I like Halloween. I am dressing up in a costume for work. I used to go all out for this, but the last couple of years, I have used Halloween as an excuse to dress comfortably... I am going as a runner. I can wear a bunch of comfy running gear and great shoes and be happy. Yesterday I forgot that I had to take a tour of the entire hospital - I had 3 1/2 inch heels on. My feet were not happy at the end of the day. Today they will be compensated for yesterday's error in judgment.
I am taking a run this morning - and then coming back home, bathing, and getting dressed up as a runner! What fun.
I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween, and that you all stay sober - just for today.
The race last night was the most fun race I have ever been in. I am so glad my friend joined me because I would not have been able to finish it alone. It was too scary! Really! Running through trails in the woods at night, with only your head lamp to light the way is spooky. And I had NO idea we would have to cross through a river - twice! - in water up to our knees! It was the best! And we won a prize for best team name.
Today I will go to work and give it my best shot for another day. I may go and vote at lunch time. I have never been so concerned that my voice be heard. I have probably never felt so overruled in my life. With that, I will shut up.
As I looked at a couple of blogs this morning and tried to post comments, I found myself staring at my keyboard without a thought in the world about what to write. I noticed for the first time in my life that if you are staring blankly at a keyboard, the letters in the middle mix themselves up and it looks like the word "TRY".
Tonight I am in a race. A race on trails at night. With spooky things thrown in for fun. For me, I am spooked enough when I run in this park in the daylight... there are always animals about. I tend to have run-ins with animals more than the average person. My friend is running the race with me, and we will both have head lamps on. That should help the fear factor. I am looking forward to the race.
This morning as I read Syd's post about injuries and pain, I was struck by something. He has lots of pain. I can see that. The tone of the comments were "take care of yourself," "honor your body," etc. I just want to say Thank God that Syd is sailing and rowing and doing stuff. I think the pain of a sedentary life is so much worse than the pain that comes as a result of fully living, fully participating in life. An x-ray of my neck looks like a frankenstein monster, complete with bone grafts and titanium rods, I have had a doctor tell me he can't believe I am even able to walk, let alone run. People don't understand why I continue to run... sometimes I really can barely walk...and sometimes it hurts like hell. But! I am not taking antidepressants, I am not living on pain killers. I am not wearing magnets and TENS devices. I am living with the body God gave me, to the best of my ability.
Sometimes things that hurt really help me. Working the steps sure wasn't a picnic. It didn't feel good all the time. Being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous isn't always fun, it doesn't always feel good. Doing the right thing often feels much worse than doing the expedient thing. But feeling good isn't really the point, is it?
I am so grateful that I get to walk through pain and hurt and difficulty to be a fully alive and sober human being.
in September. At first I loved the little pictures of people sitting there. I loved the idea of "followers" who liked my blog enough to put their little picture there. Ego feeding? Well, maybe.
When I first started this blog, I had a couple of my own rules about what blogs I would link to in my sidebar. I would not link if they had advertisements. I would not link if they were overtly political. I would usually not link if their blogs were written from the perspective of an "expert" in recovery.
Now I have links, including pictures, of all sorts of blogs. I am not sure how I feel about that. If this blog is supposed to be about being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, shouldn't my links also reflect that? Shouldn't they steer clear of politics? Shameless advertising of treatment centers and books on "recovery"?
Yesterday, I lost one follower. I can't even figure out who left, but the number is one less than it was 24 hours ago. As one who tracks opinions for a living, who carefully gathers statistics and then tries to present them with veracity, it is weird to have such soft science on my very own blog.
And I expect that this post will annoy one or two of you enough to remove yourselves from my "followers" list. Don't worry, I won't know who you are...
Gosh, I didn't realize that so many people had never tasted apple butter. From Wikipedia: Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce, produced by long, slow cooking of apples.... and it is spiced up with cinnamon and cloves. It is yummy on buttered toast, or on pancakes.
So it is Monday. I have a nice day at work today, just putting the last touches on tomorrow's presentation to Governing Body. I have one meeting and it isn't until 3 p.m. I may try to see if I can get out to a noon (AA) meeting. I have my hour of prayer at church after work, and then Biblical School tonight.
I am grateful to be sober and alive and healthy and happy.
And so begins another start to another sober week, care to join me?
Interfere with my blogging life. A lot of real people in my life this weekend. And although that is good, it is keeping me from blogging! Well, and the 40 lbs. of apples didn't help either.
