Sunday, September 12, 2010

Five Years - 1831 Posts

The fifth anniversary of my blog was on September 7. I was too tired and sick to acknowledge it at the time. So I didn't. I am still sick and tired, but have been at home for nearly 24 hours without speaking to anyone (other than on the phone), so I think I am ready to do this.

So, my blog - what do I think about it? I have wanted to quit doing this at least 365 times in the last year. But there has always been one or two reasons to continue. The biggest crisis for me was when Pammie left us. She was my comrade, we were together in this. I got through that crisis by thinking about a woman living far across the sea who was reading my blog. I really continued the blog just for her. And then I got personally insulted (which was a huge, huge, huge mistake) when she decided to try some other (than AA) treatment for her alcoholism. I really acted like a jackass about that... she and I are still friends, thank God for amends and forgiveness. She is a big woman to have forgiven me. Someone else got involved, someone who doesn't like me... I don't know why she reads my blog... I think she has stopped by now.

What a waste of time, huh? Getting upset about people I have never met and likely never will meet. But in these five years, I have been absolutely amazed at the relationships that can form out of this medium. I have met some of those people, and have found that I am seldom surprised. You really get a good idea of someone's character if you read what they write every day. I have been surprised by that. I have made a couple of journeys to Texas and spent time with some bloggers there - I have stayed in the home of another blogger (Daave) and he has stayed in my home. I have absolute trust that he is who he says he is. I know he is. He is a wonderful man.

Usually if someone spends their blog energy on insulting people or bitching about them, they are tipping you to who they are. I have no interest in those blogs or people. I particularly dislike the names bloggers tend to come up with for other people ostensibly to protect their "anonymity" - such as "drama queen" or "devil boy." I won't read blogs who insult others.

I also avoid blogs that spend any energy on politics. I usually don't agree with them. I make every attempt to avoid getting into politics, I think if I am identifying myself as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I need to do that. I would love to regale you all with my opinions - which of course are right - but I will spare you. Don't think that I am apolitical though - because I believe if I am a sober person, I need to be fully engaged in whatever world I find myself. I need to know what is going on. I know that not everyone agrees with this, but as someone who was "checked-out" for so long as a drinker, I think it is part of my recovery to know what is going on and to be a participant in my community.

One more thing about other bloggers - I won't link to people who have ads on their blogs. I don't want myself associated with whatever ads may show up - in any way shape or form. However, there is one blog that I decided to link to anyway. Just because I like the guy.

What about me? I have learned so much from being a part of this blogging community. It has shrunk to the point of almost non-existence in the last couple of years. But there is still some community.

Some of the things I KNEW were the truth a few years ago, I had to discard. When you learn about people living in distant lands and staying sober there - in AA, but in a very different AA, you learn that what is true here may not be true there. For instance, I used to just say "90 meetings in 90 days," I gave that up when Mary in Africa told me that as a woman living in rural Africa, she can go to few meetings. I really considered that advice for the first time in my life. Reading about her life as a sober woman is something I look forward to every day.

I met a man through blogging who lives very near to me and travels the same circles - and yet I had never really met him before. He has since stopped blogging, which is another terrible loss to our community. He is someone who is very dear to me, and I have learned tons from him. He has been a part of the service structure since he got sober - 27 years ago. I gave up on the structure after about 10 years, and decided to just work in my own community. I have tremendous respect for what he has done and what his wife has done.

I know that there is a wide community now. And that I am not a part of it. And that is OK. I am not at all interested in writing or reading bad poetry. I am not interested in writing posts that take only a certain number of words or any other kind of trickery. I am not here to try to become a poet, I am here writing about my experience, strength, and hope as a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

And then there is Al-anon. I used to think I knew something about it because they use the same steps. I had also been in Al-anon when I was married to another alcoholic and when my daughter was beginning her love affair with meth. But being a part of the blogging community has shown me that I don't know jack-s**t about al-anon. There are a LOT of al-anon bloggers. I have a link to one of them on my sidebar - that is Syd. He has been blogging for about as long as I have, I think. He is someone else who is very dear to me. But I have realized through his blog that I don't know anything about being the non-alcoholic spouse of an alcoholic. I seldom even comment on his blog anymore because I realize I rarely have anything to contribute to the conversation they are having. And I frequently get annoyed at the ignorant comments that know-it-all alcoholics make to al-anons. So, I have learned a lot from Syd and I continue to learn from him.

