Wednesday, March 31, 2010


On the book shelf in my bedroom are several big books - among them are the three shown above. My father's 2nd edition big book, the 3rd edition big book I purchased when the 4th edition was released just so I would have a clean copy of the 3rd ed., and a fairly new 4th edition. There was a time when I searched high and low for a 1st edition and would have paid a bit of money for one, but that time has passed.

Last night I attended a meeting that made me feel like I am some kind of AA artifact. Like I am some kind of older edition of AA - and I don't really understand this new edition.

The year my son was in Iraq, I went to this meeting nearly every single day and felt it saved my life. At the end of the year I had enough philosophical differences with the couple of men who felt they "owned" the meeting that I was always butting heads with them. I felt it would be just fine if I left the group.

Last night I was shocked by the difference a couple of years made in that meeting. When did they start chanting? The entire room recited whole portions of the "promises," including dramatically stretching out "sometimes s-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-w-l-y!"

One woman who had only been sober for a few days was urged to get her 24 hour chip out of her purse and pass it back around the room so that "we can fill it back up."


Is this some new form of AA that I don't understand?

Is this voodoo?

If passing around a chip and putting our "mojo" on it worked, I don't think we would see so many people with such large collections of 24 hour, 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day chips, but who cannot achieve any kind of sustainable sobriety.

I did not hear one word about God (other than some poor soul stating that he was raised a Catholic so had a really BAD idea about God - oh really?), getting a sponsor, working a step, or anything else that might help a person actually stay sober.

Do we think we can keep a person sober by telling them to go to lots of meetings where we pass around magical chips and chant magical words?

Get me to a time machine STAT!

My responsibility? I do go to meetings and talk about what I consider the real deal. I sponsor women and part of my sponsoring them is that they sponsor others. We do the steps as written in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. But I feel like I am swimming against the tide. A tsunami.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Four Years Ago...

I am so devoid of ideas this morning, I thought I would take a look back at what I was writing about four years ago on this date.

It really was a shock to read that I had just taken my little cat Minerva to the cat shelter. It was so sad.

So, I will reprint it here:

From March 2006:
My sponsee just left. She comes over most Monday nights and we read the big book. Tonight we were just talking. Out of nowhere, my cat attacked her. She scratched her eyeball, lower eyelid (the entire length of the eye), nose, and cheek. J. had blood dripping off her face. Oh my God. I cannot have a cat that does stuff like this.

A little background. Minerva (the cat) was adopted by me on January 8, 2005. On April 23, 2005, she was in my backyard with me as I was painting the fence. She was on a harness and leash because there are wild animals around here that would enjoy a snack of kitten. Because I was painting the fence, the gate to my back yard was open, and the next thing I knew I heard a ruckus. A pit bull was in my back yard attacking this little defenseless kitten. I stood and screamed and threw things at the dog to no avail. I screamed so much that I lost my voice for over a week. My neighbor ran over and actually dragged the dog off my cat. Another neighbor came over and drove me and Minerva to the local vet. While another cadre of neighbors walked the dog around until they found his owner. (I love my neighbors.) My cat had some pretty serious injuries, and had to stay in the cat hospital for 3 days. The dog owner was very responsible and paid the bill and got rid of his dog.

However, my cat has never been right since then. I thought in time she would get more secure and be safer. But tonight I realized that she is not going to be OK. I cannot have a cat that will do something like this.

I am pretty freaked out about this. The sight of my sponsee with blood dripping from her face is something that I will not soon forget. I hope to God that those wounds heal without any infection.

I will call the vet tomorrow and get her advice as to where to go from here.

Please say a prayer for J. if you can.

Thanks sober bloggers, you guys are the best.
postscript 2010, I did call the vet -she suggested a cat behavioralist - I was not inclined to do something like that. I still miss Minerva. J. is still my sponsee, she had no lasting injury from that cat attack, thank God. And we're both still sober!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday, Monday

Oh, it is another Monday morning. I really don't mind Monday mornings because I really like my life. I like my job. I like going to it. I like the people I work with, so I enjoy seeing them on Monday mornings after an absence of a weekend. I wouldn't mind going back to bed for a couple of hours right now, but I am sure I will get to work and forget that I am tired.

I only have six and a half more years until I am sixty-five years old. I cannot imagine that. Others I know are counting down the days until they can retire. I am counting down the days in a different way. I want to keep going. I don't want to quit. I don't want my career to end. It will end when it does, and I am sure it will be OK, but for now, I want to keep going.

While others were busy getting their education and getting their careers started, I was busy in a life as an active alcoholic. And then it took me ten years of serious, nearly full-time work, to get sober. When I was 42 years old, I was ready to start work in earnest and start college. Kind of a late start, eh? So, no, at the age of 58 and a half, I am not nearly ready to think about retiring.

So I am grateful that I have a place to go this morning. And they actually want me there and pay me to be there.

Sounds like a good deal all the way around.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunbeams in my Living Room

Here I am, at home, at nine o'clock in the morning. There is sunshine streaming in my windows. Oh, it is glorious. It is going to be a warm spring day, which will serve to get rid of some of the 12" of snow we got last week. I am going to get out and run for the first time in 2 weeks - just as soon as I post this.

