Friday, July 31, 2009

So tired...

I have been up and running since 4 a.m., and I am utterly exhausted. It was a good day and I can (and have and will further) thank God for it.

A long day at work, followed by getting my hair cut and colored, followed by meeting my daughter at an AA meeting, followed by grabbing a piece of pizza at a local pizzeria, owned by a local AA.

I really don't know if it could get much better than that.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Went to a funeral today

The wife of a man I used to work with died on Sunday. I got to go to the funeral today. It was a lovely funeral. (It was at my church, presided over by my favorite priest.) There were not many people from my workplace there. He has been retired for 10 years or so, and so most of the people who were close to him have since retired. Some of them were there, and it was good to see them.

When I was fairly newly sober someone in my AA group died. When I was asked if I was going to the funeral, I flatly stated "I don't do funerals." Someone asked me why, and I actually told her that I didn't like funerals! She laughed and said "do you think we LIKE funerals?" I really thought about that... and honestly I thought they might like funerals, but I knew I didn't. I was told I was going to the funeral. That it was important for me to show my face and be there. Oh, I did not like that!

But I learned to go to funerals. And hospitals (I didn't do hospitals either). I learned to stop thinking about myself 24/7 and to start thinking about what I could bring to others.

I am so grateful that I learned how to be a human being in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Running Skirt...

This is a photo of what I wore to my last half-marathon in January. You will note that there is a skirt.

I was asked by two women about running skirts. I love love love running skirts. They feel so pretty and feminine. And SO practical! They have spandex shorts underneath, so it is not immodest. There are pockets in the shorts for your phone, pepper spray, and gels. I also have a triathlon skirt. It is just a little skirt you throw over your triathlon shorts after you swim and before you bike and run. I also have a bright green skirt - which I love!

For more information on running skirts, see this link to a Colorado Company.

What's this got to do with Being Sober? Everything. I get to be alive at the age of 57, participating in half-marathons and triathlons.... and wearing skirts to them! Believe me, this would NOT be happening if I were drinking.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Night Sappiness

You know, writing about being content and happy is pretty boring. Particularly when it is several days in a row. I tried writing about a tradition again tonight, but I just can't do it right now.

Today was a wonderful day. I went for a run at daybreak. The bad thing about doing that? You don't really have a feel for what kind of day it is. So, I headed out in a running skirt and a short sleeved shirt - as a bit of a concession to the coolish weather we have been having. Normally I would run in a singlet... anyway. About a mile and a half out, it started raining. I looked over the mountains to the west, and saw the black clouds, and heard the thunder. It was in the low 50ºs, which isn't very cold unless you are soaking wet. I probably ran a bit faster than normal, it was a little bit unnerving, and uncomfortable. But it was good.

When I got to work, I put my head down and started working on something that has caused me to go into therapy. Seriously, I have seen my psychologist about this, and will be doing some very specific therapy next month so that perhaps I can deal with this issue as it comes up. For now, I really have to just suck it up and work on this even though I feel like running from my office every time I pick it up. Listening to my iPod - Monks chanting, does help.

At noon, I started working on a drawing to be used in a training. I worked on it all afternoon! It was great! It was fun! And the folks who asked me to do it were very very pleased with the final result. What a nice break from my normal work.

I am now on my sofa, writing this. I just got off the phone with my sponsor. She was happy to hear that I am coming to visit her next week. I am getting more and more excited about my vacation next week.

OK, now I am going to bed. It is 50º and raining outside. This weather is wack! But it is super good sleeping weather.

Nighty-Night. Thank you Heavenly Father for another day of life.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lizard Ridge

I am working on this very exciting afghan, called "Lizard Ridge." It uses Japanese multicolored wool yarn. Each square uses a different (multi) colored skein. I am working on a pinkish bluish one now. The next one is bright red and green - sort of Christmas-like. It will eventually have 24 squares, all different colors, neatly sewn together. I love bright colors, so this is so much fun to knit.

I had a great day at work today. I had a quarterly presentation to give to the hospital's Governing Body and had spent weeks getting ready for this. Sometimes these go terribly, today it went well. I could say it was because of my superior preparation, but I am not so sure that would be accurate, and there would be no way to prove it anyway.

I decided over the weekend that I was going to write about some AA traditions and implications. Over the weekend, I decided to call a bunch of people who are currently active in AA service. I have not been active in service for a number of years. I wanted to get their take in a particular issue. It has been so much fun to talk with them about this. Not sure I will ever write about it, mainly because it has been done by other bloggers, and done well. Maybe it is a good thing to keep my take on it to myself.

