Friday, January 30, 2009

A Little Ray of Sunshine

Today at lunch (I am posting on Friday night), I had a text message exchange with my daughter - while sitting with her twin sister, dining on some yummmmmy pasta.  The above photo was from the restaurant.  I found out later the restaurant is a chain, so maybe some of you have seen a room like this at a restaurant near your very own home, but I liked it enough to take a photo.

So, my daughter has been going to AA meetings all week.  I have tried to just act like this is normal behavior and not get all wigged out about it.  But today was awesome.  She texted me this morning asking where a certain group was and if they had a noon meeting.  Now, I haven't been to that group since 1988 - so I didn't really know.  I looked it up online.  I texted my daughter the address and told her the noon meeting was at 12:00 (ha ha).  

At 12:15, she texted me "what does Big Ed look like?"  Oh, that just made me so happy.  When she told me she was going to that group, I was hoping that Ed would be there, but thought it was a long shot.  Ed was my boyfriend on and off for 10 years.  Ed has been sober since February 17, 1973.  I LOVE ED.  So, I wrote back that "he's big - in his late 60s now... is he there?"  

Then "Maybe, there is an older guy named ed.  He has glasses and a baseball cap on backwards."  

Me:  "That is him, I am sure."

Sweet Daughter:  "Ok, if I talk to him I will say hi for you, they called on me, so he probably knows who I am."

Sweet Daughter, 35 minutes later: "Ed says hi."

(I know that what we did was wrong, but I just couldn't help it.) 

So later in the day, my daughter called.  We talked.  My heart is bursting with joy.  She got to experience the same AA that I got sober in, and she loved it.  The same rough and tumble and no nonsense AA that I learned to love.  The topic of the meeting was "dealing with losses."  My dear old love and wonderful friend said "that's a bunch of shit, you guys didn't 'lose' anything, you GAVE it away."  She told me a few other choice tidbits Ed had to say and it made my heart so happy.  Mainly because she loved it too.  

So, by gum, it is NOT generational.  It is personal.  I don't think everyone has to love the rude old hard-asses that I credit for so much of what I learned in my early years in AA, but I am so very grateful that my daughter does.  I am grateful it is still there and that she did not decide to take offense at some rough language and hard core attitudes.  

I am really turning into a texting fool... after work, I texted my son and asked him if he is coming over to watch the Super Bowl... imagine this, he has a party to go to!  WHAT?  Instead of his mother's?  What is he thinking?  Anyway, I asked him if he could install a new ceiling fan in my bedroom.  He said he would do it tomorrow - so I had to rush out and get the fan for him to install.  It is pretty.  I think that is the last lighting fixture I wanted to replace in this house.  

I feel a glimmer of light in my soul.  This has been a pretty dark time - with the exception of my trip to Phoenix.  I know that I usually find this time of the year difficult.  This weekend is supposed to be nice.  AND I get my hair cut tomorrow!  Yippeee!  


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably have noticed that I am struggling with it lately.  It is kind of funny, because right now, I don't have any problems with anyone at work, or in my homegroup, or any other AA group.  I don't really have any problems with my family or friends.  

I spoke at a meeting on January 2.  A very old and very dear friend who has known me since I was newly sober introduced me.  He made a comment about my humility... he went on and on about all the "great" things I have done, and he said that if he didn't tell them they would never know because of my humility.  Well, to me, for me to even write that reeks of arrogance.  But I am trying to write about something important here... an inventory of sorts... so indulge me, thank you.

At work yesterday someone told me that I am running the hospital.  Well, I just thought that was ridiculous and I told her so.  But she went on to explain what she meant by that and I had to agree with the basic premise of her argument.  Now, I am not going to put my thumbs through my belt and waltz into work today with an attitude of a CEO, but I am going to think about how much work I am getting done and how very vital it is to the survival of my workplace.  It is not in my nature to do that.  

Last week two women at work who I dearly love (I used to despise one of them, oh the wonderful power of inventory, amends, and a loving God!) took me aside and told me what a great job I am doing and asked me to please give myself some credit for it.   Really, my first thought was "ick."  Am I turning into one of those "low self-esteem" attention seekers?  I find that type of behavior so very tiresome in others.  I see it as not so much low self-esteem as high self-centeredness... but maybe that's just me.  

So, I have this blog.  I started writing it (in 2005) for a specific reason and thought I would post a couple times and that would be the end of it.  But I got discovered and embraced by this wonderful sober blogging community.  It was one of the best things that has happened to me in my sobriety.  We had so much fun, it was fellowship at its finest.  The kind of fellowship that makes you grow.  Most of those people have stopped blogging, some are even drinking and using again.  I have three wonderful friendships that started here and I think will be lifelong... Pammie, Daave, and Scott W.  I just love these three.  

Sorry, I am beating around the bush here...  I have spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks trying to analyze why I no longer feel good about my blog.  One reason is  that I have written very nearly every day for over 3 years.  Almost everything there is to know about me is out there somewhere.  My blog has been found by people I had not intended to read my blog.  I have gone back and edited some stuff out.  But most of it is still there.   To me, this defeats the whole purpose of having a blog.  I think a blog is a great place to anonymously talk about stuff without the possibility of hurting someone else or impacting anyone who is "really" in your life.  So, that is one reason.

But I think the other reason is more character defect based.  In blogland, I feel that the whole thing has passed me by.  The old peeps are mostly gone, and I have grown tired of developing relationships with people who are likely to one day just disappear.  Really.  You go to their blog one day and it is gone.  Poof!  The End.  Keeping the links to other bloggers current is practically a full time job.  And if I go to your blog more than a couple of times and you haven't posted, I just stop going to your blog.  I am one of the busiest people I know... I don't have time to click through a whole list of people who blog irregularly.  The other thing is that in the blogging community, we have embraced a whole group of people who do not appear to me to be in recovery.  They are still exploring "different" ways.  They don't want to be told about AA by "AA nazis,"  they are loudly proclaiming that AA or Alanon are not the only ways.  OK, fine, but aren't we writing about our programs of recovery?  Isn't that what our blogs are about?  

