Saturday, February 28, 2009


Mike C. was asked to read something this morning at the meeting and he started his reading with the shortest sentence in the big book:

"Nonsense."  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 98

He read more than that.  But I just want to say "nonsense" and act like I am quoting the big book when I do.

I feel I have said everything I ever had to say here.  I feel like I spouted off my opinions about stuff.  I have shared my experience, strength, and hope.  I have shared my flowers, my home, my family, my runs, my races, my romances (before I learned not to), my life, my sobriety.  I have told you what I thought of my cherished meetings, my cherished traditions, my cherished memories of a life largely spent in Alcoholics Anonymous.  

I have at times felt that I have been casting my pearls before swine.  And at times like I have been so honored to become part of your lives.  

Right now I am just tired of it.  

I will likely be back tomorrow or Monday and get right back to it, but I am just tired of all this writing.

And I am truly not attention seeking.  I have so few regular readers at this point that I really don't think it would matter if I stop.  But I probably won't anyway.

Let's all stay sober today, OK?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Workin' it

In the AA groups I go to, we end meetings usually with the Lord's Prayer (thank God) and then the room erupts in "Keep Coming Back - It Works! IF you Work It!"  And then some really enthusiastic folks will add their own little ditty just to show us all how smart they are "it sucks if you don't," or "so WORK it cuz you're worth it!"  

It just irritates me to no end.  We used to say "Keep coming back - it works."  Then the self-will part got added.  As If! I could "work" myself sober!  Think about that!  

"a.  That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
 b.  That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
 c.   That God could and would if He were sought."  -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 60

Beyond human aid.  That is what we are.  That includes our very own aid.  It includes our "working" to get and keep ourselves sober.  

"We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves."  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 45

When an alcoholic is done drinking and has hit their very own personal bottom, they have a pretty good concept that they are bankrupt as human beings.  Not necessarily financially, although that certainly may be the case, but bankrupt in the things that make a human being viable and worthwhile.  Bankrupt physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  How would you "work" yourself out of that condition?  You can't.

God can change me, I cannot change me.  

I ask God for help and then put my trust in Him.  He led me into the rooms of AA where the people have helped me.  I have had a series of good (and bad) sponsors who have helped me to go through the steps.  I have been taught that I need to pass that on.  I have been blessed with women who have asked me to help them with the steps.  I have been blessed to have beautiful relationships with my sponsor and sponsees.  It is truly a beautiful thing.

But I could not create it.  And I propose no alcoholic could create this life we are freely given.  I need to cooperate with the gift that has been given to me.  It needs some care and feeding and that is what I do when I go to meetings, read the big book, work with others, and pass it on. 

So each day I have this gift of sobriety.  I can be grateful for the gift and care for it and try to pass it on to others, I think that is the proper response.  I don't think that being boastful and arrogant about it is what is called for.  I also don't think it is appropriate to take credit for all of the "work" I have done.  It is a mere nothing in comparison with the life I have been given.  

My feeling is that there are a bunch of people sitting in AA meetings who have been forced to go there by a court, or a professional organization, or a family.  They have not reached their very own bottom (no matter how high or low or pink or green) and will be unable to get this stuff to take the 12 inch trip from their heads to their hearts.  

If you are an alcoholic who has had enough to drink, it is not hard for you to comprehend that you cannot fix yourself, no matter how hard you work.  I am so grateful for the love of a merciful God who picked me up and gently brought me back to health.  And I could "work" for the rest of my life and never earn that love.  

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Off to a meeting...

at 6:30 a.m.  I am very tired from waking up very early for very many days.  

My floors are looking gorgeous.  I had no idea how pretty they would be and what a difference this would make in my house.  Last night my sponsee was admiring them and said the house now looks "organic."  She said that now it looks like it is "truly Mary's house."  I thought that was such a nice thing for her to say.  

The energy in my house feels a bit disturbed though.  I think it is going to be very very good once it all settles down.  

Gotta get going to the meeting.  I hope you all have a lovely sober day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is the beginning of Lent.  It is the 46 days before Easter (the six Sundays do not count in the '40 day' equation).   I am going to mass this morning at 6:30.   This year I am giving up beef for lent.  Anyone who has even shared a meal with me probably knows what a big deal this is.  One of my daughters is strongly cautioning me against it, but I don't think she understands the concept of lent.  It is not about giving up something superfluous that is bad for us.  It is about self-denial.  I think I can live without my favorite food for 46 days.  

I am utterly and completely exhausted.  I think this is my 6th day of being up at 4:30 a.m.  I need a good sleep.  

