Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How unusual! Snow!

Yes, it is snowing again. That is enough to say about that.

I called Qwest last night about my slow, erratic, and sometimes non-existent internet access. Well, they "troubleshoot me" - quoting the broken english of the person I spoke with, and imagine! I did something so airheaded I can hardly believe it! When I hooked up my TV to get the pay per view movies on Saturday, I never disconnected the cable from the phone line... bla bla bla. Anyway, it seems I am back online and a new garage door MAY be in my future. Or a trip to Trinidad... I tried to click on the link Daave had, but it froze up my computer... or maybe I DO need a new computer.

Last night my very favorite sponsee came over to read the big book with me, and first we split a pizza, and then we went out for a hot fudge sundae, and somehow we never picked up the book! Holy Cow! I am glad I am running as much as I am.

I could not get out of bed to run this morning in the snow and the bitter cold, so I am going to go to the gym after work tonight to get in another 4 miles so that I will have logged 90 miles in January. I didn't even think I could do that!

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How to defrag a brain?

Yesterday I decided that perhaps some maintenance on my computer would be more appropriate than purchasing a new one. I did all that defrag stuff, and last night I was able to access my blog, etc. This morning, once again, I cannot. I think it is not really my computer that is the problem, I think it might be my DSL - provided by Qwest. I will call them today. I want a Mac, and impulse control is not my strongest asset. I was too busy to buy one yesterday and I am again today, so perhaps I won't have a Mac soon. We shall see. I want one! But I also NEED a new garage door.... but how sexy is that? Not at all.

Last night at the 5:30 meeting a woman was crying. She shared that she just discovered that her 15 year old daughter is addicted to meth. For a solid hour, we heard people share about their own experience with meth, or their own experience of watching a loved one on meth. It was one of the most depressing meetings I have attended lately. The fact that I have been going through this for the last 12 years (with my daughter) could have something to do with that. I thought it was interesting that out of all those people, I was the only one who suggested she go to Al-Anon. Al-Anon saved my life. I am so grateful for that wonderful program.

"We shall be with you in the fellowship of the spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you until then." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164

Monday, January 29, 2007

I won!

I won my Nike + challenge - meaning I hit 55 miles before anyone woman in the 55+ age category (including those who weren't actually 55 years old.) I have run probably a bit too much in order to do this. Yesterday I ran 8 miles, and this morning I ran 5. But I guess as long as I feel OK, I shouldn't worry about it. I am going to have an "easy week" this week, having already logged 86 miles in January.

My computer is very nearly kaput I believe. I couldn't even get my blog this morning. I am trying to decide among computers - none of which I can afford to buy. Should I go ape and get the Mac I want so very badly, or should I purchase another low-end Dell (which is a perfectly good computer.)??? And I can't figure out how to save my photos - I have so many of them on my computer.... every time I read about Aawoken's inability to access his photos, it caused me to break out in a sweat.

I need to get to work. I have meetings all day and they are intense. And then after that - an AA meeting. Thank God.

I don't have a big book here with me, so here goes, one of my favorite quotes, off the top of my head:
"God could and would if he were sought." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. __

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday A.M.

Challenges for today:
1. I am tired.
2. My computer appears to be tired, it has slowed to a virtual halt.
3. My daughter is very sick with a spider bite that has abscessed.
4. My phone is dead - I really don't like my razor, it doesn't seem to be able to hold a charge.
5. My daughter and granddaughters are coming over
6. See number 1.
7. I need to get out and run in order to remain competitive with a cheater. - see several posts of the last week.

Yesterday I stayed at home and ordered 2 pay per view movies - and watched them wearing pajamas (!) which I never do. I watched "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Devil Wears Prada". They were both fun, I thought LMS was great, very funny, but so very sad.

I didn't get to church last night, so I went this morning instead of going to my Sunday Morning meeting. This always seems to throw me off. Oh well. I just seem to be out of sorts this morning. Maybe my run will help. Then I will pick up my daughter and granddaughters. I can turn my thoughts to others which is always a cure-all for whatever seems to be ailing me. I am making pizza for them. It will be nice to see them all and it will be nice to make pizza. It will be especially nice to EAT the pizza.

Thanks for listening to my incoherent mumblings this morning. I will be better later, I am sure.

"When I detach my mind from what is troubling me, my problems often solve themselves. Or it may be that leaving them to God gives Him a chance to take a hand in my affairs." -- One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, p. 150

Saturday, January 27, 2007

6th weekend of snow... snow... snow...

