Sunday, October 31, 2010

Haunting Halloween

Thank you all for your support over the last week or so. I truly appreciate it. The comments from my blog post onto my iPhone and I get them almost immediately - unless I am really busy. They have meant the world to me in the last few days.

I feel much better. Maybe I needed the reminder of how beyond aid I am. I got the message loud and clear. I cannot fix me, you cannot fix me, and guess what? AA cannot fix me. God can fix me. AA can show me how to ask God for help, and I am eternally grateful for that.

In the midst of this crisis, I managed to have a semi-normal conversation with my sober daughter. I didn't tell her the extent of my misery, just a fraction of it. She had just gone to a funeral of a old friend who had suicided, she didn't need to hear about me. At the funeral, she ran into many of her "old" friends. She got to make amends to some people she thought she would never see again. She got to talk to other people she thought she would never see again.

And she had a haunting experience I have had many times over the years. These people were remembering events of her life that she had absolutely no memory of. It is a very disconcerting feeling. I have had it many times. I asked her to concentrate on the fact that the people were happy to see her and not cussing her out for unknown reasons. That would be even worse.

I believe this screwed up memory wiring goes far beyond cellular damage due to alcohol (or in her case other chemicals as well), but can be attributed to the damage done by trauma. Trauma messes with a person in ways that creep up on you in the night - and in the day. Just when you think you are over it, there it is - whap! in the face! And the lack of memory of your own life is one feature, a disconcerting one.

That's my contribution to Halloween. Creepy damage done by a living a weird life. Most of the time in my life there is little evidence... but some times it just sneaks right up and smacks me one.

Happy Halloween everyone. And thank you again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Dark Night of the Soul

I've been there the last few days. It was awful. It was worse than anything I have been through in many many years, maybe 20. Some of you don't want to hear about it, if that is the case, please go on ahead and come back tomorrow. Some of you, like me, draw hope from hearing about survival - about walking through hard times without picking up a drink or doing anything crazier than buying a new sweater and a new quilt for my bed.

Last night I called a friend. He is someone who lost his job last spring - over a year ago. He has been unable to find another job. Luckily for him, he has plenty of money, unlike other people (like me) so he really doesn't need a job, except he needs to work. He was really suffering, oh maybe a year and a half ago, so I told him I would call him every single day to check on him. That is something we AAs used to do. I know we don't do it anymore, but we used to. Anyway, I got in the habit of calling him every day. Most of the time we just chit chat. That is what I thought we would do last night. I just was going to call him and then crawl into bed hoping for the day to be over.

But he heard my voice and said "what's the matter honey?" I started to tell him, and I started to cry, and I kept crying, and I kept talking, and I kept talking, and I kept crying, and talking, and crying.... he just listened. He said he understood. He didn't tell me to go to a meeting or write a gratitude list. He didn't tell me I was being self-centered - maybe because I told him I knew I was, but knowing it wasn't helping me change it. He didn't tell me why I shouldn't feel the way I felt, he just listened.

When I woke up this morning, I still felt awful, but I was awfully grateful to him for listening to me. As the day went on, the cloud seemed to lift a bit. I actually feel OK right now. I talked to my friend tonight and thanked him for being such a good friend. Of course, he just said "that's what friends are for." And I know he doesn't think it is anything. But it is everything to me.

When I got home from work tonight my neighbor called and told me she had a confession to make. I know her well enough to know that means that she has done some work in my yard without my permission (as if she would need it!!!) She chopped down two dead trees in my back yard! I hadn't even noticed!

Last night I felt like the most alone person on earth. Tonight I know that is not the truth. I have some wonderful people in my life.

I wish my brain didn't gang up on me from time to time. There are some things going on that I don't feel free to write about due to some unfriendly people who are now reading my blog with a critical eye. I just can't write about something that is breaking my heart. I really wish I could.

Here is a cautionary word to newer bloggers: Don't tell any of your real life friends about your blog. They may eventually find it if you blog for years like I have, but it is a wonderful outlet to be able to write about people in an anonymous way when no one knows who you are. Once people know who you are, you can't write anything.


Thanks be to God, I did not take a drink of alcohol through this dark night of the soul. I am more grateful than words can say for this fact.

Fateful Friday

Something wicked this way has come... and has not yet left. This morning a migraine has been added to the miserable mix.

There really is a phenomenon known as "post-marathon depression," maybe if that is thrown on a person who already has major depressive disorder you really have a storm. My post-half-marathon depressions have not lasted long, I think this one has already gone past that length of time - but perhaps it lasts twice as long. I have spent a year with laser focus on training for a marathon - now it is over.

Work is not a happy place for me right now. That meeting was a three hour long nightmare yesterday. In a hot room. With a new cashmere sweater. But I felt I looked good - and believe me, that was the only consolation. I was the only woman without a suit on, and I didn't care. I always used to wear a suit to that meeting and I was only more miserable for sitting in a hot jacket for three hours.

I could go on and on with my complaints, but there is no point.

So, what did I do yesterday?
  • went to an AA meeting at 6:30 a.m.
  • worked all day - just like I am supposed to
  • came home from work and made a healthy dinner for myself
  • made phone calls to people in AA
I will now get dressed for my day and do the same thing again.

I know that "this too shall pass." It doesn't have to feel good every day and that is a good thing because it really doesn't feel good now.

Every morning in my prayer and meditation, I read a Psalm. This morning the Psalm was a lamentation Psalm. I know I am not the only whiner! It is a great consolation to me that God listens to whiners too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tearful Thursday

I had intended to make my Thursday post "thankful thursday" but I am just not feeling it right now. And you can tell me to fake it till I make it, but I will do that tomorrow. Because I have to.

