Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pancakes and Maple Syrup

With link sausages on the side... or in the soup of the syrup and butter. That is what I am making for breakfast this morning.

Yesterday I clearly stated that I am doing NOTHING today. I am tired. Bone weary. Yesterday was a normal Saturday... I woke early, went to a 6:30 meeting, took an 8 mile run. Went to the grocery store. Came home and ate breakfast, made up a pot of chili and put it on the stove, broke out the paint and put the 5th and final coat of red paint on my front door (which looks great). Took a bath, fixed lunch for the family, went to bed for a little nap. Woke up, got dressed, went to the tanning salon, then to Church. Went to Target to get some hairspray and while I was there, got a small refrigerator for my office. Came home, ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (with a glass of milk!) for dinner. Sat down, watched "House" (which I Tivo'd on Tuesday) while I finished knitting two hats for Christmas gifts. Then to bed...

This morning, I woke at 5:00 and almost jumped out of bed to get to the meeting. It was as if I had to physically restrain myself from doing this. I am going to stay home today and do as little as possible. Like eating pancakes and maple syrup. And watching a football game (or two) on my son's fabulous new 50 inch TV. I never wanted one, but now I can see why people do.

"What I've learned is that it doesn't matter what hardships and losses I've endured in sobriety, I have not had to go back to drinking. As long as I work the program, keep being of service, go to meetings, and keep my spiritual life together, I can live a decent life." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 485

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Morning

Another Saturday Morning.
Again I ready myself for the Saturday Morning Meeting.
Again I put on my running gear and ready myself for a run.
This will be the last long run before the half-marathon.

I am grateful that I am sober and I get to live in this beautiful and peaceful way. I am also grateful that even though it is incredibly difficult for a 55 year old woman to train to run a half-marathon - I am so very grateful that God gave me a body that will actually stand up to this kind of punishment. This kind of discipline does have great rewards.

I love Saturday Morning. I remember as a child, it meant cartoons, and leisurely eating sweet sticky cereal in front of the TV, wearing your pajamas. Later, in my active alcoholism, it meant laying in bed, sick as shit, but not needing to make up a lie for why I couldn't come to work. Today it means hitting an early AA meeting and seeing my friends - before I hit the pavement and find the wonderful meditative properties of running 8 miles.

"...we can choose to try for a life of honesty and humility, of selfless service to our fellows and to 'God as we understand Him.' As we continue to make these choices and so move toward these high aspirations, our sanity returns and the compulsion to drink vanishes." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 88

Friday, September 28, 2007

Waiting for daylight...

So I can get out for a quick run before work. It is the first time I have wanted to run since I got sick almost 2 weeks ago. It is just a little over 2 weeks before my half-marathon and losing a week of training is disastrous.

Last night my son brought home a 50 inch TV. Holy crap. I am grateful that I have a house with a downstairs that is nearly self-contained... so that thing is fine in the family room - and his temporary suite of rooms.

I am tired this morning, but it is Friday. I have a day without anything on my calendar at work, so I can close my office door and work on some data analysis that I need to get done. I also need to write a training within the next 2 weeks, maybe I will start working on that today. On the way home from work, I can go to the 5:30 AA meeting.

I am grateful I am sober and can experience the seemingly mundane. Isn't it grand when there are no big deals going on?

"We discover that we do receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent that we stop making demands upon God to give it to us on order and on our terms. Almost any experienced AA will tell how his affairs have taken remarkable and unexpected turns for the better as he tried to improve his conscious contact with God." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 105

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Getting Well

I am still not 100%. But I will be. Soon.

But I have lost critical training time for my half-marathon on October 14. It will be what it will be.

"AA is more than a set of principles; it is a society of alcoholics in action. We must carry the message, else we ourselves can wither and those who haven't been given the truth may die." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 13

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why do people HATE AA?

I wrote a post about a controversy in AA several years ago. It has turned into a heavily "hit" post for AA detractors. There is plenty of negative stuff about AA on the internet, there is no good reason for me to have some on my blog.

My story is that I drank alcoholically for eighteen years. When I was desperate enough to admit that I couldn't quit drinking on my own and asked for help, AA was there for me. I was pretty sick as I stopped drinking and was dependent upon the kindness of the strangers I met at AA meetings to help me. Collectively they never let me down, though plenty of individuals in AA have disappointed me over the years. I have been a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous since July 24, 1984. That means I have never had a drink since then. I am eternally grateful for that.

Most AA members are people who work for a living, and live as responsible decent human beings. You won't know that most of them are recovering alcoholics unless you know them well. They quietly get on with living their lives to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, there are those who publicly make us look bad, but let me assure you, they are the minority.

If you would like help to stop drinking and you are convinced that you cannot do it by yourself, AA may have the answer for you. You can get information about AA from or you may look up Alcoholics Anonymous in your local phone directory.

