Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day of 2008

I love this shirt I got at the Houston Roundup. It is my favorite color! And it says SOBER on the back! I wear it to bed every night and it carries such wonderful memories of a wonderful weekend and some wonderful friends in Houston, TX.

I have since 2005 written a year end wrap-up here on my blog. I don't want to do that today. I could recap the deaths, the painful drama in the family, the athletic events, and the grueling training. It seems symmetrical to end the year this way. Start the year with a plan and end the year with an evaluation. I guess I did what I planned in 2008. It was good. Here is what is important to me: I started the year sober and ended the year sober, and didn't have a drink in between.

I met my new sponsee at the 5:30 meeting last night. It was insane. I was reminded of why I stopped going there. There was a drunk woman in the corner who did a running commentary throughout the meeting and talked several times for maybe a total of 15 minutes. Incoherent crying about how she needs to get sober. Someone finally told her that she got to talk once and didn't get to keep talking through the meeting. Another man pounded on the table and cussed about this. Then an elderly man started reading something -and God bless the chair of the meeting - he kindly but firmly told the man that we don't read anything that is not conference approved at that meeting. The elderly man didn't take kindly to that and started arguing with the chair. Then the angry man who had earlier pounded on the table, pounded on the table again and started swearing. He got up and threw his bottle of pop into the trash (from a distance, making a loud noise) and left the meeting, slamming the door. Oh, and then the crying drunk woman? She decided to leave the meeting - and 3 men followed her. Oh, and then another woman piped up and told the group that some people were allowed to cross talk and some weren't and she would talk when she wanted and "if you don't like it you can all get f****d." Charming.

Oh, there was a time when I would have loved this meeting! And there was a time when I would have felt that God had personally called me to infiltrate this group to provide some "stability" and maybe start talking about the Traditions.

But as it was, after the meeting, I walked to the front of the room and thanked the man who had chaired the meeting. He tried, he really did. He did as good a job as he could. I sat with my sponsee and told her about the First Tradition, and that our personal recovery depends on AA unity. That we cannot afford to disrupt the unity of the group. I told my new sponsee that we would need to find a different place to meet because I am not going to go to that group anymore.

But today I am going to call my sponsor and talk to her about this. Because there is a part of me who has a sickening feeling that there are probably groups like this in every city. Groups with a bunch of newbies and a few sober people who get some perverted sense of superiority by attending groups like this and letting the chaos continue. If the sober people would go to these groups, the nonsense would end - eventually. There will always be crazy stuff happening in AA meetings as long as drunks show up, but there should be enough women and men sprinkled about the room with strong sobriety to calmly put out the fires.

So, that is what I am pondering this morning. I am looking forward to a quiet day at work. I will do my grocery shopping at lunch today.

And tomorrow? I will have a house full of family! Oh, I cannot wait! I will have pies to bake and potatoes to peel and a ham to bake, etc., etc., etc.....

Isn't this great? Scott just sent me this "fixed" photo - entitled "Rebos to Sober." I think these two photos look like my sober bookends on the year.

Love you all.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Who Recovers?

The mystery of the ages for those of us in recovery.  I woke up early this morning so I had time to peruse some blogs.  I read about the suicide of a young woman.  I looked at her blog.  On the day she took her own life, she posted a funny picture of Santa.   I wonder if this was just her blog persona, or if that was all she shared with anyone.  I hope to God she had someone to talk to, but suspect we sometimes make decisions that back us into corners that seem irretrievably locked.

Last night at church I lit a candle for my recently deceased friend.  I sat and cried and I prayed for him.  

I think I shall need to get used to doing this.  I am 57 years old.  Most of my friends are recovering alcoholics.  I don't know if there is research that gives an average life span for a recovering alcoholic, but I think it is probably shorter than the general population.  We tend to destroy our health by drinking and smoking and indulging in other habits that are simply not good for us - for instance, I LOVE diet pepsi, and know this can't be good for me.  But I think - oh, compared to booze and cigs, diet pepsi is nothing... but I would be so much better off without it.

The only way I can think to honor this life is to live it as fully as I possibly can.  I am going out there this morning in the gusts of wind up to 80 mph - I am not running outdoors, but I will drive to the gym and run on that treadmill.  (my satellite TV signal just left.)  And then I will get back home and get dressed for work.  I can get to work because I am fortunate enough to be gainfully employed.  I am meeting with a sponsee at 5:30 tonight and will start working with her.  

I don't know why I am alive and sober when so many other much more deserving people aren't, but I am, so I will thank God for that and try to show my gratitude in my actions.  

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to work

I have not set foot in my office since Tuesday of last week.  I am looking forward to going back today.   I am sure I look like I have been through a war, I ran 10 miles yesterday and my entire body hurts.  

My Broncos ended their season last night. I only watched until half-time, and then I went to bed.  I got 10 hours of sleep last night.  I should be as fresh as a daisy, but I am not feeling so fresh this morning.  

I am sure once I get back to work the world will look a lot brighter.  I am not good at being off work for 5 whole days in a row - unless I am on a specific vacation.  I did get my house spruced up and I got a few things done that needed to be done, so I am grateful for that.

I have not one thing to say today, so I better just toddle off to the bath tub and get going today.

Let's all stay sober today, OK?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Procrastinating my Sunday Morning Run

I have a half-marathon in 3 weeks.  I am probably not ready for it.  Today I have a 9 mile run scheduled.  I will go out and do it even though the wind is gusting up to 20 mph.  I had a nightmare about the race last night.  It was 5 minutes before the start and I was looking for something to eat.  All I could find was hot dogs.  I knew I would barf up a hot dog at about 9 miles, so I couldn't eat one, but I was hungry!  Yes, it is probably hard to believe that this was a nightmare, but it was.  Typical performance anxiety nightmare...

So this morning I drove up to my old homegroup and saw some old friends.  As I walked in, I saw D., and said - "hey isn't your birthday this week?"  he said "yes, it is today."  He celebrated 23 years of sobriety this morning.  And he was told by a couple of guys that 23 years is a "good start."  Oh yeah!  These are my people!  He also told a woman who was coming back again that "you don't get unlimited do-overs here."  I really liked that.  