Last night my church was packed. People love to get their palms on Palm Sunday. I must admit, I do too. But of course, I love to go to church every other Sunday too.

There is a meeting I go to sometimes on Friday nights. In it there is a man who is always there. He has been sober maybe 30 years. Every week he shares. No matter the topic, he shares the same thing. It is his story. It is the story of how he came to AA and went to 89 meetings in 90 days. On the 90th day, he had to go out of town for business. He was in some town in the midwest and there was a lot of booze at this event. He decided to walk across the street to McDonald's instead of stay at the event with the booze. And I wait for the punch line..... but this is it. This is the whole story. Every week.

And then I pray. Please dear Lord, may I have more of a story than a walk across the street to McDonald's 30 years ago. I am sure this man surely has more of a story than this, I don't know why he doesn't share it, but he doesn't.

So, for today, my story is....I am grateful for another day of blessed sobriety, a good night's sleep, some beautiful sunshine, the ability to go outside and run, and a day off.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Morning

I've been out and about... to meetings and here and there and visiting with friends. What a great way to start a weekend. I wish my house were cleaner, I could keep on with a leisurely weekend - but alas, my house needs some serious work. Unfortunately, my shoulder has reached a point where I am now wearing a sling on my right arm because I need to immobilize this arm. My doc put me in one six months ago, and after some physical therapy it had improved to the point where I thought I would never need it again - ha!

This morning I am going to do a risky thing. I am going to take the flannel sheets off my bed and replace them with my wonderful white cotton sheets with the embroidery and eyelet trim. I shall freeze tonight because it is still quite cold. But I can't stand another night between flannel sheets.

Last night I drove across town to a meeting I don't normally get to. I sat next to an old friend I have known since I got sober. I thought about the fact that we are now quite a bit older than we were. She was in her 20s, I was in my early 30s back then. Obviously we are not now. What a comfort it is to me to sit with an old friend like that. Another person who has stayed sober come hell or high water and we have both faced a bit of each... and kept turning to God, and knowing that he would see us through - no matter what. And he did. So there we were.

Sitting in that room, which is the current incarnation of my very first group, I remembered my very first 24 hours of sobriety. I was concerned about what I would do when my children got married. How would I handle the wedding - the champagne toast? Wouldn't it be awkward? I asked someone this... and some sage alcoholic asked me how old my children were. I meekly told him "my son is 7 and my twin daughters are 5." Well, that person told me I ought to try staying sober one day at a time.

And do you know that when my son got married last week at the age of 33 - not once did the issue of a champagne toast even come up?

Glad someone told me not to spend a lot of time worrying about that.

I am very glad I have you other alcoholics to talk to because I can't think my way out of a paper bag! And God is able to work best with the hands, ears, and mouths of the people he has put on this earth.

What a deal!

Friday, March 26, 2010

After careful consideration, much prayer, and two sleepless nights....

I have decided to continue blogging.

Blogging has been, for the most part, a very positive thing in my life. It has, for the most part, had a positive impact on others. As a result of blogging, I have met others who I absolutely love - not in that generic "I Love Everyone" way, but in the way I really love the few people in my life I truly love.

In my life, I have often cared much too deeply about others' opinions of me. When I first started blogging I wondered if I had the stomach for the mean spirited comments. I still wonder. I would like to say though - there are lots of blogs out there, if I read them and don't like them, I move on. I don't keep coming back and leaving crappy comments. Could you please do me the same honor? I don't expect everyone to like me or my blog, but just move along if you don't.

My blog has always been deeply personal. That has been my choice. But sometimes it has seemed to be a crazy choice. My trip to Vegas brought a lot of visitors to my blog who left what I considered offensive comments. Imagine writing about visiting the Cathedral and having someone come by and say "enjoy SIN city!" yeah. Or writing about my son's wedding and having advertisements for lawyers who can get me off from any drug charge. That makes me sick. I know that I take things too seriously, it is my nature. On a good day, things might roll of my back, but not lately.

Our blogging fellowship has changed. Just like my meetings. It causes me profound sadness. I cannot be sanguine about this. I miss people terribly. I have real flesh and blood relationships with some other bloggers. They are more than words on my monitor. They are actually people. And I miss them. I will especially miss Pammie. That is why when I read that she was quitting, I thought I was ready to throw in the towel.

But I guess I wasn't. I will continue.

  • I love to write and consider it an honor that someone might want to read what I write
  • I have on many occasions been able to answer the plaintive e-mail of a drunk looking for help - and consider it an honor to be able to steer them to their local AA meeting
  • A belief that God can be present in this medium... we touch each other and I think God can always be present in that
  • Your blogs teach me about other lives, other hemispheres, other perspectives - I would never know otherwise
  • I feel an obligation to have some sort of web-presence for something akin to an AA message - not distorted by rehab-speak or some voodoo religion - and there is a scarcity of it - and the more bloggers who write about it, the better
  • The relationships - I know we say we will keep up with each other as we leave, but it is my experience that is seldom true. There are many of you who mean so much to me. I want to stay.
I want to stay. That is the bottom line.

Thank you for so many kind comments. And thank you for being a part of my life for the last four and a half years.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Changing, maybe...