If you think you can quit drinking on your own, by all means try that. If you have some other addiction there are programs for that as well. If you are suffering from mental illness, please seek help for that.

"We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you - until then." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

G' Morning

I overslept this morning! That is so exciting - even though it means I can't run this morning. I wouldn't get to work until after 9:00 if I ran, and I better not do that. On Monday nights, I have Biblical School until 9:00 p.m. (which is after my bedtime), then I come home and I am just so jazzed from the class, I stay up for another hour or two! And then I usually wake up at the same time in the morning no matter how late I go to bed. But today I woke up and realized the room was light - which is WAY late for me.

My dealio yesterday went really well. I am so relieved that it is over, because it was in the back of my mind almost constantly. I won't know the outcome for a couple of weeks, but I can rest in knowing that I gave it my best. I can do no more than that! And today, thank God, I feel good about what my best is!

I woke up this morning feeling true joy in my heart. What a wonderful way to wake! I am so grateful for this life and the Grace of a Loving God who has always been faithful to me, even when I was not faithful in anything.

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

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday AM

My son has already left for the golf course, so I can run around my house in various stages of dress/undress as I get ready for work this morning. I have something to do this morning that really terrifies me - so having an extra sense of comfort as I dress will help somewhat. I did not buy a blouse or a suit or a pair of shoes for this event. I usually buy a new suit when I feel a need for a boost in confidence. But I have a bunch of suits already - I don't need another one. I don't even LIKE wearing suits for God's sake! I looked for blouses, but I decided I already have a closet full of blouses and sweaters. I am going to wear a favorite pink silk sweater that I love and that will not be too hot.

I have gotten all "prayed-up" this morning. I know that I will be OK no matter what. I know that no matter what, this big deal will be over by 11:00 this morning. And then I am going out for lunch with a bunch of folks I like at work!

I am so glad I went to my old home group yesterday. It was so wonderful to sit with my real peeps. It was my friend Ron's 22nd birthday. Once again, they told him that 22 years of sobriety is "a pretty good start." Oh, I am so grateful for that group. I am also grateful that Ron and I run to each other and hug when we see each other across the room. I am grateful that we say "I love you" to each other. Did I ever tell you that I started knitting in meetings after I got so angry I threw a cup of (hot) coffee at someone in a meeting? Well, that someone was my friend Ron. And do you know that I didn't even remember that yesterday until my buddy Elmer leaned over and whispered something about me throwing coffee at Ron. I forgot all about it! I bet Ron did too. Ron is a totally different person today and I am too.... by the Grace of a Loving God.

"If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the sudden rage were not for us. Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, but for us alcoholics it is poison." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 5 (quoting Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 66 - but paraphrased and I like this version better - it is a lot more clear than "the grouch and the brainstorm.")

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Morning

And I need to be out of here in about 10 minutes. I am sitting here in my jammies, my hair a mess - I have brushed my teeth and washed my face, but the rest is a mess. I am heading across town to my old home group. It will be good to see those wonderful men and women.

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

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Late September Saturday Morning

Doesn't that just sound wonderful? It is. It is nice and cool outside, and some of the leaves are even turning. I am going to go out and run for the first time in a week - as soon as it is light outside. I still don't feel *great*, but a week off of training is too much when you have a half-marathon in three weeks. I am SO not ready for this.

Truthfully, the weekend is already appearing overwhelming. I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. I think the one thing that tipped the scales is the fact that I have to buy something to wear on Monday. I have many suits, so I better not buy another one, although I would love a new gray one... but that is just silly. My brown suit is really pretty, but I need a new blue blouse to match the pinstripe. For me, shopping for blouses is painful. The last time I was shopping for bras and whining about it, the salesclerk at Victoria's Secret told me that woman pay thousands of dollars to get what I am complaining about! So I will shut up.

"We have to grow or else deteriorate. For us, the status quo can only be for today, never for tomorrow. Change we must; we cannot stand still." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 25

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Morning

Yesterday was a long and painful day at work. After a particularly brutal meeting, I went into my boss' office and told him that I need to take another day of sick leave because I am simply not getting better. He told me to go ahead. And here I am... off sick on a Friday. And I am so grateful. Not that I am sick, but that I can take 3 days off in one week, even though there will be hell to pay for it. I have got to get well. I am not dripping snot and coughing and sneezing now, but I am just NOT well. I have not run since last Saturday!

On Wednesday morning, after the 6:30 a.m. meeting, a man I really like came up to me and said "I found your blog." That blew me away! I am not clear on why though. I have really thought about it. I think I have only told 2 or 3 of my "real" peeps about my blog - it is not a secret, but it is not something I really talk about either. I asked him how he found it, and how he knew it was me. And then I thought about my integrity. Do I stand by everything I have written? Do I feel bad about anything I have written about myself or someone else? Have I carelessly tossed around another person's name without their knowledge or permission? I think I feel OK about my blog and that I stand behind every word I have written - but I do have a certain creepiness about having used the first names of people on occasion. I think I will stop doing that.