It is amazing to me how different groups are.  I love, love, love this group, and it is not just because it is the people I got sober with.  They actually talk about program in this group.  Steps, Service, Fellowship.  For reals.  The meeting at 5:30 I went to the other night?  They were talking about being able to go to bars and have a pepsi and shoot pool.  Really.  Well, I sort of told them I thought that all sounded pretty good theoretically, but was in practice a very very bad idea.   But do I really want to go back to that group very often?  nope.  Do I want to go back to my old peeps?  yep.  

I guess I get to make choices like that today.  

And now I get to make the choice to go out in this wind and run 9 miles.  I would rather pull out my incisors with pliers.  

Saturday, December 27, 2008

View from my front porch

This morning.  As I left for the 6:30 meeting, this car parked in front of my house really annoyed me, it is a huge honkin' SUV, parked in the street, blocking part of my driveway.  When I got home from the meeting, I noticed the driver's side window was partially down, so I took a look-see and discovered a car with many wires hanging out of every empty space.  Even the headrests were torn off.  So, I called the police.  They are here, about to tow away this stolen vehicle.  Nice to know that while I was sound asleep, there were thieves just under my bedroom window.  Messy thieves - they left cigarette packs and various other debris on the street, and an egg mc muffin with one bite out of it on my lawn.  

I thank God that I can call the police today.  And not worry about warrants or anything else.  It is a wonderful freedom - which happened to be the topic of the meeting this morning.... synchronicity!

Last night I went to the 5:30 meeting for the first time in at least a year.  When I walked in, I thought I did not know a soul in the room, which I found disconcerting.  After a while, I realized that a woman I used to sponsor was sitting across the room, and we said hello.  After another little while, a long lost sponsee I have not seen for at least 10 years came in the room.  We both screamed and ran across the room to hug each other.  Oh, it was so good to see her!  She has been sober now 15 years.  Our paths do not ever cross... except for last night when we both happened to be bored and both decided to go to this meeting that neither of us usually go to.  How wonderful it was to catch up with her!  

As we were talking, another woman came up and asked me to sponsor her.  I almost said No.  But I didn't.  She is living in a half-way house, has 30 days sober and really wants to stay sober "this time."  I told her I want her to call everyday, and that we will get together once a week and read the big book and do what it says as we go... and therefore will complete all twelve of the steps.  

She told me she needs someone to "kick her ass," I was about to respond to that, but Melany did instead and did a much better job than I could have.  She said "You have to kick your own ass and be responsible for your own sobriety, no one is going to do it for you."  Oh, how nice.  I would have said something like that.  But not that well.

Women will frequently ask me to sponsor them because I frequently sound "tough" in meetings.  But they soon discover that once I develop a relationship with them, I am one of the most loving people they have ever known.  I am just not a kick-ass type, even though my persona would suggest that I am.  

My mortgage guy is coming over at 1:00 and we will start the paperwork to refinance my house.  I hope all these vehicles are gone by then.  There are now even more police cars out there.  And soon there will be a tow truck. Oh, the drama!  

Thank God it is not MY drama.  

Friday, December 26, 2008

Undesired sick day

I was actually looking forward to working today. There will be few people there, and therefore few interruptions. I had planned on getting some writing done and some assembly of projects organized into notebooks so that people who come and want to see what we do can have an easy way to see that. I will get it done next week.

Today I am at home sick. The nice term for it is "gastroenteritis". I was up all night with this and still do not feel well.

I had a nice Christmas yesterday. My daughter, her "nice" boyfriend, and I went to see the movie "Australia." All three of us liked it (and my daughter and I especially enjoyed looking at Hugh Jackman for nearly 3 hours). I was not expecting for it to be a tear-jerker, but it was. I was grateful for the handful of napkins my daughter brought with her popcorn.

I am going back to bed. It is a wonderful day for it. It is snowing and cold and quiet and dark.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Silent Morning

It is a perfectly silent Christmas Morning.  I haven't yet disturbed the silence with the artificial noise of an appliance, or television, or music of any kind.  

I am going to go out for a run, and then get ready for Mass.  By 8:30 last night, I knew I was not going to get to Mass, I was exhausted.  I woke at 2:00 this morning and thought about going to the 3 a.m. meeting and decided against that too.  So this morning I will go to church on Christmas morning as I usually do.  I love Christmas morning in church, with the vestments of gold and white.  It is so beautiful.

And today as I dress for Mass, I will spritz a teense of Chanel No.5, which was a Christmas gift.  I will think of my mother as I do, for that was what she wore.  

I will thank God that I get to have another sober Christmas.  I am so grateful that I am now in my 25th year of living sober, all 365 days of each year.  And I am so grateful that my loved ones trust in that.  They have no reason to suspect that anything different should happen.  I know that I could drink again, but they don't worry about it - and I am grateful that it isn't even a thought in their heads.  And I know that if I keep doing what I have been doing, odds are, I will be able to be sober for how ever many more Christmases the Lord should give me.  

Merry Christmas everyone.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I drew the above santa at work on a whiteboard with dry erase markers.  Each month, my neighbor at work asks me to draw something on her whiteboard.  It is usually fun.  And usually ends up being a group project.  No one touched my santa, but if I had drawn reindeer, there would have been poop within a day or reindeer food, or whatever.  It is kind of fun.  

I went to a wonderful AA meeting this morning.  New people, old people, and people in between.  A newly sober man brought his dad.  His dad sheepishly thanked us for what we do.  It was a touching moment. 

I will serve dinner at 3 p.m. today.  Prime Rib Roast, Yorkshire Pudding, roasted potatoes, salad, and apple pie with ice cream.  I made this meal just weeks ago for Thanksgiving, but I am making it again since it is my daughter's favorite.  She is really suffering through her first (and pray God last) Christmas without her kids.  

Then to midnight mass.  Then I will see if I can get to a meeting at 3 a.m., one of my favorite members is chairing it.  The local club is sponsoring an "alcothon" and I feel it is my responsibility to participate in what ever way I can.

The headache has not left yet.  I do not feel well at all.  Neither does my daughter.  
Merry Christmas Everyone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 23

I feel sick. I felt pretty sick all weekend, and not too great yesterday. I have had a headache since Saturday. I didn't want to be sick for Christmas, but if ever there were a Christmas to be sick for, this is it.

The only plan I have this Christmas is to go to a meeting on Christmas Eve morning, go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve night, and go to a movie on Christmas Day with my daughter and one of her many boyfriends. So really, I can do all these things sick. There are no big demands to make big meals or do any major entertaining. It is good. I don't really like it, but it is good.