Jack talk Thai. Is Thai a language? If so, it is the language that my blogger is suddenly in. No clue why. It inexplicably went to Italian long ago which freaked me out. I am now so accustomed to blogger, I really don't need to read the words, I know what they are. Some time I will figure out how to change it back to English, but it probably won't be any time soon.

Tomorrow I have my quarterly torture meeting. This afternoon after sitting in various meetings all morning, I decided that the only thing that could possibly make tomorrow's meeting more palatable would be new clothing. So I immediately hopped in my car and drove to the nearest purveyor of high quality women's clothing and purchased some. Then I came back to my office and purchased enough things online to warrant a phone call from my credit card company - they thought my card had been stolen. Great.

I spoke with my sponsor for a while tonight. She was visiting with another woman she sponsors who is very ill. For some reason, she put her on the phone with me - which I could tell thrilled her about as much as it did me. We made a moment of small talk and hung up.

My only hope is God and a good night's sleep. If I am in charge of fixing me, I am screwed. I am who got me to the state I am currently in - I am not likely to get me out.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up bright and early and go to a meeting. Then I will take my stylishly dressed self to work, hold my head high and present volumes of data to a bunch of people who will be more interested in making themselves some how look good by asking me some inane question that I may or may not be able to answer - but I can remember it is about them, not me.

You know, I cannot THINK my way out of being self-centered. It just doesn't work.

But God can change my heart, he has done it over and over and over and over again. I trust that he will do it one more time....

Wondering Wednesday

There's my "boastful" marathon magnet. Dave wrote me the nicest comment about keeping it yesterday. It actually made me cry. And if you haven't blogged for long, keep coming back, we really can form meaningful relationships here.

This morning I am shopping online for a quilt for my bed. I have decided that my down duvet can be a blanket under a quilt this winter. I think I have found the quilt I want. Of course, it costs twice as much as I wanted to spend. But there is no sense in buying a quilt that will fall apart at its first washing. (I could finish the quilt I started making about 8 years ago, it is still sitting in a large box in my extra bedroom -but I probably never will.)

So, in my online meanderings, I was wandering around facebook for a while. And there was my first sponsor's face. She normally doesn't have a profile photo, and never posts anything. But she is in the US to visit her daughter (I know this from FB) and is posting photos. I looked at her picture and cried. She was my sponsor only for a brief period, but was my BEST friend for - ever (20 + years). So, I guess she truly was my BFF. We always imagined we would be old lady best friends, but she moved to the UK, got married, and started drinking and our relationship got weird and now it is non-existent. I wrote her a message this morning that simply told her how much I miss her. It is up to her whether and how she responds to that. But the truth is that I miss her terribly. I haven't seen her for over 10 years. To see a current picture of her made me cry - she is beautiful as always, but I can see the years in her eyes.

Oh, how I wish demon alcohol wouldn't take everyone away from me!

OK, hadn't meant for this post to make me cry, but it did!

I will hop in the tub, then fry up a couple of eggs! Yum, yum. I know that a certain HR woman is going to come and talk to me about a job today - and I hope they are ready to talk business because I am ready to make some changes if they are ready to pay me. Maybe I should dress nice today? hmmmm, maybe....

In any event, I will stay sober and thank God for what he has given to me, and for what he has taken away.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thoughtful Tuesday

This is the last rose of summer. I went out to the back yard yesterday morning and clipped it and brought it to work and placed it in a vase. It would have been blown to bits by now had I not. Last night the wind blew all the leaves off the trees. I am very grateful because they have blown somewhere else. As of this moment, it looks like this will be the first year in the 9 years I have lived in this house that I will not have to spend several days raking and bagging leaves. Oh, grateful is a shallow word to describe the joy I feel at escaping this fate.

On Sunday I went for a hike with a woman from work. She has become a dear friend in the last several years. It is fun to hang out with a mental health professional. We were talking about another friend - in a loving way, of course. (Mercy, I hope no one from work reads this so they can shake their finger at me and tell me they know who I am talking about!) My friend said that the other woman's mother had been critical of her and she thinks that voice is always present in her mind. She overcompensates by always talking about how great she is.

I have that ever present voice too. It is funny how it never goes away. I am now older than my mother was when she died. My mother has been dead for 67% of my life - and that is a long time. But the messages she sent me live on.

Let me be quick to tell you that I don't think she was bad intentioned. I think she honestly thought she was teaching me how to have good social skills and most of all, how to behave in a stylish, socially acceptable manner. I do not have these natural abilities, and I always failed. I still have terrors when I have to write a thank you note because I am certain that I am going to bungle it so badly that I will offend the person and they will never want to even know me anymore. I have to talk myself through this. There is no wrong way to say "thank you." A thank you note that says "thank you" on the front will not offend most people. It has never offended me when I have gotten them. My mother had rules for everything (such as - never use a thank you note that says "thank you" on the front) that I never, ever, ever, understood. I still don't.

I think that aside from my genetic disposition to alcoholism (which I firmly believe I have), I had a strong desire to just be a rude lout and give up on all those rules of behavior that I never understood. I understood being in a bar, laughing and joking. I could be the "belle of the ball" in a seedy bar without any difficulty whatsoever.

So, I am now nearly 59 years old, I have been sober for 44% of my life. I have done all twelve steps numerous times. I have made my amends, including to my mother, and I have found peace. I no longer feel like a tortured soul. (I have also been through years of therapy - but I credit the steps with the fact that I have peace.) I behave like a well-adjusted, healthy human being most of the time.

But when my friend talked about that critical voice, I thought about the fact that it really is still present. We later when to a running store where she talked me into buying a magnet for my car that says "26.2" Oh! I told her! I cannot put that on my car! "why not?" she asked me. I told her that I was so slow, and besides, that "26.2" thing is "boastful." The runner shop guy got into the argument and told me I should be proud that I ran a marathon! It is a huge accomplishment. Immediately, I want to tell him - "yeah, but I was so slow!" My friend kept talking, and I bought the thing. She helped me put it on my car. I thought I would take it off later, and maybe I will, but for now, it is there.

