Monday, March 31, 2008

3rd day of a migraine

It started on Saturday afternoon. I hope this will be the last day of it. Part of me wishes I could stay home today, but a larger part is glad I have a place to go where I have things to do and people to see. Maybe I will forget this head while there.

Yesterday my daughter walked away from the hospital. Her 72 hour hold was up and they let her go. She is clearly a danger to her self, a danger to others, and gravely disabled... but she does not have insurance. I have an opinion about this. Oh yes, I do. I am so grateful that I work at a non-profit where clinical decisions are NEVER based on ability to pay. I could not work at a healthcare facility where they let a woman who is out of her mind walk away in summer apparel, without a coat, on a snowy day. Walk away. As in, no car, no money, no one would pick her up - thinking that they would not let her go if she had no where to go and no way to get there - but we were all wrong.

I am now going to get into the bathtub and take a nice hot bath. I am going to fix myself a cup of coffee for the road - and it is good coffee. I am packing my breakfast of yogurt and strawberries - I will eat it later at my desk. I will enjoy these things. I am breaking it into teensy steps today. The big picture is too big for me.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Syd tagged me to do this. It seems like kind of a nice break from the heaviness of the last week, so here goes:

What I was doing:

10 years ago -- I was working where I still work, but in a different department. I was going to school full-time as well as working full-time. I was sober 13 years. I was just beginning to look for a house to buy. I was living in a 100 year old rental house in a very fashionable neighborhood in north Denver, but was beginning to find it tiresome. I was in mourning for my two best friends who had moved away (one to England and one to San Francisco) the year before.

5 years ago-- I was working at my current job... two promotions from the five years earlier. I had finished my bachelors and masters degrees. I was 18 years sober - I was happy to be "even" - I was sober as many years as I drank. I was seeing a man I absolutely adored. We were planning on getting married, but he kept getting drunk.

1 year ago--Still working at the same place. My son was in Iraq and I was going to many meetings and sponsoring 7 women (which is insane!) I was very busy, never had a moment to myself. Sober 22 years and very grateful to be able to get through a very difficult time without going totally insane. Training for my first half-marathon, and 4th triathlon.

Yesterday--Went to an AA meeting, talked to a bunch of friends. Made a plan for a party after the trip to Alaska - a fish fry with the fish I am planning on catching and bringing home. Went to a nearby park to run 12 miles, but ran only 5 because I was feeling not really great. Went to visit my daughter at the chemical dependency unit at a local hospital. Came home and watched a movie and cut up crepe paper for a special project at work.

5 snacks I enjoy
1) popcorn - cooked on the stove, in a pan.
2) ice cream bars
3) bananas
4) shredded wheat - those big honkin' things
5) gu

5 books I like
1) The Holy Bible (I used to think people were full of s*** when they wrote this, but now I understand)
2) Alcoholics Anonymous
3) Lonesome Dove
4) Kitchen God's Wife
5) Covenant

What I would do with 100 million dollars
1) Quit my job
2) Pay off the mortgage on the house and the rest of my bills
3) Get a volunteer "job"
4) Support more people in lands where a $30. a month contribution changes lives
5) Travel

5 places I'd love to visit
1) Rome
2) Greece
3) Ireland
4) Israel
5) Alaska - oh! I am already going there!

5 bad habits and pet peeves I have

Pet Peeves
1) poor grammar
2) stupid arrogance
3) rigidity
4) politicians who clothe their bad intentions in good looking ones
5) snow in late March - oh! look out the window!

Bad Habits
1) packing too much into every day
2) never doing "nothing"
3) using my cell phone in the car and even while shopping - sorry everyone.
4) eating two meals a day at my desk at work
5) picking on people's grammar, even if silently.

5 things I like doing
1) Running
2) going to church
3) driving on a sunny day
4) knitting
5) seeing the smiles on my granddaughters faces when they see me!

5 things I would never wear
1) capris - I just hate them!
2) tons of make-up
3) cologne to work
4) cheap clothing - sorry, I am crazy about nice clothes
5) plastic shoes or purses

5 TV shows I like
1) This Week with George Stephanopolis (In my mind it is still David Brinkley)
2) Larry King Live
3) House (doesn't that cute Hugh Laurie look like our Daave?)
4) American Idol - I admit it!
5) Country Music Television - I admit that too!

5 movies I like
I cannot think of 5 movies I like enough to write down...

5 famous people I'd like to meet
1) Lindsey Lohan - I would love to be her sponsor
2) Thomas Merton
3) Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
4) Joni Mitchell
5) Pope John Paul II

I'm going to be late for church if I don't stop now. I am supposed to tag others, but I don't know who has done this and not.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Morning, 12 miles

This morning I went to a meeting and stayed for an hour afterward talking. The talking was so nice. I have a friend who is one day younger than I am and sober 14 years. I really treasure our friendship. We were talking about age, not only in date of birth kind of years, but also in date of sobriety kind of years. We get set apart and are no longer one of the "girls." I never particularly wanted to be one of the "girls," but I never like to feel excluded either. Another woman piped in and said "I have always looked up to you!" I told her that was my point exactly. I am not sure she understood what I meant.

Don't get me wrong, I am glad there are people who admire me. That is very nice. But I don't feel really admirable today. I feel really worn out. It would be nice to just be one of the gang instead of set apart. I am not really complaining - it probably sounds like I am, but I am not. I am just tired after having been up most of the night with a horrible stomach ache last night. At one point I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance, but thank God I was able to go back to bed and get the pain to calm down and get the cold sweats to go away. Today I am fine, just tired.

