Tuesday, March 31, 2009

1000 miles

I recently logged my 1000th mile on my Nike + iPod.  I started using it in 2006, when I really started running a lot.  By 2007, it quit working and I stopped using it.  When I bought a new iPod in September or October, I bought a new sensor, and started logging runs again.  Nike is so smart, they give you the "opportunity" to purchase this t-shirt to commemorate your 1000 miles - and can I resist a $30. pink cotton t-shirt that I have to pay to have shipped to me?  No.  Will I ever wear it?  We'll see.  

I finally get to go to my home group this morning.  I am taking the fliers for the event that I am holding here on Saturday night.  I am taking Friday off to get my house in order.  It should be great fun and maybe an opportunity for service as well.

Gotta get in that bathtub.  

Tuesday is a good day to be sober, I think I will try it - all day long.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Snowing Again.

Do you know that if you hit "return" after entering your title, you publish a post with just the title?  I have done that several times in recent days.  Then I go in and edit - which is what I am doing now.

It is snowing again.  I went to sleep last night with my bedroom window opened just slightly.  I woke in the night and shut it.  I don't care if it is snowing because we need the moisture so desperately.  The damage that was done by the blizzard will not be increased by this inch or so of snow.  

I had planned to go to the 6:30 meeting this morning.  But I didn't wake up until 5:30.  I haven't slept past 4 a.m. for weeks, so sleeping until 5:30 is a bit of heaven.  I am not going to ruin this pleasant experience by rushing around like a nut now.  I may make it to the end of the meeting, and maybe not.  

I am looking forward to going into my office this morning with no big deals going on.  Just a regular  Monday morning.  I don't even think I have any meetings today since it is the 5th Monday of the month.  

It is good to be alive and sober.  I think I will try it for another day... and you?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Diamond Earrings

While I was out yesterday shopping for a couple of sweaters that were on sale, a friend from work called.  She asked me if I had bought myself the earrings I wanted.  She had asked me on Friday if I was going to buy myself a gift to celebrate the recent successful event at work.  I told her I probably wouldn't... but there was a pair of earrings I really wanted... and I started thinking about that.

So, I drove to the jewelry store and bought myself a pair of diamond earrings.  They are modest diamond earrings, but they are pretty and I really like them.  This is a very extravagant purchase for me.  It is hard for me to do this.  

Yesterday afternoon (before my shopping extravaganza), I went to confession.  Although I didn't particularly ENJOY standing in line for an hour, it made me so happy to think of all the lines on a Saturday afternoon, all over the world.  People waiting to go to confession.  And the incredible blessing this is.  I had time to ponder my current circumstance in life (I typo'd "circumstances sin life" Yikes).  Imagine a whole hour, without a phone, text messages, facebook, blogs, e-mails, television, radio, or any of the other distractions.  An entire quiet hour, contemplating my shortcomings.  I have to say the man in front of me was still using his blackberry, and if my spying eyes were correct, he was facebooking.  

I am now getting ready to go to mass with the woman who is about to be confirmed and has asked me to be her sponsor.  It is such a wonderful thing to accompany her on this journey.  It has been very enlightening for me.  I have never "sponsored" anyone outside of AA.  This is not substantially different, except I am pretty sure this "sponsorship" relationship is temporary.   I am also pretty sure we will be friends for a long time after this, because we have both commented on how close we have become.

Isn't that wonderful?

I think it will be a great day to stay sober, hope you all will join me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Digging Out

This week has been one of extremes.  There was a huge big deal at work.  You could almost say that this triennial event is the entire reason for my job.  I spend three years getting myself and the rest of the organization ready for a three and a half day, make-or-break, event.  It turned out well.  I got lots of kudos, which was nice.  

But I have to say that by yesterday afternoon, after working so many hours and being a bit sleep deprived, meal deprived (not hungry mind you, just not having had many regular meals in the last week), quiet time deprived, and meeting deprived... I was just emotional.  So for every person who stopped by, e-mailed, or called to thank me or tell me what a great job I had done... I just cried.  I tried to be gracious and smile and thank them, but my eyes welled with tears each time.   I have a sign in my office which says "Recognize Your Victories."  One of my co-workers came by to offer me praise - which I find kind of hard to take in big quantities - and he just pointed to that sign... then I cried again.  

A bunch of us finally went out and sat in a restaurant for the afternoon, decompressing.  It was good.  We got to laugh and tell stories.  I got to talk with my boss in a neutral atmosphere, which was very good.  We got to act "unprofessional," which is very good for human beings to do on occasion.  (I just spelled occasion right on the first try for the first time in my life - woo hoo!!!)  

Last night I went to a meeting with my daughter.  It was very interesting.  I thought the meeting was awful, she thought it was great.  Which just shows that what a newcomer wants out of AA and what I want out of AA are two very different things.  I thank God that there are meetings where she can get what she needs and I can get what I need.   

So today, it is a new day.  I have a hair appointment at 7:30 a.m., which is the last thing I want to do this morning.  But I make the appointments 2 months in advance, and they are hard to get, so I will gladly go in and get my hair cut and colored.  Maybe I will do something wild and go REALLY short?  And platinum blonde?  Maybe... it COULD happen.  

I hope it will get above the 17º it is right now.  I hope some snow will melt so that I can assess the damage it did to my tulips, lilacs, and rose bushes.  And although I have probably lost all of the buds on the lilac bushes, and the tulips that had already bloomed are now frozen, it still will be spring and I won't be working crazy hours.

