Sunday, August 31, 2008


Yesterday I went to the farmers market and bought the stuff I needed to make salsa.  It took all day to make just 17 pint jars it.  (I did take a break to go to church with my granddaughter last night)  I took lots of pictures and posted them at my photo blog... go over and have a look if  you have time.  

On Friday night as I was considering spending my weekend working on this,  I decided to call my son to see if he likes this enough.  He is the one who eats it - every Sunday when he comes over for dinner- he waits for dinner by eating tortilla chips and his mother's home made salsa.  When I asked him if he liked it on Friday he was incredulous.  He said "do I eat every jar of it every year?"  I said "yes," he said "there's your answer."  

Today I slept until 8:30, and I have just done my prayer, and blogging, and will go for a run.  Then back to the market for another half bushel of tomatoes.  I have enough chiles to keep going, but not enough tomatoes.  I will spend today working in my kitchen.

Which I have to say is one of my favorite ways of spending a day.  

Let's all say a prayer for the safety of those in the path of Hurricane Gustov.  

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Morning

Last night I made a fabulous dinner (shrimp, scallops, zucchini on skewers and fresh Olathe corn) for my daughter and granddaughters.  It was just glorious to cook for them.  

I am off this morning to my new 6:30 meeting.  I am very excited that I have a place to go this morning.  

I will make french toast with maple syrup when I get home.  I haven't run for a week, but I will later today or tomorrow.

Let's stay sober this Labor Day Weekend, OK?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Twisted Relationship

"But it is from our twisted relationships with family, friends, and society at large that many of us have suffered the most."  -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 53

In the last few days I have been the recipient of several apologies.  At work, at home, and in cyberspace.  I am not a real easy person to apologize to probably.  And let me tell you why:

When I did the 9th step for the first time ever, I asked my sponsor where I should begin with my amends.  Thank God she did not say something you might hear now, like "with yourself," because I have found that when a person starts the amends list with themselves, they tend to never move past that name.... but I digress.  She told me to start with the hardest one.  To start with the person I was most dreading approaching.  So I did.  I called my sister-in-law.  I told her I wanted to talk.  It was clear that all she would give me was a phone call, so I went ahead and told her what I needed to.

In my book she did not accept my amends.   For every thing I told her, she said "oh, you did not," "no, that never happened," etc.  She denied everything I tried to amend.  I could not make amends for things that never happened.  I did, however, try.  That is all we can do.  We can be willing and make that clear to the other person.  I tried.  And when she died in 1999, I was so incredibly glad that I had at least tried.  

So - when someone apologizes, or makes amends for something, I have occasionally told them that I feel no amends are necessary.   But more likely, I will accept their amends and I may even tell them more.  I will not deny I was hurt if I was hurt.  I don't think that serves anyone.  It would be far easier to just say that everything is fine, no harm done.  But that is not usually the case.  I think it is important for alcoholics to be able to see how we hurt one another.  We do it casually.  I think, as a class, we are people with low self-esteem.  I think there are few people as dangerous as people with low self-esteem... we think we don't count, so how could our actions actually matter to people, how can little-old-us hurt anyone?  Well, we can, and we do. 

As a person with long term sobriety, sometimes I feel that I have a target painted on me.  People seem to love to pick on that.  I am not behaving the way they think I should.  Well, I am not one who says that I have all the answers.  I am not one who says that I have all YOUR answers.  I do not wax too philosophically here in my blog or in person.  I pretty much stick to my own experience, strength, and hope.  So what I share here is not usually esoteric opinions, or ideas.  I am sharing my life.  When someone picks on that it does hurt.  

I think if I behaved as if I had all the answers due to my length of time of sobriety, I would deserve to be picked on... really, I do.  I think if I wrote about generalities about what people ought to be doing, I would deserve to be picked on... really, I do.  

But what I am doing is sharing my own experience, strength, and hope.   

In the words of one of my favorite philosophers:
"Can we all get along?"  -- Rodney King, May 1, 1992

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Morning

And if I do it just right an quit dawdling over my computer, I can get a quick run in, and get to church by 8:00.  It is the 15th anniversary of my father's death, and I think I would like to go to mass today.  And for anyone (well, just one someone) who believes you can't be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and a Catholic at the same time, I would suggest you talk that over with your parish priest.  Soon.  