I am going to go to a nearby park and run 12 miles. Then I can come back home and go back to sleep. I am looking forward to the 12 miles of sanity. It is amazing what happens to your thinking as you get into the rhythm of a long run.

I have no update on my daughter because I didn't talk to her all day yesterday. She hasn't called me. I heard from plenty of people who had heard from her yesterday and she is sitting at a nice psych/substance abuse hospital, running the whole world. Calling people telling them what to do, what's wrong with them, etc. I don't have time for that nonsense. Besides, she has plenty of folks who will indulge her, she doesn't need one more. I had really hoped that being locked up for a few days without meth would do her some good. Prayers, Prayers, Prayers.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Morning

"Two men look through the self same bars, one sees the mud, and one sees the stars."

I had to memorize that in high school. I just looked for it online so that I could cite the author. I can't even find the exact quote. But it is as I recall it. So, I am going to tell you what wonderful things happened yesterday, although it really was pretty dreadful. I do this not to delude myself, but because I must find the small nugget of good to take away from situations. I must do this.

Instead of driving my daughter to court for a custody hearing where she would have heard herself be utterly rubbished, my daughter's friend drove her to a hospital, where they admitted her. They put her on a 72º hold - sorry, can't help but use that degree sign wherever possible - the degree sign is a medical abbreviation for "hour." My daughter is on a 72 hour mental health hold. She is totally out of control. Her former husband called it "amphetamine psychosis," and although I don't usually put much credence in what he says, this time I think he nailed it.

When she called me demanding that I come and pick her up immediately, I calmly told her that I had many things to do and wouldn't be able to pick her up. She got angry and hung up on me. And wouldn't take a call from me later in the day. And I tell you honestly I have never been so happy to have someone refuse to talk to me.

When I decided that I needed to tell my boss what was going on, he surprised me. No matter what I have ever thought of him, and I have thought plenty of things about him, yesterday that changed. When I said my daughter was on a hold, his entire demeanor changed, he very kindly told me how sorry he was. He asked me if I needed to take time off. I told him I had too many things to do, and he just told me not to worry about it, to take all the time I needed. I can't adequately convey what this means to me. Not just the ability to take some time off if I need, but his showing care and concern.

I did come home from work because all I was doing was sitting in my office talking on my cell phone. I had a long conversation with my former husband, now the custodial guardian of my grandchildren. I offered my support to him. He doesn't really need me right now, because my other two children are really going all out to help him. How good does that make me feel? Very. Very. Very.

My sponsor, whose daughter is serving a life sentence for murder, could offer me support like no one else possibly could. My friend Larry called and told me how he had to throw his 40 year old son out of his house and call the police the night before because his son was crazy on meth.

I went to an AA meeting and sat and listened to the newcomers - seeing the light come on in their eyes gave me fresh hope. A man with 8 days of sobriety said "it gets better every day." A drunk lady interrupted and said "really? every day?" and he answered her "yes, every day."

And then, I went to a beauty super store and got new nail polish! I soaked my feet while I was talking on the phone for an hour or so... then I gave myself a pedicure.

I am running super late for work now, but I am going to go out and take a quick 2 mile run, and then I will throw on some "casual Friday" duds and get to work.

Thanks for reading this long ass thing, and thanks for your prayers and concern.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Thank you for your kind comments.

My daughter did not wake up in time to get to her appointment at the treatment center yesterday. There is a lot more drama involved with this. Drama sounds trivial. Drama sounds like someone who didn't get the shoes she wanted. This is real life drama. Today they will all be in court for a custody hearing. I advised both of my daughters not to go. But I am not the lawyer in the family. Maybe if there wasn't a lawyer in the family things wouldn't get this ugly.

I went to church this morning and lit candles and cried. There is something so soothing about crying in church. Unlike in the rest of the world, in church I have not once ever had anyone ask me "are you OK?" "What's wrong?" or even "can I get you a kleenex?" I just get to cry in peace. And these were the first tears I have shed over this situation.

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The family stuff was gruesome yesterday. I thank God I have a couple of years of sober living as experience to draw on. I also thank God that I have some experience with alcoholics, addicts, criminals, drug dealers, liars, and other varieties of shady characters. So while my ex was calling the police, grasping at straws for where my daughter might be, I was working "underground," calling people whose phone numbers I have kept, just in case. Yesterday was a "just in case" kind of day. I was able to connect with someone who was able to connect with the people my daughter was relying upon to get her a lethal dose of heroin.

Yesterday she had a vision of her future as a "snaggle-toothed old strung-out trailer trash" and decided she didn't want to face it. Can't say that I blame her. I got to talk with her late last night - and told her that only she and God can determine what her future will be.

The plan is for her to enter rehab this morning at 8:00. Please Dear God.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 25, 2008

There is a fellow I know (an AA member) who likes to say "I don't have no bad days today." And then he loudly proclaims "I ain't mad at nobody today." He is frowning as he says these things, and he seems to direct them "at" people. I have heard him yell at a group of folks, then step into a meeting and say he "ain't mad at nobody today."

Now, it is not up to me to figure out what is wrong with him. But I feel there is a lesson to be learned there.

I do not have a set speech that I recite at an AA meeting. I do not have a set thing that I write every day. I am not the same every day. I am a person living life - and doing it sober - and some days are a little bit more challenging than others. I share these things at my own peril. I get criticized. I get condescending advice from people who have no clue what I am even talking about. I get AA slogans quoted at me.. which cracks me up. Oh well. I am not going to stop sharing what is honestly in my heart because of this.