I am tired, I got up very early this morning. I will get up very early tomorrow morning and go take a nice long run. (Long at this time is 3 miles - I know, it used to be 10 miles, but right now it is 3 - and I don't want to push it in the week prior to a triathlon.)

Happy to be a sober woman, sitting here at my dining room table again tonight. Life is good. And I thank God for his infinite mercy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh, I'm just happy...

Did I ever post a picture of the beach dinner we had on my sister's birthday? Oh, it was a dandy! I had two (2) of those lobsters, just cuz I could! Maybe I did post this before. I don't really remember.

I wanted to write a bunch of serious stuff tonight, but I just can't muster one second of serious right now. I am sitting at my dining room table, looking out my window at a huge thunder storm, grateful for a laptop that doesn't need to be plugged into electricity at the moment. I need to turn off my TV, because the dish is working only intermittently. It is just lovely! Now, I do hope that we don't get pounded with tree shredding hail and building destroying winds like some areas of the metro have in the last week or so. But for now, I am enjoying the storm.

Today I booked two nights in a hotel at a resort town I love. I have the week off next week, and I think I shall do a little car traveling - which is one of my greatest pleasures. I will likely go see my sponsor for a night or two and then go spend two days in this lovely town. Resting and recreating. I am greatly looking forward to it. I considered canceling my time off since I am not taking the class I had planned, but decided that I really need some serious down time. Some solo time.

For me to have the freedom to do this is something that I don't believe I shall ever take for granted. Maybe everyone doesn't have to lose everything to appreciate every little thing, but it seems to have taken that extreme experience for me. May I never forget.

Lord, teach us to laugh, but never let us forget that we cried...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another Name Change

A nice man came to my house this afternoon to restore my internet access.  I needed and got a new modem.  And now I have access again to the world wide interwebs.  woo! hoo!

The moment I checked my blog again, I decided to change my blog name again.  It has been  on my mind for a while.  My blog was originally named "Anonymous Alcoholic" which seemed a bit too close to "Alcoholics Anonymous" to me.  When another fellow came along and called himself that, I decided to change my name rather than fight him.  I thought "One Sober Alcoholic" was a good name, since that is what I am.  But others came along and used names so similar to mine that they actually confused me!  So I sat down this afternoon and thought about it for a minute and came up with "Being Sober" and will try this on for size for a day or two.  It is what my blog is about.  Just being sober, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And the grateful, happy, and serene...

I have had a wonderful weekend.  I am ready to get back to work tomorrow.   All the activity and attention has just been over the top.  I like my normal and quiet life.  I like the breaks in it, but I am happy to resume the way things normally are.  Quiet.

I have a triathlon next Sunday and then a week of vacation scheduled.  I scheduled the vacation for a class that I decided last week not to take.  The schedule of mandatory furlough days was announced last week and when I considered that I am taking at least a 2.5% cut in pay and maybe more, I decided I ought not to spend a bunch of money for a class that is really an expensive indulgence.  Now if I can only make some more good decisions like that...

I was going to write about some traditions today, but have gotten side tracked.  Maybe tomorrow.

Let's all thank God for a good and sober day, OK?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

blogging on a blackberry

Well, if there is one thing that might really irritate me, it might be lack of internet access. I called Qwest this morning and the person in India or Pakistan who was 'helping' me was unable to help, so someone is coming here tomorrow between one and five p.m. Yeah, that is what I wanted to do on sunday afternoon.

Ok, I really need to get over this. And I will... Someone at the meeting this morning was talking about resenting someone so much that it really irritated him that the person started sentences with prepositions... And here I am.
It is pretty hard to write a blog post on a b'berry, so perhaps I should just accept this and just let you all know that I should be back tomorrow.(I went to starbucks after church tonight to get a minute or two of wi fi, but it wasn't working.). Is there a message in this? Probably. I will now go and sit still without my favorite mode of communication.

And be grateful for many wonderful things that don't require technology - like being a happy sober woman livin' large in the good old US of A.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Into my 26th year...

With a heart full of gratitude.  And joy.  And love.  

I have had an absolutely wonderful day.  It started with a 6:30 a.m. meeting and ended with a 7:30 p.m. meeting - which I just got home from.  I spoke at both of the meetings.  Speaking at two meetings in one day is a bit indulgent... especially since some of my friends came to both meetings.