Yesterday my neighbors dropped in after I got home from work to see the progress on the floors.  It is really a beautiful thing.  The floors are beautiful.  My sponsee and friend J. is beautiful.  My neighbors are beautiful.  It is so nice to be a part of a community.  (Until it is time to go to the monthly HOA meeting - which I did later.  I think it is really time to quit that, even without fulfilling my 2 year commitment.  I am 5 months short.)

Let's all stay sober today, OK?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Driving Along Last Night...

And I saw this... a little church in a questionable part of town... all lit up with the Love of God!  I had to stop and take a picture.  

When I got home from work last night I was thrilled to see that the carpet had been torn out of the living room, dining room, hallway, and stairs.  I tell you, even the bare sub-flooring looks better than that carpet did!   The acoustics of my house are entirely different.  In fact, it was slightly unsettling as I was trying to go to sleep last night.  My house just sounds and feels different.  I am thrilled with the progress.  

I was also thrilled to see my daughter working with my sponsee (she is helping her with this project).   Seeing two people you love get to know each other is just so heartwarming.  My sponsee said that she is actually a good worker, which we weren't really expecting because of the physical state she is in due to years of alcoholism and drug addiction.  And then to see that my daughter said at 5:30 - "I have to go to my 6:00 meeting."  Her meetings have become an integral part of her life, something I never thought I would live to see.  I drove her to her meeting, and then drove myself to Biblical School... and it was a great night.

I have another long day ahead.  But this morning when I prayed, I thanked God for this day and all that it may bring.  And I mean it.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Morning

My carpet is getting torn out today.  My kids wonderfully helped me move stuff.  It is amazing how light things get when moved by more than 2 hands.  And absolutely weightless (to me) when moved by my son and daughter!  My desk is now in my bedroom.  Although it is somewhat cramped, it is an improvement over a table that ended up being WAY too easy to throw things on.  And dust liked it there too.  

I have spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about the Four Absolutes.  They were part of the earliest AA program, before the big book and steps.  They were still around enough for me to hear about (from an old guy) when I was sober a year or two.  It sounded at the time like it was far too difficult to strive for
 - absolute honesty
 - absolute purity
 - absolute unselfishness
 - absolute love.
At this point I love the concept of "absolutes."  Not relatives.  Not kind of.  Not "it's all good!"  But real and firm absolutes.  

I am no AA historian, and I have never mistaken AA for an academic exercise, but I have learned about AA and I do like to think.  And I think if I measured my days by these absolutes, my behavior might start to live up to them.  (A simple google search will net you tons of information about "the Four Absolutes" if you are interested.)

I better get behavin' into this day.  It is going to be a long one.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thanks Syd.

What a wonderful thing to get in the mail yesterday!  A collection of coastal things that Syd lovingly put together and mailed to me.  My daughter was dumbstruck when she saw it.  She said "Who's this guy?"  I told her that Syd is a blogger.  

Later as we were watching a movie together, her phone kept beeping with text messages.  (She has a setting for her phone called 'work' that she uses when she is with me because I find all the different songs blasting incessantly to be very distracting.)  I said something like "I think the only person who has called me in the last 24 hours is YOU."  She said "You are an internet person."  Well, that is true.  

The race was awesome yesterday.  It was a cold winter morning, snow had fallen through the night, so all the landscape was covered in white.   The sun was high in the winter sky, illuminating the snow.  It was glorious.  I so didn't want to finish last that I ran the fastest pace I have run in probably 5 years.  I even had negative splits.  It was a good experience.  

And now I am off to church.  I will come home and cook up a big lunch for the family.  Then I will get them to help me move furniture out of my living area and cram it into bedrooms.  My life is about to be disrupted by home improvements.  I have sworn I will not complain about it, but I bet I will.  But I must remember this is a higher class of problems than I had when I was drinking and waking up worrying about what I did last night.  

Saturday, February 21, 2009

2 º

It is two degrees outside.  I registered for a 5 mile race this morning when the weather forecast for today said it was getting up to 60º.  If it gets to be over 20º by race time, I will go.  But I will hold fast to my 20º rule.  I don't run outdoors when it is under 20.  I don't care if it did cost $30. to register for the race!

My daughter will join me at the 6:30 meeting this morning.  How very lovely.  I could use a meeting.

I also have to not watch CNN or any "news" purveyor anymore.  Between the story of the chimp biting off the face of a woman, and the woman in Iran whose boyfriend blinded her with sulphuric acid...  The sentence from a supposedly rational court in Iran?  They are burning his eyes out in retribution.  And we are supposed to believe that all "cultures" are equal and we should respect them?  Yeah, I don't think so.  