I found an AA group I felt comfortable in yesterday!  It meets at 6:30 a.m. just like my old one.  It is close to the house, a little bit farther away from work, but still very manageable.   I was at their first meeting back in the mid-nineties, and even named the group.  Yesterday, I came in, sat down, most of the folks were strangers to me, but I did know one or two people.  They sit around a table in a room in the back of a church.  There is only enough room for maybe 12 people there, so everyone gets to share.  I looked at their phone list and saw plenty of names with sobriety dates in the 1970s and 80s.  They have nightwatch once a month.  And they say the 3rd Step Prayer before the meeting.  I am very happy about feeling once again like I have a home in AA.  

So I better kick it in gear so I can do all the things I want to do this morning.  

Oh, and the brat in me wants to go to a meeting downtown at noon today - just to see who I would see (and then NOT tell you about).  Other folks might want to go to Hollywood and see movie stars.... but for a political junkie like me, many of  the luminaries I would want to meet  are just a few miles down the road.  I would love to see who is at the meetings down there this week.  But it is none of my business, and I will just stay in my own neck of the woods.

Have a great sober day everyone, OK?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Comfort Food

Other people might want chocolate cake, but when I want comfort food, I desire a big rib eye steak, a baked potato with butter and sour cream, a nice piece of warm bread with butter, and a salad - not a healthy salad, but a salad made with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, and doused with blue cheese dressing.  I didn't eat all of it, but I ate most of it.  And it was good.

(and you can see that my favorite tablecloth was in the wash last night)

Yesterday while driving around (which is a big fat pain due to having a big honkin' convention here this week) I saw a sign outside a restaurant that made me laugh.  It said:

Oprah, our wings are only 150 calories each

For some reason I thought that was hilarious.  She truly could see that sign, but I highly doubt that she would care to indulge in 150 calorie (each) wings.  Yuck.

This morning I am off to a new 6:30 meeting - well, not that new, I actually named the group the first time they met back in 1995 or 1996.  But it is not the one I have been attending as my homegroup.  Then I shall meet a sponsee and get her 5th step done.  Then to work.  

One foot in front of the other...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A New Pair of Glasses

Literally.  I got a new pair of glasses on Saturday.  They are very different and make me wonder why I thought having RED glasses was a good idea.  I am sure I will get used to them.  I tried to cheapen up and bought a pair of glasses at Sears last December.  They were not only not very attractive, but they were destroyed in less than a year.  How much money do you save doing stuff like that?  Not much in my book.  So, I went to Europtics and paid an arm and a leg for these glasses, but they are nice.

I got to sit at church for an hour yesterday and pray.  I needed that time badly.  The power of prayer is very real.  Meditation is something that I would recommend highly.   I have heard them described (probably over simplified) this way:   Prayer is talking to God, and Meditation is listening to Him.

I am going to go to a noon meeting today.  I think my schedule is going to permit that.  

Let's all stay sober today, OK?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Grateful I can feel

Maybe it is  not always pleasant, maybe you don't always want to read about it, but I am grateful that I can feel today.  I can experience my life in technicolor.   I am not living life on a flat line.  It is not a roller coaster either, but it does have its undulations.  

Today I go back to work after a weekend with my grandchildren.  I am glad I had a busy weekend, and I am glad I have a busy day ahead of me today.  After work on Mondays, I go to church for an hour of silent prayer.  

I am grateful for this life I have been given.  With all of its ups and downs.  I am grateful that I can walk through each day, as gracefully as I can, and know that God is present, He is near, and He loves me.  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Morning

My granddaughters are outside playing hopscotch on the driveway.  That's as good as any other way to spend a Sunday morning, I think.  We got dressed up and went to church last night, which was wonderful.  I don't know how two normally energetic and very noisy girls, ages 4 and 8, could sit basically still and be totally quiet for an hour, but they did it.  It was amazing and glorious.

I talked with my sponsor for a long time yesterday afternoon.  We literally cried together.  Mourning the Alcoholics Anonymous that we both knew and loved.  I am afraid it is no longer.  I will continue to try to find a home in AA, but what we knew and loved is gone.  The AA where we actually knew each others last names and cared about one another.  The AA where we took an interest in everyone in the group - whether they were sober a few hours or a few decades.  Where we gave each other rides and phone calls.  Where we cared enough about people killing each other with sick behavior that we spoke up about it. 

So I no longer fit.  That is OK.  It might even be good.   I know I will find (or start) another group, and this season of grief, loss, and sadness will pass.  Something better is on the other side, I am sure.  

I have two beautiful granddaughters waiting outside for me to come and sit on the front porch and knit, while I rock in my rocking chair.   I really can't imagine what could be better than that!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tending to my knitting

tend to one's knitting,
a. to mind one's own business: Don't worry about my work - just tend to your knitting.
b. to devote oneself to one's assignments or responsibilities:  Years of sticking to his knitting finally paid off.  