My son has gone golfing and I am going back to bed.

"We do talk about each other a great deal, but we almost invariably temper such talk by a spirit of love and tolerance. Another principle we observe carefully is that we do not relate intimate experiences of another person unless we are sure he would approve. We find it better, when possible, to stick to our own stories. A man may criticize to laugh at himself and it will affect others favorably, but criticism or ridicule coming from another often produce the contrary effect." Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 125

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Eating lunch

This is a cell phone photo of my yesterday's lunch. It seems I am on a Vietnamese kick. This was a Vietnamese noodle bowl with shrimp. It was a taste sensation, I tell you!

Work is trying right now. Trying every thing I have got. But I know that God is always with me, whether I am having a fun time or a bad time. It is all good.

"Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked for you. Offer him friendship and fellowship." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 95

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm Alive!

I woke up yesterday at about 3:00 p.m., wanting to have pho (vietnamese beef noodle soup). I couldn't find any delivered pho, so we went and picked some up. It was so delicious. My son said it was pho'kin great. After I ate the pho, I decided I really MUST have a pedicure. That was when my son observed that I was suddenly really feeling better.

I went and got my toesies done. It was a wonderful thing. To have your legs salt scrubbed and your feet soaked and rubbed and filed and nipped and clipped, it is a thing of glory. But I usually don't feel really comfortable about it. It seems a bit too decadent to me. If I spend $40. on groceries or an article of clothing, it seems a pittance. If I spend $40. to have some little asian woman laboring over my feet - that just seems like it is wasteful and wrong. Yesterday it seemed OK because I was sick, it really was therapeutic, my toes looked BAD, and I am (still) too sick to do my usual work on my feet.

So I am feeling better. I am up early and going to go to the 6:30 meeting this morning. I have not been to a meeting since my abysmal experience at the "beginners" meeting last Thursday. Then I will go face the music at work. Thankfully, I have made it to round 2 of the interview process for the other job I have applied for. (sorry Daave, ending a sentence with a proposition, er, I mean preposition - but to quote Winston Churchill, when an editor changed a sentence he wrote "This is the kind of impertinence up with which I shall not put.")

I have not run since Saturday - when I ran 5 miles instead of my scheduled 10. I didn't know then why I felt so tired - I found out on Sunday when I felt like I got hit by the freight train of whatever illness I just had. This lost week of training will probably have a negative impact on my half-marathon on October 14... oh well. Training for a half-marathon is a lot of pressure. I really can't wait to run again just for the joy of it - not because I am training for anything.

I am a chatty cathy this morning, eh? I am so grateful to be back among the living. Three days in bed is a long dang time. Sometimes it takes that to get grateful for who I am and the life I have though. Today I am really grateful!

"There is God, our Father, who very simply says 'I am waiting for you to do my will.' The other authority is named John Barleycorn, and he says 'You had better do God's will or I will kill you." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 319

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Uncommonly Ill

I slept almost all day yesterday and all last night. I have been up for an hour now, and am about to go back to bed. I have to make that phone call to work that still brings on anxiety. It seems that no matter how long I stay sober, I still remember those drunken and hungover calls to work, with some lame excuse for why I couldn't come to work that day. Back in the day, being a girl and having a man boss, saying it was "that time of the month" seemed to work well because it embarrassed the man. Boy, that WAS a long time ago. What a drunken hag I was. Manipulative, mean-spirited person.

Yesterday they called me from work because some big disaster is going on there. I cannot believe that I was sick enough to explain to an assistant where to find stuff and advise her on what to do, but I absolutely could not come in to work. It is days like these that make or break careers, and I was powerless to do anything but go back to sleep. And today is another day when I probably should go to work, but I can't.

I can barely see straight enough to write this. I had a cold like this last winter - I was in bed for many days.

So as I lay in bed, I thank God that I have a job where I have many days of sick leave. I thank God that I have a pretty and comfortable bed where I can lay my sick little head. I thank God that I have pretty velvet drapes over lace curtains and that I can see the many still green leaves of a huge tree in my front yard through the curtains. It is very peaceful. I am also so so so grateful that I haven't seen my friend Larry for about a week. I think this illness would kill him he is in such poor health. Thank You God for keeping me away from him for a day or two.

"Your misfortune has become your good fortune. You AAs are a privileged people." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 133

Monday, September 17, 2007


me: Hello, boss' secretary? This is Mary Christine.
her: Hello?
me: Yes, I won't be coming in today. I am quite sick.
her: Hello?
me: You can't hear me because I don't have a voice, but trust me, I am too sick to come in.
her: Who is this?
me: I will send you an e-mail.
her: Hello?
me: Good-bye.