I think it takes that energy to be a real blogger.  You have to visit the other blogs and comment.  And then they come by and comment.  And then you develop a relationship.  

So, what has this got to do with humility?  Well, I don't put my sobriety date on my header or sidebar.  I don't post my awards - which I should.  I don't tell you about all the offers I have had to post elsewhere. I don't tell you about the offers to even be paid to write about my sobriety.  I allowed another "recovery" site to post my stuff for a while, but realized it was a terrible idea.  I rescinded my permission for them to use my blog and after a while, they started using it again.  (note to self:  check Wellsphere today to make sure they haven't put it back again).   I feel like I have already talked about myself to death.   For some reason, I am wounded when someone drives by and drops condescending comments.  For some reason, I feel like they should surely know that I am somewhat familiar with our beautiful program since I have been practicing it for over 24 years.  But I don't tell the casual reader that, so how would they know... particularly on days when I am being a brat.  

My real target audience is the shaky and scared person sitting at their computer trying to figure out if AA is a place they can go.  I want them to know that if they are alcoholic, AA is the place to go for a solution.  Those people seldom comment, they occasionally e-mail and it makes my day.  I have the couple of friends who blog and we e-mail, and then the triumvirate of my blogging BFFs, Pammie, Daave, and Scott.  

I guess I am saying that I don't really feel like I am clear on my mission here.  Maybe I need to write a Mission Statement for my blog.  Maybe I need to take a break.  Maybe I need to turn off comments.  Maybe I just need to write for myself and not be looking for your response.  But I think it is all about sharing, the give and take.  

I know that I was a hopeless drunk.  I know that by the Grace of God, I found AA.  I know that I "worked" AA's program for a long time before I realized that all the "work" in the world could not produce what I had been so freely given by a Loving God.  It is my duty to turn around and share this gift with others.  That is why I don't like to talk about the "work" or the unbelievable (to me) number of sober years that I have been given.   I think if I were capable of producing this myself, I would have done so years before I reached the point of surrender that alcoholism can produce.  

But then, I do want to share the number of years with you all... it is so amazing to me that I have gotten to live this way for a decent percentage of my life.  I have realized that people frequently misunderstand what I mean when I talk about the "work" not producing the results.  You have to do it, there is no way around it, but then, please, don't try to take the credit for the results you get.  

Oh, sorry, nothing is working for me on this blog right now. I can't seem to put together a post that makes sense anymore.  I even went to confession on Saturday to talk about this blog and ask the priest some questions.  It wasn't my regular confessor, and I thought this man in a brown robe wouldn't understand what I was talking about when I talked about my blog.  Then later in the day, I checked him out and realized what a huge web presence he has... I am pretty sure he checked my blog too.  He gave me some very good counsel.  Maybe I should try using it!  

Thursday, January 29, 2009

penultimate workday this week

I woke this morning thinking it was Friday.  And payday.  It is not Friday, and it is not payday.  But it is not the last 2 days either.  I have a bunch of stuff to do today, but not on the order of the stuff I did in the last 2 days.  I am grateful to have the last couple of days behind me.  And I am grateful to be gainfully employed.  

You know, we in AA talk about sharing our own experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.   I think we stress that so much so that there isn't much to argue about when someone shares their very own experience, strength, and hope.  When someone veers into sharing their opinions or their ideas about what YOU should do, it tends to raise the hackles of alcoholics and the argument ensues.  I do, however, get kind of surprised when there is argument about my experience.  That just is weird to me.  

On a "social networking" site, my niece wrote that she was scanning REALLY OLD photos.  When I saw that, I thought "Oh, no."  And sure enough, a few minutes later, I was tagged in a photo of a very drunk me, 29 years ago, sitting with my year old twins on my lap, a bloody mary in front of me, it is broad daylight outside, and my brother is sitting behind me, lighting a cigarette.   When you stay sober for a couple of decades, the tangible evidence of your drunkenness doesn't often raise its ugly head.  That photo was like a very cold glass of water in the face.  Very sobering to see this drunken crazy woman, and the two little unhappy babies sitting on my lap, and the booze all around me.  (I did have cute Farrah Fawcett hair though.) I wrote something to my niece, and she responded that she thought I might hate that photo, but she has kept it for all these years because it is SO what those years were like.  Yes, it is.  (shudder)

Grateful that I am a sober woman today.  Thank You God!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday , in a hurry...

  • I'm chairing the 6:30 meeting this morning.
  • One of my dear sponsees is celebrating her 2nd AA birthday.
  • I am giving her a pair of socks I knitted while sitting in AA meetings.  She really admired those socks!  
  • I hope she wasn't just being polite, because I was going to keep those socks for myself.  
  • Yesterday at work they announced that we will have to take three days of furlough between now and June.
  • And five days of furlough next year.
  • And they are considering closing at least one unit.
  • My presentation went well, but that hardly sounds important in light of the serious problems.
  • I stayed late last night to finish the presentation I am giving today.
  • I couldn't get it done because people kept calling and coming by to ask me if I knew what was going on.  
  • Thank God I am good at talking to people when they are freaked out.  
  • I ALWAYS get them to laugh before we are through.
  • My assistant (I HATE it when others talk about "MY assistant") talked to me about her son's suicide attempt.  This on the heels of her daughter's "successful" suicide 2 years ago. 
  • It was a serious day yesterday - I hope that today is less so, but I am ready for it not to be.
No matter what, I am planning on staying sober today and I hope you all are too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Morning

These are my toes, sitting poolside, just 8 short days ago.  It sure was pleasant.

Now I am back in Colorado, it is -4º, and I need to go out and shovel the driveway.  