I am fortunate that I like to knit.  Last night on my way from work to a new meeting, I stopped at the yarn shop and bought a new project to knit.  I have been working for months on a very intricate lacy baby blanket for a neighbor's baby.  One of my favorite docs at work is pregnant with her first baby, and it is a girl and I thought that working on big needles and big pink yarn and knocking out a blanket in a weekend would be a good thing.  The fact that the yarn costs approximately $100. is another issue entirely.  Good yarn is not cheap.  

At the meeting, I sat and knit and kept my mouth shut.  Not a good thing for this alcoholic.  

I have my granddaughters with me this weekend and that is good.  I made a big breakfast of bacon and eggs and fried potatoes.  We will go shopping probably and then get dressed up and go to church.  It will be nice.  Imagine me, a nice nana who takes her granddaughters to church.  
By the Grace of God, no matter how I feel, I can behave like the person I want to be.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Morning

After a very hot summer, my roses are starting to bloom again, and for that I am extremely grateful.

My grandchildren are coming over this weekend, and they love me.  They will be grateful that their red aprons are washed and hanging on the hook in the kitchen where they belong.   We may do some canning this weekend.

Last night I spent hours on the phone crying.  I am grateful for friends who answer the phone and listen to me when I am like that.  I am grateful that they can tell the truth without being harsh or critical.  They know that I know... when I am being a bit over the top, when I am being self-centered, when I am overreacting.  I do know, you know.  

Do you know what I am most grateful for this morning (aside from the fact that it is Friday)?  It is that I am a grown woman who is not dependent upon a relationship with a man (or anyone else) for my livelihood, my home, my sustenance.  I am grateful that I was able at a certain point to say - gee, mary, you better get on the ball here and get a life of your own.  And I did that.  Now I have it.  And no matter who comes along and no matter what their behavior is like, I still have my pretty little home and my roses in the front and back yards.  

Let's stay sober this weekend, OK?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

The departure of summer that is.  I love fall the very best of all seasons, but there is always a sadness as I see summer passing.  It is nearly 6 a.m., and it is still dark outside.  I try to wait for sunrise to run because of animals.  I live in an area that has lots of wildlife.  I have seen coyotes, foxes, elk, deer, snakes, and of course, dogs on my runs in the neighborhood.  My neighbor recently told me that she had a bear in her back yard a few years ago.  I don't wish to run into a bear on a morning run.  Run-ins with wildlife are more prevalent at dawn and dusk because their worlds and ours collide at that time.  

The departure of me from my home group is not such sweet sorrow, but it is necessary.  It hurts like hell.  I went yesterday and the reasons why I must leave became abundantly clear.  Although there were new women there and I got to talk with them after the meeting - and that is good... I desperately need to get something for my own recovery as well.  I do not subscribe to the belief that after a while in sobriety we only go to meetings to "give back."  I am just as alcoholic as I was on day 1, and I still need my very own recovery.  

I called one of my friends yesterday and we discussed meetings.  She is sober 25 years and has lived in this area only the last 2 years.  She has tried many, many meetings and was able to tell me about some that I haven't visited.  I will meet her at a meeting tomorrow night.  

I also called my sponsor and really whined and complained.  She suggested that I whine and complain to God about this.  It was not cruel as it sounds.  Just good sense.  I have whined and complained to God and I am sure I will continue to do so.  I also thank Him on a daily basis.  (I never would have whined and complained to God before my extensive biblical studies, I have learned that people have begged and pleaded and God has relented, so I now am cultivating this skill!)

So, this will be a time of change for me.  And I am sure there will come a day when I will understand how this was a good thing.  But I am not quite there yet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Last night I got this sign, and posted it it in my front yard (it actually has someone's name on it, but in the interest of the 10th tradition, I have redacted it).  Just after I snapped this picture, I stood in my doorway admiring the sign, and the man who asked me at the board meeting last week if I was going to put a big ****** sign in my front yard drove by.  I saw his pretty little Lexus, and as he drove by, he slowed to a virtual halt, so I know he saw it.  Oh, what delightful fun!

Now I am off to a meeting that I will soon stop attending.  I will meet a sponsee who I absolutely love and we will talk for an hour or so after the meeting.  I will head to work and work my little heart out all day... if the migraine doesn't show back up.  If it does, I will head back home and to bed.

Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO call that Sobriety!

If you don't pour alcohol down your throat, I call that sobriety.  Lately I have heard lots of qualifications on this.  Gosh, that person is only "dry," not "sober."  Really?  How would you know?  