This is a calling-in-sick post. I am too sick to even post anything. I have got an aching head, a running nose, a bottle brush stuck in my throat, and even a fever.

Still grateful to be sober, but I can't even read the small print of the big book today, so no quote.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sobriety is More...

Yesterday my sponsee Janine called me. Her father had just died. She was crying, but she was grateful. She had been so worried that he would end up dying in the hospital, and he wanted so much to die at home. She had been worried about how much pain he would have in those last days, hours, minutes. All of these things worked out as best they could. He died at home, surrounded by his family.

Janine got to hold his hand as he passed.

Sobriety is so much more than not drinking (but of course, not drinking is a requirement!). And it is so much more than just for us. We get to be present at the important events in our lives, and the important events of those we love, and who love us. Whether it is pleasant or not, we get to be there. We get to go, and see what we can bring instead of what we can take.

I am so grateful to have this incredible woman in my life. I am so grateful the she gets to be sober and a part of her family today, and I bet they are grateful too.

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

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Red Door

Here's what's on my agenda for today:
Run 10 miles
Paint the trim on my garage door
Paint the trim on my front porch
Paint the Front Door RED!
I bought the paint last night after work. I caulked the trim around my garage door. I put primer on my front door - where it used to be green, it is now white.

I have a busy day. Then I am going to see my priest for confession at 3:30, and then Mass at 5:00. I don't know how I can do all of this in one day, but I shall try. I think the run is what is going to get shortened - 7 miles, 10 miles, what the heck is the difference?

Thank God I am sober and know that the day will end with me doing my written 10th step, while sitting in bed. I will thank God for the day, just like I thanked him last night. I have asked for his help and guidance through this day, and I am reasonably sure that I will not need a drink to liven up the day, and therefore won't get into any fights with my neighbors while I am painting. I don't think the police will be called. I likely won't spill a gallon of paint on the driveway ( I hope). Since there won't be a drink involved, I think I can be reasonably sure that my day won't involve any of these calamities - although there still may be some!

"Human beings are never quite alike, so each of us, when making an inventory, will need to determine what his individual character defects are. Having found the shoes that fit, he ought to step into them and walk with new confidence that he is at last on the right track." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 281

Friday, September 14, 2007

One Alcoholic, Reaching Out to Another Alcoholic...

I do believe that is why AA has worked where everything else had failed. We are just a bunch of drunks who have found a way to stay sober and hope to pass that along to others because it helps us to stay sober. (here's the disclaimer, I slept too late this morning, I didn't run this morning, and I have a lingering broken heart - this might be where the leakage into my life is showing....)

So, last night I went to the 5:30 meeting, they have declared the Thursday night meeting a "newcomers" meeting in the last few months. I liked it at first. Last night it just hit me all wrong. Very wrong. At the beginning of the meeting, they ask for the usual... anyone at their first, 2nd, or 3rd meeting since their last drink?... clap, clap, clap. Anyone in their first 30 days? clap, clap, clap. Anyone celebrating 30, 60, or 90 days? clap, clap, clap. Anyone celebrating an anniversary of a year, or multiples thereof? clap, clap, clap. (This is what my friend Larry calls the Academy Awards.) Then they go on with this meeting and ask all of those in their first year to raise their hand. Most of the hands in the room go up. This is where they lost me. Then the format is that the "new" people, in their first year of sobriety, share in the first half of the meeting, and then the experts will respond in the second half.

Hmmm. so why not rope off the room in the middle. Or get color coded tee-shirts. People with 30 days or less get red tee shirts, 30-60 days get yellow, 60-90 get green, 90 days to 60 months - blue... etc.

AA works because we are all in the same boat. Any time you cut that up, you cup up our chances for recovery. I really believe that. We all start by saying "my name is ____, I am an alcoholic." I do not hyphenate my alcoholism. I don't say I am a GRATEFUL alcoholic, a HAPPY alcoholic, a RECOVERING, or RECOVERED alcoholic. When I do that, I separate myself from you. I divide our commonality. I say I AM SPECIAL.

Does it make us feel better on some level to believe that once I have achieved x amount of time of sobriety that I will be immune from drink or insanity? Does it make "new" people feel better to believe that we have rankings in AA? I looked around that room last night and realized that I was sober longer than anyone there. What the hell kind of honor is that? I just want to be one of the drunks. I just want to talk to a new lady and show her that I care, that I understand, and that I have found a way to stay sober. I don't want to sit on one side of the room and be set up as an expert. An expert what?

I won't be going back to that meeting. I can go any other day of the week, and most of those same people will be there, but I find the format on Thursday extremely offensive.


