Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Morning

These are coke ovens along the road, near a coal mine (where my former husband worked) that is no longer producing coal. Without getting into the whole process of steel making - this was part of the process.

I grew up in steel towns and with a steel family. My father was an engineer for a large steel company. He was quite a brilliant man and had a couple of patents on a new design of blast furnace (used in steel making). He traveled around the world for this company. In my youth, I knew the names of the steel mills, and I knew things like what coke ovens were, it was part of our culture.

By the 1980s, the town I grew up in was all but abandoned, the steel mills were silent. They no longer belched smoke, which in steel-mill culture is devastation. I was taught from the time I was an infant that when there was smoke in the air, it meant that men were working and families had food on their tables. This sounds like another century, doesn't it? Well, it was.

By the 1990s, my father was in a nursing home. Above his bed was a large framed photograph of one of his blast furnaces. I asked him how he felt about all those steel mills being gone, all that work, all his life's creative efforts went into - all gone. The blast furnace in the photo was gone. I thought this would be devastating for him.

He sanguinely said that he earned a good living and had a good life. He really didn't care if his creations lived forever. He did what he was supposed to do and the rest was out of his hands.

I often think of this. It astounded me at the time. Now, I am striving toward getting this attitude down. I can have pride in the quality of my work while I am doing it, but I need to let go of what happens with it after it's done.

I cannot make the State value the hospital I have poured my heart and soul into. I can thank God that I have earned a good living for the last 15 years. I can look forward to what is in my future, trusting that it will be how it is supposed to be. I can worry about patients who everyone but the politicians agree have no where to go, but I cannot go berserk over this.

I will endeavor to be an asset today wherever God has me. And I will remember the blast furnaces of my father.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Morning

The weekend has not been as I expected or planned. I forgot that I had a commitment at church this morning, so instead of going last night as I planned, I went this morning.

I also had not planned on waking up with a migraine, but I did. Actually last night as I went to bed, I had a "feeling" that I would soon have a migraine. It took everything I had to get up and get dressed and go to church and put a smile on my face and do what I said I would do - but I did.

The good thing is, yesterday I got my house looking, feeling, and smelling good. So, although I would have rather done other things today, I can spend a day relaxing and maybe sleeping in a nice, clean environment.

There is also a Broncos game on later today. I can watch that - and look for my son in the stands. I asked him if he had forgotten to invite me - and imagine this - he said he was going with his "drinking friends." And not his Mom? What is he thinking?

Grateful for life today, no matter what.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cleaning House

Sometimes it is a good thing to clean your house literally as well as figuratively.

Today I am going to get this place as clean as I can in one day.

It is important to me.

While I have laundry going, I will mow the lawn, do the trimmer thing, pull a few weeds....
come inside and mop the floor, scrub some other floors, dust, scrub, etc.

Then I will take a bath and get ready to go to church tonight.

When I come home from there, I will continue work on a painting I started last night. I am so excited about it, I woke up thinking about it. And then I went to a meeting... and the grocery store... and now I am here. And so are you.

And we all get to be sober under the same sun today. Thank you God :)

Friday, August 28, 2009


A question came up on another blog yesterday about anonymity.

"Publicly accessible aspects of the Internet such as Web sites featuring text, graphics, audio and video ought to be considered another form of “public media.” Thus, they need to be treated in the same manner as press, radio, TV and films. This means that full names and faces should not be used." -- Alcoholics Anonymous website - Q&A about anonymity."

Anonymity is not an outdated idea. It is two of the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. There are so many obvious reasons for it, such as one person not being a spokesperson for AA, or the public face of AA - that it might tarnish AA's image.

However, more importantly, there is immense spiritual value in anonymity. We need to learn the discipline that it is not all about me. It is not for me, it is not about me. It is Alcoholics Anonymous. I am not to beat my chest and proclaim to the rooftops that I am a recovering alcoholic - even though this, at first, seems like a good idea - and besides, we say, It might help someone!

"12. And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all." -- The Long Form of the Twelfth Tradition, Alcoholics Anonymous (3rd ed.) p. 567-8

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday in Late August

I don't think I know anything anymore. And maybe that is good.

Yesterday, after too many people landing in my office, sitting in a chair and feeling free to cry and emote all over the place, I closed my door. With each one, my emotions would escalate, even though I was trying to push my own feelings aside and be present for the other person. I finally had to say (to myself) that I have feelings too and I need to just get to work and do something productive instead of having an emot-o-rama all day long.

Today, I have an appointment for a mammogram. I am trying to take care of all the little (?) loose ends in case I lose my insurance coverage.

Then I shall meet a sponsee at the 5:30 meeting. She is now working days and can no longer meet me at the 6:30 a.m. meeting. That is good. But I later realized the 5:30 on Thursdays is the "beginners" meeting - which was the reason I stopped going to that group.

A beginners meeting sounds benign and humble enough - but the format is atrocious. In the first half hour, only people with under a year of sobriety are allowed to share. They come and spill their guts all over the place, thinking it is a "safe place." In the second half hour, they get lectured by all the people with over a year about what they are doing wrong, and then the long-timer with over a year gets to pontificate... OK I will shut up about this, and I will try to set aside my feelings about this meeting and just go and hope that it is a good thing for my sponsee - it may very well be.