The logical conclusion to this type of thinking is to pour a drink if you are not spiritually fit 100% of the time.  Really.  Why not, if you are not "sober," only "dry?"

Do I need to be living on a spiritual basis?  yes.  Do I need to be constantly trying to improve my spiritual life? yes.  Do I need to live by the twelve steps and twelve traditions?  yes.    Do I always do this without fail?  No.  No. No.  I just don't.  But that doesn't mean I am not sober.  It means that I get another chance tomorrow to do things right.  Which is a chance I would not get if I took alcohol into this body in any way, shape, or form.

We do not always like the behavior of others.  Particularly when they hurt us.  There is very strong temptation to "constructively" criticize them and talk about the failings in their "programs."  But I like to think that God above knows what is going on, and I really don't.  I just see my side of the story.  

So, having said all of that, I could tell you what "these people" are doing.  What it is that is disgusting to me.  How it has hurt me.  How I need to find a new home group because of it.  You would chime in.  Wow.  You call that recovery?  How can those people call themselves sober?  Well, they do and they can.  Is that what I want, hell no.  

And I have to say that yesterday I got a little bit annoyed by the comment of another.  Instead of letting it slide, I posted about it.  He was hurt by the comments that others made.  I apologized to him.  I can't really make amends - I can't make it right.  I can't undo what I did.  But I can admit that I was wrong and try to make it right.  I was wrong and I am sorry.  

We are all just drunks trying to get and stay sober, one day at a time, with the help of God and each other.  Let's cut each other a little bit of slack, OK?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Morning

And I told two people I would be at the 6:30 meeting this morning. I guess I will be late. It is 6:21 and I am still in my jammies. I am not feeling great, but I know that I just have to put one foot in front of the other and suit up and show up - it will be OK. Today the doctor should call me to tell me what the CT scan says about my neck - I will be very happy to know the answer to that question.

Someone got on me in my comments about writing sentences beginning with "I". Then I looked at his blog to see what he wrote about. He wrote about the failings of others. I guess I would prefer to be self-centered and write about my own failings.

I need to get out of here and go be where I am supposed to be, and doing what I am supposed to be doing.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Late Morning

I slept until 8 a.m. this morning.  I always want to do that, but now that I have, I feel awful.  I hate this feeling that I have wasted half the day and have done nothing.  I had to force myself to go out and run a measly 3 miles this morning.  It is a beautiful morning... not even 60º outside. 

I just wrote a long post about something else, but I don't think it is a good day for me to be posting opinions.  I am tired and feel sluggish and a little bit unhappy.  

So I will take a bath and wash the sweat off me.  I will put on makeup and fix my hair and put on a cute outfit and get out of this house.  I will go to Costco and get gasoline in my car and buy some food to make a nutritious dinner for myself and whoever else may show up today.   It won't be my normal Sunday dinner for my son....

My son is busy every weekend this month getting ready for whatever chicanery may come with the Democratic National Convention.   I will now edit myself and shut up on that topic.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Saturday Morning

I am writing this on Friday night.  Have just returned from a shopping excursion with my daughter and oldest granddaughter.  She loves shopping so much, it is such a joy to go to the mall (one of my least favorite places on earth) with her.  

I have been shopping for new eyeglasses all week.  I have been everywhere.  I finally stopped at a high end shop this evening and ordered myself some glasses - that cost enough to feed a family of five for a month.  Oh well.  I like the way they look and they are high quality and I have to wear the things every single day of my life....

And in this way I can rationalize why I will love living in the poor house when I retire.  Right?

So on this Saturday, I will start my second year of biblical school with a half day retreat.  I am looking forward to this.  And I am writing this on Friday night because I discovered it is one of my favorite people's AA birthday tomorrow, so I must be at the 6:30 meeting.  And be ready to leave from there and get to the retreat.  So I will not have time to post in the morning.

(I attended a very fine Jesuit university, and I can almost visualize all the red marks over what I have written thus far- starting sentences with "so" and "and" and writing fragments instead of sentences, oh well, it is late in the evening.)

If I ever wonder again why it is that I post in the morning instead of the evening, let this post be a reminder of the way my brain degrades throughout the day.  Let's stay sober today everyone, OK?

Forty-Nine Degrees

Really.  It is 49º right now, and pouring rain.  Pretty awesome.  I need to be at church by 6:30, and I will get to wear long pants!  and a sweater!  and maybe my raincoat!  How exciting.  After record breaking heat all summer - this is probably record breaking cold.

