Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I am going to run this morning. We are having extremely odd, extremely warm mornings. It is 65º now... in mid summer it is not even this warm pre-dawn. By the end of the week this should be changing, so I am going to get out and enjoy it now. I will get out and run, probably for the last time this year in a skirt and a shirt without sleeves.

A commenter last week said that all running ever got anyone was tired.... well, I have to tell you that yesterday running got me a pair of blue jeans in the size I "think" I wear. The first ones off the rack. The first ones I tried on. And they looked great. And the best part? The price tag originally said $79., then $29.99, and then 40% off that, so they were $17.!!! Touchdown!!!

Running also got me a stress test in April that scored my risk of developing heart disease in the next ten years as 1%. One percent. And I am 57 years old.

So, I love running. And when I can force myself the self-discipline to do it, the rewards are almost immediate and they are astounding. One of the most immediate is the lifting of my mood. And my mood has needed some serious lifting in the last week.

A wonderful commenter came by last night and told me how to solve the problem of the website that had hijacked my blog. I had absolutely no idea that a default setting on blogger has your blog "feeding". Well, my blog doesn't feed anymore, and it immediately disappeared off the offending website. Thank you, thank you, thank you Chris R.

(I have such better energy in the morning - I just want to write and write and write - which is very different from the way I feel at night... but just one more thing.....) At work the other day, I was in my old department doing some audits. There is a new woman there, the rest of the staff have been there since I was the director. The new woman was trying to be cute. When I was talking with one of my old friends about my goal to run a marathon in 2010, new woman piped in "they have these half-marathon things for woman who are over 40!" So, I smiled and said "how nice," or something like that. She wouldn't stop. I finally told her that I have run 5 half-marathons, and I would now like to run a 26.2 mile marathon. I talked with my friend some more. For some reason this new and extremely cute woman said the weirdest thing on earth about my training for a marathon - "maybe you could start your own blog - on the internet!" Wow! Ya Think? On the internet? Maybe!

Let's all stay sober out there today, OK?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Sorry to resort to that, but it is still posted there. I called again today and was told that they would remove it, but it is still there.

Then I read some of the poorly written stuff on the website about why you need to check into a year or two of supervised living in a house with others - here is a quote:

when an addict or alcoholic immediately returns to common people, places and things that they are used to - relapse becomes inevitable in most cases.

Really? When I was newly sober I was taught that I needed to go back to my family and face up to my responsibilities. That although I may not have been "on" my 9th step yet, I could begin my "living" amends by acting like a decent wife and mother. A decent neighbor and friend. I could go out and get a job. I could do the dishes for crying out loud!

That God had either removed the obsession to drink or he hadn't. If the obsession was lifted, I would be able to face things without fear. For me, I would be able to live in a home with an active alcoholic. I was able to go out and purchase him beer and bring it home for him. Now, let me be quick to tell you that if I had a sponsee acting the fool like this, I would be telling her to knock it off - but I knew that I was set free from the prison of alcoholism. I knew that I was free. I did not have to go live with jailers to supervise my every move. I was released from the hell of active alcoholism by the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous which led me to a spiritual experience. I have not had to have a drink at all since then (1984) nor have I ever had a serious desire for one. I have had a few fleeting moments when I thought a drink would be a good idea, but they always passed quickly.

Maybe some people do need to be supervised 24/7. I really do not understand. That is not my story.

I would not belabor the point if my blog wasn't being published in its entirety on a website proclaiming that you cannot possibly stay sober without specific (expensive) treatment and then a long term stay in a "sober living" house.

Let me just throw out another cautionary tale to bloggers: I get at least one e-mail a week telling me about some great website or another and how they would love to link to my blog! I ignore these because I don't care who LINKS to my blog. They usually want me to link to theirs, and I am not interested in doing that. I won't even link to blogs with ads on them. I had no idea that someone could just take your whole blog and put it on their site. I will no longer ignore those e-mails. I will respond immediately and tell them that NO ONE HAS PERMISSION TO PUBLISH MY BLOG ANYWHERE OTHER THAN ON MY BLOG. I may have to get a lawyer to get this resolved. Just what I need....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Someone's Taken my Blog!

Today, I had about 30 seconds to check my blog, and I checked the site meter for some reason. I found that someone got to my blog in a strange manner, so I checked it out. It seems a website advertising treatment centers has posted my entire blog - not a link, my BLOG is there on their page! - under a page entitled "sober living." The main purpose of the page is to sell beds in facilities for people who are desperate to live sober and are willing to write a check in an effort to do so.

I got on the phone immediately to the number listed and talked to someone who referred me to someone else. I left a message for that someone else. I told him that he did not have my permission to use my blog and that I insist that he remove it immediately. It is not removed.

Why so upset? Because I think my blog being on that page suggests that I endorse whatever they are selling. I do not endorse anything anyone is selling. Not here on my blog.

Here on my blog, I am simply a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous talking about what that is like on a daily basis. Sharing what it looks like to stay sober, one day at a time, for two and a half decades. Sometimes it is pretty, sometimes it is not. All in all, it is pretty darn splendid.