The Christmas cactus in my office are in bloom again. It has been so cold, they have been led to believe it is the depth of winter. Who could argue? This photo was taken yesterday afternoon, just as the rain / snow mix was starting. There is now over a foot of snow on the ground. And it is still snowing. I will go out as soon as I am dressed and shovel the snow and really put my new four wheel drive SUV vehicle to the test. And in case you are wondering, I am not one of those people who thinks that 4WD makes you invincible - especially on ice. But it surely will be better than that Passatt, which was not good at all.

So, our Pammie is likely moving on from blogging. Scott W. has left, as has Lou. These are all people who really blog. That leaves me and Daave. If you wonder why your name is not there, it may be because you have come along more recently or because you don't post every single day. We have posted every single day, come hell or high water. Most bloggers come and go. Most rather rapidly. I have lost my patience with most of it.

I think I titled a post "It hurts to blog" years ago. Years before I was ready to let go of it. It really does hurt to blog. If you haven't experienced that, keep coming back. When I was new to this realm, one of our midst had lost his job due to blogging. He comes back from time to time, always changing his name, and leaving as he gets found out. I wonder why he is so "paranoid," but I have never lost a job due to blogging. But I think I have lost friends. I have unintentionally notified family of things I hadn't intended to tell my family. I have notified the world of things I should have kept to myself. I have been stalked by a creepy man most of you think is just a wonderful old man.

A couple of years ago I started editing what I said a lot more. I think the quality of my blog started suffering then. But I still was in love with so many people who were blogging. The fellowship was what kept me going.

I am very tired of honestly sharing for all the world to read. I wanted to do that for the still suffering alcoholic. That was my intended audience. But I have far exceeded that audience. I get tired of taking the pot shots from stray readers who come by and feel the need to correct me or direct me or scold me. I get really tired of the rehabs and treatment centers who want to hijack my blog for their purposes - to make money. (I have made not one cent from this blog - which by blogging standards has been a successful blog. I have not achieved fame or fortune. I have been anonymous - except as people who know me have figured out who I am. )

To clarify: I am not writing this to solicit attention, I am just processing. I think I have probably made my decision. But I don't want to be hasty about it. So I am going to think about it.

xoxoxoxoxo, MC

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


This is a photo of a fountain display in Las Vegas. It really was pretty. It was lovely to stand with my daughter, son, new daughter-in-law, and their friends who also came to Las Vegas to be at their wedding - on this lovely March night, all of us so full of dinner and full of love and the optimism that is the best part of the wedding day - when people are happy about a wedding. I wanted to say something positive about Las Vegas - I was surprised yesterday by the number of commenters who said they had never been there but never wanted to go. I say if you have never been there, you really should go - it is something to behold. Just don't stay long...

So I shall make my way back to work today. I am happy about that. It will be difficult because I have taken two days off in a week when I would have normally maybe worked the weekend. I have a huge project due on Friday. Someone else has worked on it in my absence. She is someone who competes with me fiercely - it has been a difficult relationship for me. I had to just say that I will live with the fallout of this. It may be difficult. But my son's wedding was more important to me than whether someone seems to have gotten the upper hand at work. She may have tried to undermine me while I was gone, she does things like that. It is OK. That is more about her than me.

As long as I keep God at my center, I am fine. If I think "I" am my center, my world gets very very frightening - with threats all around. I'll choose God today, thank you very much.

Monday, March 22, 2010


(photo edited out, there are too many creepy people who visit this blog)
A beautiful wedding was had yesterday. My son has a bride. I have a daughter-in-law. And this young woman has for her husband someone who is so true-blue - it may take a lifetime for her to realize what that means. As I listened to him solemnly proclaim his vows, I heard his earnestness in every single syllable. Oh, but then I am his mother.

Las Vegas is my idea of hell. Maybe purgatory, because I am soon to leave. I have seen enough drunken boisterous men to last a lifetime. I have seen enough desperate looking young women who are only lacking a price tag hanging beneath their crotch-length hemline - it is just all too much for this old lady.

Do you know that even in hotels where rooms cost up to $600 a night, drunken men still bang on doors at all hours of the night. Did you know that Trisha locked her husband out of the room last night - so he just stood there and knocked and rang the doorbell (yes, these rooms have doorbells) and banged and yelled. And then he did it all some more. I don't think Trisha ever answered the door, but I sure would like to meet her today. Because I did not sleep last night. And I did not sleep much the night before.

Praise God I will be home today.

And if you ever want to be grateful to be sober in a very graphic way, come to the Las Vegas airport and stand in a security line at 6 a.m. Gross. Some of them are still drunk, and some of them are so hungover and sick - and I bet they are broke too.

I am very grateful to be sober.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Livin' Large in Las Vegas

I decided to just order room service this morning, so I got to watch the sunrise while I ate a dish of steel cut oats and drank a cup of coffee (at a mere $25.58). Oh, there will be plenty of time to be miserly later, but today is the day my son shall wed!

Yesterday I tried to find a meeting nearby. The Las Vegas central office has a whiz bang website, complete with a tutorial on how to use it. After about ten minutes I closed it and gave up on the idea of finding a meeting here. I will get to one after I get home. It is a shame when people think more about showing off their own technological skill than trying to serve the purpose of the person who came there looking for information.