I can get back to the good self-care that I usually do.  I can get back on an even keel.  

And thank God for the ability to do what I do for a living.  And thank God for the wonderful people in my life.  I really am surrounded by love.  (uh oh, I am crying again)...

Let's stay sober another day, OK?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happily Friday

We had a crazy spring blizzard here yesterday.  I was prepared to spend the night at work, but decided early in the evening to risk the drive home.  I am glad I did.  I am already tired from a very long week and a night without good sleep would not have helped at all.

So, today I go back to work and wrap up this big deal that has been going on all week.  It has been a good week for me.  I will get to "normal" life tomorrow.  I will get to a meeting, get my hair done, clean my house, etc.   Last night the phone kept ringing with people who wanted to make sure I got home OK.  People who wanted to make sure I was OK with all that is going on at work.  My sponsor called because she was worried about me.  It is a wonderful thing to know that people care and take the time to call.

I am grateful.  All the way around.  Just grateful.  God is so good.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Winter Storm Warning

It started snowing in the last hour.  We are supposed to get a bunch of snow.  The weather channel calls it a blizzard warning.  Others are calling it a winter storm warning.  We shall see.  I need to get to work and pack a bag - just in case I need to stay.  

I still have two more days of this big event at work.  People are coming by my office (on the rare occasion that I am there) to sympathize... I am having the time of my life.  When I tell them that, they look at me like I am nuts.  But I feel energized by the challenge and the work.  I feel energized by knowing how important this is.  I feel happy that I get to do this.  

I think I will stay sober all 24 hours today, care to join me?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

12 hour work days

I work in a hospital.  Every three years, we go through our accreditation cycle.  Yesterday morning, two women in sensible shoes and rolling brief cases showed up on our door.  That is when I kick it into gear because this is what my job is all about.  And I love it.  I worked 12 hours yesterday and who knows how many hours I will work today.  I am meeting the physician at the hospital at 6:30 a.m.  so she can observe a procedure.  

I don't love that this freaks most everyone else out.  But I do love that I get to spend time with them and try to reassure them that they do their job well and surely anyone who wants to look closer will only see their shining work!   Or if a shortcoming in their work appears, I can try to reassure that this what happens when you are a human being.   

You know, I still marvel at the fact that I get to be part of this world that I once scorned (and the feeling was mutual).  Whenever I get to have a positive impact on a person or an organization, it is a revelation to me.  

I am so grateful to be sober and that God has bestowed on me so many blessings.

Let's stay sober all 24 hours of today, OK?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I don't mean in the current vernacular of "consequences," which is generally "I am going to punish you because you have pissed me off, and I am going to call it the 'consequences' of YOUR actions - take THAT!"

I have shared here before that I am trying to have my first marriage annulled in the Catholic Church.  This is supremely important to me.  For most people, they do this because they want to remarry, so it is unusual for someone single like me to be so intent to get this resolved.  I have spent over 2 years trying to find this man, a man I have not seen since 1974.  1974.  That is a long dang time ago.  

On Sunday I finished up a letter to the Archdiocese detailing all of my efforts to find him, complete with a spreadsheet of all my attempts, and concluding that I will never find this man.  His trail dried up sometime around 2001.  I thought he was perhaps dead.  But you can't find a death certificate without a date of death.    I had this letter finished.  I was ready to mail it, but just needed to run it by my Pastor.  (I first applied for the annulment a little over a year ago, and provided proof that I had tried to find him, but they did not find that sufficient, so they have sent me a letter once a month since then with a little box checked "provide address of respondent."  As If I could just say "oh, gosh, I must have forgotten to add that part!")

I checked my e-mail yesterday afternoon and found another search report I had forgotten I paid for (and how these people can sleep with the crap they sell you for $39.95! I will never know).  And lo and behold!  There was a report that seemed to make sense.  And a chronological report of his whereabouts, including two recent addresses in Florida, which I have never seen before.

So I wrote letters, stuck them in envelopes, drove to the Post Office and mailed them, Certified, Return Receipt Requested.  And hopefully in a week or so, I will know if I have finally found this man.  Hopefully I have and can move forward with this annulment.  

Because I want this behind me.  

Recently the daughter I gave up for adoption in 1967 found me and we have been talking and e-mailing.  

It is shocking to think that I may be in touch with my long lost daughter and my long divorced first husband.  

No matter how long ago all of these things were and how much I have changed - this is still my past.  I cannot change my past.

But by the Grace of God, my life did not stay on that trajectory, but changed.  On July 24, 1984, I walked through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous, and my life changed.  

Staying sober, one day at a time, my life changed.  Let's do it for another day, OK?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Morning

Tulips with weeds.  Yesterday tied a record for high temperature.... today we are expecting a snow and rain mix.  It looks like there is a bit of snow out there now.

Yesterday the migraine came back.  I sat on the couch, very sad, because I was invited to a friend's 71st birthday party.  He has been sober for 20 some years - just slightly shorter than me - and I know I would have seen some old friends at the party.  I would have liked that.  I might go to the doctor today if I continue to feel like this.

Yesterday I wrote about "front and center."  When I walked into church with my friend, guess where I was seated?  Yep.  Front row, on the isle, on the left side of the church.   

Let's all stay sober again today, OK?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Front and Center

This morning I took a stroll around the garden in my pajamas to take any photos that might be hiding.  Do you see those tiny little lilac buds?  How sweet is that?  Very.