And I know I just crossed the line with that remark.  I am a human being.  A fully fallible human being who does not speak for AA.  Just myself.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

Packing Boxes

Last night I started packing up boxes, so that I can have my living room, dining room, hallway, and kitchen (and stairs) ready for new floor installation next week.  For someone who used to move every six months to 2 years - without fail, I know how to pack boxes and move.  But when I started folding the boxes, taping them up, and then taking my beloved objects, the things that are the backdrop for my life, and putting them into boxes, and sealing them up with that final rrrrrrriiiiiiiippppp sound of the tape.... well, it freaked me out.

I told my daughter "I don't want to move!"  She had to tell me, "you're not moving Mom."  

I have lived here since September 2001.  I had very mixed feelings about this house for a number of years.  It really cost too much when I moved in.  My mortgage payment killed me for a couple of years.  (But I paid it anyway, and cut corners elsewhere - so, No Bailout For Me!)  It has only been in the last 4 or 5 years that I have been financially able to do the things I have wanted to do with the house.  I have wanted to put in wood floors since I moved in, and now I am going to be able to.  I am thrilled with this.

But the practical aspect of packing up my stuff?  It is freaking me out.  It feels like setback for some reason.  And in nearly 7 and a half years, I have got some "stuff."  And it needs to go.

A literal housecleaning I guess.   And that is probably good.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Run, Mary, Run

I have been running lately.  It is good.  I just got in from a sunrise run.  I am going to be in a five mile race on Saturday.  I am excited to run such a short race.  It has been years since I have run a race less than 13.1 miles... well, other than triathlons.

So, here is where I wanted to run this morning:
And here is where I ran instead:

I would much prefer trail running.  But two women with huge dogs decided that would be a good place for their horse-like dogs to frolic, unrestrained by human devices of control such as leashes.   So I ran up the new subdivision sidewalk, past the netted hay, holding down the grass seed.  And as I ran back down, the women had left the trail where I wanted to run and were heading up the sidewalk.  Their dogs growled at me.  I growled back, with my pepper spray in my hand.

Dogs and rapists.  Once you have been attacked by either, your life changes.  Things that seem innocuous to others suddenly seem ominous to you.  It is a lifetime's work to live as normally as you can.  

Cell phones and pepper spray.  These are the things that enable me to leave the house and run in remote areas, all by myself.  Probably these things are just props and would be of little use if something actually happened, but they make me feel better.

And a loving God who takes care of me in spite of me.

Most alcoholics have had very interesting lives.  The fact that we are alive to talk about them is an incredible testimony to the power of God.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Running late

I am supposed to be meeting a sponsee at 6:30 at a meeting.  I just woke up.  I am still in my jammies.  I better kick it into gear and go meet her.  She has a tendency to be late to meetings - which I have talked to her about.  And today?  guess who is going to be late to the meeting...that would be me.

I guess today is the day I find out that all the money I lost last year is restored and there will no longer be worries about losing my job!  Yippeee!  Oh, that money is not coming to me?  Or anyone I know?  dang!

Yesterday I took a certificate for one of my credentials out of its frame to put the little sticker that says I am credentialed for 2 more years.  As I took it out, I saw the one behind it.  I used the frame for it for the newer credential when I got it 7 years ago.  But I took out the old one and looked at it.  I started crying!  I worked so hard for that credential.  It required a specific bachelor's degree and specific training.  It required a day long test which was very difficult (and on which I got the highest score in the state  - shhhh!)  It was my life's dream even when I thought it was impossible for me to go back to school.  

So I got on the internet and found a nice new frame for it.  And I ordered a matching frame for the other credential.  So, soon they shall sit side by side on my office wall.  It is just silly for me to hide the one that was such a major life event!  It is pretty too.  

I don't do a very good job of thanking God for what I have if I am hiding it!

Thank you God for the incredible blessings.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New kicks

I got some new running shoes over the weekend.  They are a full size larger than the shoes I normally wear, but they seem to fit just right when I am running.  Back to running I am.  I took almost a month off because of severe blisters resulting from my last half marathon in January - and a few months before that I just wasn't running enough.  Running improves my mental status tremendously.  

But this morning I have to leave for work at 6:30, so no running for me.  I am happy to be getting back to work.  Four days of me rolling around this house are quite enough.  Besides, my back hurts from the work I did at home.  I could use a day at my desk.  Although it could end up being a day when I am on my feet all day - I never really know.