I am just so grateful for a loving God who has been so so so so good to me.  I could have never earned this sobriety, this sober life, these sober friends, this sober family!  

To look out from the podium and see my daughter and her ex sitting there - both sober - was almost more than I could bear.  In the best possible way.  

I am utterly spent and heading for bed.  I need to be up early to get to the 6:30 meeting tomorrow morning.  

I always watch whether a person goes to a meeting on the day AFTER their birthday.  And I think it is a good sign when they do.  Too many decide to rest on their laurels after a big one.  Think I will try not to do that.

Thank you for all of your well-wishes.  They are truly appreciated.  

Thursday, July 23, 2009

25 Years

A Quarter of a Century without a drink.  Imagine.

Twenty-five years ago at about this time of night, I was buying the last six pack of beer I would ever drink.  I sat until about midnight drinking alone at the kitchen table, my family already asleep.  I went to bed, having no idea that those beers would be my last.  

On July 24, 1984, I began the adventure of a lifetime, when I called Alcoholics Anonymous.  I thank God for His loving intervention.  For His loving hand in all the days of my life.  

My sponsor and her husband arrived this afternoon.  They will spend the weekend with me, which is lovely.  I was touched that they drove all day to get here.  

At about noon today, I picked up the phone to call my old friend Big Ed.  I wanted to tell him that I was celebrating 25 years of sobriety.  For some reason, this has just been a matter of fact thing until I made that phone call, and then I ended up realizing what I was saying.  Twenty-five years of continuous sobriety!  How incredibly awesome.  What a blessing.  How kind God is, because I could have "worked" steps until kingdom come, and never have "earned" one second of the life I have today.  Ed and I talked about all the times.  About our friendship.  About all the years.  About the cars, the husbands, the apartments.  The years.  Of a loving friendship.  In Alcoholics Anonymous.

At lunch, I drove to the mall to buy something that was on sale... but I didn't find it.  So I quickly walked around jewelry stores until I found just the thing I have wanted since I was 13 years old.  A pair of ruby stud earrings.  And when I found them, the sales clerk asked me if they were for a birthday or a special occasion.  I looked at her and decided to tell her what they were for.  But first my eyes misted up and I couldn't speak.  She said "oh, there is so much sadness,"  I told her "No!  It is so much happiness!"   I told her that I am celebrating 25 years of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous and this is my gift to myself.  She smiled and said that deserved a big high five - so there we were, two middle aged women in the mall at lunch time, high fiving my sobriety.  Her mom is also sober.  It was wonderful that she understood what I was celebrating.  Someone mentioned later that rubies are the July birthstone... maybe that is more truly my birthstone than the one for my natal birthday...

My birthday is always humbling.  This one might be a little bit more so.  But it is such a joy.  

I will speak at the 6:30 a.m. meeting tomorrow, and then will celebrate again at a 7:30 p.m. meeting across town.  What a joy.

Thank you bloggers for allowing me to join you in our journey.  You can see that for me it isn't always sunshine and puppies, but it is always real.  And no matter what happens, God is with me, and I am OK.  

To repeat what they told me at my first meeting:
I never have to drink again, if I don't want to.

I don't want to today, and haven't for a very long time.  I am so grateful for this and for the people who join me as we trudge the road of happy destiny.  

May God Bless You and Keep You.   Lots of Love from Mary Christine.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sexual Predation

(The photo has nothing to do with the topic, but isn't it pretty?)

August's Grapevine came with today's mail. The cover proclaims "The Joy of Living." On the inside, however, I found an article on "keeping the rooms free of sexual predation: whose responsibility is it?"

I found the article tedious, with all the hypothetical questions and conjecture. And somehow the idea of an AA meeting being a "Safe Haven" has never really made sense to me. Maybe in a perfect world, if there weren't other alcoholics in various stages of recovery, it would be safe. But as it is, with sick people trying to get well, and sorry, but BAD people trying to get good, an AA meeting is not likely to be a safe haven.

Knowing this, and believing this, it amazes me when I still get shocked by bad behavior. I don't expect people with long term sobriety to be well all of the time, but I do expect a bit of self-control from them. When they behave badly and then turn around and manipulate and do an attention seeking self-pity schtick, it is all the more sickening.