"As sobriety means long life and happiness for the individual, so does unity mean exactly the same thing to our Society as a whole. Unified we live, disunited we shall perish." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 229

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm in love...

With my new lawn mower. This thing rocks. It is quiet, it is energy efficient (using only my arm, leg, and back power), it is supposed to actually be good for the grass. And I can use it when I want to. I won't wake anyone up using this thing!

A man I deeply respected in AA used to say that you could do an instant test of how well you were really doing in AA by looking at how well you "blend" in the world with the rest of the people. Whenever I am standing outside on my lawn, talking to my neighbors, I marvel at what a miracle it is to just be standing there, a neighbor among neighbors. By the Grace of God I get to "blend" most of the time today.

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dark at 6:01 a.m.

Did I ever tell y'all about my primeval fear of dogs? Do you know how this complicates running outdoors on an almost daily basis? When I was five years old, I was at my father's company picnic. A little boy and I (this is what my ex-husband said is the real problem- the boy) decided to take a walk. We could not read yet, so couldn't read the sign that said "NO TRESPASSING, GUARD DOGS" and yes, we got attacked by dogs. It was very traumatic. I remember going to the hospital, I remember that I was very fortunate and did not have life-threatening injuries. I also remember that I spent the remainder of my youth being terrified of dogs. Any dog, poodles, pomeranians, chihauhuas, it mattered not.

Then, in my early 20s, I had a boyfriend with a dog (maybe my ex-husband was right about what my real problem is) and I learned to love the dog named "blue". I have learned to love many dogs over the years. But I still have a problem with stranger dogs. Dogs I meet on the sidewalk. Dogs don't like runners much. I carry pepper spray. I have never once used it, but it makes me feel better.

I have another long-ass story for why I don't like being outside as a pedestrian in the dark, but I will save it for another day.

So, now it is 6:10 a.m., and I will get out of here for my run. It is still dark though. But I can thank God that today I do not have to be a prisoner of my fears. I can look the world in the eye, and move forward. This I learned in Alcoholics Anonymous.

"So fear need not always be destructive, because the lessons of its consequences can lead us to positive values." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 22

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday September Eleventh

I am grateful that I can be present in today. I can acknowledge past September Elevenths, and honor what it means - but it is not required that I be unhappy today. So, I don't think I will!

My mother died on June 18, 1971. After 1971, I would have a miserable time on that day each year. I was married on September 5 one year and after the marriage fell apart, I would suffer terribly on each September 5 - remembering the sunlit joy of my youth and the foolish hopes and dreams that did not work out the way I wanted. I can name so many dates it is ridiculous. When my father died, I purposely decided that I would not remember the date. I can remember the date of his birth, and have happy memories of his life. I can remember other memorable dates and the joy involved. His death? that was not a highlight of his long life. I know that it was at the end of August in 1993. I have his obituary somewhere and holy cards with his dates if I really need to know, but I haven't needed to know yet.

I got a new garage door yesterday! It is beautiful! I have been saying "I have to get a new garage door" since I moved into this house on September 28, 2001 (oooops!) I am so glad I finally bit the bullet and wrote the check for a nice new garage door. And now I will get rid of the darker green trim on my house and paint it white - so I will have a pale green house with white trim. But I need to paint my front door a new and wonderful color. I am thinking RED. I love red, but I seem to remember some suggestion that it denoted a "house of ill-repute." Does anyone else think that?

So today - my son is asleep downstairs. I still have jars of salsa lined up on my kitchen counter - because I love the way they look. I have a nice job to go to, and lots of meetings to attend there -where they are actually awaiting my peculiar skill at quantifying everything. At work it is called data analysis and research - at home it is called being a pain in the ass. I have an AA meeting to attend after work. I have homework to do - I had my first Biblical School Class last night - it was awesome! Life is good. I have a broken heart, but my heart has been broken before and it has always mended, I know that I am being cared for by a loving God and all is well.

"We can believe that God is in His heaven and that He has purpose for our lives, which will eventually work out as long as we try to live the way we believe He wants us to live. It has been said that we should 'wear the world like a loose garment.' That means that nothing should seriously upset us because we have a deep and abiding faith that God will always take care of us. To us that means not to be too upset by the surface wrongness of things, but to feel deeply secure in the fundamental goodness and purpose in the universe." - July 16 reading from Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lotsa Salsa

This is what I did yesterday, and believe me, it took all day. Specifically from 10:00 a.m. till 8:30 p.m. It was good therapy. And now I have almost enough salsa to last a year.

I went to my old home group yesterday morning. Someone was there celebrating 20 years of sobriety. My friend Elmer told him "Congratulations on your 20 years, that's a good start." I laughed, but I was the only one. I have grown accustomed to a meeting where the people with 20 days are the experts, doling out advice to the "newcomers." So, I looked around this room and counted 12 people with over 20 years of sobriety. No one thought it was funny or cute to call 20 years "a good start." Oh Thank You God, I need to remember where I belong. This is the group of people I got sober with. We were a bunch of misfits back then - that is why I like the new meeting with the 20 day sober people being the experts - it was in a group like that that I got sober. We hung out together, as someone said yesterday in the meeting, we were all together in a sinking ship. And we stayed sober.