Whatever it brings, I am grateful for it.  Grateful for another day.  Grateful to be gainfully employed.  Grateful to have work I actually like.  Grateful that my work is important to my organization.  Grateful that I will go out for lunch today.  Grateful that I get to come home from work after a long day.  Hopeful that American Idol is on tonight instead of anything that may pre-empt it.  Hopeful that you have a grateful sober day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Day

That's a picture of my new curtain rod and sheers in one bedroom (my office).  The linen drapes are on back order and I should get them by the middle of this week.  Today I am packing up the many books in bookcases in my living room and dining room so that it will be easy to move the furniture out when I get my new floors installed next week.  I am so excited about these improvements I am making to my home.  

I went to the 6:30 meeting this morning.  Once again the tone was weird - lots of complaining about ex-wives, bosses, etc.  I looked around the room and realized that the ratio of new folks to longer term sober folks is pretty high.  Traditionally that group has been mostly people with lots of years of sobriety, with a few newcomers sprinkled in.  They were well-supported, sponsored, and mentored.  I think the group is so overrun with newcomers right now that they are not getting the full attention the group would normally give them.  I have faith that this will balance back out.  And that it will be kind of weird until that happens.

I have lots of work to do today.  Very exciting happy work to do.  What a blessing it is to live a sober life.  

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Miscellanea

Yesterday I had time to really look at the drapes in my two upstairs bedrooms.  I loved them at one time.  I have even written about them.  I loved the velvet drapes and the lace curtains.  But I have grown tired of looking at them.  They have grown tired of sitting on my window.  They have come to look very tired. Even the rods looked tired of holding those heavy velvet drapes year after year.  So yesterday I made the decision to do what I originally planned for this year.  No BIG vacation, just lots of home improvements.  I thought I was starting with my new floors, they are purchased and sitting downstairs, but I am waiting for my sponsee to have time to install them.  (and she just called while I am writing this - she is in New Mexico and will be available the week of the 23rd - yahoo!)  Instead first I will have my new beautiful linen drapes with voile sheers.  The drapes are on back order, but I have the rods and sheers.  I installed them in one bedroom - it looks so pretty.  I *heart* Pottery Barn.

About yesterday's post.  I actually attended a meeting yesterday morning that was all about how awful it is to do any step work, how mean sponsors are, how even though they don't want to, they are "sharing" because their sponsor told them to, etc.  It was revolting.  Sorry, but I just found it revolting.  If that is all the gratitude you have for your sobriety, maybe you need to drink some more.  

Update on my daughters:

The long lost daughter is found.  It has been a major earthquake in my psyche.  I am learning about my grandchildren, two of whom are addicts - imagine!  We have been e-mailing back and forth, it is wonderful.  She is intelligent and challenging.  I am thrilled to be in contact with her, but there is a quality of questioning the things I hold dear, which I am not used to dealing with.  It coincides with a weekend retreat focusing on Catholic Apologetics coming up this month.  I may very well spend the two days retreating and learning more about my faith so that I can be articulate about it.  It comes up more and more as I become more and more open about my faith, so I need to be ready to address the questions that will inevitably arise.   I am fairly articulate about AA, but I need to learn more about other areas of my life.  But I digress... my daughter - what a thrill it is to pick up the phone and call her.  She calls me Mom.  She ends each conversation by saying "love you."  It is very nice.  Very nice.  Did I ever tell you all that her name is Mary?  I named her Mary Catherine after a nun at the unwed mothers' home where I spent my pregnancy.  Her adoptive parents kept the Mary, but changed the middle name.  

My "trouble" daughter, who I love with all of my heart, is sober.  She has a homegroup - on the other side of town where I got sober.  She is attending meetings every day with a man who is sober 36 years and was my boyfriend for 10 years.  She tells me about the people she sees who tell her to say hi to me.  Because they have been around that long.  Oh thank God!  She refuses to count how many days or months because she has done this so many times.   (She had over 2 years of clean and sober time at one time, and has had years of time off meth when she drank like an uncontrolled maniac - which on her is actually worse.  It always cracked me up when people would say 'at least she isn't using drugs,' it indicated to me that they had never seen alcoholism up close and personal.)  I hope that some day she will get some faith in the process and claim her time, but she is not there yet.  

I have been very good about staying out of her business until yesterday.  She is hanging out with a man from my home group.  She spent the night with him on Friday night.  On Saturday morning I ran into him at my meeting.  He was freaked out about seeing me.  It was really awkward.  So he blustered about how he slept on the couch (WHATEVER!) and how he was taking M. to a meeting on Thursday where he thought she could find a sponsor.