Yesterday I called my church to see if they needed more hams for their Christmas baskets. They were completely out of hams, but had plenty of turkeys. I went to the grocery store and picked up a couple of nice hams. I took them to the church and as I walked in, someone said "that lady has a ham!" It seems the people picking up the baskets were clamoring for ham - and not turkey. Someone grabbed a ham right out of my hand! I was grateful to be the giver and not the taker in that equation.

I am not telling you this to tell you how great I am, but to just suggest that if you have a couple extra bucks, you might call around and see what you can do. There are a lot of hurting people out there and the normal supply of charity is pretty dried up. One of the great lessons I learned in sobriety was to learn to give without expectation. Now THAT is a gift!

Take care out there, it is a treacherous time for drunks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wish List

A Christmas Wish List from God (got this at church last year)
Dear Children,
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking my name out of the season.  Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate my birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival.  Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.  How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own.

I don't care what you call the day.  If you want to celebrate my birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  Now, having said that, let me go on.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting my birth, then just get rid of a couple of santas and snowmen and put a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn.  If all my followers did that, there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square or the civic center because there would be many of them all around town.  

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree.  It was I who made all trees. You can and may remember me anytime you see any tree.  Decorate a grape vine if you wish:  I actually spoke of that once in a teaching explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks was.

If you want to give me a present in remembrance of my birth, here is my wish list... chose something from it:
  1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way my birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home.  They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year.  I know, they tell me all the time.  
  2. Visit someone in a nursing home.  You don't have to know them personally.  They just need to know that someone cares about them.  
  3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year.  Then follow up.   It will be nice hearing from you again.  
  4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them.  Tell them the story of my birth, and why I came to live with you down here.  Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
  5. Pick someone who has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
  6. D you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this holiday season because they feel so alone and hopeless?  Since you don't now who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile.  It could make the difference.
  7. Instead of worrying about what the retailer calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there.  Give them a warm smile and a kind word.  Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one.
  8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary, especially one who takes my love and good news to those who have never heard my name.  You may already know someone like that.
  9. Here's a good one.  There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any gifts to give or receive.  If you don't know them (and I suspect you don't) buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Marines, the Salvation Army or even your parish church and they will make the delivery for you.  
  10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief and loyalty to me, then behave like it.  Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in my presence.  Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.  
P.S. Don't forget, I am God and can take care of myself.  Just love me and do what I have told you to do.  I'll take care of all the rest.  Check out the list above and get to work; time is short.  I'll help you but the majority of the work falls into your hands.  Do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love.  Remember I LOVE YOU.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

God's Grace

3 a.m. is just too early to wake on a day that you have deliberately left without a single plan in the world - just because you need the rest.  I went outside in my pajamas, in the 2º morning, taking pictures of lights and the moon.  And I am hoping to go back to bed after I post this.  

Reading blogs this morning, I am reminded of the person I used to be.  The person who needed to change.  And I thank God that he takes the time to personally change us.   I used to have a sponsor who said "I can't change me, only God can change me."  I believe that.  If I had the power to change me, I would have stopped drinking long before I created the wreckage I did.  I knew I was an alcoholic for at least eleven years before I got sober.  At least 90% of the days in that eleven years, I swore I wasn't going to drink that day.  I did not want to be an alcoholic.  I did not want to be a drunk.  But I was.  And if I had the power to change me, I would have.  

At the tender age of 32, I had enough and called AA.  They told me to ask God for help, so I did.  And then I did the rest of the stuff they told me to do.  I stayed sober.  I left my husband. I got a job and a nice townhouse and lived there with my children.  I went to meetings, was active in service, sponsored people, drove people around, gave people money, etc.  And after a while, I started patting myself on the back.  Look at what I did!  I was sober!  I went to meetings!  I was in AA service!  I WORKED steps!  I was sober!  

And after a little while longer, I started looking at all of you.  Well, you just didn't measure up!  You didn't WORK as hard as I did!  Some of the folks in AA were lazy!  Some of them weren't staying sober!  Some of them didn't work steps!  Many of them didn't have jobs!  Some of the mothers collected welfare and food stamps!  Well, gee, I figured I was financing their selfish lifestyle with my hard WORK!  So I went to my meetings in my little business suits and heels and looked down my nose at people who had all day to do nothing but whatever they wanted.  

And after a little while longer, I was still sober, but I wanted to die.  I would drive to the Safeway parking lot on my way home from work at night and sit and cry.  Sit in the parking lot and cry.  I was so tired.  I thought of George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" and how all those people were praying for him... and I knew no one was praying for me.  (I didn't connect the dots that George had spent his life in service to all those people, but that's another post.)  My life was far too difficult.  

And after a little while longer, my boss sent me to the Employee Assistance Program, it seems she thought I needed help!  Me?  Sober almost 5 years - how could I need help?  The person I called at the EAP thought I needed to be seen immediately.  So, I left my workplace that day for a doctor's appointment, not knowing that I would never return.  The doctor wanted me to take some valium to calm down - but I refused.  I was SOBER!  Didn't he know who he was talking to?   He asked me to call him the next day.  When I called him the next day he told me I had the choice of driving to the nearest hospital and checking in within the hour, or he would call an ambulance and have me picked up.  I got a friend to drive me to the hospital.

So, here I was, in the locked ward of the hospital!  With almost 5 years of sobriety!  What about all that WORK I had done?  If you find yourself in such a situation and don't do some serious self-appraisal, you probably REALLY belong there.  I got on my knees in my room and humbly asked God for help.   I sat in groups and listened to people who were really mentally ill, and learned to have some compassion for them.  I got on the phone and asked for help from my friends and family.  I called the women I sponsored and told them my predicament.  (One of them actually said "Oh No!  Now I have to get a new sponsor!")   I got a pass to go to an AA meeting and a friend came and picked me up and took me.  Imagine ME as the passenger and not the driver in such a circumstance!  Unheard of!  

When I got out of the hospital, I couldn't work.  I went on short term disability.  I got my kids off for school every day and then went down to the AA club and went to meetings and sat around with all the people I had judged so harshly.  There was a lot more to those folks than I had seen when I was rushing in and out of meetings.  I learned to love the people I had deemed the most "worthless" in my self-important haste.  

I do not know why God loved me so much that he saved me in this way, but I am so incredibly grateful.  I could not have gone on the way I was - so full of self-righteous anger and hatred.  I don't think I would have picked up a drink, I think I would have died.  And frankly, death would have been a relief.  