It is snowing again. It wasn't supposed to start until this afternoon and evening. I got up at 4:00 a.m., and took a bath, took some ibuprofen, ate a banana, drank some coffee... did my morning reading and quiet time... getting ready to go to a meeting and then to run 12 miles. I was so excited. By the time I left the house at 6:00, it was snowing like crazy and there was an inch or so on the ground. I quickly realized that my outdoor run was off, and I should get grateful for the dreaded treadmill, because I sure am using it a lot. The thing has a limit of an hour, so I only got to run less than 6 miles. (I am not very fast). In case anyone is wondering, I also got back into first place ahead of the 47 year old on the Nike + challenge. This particular challenge is who gets to 55 miles first - you know - for 55 year olds... why a 47 year old would feel good about coming in first in that I really don't know. Anyway, that is her deal - I just MUST beat her. I will see how many miles I can log tomorrow. (I'm at 41.97 in this challenge now... 73.11 for the month - my all time high).

The meeting was great. It was my friend Tim's 9th birthday. The room was full of wonderful drunks, many of whom I haven't seen in a while and I have known for years. Tim is a guy who got sober in prison and has managed to stay that way out here in the world. He is really special.

As long as I have people in my life like Tim and so many others, it is all good. All the rest is just a bunch of stuff (some of it fluffy white stuff coming from the sky).

"As we work the first nine steps, we prepare ourselves for the adventure of a new life. But when we approach step ten we commence to put our AA way of living to practical use, day by day, in fair weather or foul." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 88

Friday, January 26, 2007

Morning Run

I am running late - somehow I just got this blog changed to new blogger - I didn't expect it to work, so I just went through the motions, and here it is, in new blogger. hmmm.

Anyway, I took my camera (and you all) with me on a run this morning. I was perhaps a little bit too excited about the sunrise - but I was 2 miles into a run outdoors which I have longed to do for seemingly months! It was so wonderful.

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

Thursday, January 25, 2007

MC and Lash

This is a bad picture of Lash and me. It was such a treat to meet him. We shared a nice meal and many, many laughs.

I didn't wake up until 7:00 a.m. this morning!!!! I will try to get a run in after work today. I would not get to work until 10:00 if I tried to run this morning. hmmmm, maybe that isn't such a bad idea... it is warm out - 30 degrees, some of the sidewalks are clear, I think I might just be that late! (I will, of course, call work and make provisions for this lateness).

"The lone member at sea, the AA at war in a far land -- all these members know that they belong to AA's world-wide community, that theirs is only a physical separation, that their fellows may be as near as the next port of call." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 9

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday Morning

I thought since I don't have anything much to say this morning I would post this video. It is old, but I love this song. In 2001, I was dating a cowboy and started listening to country music (because it reminded me of him and made me happy) - when I heard this song for the first time, I had to pull off the road to cry.

I spilled my tea all over the conference table yesterday during my presentation. Thankfully, it was jasmine tea, so it smelled good, imagine if it had been hot chocolate! I ran out of the room to get paper towels to mop up... I was able to make a joke about it and everyone laughed, and then we got back to the presentation. Aside from that, it went well.... (Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?)

I am out of here to the gym. Okay, here is a question... I am participating in a Nike + challenge. It is for women 55 and older. I am running neck and neck (for first place) with another woman. Yesterday I posted that I was so glad I am competing against women 55 +. She posted that she is actually 47. That annoys the hell out of me. Maybe I should participate (and come in first) in a challenge for 63 and older women? Petty? Who? Me?

"True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 46

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today's post written yesterday.

Tomorrow I am going to a 6:30 a.m. meeting. My friend Bud is celebrating 21 years of sobriety and I get to pass my 21 year chip to him!!! Yay!

After the meeting, I get to go to work and get ready for my 9:00 presentation. I get such butterflies over this presentation - even though I have given it 4 times a year for over 5 years. I never get used to it. But the handouts are ready, 20 copies are sitting on my desk, all printed up in color - graphs, charts, and all.

Today was great. I met with my boss this morning. I went to the tanning salon at lunch and ran into an AA friend. The guy who owns the salon is a "dry" alkie - he won't go to meetings. Anyway, we had a little meeting there for about 10 minutes. It was really nice. After work, I met my friend the rec therapist at the gym and we ran, side by side, on dreadmills. It was fun. I hate working out AFTER work, but I was glad to get a workout in. I won't have time tomorrow. Then, dripping sweat, I went to the 5:30 meeting. It was a great meeting, mostly brand new people shared. I kept my mouth shut.

After the meeting, I got to watch something that just tickled me. A woman was inviting me to a party at her house on Friday night. We are going to watch "My name is Bill W." and eat pizza. She invited a bunch of people. One of my dear friends said, "oh, and you are having a Super Bowl party!" She said she wasn't, but she could. Next thing you know, he was walking around telling everyone about it, and we are all planning the Super Bowl party at her house. Apparently she has a nice TV - and she was actually agreeable to the idea of a party at her house. I LOVE ALCOHOLICS. We are such a trip!