(Sorry this thing is so disjointed, I really don't feel well and yet I just keep on writing...)

Another thing is religion. I used to be very careful not to mention it. I would get so annoyed by all the references to "politically correct" religions of Buddhism, etc. And yet, I still kept my mouth shut about my religion because I thought I should - if I am blogging as a member of AA. Later, it started sneaking in. I really seldom say I am Roman Catholic. But I am. And that is all over me, my return to the church of my youth has been one of the greatest gifts of my sobriety. There is no way on God's green earth that I can write honestly about myself without including that. I am not trying to proselytize, but I cannot write about myself without the church I am so involved in and in love with being a part of what I write. I will mention "I went to church," or "I went to confession today," or "I went to church for an hour of silent prayer," and most Catholics will know exactly what I am talking about. Others won't. I don't know if I have crossed the line here, but frankly it is not negotiable for me.

You can see my concern about traditions woven through here. I am concerned about how we break them. I honestly believe this blog is a break in a few. I left the International Convention in San Antonio resolved to get rid of the blog. I attended a workshop there about "AA websites," and it caused me to think about two things of concern about my blog.

The Eleventh Tradition, Long Form (Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Ed., p. 567) "Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think AA ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as AA members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us."
The Twelfth Tradition, Long Form (Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Ed., p. 567-568) "And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all. "

This blog may within the letter of the law by not having my full name or likeness on it. But I think the twelfth tradition really talks about spiritual anonymity. And this blog is all about me and my personality and not all that humble. The line that hits me right between the eyes? "We feel it better to let our friends recommend us." This blog is all about ME recommending Alcoholics Anonymous, and I should not be doing that.

However, (and I know I should never have a however about the traditions) there is so much horrible misinformation about AA all over the internet. There are people who have had bad experiences who have flooded the internet with the "facts" on what "really goes on" in AA - and it sounds horrible. Do a google search on "Does AA work?" for instance. I was shocked when I did that. So, I wrote about it, and hopefully that post is still there when people look up that simple question. My friend Ed G also wrote about it. As someone who always googles everything and carefully considers the criticism, I was dismayed to see virtually NO positive writing about AA experience. I hope my blog does that. That is my whole point.

But, boy, am I ever an alcoholic! I have screwed up on more than one occasion. But I hope. on the whole, my blog is a positive thing. It has been for me.

Thank you very much if you have read this whole thing. I have always been amazed that people would spend the time to read what I write every day. I am humbled and grateful.


Kelly said...

Your blog probably has an affect on more people than you realize, but it would be silly to only do it for us.

1831 posts is a lot of posts. A lot of days. A lot of sharing your experiences and hopes and struggles.

Thank you

dAAve said...

Well, congrats on 5 years and 1931 posts. I think I've read almost all of them.

Here's a coupla thoughts from my view ....

1) blogging is a personal thing. We can each write about the things that concern us, political, religous or anything else. No one is forced to read us. That is a freedom that sobriety gives me. And you. Recovery in A.A. asks us to conform to certain traditions. It's not a requirement, but if we respect those who came before us and will come later, those traditions should be followed closely.
2) The Texans are beating the Colts as I type this.

dAAve said...

I meant 1831 posts. Eighteen thirty one.

Pat Murray said...

I love your blog. Yes, I read the whole thing. I don't know a whole lot about the blogging community, but I do know I really look forward to reading the encouraging words you write - and I also love reading about your running! Congrats on 1831 posts!

Kim A. said...

I read your whole post and I know your bottom line is that AA works..period. I'm one of those Al-anoners and I look to your blog for the hope that I also get at open AA meetings. I need to hear the miracles that happen in AA so that I can let go of my loved one and have faith. That beats self pity, micromanaging and despair any day. If you keep writing, I'll keep reading.