I became a real part of my AA group, not a big shot in service, but a real member.  I made the kind of friends I had never had before.  And when I needed a few bucks, I had some friends who would "let" me clean houses for them.  I learned to love cleaning toilets.  It was so honorable.  It was so straight-forward.  It was decent work.  I made a few bucks that I felt I had really earned.  It was like getting rewired, because I had never learned these things before.  

I trusted God every single day to put me where I needed to be, and asked him constantly to show me what I needed to do next.  There is no pride in that.  There is a wonderful new thing called humility.  To humbly walk where God leads is the greatest joy I can know.  

I lost a lot - I ended up being homeless, I lost custody of my children, I had no car, etc.  But what I gained was far more.  I learned that I do not keep me sober.  I learned that all my WORK just keeps me busy, but doesn't keep me sober.  Only God can change me.  I cannot change me.

I am so so so so so so grateful that he loves so much.  

In case you have never read my blog before:  By the Grace of God, I later went gradually back to work. I started a new career. I went to college and within 6 years had my master's degree. My kids came back into my life.  I got promotions.  I bought a house.  I bought another house.  I stayed sober.  But the important thing is the first thing:  By the Grace of God.  The Grace of a Loving God who loves me more than I could ever deserve.    Sometimes the best things are what appear to be the worst things.  God is very clever that way!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Do you see the tiny Serenity Prayer on the charm on the candle?  A sponsee gave me the candle for my birthday.  She makes things with beads and I just love the little bracelet for a candle.  

Last night I stood in the kitchen all night and made candy.  I have some packaged up with other things in a gift bag for the sponsee previously mentioned.  I will see her at the meeting this morning.  

My daughter just left for Montana, taking the mittens and slippers with her.  I will have the house mostly to myself for 2 weeks.  Though I am not glad she, my son, and my grandchildren will be gone for Christmas, I will be glad to have the house to myself for a while.  

It is very cold outside and my training plan says I am going to run 8 miles today.  We will see about that.  I may be going to Phoenix in January just for kicks - if I can't get my training on track there is no way I am running a half marathon in 28 days.  But I do have the tickets and the room bought and paid for, so a weekend in Phoenix could be nice in January - even without the race.  

I better get ready for the meeting.  Let's all stay sober today, OK?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Felted Slippers (and mittens)

These are the slippers and mittens before felting - they are huge!

And after felting... they look slightly misshapen, they need to be poked and prodded to shape until they are dry.  They should be dry by Saturday morning when they need to leave for Montana.

Last night my sponsor and I had a long talk.  It ended with us both crying and declaring our love for one another.   I feel like a stranger in a strange land right now, and amazingly enough, so does she.  I am so grateful to have a kindred soul in my life.  Actually there are a couple of them.  But not many.  

I have just erased 2 paragraphs, so I think I will just shut up and get on with my day.  

Let's stay sober today, OK?

And if you need to talk to someone, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I would love to hear from you.  

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Morning

I've started going to this "other" meeting on Thursday mornings because it is relatively small, but the few people there have been sober a long time.  Like they smile at me because I am "just learning."  So to this group I can go and actually talk about what is really going on in my life.  Because there is no risk that I am going to freak out some newcomer.  When my friend died last month I had a place to go and talk about my self-recriminations and that was OK.

I am grateful for that.  It has been years since I have felt comfortable to talk about anything other than general stuff in an AA meeting.  I have discussed the specifics with my sponsor and my friends, but not from the floor of a meeting.  It is nice to have a meeting that is small enough and comfortable enough to talk about some stuff and get some help with it.  

Somehow between today and Saturday morning, I need to knit 3 more slippers and felt them.  (Felting involves knitting something in pure wool, making it very large, and when you are done, you throw it into the washing machine with very hot water, and shrink it until it is the right size.  Then you shape them and let them dry.  The wool is then dense and fuzzy and extremly warm.)  2/3 of my kids are leaving for Montana on Saturday.  2/2 of my grandchildren are going with them.  I need to have these slippers knitted, washed, and dried for the granddaughters before they leave.  

And then there will be me and their mother left here.  She will go through her first Christmas without her kids.  I am either a big help or a big hindrance because this is all very retraumatizing for me.  She thinks I am a big help because I understand.  

I do understand.  Too well.

"No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 84

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Spirit

Thank you Syd for this fine looking award.  I can't read what it says, but I bet it is nice because Syd wouldn't send me something snarky.

So, on this morning when I thought I had finally run out of things to write about (after 1185 posts), I have something to write about.  

There are lots of rules and if I could ever figure out how to cut and paste into blogger on a mac, I would post them, but I can't figure it out, so I will just write five things I love about Christmas.  I also won't tag anyone because the people I would normally tag aren't the kind who are nuts about Christmas.  

1.  Christmas is the birthday of Jesus.  I love this.  I love the Nativity narrative.  I love the humble birth of a King.  I love Mary's "yes."  I love Joseph's "yes."  To impossible tasks given them by an Angel.  These humble people just said "yes."  

2.  I love that the whole world is lit up in celebration of this birthday.  I think most people who celebrate "Christmas" don't think they are celebrating the birth of Jesus, but I think they are. 

3.  I love the darkness of the Advent Colors.  I love the vestments of purple and the dark church and the candles and the overarching spirit of "waiting."  

 4.  I love the brilliant white and gold at Christmas morning Mass.

5.  I love the little candles in every window.  The tradition is that this is a message that Jesus is welcome in this house.  

6.  I love the 6:30 a.m. AA meeting before Mass on Christmas morning.  I love to see people who have survived their first sober Christmas and found out it is more than drunken parties and expensive gifts.  

7.  I love to look around the AA meeting room on Christmas morning and think of the hearts that won't be broken today because someone's loved one is sitting at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and they may later show up for church, show up for the family, be at dinner, not tell off their mother in law, not knock over the Christmas tree, etc.  You get the picture.  

And just because I am Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary... 

I cannot stand the commercials for the Lexus in the driveway on Christmas morning.  I cannot stand the pressure that gets put on us to make this day something so special by spending tons and tons of money we don't have.  

The most special Christmases I have had have been very humble.  The gifts my kids still have and love?  The ones I hand knit for them.  