So now I can go to this group and be one of the gang. No one thinks I am stellar for my 23 years of sobriety. No one has outrageous expectations of me, they just expect me to be me. AND they remember what I used to be like. There is something so comforting in that. To sit in a room with more than a couple of people who have known me from day 1 of sobriety is just wonderful. And I am so grateful that in this room, no one is the expert. We are just a bunch of drunks. Most of us are sober for a long time, but none of us have "graduated" to where we come to meetings to make speeches about how great we are.

I thank God for the loving arms of Alcoholics Anonymous. The healing power of a bunch of drunks. It is most incredible, but it works. I have come to trust in its power.

"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. Certainly, He does not plan to save us from all troubles and adversity. Nor, in the end, does He save us from so-called death- since this is but an opening of a door into a new life, where we shall dwell among His many mansions. Touching these things I know you have a most confident faith." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 221

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Morning After

I am going to my old home group this morning... Called the Morning After group. We/They meet at 7:30 a.m., each day. It is about 25 miles from here, so I don't go all that often - although I used to go every weekend. In the insanity of the intense winter weather we had last year, I got out of the habit of driving across town to a meeting.

This morning, I need to go somewhere that people love me. Somewhere that I am sure to run into a few people who have known me since my first day of sobriety, July 24, 1984. Sort of like a chicken noodle soup and jello kind of meeting. Not that it is a "gentle" group, it is certainly not that. It is a bunch of rough and tumble truckers and bikers and some executives and business owners, a jeweler, a landscaper, and a bunch of people who do God-alone-knows what. They are rough around the edges and there is a lot of colorful language used there. But it is where I belong this morning.

Yesterday was a hard day. I cried until I was sick. I cried until I had one of the worst headaches of my life. I was actually hanging over the toilet bowl, hoping to vomit - somehow I had forgotten to eat all day and I was very sick to my stomach... I didn't throw up though. By the end of the day, I felt like I had a terrible, terrible hangover. A person is not meant to cry that much, I am sure of that. I went to church last night and cried for an hour and a half there. I used an entire packet of kleenex just at church. I am not going to get into the specifics of what happened, but I will tell you not to worry about me or my family - we are fine. I was just hurt over something.... something a reasonably astute reader might be able to speculate about.

The good news? I didn't drink. I didn't want to drink. I didn't want to take my own life. I didn't want to take the life of another. I don't owe anyone an amends. I didn't say anything cruel to another person. I am not angry, I am not growing a resentment. I was just hurt. And thank God today I can identify that feeling and feel it.

They say "feeling is healing" but I know that I can take this to extremes and go right off the deep end... I need to move on and have a productive day. I cannot wallow in this. I am going to the meeting this morning, then to my favorite farmers market to get the stuff I need for a day of making salsa. This place is going to smell heavenly in a couple of hours.

"When ready, we say something like this: ' My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.' We have then completed Step Seven." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 76

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Saturday Meeting

I am heading out of here, as I do on most Saturday mornings, to a 6:30 a.m. AA meeting. I love this meeting. Today there should be a special guest appearance of the man I had been dating for the last year (but not talking about). He moved away in June, and I haven't seen him since then.

My son is downstairs sleeping. The crickets are still singing (is that what they do?) outside. The sun is not up yet. This is really my favorite time of the day, on my favorite day of the week, in my favorite time of the year.

I better get myself ready and get out of here. Have a great sober Saturday everyone.

"Anyone can get sober. We have all done it lots of times. The trick is to stay and to live sober." -- Living Sober, p. 2 (unmarked, but it is the 2nd page after the table of contents)

Friday, September 07, 2007

2 years, 716 posts

It was 2 years today that I started this blog. I started it to have a conversation with someone who was bugging me on my other blog - I knew he was an AA member, and I didn't want to identify as such on the blog with my full name and picture - anonymity, you know. I posted occasionally for a couple of months and didn't really see the point because I was getting no indication that the blog had any use at all.

On November 28, 2005, Ms. Trudge found my blog and put a link to it on hers. It was oh so exciting to visit my blog one afternoon and find that there were SEVEN comments on my most recent post! I couldn't believe it! People were reading my blog! It was so exciting. I came to know people through their blogs and I felt that my sobriety had been enriched profoundly.

Since then, many of the people who were part of my daily blog life have stopped blogging. Some of them are drinking or using. Some of them have gotten more healthy and moved from "virtual" sobriety to the real thing - real sponsors, real meetings, real recovery. Some of them have just lost interest in blogging I guess. And that would make the sober blogging community much like the AA community out there, people come and go.