And then he said "X" goes to that meeting.  And I said "oh, F@*# no."  She was my sponsor (16 years ago) She told me I MUST leave my husband because "there is a place for men like that, it is called the penitentiary."  And then he moved into her house.  And then she talked about the intimate details of my 4th step with him.  And you know what?  I don't care about that.  BUT if you are suggesting that SHE would be a good sponsor for my daughter?  Oh hell no. I don't care if I am supposed to stay out of her affairs, I am not going to let this one slide.  

I talked to my daughter about this and she thanked me for caring enough to keep her away from people who are likely to hurt her.  (to read more about this particularly painful episode in my life, read this post.)

And since no one is likely to read this far into a ridiculously long post... I just want to say that of all the things that this "stimulus" package has, the idea that electronic medical records will some day save the world is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard - and it has a lot of competition.  But I have almost 2 decades of experience in this field, and I have a bachelor's degree in Health Information Management, I have the credential that says I am an expert in Health Information.  I may have opportunities to stimulate my own economy if everyone starts scrambling to get their records electronicalized (yeah, I know it isn't a word).  Just looking for the silver lining...

So it is Sunday morning.  I slept until 9 o'clock - which is just crazy.  It is now almost 40º outside and I am going for a run.  Then I will come back home and have steak and eggs for breakfast.  What a wonderful morning.  The sun is shining and it is just great.

Thanks to anyone who has read this thing.... long, long, long.

Have a nice day, and "so long."  

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Maybe you are a quart low...

If you come to AA meetings and whine about how hard it is to write a 4th step.  
If you think being sober is a hardship.
If you think your sponsor is someone put on earth to make your life miserable.
If you think coming to an AA meeting is a duty or obligation.
If you think "reaching out" to a room full of alkies is something to pat yourself on the back for.
If you are busy figuring out what is wrong with "them."

Maybe you need to have another drink, or a thousand, a drunken day or decade to wear you down.

On the other hand, you just might be ready for the miracle...
If  you are grateful for the steps as a way out of a life of misery.
If you are grateful for every sober breath you take.
If you are grateful and amazed that another sober person would take the time to help you with this journey.
If you look forward to each meeting because you want to see your friends.
If you are thrilled that a room full of people who understand actually listen to you and ask you to keep coming back.
If you are so busy working on yourself, you haven't got time to figure out what is wrong with others.  

I don't think there is anything in AA that can make the difference in these attitudes.  Alcohol is the thing that will make you desperate for change.  It will make you grateful for the blessings of a sober life.  It will make you do things that cause people to shun you, and then you can be really grateful for a fellowship that welcomes you.  

"...I can give thanks for present pain nevertheless. I find the willingness to do this by contemplating the lessons learned from past suffering -- lessons which have led to the blessings I now enjoy. I can remember how the agonies of alcoholism, the pain of rebellion and thwarted pride, have often led me to God's grace, and so to a new freedom." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 266

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

It is so lovely to be sitting here, sipping coffee, still in my jammies, with no where I have to go.  I love random days off work.  For no good reason other than I just need a day off.  It is good.

Yesterday at work I got some little treats from folks.  I think Valentine's Day in that context is really fun.  As a fund raiser, our wellness committee sells carnations for a dollar.  We buy them and write cards to our friends and they get delivered by the committee.  It is a nice thing. 

I remember the first year I was married to the father of (most of) my children.  On Valentine's Day that year I was pregnant with my son.  I decided that I wanted a necklace with a gold heart locket.  I don't know if I ever told him this, but I was crestfallen when I didn't get it.  For some reason this year I remembered that and thought about buying myself one, but I don't even want one anymore.   

It is nice to be able to live without crazy expectations these days.  Really nice.

"God will not desert us when the chips are down; indeed, He did not when we were drinking. And so it should be with the remainder of life. Certainly, He does not plan to save us from all troubles and adversity. Nor, in the end, does He save us from so-called death- since this is but an opening of a door into a new life, where we shall dwell among His many mansions. Touching these things I know you have a most confident faith." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 221

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday in February

Image of the Beautiful Kona Coast 
I slept until 7 o'clock this morning.  I think I shall be a bit late for work today.  Yesterday I put in a leave request to take Friday (tomorrow) off.   That will give me a four day weekend.  Yippeee!  I am not doing a darn thing.  Of course, you know that if I continue with this, I will tell you all what "not a darn thing" means... starting with packing up all the bookcases, etc., in the living room and dining room to get ready to move it all out while putting in the new floors... but I digress.

Yesterday at work, there was a large meeting where three HR people came and handed out information on layoffs and explained our rights.  That is enough to make a lot of folks nervous.  It should make me nervous, but instead makes me want to live it up.  I spent the rest of the day looking at trips to Hawaii....