Yesterday morning, my sponsee showed up here at about 6:45 a.m., and we headed across town to my home group. It was really wonderful to be there, and to bring her with me. I felt bad for her because people assumed she was new because they never saw her before, and she was with me, and I guess it just looked that way. I don't think it bothered her. But she is hardly new. She has been in and around AA for over 8 years, but sober this time (and for good, I hope) since January 2007. The meeting was good, really focused on recovery, program, steps, honesty, etc. Not like the happy horsesh** meetings, about how wonderful we all are because we have new cars, houses, wives, and husbands.
On the way home, we stopped at my favorite farmer's market in the universe. She had never been there before. I was shocked to see how different it looks in late October than it does in August. We were the only customers, and there wasn't much inventory. But I got a huge, bulging box of apples for $15. So I have spent the weekend, between other things, making apple butter. It is yummy and my house smells like heaven. I still have one more batch on the stove now. Apple butter takes a long time to make.
My little grandbabies are here this weekend. They are off to the museum with their aunt right now. So I have a few minutes. This morning I escaped the house for a while to run 6 miles. The 6 miles were wonderful. 47º and windy, which felt cold at the start, but torrid by the time I finished.
Let's see, what else have I done this weekend? Yesterday I raked what should be almost the last of the leaves on the lawn. My neighbor and I worked for a couple of hours and got it knocked out. It was fun. I went to church last night. The Pastor of my church gave a sermon about not being able in good conscience to ask for more money, he would be very grateful if people could just continue doing what they are currently doing - if they can - in this economy. It made me cry. I have never heard such a message from the pulpit. And it confirmed for me that I made the right choice when I changed churches this year. Today I ran to the grocery store with wet hair and no make-up after my run. I told my daughter I would surely run into someone I know if I went out looking like that, and sure 'nuff, I did. An old AA friend. We stood and talked for a while. It was nice. But after I told her that I am training for a half marathon and getting to 4 or 5 meetings a week, she asked me if I am retired!?! (she said she didn't have time to do all that) But the message to me? Do Not Leave The House Without Make-up Again. Ever.
So, I have my little laptop here, I am sitting on a gel hotpack on the sofa (my left hip is starting to bother me from running), and watching football. I am going to take a nap in a moment, while the football game drones on, singing me to sleep.
It is all just so nice and ordinary. I am so grateful for any moments that are just ordinary. It beats the heck out of the high drama I lived for so many years.
It is Saturday morning. My daughter and granddaughter are still asleep downstairs. I have had a cup of coffee and my morning prayer. I am waiting for a sponsee to get here and then I am taking her to a meeting at my old homegroup. If something fabulous happens, I may post later. For now...
You know, it is hard to say I am not running this morning. Today is not supposed to be a running day, but I feel so good I want to get out and run. So my inner voice says:
"Mary, get your running gear and get out there. It is 48º outside already and there won't be many mornings this perfect to run for a long while."
"But Mary, you are feeling good, so it is tempting to run, but you are NOT injured, and you should endeavor to keep it that way. You have had pain most of the time for almost 2 years, much of it caused from over-training. You should be careful not to over-train!"
"But I have to train for my half-marathon in January!"
"You are not injured and it is important to keep it that way!"
The Mary who does not want to be injured won this morning. I looked back in my training log to see what I have done before successful races, and I am doing just about the right kind of training. I am only up to 6 miles on my long runs, but I am certain I can get that back up to 13 miles without pushing it.
I am certain that today will be a wonderful day at work. Many of the managers who work in offices near mine have taken today off, it will be quiet and I can get a LOT of work done. I am looking forward to it. At noon, I am meeting with one of my favorite work friends, who is serving a lunch of green chile, salad, and tortillas while we work!
The grandbabies will be spending the weekend here with my daughter (their aunt) and myself. It is nice to have them here when it is not just me. When I am the only adult it makes me so tired I despair. But with two of us, we can still do stuff and keep the little ones entertained.
I am greatly looking forward to it. It is so nice to feel that way when you wake up in the morning. Looking forward. Feeling happy. It is good.
It is 23º, and my run this morning was absolutely glorious! I think I love cold weather, but don't quote me on that in the middle of February. I woke up late, but then still did everything I normally do. So I am sitting here, dripping sweat, in my running clothes, and I need to be at work right now!!!
On my way back from my run, I dropped by my neighbor's garden to take some pictures of her roses. She has a beautiful rose garden, but after a 20º night, they won't be beautiful by the end of today.
And a really cool thing? My neighbor is my friend. She trusts me and would never mind me coming into her yard - we stand in our front yards and talk when we get home from work almost every night. It is a wonderful thing to be a person other people can trust.