I just have to talk back. I really do. It really is work. I cannot just get up in the morning and sail through life like others seem to. There is a lot of maintenance involved in keeping my life on an even keel. I have talked about this many, many times here - I usually call it being "high maintenance." Maintenance such as prayer, meditation, good healthy food, good healthy amount of sleep each night, quiet time each day, positive people in my life, exercise, fresh air and sunshine. Obviously, as an alcoholic, I need to be an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and for this blog post, I am going to assume you know what that means.

So, critical voice might now tell me "you have just sat at your computer in your pajamas for an hour - you need to get to work!" but kinder voice will tell me that "you have just written a wonderful piece that might be helpful to someone, why don't you go take a nice bath before you go to your nice office with that pretty rosebud in it?"

I think I will have a great sober day. God loves me and I think he has been able to do some good stuff with me!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mindful Monday

Yesterday I knit a tiny pumpkin hat for my tiny granddaughter. Then, of course, I had to try it on a doll and take it outside for photos - which I texted to my son. He likes the hat. I wonder if he is just indulging his old mother. Because this hat could certainly be the work of an old woman who has gone off the deep end with sentiment for her newest granddaughter. Oh well, so be it. Better to be batty with love than dried up with bitterness.

I went to a wonderful meeting yesterday which sort of shocked me. I decided not to drive across town to my home group but to stay close to home. On Sundays there are a couple of people there who like the sound of their own voices. Yesterday, between the two of them, they might have taken a total of two minutes. Seems one of them has attended some meetings out of town where they have the amazing concept of letting everyone in the room SHARE! Everyone! He mentioned that, and everyone followed suit and kept it brief. It was an awesome meeting.

There are strong winds blowing the golden leaves off the trees. What a wonderful racket all night long as the leaves whirled around on the ground and blew against the house. It is still unseasonably warm, but a warm wind portends snow... soon... snow. I will welcome it. (for a while, before I start complaining about it....)

I must get to work on time this morning, so I better get to it.

I am expecting to have a wonderful sober day today, and I hope you all are too! By the Grace of God...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Golden Day

What an awesome day it was today! Restorative all the way around.

I met my running group to compare medals, talk about our races, go for a 3 mile walk, and then coffee and a bagel. We are planning our next race! I would have never thought! I am not planning another full marathon, let me hasten to add... just a half marathon. Next week we are off altogether. Oh, I am so glad to be a part of that group.

It is so nice to be with such healthy people.

After that, I met a friend from work for a quick hike (yes, a hike) and then we went to one of the best movies I have seen in a long, long time. I would highly recommend it. Although it was very violent, and I usually hate violent movies, it was funny and entertaining and I LOVE Bruce Willis and many others from its all star cast. Red. Great.

I so needed to just be with nice people and do little things like this. I feel human again.

Tomorrow I will decide when I wake up whether I will drive across town to my home group or just go to the close-by meeting. But I will get to a morning meeting.

My back still hurts so bad that at church tonight I decided it must be cancer. My mind really never works right. But I think I must go see my doc next week. This just ain't right. The funny thing? It did not hurt much while I was walking and hiking today... but while I was sitting and kneeling at church, I thought I was going to die. Activity = good. Sedentary = not so good.

Grateful for an Autumn Saturday in Colorado. Life in Sobriety is Good. God has been so very good to me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Well's Run Dry

I am just plumb out of things to write about. I am tired. My back hurts. My back hurts really really bad. It hasn't stopped hurting since my marathon. I thought it would.

Tomorrow I am meeting my running group for our last run of "the summer" and a small social bagel and coffee. I will attempt 3 miles, but know I may not be able to do it, since I really can't fully straighten my back.

After that, I am meeting a dear friend from work for coffee and to go see a movie. That should be fun. Then I can come home and take a nap.

I hope to get my brain and body restored this weekend.

It was not only a depleting experience doing that marathon, but I have had an absolutely draining week at work, including fulfilling some special information requests from the media - as if I didn't have enough to do.

Confession and mass tomorrow - and then my homegroup on Sunday.

It is all good.

The Grace of God -
I can't.
He can.
I think I'll let him.

Those Terrible Boys!

When I was a budding alcoholic in high school, there was a group of boys in one of my classes who harassed me endlessly. They hurt my feelings terribly. I dreaded that class. I dreaded school. When I complained to my parents about them, they told me that I needed to stand up to them and not allow them to push me around. I had a warped mind however, and I felt that I could best punish them by killing myself! It seemed to be the best solution to my problem.

As I thought about this though, it occurred to me that it wouldn't really punish them, it would however KILL me. I was warped, but I wasn't quite THAT warped. I decided not to allow them that final satisfaction over me.

I came to class the next day and told them to "f*** off." Their major complaint about me was my looks - I asked them "Is that all you've got?" They were dumbfounded. Honestly, they never bothered me again. And I learned a valuable lesson. That has served me for the rest of my life.

IF I had thought that I could write a suicide note blaming them for "bullying" me, and it would be featured on the 24 hour news cycle for days on end, that the boys would be prosecuted for their cruelty to me, and that I would be forever perceived as a poor helpless victim - I have no doubt I would be dead. I would have died by my own hand at 16.

Please don't think I am forgiving terrible behavior - I am not.

But the world has always been full of cruel people. I am currently studying some literature written 5,000 years ago which is full of cruel people doing evil things to one another. It would be nice if we would stop this, but it is highly unlikely. I think it is a good idea to teach our children to realistically deal with it and not pretend it is going to go away. This whole victimhood mentality is not helpful. It would have killed me.