Today the good news is that my granddaughters are safe. They are being cared for by their grandfather, my ex-husband. Their mother (my daughter) and father have been served papers and I don't understand all the legalities, but they are losing custody of those girls. And they should. But to hear my daughter crying on the phone yesterday was heart-breaking. She even admitted that what hurts the most is that she knows that they are better where they are. According to her (and you know how much you should trust the word of a meth addict) she is going into rehab tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. Oh, please, Dear God, let her get into rehab. Keep her safe for a day or two. Let her head clear up enough to realize what she needs to do.

And for now, it is dawn, there is a full moon hanging large over the mountains, and it is over 30º outside. I will strap on my running shoes and get out there.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Monday

It is a day. I got 10 hours of sleep last night - after not sleeping well for almost a week. I wish I could take a day off work. I am still utterly exhausted.

There is a lot going on in my family. I am not even going to write about it.

I talked with my sister for a long time last night on the phone. We talked about how much work these family dinners are getting to be. Somehow they didn't used to be. But we both agreed that we are so very grateful that our families are in our lives and that we provide the stability of being "mom" and "grandma" to our children and grandchildren. That our homes are stable and you can count on us. Our houses are pretty much the same every time you visit. There is always food in the frig, and we are always willing to put on our aprons and cook a meal. It is a good thing.

This morning though, I wish you could count on me to sit on a beach somewhere. I wish you could count on me to read an 800 pg. novel today. I wish you could count on me to get a manicure, pedicure, and massage today. I wish you could count on me to take a nap all afternoon.

However, you CAN count on me to get to work at a reasonable hour. You CAN count on me to work all day. You CAN count on me to talk to one or more of my sponsees by phone today. You CAN count on me to get to my class tonight.

I am grateful that I can do the things that aren't so much fun today. I will try to see if I can't schedule a day off somewhere in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday Morning

Actually on THIS Easter Sunday Morning, my tulips are not yet in bloom (because Easter is about a month earlier than usual) and my entire little world is covered in a couple of inches of snow. But it is supposed to get up to 50 some ºs today, so it should melt.

I am getting ready to go to church. I love Easter Sunday. In my prayer and meditation this morning, I wept. I wept in gratitude for the great love that is given to me, undeserved by me, and yet freely given.

All of the kids and grandkids are coming over later. If the snow melts, I will hide Easter eggs. I will assemble Easter baskets after mass. I look forward to smelling a ham cooking later today. And potatoes au gratin. and a strawberry cake. and asparagus. and etc., etc., etc.

My last ever (please dear God) binge was on Easter weekend 1983. It was horrifying. I couldn't even cook Easter dinner for my young children. And now I get to watch my daughter disappoint her children... it is so sad.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A rare evening post

Just cuz I feel like it.

For some reason, today I was thinking about an early Good Friday in my life. I was 21 years old. I was drinking a lot. I was at a Bar ! Me? On a Friday Night? At a bar? well, yes. I am an alcoholic. I was 21 years old. I went out that night with my friend Maureen. She was my best friend through high school, and we drank a lot together (a lot).

She and I had different ideas about bars in which to drink, so we indulged both of our desires. She wanted to go to the local pizza joint - where guys hung out and played foosball. Me? I liked the bar next door - it was an old man's bar. Beers were 35 cents. We went first to the pizza joint. Then to the old man's bar. Then to the pizza joint.

I think it is funny that 35 years later, I remember this night. I remember the bars. They were the Olde Town Inn (note that phony extra "e") and Wille's Tavern. Woo! Hoo! I LOVED Wille's Tavern. We were dancing to 'have nagila', which I thought was hilarious, it being Good Friday and all.

Then we went back to that stinkin' Olde Town Inn. My recollections start getting sketchy here. But I do clearly recall smelling hair burning, and looking down at my own hair burning! My hair was down to my hips and some smart ass thought it would be funny to start it on fire. Well, I quickly extinguished it - I did, after all, have a beer handy to dip it into - and went after the man who put a match to it.

First I told him off, and then I guess we struck up a "meaningful dialog." We ended up talking in my car for some reason. Sitting outside the bar, talking in my red Datsun.

And do you know what my next recollection is?

Coming out of a black out, driving a green Porsche convertible across the Pennsylvania Turnpike - with him passed out in the passenger's seat. I quickly appraised the situation and decided it wasn't too bad. Here I was, driving a really nice car, with a really good looking man, and I had all weekend to go somewhere and do something! We went to Boston to visit my sister.

On Monday, I had to catch a flight home, because my new "true love" (who had set my hair on fire just 2 days prior) was going to drive to New York to visit a friend of his. I needed to call in sick to work. Since I was the switchboard operator, no one plugged in the phone, so I could not get anyone on the phone. And you know, there were no cell phones in those days, and no voice mail, so I had to wait until I got back to Chicago and got home to try to call again. It was much too risky to phone from an airport - with all those overhead announcements and all. I got in some trouble for that sick call, but no more than usual. They were quite accustomed to my sick calls. Funny, I still recall that the next day, my calendar had a note on it from the woman who covered for me... "8 hour goof Mary!" What the hell did I care about causing my co-workers distress!

When the fire setter returned to town, he moved in with me... that was good for at least a month! He was actually a bigger drunk than I was, and I didn't much like it. Ick.

So, I guess if I want to feel like my life is boring today because I am waiting until 9 p.m. to go to bed because I am so tired... I will thoughtfully consider how much I prefer the boring to the bleeding edge of excitement I indulged in for so long.

Thank God I lived through these misadventures, and ended up sober. It is a miracle. Nothing short of a miracle.

Good Friday

This is the first Good Friday in recent memory that I haven't taken a day off. I was unable to this year. I dislike working on this day. But I have a remaining deadline today that will require that I work all day. I can focus on the fact that I am gainfully employed and have "important" stuff to do that means that I can't take days off whenever I feel like it. Yeah, that's what I think I will do.