The long form of the 10th tradition states: "No AA group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate AA, express any opinion on outside controversial issues - particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever."

So I guess since I am here as a member of AA, I won't tell you just what I think of all these treatment centers and what they have done to AA. But I can tell you that I certainly do not endorse any of them. I never would.

If you are reading this on the website of an advertisement for treatment centers, please know that this has been taken without my permission.

And maybe you could just try an AA meeting, they really do work.

One of my greatest blessings was that I did not have insurance when I got sober. I got to sit and shake it out at home. I got to rely on the help of AA members. I got to learn how to ask for help from people who were not going to send me a bill at the end of the month... and that is very very wonderful, and very very humbling.

And 25 years later I am still sober, and have never had a drink since the day I first called AA for help.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Clean Towels

I saw this abandoned building on the way to the trailhead today and asked my friend to stop so I could take a photo. I love this building. I particularly love the orange boat behind it.

On Sunday I generally try not to do much. It is a good principle and an actual commandment if you care about such things (I do), so I do attempt to not "work" on Sunday. But I do laundry. There is something about the smell of towels spinning in the dryer while I watch a Sunday football game on a fall afternoon. On Monday morning, it is awfully nice to have nice clean towels to start my week with.

I made a bunch of phone calls today. Just to talk to people. It is a wonderful thing to have friends to call.

I think I am ready to face another week day tomorrow... and it is a good thing, because it will be a week day whether I am ready or not.

And I thank God for another sober day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Trouble

I got lost in my own town tonight. I drove and drove and drove. I used the directions on my iPod which were total nonsense. I called my daughter and I thought she was nuts and hung up. I stopped at a 7-11 and asked for directions and got something that I thought might make sense. I finally called my daughter back and "let" her talk me through each step of the process. I was 20 minutes late to my sponsee's daughter's wedding. I had been driving for almost an hour - for what should have been a short drive. And I felt like I was 100 years old and incompetent by the time I got there.

I am overwhelmed.

There is too much going on in my life and I am ill equipped to handle it all at the moment.

I have been going non-stop since 5 a.m. today and I am freaking tired. I am going to go to bed now and will get up at 4:30 tomorrow and start all over again.

There were nice moments in my day today. Sitting next to my daughter at the 6:30 meeting this morning. Someone after the meeting asked me if she was my daughter - I looked at him like he was nuts and said "how'd you guess?" We look so much alike - Ray Charles could see that she is my daughter. He just looked at me and said "You must have been hell on wheels when you were younger." Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I was... it took my daughter for you to figure that out?

My granddaughters came over and we shared a lovely lunch of pork roast and sweet potatoes. It was divine. When I asked my 9 year old granddaughter to try to peach chutney, she did. Then she carefully spit every last morsel into her napkin... it made me laugh... it makes me laugh right now. Peach chutney isn't for everyone, and apparently it isn't for her.

A great sales person at the yarn shop sold me on totally different yarn for a project I started yesterday. So I scrapped about 5 or 6 hours worth of work and about 30 dollars worth of yarn... but what I am going to have is going to be so much better! And those hours and dollars are but a mere fraction of the total.

I got to see my beautiful sponsee as the mother of the bride tonight. I am so proud of her, I could just cry. She has faced the toughest challenges, but tonight if you looked at her, you would only see a beautiful woman, with her handsome husband at her side, proud mother and father of the bride. All the stuff I have seen piecemeal over the last year... every little detail she has agonized over...the little favors on the table, she has brought those to show me after the 6:30 meeting. I have watched the progress of her daughter's gown through little photos on her cell phone over the last 4 or 5 months. It was a beautiful wedding. I am sure not one person (other than me) cared that I was 20 minutes late for it.

One time when I was sober about 4 years and about to lose my mind, I was driving in Denver and although I knew where I was, I didn't know where I was and I knew that was a very bad sign. Tonight the way I got lost was so comprehensive and terrifying - it was a very bad sign. Something has to give...

Tomorrow is another day, I will go to church first thing and then for a hike with a dear friend. Then I can come home and chill. I need that desperately.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Night

This really just needs to be a place holder. I just am posting just cause I made a commitment to. I have not one meaningful thing to say. I went to a meeting this morning. I worked all day. I bought yarn for a new project to knit at lunch. My daughter took the bus to my office to meet me there and we came home and put a steak on the grill. I sat and knit while we watched a movie on HBO. I never wanted to see "Baby Mama" but I really liked it and laughed a lot.

Tomorrow I will endeavor to write something a little bit more significant than this. But for now, this is the best I can do.

And I want to thank you for reading my blog. Really and truly, I thank you. What an honor it is that someone would take the time to read about my daily happenings and take the time to comment. I really consider it an honor and I thank you. I will do better by you tomorrow.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Too Tired

I have had such a long and full day. It has had its ups and downs. Work was hard, as it is lately. But I did get to go at lunch and visit a sponsee who is going to be the mother of the bride on Saturday. I helped her choose which dress she is going to wear - and which shoes. Very important stuff. Mainly I reassured her and just showed up to support her. I will be at the wedding too.

I got my hair cut after work and that was good. I actually fell asleep in the chair, which I have never done before. When I got home, I spent over an hour on the phone with a work friend. I am absolutely exhausted.