I am really grateful I have had the last 43 years since standing up and telling those terrible boys to f*** off instead of killing myself.

Sorry, I am still not on topic. And I watch too much news.

Next week, I will be better. Really.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I got my hair cut and colored last night. I swore I was going to die - to sit in that chair for 3 hours. I kid you not, 3 hours! I have a wonderful hair stylist who lovingly cares for my hair, but last night it was almost more than I could stand. Vanity is such a lot of work. Some day I shall be retired and shan't have to take such care to not look like an old hag. Oh - let me be quick to tell you that this is not my normal perspective on this... this is my weird week.

I have to be out of here in 45 minutes to get to a meeting. So I really don't have time to write.

It probably wasn't the best idea to combine the week after my marathon with the week before Governing Body. It is like work on steroids with a body and brain on dope. Yesterday I had to go to a management meeting and say, for the first time in my career, "I do not have this portion done, I will get it done by Friday and present it at ____ meeting." Amazingly enough, no one batted an eye at that.

It is weird to realize that I am at the end of my career and it probably doesn't matter greatly anyway. Well, it matters when there are layoffs and positions being abolished, but missing one tiny thing isn't going to effect that.

Sorry, I have the focus of a fruit fly. Well, fruit flies probably have more focus.

Gotta get ready for a long day starting with a meeting and ending with seeing my new baby granddaughter!!!!!!!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


It is Wednesday morning. I am so depleted from that race physically and emotionally I feel "impaired." See the fact that I cannot get this to post without thinking it is a hyperlink. Honestly, I have been posting something every day for over 5 years, I do know how to do this. Today? It is too complex.

Which is frightening because I have a morning of putting together a presentation at the last moment and then presenting it at 1:30 this afternoon. They are a critical audience. It is essentially a dry run before my big presentation next week to Governing Body. Oh, how I hate these third and fourth weeks following the ends of quarters.

I don't really hate the whole weeks, I just don't like this part of my job. I mostly love my job. But this is the part I don't love.

I am still the same person I was on Monday when I felt great. I will get through this.

Feelings aren't facts
and the way I feel is not an accurate gauge of my spiritual condition.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to the Regular World

This will probably be my last picture from my race - at least for a while.

I am back to my own place in the sun. Back to my own home. I will be back to my own office this morning. I am grateful for all of this.

I need to settle into a life that doesn't involve training for a marathon. That has been my focus for so long that I am on guard for a bit of an emotional crisis later this week. That sounds negative, but I know myself pretty well. I have had these minor melt-downs in the weeks following half-marathons. I am not sure what will happen in the week following something as momentous (to me at least) as a marathon.

My daughter (the non-alcoholic) called last night and wanted to hear all about the race. She is registering for a marathon that will take place next October 18. I had told her I would do it with her. I told her yesterday that I will be her number 1 cheerleader and support crew, but I will not do another marathon. I am glad I did the one I did, and I encourage her to do one, but I do not want to do that again. I was relieved to hear that she is not disappointed - she was actually kind of happy that she would have someone at the finish line cheering for her. Awesome.

OK, I gotta get to work. I might have to put in a 10 or 12 hour day today. I have to give a quarterly report tomorrow that I don't even have most of the data put together for yet. Since my assistant's position was abolished last year, I do my own data entry as well as everything else. I have tons of it to do.

Let's all stay sober today, no matter what, OK?

Monday, October 18, 2010

My name is Marathoner Mary, I am an alcoholic...

I am sitting at the airport waiting to hop on a plane to go home. Miraculously, I am ambulatory this morning. I have 6 strips of KT tape on my back and foot, but really, all in all, I am good.

I am grateful to have done this thing. I used to have another blog for my running adventures, and that would be the perfect venue for writing about all the details of this race. There were some really special moments, but I don't want to bore you all to death.

But I will say a couple of things... right from the get-go, my back started cramping. Usually it will stop after a couple of miles. But it just got progressively worse for 26.2 miles. It hurt really, really bad. And after eating a seemingly innocuous orange slice at mile 11, I suffered from terrible intestinal difficulty (if you get my meaning) and had to stop at every porta-potty for maybe 7 or 8 miles!

There were some folks who were struggling like I was and we were pretty much together for the last 10 miles. I followed a woman with a beautiful french braid for most of the race. Sometimes I passed her, sometimes she passed me. She ended up ahead of me. We ran through California State University at Long Beach and there were many students there to greet us. One young man saw my name on my bib and said "Hey Mary, I'm gonna run with you for a while!" and he did. It was really touching. At 20 miles, there was a couple sitting on the curb yelling out to everyone. The man saw my name and said "Go Mary, Hey! Marathon Mary! You are 6 miles away from being a marathoner!" Believe it or not, things like that are very motivating. After I crossed the finish line a man came over and put his hand on my shoulder and thanked me. He said he had been behind me for many miles and he was hurting and he could see that I was hurting, but that I just kept going and he knew he could too. That was a very special moment. I did manage to cross the finish line with my arms raised high over my head in a victory salute. I did not cry as I thought I would. I was too tired and too hurt to cry. I think I knew if I started I might not stop, and I still had to get another mile (uphill) to my hotel!

I am grateful that I am heading home to my own home, my own life, and getting back to a reality that will not be so obsessively self-centered as a training life is - of necessity. I am grateful that my own home and my own life is sunny with low humidity. I haven't seen the sunshine in 2 days now and I miss it. Ironically, I have quite the sunburn from being out so long yesterday.

I didn't intend to share all these details, but what the heck, I have shared all the training details... why not the race details?

I could tell you how this relates to sobriety, but I think it would be overstating the obvious. Oh well, I guess I will do that too!
  • It doesn't have to feel good, you just have to do it
  • It doesn't have to look good, you just have to do it
  • When you want to quit, don't
  • God will help you when you ask him
  • The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts (all those individual miles - or individual 24 hours of sobriety)
That's it out of me.