So I don't have time to contemplate what I want to write about today.  Except to say that I am looking forward to today.  Starting with church, then to work, then to who-knows-what!  Tomorrow is a half day retreat to kick off biblical school.  I am starting my second year of a 4 year program and I couldn't be more excited about that!   Sunday is our group's annual picnic, so you know I will have a pie baking morning on Sunday.  It is all so good.

By the Grace of a Loving God and the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I get to do stuff like go to church and bake pies!  Thank you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Morning

It is a lovely 56º outside, the inside of my house is a lovely 70º - I don't think it has been this cool inside this house since the end of June.  I wish I could stay home today and sleep all day, but I have things I have got to get done at work, darn it.

I had my CT scan of my neck yesterday.  Now I just pray that it will show a perfectly good, re-engineered cervical spine - with all the re-engineering still in place.  And that all this pain is just muscle pain and can be managed with time and physical therapy - not surgery.  I will find out on Friday or Monday I think.

Yesterday I managed to live all day without telling anyone off or crying or having my heart in my throat.  It was a good day.  Communication is a good thing, I tell you!

My contrary streak has popped up again though.  I ordered a big yard sign for the presidential candidate of my party and I am going to stick it in my yard.   At the HOA Board meeting on Tuesday night I asked if it was OK that people had signs in their yards and was told that it was OK.  Then the president of the board mockingly asked me if I was going to put a big ******* sign in my yard, and the other board members sat with their little wine glasses and tittered.  Well, yes, as a matter of fact, within a day or two, there will be a big ****** sign in my yard.  Take THAT!

It is amazing the assumptions that people make.  People frequently think that because I am a fun-loving person, and laugh a lot - I must also drink a lot.  I can tell people that I do not drink, but they still continue to assume that I drink.  They also make the assumption that I am a member of a certain political party, and I usually tell them (as nicely that I can) that I am not.  And I usually try to twist it in my mind to be a compliment - that they like me and therefore make the projection that I am like them.  

(I am not writing here which political party because this blog is a pretty public place where I have identified as an AA member.  "Alcoholics Anonymous  has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy."  -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 176 - Tradition 10. )

Let's all stay sober today, OK?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Character Defects

Have been activated.

My largest?  Do you really want to know?

"The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear -- primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded.  Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration.  Therefore, no peace was to be had unless we could find a means of reducing these demands.  The difference between a demand and a simple request is plain to anyone."  -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 76

In the "work" I have done over the years, the steps have revealed to me that I have a tremendous fear of rejection.  I could tell you what that was based in, the history of my life, etc., and therefore tell you why it is legitimate for me to have this fear.  But that is not what sobriety is about.  We are in the business of getting well, not making excuses.  

In the DSM-IV (be grateful if you don't know what this is), in one of the descriptions of one of the personality disorders, is this unintentional acronym for fear:  Frantic Efforts to Avoid Rejection.  

I no longer indulge in frantic efforts, but when I sniff rejection on the wind, I sure can do some strange stuff.  I wish this were not the case, but it is.  

Yesterday was a day when I behaved more like a 16 year old girl than a 56 year old woman who has been sober for 24 years.  

But today is a day where I have a chance to behave the way I believe I should.  And tonight in my 10th step, I hope I don't need to write about the stupid crap I have done today. 

With the help of God I can do this.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Even More Tired Tuesday

Again with the phone... staying up too late.  But yesterday with a person I was "sweet on."  Last night, it was the same person, but who had turned into a proverbial barrel of pickles.  Sheesh.  

Last night on my way home from work, I stopped at my new church for one hour of silent prayer - like I used to do from 5 to 6 a.m. on Thursdays at my old church.  Well, being there from 5 to 6 a.m. was pretty special, but I have to tell you that praying while you are not fighting to keep your eyelids from slamming shut is a lot nicer.  But I have failed to mention it here because somehow Monday evening - on your way home from work - is something I seldom think about early in the morning when I am posting here.  

I am now going to go out and run.  Even though it will likely make me late for work.  I need it, if only to wake me up this morning.  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Get Going Monday Morning

I am leaning on caffeine this morning.  Last night when I went to bed too late, after an hour and a half on the phone with someone I am quite sweet on, I had planned on getting up early and running this morning.  But I didn't wake up until 6, which is very late for me.  And now I am sitting, drinking coffee instead of running.  
  • (is it normal to keep the same table cloth on your table for years - well, I do wash it regularly - but years - I love this table cloth, so I just keep it on my table.  But posting this picture this morning - I realize you all have seen this table cloth endlessly... but I digress..
We had a wonderful birthday dinner yesterday.  The lasagna was the best I ever made.  I have a confession to make - I don't really like lasagna, so I try a new recipe every year.  I told my son yesterday that the lasagna I made in 1992 was the best.  He, of course, didn't remember until I told him it was the all vegetable lasagna - then he remembered because he HATED it.  But I loved it.