I woke this morning without the headache.  How sweet is that?  Very.

I need to be ready to go to church in an hour, so I need to make this quick.  How sweet is it that I get to go to church with the woman who has asked me to be her sponsor for confirmation (a.k.a., Godmother)?  Very, Very sweet.

So for some reason, while reading the Grapevine last night, I was reminded of something told to me early on and kept with me all these years.  

I was told to sit up front and center when at a meeting of AA.  Not to sit in the back row, or on the sideline, or any of the other places where you can quietly creep out without being noticed.  For those obvious reasons, but also because I need to know that:

When I am at an AA meeting, I am NOT a SPECTATOR.  I BELONG there.  

When I was sober about 10 years, I relayed this to a man who was sober about as long as I was.  He told me that the principle of rotation also applied to this.  He said that when I take a seat up front, I am taking that seat away from a newcomer.  I pondered this for a while.  When the man who told me this got drunk, it took on a bit of a different meaning to me.  I have tried to be mindful that I am not depriving anyone of a "good" seat at an AA meeting, but I have not moved to a back row or a sideline because I am sober for so long that I have become a spectator.

I still BELONG there.  

Thank God.

Have a great sober Sunday.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Over the Top

Or:  Who I am.

Just telling on myself.  

Yesterday's post was probably the most dishonest blogging I have ever indulged in.  I woke up yesterday morning with a migraine.  I get sick of writing "I have a migraine today."  I ordered the refill for my migraine medication yesterday.  It was last refilled in November.  So, I have used 10 of the pills since November.  That doesn't sound like so many migraines.  But I feel like I am a perpetual migraine when I have one.  So I didn't cop to having one yesterday.  I wrote about my tulips.  I love tulips.  I wrote about birds singing, I love birds singing.  I wrote that I was going to go out and run.. and I did.  

So, with a migraine, I went out for a morning run.  If you have read this blog for a while, you know that I have a big problem with dogs.  I carry pepper spray whenever I am going to be outdoors without a vehicle.  Yesterday was no exception.  I was running very near my house.  Up ahead on the sidewalk were a couple, with a dog apiece, each on a leash.  Both of the dogs appeared to be very skittish, but the people seemed to be doing all in their power to control them.  I made a split second decision not to cross the street (which I will often do to avoid dogs) and decided I could safely pass them on the sidewalk.

When I did, one of the dogs lunged at me and just missed taking a chunk out of my leg by about an inch.  I screamed.  It scared the living crap out of me.  Then, I said "Oh my God!"  Gut reaction.  Sorry, I am trying to not take the name of God in vain, but I am not there yet.  Then!  I heard the woman say "Oh, get over it!"  bla bla bla bla.  bla bla bla bla.  

And instead of doing what I should have and just kept right on a runnin', I turned off my iPod, paused my garmin, turned around and headed for her.  And those two words came flying out of my mouth.  A verb and a pronoun, and it is not "happy birthday."  She said "What are you doing?"  And I said a couple more words in the manner of a street thug - "Talking to You!"  Oh, it was ridiculous.  

After I ran away, not like a chicken, but like a runner, I ran onto a favorite trail and just stopped and cried.  And I prayed.  After a while, I pulled myself together and ran back home.

My friend (who reads my blog, Hi!) happened to call.  I told her what happened.  She was glad I told that person off.  She was glad I used the language I had.  I told her, with voice shaking from barely suppressed tears, that  I was so upset with myself for being so "over the top."

She said "That's who you are Mary.  You are over the top.  That's why we love you."  

I don't think I want to continue to use foul language like that, or to have run-ins with people on suburban sidewalks... and I will do all in my power to never do that again.

But I am who I am.  Any day that I get to act like a human being and have a positive impact on those around me is nothing short of miraculous.  I do get used to it though.  I hate, hate, hate that such an ugly person showed up in me yesterday.  But I am reminded of who I am.  

By the Grace of God, most of the time, I get to act like a decent human being, and I am extremely grateful for that.

note:  I later admitted to myself that I had a migraine, left work, took medication, and came home and slept.  Later, after I had slept, I took my granddaughter out for a birthday dinner and then a friend came by to show me pictures of his recent trip.  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another Season of Tulips

My daughter brought tulip bulbs back from Holland last fall.  I planted them in the ground, and these have already bloomed!  This is a blackberry photo, so not the highest quality, but I have had no time to do anything right this week.  

It is the first day of Spring.   It is 45º, the birds are singing, the sun is about to come up (it's 7:02 a.m.) and it is going to be a sunny day.  I am going to go out and run this morning.  Run outside in the sunshine with the birds.  I cannot tell you how much joy this brings me.  

Last night when I drove into my street at the end of the day, I saw my sponsee's jeep and a ladder or two in my driveway.  I had forgotten that she said she was going to paint my living room and dining room.  When I came in, the job was nearly done!  What a wonderful surprise at the end of a day!  We were both starving, so I ordered Chinese, we ate that, and finished reinstalling the drapery hardware and putting the drapes back up... etc.... It was really nice.  My house is nearly done (for now).

I am going to head out for a wonderful run, and then put in a productive day at work.  I am grateful that it looks like I have lived through another winter, and now get to enjoy the springtime.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Early Sobriety

Tonight I was watching American Idol and just seeing Randy Travis reminded me of my early sobriety.  One of his songs was "our song" for me and a man I dated (who was a blogger for a while).  The song was "Forever and Ever Amen," and we danced to it.  And we sang it.  And it had special meaning for us.  