I am going to bed now. If I get a blast of energy, I will post something in the morning.

I can put my head on that clean white pillow tonight and thank God for another sober day, no matter what it was like. Because no matter what it was like, I am truly grateful for it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Maple Leaves

They are not all that common in Colorado. We are all wild about Aspen leaves... which are truly beautiful, but essentially monochromatic. If you, like me, grew up elsewhere, where autumn meant a riot of color, the green and gold of the Colorado autumn is rather shockingly undramatic. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing like the sun reflecting off thousands of golden discs of aspen leaves - they are nick-named "quakies" for a reason. They shake, they shimmer, it is spectacular. But it is not really colorful.

At work today in a horrifyingly depressing 2 hour meeting, I stared out the window at the cold rain falling on my favorite tree in a courtyard below. I vowed that I would take a photo of the leaves when the meeting was over. I told that to one of my colleagues as we left the meeting. She said to me "it is not as pretty this year." And I responded, "nothing is."

So I will go back and tell you all something that my old readers have heard over and over and over again. I call myself "high maintenance," not because I need lots of jewelry, expensive cars, or nights on the town. I am high maintenance because I need lots of high quality sleep, high quality food - no white stuff (sugar, flour, etc.), good exercise, alone time, fellowship time and other things to keep me going pretty good. I have a tendency towards pretty severe depression. I have kept it away for a good many years now by doing these things. My equilibrium tends to get disrupted during season changes, time changes, and major changes in my life.

Praise God, I do not have to drink or go mental today (or take anti-depressants). But I am not feeling well. I don't know exactly what is going on, but I suspect it is mainly that my system is thrown off by some changes in my routine.

I also know that just because I don't feel great doesn't necessarily mean anything. The way I "feel" is not an accurate gauge of how I really am. I just need to keep doing what I am supposed to be doing and have faith that I will get to the other side.

Thanks for listening....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is the MATTER with you?

Said a couple of people to barbieme today. "Are you OK?" said a couple of others. One very dear friend who also happens to be a very good RN suggested I have my thyroid checked... I suggested that I never heard of acute onset hypothyroidism. Really. Someone else (non-medical) suggested I take some herbal supplement for depression. I then stood up and nearly fell over and suggested to her that although I have a history of depression, I have never keeled over from it.

So, I feel like crap. Non-specific crapitis. I don't have a headache. I don't have a sore throat. I don't have a fever. I just feel like crap. I have slept for more than half of the last 3 days.

I did manage to get to the gym at 6 a.m. and go through an hour and a half of weight training with my personal trainer. It about killed me. But I did it. And God bless her for helping me. And Please Dear God I will feel better tomorrow.

I am chairing a 6:30 meeting tomorrow morning. So I will set my beautiful harp music to play at 4:25 a.m., and I will be ready to roll. It is a beautiful thing.

And can I just ask one thing? Why do people say their blogs are about "recovery" and when you go there they are about anything but? And why are "recovery" and "new age" now seemingly synonymous? They are not synonymous for me. They were not synonymous for the guys who wrote the big book or the men and women in our first half century of existence. But now you can talk about all your goddesses and nymphs, but I cannot talk about my Higher Power because I might offend someone. Why does "live and let live" only roll one way? And why does it never seem to roll my way?

OK, see, I really don't feel good....

I am going to bed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What a difference a day makes...

24 little hours... yesterday I was complaining about how hot it was - in the 80ºs. Today it is snowing just a few short miles away. I had to take my potted plants inside because it is likely to get down to the low 30ºs tonight.

I went to my spinning class this morning which was awesome. Then I went to work and thought I was going to die (more hyperbole courtesy of Mary Christine, I am working on this, honest I am), I lasted until 11 a.m., and then came home and slept all afternoon. I didn't even go to my Biblical School class tonight. I am going to bed in a minute. I am meeting my personal trainer tomorrow at 6 a.m. at the gym and then will either go to work or come back home and go back to bed. I do not know what hit me, but it hit me like a mack truck sometime yesterday afternoon.

I am sure grateful for many things, one of which is that I am not married to a politician. (must turn off the TV....)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Evening

I went to my old homegroup this morning and decided it needs to be my homegroup again. It was then, it is now, and maybe, possibly probably always will be. I have not been there for over a year, but when I walked in, I felt as thought I had not been gone at all. It was so good to see my old friends and to be seen by them. Oh, what wonderful friendships we develop in Alcoholics Anonymous.

The group I have been calling my homegroup is a good group. But although I have been going there for 15 years, I never have felt that I am really a part of it. Which is really quite odd since most of the members now have been sober much less than 15 years... I have left the group from time to time... I will continue to go there, but it is clear to me after this morning where my heart is. I am grateful to know this and to be able to be true to myself.

I took a lovely trail run this afternoon. It was way too hot for running - in the 80ºs, so it was challenging, but it was a lovely 3 miles. I took the above photo with my phone.

I am extremely tired now. I totally ran out of energy after my run this afternoon. I have a spinning class at 6 a.m. tomorrow, so I better get myself to bed.

