Friday, June 12, 2009

What it was like: Year Eleven

Something changed for me when I turned 10 years old in AA.  I don't know what happened, but everything changed.  I used to say in meetings that it was like in the movie "The Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy's house lands in Oz, she opens the door and the world has gone from black and white to color.  My life became 100% in color.  

I had gotten really broke, as I expected I would - after taking several months off of work. I was working as a temp at a quilting magazine.  It was really fun, but it wasn't much money.  I remember one day looking at the way someone had written their numbers like a bunch of lower case letter "i"s and I missed my life in medical records terribly.  I said something about working "in my field," and thought  -  wow, I have a "field."  That day, I checked my messages on a break and found I had a message asking me to come in for an interview in a medical records department at a hospital.

It was a smaller hospital, and a small department.  It was extremely low-tech, and I fell in love with it the minute I hit the door.  I prayed I would get that job, and I did. ( There is a wonderful side story about this interview I blogged about when I was a new blogger, you can find it here if you would like to more time reading about ME! ME! ME!)

I wrote this in September of 1994, "It feels like I've come around a huge corner. I actually feel happy and I am looking forward to the future."  What a wonderful thing, after the abysmal years of that marriage.

My divorce was final in October.  I changed my name back to my maiden name.  I was so grateful to go to bed alone at night.  I was grateful to go places alone.  I was grateful to be alone.  My daughter by this time was incarcerated, so I was living alone.  My son was now in the Army.  I had that pretty apartment and it was clean and wholesome and the rent was paid and I had a job.  I felt like a real bonafide human being.  A real woman who was living a life consistent with my values.  

I loved my job and I loved my boss.  She took a mentor role with me and actually talked me into going to school.  I was 42 years old and hadn't been to school since I graduated from high school when I was 18.  She helped me every step of the way though the application process.  I applied for student loans and got them (I STILL have them as a matter of fact!)  At the age of 43, I attended my first college class, and I found I loved it and I got an "A" for the semester.  I had a 4.0 GPA!  Who cares if it was only for one class!  I kept the 4.0 until I had to take Anatomy and Physiology, and Statistics.  

I abandoned any hope of belonging to the super cool AA group with all of the super cool people.  My ex-husband and ex-sponsor went there and I felt very uncomfortable there.  I decided that I would be a plain old sober woman and be there for the plain old drunk who needed a hand.  I didn't need to be part of some kind of "super" AA, I could be down in the trenches with the drunks.  It was a relief to me to make this decision.  

Even writing this, I feel like I can breathe again.  It has been so amazing to really delve into what it was like for those first years.  I spend so little time thinking about it, it was really painful to look at it.  But I am glad I did.  

Here is what I wrote on my 11th birthday:  "Thank you God is all I can say, but it doesn't sound like enough.  I guess I need to just show - every day of my life - my gratitude."  


Steve E. said...

"Just show my gratitude"--by your attitude, and your actions--every day of your life. And Mary, you do that.

It is sure easy for me to see where God had/has a special plan for your life, and He has been working behind the scenes since the first day.

garden-variety drunk said...

that last quote from your journal reminds me of something my first sponsor used to always say: that gratitude is an action (she said that about love too. she was all about action, which was totally different from my life being all about my feelings).

Scott W said...

If the only prayer y ou said in your life was "Thank You", that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Thank you is the ultimate prayer. They aren't called God's gifts for nothing.

Willa said...

I am really enjoying all these entries. I am learning that even if you're sober for what seems to be many years, it doesn't mean that it's easy.

Thank you so much, Mary Christine.

Kathy Lynne said...

what a beautiful example of a life second to none...

personally, I think you're very super cool.

Lou said...

I had to read back, I missed a year!!

I enjoy reading about the people who made a difference. The ones you will never forget because their small act of kindness was huge for you.

Ed G. said...

I enjoyed both this article and the one you wrote in '05.

I have recently watched my aspirations change to become more in line with your letting go of the "super cool" and more available to the "pod" (plain old drunks) in our midst. I am happy for this.

I am also happy you're willing to share your experience.

Blessings and aloha...

Carol said...

You're super cool in my book, enjoyed the 2005 post as well.

Banana Girl said...

MC, I love that "super cool AA's" description. I was trying to think of whether I know any. Oh, yeah, it is you! LU J.

Syd said...

Your journey was rough but it sounds as if you have gotten so much from it. And gratitude for just being where you are seems to be the thing that you feel.