Let's all stay sober today and realize that we are sober by the Grace of God, not by any of our great accomplishments. It is a humble, humble thing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Feeling Snarly

I feel a bit cantankerous this morning. There are many things I wish I could say, but I probably won't. I wish I could have left the television set off this morning, but another blogger referenced something, so I found the remote and clicked it on...

Yesterday a troll came by and left an anonymous comment. I don't believe it was from "he who must not be named." But it was a comment thread cut and pasted from another blog. The other blog has been in existence for many years, it is a blog devoted to discrediting the principles of AA. I am not going to name it here because I have found through many years of experience with blogging that if you have a phrase within your blog, your blog will come up for years and years as people search for that... My blog comes up frequently in searches for "hungry angry lonely tired," "rigorous honesty," etc. Things I have written about.

It also comes up when you search "hate AA" because I have written about that several times. But my post entitled "Why do people hate AA?" is one of the most frequent posts that stray readers (not regular bloggers) arrive at from searches. It has become, for me, a repository of thought provoking commentary. People continue to come by and tell me why it is they hate AA. And frankly, I have to consider what they have written. If I am not being defensive or argumentative, I can see that many of these people have valid points. It is sad to me that they have had bad experiences and have seen such crappy examples of AA groups and sober people, but to be honest, I have seen the same things.

I need not to focus on the negative if I am going to remain happily sober, but I do believe that the time may have come for me to acknowledge that they have some valid points. But some of the points only seem valid if you don't have a thorough understanding of what alcoholism is, and what AA really is. There is so much misinformation out there... much of it is kept alive by repetition in meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous! And really, could we think for a minute about what we look like when we CHANT things in AA meetings? (Keep coming back, it works if you work it, so work it cuz you're worth it? Pu-lease!)

We are strong enough (I hope) that we do not have to stubbornly insist that we know what is best and anyone who criticizes us is stupid, foolish, or drunk!

(OK, I told you I was feeling cantankerous this morning. I don't want to go to work, it has been so unpleasant. I actually told someone yesterday that I HOPE my job gets cut, just so I won't have to go back there... this the place I have LOVED for 15 years. It is SO unpleasant right now.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Oh dear, these days of waiting for news of my fate and the fate of others are taking a long time. We won't know until September 4 which positions are being cut - and then that isn't the end of it, there will be more. The days at work are long - people are not talking to each other. I am in the process of re-writing my job description so that it is written so specifically no one else can qualify for my job. And I guess as a supervisor I am a nightmare. I am not going to lie. Anyone who thinks their job is safe is deluding themselves. And that is precisely what I have said.

I am going to walk this morning as soon as it is light enough. I am not sure at all about walking instead of running. It doesn't seem like as much exercise, but I do walk nearly as fast as I run. It just sounds OLD to go out and "walk" as opposed to going out to "run."

I didn't tell you all that I fell on Sunday when I was hiking. I was talking with my friend and tripped right over a rock. As if in slow motion, I tried to catch myself, it seemed to take a full minute, and then I went "BAM!" into the dirt. Another unofficial bone density test - no broken bones. Some bruises and scrapes, but I am OK. My friend is an RN and assured me that I don't need to feel that I am too feeble to take a walk - it was a rock in the path, anyone could have tripped over it. I guess if I stayed home and didn't do anything I would decrease my risk of falling, but I would also decrease my risk of having a good, happy, healthy life. So fuggedaboudit! (and now my hiking shorts will look super cool forever more with blood stains.)

So, I will get out there in God's creation and see what's up.

I think I shall endeavor to stay sober again today, care to join me?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Morning

I just can't leave that last post as what some random person who may arrive here will see.

I am, indeed, a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. As such, I get to live life to the best of my ability - living by spiritual principles, and living without alcohol. I might add that I am also living without psychotropic medications, and living without smoking. There are many other things I am living without - but I don't want to get tedious.

What do I get to live WITH? I live in peaceful harmony within my own skin. I get to live in peaceful harmony with my family, friends, coworkers and neighbors most of the time - like maybe 99% of the time.

I get to wake up on Monday morning and look forward to going back to work. I get to live through uncertain times and know that my needs will always be provided. It may not look the way I wanted or expected, but it will be provided. I have learned that through experience.

I haven't had a drink for a long time. I haven't wanted a drink for a very long time. I haven't woken up with that sinking feeling - wondering what I did last night - and more importantly - who knows about it - for long time and for that I am truly grateful.

Life is good. Sometimes it gets a bit weird. Sometimes I get a bit weird. I have never claimed to be a paragon of virtue or sanity. But oh, if you only knew the person I used to be!

I am so grateful for the life I have today.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My friend and I took a nice hike in the mountains this morning. It was nice to get out of city and suburbs for a while.

This afternoon I took a nice long nap. I took a bath after my hike, and then laid down on top of my bed. The AC was on, but I still had the ceiling fan above my bed whirling. It was so lovely. But two hours later I woke up having had a weird dream. Not exactly a "drunk dream," it was different than a classic drunk dream - and probably should be scarier.