I have been to 49 states.  Don't you think I really should go to all 50 states?  Me too.  The only one left is Hawaii.  The price of airfare to Hawaii has dropped.  So, being me, and not someone else, I looked for marathons in Hawaii.  The Kona Marathon is on June 28.   A room at the very very fancy schmancy race headquarters hotel is only $130 a night!  So, I dreamed up a whole trip to Hawaii.  I have not booked it, but I am seriously thinking about this.  

I am grateful to be a sober, fully alive, mostly healthy, human being today.  I have so many wonderful things going on in my life it is almost scary.  I could choose to dwell on the economy, the money I have lost, the uncertainty of my future, etc., but that would be no fun!  and it wouldn't do a bit of good.  So I think I will choose to focus on what is good about my life and all the incredible blessings....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A new one...

Yesterday my newest sponsee called.  I asked her if she had started working on the writing I asked her to do.  She told me she had been too busy.  I asked her what she was so busy doing.  Well, her roommate's toilet is not working.  It just runs and runs.  So, she had to go upstairs and lift the lid to the toilet and adjust that black ball thing.  Really.  This is why she can't possibly work on her first step.  

I didn't fire her immediately, but likely will very very soon.  

She would make a great first sponsee for some woman with a year or two.  They might enjoy browbeating her into doing some work.  It is my philosophy that if you are done drinking and desperate to be sober (as you should be when you get to AA), you are happy to do a little bit of writing or meeting or driving or cleaning or counting or really just about anything (reasonable) that you are asked to do.  I don't think it is my job to make her willing.  I have sponsored her for 2 months and she has not done one thing I have asked.  I think that it is time for her to find someone else to work with because I have other things to do - like work with people who are willing.

On that note, I am heading out of here this morning to meet with a sponsee.  She gets up and gets to a meeting by 6:30 and stays after to talk with her sponsor.  I don't have to browbeat her into doing this, in fact, she is grateful for the opportunity.  As am I.

Happy to be hopping into the bathtub this morning and starting a new day - without a headache or much of a cold.  I may be able to start running again soon.  That would be happy indeed!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Day Closer...

One of my friends at work has become increasingly unhappy at work in the last several years.  Now when you see him and ask how he is, he says "One day closer."  And I invariably ask him "to the grave???"  

He means that he is one day closer to retirement.  Yesterday I asked him why he was waiting.  He has worked there long enough to retire with a very good income.  He is "holding on" for a few extra bucks.  I asked him if it was worth all this misery for a few dollars.  And then I probably crossed the line and lectured him - I said "this is your life.  Every single day of it.  Don't wish it away."  

When I was finishing my master's degree it got so old and tiring, I started counting the days until graduation.  I posted them on a whiteboard outside of my office.  I was sober 17 years, so I really should have known better.. but I did it anyway.  

On September 11, 2001, in all of the heartbreak and chaos, I looked at that whiteboard and saw that I had 90 some days written down.  I was counting off days, like something to be endured and not enjoyed and relished. I thought of all the people who had died that day and would probably have given anything for one more day of life, no matter how difficult.  

So this morning I wanted to count how many days until spring.  But I think I shall endeavor to enjoy this day for all that it brings.  No matter how "good" or "bad."  Or brown and cold.  I will watch the wind and notice all the debris on it.  I will watch the geese who congregate below my office window.  And I will make phone calls, and see what I can bring to others - instead of looking for what someone is going to give me.

We are born today and we die today.  All we have is today.  Let's live it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Foggy Monday Morning

I am happy to be going back to work today.  Saturday was very busy and Sunday was very lazy.  I am ready for a day that is "just right."  

I think I am going to register for some summer races today.  

I hope my cold is going to be going away soon so that I can get back to training.  Triathlons are fun to train for because you don't burn out on one thing.  I love to bike and swim.  And it turns out I love to run.  I am just sick of it right now.

It is very foggy outside, which probably means it is also very icy.  I need to be at work by 7:15, so I better get ready and get out of here.

Let's all stay sober today, OK?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sunday Morning

It is a beautiful peaceful Sunday morning.  I went to church this morning and came home and made breakfast for my daughter.  She is going to a noon meeting today with a man from my home group she met last night at night watch.  

My head is still swimming with thoughts of my newly found 42 year old daughter in Chicago.  I hope to be planning a quick trip to Chicago in the next couple of months to see her again.  I am so thrilled and overwhelmed by this appearance of her and the idea of her three children.

Banana Girl left a comment this morning thanking me for "putting this out on the porch of the web for the rest of us to see and learn from."  I love the idea of the web, specifically a blog, being a front porch - it's just out there, and it is scary to put our most sacred stuff out there.  I know this has been talked to death by me and by others, but it really is the most amazing thing.  I am grateful today for my blog.  I am grateful also for the struggles it has caused.  And the questions it has raised.  