I am not a come-and-go kind of gal. I was when I was drinking. When I got sober, I jumped into AA with both feet, and never looked back. I have been consistently IN AA for a little over 23 years, and sober all that time. I do not "move on" in my life and stop doing the things that have saved my life. I just keep plugging along, because I know from years of watching people, what happens when you start to think you have graduated to a higher plane of recovery and now you just give advice, provide support, or occasionally bestow your blessings on the unwashed masses at an AA meeting. I am an alcoholic every single day of my life, I am just as much of an alcoholic today - 23 years out from my last drink- as I was in 1984 in my first year of sobriety. God has greatly blessed me with a life today that I could not have dreamed when I was new, but I am clear that left to my own devices, I am a drunk!

I had considered discontinuing this blog. The lack of comments was very disconcerting to me. I have made some friends through blogging and even if I stopped blogging, I know I would continue to visit their blogs and keep up with them by e-mail. But as far as every single day spending hours writing this thing and keeping up with you all, I really questioned whether it was something of value or not.

I posted about this the other day. I was hesitant to do it because I didn't want to seem like someone saying "if you don't give me what I want I will go away and you will never see me again - you'll be sorry!" But then again, I didn't just want to disappear, I don't behave like that anymore. It did elicit comments from "lurkers" and for that I am truly grateful. I also got comments from my regular readers and I am grateful for that too. I also got comments about "not needing validation." oh, poooh.

If I was just writing for me, I could write in a journal. I don't need to put it out for all to see. Since I put it out here for all to see, I would like to know, in a general way, who is looking at it. When you have posted every day for 2 years, your blog will come up in a search for just about anything. I have written about lasagna falling apart when you slice it (and people search for info about that, really, really, they do), apple pie, key lime pie, lemon meringue pie, dead snowmen, running in every kind of weather phenomena, having my son in Iraq, having him return from Iraq, shopping for shoes, back to school shopping for kids, having a summer romance, having a summer romance fall apart, etc., etc., etc. I have also written about staying sober one day at a time for "x" number of years, having a wonderful sponsor, being a (wonderful?) sponsor, going to every kind of AA meeting, AA picnics, AA potlucks, AA conventions, and AA funerals.

I do not need the validation of you liking what I write, or your approval of what I write. I just wanted to know if I was just standing in the middle a busy highway intersection talking to myself. I think I have found out that I am not talking to myself. There are those who are listening. I appreciate you, I truly do. You don't have to comment every day - I would LOVE it if you did though - but I do need to know that I am not just talking to myself. You also don't have to agree with me. I pretty much stick to my own experience, strength, and hope - nothing to argue about there - but I do, on occasion foray into the landmine of opinion. I would also like to say that I find it disconcerting that people who are "new" in AA have somehow gotten the impression that they have nothing to offer an "oldtimer" like me. Puh-Lease! AA is the great democracy... it is not a hierarchy. We all help each other.

So, thanks to everyone. I will keep at this blogging. When I am sharing in an AA meeting, I always end by saying "Thanks for listening." At one of my very first meetings, a man was talking about what a miracle it is that in a room full of alcoholics, we share - one person at a time - and the whole room listens. It truly is a miracle when we listen to each other. As a person who grew up, the youngest of 5 children, in an alcoholic family - I was always told to be quiet, calm down, you don't have to shout, stop talking... when I got to AA, for the first time in my life, I really felt that I was being listened to, and this is quite an honor. Thank you.

"In any meeting, anywhere, AAs share experience, strength, and hope with each other, in order to stay sober and help other alcoholics. Modem-to-modem or face-to-face, AAs speak the language of the heart in all its power and simplicity." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. xxiv

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Driving in the Rain

Coming home last night. It was raining. It was nice and cool. I love when summer ends. I love when summer begins too. I love fall the best - except when it is winter, or spring, or summer.

My friend Larry calls me most days and says stuff like this - The good news is, I didn't drink last night. And I didn't want one this morning. God has given me this gift, all I have to do is agree with Him.

Every day is a revelation when we are sober. It is a living, loving gift from God. May you agree with God today and live this day to its sober fullest.

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

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Happy Birthday to dAAve!

One of my very favorite people anywhere on earth is celebrating 4 years of continuous sobriety today. Please go over and wish dAAve a happy birthday.

I am going out for a run in spite of lingering pain from pulling weeds on Monday (who knew that pulling weeds for 2 hours would cause such pain and agony?)

I will then come back home and bathe and dress as becomingly as I can, to go off to work. Once there, I will put a smile on my face, greet the people I come in contact with, go to the meetings that are on my agenda for today, and work at some major projects in the meantime. I will give my best for 8 hours.