Sorry I haven't much to say today.  But if you have a second, you might go over and visit our friend Daave, who lost his mother yesterday.  He is a shining example of how we get through the big moments and small - without a drink.  Thank You God.  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Morning

I am going out to run this morning for the first time in a week.  I probably shouldn't be running with my back as it is, but I am going to anyway.  I think the good that running does me (especially mentally) far outweighs the negative. 

Yesterday while shopping at Macy's for my son's birthday present, I got a call from my daughter's boyfriend.  I knew it couldn't be good news, and indeed it wasn't.  I don't know if I have shared here that my daughter is drinking again.  She managed to stay clean something like 80 days, and then decided to drink.  It amazes me when people say "well, at least she isn't using meth."  Anyone who says that has never seen my daughter drink.  Her boyfriend was a cop for 10 years and told me yesterday that he never in all that time saw a drunk as bad as my daughter.  The night before she had called at 1:00 a.m. (he had the phone turned off) and screamed into the phone that she had wrecked his truck and had left it on ****  Blvd. in Denver.  She didn't bother to call and follow up with any further information.... like was she hurt, did she hurt anyone else, where she was going, where the truck was, etc.  

He asked me what he should do.  I told him that it would sound strange to him, but I thought the most important thing for him to do is call Alanon.  I told him that he could not continue to ruin his life chasing after my daughter.  That he needed to take care of himself.  That this crap was going to kill him.  (Later I realized that telling him was pretty selfless - my purposes would better be served by him continuing to take care of her, but I digress....)

He later called to tell me that she had called him, had shown up for work and was OK.  That his truck had a scrape on the bumper, and it was no big deal.  And that she wanted to start taking antabuse.  

I have been praying.  Praying, Praying, Praying.  

I spoke with my sponsor yesterday.  Her daughter is serving a life sentence for murdering her boyfriend in a drunken rage.  My sponsor doesn't tip-toe around this stuff.  She lives every single day with the fallout from this horrible disease.  

So I will now go out and run 3 miles.  I will come home and prepare a lovely birthday dinner for my son.  We will have a lovely afternoon.  I have been doing this for too long to let it destroy my life.  I just won't do it.

Have a sober day everyone, OK?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Saturday Morning

This is another photo I took while in Alaska.  Although it is not beautiful per se, I took it because of the context.  These are fishermen, standing in a creek, in the middle of Anchorage (you can see a tall building behind them), at about 11:30 p.m.!  Since I haven't posted a picture for a few days, I looked through my rather small library of photos on this computer and came up with this one...

It is Saturday.  I am going to the 6:30 a.m. meeting - for the 6th time this week!  Then I need to do my grocery shopping for my son's birthday dinner tomorrow.  And I still need to buy him a birthday present.  I think it is so cute that since my son's 4th birthday in 1980, I have asked him every year what he wanted me to cook for his birthday.  Every year it is the same, "lasagna."  And for dessert?  Banana Cream Pie.  So I asked him again this year.  He told me "lasagna," and when I asked what he wanted for dessert, he just said "you know!"  He was gone for the last 2 years, so it is special that he is here and can come to his mother's for dinner.

It is so wonderful to be thinking about all this ordinary and boring life stuff this morning.  What a wonderful thing it is to have no drama going on.  

"Service, gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God's help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that in God's sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God's scheme of things - these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes.  True ambition is not what we thought it was.  True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 124 - 125

Friday, August 08, 2008

Eight Eight O Eight

Thirty-two years ago today, I gave birth to my first and only son.  He was beautiful then and he is beautiful now.  He was eight lbs. eight oz.  He was born at 8:31 a.m. on a Sunday morning in 1976.  He was named after his father, but with a different middle name so that he would not be a "junior."  

The year he was in Iraq - which is blessedly now over a year ago - was one of the most challenging ones I have faced.  I had to fight to let go.  Let go of the nights where I would wake up panic stricken, just sure something had happened.  Let go of the nightmares.  Let go of feeling sorry for myself.  Let go of projecting into some horrible fate for him and for our family.  So I would pray.  And I would turn my thoughts to others.  And when you are busy thinking of others, you don't have time to go nuts.  I am so grateful that I was a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for that experience.  