"I'm going to love you forever; forever and ever Amen."  

Oh sure, it's corny.  It's country.  It's wonderful.  And I can't hear that song without crying today.  And although he is now married to someone else who brings him great happiness, and he loves with all his heart, we still sign e-mails (and blog comments) FAEA... which stands for "forever and ever amen."  And bless her heart, his wife understands and wouldn't think of feeling threatened by this, she knows her husband loves her.

But it reminds me of something an old guy I worshipped in early sobriety said once.  A young guy was marvelling at his 30+ years of sobriety and the old guy, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, said something that stopped me dead in my tracks... he said "I'd trade my 30 years of sobriety to be 30 years old again."  It amazed me at first, and then I thought about it and realized that it probably made sense.  

When I celebrated 10 years of sobriety, I realized that I had somehow gotten 10 years older than I was when I got sober.  I was 42 instead of 32.  It was dawning on me then that I ought to try appreciating where I was instead of wishing for something else.  

I later heard another someone with 30+ years of sobriety tell a newcomer that he "envied him the journey."  I understood then and I understand now that the early days and years of sobriety are wonderful, full of wonderful friendships and the newness of living life on life's terms.  

I am so glad that I lived those years so fully.  Oh, it wasn't pretty a lot of the time, but it was a fully human experience.  I had fights, I had romances, I had friends, I had sponsors, I had sponsees, I had husbands, I had dances, and parties, and romantic dinners at home.  I had new love and middle love (I have never been good at "old love") and meetings and break-ups.  There was plenty of drama.  There was lots of love.  

And now I have beautiful memories.  And very few regrets.

I would like to say to anyone who is new to this sobriety thing:  enjoy yourself.  Do not wait until you get your 30 day chip, or celebrate a year.  Don't wait until you have 5 years or 10 years.  Enjoy it now.  Every day is a gift.  If you have a sponsor who is advising you to wait to live, get a new one.  Really.

Whenever an alcoholic gets to live a day of freedom from the slavery of alcoholic drinking - they should celebrate.  And appreciate each moment.  So few of us get to stay sober.  And those of us who do should be able to look back and not regret that we wasted a moment.  

(posting at night again.... it is different from morning posts)

Wednesday Morning

Two months ago, I was lounging by a pool in Sunny Arizona... 

Today I am sitting here staring at this computer again.  Wondering what I can write about today.  In the past, I would look at the searches that had brought folks to my blog - to see what people were looking for - and what they found.  

Today, just the usual things that bring people to my blog "why does a person become an alcoholic?" "Can an alcoholic get sober on their own?" "Why are alcoholics angry?" "alcoholic mother," and "dating a man sober 7 years, why him different?"  

What struck me was to look at the search pages and see all the people offering their expert opinion on these things.  I love, love, love the people who become "experts" when they get sober.  

So I guess if you are going to blog, you have a decision to make - are you going to share your experience, strength, and hope?  Or are you going to become an expert on "recovery" and opine about this?  

I choose the sharing option.  I think it is the way we recover.  I think that those who place themselves on pedestals eventually fall.  

Does this mean I never have an opinion?  Heck No!  I have all sorts of opinions about all sorts of things.  I am passionate about the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and will defend it rather ferociously.  

But at the end of the day, when my head hits the pillow, I am grateful to be sober.  I am clear on the fact that I am sober by the Grace of God and I can show my gratitude by passing it on.  It's just that simple.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Happy Birthday Daave.  Double nickels - now you can order off the senior menu at Perkins.  

When I went into work yesterday, I decided to work like a maniac for a few hours and then go home.  I had a lunch meeting at church and then came home and slept for three glorious hours.  It was heavenly.  It was 70º outside, so I had the window open and the breezes blew in while I was lost in dream.  

I will put on my green today and march into work.  For me, wearing green is no special occasion.  I have two green suits even!  I have several pairs of green shoes.  I even have more than one green bra!  Green is my favorite color.  

I am still too tired to have a coherent thought this morning.  I may start blogging at night... but the tone of my posts are different at night than they are in the morning.  I am a much kinder and gentler person in the morning.  

Take care sweet readers, and if you are considering a green beer, remember what it looked like coming back up.  

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, Monday

I feel like I could use another weekend to rest up from the one I had.  Only this time I wouldn't tell anyone I am at home.  I would love to lay in bed and read a book - a book just for fun, not to learn anything or study anything or improve my conscious contact.  I would love to take a nap.  I would love to watch all the shows I have on my DVR - weeks of back to back favorite TV shows that I haven't had time to watch.   It is supposed to be in the mid 70ºs this afternoon, I would love to take a run in the mid-afternoon sunshine.  

Instead I will shuffle myself into my office before it is even light outside.  I will put on a suit and make up and hair spray.  I will put a smile on my glossed-up lips.  I will make every effort to put in a good day of work for a good day of pay.  I will make a special effort to have a positive impact on the folks with whom I come in contact.  I could conceivably grab a tiny nap between work and Biblical School.  I will be there until after 9 o'clock tonight.  I love it and I never feel tired while I am there.  

I think I need to take a day or two off work.  I am super tired.  I may have the opportunity to do that later this week.  I may also have the opportunity to become unemployed later this week.  Decisions will be made about the budget on Thursday.  

I know that no matter what happens, I will be fine - as long as I put my trust in God and not in people, places, and things.