After I got over the shocking opulence of my hotel room, I looked out the window to see just below me the steeple of the Catholic Cathedral. I walked over to mass in the middle of the festivities yesterday. That was very calming and a little island of sanity in this crazy, crazy place.

There is so much to look forward to today. I am so grateful for this son of mine. And his beautiful in-four-hours-to-be his wife. I am grateful for our lunch yesterday, strolling around Las Vegas - he and his to-be-wife, and his friend since youth, we found a wonderful little Korean restaurant and had a wonderful low-key time. Just sharing. Just sharing this life. And some wonderful food cooking on the grill before us.

Life is so very good. God has been so good to me.

So so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so grateful.....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Flying Away

I really dislike flying, so I have to do some serious meditation to get on a plane. I also have to do some serious meditation while flying. This is the kind of stuff we sober alcoholics used to do when we had a culture of not medicating every single thing. I am sure a younger alcoholic with a fear of flying would just take xanax with impunity, but not me. I can pray instead.

This two nights in Loveland, Colorado was probably not necessary - the snowstorm was not even fraction of what was predicted. However, I got a nice day of rest. I think it did me a world of good. I swear I look ten years younger than I did on Thursday night. Being tired is not a good beauty strategy.

I may or may not opt to blog from Vegas. I am taking my computer. But I called the hotel where I shall be staying to see if there is wifi in the rooms - there is not. There is "internet available" for a charge of $13.95 a day. This, on top of the $600. per night room rate - wow. (and, no, I am not paying $600. per night, but only because I really worked to find a deal.) Sometimes I get cheap with the weirdest things. Penny wise and pound foolish? Perhaps.

So, the wonderful thing is: I am going to my son's wedding! Tomorrow I will have a daughter-in-law! My son will have a wife! My daughter, through circumstances too complicated to chronicle here, will be getting ready for the wedding with me in my hotel room - which means I have someone to zip my dress! I am glad I didn't spend TOO much time sweating that one. Oh, and I will go from 17º Colorado morning to a 71º Las Vegas afternoon. You gotta love that!

I am excited, I better get going.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Blessed Day Off

Since the weather was predicted to be horrible - I made a decision yesterday to just drive to the town I fly out of on Saturday morning and hole up in a hotel for 2 nights and one full day.

One full day with absolutely nothing to do.

I cannot remember the last time I had the luxury of nothing to do. Of course, I did pack some work into my bag yesterday as I was leaving the hospital, a bit panicked about taking an unexpected day off. I brought my knitting. I brought two books, one of which I have already finished. And of course, I brought my computer.

There is a gym, pool, and hot tub here and I may make use of them later today. I am sure there are AA meetings in this little town and I may try to find one later. I have phone calls to make. I have e-mails to answer. And despite all the shopping I did for this trip, I forgot to buy stockings! But mainly, I hope to stay in this bed and read and nap. I am profoundly tired.

And profoundly grateful.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

3 seasons in 1 day = 1 anxious girl

OK, it is still winter. But it will be spring. And it will feel like summer today. But tonight - oh tonight - this is where the anxiety comes in.... we have a winter storm coming in. Snow, and maybe lots of it. I am flying on Saturday morning - and I am flying out of an airport 60 miles away - because it cost about half as much as my local airport.

So, I shall endeavor to live in THIS moment. And this moment, I am just fine. I have a nice cup of coffee at my side. I am about to hop in the bathtub and get ready for a day at work. Life is good - right now.

I think I will take the advice to not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself - I will let today's own trouble be sufficient for today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mother of the Groom

Yesterday I decided that I could not possibly go to my son's wedding in the dress I was planning to wear. It was just a bit too low cut, a bit too short, and a bit too tight - which is all a bit too inappropriate for the mother of the groom. I went shopping after work and got a nice linen dress that shows no cleavage, has a skirt that falls below the knee and is pretty. I also bought a pearl necklace. When I told my sponsor about it, she laughed and asked me if I have my white gloves ready. Actually, this is the kind of dress that would look good with white gloves. And that is the kind of dress the mother of the groom should wear.

The only problem is: with my torn rotator cuff, I cannot operate a back zipper. So, I shall be in a hotel room by myself trying to figure out how to zip my dress. I am sure I will figure it out somehow.

Last night when I got home from my shopping, I tried on my dress with the shoes I am intending to wear and stockings, etc. Only I couldn't zip it. Imagine my surprise when I heard a knock at the door! I looked out the window and saw it was another member of the homeowner's association. I threw a sweater over the dress and answered the door. I usually go to our meetings in runner's clothes or jeans - so his eyes flew open and he said "WOW! Let's go out to dinner!" Which made me feel like probably the dress looks good.