Later today, I need to be sitting in a conference room for 3 hours, and for at least half of which I will be on the "hotseat" giving my quarterly report.  I am trying to remember that most of those folks are trying to impress each other.  When people are in a conference room trying to impress each other they frequently posture and do really stupid things.  Sometimes I am a "victim" of this posturing.  They find one little detail on my report to pick at and "drill down" (I HATE that term).  They sometimes make suggestions about how to do this report better.  Then the next month, I bring the report with the suggested changes and the person who suggested them isn't there, the others pick on whatever changes were made and suggest that I change it back or in another way.  

I have been doing this quarterly for 7 years now.  That makes 28 times I have done this.  I used to buy a new suit each time.  Then I just started recycling suits - wearing them twice!  Today I don't even know if I am going to wear a suit.  I am so unimpressed with the ever changing cast of characters that makes my audience.  My boss and I are the only ones who have done this for more than a couple of years.  When they suggest that I compile or analyze my statistics in this way or that way, I can smile and think back to someone 4 or 5 regimes ago who wanted the same thing - or hated the same thing.   This regime is the worst though, I must say.  They are younger and therefore more full of themselves.  

So all I have to do is get through this 3 hours.  And then I can move on to the next thing - I have different quarterly reports that need to be presented tomorrow - that I have not yet even written!  

And thank God for my sober experience which tells me that it is all OK.  A little bit of criticism never really hurt me.  Puffed up people say all kinds of things when they are trying to impress someone.  It has nothing to do with me.  But I have to add - before I conclude that something has nothing to do with me, I check it out.  It is far to easy to say "it's not about me" and then absolve yourself of any responsibility.  I make sure my report is good, by running it by my boss, then a committee, and then my boss again.  And then I can sit through criticism without feeling terrible.  

I hope all who have come by today have a peaceful day   :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

4th Monday in January

Here are some cupcakes for the readers who broke their silence over the weekend to share kind words with me.  I appreciate you!  I thank you for letting me know.

Yesterday I had a house full of "kids" - these kids are mine and their friends.  They are in their late 20s and early 30s.  It is nice to have a house full of kids.  They are energetic and fun.  They are also hard working and respectful.  What fun it is to talk about politics with them!  

Mondays are my long days.  This monday is even longer.  I have a ton of stuff to do before I am ready to give my quarterly report to Governing Body tomorrow.  I meet with my boss today.  Today is my closing on my mortgage refinance.  And then Biblical School.  What a great day.  

Let's stay sober today, OK?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I work in a hospital.  A large part of my job is to look at the quality of the work of others.  In the last couple of years I have noticed something disconcerting - to put it mildly.  The work ethic of the younger health care providers is appalling.  I am afraid for what is going to happen in the next decade when the older people (like me) are all retired.  And I am really afraid about what it is going to be like by the time I expect to be ailing and in need of some serious health care.  

When feedback is given to the younger folks, the recent grads, the young, energetic, and smart ones... their attitude is nothing short of defiant.  They have "rights."  And they have no respect.  I realize I am speaking in broad generalities, but generally speaking, this is the case.  

So, what is the point?  The point is that I have absolutely had it with this blog.  And I think it is for some of the very same reasons.  The younger/newly sober/not sober people have no work ethic when it comes to being real AA members.  They are defiant.  They have "rights."  And they have no respect for anyone else.  

In the last couple of months I have been told that someone would "have to kill" me if she lived with me - WTF?  I don't recall asking anyone to live with me.  Someone today told me not to get my "panties all in a bunch :)"  cute.  

So, I try to stay above the fray.  There are a lot of strangers who happen along this blog in their search to find some info about AA and how to live sober.  I can share what it is like to be a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I can share 24 and a half years of sober experience. (Pammie wrote about sober experience today and got told that we "have to respect all experience." - Really?  I can "respect" all experience, but I don't want to learn how to be an active alcoholic, a convict, or a drug addict.  I don't want to learn how to be someone who is in crisis every day.  I have done that and I have learned from that, and I can share that with you if you would like, but if you are so full of yourself, you probably don't want to learn from someone else's experience.  And for me,  I would rather listen to those who have what I aspire to have.)  

If you want to be a "recovery blogger" shouldn't you at least be trying to recover from something?  What is your message?  Do you have one?

If you want to know what it is like to stay sober one day at a time for some years, I may be able to share that with you.  Not opinions.  Not book reviews.  Not the varieties of pharmacological solutions I have found.

I can tell you what it was like to get sober, and shaking and sweating it out in a house with my husband and three kids.  I can tell you what it was like to care for those children and maintain a household while I was shaking and sweating it out.  I couldn't afford "rehab," so I just went to AA and hung on with my fingernails and it started getting better.

I can tell you what it is like to get a divorce sober because your husband doesn't want you to be sober.  I can tell you what it is like to try to re-enter the workforce after 10 years as a housewife.  I can tell you what it is like to go to sleep at night not knowing where the next meal for you and your kids is coming from.  And you know what?  Back in those days, we DID NOT TAKE XANAX, OR VALIUM, OR SLEEPING PILLS, OR ANTIDEPRESSANTS.  Sorry to be politically incorrect, but we just didn't do that.  We were told we had to learn how to live without chemical intervention.  

I can tell you what it is like to pay a babysitter to get to an AA meeting, with money that was so dear it might have meant I wouldn't have lunch the next day.  And on the way to that meeting, I might have picked up a couple of drunks in worse shape than me - and I was grateful to be able to do it.  

I can tell you all about the day I lost the battle for the custody of my children and they went to live with their father.  I can describe for you what it was like to pack up their little clothes into suit cases, and how as my daughter said goodbye to me, she handed me her very favorite stuffed animal "love bug" and I still have that little bunny.  I can tell you what it is like to NOT DRINK, TAKE XANAX, OR VALIUM OR SLEEPING PILLS, OR ANTIDEPRESSANTS on that day - or any other.  

I can share with you what it was like to go back to college (full time) at the age of 43, while working full time, going to meetings, and being the GSR of my homegroup.  