When I leave there at the end of the day, I will go to a 5:30 meeting. I will get to see many people I love and see what is going on with them.

Then I will come home again and see what is going on here. It is so unusual for me to have someone living with me, that the concept of things going on at home while I am not here is really an unusual and fun idea.

Have a great sober 24 everyone.

"Being convinced, we were at Step Three...." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 60

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to Work

Today was supposed to be a running day. I just cannot make myself go out there. I pulled weeds for 2 hours yesterday, and then went for a bike ride and my entire body hurts. I guess one day off training will not kill me. I just can't do it I tell you!

This is probably whining, or even worse, manipulation - but I am baffled about something. This blog is getting more hits than ever, but the number of comments seems to dwindle by the day. These days I get four or five comments when I used to get 15 or 20. Yesterday for instance, my blog was visited 63 times, and yet only five people left comments. I think that comments are the fuel that keep me going on this thing. And I am running out of gas. I just don't see what the point is if my only readership are random people searching for stuff on google. If I thought they were people looking for help with their alcoholism and that they found the link to Alcoholics Anonymous here - or some hope here - I would think it is worthwhile. But I have no way of knowing that. And frankly, if someone got here by searching for "An Alcoholic Drink That Will Put A Woman Under In Minutes" - really, yesterday someone got my blog by searching for this - I don't think my blog is much help to them.

September 7 is the 2nd anniversary of this blog. I think I will pray about this and wait until the 7th to make a decision.

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

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day

I am going to go out now and pull weeds in my back yard. They are out of control. I haven't wanted to touch them, but for some reason, this morning I woke up and thought I could deal with it today. It is only 57 degrees outside, and I got some rest this weekend so I can handle a bit of hard labor (on Labor Day).

My daughter and son left my house to go to their friend's house on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning I got a phone call - they are in Las Vegas. Oh, to be young. They will be back later today.

I spent hours on the phone with AA people yesterday. It was good. I got several reports from the state convention and I am glad I made the decision I did about going. I am so grateful for the wonderful friendships I have made in Alcoholics Anonymous.

"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 edition), p. 553 (Freedom From Bondage)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday, September 2, 2007

It is a beautiful Sunday Morning. The sun isn't quite up yet, the birds are singing, the air has the coolness of late summer, it is nice. I went to Nightwatch (where we answer the after-hours calls to the AA Central Office) instead of church last night, so I am going to Mass this morning at 7:30.

I took an 8 mile run with my daughter yesterday. It kicked my butt. I am still tired.

And I still get another day off work after today!

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

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Saturday Morning, 3 Day Weekend, See You in September

How excellent! It is pre-dawn on a Saturday morning of a three day weekend. I am going to wash my face, throw on some clothes, and head out to a 6:30 meeting. My daughter will be here at 8 to go out and run 8 miles with me. Then Night Watch is tonight, so I will likely bake a pie for that - and those are my sole plans for the weekend.

I may buy a reel lawn mower this weekend. When I tell people that, they assume I am saying a "real" lawn mower. But no, it is a REEL lawn mower. You know, no engine, no motor, no noise, no gasoline. Just blades cutting the grass, being powered by a human being. We shall see if I do this.

I went shopping with my daughter the other night. I was looking at coffee filters and expressed delight and amazement at the idea of a permanent coffee filter! She started laughing and sheepishly walked away. I had to ask her "what is so funny?" and she said she would tell me but I might get offended. But I pressed her. She said "Are you going to pull your camera out of your purse and take a picture of the coffee filters?" - ha ha. I truly laughed out loud. It was funny. And this is just ONE of the ways blogging has affected my life.

The other way it has affected my life is that I have gotten to know, through your blogs, a number of exceptionally wonderful sober alcoholics. Here is a brief illustration of this:

In April I came to Texas for a wedding. Our dear friend dAAve told me he would be happy to drive me around Houston and that when I got there, I could return my rental car and he would be sure to get me around town and to the airport when I left. Let me tell you, I do not visit my own family without my own car.... and I do not trust ANYONE to drive me to the airport. But, based on the fact that I know that dAAve always posts on his blog every single day - unless he has told us he won't - I trusted him to pick me up, drive me around, and get me to the airport on time. And he did. And furthermore, I don't know when I have been treated so hospitably as I was treated by dAAve, Scott, Pammie, Zane, and other wonderful Houston Sober Bloggers.

I have also met Lash, Motorcycle Mike, and others. What a wonderful thing to meet these people. To sit in a restaurant with Lash, and having just met, and just kind of pick up where we left off - because we have been reading each others' blogs for a couple years - is so cool - and it doesn't hurt that he is REALLY nice to look at!

OK, I gotta get to my meeting. Have a great sober weekend everyone. XXXOOO

"Each day my friend's simple talk in our kitchen multiplies itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will to men." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 16