What's this got to do with anything? Oh maybe nothing, or maybe everything. I know I am grateful:
  • My son is getting married to a nice young woman
  • He asked me to go to the wedding
  • I get to go to Vegas (which I don't even like), but I can make the best of it anyway
  • I have lived long enough to be "old," but hopefully not terribly matronly
  • I get to go shopping on a week night and buy stuff!
  • Did you know that I used to weigh so much I couldn't go into a regular store and just buy a dress? - well, I did.
  • And last, but certainly not least in my heart, today, St. Paddy's Day, is our friend dAAve's Birthday!!! Happy Birthday to you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Whenever someone says they are "grateful to be an alcoholic" I always think to myself "they must not have children." I have lately found that a sizable percentage of my readership are members of alanon, and they certainly understand the devastation alcoholism causes in a family. Most of us alcoholics do too, from our own childhoods. But it is slightly less gratifying to think about the wreckage we have caused in our own families. It is my considered opinion that recovery will be elusive until we face these things....

That said, we had a lovely birthday celebration yesterday. All day long yesterday I thought about the ten years of my eldest granddaughter's life. It was a melancholic look back. The ten years of her little life have been filled with horrible alcoholic devastation. But she is a happy, healthy, funny, affectionate little girl. Maybe she (and her 6 year old sister) have had enough people to love her and step in when stepping in was called for. I don't know. It is just sad what has happened in her life.

Lately I have gotten "stuck" on some childhood stuff that I never before gave much thought. (how many layers can an onion possibly have???) We get wounded and carry these things around with us for decades and decades.

When I got sober I suffered the common delusion that I had not greatly effected my family. It took me years to see what my ailment and its attendant behavior had cost my family. The price was high. And it was paid by those who should never have paid.

"We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife, he remarked, 'Don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowin'?'" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 82

But I know that we also live worthy lives, despite history, genetics, and disease. God will never leave me unaided. I have the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have an entire fellowship of which to avail myself. I live in the hope and reality of recovery and a new life.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Blogger

I told a young woman I would post a link to her new blog here. She is sober 32 days. If you have a moment, go over and say hello to Angela.

Cupcakes for a 10 year old

We will be celebrating my oldest granddaughter's tenth birthday tonight at my house. She will be ten on Friday, but this is the night that we can get together over here. So I baked cupcakes last night. Pink sprinkles. Cute. It is hard to believe it is ten years since the world seemed to be full of the promise that it seems to be full of when there is the miracle in a family of a perfect baby with ten fingers and ten toes and bright eyes and pink cheeks. The last ten years have aged us all at least 20 years - I think even the ten year old is older than ten.

Generation upon generation upon generation of perfectly wonderful people almost (or in some cases totally) destroyed by alcoholism.... oh, there is heartbreak.

And then there is hope. Today there is hope.

Today that sweet little baby, who is going to be ten, has a sober mama. Her mother is sober for fourteen months. Some day I hope she (and everyone else) will come to trust this woman's sobriety - and the scars of the pain she has inflicted will heal. It will take time. Her grandmother (that would be me) is sober for two and a half times longer than she has even been alive and she has no clue that is even an issue - thank God.

I recall that a bunch of old people in AA used to say that "Time takes time." Well, yeah. And if you don't drink, you won't get drunk. Etc. They used to say brilliant things like that.

Here's what I am most grateful for today -- Time takes time, it is true. I am grateful that I got to live long enough to see some of these things change.

By the Grace of God. By the Grace of God.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The hardest day of the year

I am such an early riser I do not normally need to set an alarm to wake. I do not like to wake to an alarm. This morning I have a commitment at church and need to be there at 7 a.m., which doesn't feel like 7 a.m. since we messed with the clocks last night. So I needed to set an alarm and it woke me out of a dead sleep. I feel groggy and cranky.

Why can't we leave the clocks alone? For a morning person, this time change is murder. It will now be dark again in the morning hours which I find gruesome.

I am an alcoholic.
I have been sober and intend to stay that way.
In order to do that, I need to know who I am.

The good news is: I can't change me, but God can. I can't overcome any obstacles, but God can. I am not able to do much, but I have plugged into the power and grace of God and nothing is impossible with those.

So, I just might get to church on time and live through today.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Swimming with a Torn Rotator Cuff

I did finally go to the pool this morning. And I swam with a torn rotator cuff. Did I tell you all I have a torn rotator cuff? I may not have. I get sick of my physical ailments and try to zip my lip about them. So, this morning I went swimming for the first time in about 6 months. It hurt, but it was good anyway.

After the swim, I got into the hot tub - there was some long-grey-haired guy in there. He told me all about his bad back. About his car accident. About the drunk driver who hit him. How he can't get any money out of the insurance company. How the drunk driver needs to go to jail "because that is the only way she will learn." I must have raised my eyebrows at that because then he said "I AM AN ALCOHOLIC!!!! I KNOW ABOUT THIS STUFF!" And praise God, I have finally learned to sometimes shut my mouth, I just said something like "hmmmm, it is really hot in here, I better go."

I have been to two AA meetings in the last 14 hours that were all about the step before the first step. The knowing that you are absolutely done drinking. The pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. If you don't know what that is, I would echo the third chapter of the big book and suggest you go out and try some controlled drinking. (oh, this does not make me a popular girl, I must admit.)

OK, it is Saturday. It is glorious outside. I might just get outside and clean up the winter debris in my garden. Wouldn't that be lovely?

Regardless, I will stay sober, and I hope you all do too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Morning

These are my feet, on vacation, last summer - in the hot sand at the beach.