I can tell you about suiting up my regalia and getting my Master of Science degree 7 years later.  I can tell you about my house being full of school people, work people, AA people, and family.  And there was no booze.  None.  And I didn't drink that day either.  

I can describe for you the sleepless nights while my son was in Iraq.  They were sleepless because I was worried and I didn't have booze or pills to rely on.  I had prayer and I had friends.  And I leaned on both of them.  

I can share with you what it is like to have a daughter who is a meth addict.  I can share what it is like to watch your daughter lose custody of her kids and the heartbreak that goes with that.  I can tell you what it was like for me this morning when she went to the 6:30 a.m. meeting with me.  

I will happily tell you about the half-marathon I ran last weekend and the awesome trip to Phoenix that went with it.  I can tell you about the tulips that are coming up in my yard and why that means so much to me.  I can tell you about the boxes of floor in my basement waiting for my sponsee to have time to install them (and I AM paying her to do that, in case you were wondering).  

I will be thrilled to tell you all about my sponsor who will be celebrating 36 years of sobriety in 2 weeks.  Continuous sobriety.  No breaks.  No xanax, or valium, sleeping pills, or antidepressants.   She has been kind enough to share her story with me (and many others).  Her story is a lot like mine.  She stayed sober through it all.  One day at a time.  I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for this woman who takes the time to share her life with me.  How gracious and how generous she is.  And she is facing newly sober people for the first time in her AA experience who have no interest in listening to an "old lady" like her.  Oh, if they only knew! 

The ego of youth!  Oh, you couldn't possibly understand ME!  Oh, the world has changed!  When someone tells me that I just laugh.  And when they hear my story they realize that nothing has changed.  Alcoholism has been alcoholism since Noah got drunk and passed out in his tent, and that has been quite a while ago now.

All experience may be created equal.  We all may have only today.  But I can choose in which direction I would like to move.  I can choose who I would care to emulate.  And I have no interest in emulating a person who can't stay sober for more than a year or two.  Sorry, but I just have no interest in living that way.  

If you are interested in my experience, I would be happy to share with you.  But could we just be a little bit respectful?  

Friday, January 23, 2009

Boxes of Floor

Last night my long-time sponsee came over and we measured the area that I want to replace crappy carpet with hardwood floors.  We then went to a store where I found a particularly good deal on bamboo flooring.  I purchased these boxes of floor and we (well, mostly her and very little me) loaded them into her truck, drove them here, and then loaded them in my basement.  Where they will sit for 3 weeks or a month until she can tear out my carpeting and install this beautiful flooring!  And while at the store, we had a hot dog, and after we loaded all the stuff in and out, we went out for dessert!  

And soon I will be able to complain about having my house all torn up.  We are doing the living room, dining room, stairs, kitchen, and hallway.   I am sure it will be an issue for me because I so cherish my home as my refuge.  But what a wonderful thing to have happen!  I have wanted to replace this crappy carpet since I moved into this house 7 and a half years ago.

I also cherish this relationship with this woman.  We are so different and yet we are so alike.  Our relationship has changed so much over the years.  Last night we were both complaining about other women we sponsor.  It is awfully nice to have someone to talk about these things with.  I can talk to my sponsor about it, and she can talk to me.  My sponsee can talk to me about it and I can talk to her.   I would never talk about these things outside of the precious bonds of the sponsorship relationship.   But within the sponsorship relationship?  we can talk about these things.  Thank God.  

To be part of the chain of this miracle of recovery is such an honor.  And a responsibility.  

Do you have a sponsor?  Do you sponsor anyone?  Have you worked the steps?  Have you helped someone else go through the steps?  These are the things that show we are members of AA and not merely spectators.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's late January

It's Thursday.
Januarys are hard where I work.
I have lots of quarterly reports to write and present.
I present several this afternoon.

I am extremely tired.
Races take a lot out of a person, no matter how great of an experience it is.
Usually by Wednesday or Thursday after a Sunday race, I am suffering from some transient depression.

Yesterday was one of my friend's birthday.
Today we are having a lunch.
I am bringing fig and goat cheese pizza which I will bake this morning.

I am feeling really grumpy about blogging.
I am grumpy about other things as well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No time to blog this morning...

Your Word is "Hope"

You see life as an opportunity for learning, growth, and bringing out the best in others.

No matter how bad things get, you always have at least a glimmer of optimism.

You are accepting and forgiving. You encourage those who have wronged you to turn over a new leaf.

And while there is a lot of ugliness in the world, you believe that almost no one is beyond redemption.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Primary Purpose

Is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Is that your group's primary purpose?

Do you understand what this means?

Our primary purpose is not to:
  • be nice to people when they are drunk
  • be nice to people when they "keep coming back!"
  • be nice to people who have no desire to stop drinking
  • be nice at all.
There are missions and shelters and other community services to "be nice" to people.  

AA is here to help people get sober.  Sometimes the things that people need to hear are not soft on the ears.  Sometimes it hurts like hell to stop the habits we acquired when we were living our own way - and therefore drunk.  But we have to or we will not recover.  

How nice is it to let someone sit in an AA meeting and not share our message with them?  Do we have a message?   I think that to be "kind" to someone who has no desire to get sober and welcome them with open arms and water down our message for them, is really cruel.  I think that to be "kind" to someone and fail to share with them that they need to do more than just attend meetings is cruel.  

If you want to quit drinking - AA is the place for you.
If you want to quit drinking - you not only need to go to meetings, but you need to get a sponsor and get to work.  

That's what I have to say today. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Great Race

I had the best time yesterday!  I just relaxed and enjoyed myself.  If the race would have ended at 11 miles, I would have had my best race ever.  But in the last 2 miles, I really suffered and lost my good momentum.  But I finished!  If you are ever considering running a marathon or half-marathon, this is the one to do.  The weather was fabulous - a little hot - it got up to 80º yesterday.  The course was fast and flat.  Although the race is huge, it is really well organized.  It was fun and friendly.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with huge blisters on the balls of both of my feet that make it nearly impossible to walk.  