Life is so incredibly good when you are sober.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blogging at night

I don't think I am particularly good at blogging at night. It seems that every night I sit at the computer and try to dream up something to write about. I tend to have better ideas in the morning. At night I tend to be more riled up about things - lately I am not even riled up about anything. I am just anxious to get to bed. Not sure I can fit blogging into my morning routine with all the working out I am doing - but I may try. I have my iPod set up to be my alarm clock tomorrow - it has a very quiet harp sounding alarm that shan't be too jarring - I hope.

This morning I met with "my personal trainer." That sounds so fancy. In reality she is a woman from my home group who happens to be a personal trainer - a very good one - and is doing me a favor by spending some quality time with me... at a very minimal charge. We have my nutritional plan all set up and I am happy about it - even though it is a 180º change from what I was doing. She is excited about all the other stuff I am doing and thinks I can do a marathon in 2010. I am meeting her at 6 a.m. on Weds. so that she can take me through a weight training routine. Yikes. I still get a big kick out of talking about "my personal trainer," so probably I will continue to do that... even though I probably shouldn't.

This afternoon, I went and purchased some more crap I probably shouldn't have. I had planned on taking a hike tomorrow with a friend so I got some trail runners - see above. I also got a new heart rate monitor so that I can see what the heck my heart rate is when I am not using my garmin.

If I knew I was keeping my job, I wouldn't feel bad about buying these things - which were both on sale and are good things to have. But if I am about to lose my job, these things would suddenly become needless luxuries.... if I only knew which it is....

I am heading north to my old, old homegroup tomorrow morning to an old friend's 24th AA birthday. What a treat that will be. He is someone who once tried to have me thrown out of that group, he didn't like my take on the traditions - like that I cared that we had them.... and imagine, now, oh about 17 years later, I will get up early and drive across town to see him celebrate his birthday. What miracles of recovery occur when we actually practice these principles in all our affairs! We can't see each other today without embracing and telling each other how much we love each other - and we really mean it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Riding the bus

Photo of bus on street
My daughter is in that wonderful place where she is having spiritual experiences wherever she goes. She has plenty on the public transportation system. Tonight on her way over here she had another.

She saw a young man who looked like he was about to cry. He asked her a question about directions - he was new to town, having recently arrived from San Francisco, and he said he hated it here. She tried to reassure him that he would get used to it here. He wasn't so sure. She told him that she had also needed to leave everything behind and start anew so that she could get sober - he lit up and said "me too!" He was sober 64 days. She suggested some good groups for him to attend and told him to hang out until he felt comfortable and told him he wasn't going to feel comfortable until he did, they talked for a while....

Just then the bus driver asked her to come forward. She thought "uh oh - I am in trouble. I have been using the "f" word and probably talking too loud." But the bus driver wanted to thank her and tell her she had a real talent and that she ought to be a counselor! We both had a good laugh over that one! If people only knew what we do in Alcoholics Anonymous!

We're not counselors, we're just fellow travelers on the bus. Travelers who have been there, so we know what we are talking about and we can speak from first hand experience. And when we are through, we don't send someone a bill, try to sell them a book, or make an effort to impress anyone with our credentials. We just honestly hope that something we said might help.

The way something someone else said helped us...

Thank God.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

For some reason...

I am at a loss tonight. I started writing a couple of things, but they were silly and I deleted them. I seem to be "tone deaf" a bit lately. I am trying to be a bit more mindful before my mouth opens - especially at work. Yesterday I made a phone call that I had no way of knowing was going to be a disaster - I got off the phone feeling just terrible. And knowing there is no way of knowing every single situation in a large organization. No one can know everything, and certainly I cannot.

Today I was at a meeting that started with a thank you presentation to one of my favorite peers at work. He has been there for 30 years, and has recently decided to retire so that the younger men in his department will not lose their jobs - that is the kind of guy he is. He started tearing up. I started tearing up. I looked around the room, and there was nary a dry eye in the room. Someone left the room to get a box of kleenex. We moved from that topic to the subject of suicide... then to H1N1. It was not uplifting.

And in the midst of this, in my personal life, I feel that I have been let out of the prison that was my migraine hell. I RAN 4 miles this morning before work. 2 weeks ago I would have bet you money that I could not run 2 miles and yet today I was able to run 4 miles. I cannot believe it. I feel like I have been let out of prison. And I get to work all happy and then realize I am severely out of synch with the general tone of the place. It is OK. I just need to be mindful of where I am and be sensitive to that.

I am so grateful for 10 days without a migraine. Someday this will seem normal (I hope) but for now, it seems like heaven. I am going to enjoy every second of it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I have votive candles all over my house. I love the way they make a room smell. But the thing I want to know is - how do you remember to purchase matches at the store when you don't smoke? When I smoked, there were still matches at every restaurant and I always grabbed them. I still have some that were special to me... including matches from the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center in NYC. I went there one special night in 1986. I don't like lighters for some reason. I liked zippos, I have a virtual zippo on my iPod touch, but it certainly won't light a candle. Do they even still sell zippos?

I am tired and going to bed. I had a great day today.