Today is a moderately warm day in March in Colorado. One wouldn't consider going barefoot today, or wearing flip flops to protect the bottoms of the feet against the hot sand. But I am grateful for the fact that I can wear my shoes without socks today. I can be grateful for the small increments of spring.

I will work all day, then today I swear to you - I will go swimming after work (I haven't worked out once all week) then I will meet a sponsee at an 8:00 meeting. Then my Friday will be over and my weekend will begin in earnest.

Grateful for having two days off work to look forward to. I could use it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


It's a cold Colorado morning, this photo from my summer vacation appealed. Oh, I remember how hot that sand was on my feet. Too hot to bear. So nice. So nice.

Last night I got an e-mail from AA World Services with an advance program for the International Convention in San Antonio in July. Oh, that will be lovely.

And in 10 days I will be going to Las Vegas for my son's wedding. For some reason, I had scheduled a hair cut and color for six weeks instead of my normal eight weeks, so I got my hair done last night. Which I think is very cool because it was looking kind of tired. Now it is looking not very tired. It is looking very blonde. Maybe I will get used to it by next week?

Last night I spoke with my sponsee whose kitties I was caring for in her absense. She said it was the first time they have ever returned from a trip and the cats were fine. They didn't have an attitude at all. How nice.

I haven't run all week. There is too much snow on the ground this morning. And I have to get ready for work. Maybe I will swim on my way home from work tonight.... no, I am having dinner with above sponsee. oh well.

It's all good. All good life stuff.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Making Preparations...

For a trip. I actually bought a pair of flat shoes! Flat shoes! What? Have I surrendered to age? Yesterday while boss was in my office, I pulled one shoe off, took a ruler out of my desk drawer, measured the heel, and declared "No wonder these things hurt - three and a half inch heels!" He said "I know they would hurt me." But they are red. So, on my lunch I went and purchased the above flat shoes. But flat shoes don't make your legs look pretty.

I got nine hours of sleep last night. I feel a lot better today.

You know, there are things you just shouldn't write about on a blog. Some things because they are too personal. Some things because they are about other people and you don't have the right to. Some things because you will get "input" you don't need. Some things because you shouldn't "process" in public.

I am trying to "process" some stuff that I really shouldn't do in public. So I get cryptic here. Yesterday I wrote a post early in the morning that was cryptic. It was misunderstood by a reader and the person left a comment that was so mean spirited it really stunned me. I deleted the entire post - which I have never ever done before. And then I replaced it with the ugly thing I left in its place. It looks like a scar to me.

Oh, who cares? I do.

So back to being me.

I am more grateful than words can say for the grace of God, evidence abounds:
  • I am alive
  • I am sober
  • I am packing for a trip to Las Vegas to attend the wedding of my only Son!
  • Lunch breaks can involve shoe shopping
  • My boss doesn't fire me for taking off my shoe in the middle of a meeting and measuring the heel
  • My daughter says the new piercing on her FACE will only leave a small scar if she ever decides to remove the hardware from her FACE
  • Birds are singing outside and the hard cold intractable winter is over
  • I have a safe new car to drive - and it is a Toyota.
Life is good.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Too Tired

I'm too tired to post today.

I posted something earlier.

I am not in the mood for this.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Shrinking Blogroll

It sure doesn't take long to read the blogs I read every morning these days. There are now only three. A few weeks ago there were six. We're dropping like flies. I miss the people who stopped blogging.

Today will be the last day I need to care for the cats of a sponsee who is on a cruise. Her house has come to scare the crap out of me. I absolutely HATE being there. I like being there when she and her partner and others are there. But when I am there alone? I find it frightening and can't wait to leave. It is a several million dollar house and it is massive and has huge expanses of marble floors that make weird echoes and noises and is creeeeepy. I do love her kitties though. And not surprisingly, they have come to like me a whole lot more than they used to! In fact, they gave me the ultimate gift yesterday. I was cleaning up some weird looking debris in the dining room - and screamed when I noticed that the piece in my hand had beady little eyeballs and whiskers! Gross! I have no idea where the rest of that tiny rodent was, but I hope not to find it.

Yesterday morning I went to my old home group. Maybe when I retire I can move back to MY side of town and be back where I BELONG? I do not belong here where I live. After 15 years in the group I attend regularly, I realize I will never belong there. I can walk into my old home group after not being there for a year and sit right down and feel right at home. Welcomed just as if I am family - because I am. Oh, there is nothing like that in the world.

Shutter Island was good. My friend and I laughed through it - we kept whispering to each other - identifying who at our hospital the characters in the movie were. We both knew about 1/4 of the way through the movie what the "surprising plot twist" was. Well, she is a psych nurse, and I have worked at a psych hospital for 15 years. It was good though.

A great day yesterday was. If I keep writing about it, it will make me late for today, and I don't want that to happen because today is likely to be good too. I think I will get to it.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lovely Sunday, Happy News

It is a lovely Sunday morning. I am going to drive up to my old home group this morning. Then go for coffee. Then go to see Shutter Island with a friend from work. I ran my 7 miles yesterday and not surprisingly, I was tired enough to go to sleep at 8 o'clock last night. I woke at 4:30 this morning and feel great!