Anonymous said...

i sometimes feel your blog is a little didactic - "it's my way or the highway" type thing, and this is reflected in the fact you took your friend's decision to try non-AA things in her recovery so very personally.

however, you have so much sober time up and i respect your recovery and your strength, so you certainly have the right to say "my way works".

i don't mean to offend you with this comment. clearly if i didn't like your blog i wouldn't be reading, and as a recovering alcoholic myself, i frequently find it inspirational.

Anonymous said...

me again.. i'd like to know how you feel - do you feel "most things don't work, but AA does", or do you feel "most things don't work, but AA does, and maybe other things might too"?

Syd said...

I am so glad to have found and read your blog, Dave's and Pam's when I first started blogging. You have been a "constant" in the blogging world. I know what I will find when I read you--a firm resolve in every aspect of your life from running to recovery.

I don't think that there are so many differences between Al-Anon and AA. Once sobriety occurs, we are working on the effects of the disease of alcoholism.

Thanks for your constancy. That is an important thing for me.

Carverlane said...

I am attracted to how you practice the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. And I enjoy reading about how you apply it to your everyday life. That's why I'm a faithful reader of this blog. Thank you for your service to us, Mary!

Kim from sAn Antonio

Storm Before the Calm said...

WOW! 5 years is the longest I have seen a blog go for. Kudos to you for keeping it up. It's important to be an information source for what AA really is and it is even more important to show others that there is a success story to recovery from alcoholism. I just recently decided to branch out into the world of blogging to discuss 12 step work. My goal was to keep it up for a month .. 5 years ... wow!

Marcia said...

I have read your blog on and off for the past several months. I am an alanon. thought I'd say hello. I don't include links or tags or let my blog show up on google searches. My blog is just me.

Anonymous said...

Hi, i condign touch i'd send and settle into the open refresh allow in down you recision your blogs layout is unquestionably messed up on the K-Melon browser. Anyhow get across up the sizeable work.

Mary LA said...

Your blog means a great deal to me Mary Christine and I share many of your concerns. As blogging itself develops, some ethical guidelines may be necessary. It is a quandary. But I do believ every now and again we help somebody stay sober for 24 hours because he or she is able to identify with what we write.

Congrats on five years sober blogging!

Pam said...

Mary Mary quite contrary...I'm still here reading. I prayed for your health all week. I think you do an excellent job of representing AA, and what women can become in AA and I say HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY.
You also show us running fashion and the aches and pains of running. You also show us the value of prayer.
Oh...and I don't know what didactic means, it sounds nasty...just sayin'
Hope you feel better SOON little apple dumplin.

steveroni said...

Hi, I read every word, because your words have become important reminders
re: what, who, why, when, where, and H.O.W.

And I join with many here, and the many who prefer to not comment, in congratulating you on the 5 years and 1,831 posts--if you'd write two each day, you can make that 2,000 by Christmas...

Thank you for your service, Mary.

aa girl 5862 said...

What a accomplishment. It is time consuming and I'm sure at some times, hard to share with a bunch of people you don't know. I, for one, am gratefull. Your blog is part of my program. It is the only one I have ever read. And when I started reading it I went back and read all of the old ones. Keep Coming Back MC.

Willa said...

Since I recently became employed again after nine months, I only read your blog right now three days a week (but I read all the missed entries). You must have started writing just before I got sober. However, when I did get sober I started looking for people with sober blogs. I found you. I've been reading you since February of 2006.

Your blog is a gift to people like me who wonder how the heck they are going to live without taking a drink. Where is the fun going to be? Life was going to be so boring. But I was hurting myself and I finally admitted it to myself. And in those months where my brain was so fuzzy that I couldn't think straight (honestly, I thought I would have permanent brain damage, my head was that foggy)I was reading your blog. Here was a lady who was sober and HAPPY most of the time (though I'm relieved you have your trials and tribulations like the rest of us). You are fully interested and immersed in life. You were not sitting around, crying that you couldn't drink. You were out there living. You had some bad days (with people, places and things) but on the whole, you are a happy, productive person who has grown in so many ways and is thankful for her sobriety, one day at a time.

Mary, again, what a gift you have given to so many people by simply writing here.

I thank you so much. And I thank God for letting me find you and bookmark you.

If I keep trudging the path, I'll have five years in February. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks again for your blog. It's a testament to living a sober life. So many folks just don't have any inkling on how to do that.