I think I am going to go back to bed now.  

I am extremely grateful to have been able to come to sunny Arizona in January and meet up with some great folks and run a great race.  The hotel is nice.  It is just a nice, nice break from my life which was starting to feel like endless drudgery.  

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Getting Ready to Run!!!

Oh yay!  I am running a half-marathon today!  

Yesterday waiting for the plane, I realized that 90% of the passengers were runners.  Well, the excitement was infectious.  By the time I got to Phoenix (couldn't help using that phrase in this post), I still was not sure I was going to do the race.  I got on the light rail to go downtown for the expo.  Who got on the train and stood next to me?  An 85 year old man who was going to walk a full marathon.  26.2 miles.  On a fake knee.  85.  

Well, surely I can pull 13.1 miles out of this old body, no matter how sick I have been.   I am really OK now.  I will just bring a bandana to blow my nose into.  I have a headache this morning, but I am hopeful it will go away.  I will just go out to enjoy myself, enjoy the course, the bands, the other runners.  I am not going to set any personal records.  I will start out walking and may end up walking.  I may walk the whole thing.  If I want to - I will!  So there!

I am psyched about this race.  I have never participated in an event this big.  

The weather is beautiful.  It was 75º yesterday.  It is supposed t be 80º today - which is a bit hot for me, but I hope I will be done with the race before it reaches past the mid 70s.  

Some blogging peeps are picking me up this morning.  We went out for dinner last night and it was just marvelous.  We talked about how amazing it is to meet other bloggers.  If you have read their blogs for a little while, there are no surprises.  

I am in a pretty hotel, in a pretty city, doing a pretty thing with about 40,000 others.  

I don't need to tell you this would never happen if I was drinking - do I?

Let's stay sober today, OK?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Off to Sunny Arizona

Oh, I am so looking forward to being in 75º weather later today!  

I actually slept last night.  I actually feel half-way human this morning.  I am actually looking forward to going to the airport and hopping on a plane.  

Normally I get so anxious about flying it almost ruins any trip I take.  Maybe it is because it is the 4th trip I have taken in the last year and I at least feel like I know the drill... but I am not particularly anxious.  I know I love to get out to the airport before the sun comes up and the day feels new and wonderful...  like I got in on the day before anyone else.  

I am excited about having navigation on my new blackberry.  I will not have to feel lost in a city that I have visited only once...

20 years ago.  Me and my friend Tim (aka Big Sky Mack Daddy) went there and I so fell in love with the desert I wanted to move there.  He had to go take care of some business one afternoon and I hung out at the Mesa, Arizona Alano Club.  Well, some old guy was sitting there with me, and we struck up a conversation.  He had known Bill Wilson!  His sponsor had been Clarence Snyder (Home Brewmeister)!  What a wonderful afternoon that was.  

Sobriety has been very very good to me.

Friday, January 16, 2009

When in doubt...

Write a gratitude list:
  • Whether or not I run a race on Sunday, I am leaving tomorrow for Phoenix, Arizona
  • The weather forecast for Phoenix, Arizona for the next three days is Sunny and in the 70ºs
  • I have plenty of paid sick leave
  • I have friends who care about me and call to see how I am feeling
  • I get to go to an AA meeting this morning and meet a sponsee
  • I have a large soaking bathtub that is heavenly and hot
  • People at work care enough about me to send me home and even offer to drive when I look like I am about to keel over (yesterday)
  • After a nap, I got to go shopping for shoes because sometimes it is the only way to cope
  • A shoe salesman still flirts with me - even with my nose dripping and wearing yoga pants, a long tee shirt and a denim shirt over that
  • Sober life = good life      No Matter What Else Is Going On.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to my ex-husband

He got sober on January 15, 1981.  That makes him 28 years sober?  That means I met him 20 years ago?  oh my.  Time does have a way of flying, doesn't it?

20 years ago.... I was 4 and a half years sober.  I was in the locked ward of a local hospital.  I had never been locked up in any way before.  I had never even visited a psychiatric hospital.  And yet, there I was.  An attractive young woman, a fellow patient, asked me if I wanted to pray with her and I eagerly said "yes."  But as she started praying, I quickly saw the delusional, hyper-religiousness of her prayer.  It was so scary.  I had to ask staff to help me to get her away from me.  

When I got out of the hospital - nearly 2 weeks later - I had lots of time on my hands to go to meetings since I no longer had a job.  And I met a handsome, charming, intelligent, sober man.  He was visiting from Australia.   He had everything I ever wanted in a man - and I do mean everything.  

20 years later, I am a single woman.  I am grateful to have lived through the experience.  I am also grateful to be single. I am grateful to be able to walk into a grocery store and know that when I walk out I won't be told not to come back again.  I am grateful to pretty much know what my life is likely to be like today and tomorrow.  I am grateful that there are tulips in the ground that I have planted over the years and I will likely get to see them come up again in a few months.... right where I planted them.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm Alive!!!

I feel good enough to go to work today!  YAY!  

Yesterday afternoon, after having been in bed for the majority of four days, I just had to get up.  I drove to a nearby park and walked, very slowly, like an old person, around and took in the sights and sounds.  There were actually birds chirping!   The sounds of ice melting.  The intermittent sounds of people walking  by.  The sounds of the creek.  It is so nice to go back into the world after four days in bed.

I called a woman who has been my sponsee for many years.  I told her I was hungry and lonely, and she dropped everything and met me at one of our favorite restaurants.  It was good to eat something other than chicken soup.  

I still think I won't be able to run or even walk my race on Sunday.  But I will hope to keep getting better, who knows what will happen by Sunday?  