Then I have a whole two days off this weekend. It isn't even a "long-run" weekend. I have run 10 miles each of the last two Saturdays. Tomorrow I will run only 7. Then I get to work on Easter dinner. All of the kids are coming over for Easter.

Easter is my favorite holiday. Most people are puzzled when I say that. But Easter has the greatest significance for my faith. I also love it because my former husband doesn't love it, in fact, on Wednesday he told one of the kids he was a 'druid' and that he didn't care at all about it. That means that I have no major competition for this holiday. They won't be eating here and then running off to their dad's as they do on most other holidays.

I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Spring. Truth be told (which it usually is, eventually), I really LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the seasons. But I find winter and summer to take a little bit too long, so I get really excited about fall and spring. (I found the above picture in my extensive library of photos, it was taken in my back yard in April several years ago - just so you know that the tulips are not in bloom yet - I will post pictures galore once they are in bloom - count on it!)

"True leadership, we find, depends upon able example and not upon vain displays of power or glory." -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 124

Thursday, March 20, 2008

No Time

I barely have a second to post anything this morning. I came back home from church and went back to sleep - I am so tired! That little bit of sleep didn't seem to help.

I have huge deadlines at the end of this week, so I have got to get to work and be productive all day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sweet Baby's Eight Today

Today is my oldest granddaughter's eighth birthday. Her grandfather (my ex-husband), her aunt (my responsible daughter), and I pitched in and bought her a nice new mountain bike - and it's pink! She called me yesterday to thank me and tell me all about it.

When she was born, my daughter lived with me and I thought that we would be a family.... my daughter, granddaughter, and myself. But soon after the baby was born, my daughter moved back with the father of the child. They had another child a few years later. They were doing very well for a few years, until Mr. Meth reared his ugly head and came back into their family.

And now my daughter, the mother of two beautiful little girls, is not allowed to see her children unsupervised. And with good reason.

Thank God these kids have a large extended family. There are lots of people who love them and are actively caring for them, but that can never make up for your mother being "gone."

I see women every day coming into AA, and I know they can and do get clean and sober.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday Morning

What's new? Nothing.
What's happening? Not much.

I am not running this morning because it is almost 7 a.m., and not yet light out. It is also 20 something degrees. I am just not up for running in the freezing cold dark morning - I can do it in December, but in March? not so much. So I will try to run after work tonight - I hate to do that because I have no energy after work, but it will be light outside and a lot warmer than it is now.

Last night my computer did something horrible. I was able to reboot, but I think it highlights my need for a new computer. I think I want a laptop. Last night I "built" a Dell - starting at $499. - I barely put one damn thing on it, and it ended up being $1,400. I think if I am going to spend over a thousand dollars on a computer, I might as well get a Mac. People who have them love them.

I have loved this Dell, but it is almost 6 years old! I still have a big fat monitor that looks like a big fat old television set. I used to buy a new computer every year when I was still in school, but I have had no good reason to buy one lately. I think I do now.

Part of why I want a notebook is that I want to take a lot of pictures on my trip to Alaska. If I can download them onto my computer, I can keep taking picture after picture after picture. If I can't do that, I will have to purchase more memory for an old camera, or take only 100 or so pics. I don't think that is reasonable!!!

Okay. Not much going on. Not much to say. Just plugging along.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Snowy Monday Morning

It's snowy. It's Monday. It's early. It's all good.

I hope to have an ordinary day at work today. I hope that I have a moment to compose a letter to a 68 year old filipino woman I have "adopted". What does someone write to a person who lives in a bamboo hut with a dirt floor? Her husband is dead, her only child is also deceased. I can't think of one thing to say that wouldn't sound arrogant and show off-y - other than she is in my prayers every day.

I spoke with my nephew on Saturday and finally bought the tickets for my flights to Alaska. I am staying there for 10 days! I wanted to make sure he was OK with a long stay since I am staying at his house for most of that! I have also booked a trip for the day after the marathon - I am taking a train trip to Denali National Park and will stay there for 2 nights, then take the train back to Anchorage. The prices went up $50., just between Friday and Saturday... and I have no idea how much they went up since I started looking at them. It pays to be prompt when paying for anything impacted by the price of oil... like transportation, food, clothing... etc., in other words, every single thing you purchase.

I better get ready for work. The commute is going to be a bear. The roads are coated with ice and snow. I am so grateful my commute is less than 9 miles each way.
Go over and wish Daave a Happy Birthday! Happy Happy Birthday my friend!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Almost Spring, St. Patrick's Day, St. Joseph's Day

It's a late winter morning. It is cold and there is a bit of snow on the ground from last night. My crocus, however, are in bloom... and that makes me happy.

I woke this morning after having a dream about being at a social event with three of my least favorite women in AA. In my dream, I called one of them a bitch and stormed off from wherever we were. I woke up and thought - oh, no, I have to go to that meeting and see those women this morning. Imagine my surprise, when just a half hour away from that dream, I walked into the meeting and the woman I had called a bitch in my dream moments ago looked at me and told me she needed to talk with me. We went into another room and she told me something about her boyfriend... and I got to be supportive to her.

Thank God that my actions are not always consistent with my feelings. I think my dream shows how I REALLY feel, but my actions can be loving anyway. By the Grace of God.

Today my son is coming over at noon. I am cooking corned beef and cabbage and we shall have our annual St. Paddy's day dinner. Yummmy. One or more of my daughters may show up.