Christmas is tough on alcoholics.  It is a good time to hang at an AA club if you are new.  It is a good time to make your face seen at AA meetings if you are not new.  This will be my 25th sober Christmas.  I am so grateful for that.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday Morning

I accidentally slept until 6:31 this morning.  I woke up when I heard my daughter start her shower.  For me to be sitting here at 7 a.m., still mostly asleep, needing to be out of here in a half hour or hour is just crazy.

Last night at Biblical School, our instructor was talking about a fabulous book, and he did have several on hand to sell if we wanted one.  One of my fellow students jumped up, and said he would buy them all for Christmas presents for us!  He coughed up nearly $200., and passed out the books, to the glee of the recipients.  But after he sat down, I watched him. He is an older man - which at this point might mean he is my age or slightly older - and I have never been in a group with him, so I don't know him, but I have seen him every Monday night for a year and a half.  Last night I saw his face transformed into something beautiful.  Giving to others without expectation is about the best transformative therapy in the world!

It reminded me of learning this in AA.  So many years ago.  They always talked about doing something for someone else and not getting caught.  We would buy groceries and leave them on doorsteps, put a $20 bill in someone's pocket, or left in an envelope on the bulletin board of the club, etc.  I was often the recipient of others' good will when times turned hard for me.  One year, I opened my door to find a Christmas tree standing there.  Or I would find an envelope with $50 or $100 in my mailbox.  Anonymous.  

Do people still talk about this?  Do people still do this?  I go to groups now in a relatively affluent part of town.  I wonder if this is why I don't hear anything about the anonymous bags of groceries.  Or maybe we have lost our way and we are all about feeling good ourselves.... maybe.  I hope not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Today is my 57th birthday.  I am grateful to be alive and healthy, which is a result of being sober.  I have been sober 42% of my 57 years.  In only 7 more years, I will have been sober one half of my life... One day at a time of course.

I don't want to wish my life away.  I spent so many years doing that.  Waiting for this or for that.  Thinking all would be well after some event or another.  Thinking that the people in my life at that time were just stand-ins for the really great people who would be in my life later.  I would hate to tell you how old I was when I realized that this indeed is the real deal.  This is it.  All I get it what I get.  

So I will just go gleefully into work and make the best of this day.  I am truly grateful to be the person I am today.  I am so grateful for the love of God who gave me the chance to live fully.  

"I am reminded here of a rabbinical tale recorded by Elie Wiesel.  He tells of Jehel, a little boy, who comes running into the room of his grandfather, the famous Rabbi Baruch.  Big tears are rolling down his cheeks.  And he cries, 'My friend has totally given up on me.  He is very unfair and very mean to me.'  'Well, could you explain this a little more?' asks the master.  'Okay' responds the little boy.  'We were playing  hide and seek.  I was hiding so well that he could not find me.  But then he simply gave up and went home.  Isn't that mean?'  The most exciting hiding place has lost its excitement because the other stops playing.  The master caresses the boy's face.  He himself now has tears in his eyes.  And he says, 'Yes this is not nice.  But look, it is the same way with God.  He is in hiding, and we do not seek him.  Just imagine!  God is hiding, and we people do not even look for him.'  In this little story a Christian is able to find the key to the ancient mystery of Christmas.  God is in hiding.  He waits for his creation to set out toward him, he waits for a new and willing Yes to come about, for love to arise as a new reality out of his creation.  He waits for man."  --  Benedictus, Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI, p. 378 (December 15)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The one that got away

Chatty Cathy
Today Scott posted a picture of the toy he wanted for Christmas and never got.  The above is the doll I wanted and never got.  If I had gotten her, I would probably not still remember her, nearly 50 years later.  I wish I were a better person than that, but I am not.

It is snowing and 5º outside.  My daughter is shoveling the driveway, which is the kindest thing in the world.  She loves winter even more than I do.  

Today I am going to do homework (for Biblical School), cook a big huge honkin grandma meal of baked ham and potatoes au gratin, etc., watch football, see who comes over for dinner/lunch, and write a few Christmas cards.  

Side note on the side bar:  I have removed the followers on the sidebar.  I just realized that having them there makes all those poor unsuspecting souls a target.  I don't want my friends to be targets, so feel free to follow away, but you can do so in anonymity... which sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Morning

Daave gave me this ornament when I came to visit Houston last month.  It was one of the major motivators for me putting up a Christmas tree this year, I just had to see this thing hanging on a tree.  Isn't it pretty?  

And it is Syd's fault that I bought a live tree.  Yesterday he posted about an aluminum Christmas tree and how much he loved live trees.  It made me realize how much I miss having a live tree in my home.  

On my way home from work last night, I went to Ann Taylor - because a week without Ann Taylor is like a week I can save a couple hundred dollars - to purchase a camisole to go under the fabulous sweater I got at Saks on Thursday...  but of course, I had to purchase another pair of pants, a silk blouse, and the pink cami.  And on the way out of the parking lot, I spied a Christmas tree lot.  I walked over and eyeballed a few trees and their price tags.  A nice young man came over to help and I asked him what I could get for $20.  He said that business is so bad that probably most of the trees are going to get thrown away and he sold me a beautiful 7' tree for $20. - and told me I was doing something good for the economy.   Well, maybe I had done some good stuff for the economy in the last couple of weeks, but stealing a tree from him probably wasn't that good... but I did it anyway.  

It is beautiful!  Thanks Syd.  Thanks Daave.  

Wow.  This is going to be a long post.  

Yesterday a sponsee called to tell me about a dream she had.  She dreamed that I took her somewhere and then abandoned her there.  I assured her that I would not abandon her.  But after we got off the phone, I thought about the fact that I had already abandoned her in a way.  I left my old homegroup which is also her homegroup.  So, this morning I mustered up all the guts I could get, got on my knees and prayed for the humility to go back to this group, and I got dressed and went.  It has been 4 months since I set foot in that room.  

The first man I saw in the parking lot greeted me casually, and I thought I was in trouble for sure because he is a dear heart.  But when we got inside, he saw that it was me!  He didn't recognize me in the dark with short hair.  He was glad to see me and hugged me!  I saw many people who treated me the same way!  It was fabulous!  It really was nice.  

The drive down was really thought provoking though.  I thought about how afraid I was.  To go to an AA meeting!  How wrong that is!  I left the group over some clique-ish stuff.  I had a falling out with a person, and the next thing I knew, this whole little group of his was giving me the cold shoulder... and I thought "screw this, I can go to any group in town, I do not need to be part of this."  And I really do believe we have the freedom to chose to go to any group we want - or not go to any group we want.  Do I want to be part of a group that has cliques?  Not really.  But I found that I missed people from the group.  And I was also beginning to feel like I "couldn't" go there, which is a very very bad feeling.  