My classic drunk dream = I find myself drunk and am not really clear how it happened, and wonder how I am going to tell everyone that I got drunk. There are variations on the theme, but this is essentially my drunk dreams - and most of the sober people I have known have had similar dreams.

However, today, I dreamed that I was staying in a hotel downtown. It was nice. I had lied to someone and told them that I was meeting my "boyfriend" - the one who died in November of last year. I kept wondering to myself why I was lying and saying he was alive and meeting me! And then I went to a bar and ordered a beer and a Dewars scotch on the rocks. And then I drank the scotch and it tasted really good.

Holy crap! Now THAT is a scary dream.

But it was a dream, not the truth. Thank you God. I will lay my sober head down tonight and thank God for another sober day. Another day when I had a chance to love God, his children, and his creation.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I am using everything in my arsenal of weapons against despair. I have had horrible back pain since the middle of last week - I am sure it has something to do with stress. For anyone who has had back pain and never used a foam roller (pictured above), check it out. It is really a wonderful thing.

I went to the 6:30 meeting this morning. I usually like the Saturday morning meeting because there are so many people there. My back was hurting so bad that I really felt like I was barely there mentally.

Later, I went to Opening Prayer Day of Biblical School. I almost didn't go. I had pretty much made up my mind that I could not possibly afford to continue to attend - well, I can afford to attend, I just can't afford to pay. However, after being there today, I have decided that until I absolutely CANNOT pay for it, I will continue. It is just so good. It is such a wonderful thing. It was so good to see my friends as we now enter our 3rd year of 4... we are getting to know each other, and it is nice.

On the way home, I stopped into my old, old church to go to confession. They did a major overhaul of the church about 10 years ago, just after I moved to the other side of town, and I have never been there since they have a "new" church. They also have a small chapel, where the confessional was. I went and cried to the priest. Yes, literally cried. He was wonderful and had helpful suggestions for me.

Tomorrow I am going for a hike with a friend from work. I haven't hiked for years ... not since I have been training for races constantly. It will be really good to put on my hiking boots and hit the trail. I will take lots of photos.

I really don't know what is going on with my job. It would be foolish for me to decide that my job is safe, so I am trying to make some proactive plans - while not going mental. Even if I hang on to my job for a while - and I would say the odds of that happening are not that great - I need to do some serious belt-tightening and get out of debt as much as humanly possible. I need to change my lifestyle drastically. And if I lose my job - my lifestyle will be changing even more. When half a hospital closes, a good percentage of administration also has to go - and no one knows who it will be. On the "going mental" continuum of people at my workplace, I am barely on the scale... I have been through bad times before and I know I can survive.

Because I am not alone. Never. God has me firmly in the palm of his hand, I just can't see it. But I know it.

I still feel so sad about the changes going on in the place that I have loved for the last 15 years I have worked there. It is not just a workplace, it is a place with a noble mission and many noble persons whose life's work has been carrying out that mission. But it looks like our world no longer values that.... but don't get me started...

I will know more specifics on September 4. And you will be among the first to know. And thank you for your prayers and your caring. I really really appreciate it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Night

I am not a person of dishonesty. I am not a person of subtlety. I am not a person who puts on a "happy face" if it is not real. I am, however, usually a person of many smiles - real smiles. I am a person of laughter - real laughter.

When there is not joy in my heart, I know it is temporary. But you will never hear me tell you any lies about how happy I am when I am not.

So, here is the truth:
My world view just got shook up.
I know I will be OK.
This is not how I wanted it or planned it.
I know there are no guarantees in life, and I am keenly aware of that right now.
I do not have to go mental.
But I can be sad.
I know that God is "large and in charge" and I trust Him.
I will continue to look for opportunities to be of service to God and my fellows.
And some day soon I will be singing again.

Just not today.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Today I got my job application completed. I took down a certificate from the wall, took it out of its frame, photocopied it, attached it to my application, put it back in its frame, put it back on the wall. I photocopied my app, and sent it along to where it needs to go. The rest is out of my hands.

There is a lot that is out of my hands right now.

I walked around today to talk with people, but it was probably not helpful to them or me. People are so upset that any talking about things only escalates the anxiety.

This morning a youngish social worker had an appointment to talk with me about something - work related. We both "processed" about the changes. That was maybe good for us. Not sure.
It is good to know that there is a loving God who has my care in his loving hands. I don't know what he is doing right now, but I have found that it is not necessary for me to know what he is doing. I just need to do what I am supposed to do.

I will go to the Friday Speaker Meeting tomorrow morning at 6:30 and listen to someone else.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Evening

I'm discouraged today. Don't lecture me please. It is difficult to spend a day with a bunch of people who are about to lose their jobs - some after many years. Some break your heart with their selfless devotion to patients. Some make you sick with their narcissistic focus on their own retirement benefits, etc. For many where I work, this has been so much more than a "job" it has been their life's passion.