My beloved drug addict daughter called me yesterday to tell me that she is on the waiting list for rehab. Oh, I am so glad. She sounded p.o.'d about it, so it rang true to me. No one will let her have her daughters unsupervised anymore and it seems this is more than she can bear. I am praying... praying... praying.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Waiting for an increase in º

Since it is mid-march, I think it would be reasonable for the temperature to at least be over 30º, so I will wait until it is - before I go out and run my planned 7 or 8 miles today.
Yesterday I spent a great deal of time working on something that I am going to tell you about. I have thought about whether I should, and I think since I no longer have to deal with the evil commenter, I can tell you all anything I want! This is intensely personal, and I am putting it out there for the world to see. Is that not what blogging is all about?

One of the things I don't talk about is the fact that I was married at 18. The marriage was foolish at best. I was too young, but had survived a rather tough childhood and adolescence so I thought I was mature. So, I have been married three times, but I would rather people believe it was twice.
  1. at 18, to a man named Michael - who I called Micky... yuk. Divorced at 20.
  2. at 23, to a man I loved with all of my heart and I miss to this day - the father of my children. Divorced at 34.
  3. at however old I was at 6 years sober... 38, ok, 38... to an Australian...yuk... who was sober 8 years, the marriage was something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. We were married long enough for him to become a US citizen... divorced at 42.
In confession a few months ago, I was talking with a priest (a priest so kind and wonderful I have changed my parish to his) and he suggested I proceed with the annulment process to clear up the wreckage of the past, Catholic style. I told him that I had tried before but was told I couldn't - because I cannot find my first husband, the only man I married in the church. He, Father Wonderful, told me I could proceed if I could show that I have really TRIED to find him. Well, I happen to have a file full of the documentation of my futile efforts to find the man.

About a month ago, I completed the application for annulment and mailed it to the Archdiocese. I got a reply a week ago that I needed to either find the man or provide proof that I have really tried and can't find him. So, I photocopied this big packet of my efforts and mailed it off. On Thursday of this week, I got the packet of stuff I have to do to get an annulment - so I guess my proof of effort was good enough. I need to gather some documentation...Yesterday I called the church where I was baptised to order my Certificate of Baptism. I called the church where I was married to get the Marriage Certificate, but had to order it from the state where we were married. I ordered the divorce decree online. Now all I have to do is answer about 10 pages of questions about myself, my former husband, and our marriage.

It is almost eerie to do this. As I typed in his name and my name and the date of our marriage, I just felt like there is no way they will ever find a marriage certificate or divorce decree. This has been something I haven't talked about for so long, I feel like it doesn't even really exist. I cannot wait to get this stuff back. I need to see it, to touch it, to feel it. And I guess I need to talk about it.

I can't believe I was ever an 18 year old girl, dressed in a beautiful white gown, with a beautiful white veil.. marrying a guy who was a drug dealer! What the hell was I thinking? What were my parents thinking?

And here I am, 38 years later... still trying to get it all sorted out. I guess it really is like an onion, the inventories, the amends, the changes. I would have never thought I would want to do this, but I want it so bad. The few people I have told about it have asked me why - why would you want to do this? Do you want to get married again? Nope. I just want this wreckage cleared up. I think it is interesting that my sponsor thinks this is a good idea and suggests that it will enable me to become a nun. I think it is doubly interesting that the man I have been dating for the last year and a half (but not talking about) asked me if I was doing this so I could become a nun. That is ironic in so many ways, but shows me how well these two know me... maybe better than I know myself.

I am so grateful for this beautiful program that allows me to live and grow and develop into the person God wants me to be, the person who was hiding in there for so many years.

"We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 83

Friday, March 14, 2008

Oh, I don't know....

It's Friday morning. It has been a l-o-n-g week. I have been tired all week. The fall last Saturday really took a toll. Yesterday I ran three fast miles on the treadmill, and by yesterday afternoon I was limping. By this morning, when I got out of bed I could barely walk. I think the run yesterday was too much on my injured knees. Now my left leg hurts all the way from my heel to my hip. When I take a step, it feels like a jolt of electricity runs all the way from the floor to my pelvis.

I think I shall go to the pool this morning and swim a half a mile. That should loosen things up. Then another full day of work before I get two days off! But today I have a very easy schedule. A brief presentation at 9:00, then no meetings until 1:30 - then just that meeting and I am done for the week. I like to straighten my desk on Friday afternoons. Maybe look at the magazines I have gotten during the week.

Which reminds me... Imagine my surprise when I saw a familiar face (if you have read AA literature) on the cover of one of my magazines this week. Sister Ignacia has been deemed a "Hero of Healthcare" by Modern Healthcare Magazine. Back in the 1930s, she worked with Doctor Bob in Akron to get alcoholics the care they needed. She worked with alcoholics all of her life, overcoming the fact that she really feared alcoholism.

Okay. I gotta get going. Have a great Friday everyone.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Memory Assault

I am going to write some honesty here, so I am sure glad I found a way to have either gotten rid of the evil commenter, or I have found a way to not have to listen to him... not sure which. He has either left me alone for a week or so, or I truly found the magical way to not ever have to see his comments. Let me know if you want to know the secret... but I digress...

This morning I left in haste for church, didn't have time to even blog. I thought I was ready to go to the gym after church, but I forgot my iPod. I realized I had my old iPod in my car, so I went to the gym after church at 6 a.m. My old iPod doesn't really work anymore. You have to jiggle the cord to get the earbuds to work right and adjusting the volume is iffy. Changing songs is impossible - and you can no longer even turn the thing off! So, there I was, a victim of whatever song came on next. And a song came on. I usually skip past it. I don't know when I last listened to it.

