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?  


Scott W said...

I am a newcomer and I still have much to learn. I will never learn it all, but I will do my best to do the work so I can leave this world sober.

And I count on people to tell it like it is.

Anonymous said...

I am a newcomer also and I respect you, your story, whatever age you maybe. I am here to eagerly read whatever you put before us. I DON'T know it all, and don't pretend that I do.

I am 50, working full time, taking two college courses this semester towards my Associate's, and I am the GSR of my homegroup.


Mary Christine said...

Oh Willa, I am always so happy to hear from you. God bless you.

I don't know it all either.

SerenitySeeker said...

I have been following your blog for a couple of years now. Needless to say I can really relate. My story is a bit like yours, especially the sober divorce. Three years sober and found myself on the street. Joint custody meant nothing when you show up for visitation and the kids aren't there to pick up for the weekend. Thankfully when they grew up a little they realized I wasn't the jerk their Mom was making me out to be and they came and lived with me. That was a long time ago and I got through it a day at a time by surrounding myself with people like you. I can gratefully say that I haven't had the need to drink since 10/28/89. I still have the same sponsor who walked me through the steps and told me what I needed to hear not what I wanted to hear. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, strength and hope.
God Bless,

wendy said...

I'm definitely still a newcomer and have been reading your blog since before I went to my first AA meeting. I have more respect for you than I can express because everything you write is full of honesty. Once upon a time I may have thought I had all the answers, but I know now that is not the case. I'm so grateful there are people who came before me, like my sponsor, to help me through difficult and confusing situations.

Mary, thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope each day with the blogging community.

spastic in dallas said...

it sounds like you're in some pain right now. i hope that lessens for you soon.

Mark said...

Love it! Absolutely love it!!!

Sadly, I believe some of us also know what the inevitability remains. That hasn't changed either.

Alcoholism continues to kill. Rights or no rights.

Thanks again for speaking the truth MC.

Pam said...

my sweet mary.

Kim said...

I am a 54-year-old Grandma sober 20 months who reads this blog faithfully and respects everything you have to say. We need you! Thank you for all the wisdom you have shared.

Findon said...

Well there you go. There is more than one of us!!!!
Brilliant post and very, very true. Do you know, I have ofetn said we, that's people who believe in the same things you posted about, need to stand up and be counted. I keep saying over and over again to the people you describe, " look, there's no chapter in the Big Book that is entitled, " how to live of benefits and chemical dependancy". There IS achapter called " To the employer". Now doesn't that tell you something" Great post Mary, great philosophy..... listen to that.... Doing the right thing, is now a philosophy..... I look at it this way. I wouldn't want to live their kind of life. But it does anger me when they demand that living their way be given equal rights as someone trying to do the right thing. Keep posting for me and take care.

dAAve said...

Unfortunately, it's my generation that has raised these 20-30 year-old kids, many of whom seemingly have little or no respect for their elders. It's a changing world (in many respects) and it will be interesting to see what it's like in 20-40 years.
But I'm pretty sure that a drunk will always be a drunk. I hope AA will still be around to help those who want to help themselves. We can do our part by staying sober and carrying the message.
Thanks MC.

Kathy Lynne said...

oh geesh! I hope my "panties in a bunch" comment, (meant to be a loving attempt at humor) didn't imply to you that I, in any way, shape or form, did not hold you and what you share here in the highest regard. Because I do..I deeply respect and have learned and continue to learn so much about AA and how to get sober right here on your blog and will be forever grateful.

Then again, this could have absolutely nothing to do with me. It usually doesn't.

Catholic Convert said...

God love you!!!

I've never been here before but great post.

Peace be with you!

J-Online said...

I appreciate your honesty and every sigle post and word you put on this blog. I am a newcomer and read your blog long before I got sober.

As far as the anti-depressents go.....I know I would be dead today without them. Mental illness is just as real as alcoholism and needs to be treated at times with medicine. That's just my experience. God Bless, Jenn

Anonymous said...

Mary, I do not always comment, but I stop by every day. I always take something with me from your posts.
Please continue to carry the message.

Banana Girl said...

MC, whatever you do, do not lose this pure voice and purpose you share so brilliantly and so honestly. You solved a puzzle for me just by sharing this. I will explain that later in a separate private note. Talk to you soon. j.

Lou said...

Sorry I upset you with my comment on Pams. What you were saying about lack of respect in younger people, that was what I meant when I said "experience should be respected". I was not talking specifically about AA. I was trying to make the observation that the under 30 group does not take kindly to advice on the way things used to be done.
Unfortunately, comments can sound all wrong. I don't know about AA experience, I hope I have not come across as pretending to.

Syd said...

MC, I appreciate what you write. I know that you share honestly and with concern for a program that has saved many lives. If ego still drives those who have no respect, then it will soon drive them to drink again I think. I hope that I'm wrong....

Also, I have read that about 50% of alcoholics are bi-polar or depressed. And based on the deep depression that my mother had, I know that drugs were necessary to save her life. I think that mental illness is also a brain disease. And as such needs to be treated. Just speaking from my experience with the horrors of depression.

Thanks for all that you write.

steveroni said...

Well, darn it, Mary--I just didn't get to read much over the weekend. But those cupcakes..well, i gotta comment, because I love cupcakes that look like those, and I love--almost--everything you have written here since July '08 (and before that!)

Woman, you are sent by God, believe me! And I don't care WHAT you think about that.

Steve E.