I went to a meeting this morning. A man who shows up twice a year, once for his AA birthday and again for his wife's, chaired the meeting for some reason. He interrupted a man who was sharing to tell him he wasn't talking about "alcohol." Our format uses the Blue Card -

This is an open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are glad you are all here - especially newcomers. In keeping with our singleness of purpose and our Third Tradition which states that "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking," we ask that all who participate confine their discussion to their problem with alcohol.
This poor guy was talking about how he was going to have to file for bankruptcy and how he was going to hurt some people he really cared about. It was very heartfelt, in fact, he had tears in his eyes. He did assert that this did have something to do with his alcoholism and got the chairman to let him continue.

I sat dumbfounded. I thought about the fact that I have been sober for 2 and a half decades. When was the last time I talked about "alcohol?" Probably the last time I told my story.

I LOVE the traditions and I believe the structure and discipline of these are very beneficial. But holy rigidity batman, are we going to get this crazy about this? Will I no longer be able to share in a meeting because it has been a while since I have had a drink or have had the desire to have a drink - thereby evidencing the fact that our beautiful program WORKS?!

I got to meet with one of my beloved sponsees after the meeting and we talked about this. It was a good discussion.

I am tired and going to bed - way too early. I will wake up tomorrow and get out and take a walk and go to work and it will be good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Sad Day

This afternoon in a meeting, it was announced that half of the hospital was closing. It is a sad thing. It is sad for staff, but tragic for patients. They rationalize that the patients will be able to find other services in the community, but this is simply not true. If there were other services, they would not be in the hospital now. It is so sad to see what can happen to vulnerable people with no voice.

I will be OK. I know that. It might get ugly, but it will be OK. But it is a sad day for so many reasons.

I took a walk tonight after work. It was nice.

Tomorrow I will meet a sponsee at a meeting and then sit and read the big book for a half hour or so - and then go to work. Lots of people are really hurting there. I can focus on being of service to them - or I can focus on my own crap. I know which one will feel better - a lot better. So I think I will endeavor to turn my thoughts to others.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday, Monday

What a day.

I got to work today and discovered that the decision about the future of my workplace will not be made on the 24th as we were told, but that it had already been made and there would be a big meeting in the auditorium to discuss it tomorrow at 2:30. That is beyond ominous.

Just after that, I got an e-mail from an old friend who asked me to repay the $200. he loaned me in 1998, and an additional $300. WTF? Are you kidding me? 1. He did not LOAN me any money. 2. He GAVE me $80., in fact, he INSISTED that I take it, because I was heading out on a cross-country trip by myself and he wanted me to have a few extra dollars. 3. When I offered to repay it (in 1998), he wouldn't take it.

My first thought was to tell him to keep on dreaming. But instead I wrote back and told him I would be happy to repay him in installments, but I am kind of broke right now (I didn't mention that I am broke because I just bought diamond earrings). I did tell him that I wish he had mentioned this earlier because I had no idea he thought I owed him money. (I didn't argue the amount - I will pay him $200. because I can't prove it wasn't.)

I wonder if he is drinking. He is one of those guys who got sober and got real successful in business and didn't need to hang around meetings anymore. I have a feeling he is no longer real successful in business if he is trying to get $500. from me.

Oh, the people in AA. It is always something. Most of the time wonderful somethings, but sometimes just crazy ass shit like this.

So tomorrow I will know more about my fate. Lucky for me, I have been homeless and broke before and I know I lived through it and I know I will be OK no matter what happens in my life now.

If God is with me, who can be against me?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just thinking...

I started writing a big ambitious post, but then my daughter came into my room, fresh out of the shower, with wet hair, and sat on my bed and wanted to talk with her mama. Well, what could I do but talk with her?

Now it is an hour later and I am so tired.

I got up this morning at 5 a.m. to start cooking. I made 2 banana cream pies and two pans of lasagna. I went to the annual picnic of my AA group at noon. It was so lovely to sit around and chat and eat with a bunch of alcoholics. I love that we can be different in social situations than we are in meetings. I am grateful for that.

At 2, I went to a "spa party" held by one of my sponsees. Her mom and sister were in town and I needed to meet them. I am grateful that she wanted me to meet them. I am super grateful that last night she told me she "would be upset" if I didn't come. It is nice to feel wanted.

Then I came home and got dinner ready for my family to celebrate my son's 33rd birthday. It was nice.

It was a long day, a good day. A super good day.

Life is good when you are a sober woman - and I am pretty sure it is if you are a sober man too. Let's try it for another day, OK?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A belly full of booze...

Let me ask you all this... I am watching a phenomenon that seems to be new to me. I wonder if I have just been blind and not noticed this before. Or maybe it is just my group. I don't know what it is, but it concerns me.

In your groups are there people who are not sober? Like they are drunk and they just "keep coming back?" Drunk. At meetings. After meetings. Before meetings. I swear I don't remember this happening a lot before.

How do you 12 step someone who is sitting in an AA meeting, goes to meetings regularly, and has a sponsor? Drunk.

What do you do when you are watching someone die?