I just wrote and erased all the things that have me sort of frantically busy right now. It just really doesn't matter. I am too busy, but it shall ease up next week. There were long stretches in my life when I was not employed, I guess I get to make up for that now.
This election needs to be over. Now even when I go to the sitemeter for my blog, there is the smiling face of one of the candidates... the one I am not voting for. Yesterday in my interim performance evaluation, my boss started carrying on about the "bad" candidate - the one I am voting for. I bit my tongue, and he knew it... he has been my boss for 7 years - and he is a psychiatrist. Oh, and he said I am doing "a great job."
I guess I will get dressed and get back to doing my great job...
Yesterday I happened to show up at the 6:30 a.m. meeting for my friend Dick's 39th AA birthday. What a wonderful thing that was! I didn't know he would be celebrating there. Most of the people at the meeting said things like "well, I won't live long enough to be sober for 39 years..." and I kind of felt bad for them. Dick has been sober over half of his natural life, and every time he shares, he says it just keeps getting better and better.
I am a lucky one who got to AA at 32 beat up and desperate enough to grab onto the program with all I have, and with the help of God, I have not had a drink of alcohol since then. I have now been sober 43% of my life, and I hope to live a long life, and stay sober for the rest of it. One day at a time...
It's another busy day today. I have a quarterly presentation to give next Tuesday, and after that I should get some breathing space. I need some!
The photo is from my run yesterday. Most of the trail is along a creek. I wish I could somehow capture the perfume of this trail and send it to you. It is wonderful.
Today I will be busy from long before the sun comes up until long after it goes down. I will start my day with my new meditation practice, then an AA meeting, then work all day, an hour of silent prayer at church after work, and then Biblical School.
Though I had such a busy weekend and I never got a moment of "down" time, I am still looking forward to today. I really do appreciate how nice my life is, even though it is a bit too crowded with activity.
I am a little bit late to post today. The class yesterday was awesome and I now will be spending 40 minutes each day in meditation. It is different from what I was doing, and I think it will have a big impact on my life.
I went for a 6 mile run this morning and had technical difficulties with my Nike + iPod, which I tried to address, so I was stopping a lot in an effort to get it to work right. I finally gave up. But I didn't get home until after 12:00 p.m. My son was already here, and had put the pasta on... I had already made sauce and it was simmering on the stove. So, I had a table full of family at lunch today. The girls wanted to "rake" after lunch, so I let them. I have never left the leaves laying around for this long, but I am too busy/tired to rake them. Some time this week... sure.
I am busy, I am tired, but I feel good. I have that peaceful feeling in my heart, which I wouldn't trade for anything.
It is a beautiful autumn morning. To be followed by a beautiful autumn day. It is supposed to get into the mid 70's this afternoon, which is a bit too warm for me. But the leaves are in their glory and this place is just gorgeous! (the photo is from my run last Sunday - it was raining and overcast - today should be sunny.)
Today I am going to a one day retreat on contemplative prayer. The keynote speaker is a man whose work I have followed and admired for a very long time. I am quite excited about getting to see him in person and I hope to learn a lot.
I took a mini-tour of some blogs this morning. I don't believe I left one comment on any of them! I am struck by the difference between people who have decided they are not going to drink anymore, dammit! And those who have reached a bottom and have humbly asked for help. Maybe it is a question of approaches, maybe a question of bottoms, maybe a question of personal temperament. I think until you reach that bottom and humbly admit that you are unable to conquer alcohol, you have little chance of recovery. Self-will is not the answer - if it was, we would have quit drinking on our own years before we caused the destruction we did.
Thanks to the grace of a loving God, I was led to the welcoming arms of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous - and there you gently took me and put me back together. Thank you!
I am driving about a hundred miles to a town south of here for a meeting today. I will spend the day revising policies. This is not my idea of a good time. And I won't even have the ability to check on my blog to post and reject comments.
Somebody wrote to me yesterday about being afraid to go to her first AA meeting. When she looked online for meetings, she saw all kinds of acronyms and abbreviations she didn't understand. I wrote back and tried to explain all the kinds of meetings I could imagine - and explained what they might be. She wrote later and told me she went to her first meeting - she will go to another one today. I am so happy for her. I pray that this is her new start in life. A life without alcohol. An honest life. No more feeling that awful ache of loneliness and shame.
What struck me as I wrote to her is that she could call her local AA number and that there would be a person just like me in her very own neighborhood who would be happy to take her to a meeting. There are recovering alcoholics in every city and town across the United States (I can't speak for the rest of the world because I haven't been there). A very important part of our recovery is helping others. A couple of us blog so we are pretty public. Most of us are happy to be humbly anonymous. You don't have to travel far to find us.... we are there in your very own neighborhood.