Regardless of what happens, I am grateful for my life today.  I am so glad I have a job to go to and friends who care about me there... and other places too!  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Silver Lining

I tried to think of one positive thing I could write about today and my toenails came to mind.  I painted them on Saturday when I had a rare burst of energy.  I bought the brightest color polish I could find in honor of my upcoming (and soon to be missed?) half-marathon.  So, although a couple of my toenails are horribly discolored from running and I am indeed about to lose one, they sure are pink, aren't they?  I have had a lot of time to look at them in the last 3 days that I have spent in bed.  

I am dressed for work and will wait until 7:30 when something will be posted to the internet to see if I need to go to work or not.  I am extremely hopeful that at 7:30 a.m. I will be able to take off my suit, put on my jammies, and go back to bed.  

I am sure I feel better than yesterday, but I am still not well - at all.  I even missed Biblical School last night.  I don't think it is very nice to go out in public when you are a regular snot factory.  

The half marathon on Sunday?  I have no idea how on earth I can be well enough by Sunday to do that, but I will keep praying and hope for the best.  I will go to Arizona anyway, because I want to see some palm trees - and I have already paid for the trip.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Instead of getting weller every day, I feel like I am getting sicker.  I have to go into work today to at least make an appearance and see what is happening.  With any luck, I will be able to come back home.  Without luck, I will have to stay all day.  

It is snowing.  Really hard.  I can barely see across the street for all the snow.  Getting to work and back could be a huge challenge.

If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for me.  Thank you.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Some Pointers...

Okay.  I am so sick today that I actually haven't eaten breakfast yet and nothing sounds good so I can't imagine that I am going to eat any time soon.  Now, for me, that is a symptom of some serious sickness.

I was going to write a post about pointers on how to be a sponsee, but I have gotten side-tracked by watching my favorite Sunday morning news show.  So, here is a pointer for the news media:  If you spend several years setting someone up to get elected and then they do, could you please continue to be nice to him?  He is going to be the President of the United States, let's cut him some slack, OK?  He has arguably one of the worst situations to come into, let's all get on board - especially those of you who wouldn't say anything negative about him a few short months ago.  OK?

Okay, now on to being a sponsee:

  • Your sponsor is a human being.  She sleeps, eats, breathes, and just wants to stay sober, just like you.
  • She is not paid, and does not receive any remuneration for the time and effort she spends on you.  She just works with others because it is part of the deal (and usually a joy).
  • If your sponsor tells you she goes to bed at 8:30 p.m., don't call every night at about 9:30 p.m., especially after you have been told this is not OK.
  • When you call, it is common courtesy to ask "how are you?" or "do you have a second to talk?" or somehow inquire as to the sponsor's condition before you launch into your problems/complaints.
  • If your sponsor suggests that you do something that is not immoral or illegal, don't shop around for differing opinions and then come back to your sponsor and tell her why you shouldn't do it... that, in my book, is the end of the sponsorship relationship.
  • Sponsorship is a principle, not a personality.  If you trust God, you trust God to put the right sponsor into your life... then you stop running the show and learn how to ask for and receive help.
Can anyone increase the list?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chicken Soup for the Body

I put a chicken in a pot this morning, in a little while I will take it out and cut it up.  I will cut up some parsley, celery, carrots, and onion and add them.  And after a little while longer, I will have a whole pot of chicken soup.  Which my body can use.

I am sick.

I have a race in 7 days.  I just need to get well before them.  I did discover that I cannot take sugar free zinc lozenges - bad for this person's stomach.  ewwwww.

I went to a meeting this morning and then met with a sponsee.  What a joy it is to crack open that big book and 12 and 12 and help someone with the steps.   Nothing short of miraculous.

I am going to get that soup going and get back to bed.  

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Morning

I have a cold and feel pretty miserable.  It is now 8 days until my half-marathon.  Am I going out and running this morning?  heck. no.

Scott wrote about affirmations this morning.  I remembered a boyfriend I once had.  I was sober 2 years, he was sober 15 minutes or something.  Every single morning he would sit down and write out affirmations.  I thought they were more like a wish list.  He would write out things he wished were the truth as if they were - and I guess PRESTO! they were supposed to come true. So here is my list of affirmations for today:
  • I am strong and ready for a half-marathon, even though I haven't trained adequately.
  • My cold will vanish into thin air!
  • Even though I frequently express opinions / ideas contrary to those others hold dear, EVERYONE loves me!
  • No one will notice or mind that I come to work late today!
  • I look ravishingly beautiful and young!
  • Age will have no impact on my beauty or fitness.
OK, sorry about that.  Here is the truth, point by point:
  • I AM strong, but not adequately trained for my race.  I will make necessary adjustments like walking part of the race.
  • My cold WILL eventually vanish, but probably not today.
  • More people than I could ever deserve love me.
  • People may notice that I come into late this morning, but they also noticed that the light in my office was the last one (or second to the last one) on last night as they went home.
  • I am NOT going to complain about how I look, because considering the life I have led, it is pretty awesome.
  • I am also not going to complain about my aging, because although I complain about not being ready for a half-marathon, I CAN do it, and for a 57 year old, that is A-OK.
I think this is called an attitude adjustment.  Without the second half though, it would just be a fantasy.  Fantasies might be good for movies or novels, but they will never work as the basis for a good life.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Doing my part...

To keep the economy going.  Seriously, I have NO impulse control when it comes to stuff I decide I want/need.  Probably no one ever needed a blackberry, but I am sure I do.  So I got one.  And I like it - a lot.  

I have a half-marathon in Phoenix, Arizona in 9 days.  I am not only poorly trained, but I feel a cold coming on.  This is not the way I planned it.  But I am sure it is just exactly the way it is supposed to be.

Let's all get along out there, OK?  There's no reason to be nasty to each other.  Besides, if you are working a program, you will later need to make amends to the person you would least like to -  if you aren't nice to them today.  

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Economy Changes Things...