I know we cannot help everyone. But honestly, if someone is going to meetings regularly and has been for years, couldn't they hear something that would convince them to do the rest of the stuff we have to do? Or maybe it is like Pammie says - there are people who just need to go to meetings and hang out a bit - and maybe they sponsor other people who need a spiritual experience or they are doomed to an alcoholic death.

Have you seen situations like this? Please tell me you haven't.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Watching Pre-season Football

(The hot springs pool I visited last week - has nothing to do with the post, but it makes me happy... and so does football...)
Oh, how I love football. What a thrill it is to sit down on the sofa and watch a football game. I would say a "Broncos Game," but I don't know this team. I will learn though. Since this game didn't start until 8 p.m., and since I am meeting a sponsee at the 6:30 a.m. meeting tomorrow, I doubt I will watch the whole game... and that is OK. But WHY did our new head coach, looking so clean cut, wearing his white parka and white hat, clean shaven, and handsome - just spit? WHY do they need to do that? It is just gross! Ick, he just did it again! And even grosser than that, an interception in the end zone.... it is suddenly getting really close to bed time.

I finished two huge projects at work today. Phew. I recently installed a whiteboard in my office and decided to list the things I am working on in order of priority. It felt good to put check marks next to those two things. The rest of the things on the list I may actually enjoy. And regardless, I am grateful to be gainfully employed.

I am going to knit for a minute and go to bed. I have a wonderfully full day planned tomorrow. I love Saturdays.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Brilliant Red Wildflowers

This morning I decided to take a walk rather than a run. It was actually quite pleasant. I walked fast - probably as fast as I run. When I saw this flash of red, I walked over and squatted down in the prairie grass and took a photo or two with my cell phone. I love to be outdoors in the morning.

I think the quality of my blogging in the evening is different than when I was blogging in the morning. I tend to have a more positive outlook in the morning. By this time in the evening I am tired and really just want to go to bed. I am going to do some ironing which I need to do, take a bath, and slip into my lovely bed.

I will get up early and head out to the meeting. And work all day. I have two things I must get done tomorrow. One of which has been so nearly impossible I have had to have therapy to deal with it! Tomorrow it should be done. Phew.

I am grateful for the necessity of the therapy. It has been helpful in ways I could never have anticipated.

Today shortly before noon, my sober daughter was texting me messages from some of my friends who happened to be at her noon meeting. What a wonderful thing this is! I cannot even imagine that we now travel in the same circles. What a miracle. Thank God we are on opposite ends of town or it would be maybe too weird.

It is so good. Life is so good. Being sober is indescribably wonderful.

Thank you God.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just so grateful

This morning on my way out to work, I saw this rose beside my garage door and just had to go back inside the house, get my camera, and take a photo. Have you ever gotten the idea that I love roses? Well, I do.

Today I just worked hard all day. Nothing special. Nothing great or grand or different. But it was a splendid day. I am grateful for my job. I love my office. I love many of my co-workers. One of whom I got to talk with this afternoon just after her dad died. She wanted to know what she should do to honor his wishes (which he didn't share with her) since he was a Catholic. I tried to share what I thought with her. And told her to call his priest. I am sure he can help her. And gratefully, I could give her my phone number and tell her to call me any time if she needs anything. And mean it. (I learned how to do that in AA.)

At lunch, I took a little trip to the jewelry store. I had a brain storm based on a comment from Pammie the other day. She asked me if I didn't just buy a pair of diamond earrings recently. Well, yes, I did. But I didn't love them and seldom wore them... so I took them to the jewelry store and asked them if I could trade them in for the pair I wanted. They gave me 100% of what I spent on them, and I was suddenly looking at a whole lot less for the earrings I so desired. Woo Hoo! I got my diamond earrings and didn't use a credit card to get them. They are so pretty.

Last night after processing this thing - which I know I am being vague about, but I need to be - I was so struck, as if for the first time realizing it, how good my life is today. As you all know, I seldom give myself any credit for my sobriety and my good life, because I think the credit is more appropriately given to God. But I took a look yesterday at where I was those many years ago and where I am today. I may not take credit for it, but I feel a certain trust that I am not going to put myself into bad situations anymore. I am going to treat myself well enough to be safe. I have put in the footwork so that I have built a life that is peaceful and serene and does not have a lot of external threat. I can't describe this adequately, I wish I could. I guess I just have a gratitude that I feel I can trust myself to take care of myself.

And today that seemed to involve the purchase of a pair of earrings.

Silly me.

Wednesday Morning

If I had microsoft excel at home, I could do an elaborate analysis of the results of yesterday's poll. But I have an apple computer with numbers - which I do not know how to use. So, I have loaded the numbers into numbers and that is the chart. And a chart without any key is of limited usefulness.

The numbers were as such:
Percentage of votes Number of votes
Get the earrings now! 15% 5
Put on credit card 15% 5
Lay Away 27% 9
Think about later 27% 9
Enough earrings already 3% 1
Are you nuts? 12% 4

The total number of respondents was 33. The largest number of votes were split between "Lay away the earrings and get them by Christmas" and "Think about this later, now is not the time." There were several respondents who felt that I should not buy the earrings at all, one who said I had enough earrings already, and four who questioned the purchase of expensive earrings when my job may be in jeopardy.