I will be one traveling sober alcoholic today. Let's all stay sober no matter where we are, OK?
I have registered to run a half-marathon in Phoenix in January. I have booked a room at the above hotel. I will book my flights today. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.
I was just about to register for the race yesterday when I decided that I really could talk to my sponsor about it. When I told her I was hesitant to spend the money, she just said "Hell, you spend more than that on one outfit!" Well, she does have a point...
So I will spend the next few months training for a half-marathon. And I have to say, if you are not a runner and you think I am taking half measures, try running 13.1 miles and see if you think that is HALF of anything! For a 57 year old woman (which I will be in January), that is a long way to go. And I am happy and grateful to go there. (I tried training for a full marathon last year, and ended up so injured I am still not right.)
Did you see the last episode of Seinfeld? The one where they ran out of things to say to each other? That's how I feel this morning.
I wanted to rail about an ignorant comment I got yesterday. I went to the blog of the person who left it and found a public/virtual/electronic suicide note. What on earth? Do I have a responsibility to contact the authorities? I have no clue who this person is or where they even are. But I feel like I am failing to do what I should do.
I think if you leave a suicide note on a blog - your computer should automatically disintegrate. You do not deserve to have a computer or a blog anymore. You make anyone who stumbles onto your blog a co-conspirator in your death. And you know what? THAT IS NOT OK.
I have been visiting the blog of a person who went to his first meeting last week. And then he went to a meeting on Saturday. He was hurt by some of the comments we left him. And he has not posted since. I was worried about him for a day or so. I am done now. Most drunks never sober up, and the big book tells us not to pursue them. Unfortunately, the fool under the hill found him and posted many insane comments. Oh well. The price of blogging.
Some days the world does not look like a nice place, and I am afraid this is one of them. I will go out and run and I bet by the time I have finished my 4 miles I will have a different attitude.
This the new color of my bathroom. It doesn't look like much of a color here, but it is really warm and pretty. (if you look closely at the photo, you will see that I am not such a good painter, oh well.)
I am so excited this morning. I have been thinking about running a half-marathon in January, and I think I have arrived at a plan. We shall see. I do know that training for a half-marathon will keep me running through the challenging months ahead, which will help my sanity. I am heading into a heavy work time. Every three years I spend at least 6 months preparing for "The Big Event" of my job. Normally, I gain about 20 lbs. as I prepare for this event because I work so many hours, I skip meals and when I skip meals I gain weight at an alarming rate. If I am running 20 miles a week, I will HAVE to eat regularly. I will also HAVE to not work 3,000 hours a week.
I am looking forward to getting back to work this morning. So I better get to it.
Yesterday I took a lovely 5 mile run. My time was good and I felt good. As I ran, I saw many beautiful sights, running along a trail in the foothills is beautiful any time of the year, but I find it particularly so in the autumn. The sight above really struck a chord with me. I am not sure why. I stopped to look at those leaves stuck in the fence. Each cottonwood leaf is individually knotted onto the metal. I imaged a couple standing in the parking lot the night before - maybe breaking up... maybe one of them is picking up leaves and tying them onto the fence in an effort to maintain his or her exposure... maybe... who knows?
I have the day off today, which I think is just wonderful. Most people are at their jobs. It is my 4th day off of work in a row, and that is really really good. I needed this time off.
This morning I went to church, and then I went into work just to pick up my work laptop. I realized that I don't need to purchase Office for Mac in order to work at home - I have a laptop at work which can just as easily come home with me. So, I will do some work this afternoon. Working while sitting on your sofa and listening to Cistercian Monks chant is very different from sitting at a desk in your office, wearing uncomfortable clothing.
After the meeting on Saturday, I stopped at Lowe's and got a gallon of paint so that I could paint my bathroom. I painted it about a year and a half ago. I hated the color almost from the moment I painted it. Now I have a color I really really like. I did that on Saturday night.
You know, I need time off sometimes in order for the spaghetti of my mind to straighten out a bit. I can't go 18 hours a day, collapse into bed at night and get up in the morning and do it all again, and still be able to think straight.
It has been very very good for me to have these 4 days off. I need to find a way to incorporate more rest time into my busy schedule. I will do that!
You put yourself out there. You are honest, for all the world to see. Talk about exposure! Most of the time, there is enough affirming response, or enough inner motivation, to keep you going. But how it hurts to have someone come by and, based on reading a paragraph or two, insult you, disregard your experience, or tell you disgusting things like you are going to hell.