As I have said before, I am a person who is trying to live by spiritual principles. I need to do this to stay sober and I need to do this to continue to have any spiritual growth. Part of that is being nice to people even when I would sometimes rather not. When that is misunderstood, it is very hurtful to me. When I have to draw up some rather severe boundaries, it is not something I like to do. But I am not interested in any kind of flirtation with a married man. Not at all, not in any way, shape, or form.

It deeply hurts me to be misunderstood this way. Then to watch the sickening self-pity and attention seeking is almost more than I can stand.

I am a survivor. I keep my head pointed forward. I persevere. I trust God even when it seems like insanity is all around me.

Women in AA are often seen as commodities. It is a shame. It is sad. For all concerned.

But if you are to stay sober, it is best not to get mired in the "injustice" of it all. It is best to just move on. And I don't care to speculate about "what if it happened to this person or that person? They would surely get drunk!" If a person wants to stay sober, they will find a way to do that no matter what. If a person is looking for an excuse to get drunk, any thing will do.

I would just caution all bloggers to be careful, some things are not as they seem.

Post Script 9/7/09:
The blog of a critic of AA is quoting this post and linking to it. That's fine. But the fact that the person attributes me talking about my "selfish program" is more than I can tolerate. I have never believed AA is a selfish program and I have never written or said that it is. It is not.

That's all. I am not going to get into an argument over this. But I feel the need to clarify this gross misrepresentation of what I have written.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To Thine Own Self Be True

And it must follow, as the night the day,  Thou canst not then be false to any man..  -- William Shakespeare.
As I got sober, I was taught that I had to be honest, and in order to be honest with anyone else, I had to first be honest with myself.  I need to do a great deal of self-examination of my motives, of my behavior, and of my circumstances.  
I was surrounded by people who simply would not tolerate game playing from me.   It was a hard thing to learn.  To learn to openly say the truth.  Not to skirt around it and leave people wondering what is going on.  That is not a kind thing to do to someone.  
I had to come to learn who I was and what I wanted.  Then I had to learn how to state that.  No one has to guess who I am or what my motives are.  
Today I took a run and brought my camera with me.  I took many pictures that I didn't think I was going to like because there was a cloud shrouding a mountain that is normally sunlit and bright in the morning when I run.   When I got home, I was thrilled to see the photos.  They are pretty!
And so, regardless of what is going on or not going on in my life, I know who I am.  I know that I can take a run in the morning and be inspired by God's creation.  I know that I talked with my sponsor tonight and I am looking forward to her visit this weekend.  I know that I talked with 2 out of 3 of my children today and that we ended our conversations with "I love you."  I know  that I am meeting with a sponsee tomorrow morning to read the big book.  
The people in my life know what to expect from me because I communicate with them.  
I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous; that is a blessing and a responsibility.  

Monday, July 20, 2009


My beloved sponsee just returned from a trip to many far away places.  She brought me the above triptych from Westminster Abbey.  What a thoughtful gift.  And in light of the way I am feeling today, it is deeply reassuring that she actually knows who I am - and cares enough to think about that.  

I have been having rare PTSD today.  It was so bad that I made up an excuse to cut an eye exam short - because I couldn't stand to be alone in the room with the eye doctor.  Old, old feelings of panic and fear.

I know that this will pass.  

I know that God is in His heaven and that He loves me.  I know that I have friends who care deeply about me.  They care enough to actually learn who I am.  

And I know who they are too.  We take the time to listen to each other.  We watch each other.  We care about each other.  

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Who am I?

On Friday night, after the meeting, a man I have known for 24 years and 360 days said he needed to ask me something.  I could see that it was difficult for him.  But he finally asked me if I was "seeing" a certain man.   I laughed and said "oh my goodness, No!"  But then I asked him why he was asking.  This man had the integrity and courage to tell me that it would be a very bad idea for me to date this other fellow.  I assured him that I was not dating him or anyone else, but then I thanked him for taking the risk to say that to me.  I really so appreciated it.  

But I am always shocked to find that I am not just a generic alcoholic.  Not just a generic member of alcoholics anonymous.  I don't really understand why this shocks and hurts me.  

