can do that. She is worried about me for some reason (?)

I bought a new red sweater to go with my red shoes and I am going to wear them both today. Some old veteran gentlemen at my 5:30 meeting told me that you can wear red on Friday as a sign of support for our men and women serving in strange lands overseas in wars. I know one I would like to support with hands on - I would so dearly love to touch my son and see him smile and laugh. soon. soon. soon.

Last night was the first night of the new newcomers meeting at 5:30 on Thursdays. People with under one year of sobriety are encouraged to share in the first half hour and then in the second half hour, those with over 1 year. I loved that first half hour. It really restored my hope in Alcoholics Anonymous. For 30 minutes, I heard real sharing without slogans, cliches, prepared speeches, pointing fingers, or pounding fists. It was glorious!

"...we have finally surrendered. And then, paradoxically, we have found ourselves in a new dimension, the real world of spirit and faith. Enough willingness, enough open-mindedness - and there it is!" -- As Bill Sees It, p. 174