I was 2 miles into a 3 mile run and there was "Jersey Girl" by Bruce Springsteen. As I listened to Bruce sing "tonight I want to be with you," I thought how beautiful and how nice it would be to hear these words said to me.

And then I remembered. The first time I ever danced with George. At an AA dance. In 1984. To Jersey Girl by Bruce. George loved me. I eventually came to love George. We danced. A slow dance. And George wanted to be with me. George never stopped wanting to be with me. I was young and beautiful and newly sober and George was quite a bit older, and could never quite stay sober, but he adored me.

Today, I am a 56 year old grandmother, running as fast as she can on the treadmill... and believe me, I mean that in more ways than one. But this morning, I was transported back to a time when I was young, newly sober, and dancing with a man who adored me. Oh, dear. I had chills.

I wish I could have appreciated what I had when I had it. I never quite appreciated George, and I eventually broke up with him - I could not stay with someone who was drinking. I never appreciated being newly sober because I wanted to have decades of sobriety. I could go on, but I am sure you get the drift. (And I also will just say, just so no one needs to tell me: I do get the lesson here. I need to appreciate where I am today - and most days I do. I am just really tired today.)

George died a couple of years ago. I just want to say:

George Edward Schnaufer, I love you. Wherever you are, I love you. I hope you are resting peacefully in heavenly bliss ... and I hope I will see you again someday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday Morning

Last night I had dinner with Lash. What a treat. He is such a neat guy. We sat in a restaurant for 2 hours waiting for our dinner and it never came, the restaurant is called "Venice". We finally left and went to another restaurant and had a wonderful and quick dinner. It is amazing to me to meet other bloggers - I have not yet been surprised by one of them. So far, I have found that if you read their blogs, you get to know what to expect when you meet them.

In fact, one time I was at a local department store when I recalled that a blogger worked there. I walked over to her department and asked for her. She was late that day, but they were expecting her at any moment. When she came in, I introduced myself to her and she acted absolutely horrified that I would come and find her. I guess that is my brief history with stalking! It was creepy. I didn't really expect more than that either.

I was supposed to meet a sponsee at a meeting this morning. I left her a message last night that said I would not be at the meeting this morning, but I have no way of knowing if she got the message or not, so I will go to the meeting. I am so freaking tired I wish I could curl up in a ball and stay there all day. But I will show up at the meeting instead of not showing up. I will, however, be late. So there! Take that!

Have a great sober day everyone.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dark Outside

Today I am remembering why I dislike the "spring forward" time change so much. It is 6:43 a.m., and it is still dark outside. I need to get out and run, but I really dislike running in the dark. You may say - well then run AFTER work.... well, that could work if I had any energy at the end of the day - which I usually don't... and if I didn't have a plan to meet a friend (Lash) after work tonight.

So, I read a blog this morning. I don't believe I have ever visited this particular blog before. I am not going to say who it is. But based on one entry, I heard echoes of a former self. A self that I hated to hear from. It is hard to hear from your ancient and most of the time forgotten past.

I was sober 6 years when I married a man I met in AA. He was sober 9 years. He was everything I wanted in a mate - and I was madly in love with him. About a week after we were married he hit me for the first time. I knew it wasn't a good sign, but I blamed myself. I just knew it was because I was so difficult to get along with - I had "pushed" this wonderful man to this extreme. I won't catalog here all the abuse, it was extensive. Broken bones, several of them, things I never heard of before this, things more like a scary movie than a real life. And do you know what I did?

I went to AA meetings. I listened to people say things like: "whenever I am disturbed by a situation, it is my problem." "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today." I could go on, but you get the idea. So, I wrote inventory. And I wrote inventory. And I tried to keep my mouth shut. And I tried to accept him just the way he was. And I tried to find a sponsor who could tell me what was wrong with ME, so I could fix ME, and get this man to love me.

Finally my sponsor said to me "B. is a f***ing a**hole. You need to go back to where you belong and start over." And I actually did what she said! It wasn't over, but I was on my way back to reality.

So, I just want to say to anyone out there who is being abused and going to AA or Alanon meetings and trying to figure out what is wrong with yourself.... You can write inventory until you wear your fingers out - but if you are married to Adolf Hitler, he will remain Adolf Hitler. You can clean your own side of the street until it shines, but if you still have an abusive person in your life, that person will continue to abuse you. You may actually further enrage that person by acting so "nice".

Oh, thank God I don't live in that world anymore. My daughter said to me recently "As much as I hate B., I almost think it was because of him that you did so much with your life." Oh, yes, my little one. I had to plumb the depths of my soul before I was able to soar to new heights.

(it is now daylight, but too late to run) (this is a long post, sorry)

So, my gratitude for today:
  • I am single and will likely remain that way for the remainder of my days
  • I got a college education while in my forties
  • I have a good job
  • I can support myself
  • I have a lovely home - that I own
  • I have a car that no one has tampered with
  • I have friends who don't even know about this marriage
  • This episode (and others) did not define who I am
  • God loves me no matter what
  • God loves me so much that I was able to stay sober no matter what
  • Getting older is not always such a bad thing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Morning

This is traditionally a difficult day for me. I wish we would stop fooling around with clocks. I have a finely tuned inner clock and this springing forward usually messes me up. That said, this morning I woke up at 4 a.m. and felt great! So I will head off to the 6:30 meeting and put in a full day of work and a full night of Biblical School. Sounds like a great day to me!

My knees are feeling very much better. I will probably not even miss a day of running. Tomorrow is my next scheduled running day and I think I will be able to do that without a problem. So I guess I have just passed yet another unofficial bone density test.