And I am grateful and humbled that I have only just begun attending this meeting in August and already I feel I belong there. It is a wonderful thing. The other night I was feeling blue and talked to my buddy Larry. He told me that whenever he mentions my name, people say "oh, the one who laughs!" I don't mind being known like that. This has come up several times recently and has really helped me with some of the issues I am dealing with.

Sorry to go on and on. I will stop. Thanks for listening...

"The rewards of sobriety are bountiful and as progressive as the disease they counteract. Certainly among these rewards for me are the release from the prison of uniqueness, and the realization that participation in the AA way of life is a blessing and a privilege beyond estimate -- a blessing to live a life free from the pain and degradation of drinking and filled with the joy of useful, sober living, and a privilege to grow in sobriety one day at a time and bring the message of hope as it was brought to me." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. p. 451

Monday, January 22, 2007

5 Storms in 5 Weeks

I don't know how much snow we got yesterday, it was far more than the 1 to 3 inches they predicted - I know that much. I shoveled my driveway three times yesterday. The first time, my neighbor who I have recently seen in meetings and discovered that he is sober about 6 months, came over and helped me. It is amazing how much it means to have help with just a few shovel-fuls of snow.

At noon yesterday I ventured out to go to the gym. About half way there I realized that I was risking my life in order to get a few miles logged. I did manage to get there, run 5 miles on the dreadmill (that is what I have begun to call it), and get home safely. I watched football the rest of the day, and I guess that is the last time I will do that until next fall. I will miss it.

I have insane-o week at work ahead. Tomorrow I give my quarterly report to the governing body. This morning I meet with my boss to review the report and basically try to tell him what a great job I am doing. I am not very good at inflating my own worth, I am pretty good at being honest, and when I am not being particularly productive, I am likely to tell him that. I think he appreciates my honesty.

I am a bit worried about the drive in to work this morning. There is a lot of snow out there. Will this ever end?

"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

Sunday, January 21, 2007

More #@*& Snow

I know this isn't a pretty picture, but really, that is the whole point. I snapped this with my cell phone yesterday just after finishing my 10K run at a nearby lake (the frozen white expanse in the picture.) It was a lovely run, but I am sick of this white, white, white everywhere. It has been a month now since we have seen the ground.

I was going to go to the 7:30 meeting this morning across town, but when I got up at 6, there were several inches of new snow on the ground, and more snow falling at a rapid clip out of the sky. So my plans are changed. Last night I went to a friend's house, and when I left, he walked me to my car and said "there is snow in the air." I said "it better STAY in the air and not fall on the ground." But it is falling. As if I am going to threaten the snow not to fall! ha!

The helicopter that crashed in Iraq was not the type that my son flies. My instant reaction when I heard that was relief, followed by profound sadness for the people who were getting bad news yesterday. I can pray, and that is about it.

I was invited to a party to watch a play-off game this afternoon, and I don't want to go. I hate to be like this, but I just don't want to go. I think I am not going to go. I feel like I just need to sit and be quiet today.

"In praying, our immediate temptation will be to ask for specific solutions to specific problems, and for the ability to help other people as we have already thought they should be helped. In that case, we are asking God to do it our way. Therefore, we ought to consider each request carefully to see what its real merit is. Even so, when making specific requests, it will be well to add to each one of them this qualification: ' ... if it be Thy will.'" -- As Bill Sees It, p. 329

Saturday, January 20, 2007

In this moment...

I am fine. I am sitting at my computer. I have just completed a 10K run, after a wonderful 6:30 a.m. meeting. I am warm and comfortable. But I got home and turned on the TV, and did just what my son has told me not to do. I watched CNN - just for a minute. The minute was long enough to hear that there is a helicopter down in Iraq. He also told me how many Chinooks there are in Iraq, in case I ever hear something like that (of course, at this moment, I do not remember how many there are).

How do you pray in a case like this? Please Dear Lord, let it not be MY son? Let it be someone else's son? I can't seem to wrap my mind around a prayer like that.

So let me just ask for God's Grace for all of his children, including mine.

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

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Fluff

I made a very short (and silly) video to see how to create a youtube video. I tried to put it here, I may or may not have beeen successful. It probably isn't important that it is here.

I thought it was important to lighten up a little here. I have been pretty serious of late and need to knock it off. This weather is a real challenge for me. January in a good year is a challenge for me, but this year is unusual in that I can't get on my bike or run outdoors.

I tried to run outside yesterday. It was 10 degrees, which is ridiculous. The sidewalks are still impassible. I thought I was on a good one, and then it ended. I ended up running on the road, which on a residential street at 6:30 a.m., should not be a problem. However, I nearly got hit by a bus! I had to dive into a bank of snow to avoid being hit. It was quite unpleasant. I guess I won't try that again any time soon. I will try to find another place to run this weekend. Today is my rest day.

Thanks for listening.