Next time I will be back home and my brain & body will be back to the dry and sunny climate they are acclimated to.

Thank you God.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I am now a Marathoner

It is done. Who knew it was so difficult? Oh, the rest of you did? Well, apparently, I didn't fully appreciate how difficult.

But I did it. It is done. I am really too tired to write. I took a shower, ordered a room service burger (which I could only eat a 1/4 of - what the heck???) and now I need to put these ice packs on my back and lay on the bed and watch some football.

Thanks for all of your support through this last year of training.

Thanks be to God.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Brief Overthoughtful Interlude...

When the plane touched down in Long Beach today, my heart just sank. It is so gloomy and overcast. As the cab roared through the streets, my heart sank some more. I can't really describe why.

I got to the hotel, and it is beautiful, so that is good. I frequently get to hotel rooms and find myself very disappointed, sometimes to the point of anger that I have to sit and pray my way through. They let me check in at 10 a.m., and that was an even better bonus. The room is lovely, the view is pretty, the bedding is divine, and the hygiene products are high quality. (The internet access is $9.95 a day, and the restaurant is overpriced, but that is life.)

I went to the expo and it was full of what I tend to call "mutants," even though I know that isn't nice. The super fit and healthy. Serious Athletes. Some anorexic gals and guys. One time I had a conversation with Scott W. loosely about this, and we agreed that in the world of alcoholics I am a runner, but in the world of runners, I am an alcoholic. At a marathon expo I am likely to be 30 years older and at least 30 lbs. heavier than the average person. Oh well. The race t-shirt fits and that is happy. But I came with a credit card and was prepared to spend some money to commemorate what will likely be my only marathon. As I frequently find, all the larges and extra-larges were sold out of the pretty things. I bought a couple of things, but nothing I am excited about. There were none of the do-dads you can get at the big "rock 'n roll" races, like magnets, luggage tags, etc. I really wanted to buy that crap. Oh well.

I came back to my room and reflected on how out of place I feel in this place. How much I am attached to feeling that sense of belonging I have in the place where I live. I travel a lot for someone who likes to be at home as much as I do. I have never been to this place before. I have been to California before, but I think the last time was over 20 years ago, and even then, I spent very little time here.

I took a nap, which I desperately needed then hailed a cab to go to church. I really didn't want to, but I am so glad I did. The lector had a marathon t-shirt under his suit! The Priest gave a blessing of the marathon runners! I talked to him after mass and he said he has three sisters who will be running it tomorrow.

It struck me how much life has changed when I get that feeling of belonging in a church. That certainly did not used to be my story.

I first got it in a bar. Then in AA. Now I have it in many places. Today it was in church. And I am grateful for that.

Tomorrow is the day I have been planning for a year. I was pretty torqued this morning - but that probably had more to do with flying than anything. All my training is done, I will go out and reap whatever I have done, and try to enjoy myself to the best of my ability.

The best race I ever had was my first half marathon. Someone told me the night before - "it is YOUR race, make it a good one." I did. I smiled and thanked every volunteer. I smiled and thanked every policeman directing traffic. I smiled and smiled and smiled and tried to think more of others than myself. That is always a recipe for a better anything. I will attempt to do that tomorrow.

Because no matter what I do tomorrow, it will be my personal best for a marathon.

Thank you God.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Leaving Early, Early...

I'm leaving in the morning. Flying away. (you know how much I hate to fly, but I will meditate as I always do and get OK with acceptance of whatever may happen.)

I am very excited. I have had wardrobe issues. I went out for quick runs this afternoon in two different configurations of my clothing and gear. I think I have a combination I can live with. 26.2 miles will tell me whether I am correct about that or not. And nothing else will.

All my training and planning is done. I will find out on Sunday if it was adequate or not.

My neighbor has been mowing my lawn all summer. I have been doing all of these training runs on Saturday mornings and have been tired and wrung out. She just started coming over on Thursday evenings before I got home from work and mowing my lawn. I would drive up to my house every Thursday and see a freshly mown lawn and want to cry with joy. She was worried I would be mad at her! I couldn't be anything further than mad!

Tonight I was talking to her over the backyard fence. I started to thank her for that, and I started crying! She started to tell me it was "nothing," and I started telling her how much of a huge help it was to me to know I didn't have to mow my lawn every week. She finally acknowledged that she knew how much it helped me.

Early in the game, I was cooking for her every week, but soon realized that she didn't really want me to. Some people want homemade soups, breads, pies, etc., and some people don't. She definitely doesn't.

So, I had to just graciously accept that she was doing me this huge favor and I could thank her, but I can probably never repay her.

I had to learn how to accept help in AA. It does not come naturally to me. It is a very good thing to learn though. It is a very humble thing.

Just like this marathon is likely to be!

Say a prayer if you are so inclined.

I will likely blog again before the race though...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Autumn is in the Air

Tonight I went out for my last training run prior to my marathon. It felt great. It was nice to be out as the sun was setting. I got to try out my new cap light - and it worked fine. Not as good as my head lamp, but then it weighs a fraction of what the head lamp weighs and takes about a quarter of the space - if that.

Tomorrow I will go into work just long enough for a management meeting that happens every Friday. It just is better if I don't miss it, so I will stay for that and then leave. I have a ton of things to do, like pack my bags for my trip. And probably call the hotel another 5 times to ask crazy questions.

I spoke to my coach on the phone today for about a half hour. Going over all the little details. She mentioned some things I had not thought of. It is good.

I am telling you, I am a one topic woman right now. I cannot help it.

So, bear with me please. I will be back on topic next week.


Sense of Excitement

Yesterday the little nuclear family got discharged from the hospital. They came to my house and picked up their doggie. Things have returned to "normal" around here.