I talked with my sponsor for a long time yesterday. I told her how emotional I got after Saturday's fall. She is so cute. She said she has a thought that we never get rid of all the alcohol in us. That sometimes little bubbles of it pop up - and she thought I had jarred loose a little bubble of old alcohol when I fell.

Let's have a great sober day - and not add to the accumulated alcohol content of ourselves!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Thank you.

I appreciate your care and prayers.

A friend came over and spent the night last night and that was very comforting. I didn't get much sleep though. My knees hurt so bad.

Here is what happened: I was running along a path in the park. Coming in the opposite direction was a large group of runners. I was concentrating on staying out of their way and wasn't looking down. There was a large crack in the sidewalk that I never even saw - and the next thing I knew, I came down with all my considerable weight on my knees and my hands - which barely had time to come up and protect my face. I nearly fell on my face. It still knocked the sense out of me and spent yesterday feeling pretty crazy.

I went to church last night and just cried and cried. Afterwards I felt a lot better. And then my friend came over, we watched a movie and had a "sleep-over."

The people who surround us really have the ability to change our reality. I know we say in AA all the time "I don't have that kind of power." Whatever kind of power that is. I know that my friend had the power to change my day yesterday - it turned a scary and menacing kind of day into a day when I knew I was loved and cared for.

Let's love and care for each other today... we have the ability to change another's day just by doing that.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Worst Run Ever

This is one of my knees after my fall this morning. The other is very similar, except it has a little piece of gravel imbedded in it. My hands are also scraped up. I fell 1.03 miles into a 10 mile run. I was at a park with lots of other runners, so thankfully I had a little group of people who stopped to help me. Man, I really fell! I was seeing stars and everything. I did manage to get back up and run away, I thought I felt pretty decent until the last 2 miles when every step hurt.

By the time I got into my car to drive home, I was crying. I always find it very interesting who I call when I am feeling horrible. Today, the only person I wanted to talk to was my daughter - the drug addict. I called her. God bless her, she can be as crazy and strung out as a loon, but she is always sweet to me - she always has been. She offered to come over and help me, but all I wanted to do is take a bath and go to bed.

I have taken the bath, I am now eating a bowl of cereal, and I will go to bed.

Now I will ask if you are so inclined if you would say a prayer for me. I am really not feeling well at all. I think I fell WAY harder than I realized. I think it is physically effecting me, but also emotionally effecting me. It is terribly discouraging to think that I am so old that I am falling all the damn time. Thank you for your prayers. And for not criticizing me.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday Morning

I slept for eight (8) blessed hours last night! I feel marvelous this morning!

I met with my co-teacher last night, and we sat in a great restaurant and graded papers. It was so much fun! I also got to ask her some questions about my job for which I have no other resources. That was also wonderful! The fact that she agreed with my assessment of several situations was doubly wonderful! The Ahi Tuna Sandwich with wasabi mayo and rosemary potatoes was triply wonderful!

It is Friday and all I have to do is work all day. I think I shall go to the pool and swim a half mile on my way home from work. Tomorrow I shall run 10 miles - which I am actually very excited about. I practically feel like I am on vacation because all I have to do is work for 8 hours today - on a full night's sleep! woo hooooooo!!!

Last night I spent over an hour on the phone with a former boyfriend who was recently arrested for stalking. There is a tiny part of me who would like to gloat over his misfortune, because he was not very kind to me at the end of our "romantic" relationship. I am glad I can get over that and just be a friend to him. I do not have to be in the same position as another to empathize with their pain. I can be a friend. Do I understand what would lead a person to do what he did? nope. Do I understand putting myself in ridiculous positions due to "decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt"? Yep. I am grateful I can be a friend.

Let's stay sober today, OK?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday Morning

Heading off to church. I woke up at 3 this morning and wanted to go back to sleep so very bad. I am really tired. I have church this morning from 5 to 6, then the gym for a quick 3 miles on the treadmill, work all day, and then I am meeting someone tonight to grade tests and papers for the last chore of my semester.

Tomorrow is Friday. The day after that is Saturday. On Saturday, weather permitting, I will see someone I have not seen since Christmas Day. That is good. That is very good. On Sunday, I hope to sleep in - all day! Not that I will sleep all day, but I could! And that is very important.

I bet I will feel better once I set foot in my church. I know I will.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Misunderestimating my self-esteem

It's funny. People see things through their own lenses. Measure with their own yardstick. I think most people are kind and they want the best for others. I think most of the people who read my blog want the best for me and they want to offer me kind words when it sounds like I am down.

Yesterday I probably sounded like I was down. I wasn't. It might have sounded like I was being hard on myself, but believe me, I wasn't. I think it can also seem like I am running as fast as I can to escape some tragic reality, but I am not.

The only reality that I might be trying to adjust is the fact that I am a hopeless alcoholic - sober by the Grace of God for 23 years, 7 months, and 11 days - and I can never give back enough to fully pay for this - but it is worth the effort to try. I am a 56 year old woman who has less than 9 years left of her career - and there are things I want to do! I am an "adult onset athlete" who wants to do it all - and so far, I have been able to do everything I wanted to - which for an alcoholic who smoked 2 packs per day for 25 years, is pretty remarkable. I also have to say that I am a person who has been diagnosed with Major Depression and this exercise enables me to live without anti-depressants.

It is important that I take regular reality checks with my life. I had one on Monday morning. I cannot continue to take my work hours so cavalierly. It is not good for me, or my workplace. And it is not good for a person's self-esteem. Oh, believe me, I have plenty of self-esteem, and I guard it - so I don't do things that are bad for it. Sometimes that means I am on a pretty narrow path, and there aren't that many people on the path with me, and that is fine with me. If that looks like I am being hard on myself, that is OK. I know it isn't the truth.