"The joy of living is the theme of AA's Twelfth Step, and action is its key word. Her we turn outward toward our fellow alcoholics who are still in distress. Here we experience the kind of giving that asks no rewards. Here we begin to practice all Twelve Steps of the program in our daily lives so that we and those about us may find emotional sobriety. When the Twelfth Step is seen in its full implication, it is really talking about the kind of love thta has no price tag on it." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 106

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I have really been struggling with something lately. I have written about it a teeny bit, but not much. Yesterday I had a bit of an awakening, so I am going to write about it.

I have been going to a 5:30 meeting for several months. I had never been to it prior to August of this year. It used to be a smoking meeting and I didn't go to smoking meetings. I love this group. There are so many new people there. There are a lot of women there. There are some oldtimers there too. However, as I have sat there night after night for months, I have noticed something. The people with more than 20 years of sobriety give speeches every night. They have canned spiels that they give every single day. They have tag lines that they throw in the beginning of their share and at the end of their shares. This stuff seems to have a lot of appeal to people newer in sobriety because I think it sounds good. They talk about what happened 20 years ago, but not what is happening today.

OK, that is enough of me taking their inventory. That is their business. MY problem is that I have begun to have doubts about what I am doing. I share honestly, from my heart, about what is going on today, and it doesn't always look so good. I am going through challenges right now, as you all know, with my son in Iraq, my daughter on meth, my grandchildren in flux, my son-in-law in rehab, my finances beginning to buckle under the strain of trying to do what I can for my grandchildren, etc. I talk about this stuff. I am not sober FOR YOU. I am sober for me. I must help other drunks if I expect to stay sober, but I am clear on the fact that we are all only sober 24 hours at a time. I cannot stay sober today on yesterday's sobriety, and I have not graduated to some higher level of "recovery" where all I do is tell you what to do. I am here to stay sober. Me, Mary Christine, the terrible, terrible drunk. Sober (for 22 and a half years) only by the Grace of a loving God. Not by all of my tremendous "work".

So, of late, I have decided to shut my mouth in meetings. And I sit there and feel like I don't belong. And that I haven't got a clue because I haven't got a canned speech, etc. This is all self-centered bullshit. This is my EGO at its finest.

Last night, as I was slinking out of the meeting, feeling like I have lost my way - honestly - I am that dramatic... a newer woman came over to me and said this. "I am always so happy to see you here because I know I am going to hear you laugh. I love to hear your laugh, it makes me laugh no matter now bad I am feeling. I love it when you share in the meeting because you are always so honest..." After I expressed my gratitude to this woman, another woman came over and told me basically the same thing. They told me they are so grateful that I started coming to that meeting and that I am an "integral part of the group." And then I realized that I just need to be willing to share what ever gifts God has given me. It is not up to me to judge them. And it certainly isn't up to me to decide that I have nothing to offer because I haven't graduated to Sobriety Sainthood.

That's it. I feel better. Thanks for listening, and caring. I really appreciate you bloggers too. I wish my ego wasn't out to get me, but it is. It is what tells me that I am separate from you and that I am not good enough, or that I am too good, but that I am not a part of, I am apart from.

"In my view, we of this world are pupils in a great school of life. It is intended that we try to grow, and that we try to help our fellow travelers to grow in the kind of love that makes no demands. In short, we try to move toward the image and likeness of God as we understand Him." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 306

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

12 degrees = heat wave!

Oh boy! It is in the double digits temperature wise and it isn't even 5:00 a.m. yet. Maybe we are coming out of the cold spell. Unfortunately, it is heading east. So to all of you, particularly southerners, who are dealing with cold you are not used to, take care and keep warm!

I have a presentation to give at 9:30 this morning. I have to get to the gym and get a few miles in before that. I don't have the presentation 100% written - I had to leave work yesterday at 5:30 because a sponsee was coming over. So although I am glad I met with her, I wish I could have stayed at work longer to get the presentation done. Oh well. These quarterly presentations are always a challenge. I better get going here...

"It is when we try to make our will conform with God's that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the mis-use of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God's intention for us. To make this increasingly possible is the purpose of AA's Twelve Steps, and Step Three opens the door." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 40

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday Morning

I actually slept until 6:30 this morning, so no running for me this morning. I ran 6.2 miles yesterday morning. I am going to buy a book on marathon training so I can get a clue about how to train for the half-marathon in May.

Yesterday I made a new blog, and of course, it was in NEW blogger. It was meant to be a blog about my marathon training. I actually liked new blogger, it was easier to navigate than old blogger. It is easy to do links, and easy to change colors. HOWEVER, unfortunately, I used my "google" account and now I cannot access that blog, because when I use my google account, which you must do to access new blogger, I get THIS blog. I have no clue how to get back to my new blog. I guess I just need to start a new google account and start over with that blog. I didn't want for it to be anonymous, so it wasn't linked this blog in any way.