I got to spend a bit of it trying to figure out which marathon I will register for in 2010. I am almost convinced to do one in February, just because it is a nice one. But Feb. it is only 22 weeks away, and my body may be further than that away from 26.2 miles.

I got to spend time today on the phone with friends, some old and some new. Some problem solving, some wonderful planning. I talked with my sponsor and decided to register for the AA event in October, so I got on the phone and got registered and put a check in the mail. My daughter is very excited about it and I am too. It will be nice. I never imagined that I would be planning an AA get-away with my daughter and sponsor! How wonderful! And that they BOTH would be excited about it! And I would be too!

You know, I could just weep right now with gratitude. Just little things that put together make a mosaic of life that is too beautiful to contemplate. Just little things...

After a swim

I got to the gym and was in the pool by 6:15 this morning and swam a half mile. It was awesome. But if I want to get to work before 9 a.m., which is advisable when there are lay offs going on, I better start blogging at night. I will start tonight. I think I will write some bullets here - hoping to be quick, but I never am...

  • I started a medication for the prevention of migraines last Tuesday and now have been seven full days without a migraine which is a miracle and I am certain responsible for this sudden ability to get up and work out in the morning.
  • I am meeting with a sponsee tonight and looking forward to it.
  • I am trying to decide whether to cough up $300. + for my daughter and I to go to an AA event in the mountains next month - it would be half as much without her, but I wouldn't consider going without her.
  • One of my friends will be celebrating his 40th AA birthday there.
  • My sponsor and her husband will be going and we would likely be able to share a cabin - with a few others as well.
  • The room where HR was giving out the "layoff letters" was two doors down from my office yesterday... I felt like I was working on The Green Mile. Death Row. Dead Man Walking. It was AWFUL.
  • When you work somewhere for over 15 years and you are living by spiritual principles and aren't an a**hole most of the time, the people you work with are like family. Watching them get their marching papers is not fun. It is hard.
  • It really irritates me when people refer to alcoholism as "addiction"
  • It really irritates me when people talk about recovery from alcoholism as if it were something that Dr. Phil wrote about.
  • It is not a Self-Help Program.
  • It is a God Help Program.
  • May you find Him now!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Morn

Oh, what a beautiful morning it is! I went to the gym to run on the treadmill. Run, not walk.

I am reading a book called "Younger Next Year" which I think probably has some good ideas about fitness... but I really don't like the style in which it is written and the assumptions it makes - like "have a glass of wine! go buy an expensive new bike for a motivator! book a ski trip! plan a bike tour of Europe! enjoy your husband! have lots of sex!" Anyway, I was reading it on Sunday night and a sentence in it hit me right between the eyes - "if you're lucky enough to have an athletic passion (most people don't), by all means tap into it as a support for your exercise program." Yep. I am lucky enough to have an athletic passion, and close enough to be able to get back there - I am only 9 months away from my last half-marathon and 5 weeks away from my last triathlon for crying out loud! I love to run. I have wanted to run a marathon since I was 29 years old. I don't know if I can, but I am going to explore this. This morning's 2 miles on the treadmill was my first steps towards that.

I will talk with the young woman I asked to help me with this today. We touched base yesterday and she told me that my first assignment was to drink lots of water. I happened to have a liter bottle of water at my side as I got her e-mail, so it made me feel like I was already doing "good". This is a huge ego deflator for me - which is usually a good thing. Why do I NOT want to do things that are good for me?

I put some new music on my iPod this weekend. I was dismayed this morning to find that I am going to delete at least one of the songs after listening to it. I really believe in not filling my head with a bunch of bad stuff - even if it seems like it is just words to a song. So if a song is talking about "laughing all the way to hell" I don't think I really need it. There are other songs to listen to. In this world, I really do have choices and responsibilities.

Rather wordy today, aren't I? Well, I felt all happy after my treadmill experience, and it was such a beautiful morning, I stopped at a trailhead on my way home. I just happened to have my camera with me and I took some photos - including the above. That just might become my new profile photo. Sorry Peter (the other shadow in my current profile photo). The sun was just so perfect and casted such gorgeous shadows this morning.

I better get going. Life is incredibly good when you are a sober woman - I have a feeling it is if you are a sober man too, but I really don't know from personal experience.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Morning

Oh Goodness... I overslept by an hour this morning. I set an alarm less than once a year - if there is something I absolutely HAVE to be at on time and it is EARLY. I wake up very early usually. I planned to be up at 4 a.m. today - but didn't wake up until 5. So I am in a hurry. I wanted to be at work at 7. I will probably be there at 7:30 instead. I have to write something for a presentation and have it delivered before 7:55. I can do that.

So I am heading back to my workplace which has turned into a nightmare. One of my co-workers said it best last week when she said it was like "going to a funeral every single day." It gets old. I am very busy, and will try to focus on the work and being an asset however I can. I would say that I would try not to get "sucked into the negative energy" or something like that, but it is such a judgmental and negative thing to say about people I love who have just found out they have lost their jobs. Of course they are going to be not acting their best! I can listen to them and care about them even though they are not bringing me joy - it is the least I can do.

And it is from hard experience that I know I can do that. I remember how it felt to be at the bottom of a pit and have people tell me that they just couldn't be my friend because I was so negative or it was a bummer man or something like that.