Then, if you blog long enough, you will face that moment when you realize that you have gone far beyond your intended audience. Most of us blog to the anonymous masses. We put our innermost thoughts out there for strangers to read. But the moment we find that someone we actually know is reading our blog, it is unsettling. I have had to ask myself if I stand behind everything I say, and the answer is yes. I have had to ask myself if I have said things about others that I would not say to their faces, and the answer is either no - or I need to remove what ever I said.
About two years ago, I realized that I had to change what I write about. I had written about a man I was dating and I ended up regretting it terribly. So I don't do that anymore.
About a year ago, I changed another aspect of what I was writing when a couple of friends from my home group started reading my blog. Since I was no longer an anonymous blogger attending just any group, but people knew who I was and what group I was attending, I needed to be responsible about talking about people - even in a general way. It is different when there are people who know who and what you are talking about. You have to be responsible.
I have a couple of family members who read my blog on occasion. One of them told me he found my blog and read some of it and realized that he was not my intended audience, so he stopped reading. I told him he was welcome to read it. It is, after all, public. I just need to be responsible and have integrity. I can't say irresponsible things and then expect no consequences.
However, it does change what you write. Blogging goes from being a free-for-all, express-a-rama, to being something that you edit, second guess, and edit again.
I started this post to talk about the drive-by commenters. When you are a person who blogs identified as "a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous," you attract all kinds of people. My very favorite comments are those from people who are seeking information about AA because they think they have a problem with alcohol. And then, the bloggers, ah, how I love them. My blogging peeps. We are a great community. And on the negative side, it doesn't bother me most of the time when I get comments from people who hate AA or think it is stupid. (I have a post entitled "why do people hate AA" and that gets a lot of hits from people searching for "i hate aa," etc.) When someone crosses the line and tells me I am going to hell and saying horrible things about my father, that really annoys me. But I just reject those comments.
The ones I really dislike are the people who have set themselves up as the experts on AA. All AA members are on a level playing field. People sometimes listen to me based on my 24 years of sober experience, and I think that is valid, but I don't think it makes me an expert. It doesn't give me the right to disregard others' experiences. It just doesn't.
It is Saturday morning. Traditionally my favorite time of the week. In the last couple of years I haven't enjoyed it quite so much. I have been so overwhelmed with work that I don't think I have had time to savor the small pleasures as I normally would. So, since I took yesterday off work, I feel rested and relaxed and I am happy it is Saturday morning.
I woke up at 4:30, I didn't know that though. I opened up a little slice of eyeball, and looked at my bedroom clock and saw it flashing "2:30," "2:30," "2:30." I knew the power had been off at some point in the night. So I got out of bed to see what time it really was. By that time, I was wide awake. I will actually take a bath and put on make-up and do my hair to go to my new-old homegroup in a brand new pair of blue jeans this morning. Then I will come home and run.
Yesterday I went to the gun store to buy pepper spray. When I got there, it wasn't there. I called my son to find out where the gun store went. I was amazed to hear that it has moved very near to an AA club that I have gone to probably an average of 3 times a week. How I never saw the gun store is a mystery to me. When I walked in there, I was absolutely amazed. The place was packed. With men! They were all buying guns. As I purchased my pink canister of pepper spray (that was the only color they had... weird), I told the salesman that I would probably be buying a gun soon, and asked him if business was good. He said people are trying to buy guns while they still can. Yep. That is why I want to get one. I have never wanted a gun before in my life, but I have never felt so much that I will soon need one.
After I purchased my pink canister of pepper spray, I decided I really need a new pair of jeans. Well, I knew I needed a new pair of jeans, but I decided that I actually had the time to go to hundreds of stores and try on thousands of pairs of jeans - until I found that one pair that would work. OK, I am exaggerating. But I went to 7 stores and tried on 10s of pairs of jeans. At Ann Taylor, I finally found a pair that look nice, and they cost $78.! How did jeans get to cost $78.? I was more than happy to spend $78. after trying on jeans all afternoon. It is almost as traumatic as shopping for a swimming suit! Oh, and then I went to Victoria's Secret - and that is traumatic as well.
I hate to throw this serious thing at the end of such a frivolous post, but yesterday in my comments, I got an eye-opener. Shadow, who lives in Africa, shared about the experience of being in AA in Africa. It is not very similar to being in AA in the US. So for her, it is not even possible to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. And much of the other standard advice, which is perfectly good for people living in urban areas in the US, is just nuts if you live in a remote area on another continent. I seldom think about how spoiled I am with so much fellowship around me. But I think sometimes we lean on the fellowship instead of God.