It got up to 20 degrees yesterday and I felt like going outside and playing without a coat or hat! It is 7 degrees now and I actually woke up this morning and thought "it isn't so cold this morning." It is a challenge to keep a good attitude through a month of consistent bad weather.

I am boring. I had a three day weekend and didn't do anything I had planned to do - like paint my office and bathroom. I also intended to start a baby quilt to donate to my church. I did none of that. I did have a nice, albeit very quiet and restful, weekend.

(I just did spell check on this thing and it doesn't recognize "google" or "blogger" - how bizarro!)

"I see 'humility for today' as a safe and secure stance midway between violent emotional extremes. It is a quiet place where I can keep enough perspective and enough balance to take my next small step up the clearly marked road that points toward eternal values." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 199

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Late Entry

I am about to plant my butt on the sofa for a few hours of football... followed by a meeting... followed by coming home, eating dinner, and going to bed. Woo Hoo! Such excitement!

This morning I got up and looked out the window and decided to forget about driving across town to the meeting I like to go to on Sunday Mornings. It was snowing with temperatures in the single digits. I decided to go back to bed. Since I woke up, I have been indulging in bizarre activities, like spontaneously cleaning a closet that has needed to be cleaned for 5 years! What the hell is up with that? I have another day off work tomorrow, maybe I feel the pressure is off me to pack a weekend worth into two days, I can do it in three instead. Who knows?

Last night while I was at church, my friend left me a message and told me she was going to the 5:30 meetings. This friend has been sober 15 years and attends one meeting, and only that meeting, so when she said she was going to a different meeting, I was concerned. So, after church I got the message and flew the 5 or so miles to the club to see if I could find her. I did and we went out for dinner. It was great. We went to a Thai restaurant. Her date of birth is the day after mine, so it is great fun to talk with someone who is exactly my age. We can also reminisce about people from that group who no longer come around, or have passed. Oh, and there was nothing wrong with her, she just felt like going to a meeting and she knew I usually go to that one.

My head hurts today and I feel cooped up, but I will be OK. I am so sick of this weather, and believe me, I am not the only one.

If you have a second, go over and visit Lounge Daddy, he is a blogger working on getting sober!

"We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from drink, as he may do for months or years, he reacts much like other men. We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 22-23

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Looking forward...

Yesterday I registered for a half-marathon! My daughter registered too. It is on May 20. I am so excited about this! It is the Colorado Colfax Marathon. Colfax Avenue is a very exciting street that goes through three cities, Aurora, Denver, and Lakewood. This site has a very cool high-speed video of driving the length of Colfax. The full marathon goes all 26 miles of Colfax Avenue, the half-marathon starts at City Park and goes 13.1 miles to Colorado Mills (on Colfax, of course).

Last night I attended a wonderful meeting where a new lady asked what is the difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic. It was wonderful because people shared so much of their own stories. I know that newer people like to hear about recovery, because that is what we are doing in AA - but I love to hear about the drinking, because that is WHY we are in AA. I feel like I know the folks in that group a little bit better because of some of the stories I heard last night.

I am heading out of here, in sub-zero temperatures, to go to a 6:30 a.m. meeting, and then to the gym to run. I am so grateful for a warm and comfortable home, a warm and comfortable car, a warm and comfortable gym, and a warm and comfortable AA room.

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

Friday, January 12, 2007

Frigid Friday

See that "2" in the upper left side? That is for 2 degrees Fahrenheit - which is the temperature outside. See the cute weather station? That was a birthday present from my kids. I love that thing! I ran every day this week, so I can take a day off today without suffering any ill effects. I knew it was going to get cold and snow, so I planned accordingly!

I will see if I can maintain a positive attitude through this cold and snow. I am grateful it is Friday. I am grateful that, if things go as planned, I will have worked a full week this week for the first time since the middle of December. I am grateful that I have all sorts of winter weather clothing and gear to keep me safe and comfortable. I am grateful for heated leather seats in my car! I am grateful I have a wonderful 5:30 meeting to attend tonight. Maybe I will be just a few minutes late? I did that last night, and I am sure it was a little bit of passive aggression towards their new crappy format. If I am not there, I won't hear it, right?

"We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion tht we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 30

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Late Presents

This week I received two Christmas gifts that were delayed due to the snow. My sponsor and her husband sent the book "Emotional Sobriety", and my sister sent the pajamas (FedEx overnighted on December 20 - I got them on January 8). -- I can no longer post a picture to HNT due to it having moved to New Blogger this week.