One night when I was sober about five years, a sober man I had respected asked me to go out for dinner with him.  I was so happy to join him.  I felt like I had "arrived" as an AA member.  I felt accepted into this group of people who had been sober for a long time.  We had a great dinner and laughed and talked about AA stuff.  After he drove me home, he told me these words, which I will never forget:  "I want to make love to you."  Ick.  Ick.  This older man who had been sober for so long had not been seeing me as a fellow AA member, but as a potential whatever.  I started crying.  I told him to leave.  We have never been friendly since that day since he got furious with me.  I still see him from time to time.    

I remember when I got my last promotion at work.  Someone suggested to me that I got the job because I was sleeping with the director of the hospital.  I laughed!  It seemed so ridiculous that at the age of 50, I was still dealing with this type of nonsense.  

And so it seems ridiculous that at the age of 57, still I am seen this way?  

My life is practically nun-like.  I just don't wear a habit.  

I think of myself as an old woman who knits in AA meetings and goes to church at every opportunity.  Who studies the Bible.  Who lives a life in adherence with some principles that are extremely difficult to live by, which means I don't live like most folks.   

Oh, I will probably delete this, it probably doesn't even make sense.  But for now, I am posting it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saddy Evenin'

I bet you all could guess that the above photo was not taken in Denver.  It was taken from my very seat in a restaurant where I was dining on luscious lobster...  The seat where my earring fell off and was never seen again.  

Tonight I went to my final HOA board meeting.  Thank God.  I fulfilled my obligation of a two year term... and it hurt like hell for about the last year.  But now I am done and I don't have to feel bad about it.

My daughter and I went for an open water swim this afternoon, followed by a 12 mile bike ride.  In the blistering sun.  If it were up to me, which it wasn't, I would have been at the lake just after the 6:30 meeting this morning.  But when you don't train alone, you don't get to get everything your way.  Oh well.  It was lovely to watch my daughter swim and ride a bike.  She was such an athletic child - before she got 100% engaged in the sport of meth addiction and alcoholism.  

I am looking forward to being in bed tonight before it is even fully dark outside.  That is my idea of a lovely day.

Hope you all had one too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Night Stuff

Scott W. was kind enough to clean up this photo of my painting of the beach I did last week.  Thanks Scott!  

I just got home from a big Friday night meeting.  It used to be a staple of my meeting schedule.  Then most of its attendees died, as they do.  It was packed tonight.  I got to go to the 25th birthday of a man who got sober exactly one week before me.  How wonderful.  So many memories.  So much love in that room.  So many old friends, and even an old boyfriend or two.  

I was urged to put my name on the calendar to celebrate my birthday next Friday, and I did.  So, I will celebrate 25 years at this old meeting in an old building that doesn't even have air conditioning.  I am hopeful this sweltering room will contain my friends.  My sponsor may be here for it even.  

I used to dislike people celebrating their birthdays at groups they don't regularly attend, but my attitude toward that has softened over the years.  Tonight I got to ask the man who took me to my first meeting 24 years and 51 weeks ago if he thought it took a lot of "cojones" to do that.  He said it is good for the group.  That a lot of people celebrate there,  and that is what that meeting usually is.  Every Friday night - one, two, or three alkies celebrate, and their friends come and we always reminisce about the old days and the old guys.  Dick S.'s widow was there tonight.  It was good to see her.  

When your home group is a 6:30 a.m. meeting, you end up celebrating your birthday somewhere else if you want any of your friends to come.  So I will.

My daughter was at the meeting with me tonight.  She got to say hello to the man who drove me to my first meeting - his sons babysat my kids that night...  Now they are all grownups.  

Time.  It is magical when you are sober.  Not my enemy at all.  It is a miracle.  A miracle.  

Thursday, July 16, 2009


This is the best photo of my vacation - and I took it with my cell phone and not my brand new camera!  I think I will print this out and frame it.... I just love it.

I am a bit peeved tonight.  I have gotten annoyed with smugness of some comments on another blog.  It is not the first time and I doubt it will be the last.  I wrote a rant about it and then deleted it and was going to write some pleasantness here.  I am a pretty authentic person, so if I am talking puppies and butterflies, you can be sure that is where I am... and if not, you will know that too.  I am not a believer in phoniness.  

I do believe I am in charge of my attitude and that I cannot stay in a sour place for long - like more than a couple of minutes.  But while I am there, I don't believe there is any benefit in pretending it isn't so.  

So, I went outside and picked some lavender and tied it into little bundles to take to work for people tomorrow.  It smells so good.  I will put some by my bedside tonight as I lay my head on my pretty embroidered pillow case.  Sometimes it is just the small things....