On Wednesday morning, I was laying in bed with that blasted headache that lasted for four days. My phone rang at 10:00 a.m. and when I saw it was my son calling, I was worried. We talk frequently through the week, but he never calls me in the middle of a work day. After we exchanged pleasantries, he said "I have some news." My heart went into my throat because in my history with this young man, "news" has meant that he is going to Korea, that he is going to New Orleans just after Katrina, that he is going to Iraq, etc. But this time it was good news! My son is getting married!!!!! I am so delighted. His plan was to just sort of run away to Las Vegas and get married. He is, however, marrying a young woman, so the Vegas wedding has morphed into one with a white gown and veil, a lakeside venue, and people making last minute plans to fly to Vegas for a weekend.

I am so grateful to be invited to my son's wedding. (Some of you may not understand why that is a big deal, but most alcoholic mothers will.) I am so grateful that I am able to book a trip to Las Vegas (which isn't as cheap as I thought) with 2 and a half weeks notice. I am so grateful that my son is getting married! He is happily in love! His wife-to-be is a nice young woman who loves him back. They even have a cute little doggie.

This is such good news. I am delighted and excited.

And welcome to my world - I didn't pay to check my bags on my flight because I didn't want to pay that $40. So, I looked at my carry-on bag and decided I could not possibly check into this ultra chic hotel with this ratty bag.... so yesterday I went and purchased a new carry-on bag. It is red and it cost a lot more than $40. Oh well.

Life is good.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Tough Guys v. Nice Girls

Oh no, I've been reading blogs again. Last night I was so tired I just sat and clicked and clicked and clicked and read various blogs of sober bloggers.

Please know that I am overgeneralizing, but I was struck by a dichotomy of types.

There are the tough guys. They are the only ones who know how to WORK the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. They have read 164 pages and sponsored a few gents and therefore are the world's experts on all things AA. The thing that I find striking is that they think they are the only ones who "get" AA. They are uber-critical of all who are not them. They stress the life threatening feature of the disease of alcoholism. Life and Death.

There are the nice girls. They write poetry. They believe in angels. They talk a lot about "miracles." They read a lot of literature that makes them feel good. Some of it "seems" to be AA literature, but is anything but. They write nice flowery blogs full of nice things. And Please Do Not Take Offense to This - None of My Regular Readers Are This Type.

Do I think that one group is superior to the other? Nope. But If I had to go to one to save my life, I think I would go to those hard asses. I got sober with a bunch of hard asses - but they didn't think they were the only ones who had the answer. I don't understand the conceit about reading 164 pages of text and applying it. Unless, of course, you consider that most of the people sitting in meetings today have either avoided working the steps altogether or have done some weird ass thing their sponsor learned in rehab (oh, yeah, here she goes again on THAT!)

So, I think my blog is probably a hybrid of these types. I really am a hard ass about AA. You will find NO Hazelden books in my house. You will find no Marianne Williamson, etc. You will find a whole book shelf full of conference approved literature. Much of it with the little circle and triangle logo on it - that we used before the "drunk junk" vendors hijacked it and we had to back away from it. (This is something I find very sad.)

You will also find shelves and shelves and cases full of Biblical literature. But I realize this is a blog about AA - so I sometimes mention that I am in my 3rd year of a 4 year Biblical school - but not often. It is what I do, but it is not what this blog is about.

You would also find book cases full of other literature. There is one whole case full of text books about Health Care Administration - from my master's degree studies. I read other books voraciously. But I don't quote them here - or at least not very often.

Anyway, as I decided to pursue this blog four and a half years ago, my aim was to write about the daily life of a woman who is a sober alcoholic. And I guess I have done that. I have probably written about roses and tulips more than steps. I have written about my tablecloth more than I have written about sponsorship. I have written about dinners with my kids more than AA meetings.

To me, this is what you get when you do the stuff you are supposed to do. I have a sponsor. I worked the steps. As a result of that, God changed my life 180º, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to repay that gift by giving it away. I have sponsored more women than I can count. I continue to do the stuff I need to do to stay sober. As a result of these things, my sobriety is now about being able to plant tulips in the fall and watch them come up every spring. It is about planting a beautiful rose bush and then tending it, pruning it, watering it, and then watching in amazement as my favorite flower grows right under my bedroom window! It is about having a beautiful (albeit humble) home that I love. It is about restored relationships with my family.

Thanks for listening (reading) while I processed this. I needed to. You probably didn't have any great need to read it though - so if you have, I thank you. I really do consider it an honor that people would read what I write on a daily basis. xoxoxox.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Ironing a White Shirt

And getting ready for a new day. A day without a headache. Oh, Praise God. Four Days With a Migraine will make you grateful for small details. Like ironing a white shirt. Happy, Happy, Happy.

I am heading out to church this morning as I frequently do on Friday mornings. It is a special thing - it holds a lot of significance in my faith. I also like getting to work excruciatingly early on Friday mornings and then leaving happily early on Friday afternoons! A coworker and I have a joke based on bad spanish. We greet each other on Friday mornings with "Happy Windows!" I get confused between the Spanish words for "Friday" and "window," hence the joke.