Yesterday after I wrote about my 5:30 group's format, I thought about it some more. For some reason, I keep seeing the face of a guy who just can't seem to get sober. I just love that guy. I have written about him, with no name, several times in this blog. He has a few days of sobriety now. Anyway, if I were to leave the group, I would no longer see Mike, and not only do I like Mike and like to see him, but his face lights up when he sees me - so why destroy a fragile little tie like that just because of a stupid format. I hope some day to see that guy get sober and stay sober. He is a young guy, probably younger than my kids. But a terrible, terrible drunk.

I am going to try to run outside in my neighborhood this morning for the first time in weeks. It has been warm for the last several days so some of the snow has melted, hopefully I can run on the street. It is supposed to get very cold tonight and then snow tomorrow.

"The person I used to be is always waiting around the corner. If I close my eyes, I can see him. He's wearing a black leather jacket, smoking a butt, leaning with his back against a building and one knee bent. He's waiting for me to split a six-pack and join him in cussing and complaining and cutting down everything from his ex-boss and the Army to the church, academia, the government - and AA. But when I close my lips to vicious talk, the old me gets tired of waiting around for someone to commiserate with him. When I say only positive things, the old me disappears. He flips his cigarette into the gutter, turns up the collar of his jacket, and walks away. He just doesn't want to hear it." -- Emotional Sobriety - the Next Frontier, p. 18

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Whatcha think?

The 5:30 meeting I recently started attending just changed their format. There was already something they say at the beginning of each meeting that irks me, but I could live with it. But now, I am going to be forced to attend a group conscience! Damn!

Okay, here is what it said before that irks me, but I can live with: paraphrased to the best of my memory: "It is this group's belief that those who count their sobriety in months rather than years often have the best topics..."

Now, here is what they have added: paraphrased of course. "In order that our members may feel safe to share, please do not criticize, offer advice, or comment on what another person has shared."

In their purest sense, I agree with both of those sentiments. However, I think that stating all these conditions at the beginning of a meeting we put a wet blanket on any kind of spontaneity or even genuineness. And I also have to say that it is my experience that some of my greatest teachers have been absolute bastards! Nobody told those old crusty guys that they had to be careful not to hurt my feelings.

I got sober in meetings where those old guys had knives and guns and would be more than happy to tell you to "shut the fuck up, you don't know what you are talking about." I cannot tell you how many of the recipients of this rude behavior are still sober today and still talking about those guys - with love.

Personally, I try to be kind to the newcomer, but I think there is a place for people to tell them to pull their heads out of their asses. Oh well. All groups go through this stuff. It is just important to keep coming back and not to get too upset by it all.

"'Middleton Group #1. Rule #62.' Once the card was unfolded, a single pungent sentence leaped to the eye: ' Don't take yourself too damn seriously.'" -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 149

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hurry, hurry, hurry

OK, I must be back to a semblance of normalcy. I am sitting here at my computer, I just got back from the gym, I am dripping sweat, and I am supposed to be at work in 20 minutes. I think I might just be late for work! Now, THAT does make me feel bad, but I am so grateful to be back doing the things I do. This is the first time I have successfully completed a run on the treadmill since my injury on Dec. 20. Woo Hoo! Oh, and I was on the local news - they film from there every other Tuesday morning, and I usually position myself far, far from the cameras, however this morning they moved to the pool area, and I was just behind the two women on camera. Hopefully no one saw me.

We are supposed to have another foot or so of snow on Thursday and Friday. I hope they are wrong. They were certainly wrong last week when they predicted 2 to 4 inches and we got 12 inches. But for today, it is semi-warm, the wind is not blowing, it is not snowing - and life seems good. But I better get myself to work!

"I try hard to hold fast to the truth that a full and thankful heart cannot entertain great conceits. When brimming with gratitude, one's heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, the finest emotion that we can ever know." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 37

Monday, January 08, 2007

Now Wind

This is unbelievable. Now there is very very strong wind (100 miles per hour). Some of the highways in town have been closed because of ground blizzard conditions. Our next snow isn't due until Thursday.

I keep remembering a man named Stoney. He used to come to meetings and say "it snowed on MY CAR last night!" We forget that we are not alone. It is easy to forget that we are not alone particularly when we are sitting in our houses alone - cut off from the world due to bizarre weather phenomena. But today I will go to work and hope to catch up on some work - my desk is a nightmare after all the work I have missed.

Last night I heard what might have been the saddest thing I have ever heard in an AA meeting. A woman came in, late and wearing sun glasses (at night). I never saw her before, but I just assumed she was new or drunk. At the end of the meeting, she shared. She is here from another state, she got sober in July, got her 6 month chip and started drinking again. After she talked for about 5 minutes, she started crying and said she is here because her 21 year old son killed himself. The last time she talked to him, she told him she was drinking again and he was so upset. That was the last time she will ever speak to her son. Ever. Oh God.

This disease destroys everything in it's path. Everything. I don't know why some of us get sober and some of us don't, but I do know that I thank God every day that I get to be sober. It is an unimaginable blessing.