Yesterday I presented something at a meeting at work.  One of my audience had a meltdown, started cussing and threw my hand-out across the table and called it "shit."  I guess some people can get enough of an education to put PhD behind their name, but not develop much in the way of vocabulary and interpersonal skills...  oh well.  After he was through with his outburst, I spent a few minutes explaining myself.  The chair of that committee later came to my office to check on me and told me I was "brilliant!"  That I didn't take on his affect, and that I had "put him in his place," and put things into perspective for those folks.  

I called the man's supervisor and complained about his behavior.  He makes a lot of money to be actin' like that.  There was another person at the meeting I thought was escalating as well.  Later someone put it into perspective for me... they are both worried about keeping their jobs.  Hmmm.  Somehow I don't think that going off in meetings is going to help their chances of keeping their jobs.  But I could always be wrong.

After I got home from work, I needed to go to my Homeowner's Association board meeting.  This month, the woman who irritated me last month with her arrogance had a whole new attitude.  It seems she lost her job about a month ago and has no idea how she is going to survive.  Her arrogance is gone.  She is no longer talking about taking a chain saw to other people's property (as she did last month).  

I thank God I have a program.  I thank God I have faith.  I thank God that I know that it will be OK no matter what happens.  

It's gettin' ugly out there.   But it doesn't have to be ugly in my heart.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


My ex-husband used to talk about people who want to "second-hand" sobriety.  Since he was from Australia, he had an odd way of putting things.  But after a while I understood what he meant.  I had a friend at the time who no longer attended AA meetings, but would talk to me - a lot - she wanted to get her AA second-hand through me.  She didn't actually want to do what it took to get what I had.  (She ended up drinking again, still is all these years later, and it is not pretty.)

Last night I met with a sponsee who is going through sponsor hell.  She has a sponsee who is being a second-hander.  She wants what my sponsee has, but is unwilling to do anything that my sponsee suggests that she does.  Myself?  I do not have time for people like that.  I suggest to my sponsee that she doesn't either.  Of course, it is her decision, but I think it is a waste of time, and the big book says the same, to waste our time on people who aren't ready.  

We can only share our own experience, strength, and hope with people.  We can show them how we recovered.  We cannot do it for them.  We can walk with them every step of the way, but we cannot carry them.  Or as they used to say in meetings "we carry the message, not the mess."  

My sponsee related something to me last night that she heard.  That the newcomer is the lifeblood of the program.  Blood alone is a mess, all over the road.  That the people with some sobriety, say 5 - 20 years, are the muscle of the program.  They do the work.  But blood with muscle is still an unstructured mess.  That the "old-timers", people with over 20 years of sobriety, are the bones of the program.  We provide it the framework on which to hang all that other stuff.  But alone, the bones would just be a skeleton.

I am afraid that these old-timers are getting old and frail and dying, and there is not enough muscle out there to become an effective framework.  The blood is not working on becoming the muscle.  They get told enough times that "the newcomer is the most important person in the room,"  maybe they don't want to give up that importance.   

I wasn't going to say this here, but I am just cranky enough this morning to say it... I think, for the first time in my experience in AA, that we are falling apart.  We don't know what our message is, and if we do, we are too lazy to carry it.  We are sitting around like baby birds, with our mouths open, waiting for someone to come along and feed us, and we never worry about spreading our wings and doing some work to get some food for our fellows and our babies.  We all want to be babies all the time.  It doesn't work.  

Talking about sunshine, rainbows, and puppies might sound happy and good.  But we are sick people who need a lot of serious work - getting down to the causes and conditions that got us to behave the ways we did.  This is a life threatening illness that kills thousands every day.  It is an illness that kills people who don't even have it!  

If you have realized how sick you are, and you are willing to do the work, you get incredible results.  Part of that is that you know that you have to pass it on to others, and so you do.  And then you feel compelled to "give back" by being part of the AA service structure.  It isn't pleasant, no.  But it is what you do - if you want to stay sober.  

It's a takes a lot of blood and muscle and bone.  It is gristly.  It is not happy rainbows every day.  

Monday, January 05, 2009

They expect me to work FIVE days this week?!?!?

What?  How am I going to do this?  

One day at a time.

I have new pants to wear to work today.  

I have new shoes.

I call them "scared flat."  

On Friday, I spoke with person in Dallas who has the same job as I do in a hospital there.  She told me about their recent experience with something that we are going to experience soon.  When she told me about the person from the regulatory agency running through the halls, and expecting others to follow, the first thing I thought of was my shoes.  There is no way on God's Green Earth that I can run around a hospital with 3 or 4 inch heels on.  

This is an exercise in ego deflation.  I hate wearing flat shoes.  I think they look dumpy and plain and old-ladyish.  But running in 4 inch heels sounds infinitely worse.  

Which reminds me of an e-mail I got this morning.  It could be a generic e-mail. I get one about once a month or 2 weeks.  I will paraphrase:

I love your blog.
You give me hope.
I can't stop drinking.
I can't go to AA because then people will know that I have a problem.

It reminds me of my friend who recently died.  He was a public figure who didn't want to be sitting with common drunks in a meeting of AA.  Instead his face and name were pictured on the TV news, newspapers, and internet.  "found dead.  struggled for years with alcoholism and personal problems."  Yeah, it would have been too embarrassing if he had come to AA and sat with a bunch of people who understand.  

So, I can thank God that I can sit in my chair in a meeting of AA and be grateful for it.
I can be grateful for whoever else has found a way to sit in their chair there.
And I will learn to be grateful for flat shoes.
We must adjust to what our reality is.  

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday Morning

It is a beautiful, crystal clear, bluish hued morning.  It is only 15º, there is a special quality to the air when it gets very cold.  

I am going to the gym to run on the treadmill this morning.  This is my last long run before the race in 2 weeks.  I feel utterly unprepared to run a half marathon in 2 weeks, but I will go and do my best.  I did manage to run 10 miles last Sunday.  