Thank God it is now and not then. May God bless you and keep you - until then.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Sunday in Football Season!

It is cool outside - up to 48º now at 10 a.m. - and yesterday I made a big pot of chicken soup. In the interest of full disclosure - this photo is from last year about this time when I made a pot of chicken soup. I am too lazy to take a photo of soup that looks identical with the exception that it has wild rice in it instead of noodles.

I went to the 6: 30 meeting this morning and then went out for breakfast with "the girls" from the group. It was lovely. I seldom go to that meeting on Sundays, so it was a treat.

Then I came home and took a brisk 3 mile walk. It is HARD to write that. Walk. Not Run. Walk. But that is what I am doing right now. Mainly walking. Not running. I can't figure out what I am doing, but I have to do something, and for now, walking will do. My back and hip are so jacked up I just can't seem to run more than a mile or so. And "a mile or so" is not going to keep the tonnage from packing on. A gal in my home group is a personal trainer, I may resort to asking her to help me. Which will hurt me deeply. She is a giggly blonde girl who weighs about 3 lbs., and works as a personal trainer.

I went to my favorite running store yesterday to see if they had the running skirt I wanted. They didn't, but appreciated me coming there instead of ordering it online. They will get it for me next week. That will be exciting - and I will let you know all about it!

And now I shall go sit on the sofa and watch me some football. The Broncos are predicted to go 3-13 this year. Should be a fun year, eh?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Morning Gone

Spent doing things like the above. First an AA meeting. Then the grandkids came over... to visit with me and their mother. I bought them potholder loom kit things a month or so ago. They were cut little plastic things, with neat little loops and neat little plastic hooks. Yesterday I looked for one for myself and found the above. It is crazy! A metal loom, a metal hook, and a bunch of weird fabric loops that seem like cut up dollar store clothing. My granddaughter picked up a pink and white piece and quickly dropped it, screeching "someone's cut-up underpants!" So I am still in the process of the above potholder. It is a crazy thing.

I am about to drive to the running store to do some impulse shopping. I went online last night to purchase a new running skirt and they wanted to charge me almost $12 to ship something from Boulder! I put my foot down at that and said I would go drive myself to get the dang thing if I need it that bad. So I will see what kind of damage I can do at my favorite running store. I seriously need some kind of motivation to get me out the door in the morning and often a new outfit will do the trick.

This retail therapy has got to end and end soon.... and it will. My first short paycheck will come at the end of this month and I am sure it will be a shock to the system. It would be wise to prepare now, but I have never been accused of being wise with my money.

Have a Happy Saturday everyone. Someone else stole my "let's stay sober today, OK?" line, so I guess I will surrender that like I have surrendered everything else someone else wanted... husbands... jobs... whatever.

"And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 84

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009

This is a photo from my 3 mile run/walk this morning. It is a glorious September morning. There was a moment, running downhill, the sun on my face, I felt such joy in my heart - it occurred to me that I haven't felt this way for a while. The other night, I was perfectly still in my bed, listening to crickets, and felt peace in this same overwhelming way. But this morning it was joy.

And soon it will be the combination of feelings that happen when I am late for work because I surely will be. I am now sitting at my computer, still in my running skirt, dripping sweat, drinking my G2 - when I need to be at work in 8 minutes.

I will get there pretty soon.

And no, I did not can peaches last night either. They are ripe and gorgeous today, but I am not promising to get them done tonight. It is, after all, Friday. Friday, September 11, 2009.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is it Thursday?

And I still have a box of peaches sitting on the floor? Last night I had a guest for dinner, so instead of canning peaches, I made a peach pie with 8 of the peaches. I had made peach chutney with about 20 of them the night before - and I still have about half a box of them sitting there. Mocking me. Tonight I tell you, tonight!

Yesterday I got to work after four days off and was greeted by a blue DOS screen on my computer with many fatal type error messages. The IT man came and took it away with grave mumblings and questions about if I actually needed anything on my hard drive. No, I don't. And I had a super secret special other laptop under my desk just for special occasions like this, I pulled it out and got to work!

I feel changes in my life all around in the atmosphere. They haven't happened yet, but I feel them coming. And I am ready.

I know that no matter what has happened in my life so far, and some of it has been pretty grim, I have been OK, with God in my life it has been OK. Most of the time it has been much better than OK. I know that I have an ability to enjoy the minor moments to the extent that I enjoy the days, weeks, months and years - for the most part. I know that one of my most cherished homes was a 1 bedroom apartment in a creepy part of town, I just loved that place.

Surrender is the most wonderful feeling in the world, but you cannot will it to happen. It is a gift from God, it does take a bit of willingness...

So grateful for this beautiful sober life today.... join me on our sober journey? please? thanks!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wednesday Morning

I am heading back to work after four days off. I am happy, happy, happy to be going back to work. The atmosphere has been awful there, but I will do whatever I can do to improve that today. It may not be much, a lot of people learned last week that they have lost their jobs... I don't think a cheery co-worker would go far to cheer them today. I will pray that God show me how to be of maximum usefulness to him and my fellows there.