57% responded that I should purchase the earrings. Another 27% thought it was advisable to wait. And a mere 5% of you (scrooges) thought I should forego the earrings altogether.

After my therapy last night, I may have made a decision to purchase them.

To spend a lot of time thinking about my former self, the hopeless alcoholic, wandering about with no where to go and no one who cared, a walking victim... and then contrast that with my sober life, where I am safe in my own home - it is the most incredible thing.

I have never been wise with money. But you could not believe where I have been and where I am now. It is not even possible.

I am so incredibly grateful.

I am a woman who is sober for 25 years.
I have friends who love me.
I have a family who loves me.
I have a good job.
I am well educated.
I am respected by my peers.
I own a home that is beautiful.
My life is, for the most part, safe.
It has been years since anyone has hit me.
It is highly unlikely that anyone will ever hit me again.

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Good Night

Tonight I did so much serious work with my psychologist, I just simply must go to bed.

Believe me when I tell you, that right now I cannot say that I am grateful to be sober without weeping. I am so grateful to lay my head down on my pretty bed, sober, clean, and without remorse.

Sweet dreams sweet bloggers, see you on the morrow.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My eyes are dilated.

I went for an eye exam today. I got those terrible drops that make my eyes look like they did when I was 16 and tripping on LSD. It is freaky to see this in the mirror and I cannot wait until it goes away. It has now been 3 hours - the Opthamologist told me it would take 4 hours to go away. I'm freaking out, man!

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my psychologist. I am going to do some specific therapy for PTSD. I am increasingly having problems with "retraumatization" when dealing with sexual assaults (which I have to do in my line of work). It is interfering with my ability to do my job. It is interfering with some other stuff too. I am very nervous about this appointment tomorrow.

So, the way I like to deal with unpleasant things: I like to think of something else. Yesterday I found a gorgeous pair of diamond stud earrings. They were on sale, but still rather extravagant for me. I really congratulated myself for not buying them on the spot, but I have thought about them all day today. I have wanted beautiful diamond stud earrings all my life. I look at women with them and know that they are loved. I don't care if I have to be the one who loves me enough to buy them... I would like to have them.

So today, I got to work and discovered that there is a proposal to close half the hospital. That is ominous. How small can it get before it makes no sense to have a hospital at all? So, do I act conservatively and not spend a cent or do I get these earrings while I can? And best case scenario, I am definitely taking a bit of a cut in pay.

I know this has nothing to do with the primary purpose of my blog, but indulge me, I am in need of serious subject changage today. Here's a survey:

Should I buy new diamond stud earrings?
Yes! Go get them! At once! You can do it!
Put them on a credit card - 6 months no interest.
Put them on lay-away and get them by Christmas.
Think about them later, now is not the time.
You have enough earrings Miss Mary.
Are you nuts? You are about to take a cut in pay! free polls

Thank you!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

New Linens

Last night I got virtually no sleep due to a drunken party held by the son of my next door neighbors. The parents are out of town, so the young man came over - he is 23 years old and left his parents' home years ago - and threw a party. At 3 a.m., there was a girl screaming in the street, amoung other things "Give me my f*@king vodka bottle!" over and over and over. And a whole posse of young men screaming at her to "shut the f*@k up!" There is more to the story, but that is enough to give you a general idea. I had the big fan on right by my bed to "white noise" out the neighbors, but this noise was beyond drowning out.

I went today to the mall on a specific task. I happened to walk by the linens department of a major department store, and what should I see but the sheets I have been looking for for a month. On sale. 40% off , plus an additional 15%. Well, count me in! I purchased the sheets, two shams, a duvet cover, and bed skirt. I spent the afternoon washing, drying, ironing, and starching these. It looks beautiful. I have taken a bath prior to putting my body in this sea of milk white. Oh, I can't wait.

I was invited to my friend's for dinner. My friend who I sponsored as she was confirmed... and then moved away. She moved to a lovely new home and is in the process of making it much lovelier. When I walked into her master bedroom, I knew what I needed to do with mine. Hers is painted a dark green. Mine is painted an odd blue. I am going to paint it dark green, which will go with my draperies, and the white bed will pop against the dark green. Imagine waking up every morning to a green room! What could be better?

So tomorrow I am gratefully going back to work after a week off. I needed the week off, and now I need to go back. Whoever dreamed up the idea of vacations was a genius.

I am so grateful for my job and looking forward to seeing my friends there.

Life is good. Let's stay sober through it, good and bad, OK?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Many things...

Today is my son's 33rd birthday. He has worked every single day since July 3, so we were not able to get together today. Somehow this feels like a sad thing today, but I know that is ridiculous. Three years ago, he was on a ship headed for Iraq on this date. The year after, he was just completing his tour of Iraq and was in Kuwait. So, he is now 3 miles away, safe and sound in his own home.... too tired to come over to mom's for dinner after having worked all day.