We were recently talking about someone he knows.  His mother was a porn star.  We were thinking about what that must have been like for a young man.  My son said to me that guys say stuff about your mother... but it never bothered him because he knew it wasn't true.  But for the other guy, he doesn't know how that would feel.  

I can assure you that if I were still drinking, he could never have said anything that nice about me.  He probably doesn't even know that was a nice thing to say to me, because to him, he just knows that his mom is a person who doesn't drink or do nutty stuff.  But I know the person who could be unleashed with a sip of alcohol... and believe me, my son would not be sure of anything about his mom if she had booze in her.  

I have been sober for every birthday, and every other day since a little bit before his eighth birthday. And for that I am truly grateful.  

Happy Birthday to my wonderful son.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I don't have much to say....

When someone starts sharing in a meeting by saying that, I look at my watch.  Because usually when someone says they don't have much to say, it takes a long time to say it.  

I am chairing the meeting this morning, so I actually need to be there on time!  I set my alarm for  4:30 because it takes me a long time to get ready in the morning.  I am sure if I stopped blogging in the morning it would take a lot of time off that preparation time... but what would I do in the morning without blogging?  It would be like a day without sunshine!

I went to the doctor yesterday (finally) to look at my back.  I have a CT scan scheduled for Aug. 13.  I freaked out for a while about that yesterday.  

In 1999 I had an Anterial Discectomy and Fusion of C5, C6, and C7.  That means I got the discs taken out and had bone grafts and titanium rods put in to hold my neck together.   Yesterday when the doc suggested that I go see the neurosurgeon because they "might have to go back in"  it hit me like a sucker punch.  

Someone suggested that I wait to have the CT scan and THEN find out what is going on and deal with it.  What a concept!  You mean I can skip a week of anxiety that may be for nothing?  Well, gosh, I think I will do that.

See what I mean about not having much to say?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wednesday Morning

So I am meeting a sponsee at the 6:30 meeting.  And since I was out late last night - having pizza and then standing in my driveway talking, talking, talking... it was such a beautiful night... I am tired.  And running late.

But I said I would be there.  And we learn in Alcoholics Anonymous to do what we say, and say what we do.  I think it is called accountability.  

I also have a commitment to post here daily.  I don't know when I made it or to whom, but I definitely made it.  Some days I put a lot into a post, and some days I just tell you that I am here, busy with life, and always grateful to be sober and alive.  

So today, I am here, busy with life, and incredibly grateful for this beautiful sober life.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

It does matter

I am going to do something today that I have never done before.  I am going to coattail, piggy-back, and otherwise keep going with the topic on a couple of other blogs.  I think it is that important.  

It is our beloved fellowship's third tradition which states:
"Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism.  Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover.  Nor ought AA membership ever depend upon money or conformity.  Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation."  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 563

And here I am going to do something else I have never done before. I am going to cut and paste a snippet from someone else's comment:
"If I decide to go to an AA meeting and discuss my food problem, they'd damn well better listen!  They don't know who they are messing with ;0)"

Well, sweetheart, you have just stated so very eloquently why the 3rd tradition is so very important.  They indeed do not know who they are messing with - and therefore cannot help you.  And you may damn well kill a few folks while you are killing yourself.  

Our singleness of purpose was born out of experience of another fellowship that came in the 1800s.  They were called the Washingtonians, and they had tremendous success with alcoholics.  Until they decided that their program could be applied to every problem, just as you hear folks say about AA.  Before long, they were embroiled in politics and religion and their fellowship, along with the hopes of thousands of alcoholics, were destroyed.  

You can chose to hide out in the wrong program - if you don't want to get well, and if you don't mind killing a few others.  You do have that right.  And I do believe it is hiding out.  The reason AA works is because we understand each other.  No one else understands me.  I really believe that I am different on a cellular (and I don't mean phones) level from my non-alcoholic brothers and sisters.  When I got to AA I knew I was home... for the first time in my life.  

Here is the illustration I use.  I have an eating problem.  I am an alcoholic.  No one in Alcoholics Anonymous cares if I have an eating problem.  I qualify to be in AA.  I am an alcoholic.  If I am seeking help for my eating problem in AA, some nice, well-meaning alcoholic may hand me a donut, coffee with sugar and fake cream, ask me to sit down and tell me "just don't drink and you will be OK."  That is reasonable advice for an alcoholic.  But if I am seeking help for an eating disorder, that will be very very bad.  So, if I need help for my eating, I can go talk to someone in another fellowship who may actually understand that I don't need a donut and coffee with sugar.  