I am so so so so so grateful for the friends I have made here.  

Yesterday I made a blueberry custard pie,  Bill, from Life on Planet Bill, wrote about this pie and I asked for the recipe.  He sent it to me.  Yesterday when I got around to making it for night watch, I really pondered the ingredients.  Buttermilk in a custard?  I never heard of such a thing.  I called Scott and asked him about it and he told me to "trust the recipe."  That southern pies frequently have buttermilk in them.  So I made the pie and people loved it.  

I'm loving everyone today.  

Friday, February 06, 2009

Answered Prayer

Today I had a totally unexpected answer to a prayer.  An 18 year long prayer.

If you have read me for a while, you know that I gave birth to a baby girl child when I was 15 and gave her up for adoption.  If you want to read a post about that experience, go here.  We found each other when she was 20, and lost touch with each other not long after that.  The last time I spoke with her, it was 1990 and she was pregnant.  I have been trying to find her since then.  I figured she had gotten married and I would never be able to find her without her last name.  I wasn't sure if she knew my maiden name, which I took back after my last marriage.  I had pretty much lost hope that we would ever find one another.

Today I got an e-mail from her.  She found me via google search.  Of all things, she found me listed on the webpage for my HOA - thank God I didn't quit when I wanted to or my name and e-mail address would not have been there.  She wasn't real sure it was me, so she just told me her maiden name and asked me to contact her.  I sat at my desk at work and just started crying.  I said a prayer and picked up the phone to call her.  I left her a message.  She sent me another e-mail.

This e-mail had pictures of her.  And my 24 year old grandson.  24. year. old. grandson.  

And my 22 year old grandson.  22. year. old. grandson.

And my 18 year old granddaughter.  18. year. old. granddaughter.  

And in a twinkling, my family size nearly doubled.  I looked at pictures of these people.  Who look like me.  My daughter looks like my mother.  Or even more like my Aunt.  I think my brand new 18 year old granddaughter looks like me when I was a teen.  Lots of eye make-up, long hair, defiant expression on her face.  I can't even conceive of these people being my offspring.  And that they might actually want to have anything to do with me after our history.

My daughter called a little after 4, and we talked until 5.  Neither of us wanted to get off the phone.  She told me that she always assumed that I would find her if I wanted to because she thought I knew her adoptive parents' phone number.  I lost that many years ago and I wouldn't have had the nerve to call anyway.  She finally decided that she would make the effort and was able to find me right away.  I always have tried to be really transparent so that I could be found by her.  In fact, it is kind of funny that I kept my land line and a publicly listed phone number for years so that she could find me - I just got rid of that in November.  And she found me anyway.  

As we were hanging up, I put her name and number into my cell phone.  I marveled at the fact that I had her name.  And her number.  And we had found each other.   

I told her that I always feel like there is a hole where she belongs.  That every time someone asks me how many children I have and I say "three," I feel like I am lying.  She said "now you can say four."  

Now I can say four.  

I have four children.  Three daughters, ages 42, 29 & 29.  One son, age 32.  

I have five grandchildren.  Two grandsons, ages 24 & 22.  Three granddaughters, ages 18, 8, and 5.  

And when we hung up, she said "I love you Mom."

What a flaming miracle.

I was reminded of my friend Don C. who used to say "Everything works out if you just live long enough."  

I only know one way I could have lived long enough for this to happen... to stay sober, one day at a time, living by spiritual principles, and trusting that God knew what he was doing.  

Thank You God for your incredible love and healing.  

First Friday

Of February.  I am heading out to church on my way to work this morning.  What a great way to start a day.

I stayed home from work yesterday.  I have another bad cold.  I really can't wait for this winter to be over.  Thank God February is a short month.  By March I know there will be a touch of spring in the air and I will know I survived another winter.  Right now, I am in the midst of it.  Even though it got up to the high 60ºs yesterday.  

I am grateful that I have places to go this morning.  I am grateful that I have lots of work to do.  I am grateful for all that is my life today. 

Thursday, February 05, 2009

You've got to give it away...

To keep it.  

Pass it on.

Bread cast upon water returns tenfold.

Do something for someone else and don't get caught.

I reflected on these early lessons of sobriety this morning as I packed up a box to send to my sponsor.  Today is her 36th AA birthday.  36 years sober.  She is the most amazing woman.  She got sober when she was 32, just like me.  She was a horrible, horrible drunk, just like me.  When she got to AA, she was willing to do whatever they told her to do, just like me.  She is eternally grateful for this gift of life of sobriety, just like me.  And, just like me, she is not "sweet" or "cute" or "lovey-dovey."  She tells it like it is, people could describe her as "gritty."  Many people don't like her for that (just like me), but I love her for it, and so do many others.  