In the mail when I got home from work was the hat clip lamp I ordered online. I will need this for the race. I clipped it to my hat and tried it out. I think it will work fine. I have a big head lamp, but I won't want to carry that for 26.2 miles. This will be easy to throw in my back pocket once it is light outside.

I also talked with my coach about where in the heck I am going to get a bowl of oatmeal in a strange city at 5 a.m. I had called the hotel to see if they had a restaurant open at that hour, and they don't. I thought I would have to order room service. Earlier this year I spent $25. for a bowl of oats in Las Vegas. It was fun, but I would be wiser not to do this. Coach suggested bringing instant oatmeal, a cup, and a spoon and using the hot water from the coffee maker! Brilliant!

Believe it or not, it is details like this that make the difference between success and failure in a race - and in life. A bowl of oatmeal may seem like a small detail, but starting a race without food in the stomach would be a disaster - it would take a couple of hours to find out that it is a disaster, but it would be one just the same. I am sure for a marathon, there are things I don't even know about yet. But I have read books, and I have a coach, and I have trained with her and a group of experienced runners for the last six months. I ask questions and then I listen to what I am told.

I learned how to do these things in Alcoholics Anonymous. When I knew I needed help, I went to a group of people who were doing something I didn't know how to do - stay sober. I read AA literature to learn what this deal was about. I asked one person to be my "coach" or sponsor. I asked her counsel, and then I listened to what she said. I continued to hang out with like-minded people in AA and together we stay sober and accomplish something that we could not do alone.

I am clear though that we could do none of any of this without the intervention of a loving God.
I believe that I am sober by the Grace of God. I also believe I can disregard this gift and throw it away any day by not caring for it. I need to care for my sobriety every single day. Just as I am training for this marathon every single day - even on days when I am resting...

OK, enough of my analogy. I am sure I will return to it though.

I called the AA central office in Long Beach to try to find a meeting on Saturday evening and I think I will probably not be able to get to one without messing up my sleep. Too bad. I would have enjoyed that.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blogging Malaise

In this momentous week in my life, I don't feel free to write about much.

I have a brand new grandbaby. She is beautiful. I am thrilled. I am delighted that my son is a father and it is beautiful to watch this huge manly-man lovingly care for a tiny little baby girl. I am happy to see my daughter-in-law as a young mother, she is bearing the suffering and joy of the last week beautifully.

I am getting ready to run my first marathon. The website now says it is 3 days away. I am thrilled that the weather forecast for Long Beach, California is actually a few degrees cooler that day than Denver's. My stomach started flipping just in the time it took me to write those three sentences. I have not had time to think about the race since Saturday and I seriously need to think about it. I need to pack. I need to figure out if I have any last minute shopping to do. I need to figure out what I am wearing on the plane and back - and what to wear to church on Saturday night. I mapped out the route to the church from the hotel. The hotel is within walking distance to the expo and the race start and finish. I will take a taxi to and from the airport. Now if only it was so easy to figure out how I am going to ambulate this body for 26.2 miles....

I read an article this morning about a man who is a "legacy runner" of this race. He has run every single one since 1984 (the year that I got sober - and still smoked 2 packs a day). Including some that didn't even occur - for lack of funding. He is in his 80s. He will come in ahead of me. You probably think I am being modest, but when I say I am slow, I am not exaggerating - at all. I am seriously slow. It makes me nervous.

So, what's this malaise about? Well, I don't feel comfortable blogging about my family except in the most general of ways. I can blog about myself - but how interesting is it to read about "ME ME ME ME ME ME ME" all the time? I feel uncomfortable writing about others even very anonymously since people who know me read this blog - and someone left me a shitty anonymous comment last week asking me why I thought it was ok to write about people she could identify. Well, hell's bells - I couldn't identify the person in that particular case, how friggin anonymous is that? So, if I have people who aren't particularly friendly reading the blog looking for clues about anyone they might know - I guess I can no longer write anything about anyone other than myself. And frankly, I am not that interesting to write about every single day.

The community of bloggers, as I once knew it, is virtually non-existent. Dave and I still blog every day. There are a couple of others I read every day. I realize that they don't comment on my blog, I just comment on theirs. So, that is not much of a "community." There are others who write poetry or other seven minute sundays or five word fridays or other such things that I just don't understand or even want to understand, so I don't read those.

I usually blog with one particular reader in mind. A person who may want to read about what life is like for a sober person. Not THE sober person with THE answers. Just A sober person. Just a sober person trying to live her life to the best of her ability, living the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, not perfectly, just doing it, day after day. Living life as a sober person.

Recently there were two new guys. Two newly sober guys who were blogging - and they were both delightful. One has stopped. The other started really writing. He is brand new in sobriety. He honestly shared about that. The bloggers came along and were so overbearing with admonishments, advice, and warnings, I got embarrassed for us. He really hasn't said anything since. What a wonderful way to shut someone down.

Oh, I better shut down now. I have said more than enough.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

May God continue to bless us all.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Life in Another Chapter

Life changed for my family yesterday. In the best possible way. I went to visit my son's family today. It is heartbreakingly beautiful. You probably all know what I mean, something so beautiful and so touching that it actually makes your heart hurt. That is what it was to see my son with his daughter. Oh my.

I am spending quality time with my granddog. I am not a dog person, but I just love this dog! He is so affectionate and easy to care for. I am grateful that my daughter in law trusts me enough to let her little puppy come and stay with me while she is in the hospital.

I wrote to my coach today to let her know why I have stopped obsessively sending her e-mails asking her crazy questions about my marathon. Amazing how a new grandbaby can distract one from worrying about a marathon! I don't know if anything else could have done the job quite like this!