Let's stay sober today, OK?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pre-Dawn Drive to the Gym

This morning I woke up early enough to get to the gym before going to the 6:30 meeting and then go to breakfast with the women of the group.  What a morning!

Last night I went to church with the woman who has asked me to be her sponsor for confirmation.  I had no idea I was going to be standing in the front of the church, and laying hands on and praying for all of the elect.  It was a very powerful experience.  It took a lot of prayer to get over myself and think about them instead of worrying about ME!  Standing in front of the church!  

I am grateful to be sober.  I am grateful to be this person who God has taken the time to make.  

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Years on an Ethics Committee

When I first started working at the hospital (I have now worked there for over 14 years) I volunteered to sit on the Ethics Committee.  I was interested in the topic and I thought I pretty much knew about ethics.  

There was a great deal of education involved in being on that committee.  I also received a lot of education on medical ethics as I was getting my degrees.   As part of the Ethics Committee, we were instructed in ethics.  We were assigned with a lot of reading.  We had a visiting ethicist on the committee.

In the mid 1990's, he was probably in his late 60s.  That means that in the 40's, he was a child and maybe a teen.  Did I mention that he was German?  Yes, he was from Germany.  He had a very interesting perspective.  He frequently stopped us cold in our tracks.  

When we would prattle on about everything being relative, he would listen for a while, but he would always come back to the fact that there is good and evil in this world.  There truly is right and wrong.  When a culture is killing an entire race, that is not good.  It is not up to us to figure out WHY they are doing that and then come to understand the intricacies of their "culture," it is up to us to get it to end.  

When children are being abused, it may be interesting to study the background of the abuser, but it does not matter to the child.  The abuse needs to stop.  It may be appropriate to try to understand the abuser when he or she is getting therapy, but it is not appropriate to accept that a child is being abused - for any reason.  

What has this got to do with anything?  Well, I am sick to death of the people who want to come to AA to get sober, but want to pick and chose what parts they want to do.  They want to criticize us for being narrow minded and rigid and suggest that we have limited intelligence.  

I say - that is fine - go AWAY.

Find your own way.  Find a relatively easy way to get and stay sober.  I really don't care.  Just don't try to water down our beautiful program.  

Our program works.  It is not relative.  It works.  If you don't want it, that is fine, just don't try to change it.  

This morning I attended an AA meeting.  There was a woman I'd never seen before sitting next to me.  I got to the meeting just as it was starting, so I wasn't able to introduce myself.  The topic of the meeting was the 6th step.  She spoke up about 45 minutes into the meeting... and said she wants to stop drinking, but doesn't want her character defects removed!  She thinks we would all be the same and therefore very very boring if we didn't have our character defects in tact.  She then got her coffee cup and her coat and walked out of the room.  

Now what if we all said  "gee, I really respect your opinion, you must be right - we should all keep our character defects!"  "We wouldn't want you to think we are rigid and stupid, so let's all just skip the 6th and 7th steps... well, and we might as well skip the rest too."  Well, and we might as well skip staying sober because it ain't going to happen.  

I remember when I was new to AA and told a friend (now deceased) that everything was fine if you just suspended your judgment values.  It sounded good to me.  He very kindly told me to not get so open minded that my brains fall out.  It was good advice then, and good advice now.  But no one is willing to give it any more.  And I can see why.  

I hope we can all stay absolutely sober today. Not relatively sober, but really truly 100% alcohol-free sober.  

Friday, March 13, 2009


Here is a picture of my toes, just to show you I am a real runner... and have the missing toenails to prove it.  I have lost both of my second toe - nails. I lost the right one before my last paint job, and that is why it is painted.  The left one fell off last week.  And as you can see by the blackness at the base of my right big toe, I will soon lose that one too.  And I know I need a pedicure, and will get one this weekend, but what is the point of showing you good looking feet?

(you also see my new bamboo floor, under my feet - isn't it pretty!)

I am on my way out of here to the gym.  I am running super late.  I slept until 6:30 this morning.  A responsible person might have said - gosh, I slept late!  I think I shant blog or run this morning.  But apparently that is not me.  

Let's have another sober 24, OK?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life from a weird frame of reference...

Yesterday morning as I was driving to work, I had a large Lexus SUV driving about a half an inch from my back bumper.  The woman driving wasn't paying particular attention, she was busy on the phone.  At a stop light, I was seriously tempted to get out of my car and knock on her window and show her the scar on my neck and ask her if she had any idea how I got it and what it felt like.  Discretion got the better of me (thank God) and I did not do this, knowing that instead of me "educating" her about the dangers of tailgating, I would more likely be perceived as an aggressor and maybe shot?  Or the police would be called?  In any event, I didn't do it.  

In 1984, I got rear-ended by a young man as I was waiting to make a left turn.  I was so freaked out about the accident and newly sober - so I was sure I was going to be arrested, even though the accident was not my fault, I was completely sober, had a valid driver's license, etc... I did not get medical care for my injury.  I said I was "fine."  I knew I was hurt.  In 1999, I finally had surgery on my neck, I now have three fused vertebrae, with bone grafts, and titanium rods.  My range of motion is virtually non-existent.  I am keenly aware that on the scale of injuries as a result of automobile accidents, this one is relatively minor, but it still affects me every single day of my life.  In pain, which I try not to talk about.  And in not taking kindly to the woman who is driving a 3 ton vehicle an inch from my bumper and talking on the phone.  