Today I will book a trip to Las Vegas which I am very excited about. I can't tell you about it yet because some of my family read my blog and I haven't told them about it yet. And no, I am not getting married.

It is amazing how light a person can feel when their head is removed from a vice!

Happy Windows Everyone!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Adventures with Migraine

I browsed though my iPhoto library for one of my photos to post today, and this photo from my trip to Alaska appealed. If I were closer to sea level and had some humidity, I bet I would be feeling better... but I am not.

Do you really want to hear every detail of this bout of migraine? Probably not. Too bad.

By yesterday afternoon, the headache was gone. I got out in the beautiful day and ran 4 miles. I washed my car. I took a trip to the grocery store and bought a bunch of salad to eat. Then I came home. And started feeling ill again.

I woke up at 4 a.m. with a killer headache. I got up and took my migraine medication (not prevention but relief). I hate this stuff. But it is slightly better than killer headache. I went back to sleep for a couple of fitful, nightmare filled hours. And now I am desperately trying to wake up. I have some serious work to do today. And lots of it.

And in the midst of this yesterday morning, I got some very good news. Jump up and down good news. But this is not the day to share it.

I just gotta get dressed and out of here and function somehow today.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Harbinger of Hope

I heard a bird singing this morning! Some of you from warmer climes may not know how special that is to a person who has endured month after month of mornings in the icy grip of silence.

At the meeting yesterday that I dragged myself out of bed to go to... I was waiting in the conference room for people to start showing up. I had my head in my hands - a migraine pose - thinking I was alone. I looked up and saw our very handsome director of psychology. I tried to quickly cover by saying "Hi! How are you?" He, being a seasoned clinician, said "better than you." I told him I had a migraine and I would have taken a sick day if not for that meeting. He said something so out of character for him - "I would have killed you if here weren't here." It was so painful to schedule that meeting and he was basically forced (by me) to be there. Thank God I was there. And thank God I could leave after it was over.

And the migraine persists. I am not going to work today either. I hate calling in sick. I did it far too many times in my drinking days. I still feel guilty about it. I second-guess whether I am really sick enough to stay home.

It is the first time I have called my new boss to tell him I am sick and not coming to work.

The bright side is: I am sober, I am not hungover. I have not been hungover for a very long time. I have not taken sick leave for anything other than natural sickness for a very very long time. I have plenty of paid sick leave accrued. I have a good book to read. The sun is going to be shining today, so it will shine on my bed as I sleep which will be heavenly. And I heard a bird sing this morning!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Migraine and Memory

I have got a migraine. I have had it since yesterday morning when I awoke. I didn't want to have it so I told no one. I carried on with my day as if I didn't have it, thinking all day... if I have this bad boy still tomorrow, I will stay in bed and call in sick.

I woke up at 5 a.m. with a start - remembering an e-mail I sent out last week. "The meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday March 2." And I got all insistent that people be there or send a representative because it is so important that we get this done and it was so difficult to schedule. Well, hell's bells, why didn't I write this in my daytimer? Thank God that by some weird twist of memory I did remember it - out of a dead sleep - this morning. I will go to work because I have to facilitate this meeting. I may very well leave after it is over and come home and go to bed. When you get insistent like that with the chief of psychiatry, the director of psychology, the director of nursing, and director of social work I think you better show up and I will.

My heart is just a little bit broken about this headache. A little over a month ago I noticed that I got a migraine every time I ate the tiniest little morsel of chocolate, so I stopped eating chocolate and hadn't suffered a migraine since. Until yesterday. Sans chocolate. I even stopped taking the medication I was taking to prevent them. I guess I will get back on that today. I hate taking medications!

Sorry to be so boring. I just don't have a thing to say today.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Where I blog

Lou posted a photo of where she blogs this morning. Hers had roses and a beautiful desk. I was tempted to clean up my area before shooting a photo, but I opted not to. So, here it is. The mess where I blog.

Today is my twin daughters' 31st birthday. They both have the day off and talked about doing something together. That is pretty wonderful. I am more grateful than words can say that these two women - so incredibly different yet both women I am not only proud of, but would want to know even if I were not related to them - are my daughters.

Do you know what else that means? I am really getting old. Lately I am really seeing it in the mirror. I also see it mirrored in the faces at, of all places, AA meetings.

I am a 58 year old woman who has been sober for over 25 years. I am now older than the mothers of some of the new folks hitting the doors. I have been sober longer than some of them have been alive. And lately, I see their eyes gloss over when I start sharing in meetings. (and just to clarify, I never talk for longer than a few minutes... unlike a lot of longtimers, I do not think the whole room is waiting to hear me go on and on for 45 minutes.) When I talk to my sponsor about this, she says "get used to it because it will get worse."

But I must be quick to add that I would rather be saddened by this than the alternative... I cannot even imagine being a 58 year old woman who is drinking or who is coming to a meeting raising her hand. I cannot control the number of years I have been alive, but I do have some say in whether or not I will continue to accrue sober time. I think I will opt to stay sober, and do what it takes to remain so, regardless of whether anyone thinks I am "relevant" to them.

God will always be with me as I journey down this rugged trail. His plan for me has always been infinitely superior to anything my puny mind has dreamed up.