Correction: Posted at 12:45 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time:
It wasn't Shadow who commented about going to AA in Africa, it was Mary LA. It is just amazing to me that two sober women from Africa commented on my blog yesterday. Sorry I got it wrong - in so many ways. It is definitely worth going to this post about lifeas an alcoholic in Africa.
It is a beautiful chilly morning in Colorado. I did take the day off, so I will have a 4 day weekend. I woke up thinking I would run, but I looked again for my pepper spray, and that led me into cleaning out a couple of drawers, and I then needed to have another cup of tea, and then I felt I needed a bath, etc.... and before long, I decided that I would run on my scheduled day - tomorrow, but definitely not today. And I will buy another canister of pepper spray today.
Okay. I have been reading blogs. I am wondering about what happens to a new person when they hit a random any meeting in Anywhere, USA... or world. I remember the things they used to tell me. I don't hear this stuff much anymore... and much of it is not in AA literature, so people take issue with some of it. But, I think it is worth repeating.
Don't drink - even if your butt falls off, don't drink. And if you don't know what that means, try not drinking when your butt falls off, and you will learn what it means.
Go to 90 meetings in 90 days. If you think you are too busy, maybe you need to drink more until you lose everything that is keeping you so busy.
Read the Big Book. It is not called "The Basic Text," but it is our basic text. Another fellowship calls their book "The Basic Text," not ours. Read the Big Book as if your life depends on it, because it does.
Get a sponsor. This is not like getting married. It is finding someone who can help you. In this relationship, forever is until you change your mind. We hire and fire sponsors all the time, solid AA members will not take offense to being fired, they just might be relieved. Lucky are those of us who have found sponsors who have lasted a long time... it took me 11 years to find that one - she is still my sponsor 13 years later.
Don't take chemicals that will alter your mood. Yeah, I know, you are all on anti-depressants now, but seriously, they used to tell us that. Alcohol is a depressant, you won't know if you really have depression for a while. And you need to work the steps before embarking on a new antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. It is amazing what changes the steps bring about! (I am not talking about people with serious mental illness who need to take their medications.)
Turn your thoughts to others. If you have 24 hours of sobriety, that is 24 hours more than lots of people. Try to reach out FOR help and TO help. It will save your life when nothing else will. You ALWAYS have something to give to others. Your mood will improve like you cannot believe when you stop thinking about yourself 24/7.
If you are not ready to quit drinking, please don't waste our time. There are people who are literally dying of alcoholism all around us, and when we spend time on someone who is just screwing around, we are depriving another person of an opportunity to live. If you think you have a better idea about how to stay sober, do it. We are not here to convince you that you are alcoholic or that you need AA. AA does not claim it is the only way to get sober. It is, however, the only way that worked for me... and countless others.
And finally, AA is not a self-help program. It is not about self at all. It is about coming for help when we are desperate enough to ask God for help. It is about ego DEFLATION. Self-esteem may follow as a result of living right for year after year, but we cannot seek self-esteem... you just can't find it by looking for it.
If you are an alcoholic - and they used to tell us that we were the only ones who could say we were - AA may be the best thing that even happened to you. It has been for me. But we are not here to convince you of anything. Our way of life is radical, radically God-centered, and Other-centered. It does not appeal to everyone. It was not meant to. It was meant to save the lives of a bunch of hopeless drunks... and it has done a darn good job of it!
I can't find my pepper spray, but I am going to run anyway. That is WAY brave for this scared of dogs and all other 4 legged creatures person.
I went out with an old b.f. last night and I am very tired this morning. Although I got home early enough, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. I spontaneously woke up at 4:00 a.m., and I am just tired.
But I will go out and run anyway. And then I will work all day anyway. I will meet a sponsee for dinner tonight, and then come home. I may see if I can take tomorrow off - and then I will have a four day weekend. I am plumb tuckered. I could use four days off.
Yesterday, reading about an experience of blogger Steveroni, I was reminded of something that happened years ago. I was sober 6 years, and living with my new husband in northern Washington. Things got very bad between us (dangerously bad), and I left our home. I had nowhere to go, so I drove to a nearby town and got a motel room. I sat on the bed. It seriously occurred to me that I had two choices: drinking or suicide. At that point, those honestly seemed like my only options.
I knew that I did not want to drink. I had no question about that. And although I was desperately unhappy because of my heartbreaking marriage, I didn't really want to die. But what was I to do in a motel room in Mount Vernon, Washington?