Last summer, I was the passenger in a car in another accident.  My back got jacked up again.  It hurts.  There have been lots of accidents in between.  I think it is a miracle I can drive at all - let alone run, bike, and swim.  

Oh, and did I ever tell you all about the time I nearly totaled a Buick by hitting a bear?  Yes, I did that.  It was terrifying.  

And that cute little pit bull you have?  Well, did I share with you that when I was 5 years old I  was attacked by guard dogs because I was trespassing while too young to read the signs that told me not to go there?  And I think I have shared here about the pit bull who came into my yard while I was painting my fence - my kitten at my side.  The kitten made a little snack for fluffy the pit bull.  One of my neighbors tore the dog off my cat before she was dead, and we rushed her to the vet.  But my kitten Minerva was never right again and after a year - when she attacked the face of a sponsee sitting here reading the big book with me - I took her to the shelter... and I am pretty sure what her fate was after that.  

Or about the time a stranger in a van pulled up along side me as I was walking and asked me if I wanted a ride and when I declined he picked me up and placed me in the van... I could tell you the rest of the story, but you can figure it out for yourself.  It wasn't pretty.  

I could go on and on with this, but I am sure you get the idea.

"We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 83

But we are shaped by it.  

I know that my reactions to tailgaters, dogs, strange men, familiar men, etc. are not what most people's are.  Most of the time this is not a big deal.   Sometimes it is.

Every time I leave my door and get in a car, especially as a passenger, or to take a run or get on a bike, it is an act of faith for me.  I think the fact that I am functional at all is nothing short of a miracle.  

Thank you God.

Early Morning

I took the above photo from my office window on Monday morning.  Through the trees, you can see the steeple of a church outlined against the predawn sky.  Normally, I look out my office window and do not notice that church, but in the dark, it commands some attention.

I was on my way out the door to the gym when I noticed that my iPod is not charged.  I hope it will charge enough while I am writing this so that I can use it for a quick run on the treadmill.  I am hopeful that I can get back in the habit of running - which is my antidepressant.   I am working a lot of hours and a touch overwhelmed right now.  Running seems like the last thing in the world I have time for - but I better try to make time for it.

My neighbor is going to be confirmed at Easter and has asked me to be her sponsor.  I agreed.  On Monday she gave me the schedule for the next month.  I am going to be spending a LOT of time at church.  I am so honored that she asked me to do this.  

Truly God writes straight with crooked lines!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I slept until 5:30 this morning... which is just nuts.  I am way too tired and starting to show it.  So I must beat it out of here.

I had a photo taken from my office yesterday morning, in the dark, predawn morning.  I cannot get my blackberry to cooperate this morning to send it.

Please go over and read Pammie today.  She is talking about the truth.  

I'll be back tomorrow and plan to stay sober until then, care to join me?

Monday, March 09, 2009


I got to take a bike ride.  It was a beautiful day.  I talked one of my friends from work into registering for an August triathlon with me.  Yesterday was our first training bike ride.  She was a little nervous, not having been on a bike for years, so we took it very easy.  Basically, we rode to a little resort town nearby and had lunch.  It was fun.

When I got home, my daughter was waiting for me.  She was so sick, she needed me to take her to the ER.  She couldn't breathe.  We went to the ER, and I got to sit and knit for a couple of hours.  I can actually knit and read a magazine at the same time, so I got to read magazines too.  She has a viral respiratory infection, and it will just have to take its course.  She did turn down all kind of meds - she told the doctor she is "in recovery."  She felt so good about that!  She did, however, get an inhaler and cough medicine.  

I have a very long day ahead and I am starting it tired.  I call myself "high-maintenance" because there are many things that are essential to my well-being... like good sleep, good food, good exercise, good down-time, good fellowship, good prayer, good meditation, etc., etc., etc.,  I could go on all day about the things I need to be quite careful about or I find myself way off the beam.  So others can deal with little changes like springing the clocks forward - it throws me for a loop ever year.  This year is a little worse because I am already tired.  

I'll stop whining about this in maybe a week.

Let's stay sober today no matter how dark and early it is, OK?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

First Day of Daylight Saving Time

Why do we have to do this?

I get up early.

Getting up early in the dark hours and hours before the sun comes up is depressing.

I got four hours of sleep last night.

I need nine.

I am tired.

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired... these are things we should avoid.

I am kind of HAT right now.

But I will go to church and get over it.

Let's stay sober today, OK?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday Morning

*Here are the award rules: List 7 things that you love and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers you love! Be sure to tag them and let them know they have won! You can copy the picture of the award and put it on your sideboard letting the whole world know...you're KREATIV!
Scott sez:  I don't tag people anymore. If you wanna play the game steal the banner and run with it! - and I second that!  I stole the banner and am running with it... and you may too if you would like...

1.  I love early morning meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
2.  I love to listen and read about people's gratitude, because that is what saves our lives.
3.  I love the way God puts people in my life and I get to love them.
4.  I love preparing good healthy food.
5.  I love to watch the light come on in a hopeless alcoholic's eyes.
6.  I love that every day is a new opportunity to express my gratitude for God's grace.
7.  I love Saturday mornings.

Let's all stay sober today, OK?

Friday, March 06, 2009

First Friday of March

So I will go to church this morning on my way to work.  I am going to try to do this every first Friday this year.  

I am sure tired by Friday morning.  

I got a brochure yesterday for a trip to Rome with a Catholic tour.  I am really considering going into debt to do this.  The trip is in November.  