I will go to a meeting on the way to work. I am happy, happy, happy to be going there too.

A sponsee is coming over after work and we are supposed to read the big book together. There are probably 20 lbs. of peaches left to process - and they are beautiful. Tomorrow will be too late for them. I am going to be a busy girl tonight!

A grateful busy girl. Happy to be sober and living this life. Let's all stay sober together today, OK?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Furlough Day

Today is my first furlough day. A day off work without pay. The bad news is? One day's pay is a pretty good chunk of change. The good news is? One day's pay is a pretty good chunk of change. I am grateful to have a job where I will be paid for the remaining work days this month.

I went to the farmers' market for peaches yesterday. I got a box of peaches, and I also got a box of pears. I canned the pears yesterday. I was planning on canning the peaches today but they aren't ripe enough yet. I hope at least some of them will be ripe enough by this evening to get to work on, and then I can finish the rest of them tomorrow after work.

A sponsee is coming over tomorrow after work. Do you think we can read the big book while peeling, pitting, and slicing peaches?

I am waiting to hear from a friend now, and we are going to go for a hike.

Grateful for another beautiful day of sobriety.

Monday, September 07, 2009

4 Year Bloggerversary

Four Years ago today I started this blog. I was sitting at my desk at work, eating my lunch, and just wrote a little post and started a new blog. I had two other blogs that I was sure were meaningful and should find huge readership, and this blog I had my doubts about from the get go. Shows you how much I know, eh?

I have learned so much from blogging. I have learned things about myself - like the fact that I really do have the discipline necessary to write something every single day - usually about the same time each day - and other things as well. I have learned a lot about other people too. I have learned about our fellowship. I have learned about our program. I have learned that some of my dearest held beliefs were just plain wrong-headed. I have learned to like people I didn't want to like, and I have learned that I should not trust people as easily as I have.

I have met people right here whose friendship I treasure. I don't consider these some kind of cyber friendships or remote friendships at all... but real true friendships.

I have been able to see what people who come to AA think about us, because they sit at their computers, in the privacy of their own homes, and tell us by blogging about it. If I will set aside my own defensiveness, I can take an honest look at it and see what my role may be. And it can never be bad to take an honest look at what my role is.

So, I want to thank all the bloggers who sit down every day and write something, and come by and comment. We really share things from our hearts and I feel that I really know you. I really appreciate what you have added to my sobriety.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

The wind is definitely out of my sails.

I do not feel particularly well (sore throat, and very very tired).

After a busy morning I am going to go to bed now.

I did take a run this morning and register for a race in October.

Tomorrow I hope to feel energetic enough to go buy some peaches at the farmers' market.

And then I will can.

I think I can.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

It is the first day of a four day weekend (Tuesday is my first furlough day). I am grateful to have four days off. I am grateful I still have a job.

The cuts at work were much deeper than anyone anticipated. People were walking around in a daze, many of them with bloodshot eyes from crying. I left a meeting with one of my friends and she asked someone else "how are you?" and then walked away saying "I have to stop asking people how they are." It is that ugly.

So, I got to go to the state convention with my daughter last night. There was a wonderful speaker I am so glad I got to hear. I ran into some old friends, some of whom I didn't even recognize. I kept thinking I was seeing people, and then remembering that they are dead. It is weird to get older.

We will go back today. I am tired and glad I have three more days off after today. It has been such an emotionally grueling week at work, I think it is going to take some serious down-time to get over it enough to go back next week.

One day at a time, I have today, which is a glorious late summer day. I walked around this morning and took photos of roses. My daughter is sleeping but I will soon wake her, we will have breakfast and get on the road out of here for a good day of sober fellowship.

Happy Birthday to my dear friend dAAve. He is sober Six Years Today... and I have known him for half of that! Now, that is a good deal.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Thursday Night on the Back Deck

I am sitting outside writing this. It is a perfectly beautiful evening, and I couldn't see a good reason to sit inside while I could sit outside. The dogs next door might be a compelling reason, but I am trying to ignore their endless yapping. The crickets are wonderful. I love to listen to them.

Thank God for these nights when I don't need air conditioning on and I can be serenaded by crickets all the night long.

This morning my boss came to my office door. He had a piece of pink paper, about 8.5"X4" in his hand. He said "Hi Mary, how are you?" I said "You are my boss, you are standing in my doorway with a pink slip in your hand, why don't YOU tell ME how I am!" He laughed and then told me that I needed to get ahold of my assistant who was off today. Yes, I needed to make THAT call. Her position has been abolished and I got to tell her that. That sounds sarcastic, it really isn't. I closed my office door and prayed for a while before I called her. And it was not pretty. She, like many of us, really needs her job, and this is a terrible blow to her.

I don't know who all got the word today, but as far as I know, I am not one of them. For now.

It is a sad place.

It was a long day. And a long week. And it is not over yet.

I am extremely grateful to be going to our state convention this weekend. Even though I didn't even want to go. I think it will be perfect for this weekend. My daughter is so excited she can barely stand it. It is awesome to witness that and be able to share that with her. What a deal.