I had another migraine today and reluctantly took migraine medication. It is always my last resort because it makes me so ill. So, I spent most of the afternoon in bed, and I think that is just depressing. My friend called this afternoon and asked me to go to church with her, and I had to decline which was sad. Her husband is out of town and I am sure she could have used another adult to help her with her baby. I would have loved to.

About the migraines? I think I am going to have to resort to doing something my doctor suggested. DAMMIT! He told me years ago to knock off the caffeine. I didn't think my caffeine consumption was that great, but I think I am going to have to try quitting it altogether. I love, love, love Diet Pepsi, and I know this love affair (like all others I have known) must end.

I went to a wonderful meeting this morning, followed by group conscience, and then a long, standing outside, conversation with my group's GSR. He goes a long way in restoring my faith in the survivability of AA.

Random gratitude: I am so grateful I have no plans to fly anywhere, especially down the Hudson River. I am so grateful that somehow I never killed anyone with my car when I was drinking and driving. I am grateful for ceiling fans and the sounds of cool breezes blowing through the trees. I am grateful my former son-in-law decided not to go into debt to take advantage of "cash for clunkers" and instead sold his old car for less than he could have gotten for it, and got a car he could afford.

I am also grateful for a floor fan. I set it up in my bedroom this afternoon. I am hopeful the noise will drown out the noise of my new neighbors who like to stay outside in their hot tub most of the night on weekends. They are not loud, but I am such a light sleeper almost any sound will wake me, and I find their conversations very disruptive in the night. (I find sleeping with central AC on unpleasant unless it is brutally hot, which thankfully it isn't.)

Unintended consequences: One neighbor who has lived here since these houses were built in 1989 decided to sell her house. She decided on a reasonable selling price, against the advice of her realtor. She had two offers and sold the house on the first day it was on the market - at the asking price. The next week, my friend and neighbor put her house up for sale. She got her asking price - it took less than 2 weeks. Now I have new neighbors, and there are "for sale" signs everywhere. I am encouraged that our homes have actually gained in value in this market, but I am not thrilled with having new neighbors.

And it is funny... we increasingly have a bimodal demographic socio-economically. The new neighbors have Mercedes, Lexus, and BMWs. The old neighbors have big old pick up trucks and Toyotas and Fords.

I am WAY OFF topic here - whatever the topic may have been. I am slightly addled from the migraine, the medication, and the scrambled brain that results from them. But I am still grateful for God's infinite Grace and Mercy.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Let's just get this straight...

I am not trying to pick on anyone, but I think it is important...

I wrote about my 25 years of sobriety yesterday and got the predictable "accomplishment" comment. Which, I need to add, is probably understandable coming from someone with little knowledge of our program. But! This is part of the reason I have made a practice of not regularly mentioning how long I have been sober.

My sobriety is not an accomplishment. It is a gift from God. I could not accomplish this with all of my considerable talents, hard work, and intelligence. Not in this lifetime. Never. It is not a transaction. I do not put forth x amount of effort and get x amount of sobriety.

I get people upset when I talk like this. I understand that people are happy to be sober and feel that they have contributed largely to this by their attendance at meetings, working steps, working in service, and working with other alcoholics. I understand. We do need to do those things. This "work" is largely about ego deflation, which makes it possible for God to be present in our lives.

I am so grateful for this life I have been given. You could make a case that I have "worked" hard for it, but if you take it apart, piece by piece, you will find that it makes no sense. The whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts that it is incredible.

God's grace is not a formula. It is not calculable. It is real, it is tangible, but not quantifiable.

I am so incredibly grateful.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My Favorite Mountain

This is such a dramatic peak, it is snow capped probably 9 months of the year, but not at mid-summer. I drove around this evening looking at the mountain, trying to get a good photo of it. I drove by two houses I used to live in. It is so weird to see these places, still so alive in my memory - now 25 years later.

Today I did many things that were lovely. I took a run early in the morning. It was nice, but the trail was not as well-used as I expected at that hour, and I started feeling queasy about animals. Being alone on a trail in the middle of the mountains is probably not the wisest thing... oh well.

I got a facial this afternoon. It was nice. Probably over priced. I am not easily impressed by tony settings with phony music. Pitchers of water with cucumber. Big thick robes - which were pretty darn hot to wear on a hot summer day. I think probably other people's idea of luxury is my idea of stupid - most of the time.

I am having breakfast with someone very dear to me tomorrow morning. And then I will get ready to go home. I am happy to be going home.

Coming back here, 25 years after leaving, makes me realize what a tremendous amount of time 25 years is. I am so grateful that I have gotten to live the last 25 years as a sober woman. I usually underplay my length of time in sobriety because I have come to believe (with the help of a friend) that we sometimes use our time to separate ourselves from others - to set ourselves apart - and to build ourselves up. So I try not to do that. But I have to say that it is a wonderful thing to have stayed sober for this huge chunk of my life. I am so grateful for this...

By the Grace of God and the fellowship and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I got to drive some beautiful roads yesterday. And then I got to my destination.

Sometimes I overestimate how much I have "gotten over" things. This valley is so full of memories - mostly bad. It is full of good memories too, but given enough time, those have a melancholy tinge to them too. Such as the school where my son (whose 33rd birthday is on Saturday) started first grade. It is no longer a school and under renovation. I spent the last 3 years of my drinking in this place. They were not such good years. I spent a bit of my sobriety here too.