I only get this one life.  I am not getting any younger.  I have wanted to go to Rome all of my life.  

I am also planning a week long vacation in July to go paint for five days at the beach.

My daughter said to me recently "you are acting like a millionaire."  I suppose she is right.  I am far from being a millionaire.  Losing the money I lost in the stock market made me reevaluate what I am doing with my money and with my life.  My goal was never to be rich.  I just don't want to be old and looking longingly at a can of cat food for dinner.  But the money I lost in the stock market could have been used for many things that I have always wanted  to do... like take a trip to Rome, or put wood floors in my house.   Instead the money I have been suffering to put away has been used for extravagant and decadent lifestyles of the rich and now infamous.  

I don't want to reach the end of my life and realize that all I have is a few bucks in the bank, and I haven't done the things I wanted.  

Gotta get ready for another long and wonderful day.  Starting at church, which is always wonderful.  No meetings at work.  Will take a walk at noon with a work-friend.  Will pick up my daughter tonight.  It just all sounds so good.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Mother of a Sober Member of Alcoholics Anonymous

I have had many roles in my life.  This may be one of the most challenging.  

It seems I have finally allowed my hopes to get the better of me.  My daughter has been going to meetings.  She has a home group.  She has a sponsor.  She is doing the deal.  She missed her noon meeting on Monday because she went to the funeral of her boyfriend's grandmother.  She said she got a bunch of text messages asking her where she was.  That made me want to cry with joy.  I told her "that is a good group."  

But from years of sitting around meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, I know that frequently a new  person will miss one meeting for a perfectly good reason, and then miss the next day for a less good reason, and then miss the next meeting for no good reason, and then just miss the rest of the meetings because, well, just because.  And then they are drunk.  

So today, I texted her "doingah?"  This is our own special language.  It means "what and how are you doing?"  I didn't hear back.  I sent another, I didn't hear back.  I freaked out.  I utterly freaked out.  I wanted to cry.  The world was ending, my baby was drinking or using again... etc.  I called her former b.f., who is also sober, and asked him if he knew where she was.  He said she had gone to a noon meeting, and was meeting with her sponsor and doing some step work and probably had her phone turned off.  And was going to a meeting tonight.  

She called and told me all that stuff a few minutes later.  I told her that I have my hopes up for the first time in years.  She told me not to worry.  

I had gotten good at having no hope for her.  I had gotten good at loving her and accepting that she was one very sick individual.  I had gotten good at letting go of the bad things.  Now I have to learn to let go of the good things.  I have to get OK with the fact that she may stay sober and she may not.  I really believe her odds are good at this point, but I also know that can change on a daily basis, just like it can for me.  It really is a daily reprieve.  

No one needs to tell me that I need to go to Alanon.  This is becoming abundantly clear to me.  I went when she was young and I was struggling to come to grips with the fact that my daughter was a 15 year old meth addict.  I have often said that Alanon saved my life.  I will be forever grateful for that.  But now I need to go back.  

Each morning now, I thank God for her homegroup.  I have never thanked God for MY homegroup (well, maybe I have, but not on a daily basis).  Words cannot begin to convey how grateful I am that she is in a good group.  The fact that I know a lot of them because I got sober with them really helps me to know that she is in good hands.  Not my hands.  

I seldom write at night because I have little energy at night.  I have also found that the quality of my writing is very different at night.  It is a bit more dark.  My view is a tad less cheery after the sun goes down.  I am a morning person.  I just wanted to write this while it is on my mind.

I am off to a 6:30 meeting tomorrow morning to meet a sponsee.  Just think, maybe there is a mother somewhere whose life is better because HER daughter is going to meetings and has a sponsor.  I will honor that relationship knowing how very sacred it is.  

There are precious lives and loved ones who need our loving help.  God help us all to do our best with that.  

It's Early! And it's Light!

And I just heard on the news that the time is going to "spring forward" on Sunday.  Damn!  I am going to have to move back to the dreadful dark days when it is 7 o'clock when the sun peaks over the horizon, and I can't run before I get to work (and get there before 9).  Why did they change that to March?  This is awful!

My sponsee who is installing my new floors is sick as a dog.  She has been in bed since Saturday.  She feels so bad that my house has been left a construction zone.  I don't feel bad at all.  I just hope she gets better soon.  She thanked me yesterday for being so "forgiving" - I told her it was very easy since there is nothing to forgive!  I think we alcoholics find it very difficult to be sick without feeling guilty.  

I was asked to review a book written by a man who drank alcoholically for many years and now is sober for 4 years!   "This book is a vivid account of one man’s tumultuous 25 year round-the-world odyssey, shrouded in the haze of drugs and a sea of alcohol, punctuated by indulgence, abuse, fear, illicit sex, violence, and frequent jail time."  Ummm, I can go to any local AA meeting and hear the stories of indulgence, abuse, illicit sex, violence, etc... from any member sitting there, including the little old lady sitting in the corner knitting (like me).  YAWN.    I would say this guy needs a sponsor and someone to tell him to get over himself and start thinking about others.  If he really wants to share his sobriety, maybe he could go to a detox meeting instead of writing a self-indulgent 500 page book about himself.  

I was asked to review another book about a year ago.  It was a reputable publisher and I was honored to be asked.  I read the book but never wrote the review because it would have said something very similar to what I wrote above.  I just worried about the guy - he was sober less than 5 years and writing a memoir about his sobriety.  I hope he is still sober.  Talk about the kiss of death to sobriety!  