I wish I had packed up this box last week so that she would actually have it today, but I didn't.  So, today as I wrapped the shawl I knitted her, and the tomato preserves I canned (her favorite), and a jar of corn relish I made in the heat of the summer, it made me so happy.   I will go to the post office on my way to work and mail it.

It is going to be 66º today!  I hope I can get outdoors and breathe some fresh, warm air.  

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wednesday Morning

I bought some tiny post it notes yesterday so my evening person could communicate with my morning person.  It turns out that not only do they not communicate very well, but they don't agree with each other!  My great ideas last night?  I don't want to write about any of them this morning.  So, I am left staring at the keyboard again.

I am heading out to meet a sponsee at the 6:30 a.m. meeting.  It will be good to be there.  

I have got another cold.  My chest hurts, my throat hurts, my sinuses hurt.  There is so much stress at work right now, I think it is beginning to wear me down.  

I feel like I need a week off of work just to sit at home and do nothing.  Go to lots of meetings.  Stay up late and get up early and take a nap in the middle of the afternoon.  Go out for lunch with people not from my workplace!  Go shopping for new clothes!  Get my car serviced.  Figure out how to buy it when its lease is up next month.  Look for rugs for the floor that should be installed within the next month.  Get new drapes for my upstairs bedrooms.   Hmmm, on second thought, maybe I can't really afford a week off work at home.  Sounds like it would be more expensive than going to Hawaii!


Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Every morning I sit and stare at my keyboard, having not one good idea for something to write about.  Every evening, I think of great ideas for things pertinent to this blog.  My evening person is not communicating with my morning person.  Perhaps she should leave notes?

I can hear Bonnie Rait singing "Let's give 'em something to blog about..."

So, a gratitude list is in order:
  • Getting older is not anything like what I dreaded.
  • I don't mind the fact that I am "pushing sixty."
  • I am grateful that I have had the experiences I have had - good and bad.
  • that I grew up in a time when every second of a child's life wasn't managed by their parents.
  • that my CHILDREN grew up in a time when every second of a child's life wasn't managed by their parents.
  • I have lived long enough to know that every latest news story about what's good and bad for us is likely to be disproved within a year or two. 
  • that I came to AA in a time when there weren't so many opposing voices - I might have listened to them if I had heard them.
  • that when I got to AA I realized I was out of good ideas, so I listened to yours.
  • that I learned how to consider things that sounded wacky.
  • and so I learned to do things I don't feel like doing.
  • like going to work today!
Let's stay sober today, OK?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Monday Morning

2 weeks ago, I was sitting poolside and taking pictures of the palm trees from my lounge chair.  I could barely walk because I had such bad blisters on my feet from the race.  Now my blisters are healed up, I am back home, and it is winter.  

On Friday, I went to visit the owner of my favorite running store to see if she had any ideas why my feet blistered, she (and two other world class runners who work at the store) thought it was the heat off the pavement.  I try not to run when it is much hotter than 50º, so I don't have much experience with running 13.1 miles in 80º weather.  

Today I need to get to work by 7:30, and it is already after 6:00. I am slow to get ready in the morning and I really dislike rushing.  I think I will end up rushing this morning anyway.   I guess the sooner I start the less pressure there will be.

Have a sober day, OK?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday Morning

I went to church this morning, then I loaded my bike on my car, drove to a local park, and rode my bike for 45 minutes.  I had forgotten what it is like to ride a bike up a hill - against the very cold wind.  It was 35º, which is 15º lower than my usual rule for bike riding - 50º and above.   The lake was frozen, the creek was partially frozen (see above).  

It is so good for me to get out in the sunshine and fresh air, no matter how cold it is.  Even driving to church this morning and getting to watch the sunrise, was just wonderful.  I cannot stayed cooped up in a house all winter, it makes me crazy.

Yesterday, I went to a 6:30 a.m. meeting.  My friend Tim was celebrating his 11th AA birthday.  To hear a bit of his story, and to know how he has put one foot in front of the other and walked through some really hard stuff, and then to hear him talk about the steps, the traditions, and the concepts... it gave me hope for the future of AA. I know that he spends a lot of time going to prisons and rehabs, so he is actually passing on a message that has integrity.  I know he sponsors some men, and I know he is passing along these things to them.

Between that and my daughter going to meetings and appreciating the people who are willing to tell her the tough stuff, I feel like we just might survive.  

Thank you God.