Tomorrow my daughter will be here.  I am so looking forward to her arrival.  

Good night, sweet dreams. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Big Day = Good Day

Not always, but today that is the truth.  

I just got home from seeing the new Harry Potter movie with my daughters and one of my son's friends.  My son was out of town and couldn't attend.  This is a tradition with us... we load up and go see the Harry Potter movies.  It was fun.  And in case you are a HP fan, it was a good movie.  

I managed to get out for a run this morning for the first time in two weeks.  I have got to find a way to get my running habit back.  I have a triathlon in 2 weeks and I know I will be able to finish it, but it would have been much better if I had actually trained for it!  

Yesterday, I was sitting in a meeting at my home group.  As I was sharing, I idly looked across the room at the board where birthdays for the month are posted.  It almost took my breath away to see:

Mary G.  25 yrs.

That is next Friday.  If I hadn't been so busy, I am sure I would have made some grander plans for this landmark birthday, but as it is, I haven't.  Fridays are speaker meetings at my 6:30 a.m. meeting, so I am going to be the speaker that day.  That is the only plan I have made.  I would like to get up to the north side of town to my old home group.  Don't know if it is going to happen though.  

Some years I want fireworks and cannons.  Some years I just want to quietly thank God for his incredible mercy and love.  I think this is one of the quiet years.  We shall see... and you know I will keep you all posted.

Good night y'all.  You all know that God loves you so much that he is giving you a golden chance to be sober, right?  

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nothing I ever expected.

My daughter texted this photo to me today.  She got this tattoo today, on her 6 month clean and sober anniversary.  Oy, this was not anything I ever thought of in my entire life.   

She sent me the following message:  "I got this tattoo today for my best friend who inspires me and keeps my head up, who never lost faith in me and means the world to me.  I love you."

Oh, I never lost faith in her.  I never expected more from her.  I never nagged and harangued her about her meth addiction, heroin use, alcoholism, or resulting behavior.  I never bailed her out.  I never gave her money.  She also never stole from me or anyone else in the family (which she is very proud of - and the rest of us are like - yeah, good, you never stole from us - lets erect a statue in the park to commemorate that, OK?)  

I never was personally insulted by any of her behavior, no matter how much it affected me.  I knew that she was not doing this "to" me.  She was doing absolutely the best she could with what she had at that moment - it just wasn't very good.

And now she is clean and sober in AA.  She has a good sponsor.  I know the lineage of these people, and I know how they sponsor.  It is how I was sponsored, and it is how I sponsor.    

I have no illusions about the odds of her staying sober.  So I just relish every day that she is in my life.    I wrote her today "Happy 6 months my little sober sweetie.  I am so proud of you and thrilled to have you be so much a part of my life and BOTH of my families.  I love you, Mom."  

I certainly wasn't expecting the tattoo, and I am not thrilled about it.  But I am thrilled to have a sober daughter who loves me.  And I need to respect the fact that this is how she honors people in her life.  

There is no other love like this.  None.  

Monday, July 13, 2009

Life is Good.

This is my favorite of the four paintings I did last week.  

This morning I woke up with a migraine. Then I got into my car to drive to the meeting at 6:30, and it didn't work right and the check engine light came on, so I drove straight back into my driveway and went back to bed for 2 and a half hours. Then I called the VW dealer and had the car towed away.

The happy thing is that I am home. I have a warranty on my car - and roadside service, so it didn't cost me anything to tow it. I have a bed that is mine, and I was able to place myself on it and sleep. I will find out later what is wrong with my car, but I suspect it is a burnt out ignition coil - which is not hard to fix and is covered by warranty. I asked them to do a couple of more things since it is going to be up on a rack. And unless there is something crazy going on, I can pay for it.

This was not always the way it was for me.

I just spoke with my sponsor for a while. She reminded me of where I have been and where I am today. It is far too easy to get weirded out after having spent a while in a world that is about nothing but money, stuff, and who you know. It's about how fabulous everything is, and not about how much you love your friends and family. My world is not like that.

I am so grateful for this life of sobriety. It is so good I just want to weep.

And in case you are new to sobriety, let me hasten to assure you that it did not get like this overnight. There was a lot of stuff to go through to get here. I am so grateful for all of it.   The journey is just awesome every step of the way if you can just enjoy it for what it is.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rocky Mountain Sober

I am at home. Praise God.

I love home.