OK, I gotta get to work.  I hope we can all stay sober without writing any memoirs today!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Tuesday Morning

My house is still pretty much a construction zone.  I love these floors and even without my stairs being done, and without a railing, I think my house looks beautiful!  I had several guests last night, and they all loved it too!  

We are having a heat wave in Colorado.   It was in the 70ºs yesterday.  It will be again today.  It is nice to be able to be outside without tons of clothing, and it is nice for folks to be able to get back and forth across the state without dealing with treacherous snow-covered mountain passes.

I am grateful for having almost gotten through another winter.  There are only a couple of weeks left of this official season.  I really struggle through late winter every year.  I guess it is called Seasonal Affective Disorder.  

One of my favorite doctors at work came to tell me about an inservice he had attended about the importance of vitamin D.  It seems that since everyone has covered up in an effort to avoid skin cancer, people are now having a shortage of this important vitamin - that is mainly available through beautiful sunshine.  Sunscreen prevents the absorption of vitamin D.   I may have worn sun screen once or twice in my life, but I love the sunshine and I don't want anything getting between me and it.  

I will strive to get out in the sunshine today even though I have to be at work early and will probably have to stay late.  

I think it would be a good day to stay sober, care to join me?

Monday, March 02, 2009


Yesterday I spent many hours on the phone.  It was nice.  I talked with a sponsee, with my sponsor, with my brother, with an old beau, and with a blogger.  It was in talking with another blogger that I got some perspective on my problems here on my blog.  I said maybe a month ago that I needed to have a mission statement.  Well, maybe I won't have a mission statement, but I am going to tell you all who I am.  

I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  
I have been sober since July 24, 1984.
I am not here to debate that.  
If you have found an easier, softer way, that's nice, but I really don't care.

I am a big book thumper.  
If it is not in there, I think it is your opinion.  
Your (and my) opinion may be interesting, but I prefer evidence based recovery.
I am not here to debate the big book.

I go to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
It is there that I get to be with people like me.  
It is there that I met my sponsor and my sponsees.  
Meetings keep me on an even keel.
I am not here to debate the merit of AA meetings. 
I love the people of Alcoholics Anonymous.
They are some of the most wonderful and awful people on earth.
They are people like me.
I am not here to debate or defend the behavior of myself or other AA members.

And now, not AA related, but who I am as a human being:
I am a Roman Catholic.
I love my Church, all of it, good and bad.
I thank God and AA for bringing me back to it (at 7 years sober).
I am not here to debate that.  

I am a citizen of the United States of America.
I love my country with my life.
My family has defended this country (and some of them died doing it) for hundreds of years.
If you don't like the US of A, fine, but I am not here to debate that with you.

I am 57 years old.  
I have lived through lots of stuff in my life.
If you are young and have great ideas that is fine, but 
I am not here to debate them with you.

What am I here to do?  I am here to share my experience, strength, and hope with you.  I made a commitment to do that on a daily basis, and on an honest basis.  I am a fully alive human being, living life on life's terms.  Sometimes it isn't pretty.  Sometimes I can get into a snit.  But I don't have to stay there.  I have a program that keeps me out of festering resentments and other crippling attitudes.  

I write about living sober, which is mostly not about sobriety at all.  But without sobriety, I would not have any of the other stuff to write about, I can assure you.  I write about the joys and pains of living life.  I think the underlying message of my blog is that I am living my life sober.  I fully intend (one day at a time) to stay sober for the rest of my life.  

I got a comment from a woman named Willa over the weekend.  She just celebrated 3 years of sobriety in February.  When she started commenting on the blog, she would give me the count of days that she had been sober. I am so thrilled to know that there are people like Willa out there and that is reason enough for me to share my experience, strength, and hope.

I know this post is kind of self-indulgent, but I felt I needed to say this stuff.  Thank you kind readers, as always.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


This morning I got to watch my daughters leave together on a trip to a mountain resort.  Today is their 30th birthday.  They are twins.  

One is an alcoholic and addict.  The other one is the one who has always done everything right.  The "right" daughter has had her fill of the "wrong" daughter in the last few years.  Actually her disgust finally came to the surface on this date 3 years ago, and had never waivered since then.  She decided she was going to go away by herself this year so that her sister had no ability to ruin her birthday.   All week long, I was asking her what she wanted for her birthday and she wouldn't even answer me.  She just wanted to ignore it.

I was going to make a birthday celebration for my "trouble" daughter and leave the other one alone to figure out what she wanted to to.  But yesterday morning, Ms. Right called Ms. Wrong and invited her to get away to this resort where they spent so much of their young life.  They are going swimming in the hot springs pool, getting massages this afternoon, and pedicures tomorrow.  I gave them both little envelopes with money in them to help defray some of the expense.  What happiness is brought about by one person making the attempt to "get over it."  

I made them breakfast this morning and then they were on their way.  And of course, I made cupcakes last night so they would have their very own little portable birthday cakes to take with them (carrot cake with cream cheese frosting).  

When I think about how much I love my daughters, and son, I marvel at the fact that God loves me even more than that - because he is so much more capable.  I think about how much it hurts me when all of my children aren't loving each other and try to apply that principle to the way I treat others, knowing that my heavenly father is even more hurt by our lack of love for one another than a mother could ever be.   It isn't easy to love the unlovable, but I believe that is what we are called to do.  

What better place to do that than in Alcoholics Anonymous!