So, I just want to say that I was talking with my daughter the other day. My "good" daughter. I was talking a bit about my blog. I told her that someone called me a "shape-shifting reptile." My daughter burst out laughing. She said "are you kidding???? someone really called you a 'shape-shifting reptile'?" and laughed some more. Well, the way she said it, I had to laugh too. Now we call each other that and laugh, because really, it is very funny. Sometimes the most serious people end up making themselves fodder for some really great humor.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Going to the gym

It is cold, the roads and sidewalks are icy, it is also dark - amazingly enough... so I am heading out to the gym to run on the dreadmill. I have a little less than 16 weeks before my marathon, I have got to train no matter what!

Yesterday I was 40 minutes late to work. There had been someone there for 45 minutes waiting for me. It is the entire reason for my job - and I wasn't doing it. I could have easily known this person would be there waiting for me if I had checked a website I should be checking daily by 7:30 a.m, but I didn't do that either. I was busy meeting my sponsee and working with her. I have got to get my priorities straight again. I have obviously strayed very far from what I am supposed to be doing.

I think this weekend I will take some time to really reflect on what I am doing. I have to regroup. I have been running against the clock for a long time now and it feels awful, so I do stupid crap like being late for work.

I will stop my extracurricular activities in the morning, because I need to be at work on time. I have responsibilities there, and they pay me to fulfill them. I can go to the 6:30 meeting, but I can't spend an additional hour after the meeting. I need to meet this sponsee after work or on the weekend, not before work. I need make my running fit my schedule, not the other way around.

So I am heading out to the gym. I can be done running and back home by 7 a.m., and then get ready and to work at a decent hour. I need to be a responsible adult here, not a spoiled child.

Monday, March 03, 2008

To a Meeting

I'm off to a meeting first thing this morning. I am so grateful that I have a 6:30 a.m. meeting on my way to work. It makes it very easy to get to a meeting and still have a full rest of the day. I meet a sponsee there on Monday mornings and after the meeting, we go into one of the small rooms in the clubhouse and talk and read.

I have no new clothes to wear today. I don't have a new job to go to today, or a new car in which to drive there. I don't have a new lunch box, or something different to pack in it. I just have my usual, ordinary life. It is a good thing. It was hard for me to learn to live through the ordinary times. No drama, just life. Good.

I will leave the house I have owned since 2001. I'll go to the same workplace I have been going to since September 6, 1994. I will drive a car I have had since 2005 - this is a very very old car for me, I like to get a new car approximately every year and a half or two years. I will go to a meeting I have been going to since 1994.

Yes, my life changed in 1994. I was 10 years sober, and finally ready to put the drama behind me. I divorced the crazy Aussie who was my husband. I got a job and told myself I would stay there until I retired (which so far at least is true). I would actually join a church and go at least once a week. I would work to get out of debt and buy my own home. I would get a car and get valid plates and insurance on it. I would do all these things I had never done before. And I have. And I am grateful for that. By the Grace of God.

By the Grace of a loving God.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday Morning

Last night I went to an AA event at a fellow member's home. It was a fabulous turn-out and a fabulous time. We sat and ate and joked and laughed talked and talked and talked. It really was wonderful.

This was after a full day at school. My last of this semester. What happens in the future is still to be decided. The other teacher and I will meet this week to grade tests, papers, and decide what we want to recommend to administration.

So, yesterday should have been my 'long run' day. But since I was at school all day, I did not run at all. Yesterday it was 78º, today it is a freaking blizzard, and I am not getting my long run in. This really peeves me. I did go to church at 7 a.m., and decided after I got home from there that I am going nowhere else today. The roads are BAD.

I didn't sleep well last night. It seemed to me, in the psychosis of insomnia, that there was no soft place for my mind to rest. Everywhere it went, there were sharp edges. Unfortunately, even this blog has gone from a soft place to a place with sharp edges. This breaks my heart.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Texting a Land Line

I heard a malapropism yesterday that was so rich, I sat right in my office, in the presence of the woman who said it, pulled out my cell phone and texted a message to Scott. But I got an error message a moment later.... I was texting a land line. Which is futile. And "texting a land line" sounds like a good description of futility. But I did later call Scott to tell him about "pearl-rate" instead of "pro-rate."

I took the above picture while walking to the car from the restaurant last night. We dined on Ethiopian food. Oh, it was wonderful. I had to lecture my children first, and then they almost behaved. The two children (31 and 29 years old) who are "good" are much offended by their sister who is a drug addict. She is starting a new "career" as a tattoo artist. She actually should be quite good at it since she is such a good artist... and she is so fricking personable, it is amazing. The waiter was practically droooling over her. She has this effect on people. I just wish she could use it for good. Anyway.

Wrong or right (and I seem to be wrong a lot lately), I told them that this is what a family is. We are never all going to be 100%. We live with and love each other anyway. I grew up with a father who passed out in his soup in only the finest establishments. A brother who bounced off of parked cars, and crashed a few. The same brother who left a party and passed out in a cornfield and it took a search party to find him.... oh, I could go on and on with this. But I won't.

If we only love each other when it is happy and convenient, what good is that?

So anyway, we had a lovely dinner - really. We had fun. And after dinner, we went to Dairy Queen... the home of my favorite ice cream. My (good) daughter drove, and I sat in that car in my glory - because I was with all three of my children and they were, for the most part, acting like people who like each other. It was wonderful.

Today is my last day of this semester. Praise God. I do not want to do this anymore.