I am a happy and grateful woman. That is about all I have to say. I thank God.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Baby Girl

A Baby Girl was born to my son and his wife today. I don't think anyone will forget her birthday anytime soon - 10/10/10.

I remember when my first niece was born and my father said that he finally understood the Biblical blessing: May you live to see your children's children.

It was a long labor, starting on Friday night, ending in a c-section late this morning. I was at my meeting this morning, I left twice because my phone was ringing or texting. It was on silent, I apologized in advance. They could have thrown me out if they wanted to, that is fine with me.

I am floating on the clouds because I am so happy for my son. My son who is now a father.

Oh, it is beyond wonderful.

MC (grandmother X3)

Friday, October 08, 2010


Today I purchased some ghosties to hang off my front porch. Oh, they do bring so much joy to my heart! I love the fall. It has been hot here until the last day or two, but I have made an intellectual decision to go ahead and act as if it is truly changing seasons.

Tonight I had my sprinkler system shut down for the winter. That made me very happy. I got to visit with the man who "does" my sprinkler system, and is a fellow AA member. It was nice to visit with him.

Tomorrow I will have my last Saturday morning training run with my group before my marathon. I won't be going far. I was scheduled for 8 miles, but after I wrote to my coach and told her how I was feeling this week, she suggested I go 4 or 6 tomorrow. Sounds good to me. That race last week absolutely fried me. It was not the best idea - but then it wasn't really an idea - it was a reschedule due to a wildfire. It "should" have been 2 weeks earlier, which would have been very different.

I am grateful, grateful, grateful tonight. It is a Friday night before a three day weekend. I have a short run tomorrow. I get to see my running group tomorrow - I missed them last week. My granddaughters will be here with my daughter when I get home. They will like my ghosties! I had an extremely productive week at work. I have friends in Alcoholics Anonymous, I may not have always "liked" them, but I always love them. My house looks nice tonight and I am about to sit down in it and knit for a few minutes before I drift off to dreamy-land. By the Grace of God I get to do all this stuff. Awesome.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

In a Rush...

I have about an hour before I need to be in bed. I just got home from having dinner with a sponsee. She is a wonderful woman, I am so blessed to have been part of her life for the last quite a few years.

I told my sister yesterday that I had started knitting a baby blanket for her newest grandson. She actually said they didn't want a blanket, but preferred a sweater. After I got over my shock that someone would tell you they didn't want what you were already knitting, I was very grateful. The blanket would have taken me months to knit. The sweater should take me a week or two tops. So, then I can start knitting for my very own granddaughter again. I went at my lunch and got a pattern and needles and buttons for the sweater. I need to sit down now and start knitting it.

I also need to sit down by myself and be quiet for at least an hour a day. When I don't, I really feel it.

My self-care is so rigid, but it has been learned by many years of lessons from not doing the things I need to do. To me it is miraculous that by praying and meditating every morning, by being scrupulously honest in my daily affairs, by attempting to think of others more often than myself, by taking time to be quiet and sit still, by eating right and getting lots of exercise, etc... etc... etc... I can live a good life - without the use of alcohol, tobacco, (firearms), anti-depressants, etc., etc., etc.

God is faithful even when I am not.


About ten years ago a high-priced consultant came to the hospital and among her recommendations was "JIT training." I felt like a sheepish fool, but I had to ask her what on earth "JIT" meant. It stands for Just In Time. Shheeeeesh.

I am operating in JIT mode this week. I have had a migraine on an off since Saturday night. I have a general feeling of not so well. I haven't run all week. I was sitting this morning trying to figure out if I can get a quick 3 miles on the treadmill - I can't. I will attempt to do it tonight. At work I am getting work done just prior to what I need it for. Meeting at 10? I am working madly at 9:45 getting ready...

I left work early yesterday to go to the dentist. I learned that I have to have $900. (out of pocket, not counting what the insurance company paid) worth of crown ground off to get at a cavity and I will probably need a root canal. Then I will need to pay to put a crown back on - and the insurance company likely won't want to pay to crown the same tooth twice.

I paid that money for that work on the day of my first date with that man who swept me off my feet. I left the dentist and with a mouth that barely worked went to my favorite retailer for a brand new outfit. Oh, it was a pretty one. And by the time the novocaine wore off, a magical date with a man who seemed to be the man I had been waiting for all my life.

Fast forward - four and a half years: The man is dead, found dead in his home after a dreadful last year of his life that included jail time and his face plastered on the television and newspaper. I haven't even been on a date for years. And now my dental work needs to go.

Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men....

Here's the good news:
I am sober
I am gainfully employed
I know that feelings are NOT facts.

I also know that the Weds. and Thurs. after a Sunday race are times full of strange mental twists. I also know that the week or ten days leading up to a first marathon are full of anxiety. This is probably not a good combo. Add to that an intermittent migraine, a toothache, and bad dental news? Probably strange stuff.

It is all good.

Thanks for bearing with me today.

I get to park in the hospital director's parking place today! He is out for surgery and the DON had a little drawing to see who of us sitting in a management meeting last week would park in his place. I won!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Rough Start but a Great Day

Last night at 11 p.m. I decided I really had to take the migraine medication, so I did. I didn't wake up this morning until 7 a.m., and then had to try to get to work by 8:30 - ha! I was sick as a dog. But I got to work and worked all day and then went to my HOA meeting. I fulfilled all of my obligations and I feel good about that. It is important to me to be where I say I am going to be, when I am expected to be there, and do what it is I am expected to do. That is part of being a grown-up, responsible, sober person. And believe it or not, it makes life a lot more fun.