I love the Denver Airport (this from a person who thought building that silly tent out on the prairie was insane!)

I love that my flight landed at about 8:30 p.m. and I got to see the sunset over the rocky mountains. The beach is fab, but I am in love with my home scenery - the mountains.

I love that I got to take a bath in my own bathtub.

I love that in this arid climate, my hair is fluffed back up after a week of FLAT, FLAT, FLAT.

There is so much to write, but I am utterly and totally exhausted.

I will lay my head down on my own pillow and gratefully go to sleep.

Tonight when I got to Denver, I experienced familiar emotions, because I am always glad to come home - no matter where I go. But tonight I had a new one.

I am so grateful that I live in this place, so far away from my family. Not because I am far away from them, but because I struck out a long long time ago and made my own place in this world. And I really do love it. It is not fabulous like others, but I don't care. Fabulous is in the eye of the beholder and my bathtub and bed are totally awesome tonight.

I will write more coherently tomorrow.

I am so tired now I just actually posted this on the wrong blog, but luckily could cut and paste it here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Last full day here

At times like these, I wish that none of my relatives read this blog - oh how I wpuld love for this post to be a bit of a rant. But I don't want to hurt anyone and I certainly do not want to need to make amends for writing something on my blog, so I will be vague and not really say anything I want to say - which as you bloggers probably know - defeats the whole purpose of a blog.

It is beautiful here. I have enjoyed painting every day. I have enjoyed the beach everyday, though I now look a bit like Lobster Girl. I have some paintings to bring home that I actually like. It has been nice to spend time with my sister and my niece.

But a week of vacation for me is too long. I NEED to go home. I will leave tomorrow afternoon and be home tomorrow night. I can't think of anything better in the whole wide world than my own little car, my own little house (modest as it is), my own little family, and my own little friends - even though they may not be multi-jillionnaires or world renowned.

Yes, my own little life sounds like my own little slice of heaven... Tomorrow.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Freezing cold

Probably exaggerated by my sunburn, I am very cold, and about to crawl under the down comforter and go to sleep.

I tackled subject matter probably a little too difficult today and had to paint over about a third of the canvas at the end of today and I will hope to salvage it tomorrow. Who knew beach grass and sand were so hard to paint? (not me)

It is weird to be so far away from everyone. My cell phone works so infrequently as to be useless and this silly iPod is really my only link to the world as I know it. Probably good for me, but I am so ready to to back to my life - with a whole new appreciation that I really think is the whole point of taking a vacation. See? I even appreciate blogging again. I needed a vacation very badly.

Can't wait to share some pictures with you all!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

1400th post

I must like this to have done it 1400 times...

Oh how I wish I could share some photos with you all. I will after I get home. I did another painting I really love today. It is great to get help and encouragement from a teacher. That must be why people pay money for classes, it actually works.

To spend all day on the ocean is wonderful, but I am scorched and tired and need to go to sleep - I think I will do that now. Goodnight... The sounds of the woods sure are different from the sounds of my home, but it is peaceful.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blogging from an iPod

Is difficult - but I miss blogging. I wish I could post pictures of the beautiful Hamptons beach and the places I have been going.

Today I did a painting that thrilled me so much I wanted to send a picture to our Scott W. But I only have intermittent and very sketchy cell phone service here.

Any time I get to spend more than a couple of days with my family I get to realize how much more work I have to do - how far I still have to go - and just how damaged I am still. But it is a long way from 1989 when I came here without a home to return to. Although my home is a far cry from this kind of opulence, it is mine - and it is good.

Tomorrow I shall paint some sand dunes and see how much more sunburned I can get. Miss you all - and if your comments section is of the popup variety, I cannot access from this thing.

I love the perspective I get from going on vacation ... My life is SO good!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Off the Grid

I am off on an adventure.   Boldly I am off for a week without a computer.   I have not done this since I started blogging in 2005.   Last year when I went to Alaska, I ended up being without internet access most of the time, but I hadn't planned to do that.  

I decided to just go with the flow of this vacation and not make the effort (which I think would be considerable) to be online while I am gone.  I may be able to get my iPod Touch to wifi occasionally and may be able to post comments... not sure.

I am spending a week with my sister on Long Island.  We are taking a painting class each morning and intend to spend each afternoon on the beach.   I am hopeful that it will be mostly kicking back and relaxing.  