I tried to imagine what it must feel like for a person who has been drinking to get dressed, hop in the car, or the bus, and get yourself to THAT AA meeting.  The one where everyone knows you.  The one where they know you have been drinking.  I cannot imagine how hard that must be.  

So although I have frequently said that it takes REAL guts to just STAY in AA and STAY sober, day after day, year after year, decade after decade.... this morning I got a small taste of the guts it would take to walk back in the door if you have been out.  

I guess it all takes a lot of fortitude, doesn't it?

Let's all face it bravely today - together - sober, OK?  

Friday, December 12, 2008

waking up happy

I love it when I wake up happy. Full of joy about the coming day.  For no particular reason.  Thinking of a part of the mass, "waiting in joyful hope..."  It is all good.

I am already bathed, dressed, made-up, and done (as far as hair) and ready to go to work.  I am meeting a sponsee after work to discuss the 7th step.  I am wearing a beaded bracelet she gave me last Christmas.  It is pretty and means so much to me - because she made it for me!

Just an ordinary day in mid-December.  Another sober day to thank God for.  How best to thank Him?  By making the most of this day and being the best I can be - all day long!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Girl :-)

I went to my new gym this morning and ran 3 miles on the treadmill.  Running on the treadmill is an entirely different thing than running outside on concrete and pavement... a lot harder in ways, but a lot easier in others.  I am very excited to have this gym to go to.  It is 7 minutes from my house.  And then there is a bigger one with all the fancy schmancy stuff close to my office.  I am looking forward to all that I can do with this gym membership.  

The bad thing about being at the gym at 6:00 a.m. on December 11?  There are not many people there, but they are all die-hards.  No chubby old ladies - well, at least not until I got there!   In January, I will be high on the fitness curve at the gym, but not in mid-december.  

This morning I got the report from some fairly expensive people search thing.  I am desperately seeking my first husband so that I can get the marriage annulled in the Catholic Church.  I have been looking for him for years.  And documenting my efforts.  And the Church keeps coming back to me saying I have to find him, so I start over again.  This morning I got a report that I actually trust.  It has only 2 addresses on it.  One from 1992 to 1999, and one from 1999 to 2000.  That's it.  For the first time since I started this, I felt like I could see this man, who I have not seen or talked to since 1974, as an old and probably ruined man.  Maybe he was married from 1992 to 1999 - the house is in a nice suburb, in a nice neighborhood.  Then the next, and last, address is in Chicago.  I think the man is dead because I absolutely cannot find him.  

When I do a simple google search for me, I can find my home address, my phone number, my workplace, the homeowner's association (boo!) that I am on, most of the race results from my various races, a letter to the editor I recently sent, etc.  When I had breakfast with a certain DK in Houston, he told me he was in charge of finding people for a high school reunion and told me he found everyone.  I asked him how he did that, and he told me the exact steps I have taken.  I don't know what else I can do.  I think I have come against a dead end.

OK, I am now doing stream-of-consciousness.... sorry.  I am all jazzed up from my good work out...

I am so grateful to be among the living today.  A person who is easy to find.  A person who is not hiding.  That is a good thing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The picture of the roses is because I am already tired of the pictures of the snow.  I love roses.  I miss having them on my table.  Hmmm.  There ARE roses available at florists, aren't there?  And a woman is legally able to purchase herself roses, isn't she?  It may SEEM wrong, but it really isn't, is it?

Last week when I was having my spending spree at Costco, I also purchased myself a 2 year membership to 24 hour fitness.  Last night I got the paperwork for that.  Today I shall take myself to a local club and get all set up to use their facilities.  Then I can again run on a treadmill.  I hate running on a treadmill, unless my only other alternative is running on ice, snow, and slush.  I canceled my other gym membership a few months ago, and although I was no longer using it, the moment I didn't have the gym with its treadmill, pool, whirlpool, sauna, and steam room available to me, I missed it.  Now I have a better gym available to me.  Yippeee!

I am going to get to work early today and that means I can leave early (I hope) and go to the gym.  Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a day.  

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Snowy Tuesday

We got approximately a foot of snow last night.  In fact, it is continuing to snow this morning.  My daughter and I just finished shoveling the driveway.   It is really heavy.  It is also very pretty, and I took a bunch of photos while I was shoveling (see above).  

I wanted to write a bit more about something I touched on yesterday.  I wrote about being on or at the edge.  The woman standing, beaming at being the last one standing at the round up.  She had the most years of sobriety.  I thought it was frightening.  I guess that is an unusual response.  

I had a sponsor in my early sobriety who asked me a question that has always stuck with me.  She asked "In a flock of sheep, which one gets picked off by the wolf?"  I really thought she was nuts when she asked me this because I was going through some kind of trauma.  But she insisted that I answer her.  I had to think for a minute, and then I answered "the one on the outside of the flock."  She said that was right.  That the wolf was like alcoholism, and it was waiting for the sheep (alcoholic) who was doing its own thing, not really staying in the middle of the flock (AA).  

I resolved at that time that I would stay right in the middle of the flock.  

But I find, as time passes, that is less possible.  I don't really want to be a trailblazer.  I don't want to be set apart because of my days of sobriety or my age.   I just want to be part of the flock.   I guess I get to learn new lessons as time goes on...

Let's stay safe, warm, and sober today, OK?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Blogging from Bed

No, I am not sick.  I have a daughter sleeping in the room I call my "office."  I have two daughters sleeping in this house at the moment.  Someone or another has been sharing this house with me since the beginning of May.  I have very mixed emotions about that.  The thing I miss the most about my solitude?  The mornings of banging around the kitchen, blasting the television, blasting my meditation music, walking around comfortably in my underwear (or less), wearing high heels on bare floors... you get the idea... making noise... being myself.

So, I shall go to work this morning.  Then I shall go to mass this evening because it is a Holy Day.  Then to Biblical School.  Mondays are so long, but so good.  

Update on the Homeowner's Association:  I talked with the president of the board over the weekend.   I apologized for my outburst on Tuesday night.  I told him I would honor my commitment to serve out my two years on the board.  I have 8 more months.  I just could not wrap my mind around quitting.  