I got to have dinner and spend some time last night with someone. And that has opened a whole hornet's nest in my soul.

When I left home on Monday, I deliberately didn't pack any running gear - except for shoes. I don't know why I brought the shoes when I was determined I was NOT going to run. By yesterday, I was seeking a pair of compression shorts and a new Nike + iPod sensor so that I could run today. I did find and purchase both of them. I will head out as soon as it is bright and run up a canyon I have always wanted to run. Perhaps that will put things into perspective for me.

I intend to spend the day at the hot springs and spa. This hotel is nice. I will enjoy today.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sunrise with the Hummingbirds

What a way to start a day. (Those little guys are really hard to photograph, they move FAST!)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

At home - away

What a wonderful thing it is to be a guest in the home of people who really love you. I am just struck with the loving care I feel here in the home of my sponsor and her husband. They made dinner and we sat down together and shared a wonderful meal. They cleared the table and washed the dishes - I felt almost like a child which is a deliciously unusual feeling for me. I am in a lovely guest bedroom now, blogging on my iPod again.

Tomorrow we will meet up with some other folks I have known from Denver and now live in the peaceful quiet of the rural western slope of Colorado. It will be good to see them.

It is good to be out of the city. It is good to experience peace and quiet - and love.
It is good to know that Colorado is my beloved home. (I'll have photos tomorrow.) xxxooo

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday on Vacation

I'm still tired from my race it seems. I think in the future I will train before I participate in a race. That's a pretty good idea I think.

Tomorrow morning I leave for the western slope of Colorado to visit with my sponsor and her husband. I won't have internet access for a day or so. I am going to a resort on Wednesday and will have wi fi in my room, so I will be back.

I feel pretty brain dead, so how 'bout a gratitude list?
  • I am grateful I never decided that the border of Iraq and Iran would be a lovely place for a hike.
  • I am grateful that Larry King never cared about what was really going on in my family.
  • I am grateful for a job where I can take a lot of time off - and get paid for it.
  • I am grateful that I have a nice car that will be a pleasure to take on a road trip.
  • I am grateful I have friends to visit along the way.
  • I am grateful that "to these people I am truly related" - my AA family.
  • I am grateful that I got to see my friend Larry at a meeting this morning - and he called me a princess!
  • I am grateful for a lovely bed, under a lovely ceiling fan, with a lovely pillow, with a beautiful starched pillow case and it is calling me...
"Mary, Mary, come lay your head down and thank God for another sober day just before you drift off to dreamyland."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sobriety is So Good

Oh, what a good day was had by me and my daughter. She was so nervous about doing the triathlon. We got there and got my transition area set up, and then we went to set up her transition area. She placed her bike on the rack, and I looked at the above scene... which was right next to her bike. On top of the towel, in a young woman's transition area, was a big book! So, my daughter had a kindred soul right next to her as she was getting ready for the race.

My race was good. My daughter's was great (her time was 20 minutes faster than mine). I was finished long before her, so I got to watch her cross the finish line (older people start first). To watch this young woman come back to life is almost more joy than one mother's heart can hold.

I had the privilege of walking with a woman during the "run" portion of the race. I started talking with her as I started, and discovered she was a breast cancer survivor, and quickly realized she was such a special person, I asked if she would mind if I walked with her. It was her first tri, so she was happy to have someone along. We had a great time. It was nice to walk, even though we were walking pretty fast.

It was a hot day, in the middle of a cold summer. One day last week the high temperature was only in the 50ºs, so I am not used to 90ºs. I was fried by the time I was done with the race.

I am grateful to be a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. It has enabled me to do things I never even dreamed of when I got to AA and thought it was the End of The World....

Oh, what we don't know and could never dream...

Saturday, August 01, 2009


The alarm is set for 5 hours from now. My darling sober daughter and I will be heading out for our triathlon. She is so excited. The last time she did a triathlon, she was strung out on meth, and was looking for a cigarette the entire time she was racing. We tried to tell her that she was unlikely to find a smoker at a triathlon, but she did finally find one and got a cigarette. It is a different story now. Thank God.

Huge day today, I am exhausted. We went to nightwatch tonight. We sat in the back yard of a man from the group I do not know well. In the middle of a kind of shady (not as in trees, but as in characters) city neighborhood was his little house. On the side of the house was a lot he owns. On the lot was a beautiful city garden, with eggplant, zucchini, carrots, peppers, and of course, tomatoes. There was a huge crabapple tree - huge enough that the chairs were set up under the hanging limbs. It was magical. Really, really magical. A brilliant summer night in Denver, Colorado. Huge moon hanging over the mountains. It is warm enough for people to be hanging around on corners, waiting for whatever mischief may come their way. So many wonderful nights of my life have been spent within a 10 mile radius of where I was tonight - on nights such as this.

Wish us luck on our triathlon. It should be great fun. What a thrill it is to watch this newly sober woman as she experiences a new life, a sober life. My darling daughter.