Thanks to six years of sober experience, I picked up the phone. I didn't call my sponsor. For some reason, I called a woman in AA who I was not particularly close to. I think calling her was one of those intuitive thoughts that come to us. She answered her phone. I said "Hi Jeri." Without hesitation or any other small talk, she said "where are you?" I told her. She didn't ask any more questions, she just said, "I will be right there."
No kidding. She didn't need me to tell her anything. She knew I was in trouble and without a second's hesitation, she drove over to help me. She did help me. We went and ate - I hadn't eaten in a while. She listened to me. She showed her care and concern for me, and that was a revelation to me.
Of course, I did end up going back to my husband and things got much worse for a couple more years. But I will never forget how Jeri came to that motel room and likely saved my life. I was in serious trouble.
I hope that I have been able to express my gratitude forward. I hope that I have been able to be the kind of person who answers the phone and hops in the car. I know that sometimes I haven't wanted to be. Sometimes I would just like to not always be "on call." But we really need to never quit being on call for another brother or sister alcoholic. I owe my very life to Jeri and others just like her.
"I once knew a woman who was crying before a meeting. She was approached by a five-year-old girl who told her, 'you don't have to cry here. This is a good place. They took my daddy and they made him better.' That is exactly what AA did for me; it took me and made me better. For that I am eternally grateful." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (4th ed.), p. 431
Today is a scheduled run day. It is 36º, and I don't know where my running gloves, hat, and other cold weather gear is - I haven't needed it for months. And I didn't expect to need it so soon. We shall see if I get out there and run or not.
I just realized that the Martin Luther King holiday is on the Monday after the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Phoenix. I could conceivably go there for the weekend without needing to take any time off from work. I think I shall do that. And then I will have something positive to focus on for the next three months - yeah, you can remind me that I called it positive when I am whining about being 57 years old (in a little over 2 months) and training for a half-marathon.
Okay, now I am psyched and I think all that stuff is in the trunk of my car. I am going to put on my cold weather clothes and head lamp and head out the door in the cold, dark morning and run!
It is Monday. It is relatively late. I need to be at work soon. I have a lot of work to get done today through Thursday. I can either look at that with panic and dread, or I can look at it as a juicy challenge. I think I shall try to look at it as a delicious challenge.
Today I need to work all day, then I have a doctor's appointment at 5, and then Biblical School from 7 to 9. By 9:30 or so when I get home, I will be dead on my feet... but that is a good thing too. I will be able to sleep soundly.
My daughter got home last night. She had a wonderful trip and brought lots of gifts for everyone. She brought me some things that are just so lovely. I am so glad to see her back home.
Yesterday I went to the Apple Store to get software compatible with my microsoft applications at work... so that I could work from home this weekend. Well, I walked in that store and saw all those pretty new ipods and thought about spending the same amount of money for software so that I can WORK from home - using my own time and money... well, I just didn't do it. I bought a new iPod. Oh, it is so nice.
I went for a trail run at sunrise this morning. It was glorious. I am so blessed to be a healthy sober woman living in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
My son is coming over later to watch the football game with me. I am making pizza... two different kinds. One with tomatoes, onion, and garlic - that I will roast and then puree into sauce... yummm. The other will have figs, caramelized onions, goat cheese and arugula. Guess which one my son is likely to eat?
My daughter should be home from her european trip later today. I am so looking forward to seeing her and hearing about her trip. She sent me post cards with pictures of beautiful cathedrals in many different places.
I went to my old homegroup this morning. And I think it is now my new homegroup. I sat in that room and felt I belonged. Not bigger than, not smaller than, just right. Goldilocks has her just right group. I sat next to the man who took me to my first meeting 24+ years ago. We have both been sober since.
Two old boyfriends were there. And when I say "old" in this case, I mean really old. I used to like older men, and these guys are now geriatric.
Life is good when you are where you are supposed to be... doing what you are supposed to be doing.
I'm coat-tailing on Pammie again. She wrote about not writing about stuff this morning. Last night we had an e-mail exchange about this very thing.
I was watching the debate, with my laptop in front of me, watching what was happening on the blogs (political blogs) as well as what was on the TV. That was fun, and although I think as sober people we are supposed to be citizens again and pay attention and participate, I won't subject you to my opinions here. 10th tradition, you know. And yes, like Pam, I do have opinions. They are informed opinions. I do not just spout off crap that I think sounds good. And my opinions usually are counter to just about everyone else I know, so I know I am not just trying to fit in.
There has been a bunch of "stuff" going on in my life that I will no longer write about here. I used to write about it, but then I would have people "drop in" and blast me in the comments. Not knowing the first thing about me or what was going on. Alcoholics love to bombard each other with meaningless and unsolicited advice. And in case you think I might be speaking about you, if you are a regular reader I am not. I have gotten rid of all but one of those readers.