"We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 30

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday Morning

Night Watch was spectacular last night! About 30 people came to my little house. Many of them car-pooled, so there were no serious parking problems. It was so cute to see 4 and 5 alkies pouring out of cars and trucks. It was also incredible to me that my neighbors on both sides got out and shoveled the crap in the street in front of their houses, which meant we had three houses worth of street parking. Believe me, that was so far above and beyond anything a person would reasonably do! And they really did it for me. Who ever heard of such a thing? No wonder I really, in my heart of hearts, love living here.

It is such a treat to look at your own living room and dining room and see your AA group sitting around. Many of them were sitting on the floor. There was a time when I couldn't even get from my kitchen to my dining room for all the people on the floor! We had great food, great fellowship, and several great phone calls.

After they all left, my former b.f. sat with me while I finished up the phone shift which ended at 11:00. At 10:45, I got two real-live twelve step calls right at the same time. Two different drunk women who sort of wanted to get sober. I talked with both of them for a while and got them situated. By the time I got off the phone, Mr. former sweetie-man was putting on his coat and getting ready to leave - it was very late. I apologized to him for spending so much time on the phone, but I had to be responsible which he understood (and frankly, it doesn't matter if he does or not!) But he said something that has re-played over and over in my mind... he said that listening to me on the phone with those women made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Yikes. He said it was meant in a good way, that just listening to that was so powerful. I had felt I was doing a really crappy job of talking to drunk people (because I find I have less and less patience for it as the years go by.)

I am thinking of the 5th step promises as I write this because that is how I feel today....

"We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 75

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Better now...

After moving this snow. Every single flake of it. Man, my arms hurt. But I am feeling cheerful again. The sun is shining, the snow is melting. I have a ham in the oven, I have an apple pie on the counter, I am soon to start the pilaf, my house smells like heaven, I am awaiting the arrival of good AA friends and we will answer the after hours phone for the area central office tonight. What could be better?

More #@*& Snow

It snowed all day yesterday. I might be exaggerating when I say we got an additional foot of snow, but if I am, it is only an exaggeration of an inch or two. I shoveled at least 8 inches when I left for work yesterday. The roads were so bad I called work to see who was there and what was going on and ended up crying inconsolably and was kindly told to go back home and take care of myself.

I prayed to God and cried. I called my sponsor and cried. I called a friend (who I thought probably could use a call, I was trying to be helpful) and cried. I called another friend and cried. I called my neighbor and cried. Thank God for God, my sponsor, my friends, and my neighbors. They all listened kindly - they all know how freakishly unusual this behavior is for me. I swear I cannot shovel one more flake of snow. My body hurts so bad. The whole thing. My sponsor suggested I sign up for tanning - I already did that on New Year's Eve - but couldn't get there yesterday.

Before this turns into a total whine-fest, let me just say: I have said several times in this blog that I am "high-maintenance," not meaning that I need to be pampered, but that I need exercise, sunshine, good food, etc. I feel that my life has been turned upside down since the middle of December when I got sick, then snow, then I fell, then more snow, then more snow, then more snow, then more snow, then more snow. I am finally facing the emotional fallout from all of this.

I will be OK, I know that. I so look forward to having my life back. I want to RUN on dry pavement! I want some sunshine! I want to take a bike ride! But for today, I am heading out of here for a 6:30 a.m. meeting. Then I will hurry home to prepare for nightwatch tonight. I bought food that can all be frozen in case no one is able to come. There is virtually NO WHERE for anyone to park their cars. But as my sponsor said, we alcoholics are very ingenious people. We shall see how this all works out. Exactly as it should be, I am sure.

"Such is the paradox of AA regeneration: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one's old life as a condition for finding a new one." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 49

Friday, January 05, 2007

Snowy Friday Morning

Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for my run, I saw the above film, as recorded by a traffic helicopter, on TV and ran outside to see if I could see it. In the sky above me was this incredible, huge, display of lights. It was really amazing. Initially they thought it was a meteor, but later discovered that it was a Russian Rocket. Yikes! It was really a beautiful thing to see.

I finally got the snow on the street in front of my house shoveled last night. And now we have another winter storm in process. I need to just accept that this is what is happening and it does not matter one iota whether I like it, so I might as well not go mental over it. I will get back out with my snow shovel and try to just smile through it. I cannot wait to see grass or even dirt again.

"So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselvees, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this eselfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 62

Thursday, January 04, 2007

46 degrees at 5:28 a.m.

This is my banana, coffee, and motrin. I had them all moments ago. I expect to feel good enough to run in about a half hour. It is 46 degrees outside, which will be wonderful. A neighbor told me about a place to run where the paths are plowed and dry. I am going to go there this morning. For some reason, running on the treadmill is almost impossible with my tailbone injury. I ran 3 painful miles yesterday and then was in pain all day. Amazingly, I ran 10 miles on Monday, on a snow-packed trail, and had no residual pain at all.