We have been planning our trip to Texas next year. My sponsor was able to get a room in the same hotel I am booked at. What a thrill. We are planning our drive... we have decided we all want to take a road trip. Oh! I love road trips! (and I HATE flying)

I will pray for the people who have lost their jobs tonight. I will go to church tomorrow morning and pray some more. And then I will go and face another day at this place I have loved for 15 years.

Thanks for listening to all of this....

Let's keep staying sober together, OK?


I cleaned out a few drawers over the weekend. I found an old purse that I was going to discard. It was given to me by my first sponsor to be used for my first job interview in sobriety. It was cute in 1984, but kind of not so cute in 2009. It has been sitting in a drawer for 20 or so years. I decided to look inside before I threw it away and imagine my surprise to see a little snapshot of my life back then.

There was debris from cigarette packages, and in fact, there was one cigarette filter, just rolling around. I used to smoke Doral Menthols before they became a cheap brand - then I switched to either Kools or Benson and Hedges Menthols. Oh dear.

There was a love poem from someone. I have no idea who. Oh dear.

There was a scrap of paper with figures on one side - probably me trying to figure out how to make rent and car payment out of not enough money - and on the other side, the clumsy attempt at cursive handwriting of my now 30 year old daughter's name. Oh, how sweet! I took it to her yesterday. She is going to show it to my granddaughters, the youngest of whom is now doing those little cursive explorations.

There was a receipt for a few grocery items on my 34th birthday, December 15, 1985. I don't remember the grocery items, but I do remember that on that night, I sat on the curb in the snow and told God I was driving to the liquor store because I thought I was done being sober. Thank God he listened to me and provided what I needed in that moment to keep me from driving to the liquor store. (It was the sudden thought of a woman I disliked in my group - and I knew if I got drunk, she would be sober longer than me.... sick? yes. Did it work in that moment? yes. - thank God.)

It is good to remember. But also good to still take that purse with all those things in it (except the handwriting of my daughter) and throw it away.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Is it Artificial?

A.A. International Convention 2010 - San Antonio, Texas

My excitement that is? Sometimes I have a way of purchasing things that "make me happy" when I am having a difficult time. Anyone who has read this for a while probably knows what I am talking about.

But I just registered for the Int'l Conv. in San Antonio next year! It was frustrating and frantic, but I did it! The frantic part was watching the hotel rooms suddenly being labeled as "sold out" as I was trying to figure out where I should stay. While I was deciding, the hotels within inches of the convention sold out, but I was able to grab a room a mile from the convention. And I am happy about that.

I have never been to an Int'l Convention.

In my first year of sobriety (1985), I was invited to go to Montreal with some friends, but didn't see any reason to go - so I didn't.

In my 6th year of sobriety (1990), I was on a some committee or another for the Seattle convention since I lived nearby, I had my name badge, etc....but I got stuck with my husband working in eastern Alberta - and didn't even get to go to the convention. It about broke my heart. (and when some Canadian chica in a meeting told me that it would be a good reason for me to "stay sober for another 5 years" I almost punched her in the mouth!)

In my 11th year of sobriety (1995), I swore I was going to go to San Diego, but I couldn't quite scrape together the money to go, so I didn't. My sponsor went and so did a bunch of my friends and I was sad that I missed it.

In my 16th year of sobriety (2000), I knew I could not go to the International Convention in Minneapolis because I had just finished my bachelor's degree and was starting on my master's. I didn't even consider it.

In my 21st year of sobriety (2005), I didn't go to Toronto, or even try. It was outside of my financial ability at that time. But my sponsor and her husband went and many of my friends did too, and I was sad that I missed it.

So, finally, I am going to get to go.

I will find out in another two days whether I have lost my job, so probably this was not the most prudent use of a credit card, but I don't care! So there!

See you in San Antonio!

(9/3/09 - I have just edited this post in hope that it no longer comes up when someone is googling the convention. It totally creeped me out today when I googled it and within the first couple of websites listed was mine.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Time to go to work

I had a migraine for 2 days, and I am afraid it is trying to turn into 3. I have that "walking on eggshells" feeling that can easily turn back into this sickening headache. It has been a long time since I have had a three day migraine, but I used to have them all the time.

Yesterday I stayed at work until I was done giving a presentation to the Medical Executive Committee. I really need to honor my commitment to give the best I can at work. So many people are so disheartened, they have basically thrown in the towel. I am not going to do that. Until they usher me out the door, I will honor my commitment to give my best effort for my paycheck.

So, I made a plan with my daughter to attend our state convention this weekend. I was unsure as to whether I should attend. I don't really like the big time AA events or the big time AA speakers. I spent too much time with them when I was married to my last husband and came to really dislike them. In Catholicism, we believe we are each called by God to do certain things, and I have felt that I am "called" to just sit at regular old AA meetings and share in a regular way about regular things, not about "big-time" things at "big-time" meetings. I can sit and read the big book with regular old stinky drunks (sorry to the beautiful women I sponsor - you are not in any way stinky, and I love you) and be at the regular meetings when everyone else is off at the big-time events.

I can also acknowledge that thousands of people are helped by those big time speakers - And if I say any more it will get ugly... so I am done!

Have a sweet sober day y'all.