And this is why I feel like a cockroach.  The creature that will still be crawling around the earth, long after evolved life has been extinguished.  I know it is so negative, but it is how I often feel.  Staying sober in AA for over 24 years can make you feel like you are the last one standing.  It is the scariest feeling in the world.  I watched a woman at the round up last weekend just beam as she stood - the last one standing - in the sobriety count down.  39 years.  This really disturbed me because I knew I would be crying if I were she.  I talked to my sponsor who has been sober for 35 years and she agreed, she would be crying too.  I don't want to be too close to the edge.  I want to be right in the middle.  I know the reality is that I get closer and closer to the edge the longer I live and the longer I stay sober.  But for now, I can revel in being in the middle.  And be grateful for God who cares for me so lovingly.  

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Beautiful Sunday Morning

I am going to go out and run this morning for the first time in 10 days.  I just have not felt like running and it has been very disconcerting to me.  Running is my therapy.  Some physical therapy, but mainly psychotherapeutic.  

As a person who suffers from chronic pain, running is not only helpful for the pain, but it helps me to feel that I am not a helpless victim.   About 15 years ago, when I first started experiencing pain in my neck, my doctor ordered an x-ray.  He was incredulous when he saw the extent of the damage to my spine, and, of course, asked what the hell happened to my back.  He was also a recovering alcoholic and a friend, so we just looked at each other, and then he realized that he knew. The things that alcoholics do:   Too many car accidents to count;  One or two abusive husbands;  Falls that I don't even remember.   My doctor gravely told me that I would be in pain for the rest of my life.  Well, I knew that.  

I had surgery on my cervical spine in 1999.  I have three fused vertebrae, bone grafts, titanium rods.  My range of motion is virtually non-existent.  A year later I was back in my doctor's office (a different doctor than my friend) complaining of pain lower down my spine.  He point blank told me that I already had one failed back surgery and that I needed to figure out my own solution because their solution was more surgery.  That was an eye-opener.  I went and got a gym membership and started working out.  

In 2003, I started running.  I had run when I was young, but was later told I would never run again because of the back problems.  I started running by walking one mile up a hill, turning around and running for 5 minutes - downhill.  I thought I would die.  But after a while, it became 10 minutes.  Then I knew if I could run for 10 minutes, I could run a mile.   I started running a mile every other morning.  Then it became a mile and a half.  Then I signed up for a triathlon!  Somehow I got up to 3.1 miles.  2 years ago, I started experimenting with distance running.  I actually ran my first half-marathon at the age of 55.  With that came the feeling that I could do anything!  I tried training for a marathon last year, but had to abandon that dream.  

I am now training for a half-marathon in January.  I have struggled with this.  I am happy to say that I actually want to go out and run this morning.  It is almost 50 degrees, so I am wearing only tights and a t-shirt.  No hat, no gloves, no layers.  And I have that wonderful feeling of anticipation of the run.  No dread.  

I am grateful that I have such a wonderful life today.  By the Grace of God and the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I am able to be a sober woman.  That means I can make decisions and take action and live a good life.  I am not a victim of my history.  

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saturday Morning

Last night I got my hair cut.  Off. Most of it.  It is now blonde and short.  I will get used to it.  I was hoping to get some reactions at the meeting this morning, but there were only four of us there, me and three men.  Not the kind of men who notice my hair, dammit!  

My daughters and neighbor liked it.  It takes me a while to figure out whether I like things, so I am still sitting on the fence about this one....

Speaking of fences, I bought some more Christmas lights this morning to finish the front porch, but I have decided to put some lights along the top of the little fence between my front yard and back yard.  So, back to Target I go.

On the way I am dropping my daughter off at an NA meeting.  Praise God.  It was actually her idea.  

I know that recovery CAN and DOES happen, but I have been down this road with her for so many years, 15 to be precise.  I know that as much as I love her, God loves her even more, because He is that much more capable.  

Oh, and the rest of the weekend I hope to spend knitting.  I made a pair of mittens this week, and am now working on purple felted slippers.  Oh, how I love to knit!

Friday, December 05, 2008


My daughter called yesterday to tell me she bought a Saint for me from a gumball machine.  Then she sent this photo.  I love this photo, and I cannot wait to see this tiny St. Francis of Assisi.

I took my dear sponsee out for dinner last night, to celebrate her 13 years of sobriety.  It was so glorious to enjoy a meal with her. She and I share a passion for food... things like beef, baked potatoes with lots of cow fat added, dessert, and neither of us ever say a word about calories, or "oh, I am so full from this one green bean!"  or any other stuff that females frequently do.  We both really like to eat and it is fun to share a meal with each other.

I am very happy that it is Friday.  I am very happy that at work the weekly meeting that I dread is on Thursday - and it is over for another 6 days.  

I am very happy that I bought a new winter coat at REI on sale in the summer - for $40.  (down from $200.)  It is warm.  

You need a warm coat when it is in the single digit temperatures... I guess we broke a record last night for low temperature.... something below zero.  

Let's stay sober today, OK?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Honest Award

Pammie has given me this honesty award.  Now when someone gives me an award for being sweet or cute or some other, I am thankful, but I wonder if they have really read me.  This one, I can take to heart, because if there is one thing I know I am, it is honest.  And that's the truth!

There are rules.  
List 10 honest things about yourself.
Pass the award on to 7 bloggers
Do a bunch of links

1.  I have never figured out how to cut and paste into blogger on my mac.
2. I am in a hurry this morning and don't have time to do this properly.
3. I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
4. My sobriety date is July 24, 1984.
5. I don't know why my favorite bloggers live in Houston - what is up with that?
6. I bought a new TV on my lunch break yesterday, I shouldn't go out with credit cards when I am in a bad mood.
7. I think I am ready to throw in the towel on looking "young." I fear it may make me look more "desperate" than "young."  
8. I have a hair appointment tomorrow and I may end up with short gray/brown hair by tomorrow evening.
9.  I wish the fact that people I know in my real life read my blog didn't change what I write, but it does.  
10.  I am going to an AA meeting this morning at 6:30 and for that I am truly grateful.  I am taking a sponsee out for dinner tonight to celebrate her 13th AA birthday and for that I am truly grateful.  I have a life full of AA fellowship and love, and for that I am truly grateful.