I realized at the race on Sunday that what I thought I was going to wear for my marathon in California is not going to work. It is not a good thing to be back at the drawing board 2 weeks before a marathon. Yesterday I called my favorite purveyor of running skirts (SkirtSports) and asked them if they could get me one pronto! I ordered it yesterday and it was sitting on my porch waiting for me when I got home from work today. The really surprising part? It fits and I like it. I think I am going to wear that crazy purple shirt with it. I wore it on Sunday and it was fine. It was just the compression capris that I realized would be too hot in California temperatures - even though they are WAY cuter on me than a skirt.

I laid out my clothes tonight and had such a feeling of excitement. I am flying to California, staying at a fancy schmancy hotel, and running a freaking marathon! In 10 days! I will be running along the ocean. The ocean! For those of you who live by the sea, you have no idea what the ocean means to a land-locked person like me. And add a few palm trees, I think I am in paradise. I will be such a tourist! Can't wait!

I invited my son and about-to-bring-forth-child-daughter-in-law for lunch on Sunday. They will be here, barring unforseen labor and delivery. My son requested that I make sour cream burritos - what a great idea. Family, a Bronco game, and good food. It is nice to not be running 600,000,000 miles this weekend.

There is so much happiness in my heart tonight. I thank God with every fiber of my being for this.

Monday, October 04, 2010

One Glorious Moment

I am feeling tired and having flashes of migraine - and debating about taking migraine medication. Even though the instructions are to take it at the first hint of a migraine. I have a hint, but this stuff knocks me on my *** and I don't want to be wiped out tomorrow. But I also don't want to have a migraine tomorrow.

Having nothing really positive to say, I thought about a moment yesterday during the race, and that is what I have to write about tonight without complaining. (Sometimes it is just a stretch!)

As I wrote yesterday, this race was challenging. It was difficult and boring - not a good combination. It was also small, so there weren't people around every corner, that was why it was boring. 13.1 miles (actually 13.45) of just being alone out there isn't that much fun.

The course was an out and back, so I got to see people heading back as I was still heading out. As it turns out, I saw a LOT of people heading back as I was heading out. In smaller races, there aren't all those older and chubbier people to come in behind me. I was pretty much in the back of the pack. There were a few people much slower than me, and they were nowhere in sight - until I turned around and headed back.

Anyway, I got to watch the 10Kers coming back, they were mostly looking pretty serious. But then there was a bit of a spell between runners, and then there HE came. He looked nothing like those 10Kers. He was obviously the front runner of the half-marathoners. He was grace personified. He was beautiful.

I clapped for him. One person clapping. As he neared, I said "YAY!" He looked at me and flashed the most beautiful smile I think I have ever seen. It just melted my heart. The humility of the fastest acknowledging one of the slowest. Most of the fast ones just run with intensity and don't look at anyone. It was a golden moment.

His name is Mario Macias. He is one beautiful runner. And fast.

One of the things I love about running is that an old slow lady like me can participate in the same event as a world class athlete such as Mario. Oh, some of them resent the hell out of us, but most of them don't.

I did something I have never done before when I got home. I looked up the first place winner in the half marathon, just so I would have a name to go with that wonderful memory. For this post, I found a photo of him finishing another race.

I am grateful tonight that I am able to participate in any way in any of the things I get to do. It is a miracle. Someone who smoked 2 packs a day for 25 years and drank daily for 18 years. Amazing what can happen when we stop doing that crap! God created our bodies not only beautifully, but miraculously. Who would think we could recover from that? Well, we can, and we do!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Worst Race in the World

The finshers medal - pretty!
I thought that sign was cute.
At the reservoir before the start. I got to watch the sunrise here, and it was beautiful.

It was a hard race. It was almost 100% on dirt roads - which is a large part of why I registered for it back in January. I thought that sounded nice and soft on your feet. The roads were all rutted and washboarded and tiring to navigate. At mile four, I realized I was bored. I was all by myself on the course. Everyone was either ahead or behind me. There were no spectators. It was all out on country roads - at first it was pretty, but it got old. My shoes quickly filled with dirt and stones, and I didn't want to stop and take them off.

According to my garmin, it was 13.45 miles long too. That would be .35 too long. My garmin has never given me incorrect milage.

But the medal is pretty, it was a day out in the sunshine, the weather was perfect, and I never have to do it again!

I'm really tired, so this isn't much of a post. But I wanted to give you all an update.

By the grace of God, I get to do things like this today. Sobriety is good.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saying Goodbye

10/4/10 I have edited this - I took out most of it. I was talking about someone I love. But if people who know me are reading this blog and comparing it to what they know about the group, I guess I won't write about anyone anymore. Not even in a general way.

This is going to make for a very boring blog.

Oh well.

We have the most amazing relationships in Alcoholics Anonymous. Truly amazing. I wouldn't have picked him for my friend, but he has been a great one. When you let God direct your life, he can do some amazing stuff.

I think I will continue to ask him to direct my life and be grateful for that.

(I am getting up at 4:00 to run a half marathon tomorrow.)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Assorted things...

Clear Sky Again
That's a photo from the course of the half-marathon I will be running on Sunday. I am so excited about this race - and then the marathon two weeks later. But I wrote about that yesterday.

I had a great day today, all the way around. I went to a meeting at 6:30 a.m. and met a sponsee afterwards. We had a great discussion. Some of it around something a man shared in the meeting.

October 4, 2010


I edited out most of this post. I got an anonymous comment today from someone who obviously knows who I am, but opted not to identify herself.

"I am wondering why it was ok for you to share all this in the blog as some of us do know who these people are you talk about. "

Well, I didn't know who I was talking about - therefore it was pretty damn anonymous in my eyes. However, if someone else reads my blog, obviously knows who I am and knows more than I do about this situation is writing to me, I will just take it down.

But I will just say that I think it is really chicken shit for people who know me to read my blog and leave me nasty comments. If you know me, you have my phone number - it is on numerous phone lists. If you read the blog, you have access to my e-mail address. Why leave a shitty anonymous comment?