My wish for all of us bloggers while we are out of communication?  We will all still be sober a week from now.  We will have nothing but good news from the week.  We will each have had several spiritual experiences.  We will have impacted others in only a positive way and they will have "retaliated seemingly without provocation" by impacting us also in a positive way.  

God Bless You all, Love and best wishes from Mary Christine XXXOOO

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy Independence Day

What a particularly meaningful day for recovering alcoholics!  Who can value independence more than a person who has lost it?  We, who have been slaves to alcohol, have a profound appreciation of freedom.  

A fabulous time was had by all at my house today.  What a thrill to see my big brother at my door.  And the rest of the family.  There were so many people in here.  There was so much food.  And most of it got eaten.  The kids liked the little hamburgers we made (sliders), and the adults went more for the bratwurst.  My brother enjoyed eating potato salad made from our mother's recipe.  

And this year, I get to not only be grateful for my sobriety, but also my daughter's.  She was thrilled to be a part of a family celebration. She has been so dysfunctional for so long that she has not even seen her favorite uncle for 12 years... or her cousin... and never met the little ones.  She had the best day.  What a thrill it is to watch her go through those early revelations of what sober life is.  Getting to be a part of a family again, etc.  

So, I wish I could serve you all up a piece of apple pie, with some vanilla ice cream on the side, but I can only give you a virtual piece.  

So, here is a virtual slice of apple pie in celebration of our independence from alcohol.  God Bless us, and God Bless America.  

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Therapeutic Steam

You know, there is something about cooking that straightens out my thinking.  Or maybe I just cooked so much tonight I am too tired to be very stressed out.  

What a lovely evening.  Today was another wack-a-doo day at work.  There are many of those anticipated in the future.  But I try not to write very much about work here.  I am grateful to be gainfully employed in the field I spent many years getting educated to work in (and I recently read that the rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition is silly and outdated, but it still just feels wrong to me).  

I am now on vacation.  I don't return to work until July 14.  Yippee.  I am excited about it.  

I have a huge family dinner here tomorrow.  So, tonight I made potato salad and I forced my daughter to make a key lime pie.  And after she made it, she talked to her boyfriend on the phone about how she made this pie all by herself and she will be happy to make him one... it was so cute.  

I came into the house from the back yard and saw that steam rising off my stove and all the stuff all over the counter and it made me so happy.  I am pretty compulsively neat, so I cannot possibly LEAVE stuff all over the place like that, so when I see it, I know there is something really special going on.  And there is.  

Tomorrow my brother, who lives far, far away in North Carolina, will be here.  And his wife, who has been my sister-in-law since 1965.  And their son.  And his wife, and their three children - and my niece's two children.  And my three children (adults to anyone but me).  Oh joy.  I am so excited.  My brother and his wife have never been to this house.

Tomorrow I need to get up early to get to mass before the day begins.  Then I have another pie to bake, and some last minute sprucing up to do, and more cooking.  My son will be manning the grill, which is a good thing.

This is good stuff.  Very good.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Did you ever know a gift shop lady volunteer at a hospital?  They are usually retired, grey haired, and kind hearted - or they wouldn't be spending their time, earning no money, working at a gift shop.  Particularly at a psych hospital.  Patients in the gift shop require a special kind of interpersonal skill I know I don't possess.  

One of my favorites died over the weekend.  Her face always lit up when I walked into the shop and she would say "Hi Mary!" as if she was waiting all day for me to come in and now that I had, her day was complete.  I am sure she treated everyone that way, but you would never know it, because you just felt so special because of the way she treated you.

I had planned to attend her funeral tomorrow.  But something else I absolutely must attend was scheduled at the same time.  So, instead of doing what I should be doing and being at my friend's funeral, I will be sitting in a stinky conference room discussing an event that I have a hard time talking about without crying, and I will sit there and calmly dissect the event like I am a robot.  I will write it up and analyze it and talk to people about what we can do better, and how we are not going to have this happen again, etc.  

Tonight I went over to my neighbor's.  I should have known not to do this.  She is moving.  It is their last night in their house.   As I left, she hugged me and thanked me for all that I have done for her (not that it was anything that wasn't a pleasure for me), and there were the waterworks again.  He husband found me a Kleenex and I got the heck out of there.  

I am sad tonight about a couple of losses. I know that tomorrow it will seem different.  But tonight, it feels so sad.

Good bye Erma.  You were a one of a kind.  They don't make 'em like you anymore.  I will miss you terribly.