Thank you Pammie for the award.  I am awarding:
and Wendy - my anonymous reader.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I had to learn how to deal with conflict when I got sober.  Previous to getting sober, my idea of dealing with conflict was to turn away and go find someone else to talk to about the matter.  That probably isn't such a bad approach if you ever go back and address the situation.  I never did.  I would either be a doormat or an angry lunatic, but not much in between.   I had to try to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  

Last night I attended the board meeting of my homeowners' association.  I am on the board.  I have been for a year and a half.  My term is supposed to be 2 years.  I don't think I can tolerate this long enough to serve out my term.   

Did you ever find yourself defending someone you don't agree with?  That is difficult.  But I had to do that last night.  Did you ever find yourself arguing with someone who is not very intelligent?  I did that last night.  Imagine having to tell someone that a neighbor has a right to her own property!  That it is her tree!  It is not the HOA's tree!  So, the not-very-intelligent person flatly stated that she would "take a chain-saw to the tree."  Oh my.  I don't want to be part of this.  I don't want to sit in the same room with people who think they are part of Hitler's Germany, not a small community in the foothills of the rockies.  

So, the conflict for me is:
I made a commitment to do this for 2 years.
Someone has to be the voice of sanity on this board (but I don't want to do it).
Someone has to defend the rights of people to their own property (but I don't want to do it).

Within my own family I need to deal with conflict.  That is unavoidable if I want to be part of a family.  At my workplace, I need to deal with conflict. That is unavoidable if I want to be gainfully employed.  Even within AA, from time to time,  I need to deal with conflict.  But do I really need to add another serving of conflict on my plate?  I really don't want to.

I will pray some more about this and talk with my sponsor.  I just don't want to do this.  

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Disease Concept

Both of my 29 year old twin daughters are currently living with me.  This is an odd development.  I lost custody of my children when my girls were 12 or 13.  The one with the "problem" came to live with me the moment she started showing signs of being a problem child at the age of 15.  This, after a years-long custody battle costing thousands and thousands of dollars.  This, after I had been proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to be a horrible mother, drunk or sober.   But I digress...

My daughters are now 29.  One of them is currently working on her master's degree, works in the same building I do, and came to live with me so that she could save money to take a trip to Europe.  The trip is over, and now she is looking for a house to buy.  It is fine with me that she is living here.  

The other one has had a terrible problem with methamphetamine since she was 15 years old.  She has been addicted to that terrible drug - with long periods of abstinence in between.  She has not used it since she went into rehab in May of this year.  She has, however, been drinking.  She is NOT addicted to alcohol.  She is absolutely unable to drink in any way even remotely resembling "normally,"  which is what I call alcoholism.  But she does not drink every day.  She does not ever know when her next drunk is going to appear on her doorstep.  I can tell you that one showed up last night, but I digress...  

In our rush to embrace everyone and discriminate against none, and also create treatment programs, plans, and books to sell to the masses, we have tried to lump addiction and alcoholism into one formless mass.  It doesn't work.  

Alcoholism ≠ Addiction.  (for those not statistically inclined ≠ means "does not equal.")
They sometimes coincide, but they are not the same thing.  

I happened to be an alcoholic who drank every day.  Therefore I was not only an alcoholic, but I was an alcohol addict.  This is not the case for every alcoholic.  And I do not believe that every alcohol addict is necessarily an alcoholic.  The big book even tells us that there are heavy drinkers who can quit if they have adequate motivation.  But if you are an alcoholic, motivation has very little to do with quitting.  I had motivation galore, but it didn't get me to quit drinking. I believe that is because I have a disease called alcoholism.  The big book describes it.

But we go out and buy books to describe it better.  Newer books without the archaic language of the big book.  We now cough up our money for books with flowery language about what wonderful people we are, how very complex and interesting we are, how flawed we are, but it isn't our fault!  The big book is all about ego deflation, but ego deflation is not a big marketing tool if you are looking to sell a book.  

So my daughter called me last night to say that she was on her way to a meeting at York Street.  Well, this is music to my ears, but I have known this girl for a long time.  I said something like "that sounds nice, it doesn't sound like the truth, but it sounds nice."  Later she sent me a sad text "I've been drinking so I'm not coming home.  I'm sorry."  Those couple of words just scream heartbreak.  I feel so bad for her.  She was so sure she was done drinking.  She has a hard time believing she is an alcoholic because she doesn't drink every day.  She is a binge drinker.  When she drinks, it is not pretty.  God alone knows what happened last night.  And it is between my daughter and God.  I am not part of this equation.  

About a year ago, her "nice" boyfriend wanted desperately for her to quit meth.  Well, so did I.  She needed a clean UA to get into some rehab or another, so she quit for a few days.   But she drank instead.  This nice man, who has spent his life in law enforcement, was amazed to tell me that he would almost rather see her on meth than drinking.  Well, me too.  

There is so much misinformation out there about addiction, alcoholism, "twelve-step programs," the disease concept, recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, and various treatment schemes.  It wouldn't really matter if it weren't a matter of life and death, but for alcoholics, it is a matter of life and death.  

When people alter the truth just a smidge to sell a book, they may make a dollar or two, but how many people are they killing?  Do they care?  When we sit in an AA meeting and say that addiction and alcoholism are the same, how many people are we killing?  Do we care?

When we lump them together, only a few can relate.  

I get e-mails from people who know they have a problem with alcohol, but they aren't addicted to alcohol, and therefore don't think there is an answer for them.  How sad is that?  

About a year ago I wrote a post called "Why do people hate AA?"  It has been interesting to see the comments that has provoked.  Some of the comments make sense.  But I think most are based on misunderstanding.  And that is sad to me.  

We have a beautiful program.  I think we should respect that and try to protect it instead of bastardizing it to fit some self-serving agenda.  

Monday, December 01, 2008

19 degrees

It snowed a lot while I was away.  Snow covered landscapes are beautiful.  One of the prettiest snow-covered scenes is my own front door.  I am grateful to be home.  I am grateful to have had a wonderful weekend with my blogging peeps.  

I got to go to a new cathedral in Houston yesterday.  It was so very beautiful.  The music was beautiful - lots of latin, violin, piano, organ, and highly trained human voices.  Then I got to have breakfast with Scott's sponsor, who is a wonderful man.

Today I will be back to work.  There will be lots to do.  There will be lots of catching up to do.  But I have the energy and hopefully the time to do it.  Tonight, I will stop at church for an hour of silent prayer, and then I will go to Biblical School.  Mondays are long, but intensely rewarding days.  

Thank God for the life I have today.  So far from where I was... and I am grateful for that.