People new to AA are usually quite befuddled, and it is all the more dangerous because about 99.9% of the time they don't realize it.  We need to have a message in Alcoholics Anonymous.  And it needs to be about understanding what it is to be a drunk and being able to share our own stories of our alcoholism and the recovery we have been so miraculously blessed with.   My sobriety would be meaningless if it wasn't in stark contrast with my life of active alcoholism.  We need to be able to share these stories.  These real stories.

I drank like a pig.  I did things that were shameful and disgusting.  I felt like the worst person on earth.  Then, out of desperation, I came into a fellowship full of people who understood me, and I was able, with the help of God, to quit drinking and doing shameful and disgusting things.  Why would you want to mess with that?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Peach Pie

I made peach pies on Saturday afternoon.  Probably not the best thing to do on a hot day, but that is why I have AC, right?  I took one of the pies to an AA activity, it was nice.

Yesterday was my race.  I prayed real hard for God to stay with me to show me where I could be helpful to others and not thinking about myself.  I can get really hung up on "bad performance" when I don't feel I am doing well.  I have learned in AA that kind of behavior and thinking is just as self-centered as any other.  There are nervous ladies all of the place in an event such as a triathlon, I just tried to be helpful to them.  So most of the time I wasn't thinking about myself.  And I had a great time. It was way too hot for my tastes, but it was still good.

At one point during the run, I got stuck behind some woman who was shouting what she thought was encouragement to others.  In the form of "think of an ice cold margarita!  think of an ice cold beer!  How bout a martini!"  Over and over and over again.  Finally I shouted "think of a nice air conditioned AA meeting!"  I don't think she cared for that, but holy cow, not everyone is motivated by thoughts of alcoholic beverages.  I can't even imagine being at the end of a triathlon thinking about getting drunk?!  I finally got a burst of energy and pulled away from her.  

It is all good. I am out of here now to get to my 6:30 meeting... late.  Oh well.

Have a great sober Monday everyone.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Off to the Triathlon

I'm off to my triathlon this morning.  I have butterflies in my stomach from nerves.  I have prayed that God show me how I can be of service to Him and my fellows (even though they are ladies) today.   Because if this is about me and my athletic prowess, I might as well stay home.  

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Celebrating my Birthday Again...

I am driving up to my old home group this morning to celebrate my 24th AA birthday with my old friends.  I am looking forward to this.  

I took the above picture at my current home group.  There is a white board in the room, all the birthdays for the month get posted.  I love the way my name and the number of years I have been sober is listed.  I am just right there amoungst 'em.  Not ahead, not behind,  just right there with you all.  All the sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous.   My sponsor talks about how lonely it is the longer you stay sober.  I have had a taste of that and it is very sad, in a bitter sweet kind of way.

I am certainly grateful to be sober and alive.  But I do miss my old friends.  I miss the folks who have died and who are now drinking.  I miss the ones who really messed up and are now in prison. I miss the ones who just aren't around anymore.  

So, I will drive the 15 or 20 miles up north to my old home group and be with a bunch of survivors.  And I will be so incredibly grateful for them.  If my old friend Ron is there, we will embrace as if we have never had a harsh word.  And then someone will remind us of the time I called him horrible names, threw coffee at him, and stormed out of a meeting.  Someone else will remind us of the time he tried to have me permanently banned from our group (that was LONG before I threw coffee at him).  I have history with these people, some of it good, some of it not so good.  But we love each other deeply, no matter how we used to feel about each other.  

I am so grateful for all of the sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I am so grateful that I get to be "One Sober Alcoholic."  Thank you for sharing this wonderful life with me.  

Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Morning

I gotta get ready and get out of here for my meeting today.  Then I will work all day.  Then I will go get my hair cut and colored after work.  I hope I can find a way to tell my hair stylist that I don't want red and blonde STRIPES, I would like highlights please.  No more with the damn stripes!  I don't care how trendy it is, I am 56 years old and that is too old to be wearing the latest trendy 'do.  And furthermore, I don't like strangers stopping me on the street to tell me how great my hair color is... holy cow, would anyone do that if it looked even remotely natural?  Don't answer that, the answer is "no."

I went out for dinner last night with a man.  It was perfectly wonderful.  Nice.  Lovely.  OK, I am not writing any more than that about that.

I have my triathlon on Sunday and I need to get some rest in the meantime. I have not been getting the kind of sleep that I need to be fully rested.  

I am off now to meet a sponsee at a meeting and then get on with my day.  Let's all stay sober today, eh?