Thank you for all of your suggestions yesterday about the food for night watch. I think I decided to purchase a spiral cut ham. I can't think of anyone in my group who is Jewish or Muslim, so it ought to be OK. There will be plenty of other food anyway. As I thought about chili and pasta and soup, I imagined people sitting on my sofa eating it, and I think it would be nearly impossible. There will be only a few places to sit at a table and eat, so I think sandwiches will be good.

About the parking: I shoveled some last night, but still don't even have one parking place carved out in front of my house. It is supposed to get into the 50s today, and then SNOW. Yep, more snow. But we are only supposed to get 2 to 4 inches, which sounds like nothing at this point. I will trust God that it will work out exactly the way it is supposed to.

"We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: 'God, I offer myself to Thee - to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that vicotry over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Routine

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead... but first, let us eat a banana and 600 miligrams of ibuprofin. I am sitting here now, waiting for the ibuprofin to kick in so that I can go to the gym and get a few miles in. When I wake, it is hard to believe that I am even going to be able to walk today, let alone run, but then the ibuprofin kicks in and I am able to act like a fairly normal human being for most of the day. I am sure this tailbone injury WILL heal, but I have heard it takes a lot of time. Thank God we live in an age of wonderful anti-inflamatory medications.

I am now getting busy trying to get ready for Night Watch here on Saturday night. It will be great fun to have folks over and answer the phones for the area Central Office - but I volunteered my house BEFORE the snow eliminated all the parking from my street. I am hoping that the warm temperatures this week will melt some of the snow, I will shovel some of it, and we should have some street parking. My neighbor volunteered her driveway - that is 2 parking places. My driveway is 2. Oh Lord, I need help. And I don't even know what I am serving yet. It is a potluck, so everyone brings something, but I need to provide the spine, if you will, of the meal. Does anyone have any great food ideas for having a very casual dinner for anywhere from 10 to 40 people? I very seldom entertain because I get so freaked out about everything. I did Nighwatch for this group exactly 11 years ago, and I made such a big deal out of it, it was very unpleasant for me. Now I am probably taking it a little bit too lightly.

Once again, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my life. Being sick, injured, and snowed-in in December really gave me time to reflect on my many blessings. (and I think I can go run now because I am feeling much better!)

"It is when we try to make our will conform with God's that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God's intention for us." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 40

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tuesday Morning

I am feeling oh-so-much-better today. Yesterday after the 6:30 a.m. meeting, I went to Clement Park (sound familiar? think Columbine), strapped on my yaktrax, and started to run. I ended up running
I didn't intend to do that, I just felt good and kept going. It was amazingly wonderful. And the thing that tells me that I am meant to be a long distance runner is that the tenth mile felt infinitely better than the first one. This morning my heart is full of hope that I will achieve my goals this year. If I can run 10 miles on January 1, barring injuries (Please, Dear Lord), I can think of no reason why I can't run a half-marathon in October - or even the one in May.

Getting sick and injured in December gave me a new appreciation for my life. I often focus on what I don't have - particularly a romantic relationship - and fail to notice what is great about my life. There is a lot that is very great about my life. I am so blessed with long-term sobriety, great AA groups, good friends, a wonderful family who love me, and good physical health. I am amazed that at the age of 55, I am considering running a half-marathon, and I actually think I can do it!

Yesterday at the meeting, I sat next to my friend Mike, who had a #27 Broncos jersey on. I thought it was somewhat odd since their season had untimely ended the day before. But then he told me it was the jersey of Darrent Williams, and he had been killed early that morning. How sad to be 24 years old, have the world by the whatever, and then end up dead. I pray for his family.

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

Monday, January 01, 2007

A New Year

I love waking on January 1 and knowing that it is an entirely blank slate. I am grateful for last year even though it was challenging. I am looking forward to another sober year - one day at a time.

Yesterday my friend Lisa and I decided that we are going to try to do
2 Triathlons
1 Half-Marathon

If my tailbone doesn't heal, this will not be possible, but I am hopeful. The first Tri is in July, the second is in August, and the Half-Marathon is in October.

So, here it is, almost 6:00 a.m. on January 1, and I have not been angry at anyone this year, I have not said anything I regret, I am full of love for my fellow man and my heart is full of hope for the day. Of course, I have not yet seen anyone today - but I hope that these attitudes will stay with me, even when faced with real life. And these are my real goals for 2007.

"When I was driven to my knees by alcohol, I was made ready to ask for the gift of faith. And all was changed. Never again, my pains and problems notwithstanding, would I experience my former desolation. I saw the universe to be lighted by God's love; I was alone no more." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 51