Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I took the afternoon off work to get a little jump on my cooking for tomorrow. I baked a pumpkin pie, made cranberry sauce, even made the mashed potatoes and have them in the fridge. Since I am the matriarch (and cook), I have made the unilateral decision to have standing rib roast with yorkshire pudding instead of turkey. Oh, how I love Thanksgiving. What a glorious day to spend reflecting on the many things for which to be grateful.

Writing about these years prior to sobriety has been so enlightening to me. I have spent almost zero time over the last 25 years doing anything other than looking at "my own side of the street" and believe me, there is plenty there - as you will see if you continue to read for the next couple of days. It is amazing to go back and look at the chronology.

But as I said, I had intended to write today about something that happened to me on Monday morning and I think perhaps it is one of those things that take a more gifted writer than I to communicate well. But I shall try:

On Sunday evening I watched 60 Minutes as I frequently do. I watched a segment on healthcare with great interest, as it is my field. I was struck by the story of a 68 year old man who was hoping for a kidney and liver transplant. Unfortunately, his heart was also pretty shot. His doctor was trying to kindly tell him that he was pretty much done and that he wasn't a reasonable candidate for an organ transplant. At the end of the show they announced that this man had died a few days after filming. I felt so bad for him. Not for the fact that he died, but that he probably had a pretty rough life, he looked pretty rough for 68, and yet he thought he should be able to get medical care to reverse whatever had happened to cause such massive organ failure - and I could speculate what that was, but it would be speculation and unfair to him. And I probably once thought that 68 was pretty old. But I am going to be 58 in a few weeks and I am planning to run a marathon next year for crying out loud! I don't think I am old. But he was only 10 years older than me, and he was old.

On Monday morning, my thoughts turned grim, as they sometimes do. In the bathtub, pondering, what the heck have I done in this life? My career has not turned out as I would have thought. I have not made the kind of money I wanted. I haven't been able to travel to Europe as I wanted. It seems I am perennially single. And the question came to me - Have I made any difference at all?

And the answer came to me like a bolt of lightening.

Yes! Because I have been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for the last 25 years, I have made a difference. I have shown up and been privileged to share my life with other alcoholics. I am not one who brags about how many women I sponsor or have sponsored and I do find it offensive when others do. But I know that over 25 years, I have been fortunate enough to sponsor quite a few women. I can't really remember the first one, but one of the first was a 15 year old girl. I was in my 30s. I just loved her (this could be my mantra for the women I sponsor, I almost invariably "just love" them all). She moved away and I stopped being her sponsor. She later drank again, but now is sober again. She is now in her late 30s! To say she is special to me would be an understatement. I have been present at births of babies and held the hands of sober mothers. I have been to the funeral of the child of sponsee. I have held the most feared secrets and learned that I could be trusted - believe me, that was news to me! I have had so many wonderful male friends over the years, something else I didn't know I could have. I have found out things about myself I would never have known without being constantly being challenged by these wonderful women and men who have been in my life.

What a deal. I brought to you my broken self, thinking that by asking for your help I was admitting defeat and that my life was over, and in return, I have been given a life beyond my wildest dreams. I have been stretched far beyond what I would ever have been without you. Thank you all.

Happy Thanksgiving.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You helped me. Probably more than you will ever know. I am a newcomer and in the very early days, when the last AA meeting of the day was over and I couldn't sleep, I had your (and Pammie's and Syd's) blog to read. Thank you for writing.

Brian

Annette said...

MC, what a beautiful post! You have most definitely made a tremendous difference to each person whose life you have touched...including all of here in Blogger land. :o) Happy Thanksgiving!!

Mary LA said...

A really inspiring post. In AA we come to be of use to others.

I like the sentence on pg.125 of the 12X12 that says: "True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God."

Pam said...

Happy Thanksgiving my Mary.
God has indeed renewed us, reversed the damage. Good post sweet potato pie.

Syd said...

I am thankful that you are here. I too would question whether I had made a difference in any way. I know that I have today. I think that it's the attitude of compassion, caring, doing that make the difference. I know that I walk the talk. I'm grateful to God, you and so many others who also do that. Happy Thanksgiving MC.

OWH said...

Happy Thanksgiving MC. You are an integral part of the best years of my life to come. BTW, we are almost the same age (July=58) and I for one do not consider me old, just more than half way there. Now all I need to do is figure out where there is. J.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Happy thanksgiving, blessings to you and yours this day and all days to follow! THank you for being a part of this woman's sober world!

I am blessed by your presence!

dAAve said...

I bet that every human being touches another human being in one way or another. Through socialization, we have the opportunity to touch additional humans.
I hope your day is full of family and fellowship. I know the love will be there. And cold weather too, probably.

Scott W said...

We are blessed and have our entire life to give back. Happy Thanksgiving!

Lou said...

We are all interconnected. How we end up making a difference when we are older is often the result of our younger years area of "expertise."

I think the love and caring you put into cooking also makes a difference.

Patty said...

Great post Mary. I saw that show too and also wondered to myself about how all that damage was done, it made me grateful to be here. Thakns for being here every day. You DO make a difference.

Ed G. said...

I'm thankful for your constant contributions. You are noticed and appreciated.

Blessings and aloha...

Scott said...

you've made a difference in my life MC... and oh by the way, I didnt' get online to wish anyone a HAppy Thanksgiving, so how about I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and have a Happy Friday evening after Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

I'm struck with how one well-worded message of true thankfulness for service to God and others sparks the kind of comments that followed this post. Many look at the Big Book program as constituting Trust God, Clean House, Work with others. Each day I do my best to entrust my decisions and actions to God's guidance and care. The housecleaning--as Step Ten makes clear--is a continuing and ongoing challenge for which there is a solution. Helping others has been the greatest joy I have found from A.A. itself. It's a winner, and the comments make that clear. God Bless, Dick B. www.dickb.com

mommaof3 said...

And you are still making a difference.....thank you for your honesty....