I went to the public library last week for the first time in 15 years? Now instead of lots of good books, there are a few shelves of books and a huge bank of computers. There was a slight waft of body odor as I walked by. There were lots of backpacks and grimy clothes and people furiously pounding keyboards. I imagined a similar library, on the other side of our planet, with a poor, mentally ill person who doesn't even know his name, sitting in a library, pounding a keyboard, reading my blog, and sending me comment after comment after comment telling me I am going to hell.
The world has really changed. I participate in the changes I like. I like this blog, or at least I used to. But I don't like that someone half a world away can take my pictures and my writing and pervert it and blast it all over the place. I recently checked out all the links in the world to my blog. I was amazed to see that this person is high on the list of referrers to my blog. I was also amazed to see that there is a porn blog that has photos of porn, with my writing. Maybe our friend should target that blog instead of mine.
The blog of a 56 year old woman who is sober 24 years. The blog of a practicing Roman Catholic, and that is totally inappropriate to talk about here. The blog of a person who has a profession that I never talk about here. The blog of a mother, grandmother, aunt, sponsor, friend, and neighbor. Some of you do know me pretty well. Casual readers don't. This blog is only supposed to be a general blog about being a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I don't write specifically about my religion because of the traditions of AA. I don't write specifically about my politics because of the traditions of AA... etc., etc., etc.
I am crabby this morning. I will go to work and after work I will go get my hair colored and cut. And since the whole world now has this short bob, I think I shall change my 'do. I might get it cut short since I do that every couple of years.
This is a picture of me wearing my new head lamp. This morning I woke up and opposite of the way I normally operate, I was rushing to get out and run before it got light! Usually I am waiting for daylight, and waiting, and waiting.
Yesterday I wrote something I probably shouldn't have about someone I shouldn't be talking to or about. Sponsorship is a funny thing. It is one of the things about AA that critics find the most objectionable. It can appear to be a vulnerable person turning their will and life over to the care of another alcoholic. That would be a misuse of sponsorship.
I find that it is good to have a sponsor. It is good to have someone to talk to who knows me well, and has known me for a long time. My sponsor is not afraid to tell me when she thinks I am off base. She is very honest with me. I run ideas by her, because sometimes my judgment is not the best. Alcoholics are good at going off on tangents being convinced that we are right and justified. Sometimes we get in serious trouble doing this. Being honest with a sponsor can prevent this from happening.
And about time in sobriety: When I was sober for 4 years, a woman with 17 years of sobriety asked me to sponsor her. I was so flattered. I was honored! I was thrilled to be her sponsor! And my ego was inflated like you couldn't believe. After a short while, I realized that this was not a good deal. She was appearing to be very humble by asking a short timer to sponsor her, but what she was doing was being very manipulative. I would suggest things to her as her sponsor and she didn't pay much attention to it - she, after all, had so much more experience than I did. It was one of the creepier experiences I have had.
OK, I need to get ready for work and get out of here. Have a nice day everyone.
Yesterday I got sick again. This is getting OLD I tell you! Migraine with its attendant nausea. I got home from work and placed myself on the sofa and swathed myself in a wonderful hand-knit (by me) afghan and read a wonderful book on the Saints that my sponsor sent me. Then the phone started ringing.
Why do people call me when they know I am going to tell them off? I try so hard to bite my tongue, and then I try to say it with love, and then I try to at least say it softly... but it always sounds so hard to me.
But when a fellow sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous calls and asks me what they should be doing - am I supposed to candy coat that? My first question was: do you have a sponsor? I knew the answer was no, but I felt the question was still worthy. My next question was: why don't you get a sponsor? Well, this man has been sober for over 20 years and therefore knows more than anyone else.... hmmmm. I told him there were plenty of people who are sober longer than 20 years who could sponsor him. Well, he said he has history with all of them. Well. That does sound like a problem.
A problem of arrogance.
God help us when we think we have all the answers and have no more to learn.
God help us when we can no longer humble ourselves to people we may not like, but need to love.
We don't come to Alcoholics Anonymous to show off our great selves, but to humble ourselves to our problem. We share a common problem, and a common solution. COMMON. Not special. Common. Humble.
I happen to believe that is why we start our shares with "My name is Mary, I am an alcoholic." Plain old Mary. Plain old alcoholic. Not special. Not hyphenated. We are all on the same level. We share a problem and a solution.
Unless of course you don't need it. And if you are an alcoholic, God help you.