Yesterday was a day full of AA fellowship.  I went to my morning meeting and then stood outside for a long time talking with a man I have known since he got sober - which was in 1999.  We talked about the group and some of the things that have happened, recently and not so recently.  It was good to talk with him.  It was good to talk to someone about why I left the group and why I came back.  It is good that he actually cares.

Last night I went to the monthly soiree´ of the group.  I haven't been to one since August.  It was so good to be there.  

I better get ready to get to the gym.  I can't believe I have the courage to face the gym on January 4.  There will be so many people there.  I am sure the earlier I get there, the less crowded it will be.

Have a good and sober Sunday everyone, OK?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

But what if I were a newcomer?

I read the Grapevine and this seems to be a familiar refrain.  Yeah, I can handle it, because I am sober SO long and a spiritual giant, but What If I Were a Newcomer?  And usually the answer is I would have left the meeting or hung up the phone or walked away and Never Come Back.  

I am so fortunate that I had every bad experience known to mankind when I came into AA.  And I never thought about leaving.  I didn't want to drink.  I had tried getting sober on my own, to no avail.  I knew I needed AA.  So, I persevered and found  better/healthier - groups/people/places/things.  

I believe that God not only takes care of us when we are drunks, and then kindly guides us to the doors of AA, but that he also walks in with us and takes care of us as we try to get sober.  I have left meetings with newcomers and found that they have been at the same meeting that I was just in, but had an entirely different experience.  I have found in AA that for every person sitting in a meeting, every person will take away something different.  

If you are done drinking, you will find a way to stay sober in AA.  If you are looking for an excuse to get drunk, anything will do.  

Yesterday I had a wonderful experience speaking at a meeting I had never been to before.  It was a lovely group.  I was greeted in the parking lot, I was greeted in the meeting room, I was treated kindly - just like I was a newcomer - because they didn't know me from Adam - until I started talking, and then every alcoholic in the room knew me on a cellular level!  It was nice.   My message isn't always easy to take if you are new in AA.  My story isn't really pretty.  It gets nice looking later on, but it starts kind of bad and stays that way for a long time.

After I was done talking, some guy shared - I am not real sure what he was saying, but he did say "if they told me that when I was a newcomer, I would have run the other way."   I don't know if he was responding to something I said or not... and I don't care.  After the meeting, I felt like a movie star with people flocking around - and this is something I am very very uncomfortable with.  It is my story, it is not something I made up creatively. It is not something that displays talent or work.  It is a story about the grace of God doing something for me that I could absolutely not do for myself.  It was nice that they liked me, but there is something creepy about being praised for telling your story.  And that is why, at a roundup or convention, or other AA event, as everyone else stands to give the speaker a standing ovation, I remain firmly in my seat.  Why on earth would you give an alcoholic a standing O?  It is ego feeding and just wrong!

My story is my story.  I do not try to make it sound good to impress anyone.  I do not try to make it sound bad to impress anyone.  I love to tell it to remind myself of where I have been in this life, because I do forget.  

I thank God for His many graces.  Without them we would all be dead.  

"The power of God goes deep."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 114

Friday, January 02, 2009

Off and Running

I am speaking at a meeting about 20 miles from here - at 6:45 a.m.  So I need to kick it into gear and get out of here.  

We had such a beautiful day yesterday.  It is such a joy to see my son sitting with my nephews and talking.  It is such a joy to watch my daughter laugh with my nephews' wives.  It is such a joy to watch my granddaughter play with her new "friends" - those being second cousins.  I love it when I can step aside and just watch so many people I love - right in my own house!  What a great way to start a year.  

So now I will go get ready to speak at a meeting.  I have said "no" every time asked for the last almost 2 years.  Never used to say "no," but I felt it was time.  

There is a wonderful thing in AA called the Principal of Rotation.  We are not supposed to keep doing the same thing year after year in AA.  We are supposed to change and grow.  And as we move through our roles, we open these roles for others to fill, thereby allowing them to grow and change.  We trust God that he will put the right people in the right places.  And if we ever say, as we are all tempted to, "I HAVE to keep doing this, there is no one else to do it!" we are operating in self-will and not allowing someone else to step up and do it.  

OK, that's it.  I am going to take a bath!

Have a great second day of a new and beautiful year.  

"When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands were better than anything we could have planned."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 100

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Dawning of a New Year

I was sitting in an AA meeting this morning as the sun rose on a new day in a new year.  I am so very grateful to be sober and clean and happy.  I am so grateful that I am no longer looking for a person, place, or thing to provide my happiness... it comes from God.  Unearned, undeserved.  It is a gift.  And I am so grateful.

Today two of my nephews and their wives and families will come over.  2/3 of my children will be here.  1/2 of my grandchildren will be here.  It will be a glorious day.  There is food everywhere.  I am about to roll up my sleeves and put together two apple pies, and while they are baking, I will go for a quick run.  

This morning in the announcements at the meeting, the chair asked if I am coming to night watch on Saturday - I said yes.  He then asked if I am baking a pie, and I said yes.  That just makes me so happy.

And happy to be sitting with people who were experiencing their first sober New Years morning.  And others who were experiencing their first 6:30 a.m. meeting on New Years Day - which is an experience not to be missed.  I know this is my 25th sober New Years Day.  I am not sure if I have been at an AA meeting every single morning of those New Years Days, but I am sure it has been a high percentage of them.  

Thank you sober blogging people.  I am so grateful to be part of this wonderful fellowship, whether face to face or online.  XXXXXXOOOOOOOOO, MC

"While our literature has preserved the integrity of the AA message, sweeping changes in society as a whole are reflected in new customs and practices within the Fellowship. Taking advantage of technological advances, for example, AA members with computers can participate in meetings online, sharing with fellow alcoholics across the country or around the world.  In any meeting, anywhere, AAs share experience, strength, and hope with each other, in order to stay sober and help other alcoholics.  Modem-to-modem or face-to-face, AAs speak the language of the heart in all its power and simplicity."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. xxiv